Best Kayak Paddles of 2020

Here we have our list of the best kayak paddles for the money in 2020.  Now, we all know how important picking the correct kayak is, but picking the correct kayak paddle is also massively important.

If you want to enjoy your kayaking experience, then you should know that not all paddles are made to the same standard.

In fact, there are some brands you may want to avoid. As such, we have compiled this best kayak paddles buyer’s guide – designed to give you valuable advice on what to check when looking for the best-value kayak paddle on the market.

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In a hurry? This is our winner!

Our rating:
5 star rating
Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle (Sunrise, 220 cm)
  • Glass-filled polypropylene blades are both lightweight and durable
  • Asymmetrical, slightly curved blade shape produces smooth, efficient strokes
  • Wrapped fiberglass shaft is lightweight yet strong; and more comfortable to hold in hot or cold temperatures
  • Ovalized shaft indexes the proper grip area
  • No-fail push-button take down allow blades to be feathered at 60-degrees or set inline, for right or left-handed control

Best Kayak Paddles – Comparison Table

Best Kayak Paddles – Reviews

Our Pick
Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle (Sunrise, 220 cm)
Our rating:
5 star rating

1. Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

This affordable and durable paddle is well preferred by touring kayakers. It is also good for fishing kayakers. The reinforced fiberglass polypropylene blade makes it a bit heavier than other paddles but is quite popular due to its reasonable price and quality.

This type of kayak paddle is mid-level and easily affordable to beginner kayakers and can also be a good backup for emergencies ii is also one of the best marine kayak paddles.

If you are a beginner, this is probably the best option for you. This brand is a well-accomplished name in the water industry.

It has spoon-shaped blades and is good for paddling in open water, lakes, and rivers. The blades are designed to help you move across the water with less effort.

The paddle also comes in different lengths (220, 230, and 240cm) hence suitable for a great number of paddlers. The ranges have the capability to fit in the average kayak and more with support for low angle paddling.

It comes in two pieces making it easier to transport than a one-piece paddle.

It is perfect for those who are willing to try their hand paddling for the first time and also kayakers who do it for fun and leisure.

The Magic Plus is designed from fiberglass with a weight of 2.48 pounds which is just awesome for an average kayaker. It bears a 3-ferrule and push-button to change feathering options for the kayaker.

The Carlisle Magic Plus kayak paddle blades are mildly built like touring blades; firm and quite full serving as a powerhouse. Another very important bonus of this Kayla paddle is its cost-friendliness.

  •  Shaft – Wrapped fiberglass
  • Blade – Asymmetrical, slightly curved
  • Design – 2-piece
  • Length – Choose from: 220cm, 230cm, 240cm
  • Weight – 35.6 oz / 1kg
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Blades can be customized to any angle
  • Ideal for long-distance paddling
  • Can be used for both touring and recreational paddling
  • Cost-friendly
  • Powerfully built
  • Long-lasting
  • Sturdy
  • Brightly covered blades for visibility purposes
Cons
  • No bent shafts
  • The extra length can be a disadvantage to some people

Werner Kalliste Carbon Kayak Fishing Paddle-SS-240cm
Our rating:
5 star rating

2. Werner Camano 2 Piece Straight Kayak Paddle

You don’t have to worry about straining yourself a lot when working with the Werner Camano. That’s because it is worth considering when looking at the lightest kayak paddle, thanks to its carbon shaft construction.
This construction helps to maintain the warmth and dryness of your hands while kayaking.

This dihedral, high-angle blade is created with the great finesse needed to make your forward strokes as stable and quick as possible.

The problem of replacing and making adjustments to your grips is eliminated entirely. It also comes with a blade that I consider to be quite interesting. Fiberglass material is used to create this blade and that gives you just the right amount of stiffness and flex when on the water.

You can get it in different lengths of 220, 230, 240, 250, and 260 cm based on your preferred kayak paddle length. Another interesting quality of this kayak paddle is that you can split it in two. This is a huge advantage because it allows you to carry it around with little or no hassle.

Pros
  • Can be split into two pieces
  • Dihedral, high-angle blade
  • Constructed with durable fiberglass material
  • Great for high-level users
Cons
  • Not the best for rookies

BENDING BRANCHES Angler Classic 2-Piece Snap-Button Fishing Kayak Paddle; (Black Shaft/Sage Green Blade - 240cm)
Our rating:
5 star rating

3. Bending Branches Angler Classic Kayak Paddle

The angler pro has the best performance; lightest weight and has been tested in rough waters.

This paddle provides a sufficient mix of weight and longevity alongside a 3-hole button ferrule which supports feathering angle and change with adjustable settings to angle 0° or 60°, for any of the hand controls.

It has won the Angler Paddle of the year award five times since 2013. It offers high performance and is lightweight due to the carbon fiber material on the shaft.

For fishermen: The paddle also has a tape measure that comes along with it for measuring your catch. it’s length is capable of holding most fishing kayaks in place because of its weight of approximately 34 ounces. This is not all, it bears a hook retrieval for maneuvering tangled fishing lines.

The blades are made from fiberglass which is lightweight and strong enough to withstand impacts from rocks when paddling on rough waters. If you will be pushing off obstacles, blades made from fiberglass are always the best choice.

The blades are the high angle type and generate high power per stroke and work well for heavy fishing kayaks that have been loaded with fishing cargo.

This is one of the best-valued paddles designed by bending branches, it comfortably competes with other higher priced paddles of the excellently imbued features.

It is fortified with fiberglass blades and a long-lasting shaft that can resist all forms of paddling challenges.

It comes in two sizes which are all adjustable.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to propel
  • Durable and strong
  • Very affordable
  • Plastic ferrule that won’t seize up in sand or saltwater
  • Drip rings to help keep your cockpit dry
  • Adjustable
Cons
  • Does not come in bent shafts
  • Higher priced but more than pays for itself

AQUA BOUND Sting Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle, Black CR Blade/Posi-Lok Carbon Shaft, 220 cm
Our rating:
5 star rating

4. The Aqua Bound Sting Ray Kayak Paddle

The Aqua Bound Sting Ray is on sale at various ranges of lengths and for most, the search for the right paddle shouldn’t be so difficult considering the variations of that the lengths come in. That is 210-250cm, sometimes with an additional 10cm that there is a length for every kayaker.

Like a lot of Kayak paddles, this is also designed from carbon fiber; light and rigid, just the right amount of qualification for marine kayaking.

It weighs 1.9 pounds and is capable of sustaining long water tours, it also has adjustable ferrules with the ability to support numerous feathering angles. An amazing bonus is the fact that it offers vivid navigation for effective use.

With sturdy blades built narrow and long, It is made with fortified fiberglass plastic to aid low angle paddling. It is solid and capable standing the test of time.

Pros
  • Adjustable feathering
  • Long-lasting
  • Lightweight
  • Completely adjustable
  • Numerous length ranges
Cons
  • No bent shaft

SeaSense X-TREME 1 KAYAK PADDLE  BLACK  96IN
Our rating:
5 star rating

4. SeaSense X-1 Kayak Paddle

SeaSense brings to you a paddle that I wouldn’t categorize as lightweight because of its aluminum construction. And you also know how cold aluminum can get but this doesn’t mean that the X-1 isn’t a premium product.

It comes with grip pads so that your hands do not freeze when the weather gets very cold. You can also make adjustments to them depending on your preferences to help you stay comfortable while doing what you love.

This product is the 84-inch paddle and I think it is perfect for anyone measuring 5 foot 6 inches. if this doesn’t fit your height range, you can go for the 96-inch paddle. The most important thing is to ensure that you know how wide your kayak is before selecting a paddle length.

It’s also interesting to know that this aluminum paddle can float which makes finding it easier should you lose it unintentionally.

Pros
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Comes with plastic blades and grips
  • Great for mid-height kayakers
Cons
  • Foam grips subject to depreciation

Curved Kayak Paddle, 8ft
Our rating:
5 star rating

5. TRAC-Outdoor Curved Kayak Paddle

Available in blue color and two different sizes, the TRAC-Outdoor is one of the best kayak paddles and is curved. The blades are made from fiberglass polypropylene and it also comes with an anodized aluminum shaft.

You’ll need the help of the push-button to make use of the 3-position feather settings. I noticed that many customers talked about the hand grips made of foam.

They felt that it delivered a great level of comfort when compared to many other products on the market.

According to the reviews from most of the buyers, they were satisfied with its solid construction and they also experienced light and smooth performance.

However, this paddle may not be the best if you want something to work with on multiple days because there’s a risk of developing blisters. You might also notice some issues with the connector in the center. Asides these minor issues, this product is worth considering when looking for the best kayak paddle for fishing.

Pros
  • Lightweight band smooth
  • Easy access to 3 blade positions
Cons
  • There’s a risk of developing blisters after multiple days of use

AIRHEAD Kayak Paddle, Deluxe 2 sect, 84', Curved Blade
Our rating:
5 star rating

6. Airhead Kwik Tek Kayak Paddle

Next on the list is a paddle that has a dual-section aluminum shaft and also comes with curved blades. You can get the Airhead Kwik Trip in just one color (red) and one size. You will also notice the hand grips made of foam, as well as the drip rings on the shaft.

Many buyers seem to love this product because of the premium materials used in its construction.

I like this product as well because of how effective the hand grips are. This is one of the easiest kayak paddles to use and the blades give you a solid feel. Another aspect of the paddle that you will like is the range of 3 positions but you can adjust to.

In contrast with many other lightweight kayak paddles on the market, this one seems to be a bit heavier. I also noticed that some buyers complained about the offset position and how it was challenging to get the blades there correctly.

You might also notice that the paddle feels too short depending on your height.

Despite these little drawbacks, the Kwik Tek is among the best marine kayak paddle products and is worth its price.

 

Pros
  • Very user-friendly
  • Solid build
  • Comes with foam hand grips
Cons
  • Not the most lightweight paddle out there

SeaSense 96 in X-TREME II Kayak Paddle-Black
Our rating:
5 star rating

7. SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

This is a paddle that comes with alternate-angled feathered blades. You can get it in either of the two sizes but it is only sold in one color. To make the SeaSense X-Treme II an easy kayak paddle to store, the manufacturer created it as a two-piece product.

This kayak paddle is great for many reasons, one of which is its lightweight construction. It also offers solid balance and comes with more length to help deliver very efficient strokes. Another thing that I noticed that buyers seem to like about this paddle is that it has floats so that it doesn’t sink if you mistakenly lose it in the water.

While it comes with lots of great features, it has a tendency to bow in the middle. You’ll also notice that the midsection which is built to be collapsible can give way to depreciation after so much use. You also need to be careful when using it because the grips can become wet.

Pros
  • Comes with a paddle floats to prevent it from sinking
  • Not too heavy
  • The design makes it easy to store
Cons
  • Grip slips when wet

Werner Camano Fiberglass Straight Shaft Kayak Paddle-GradientSunset-240cm
Our rating:
5 star rating

8. Werner Camano Fiberglass Paddle

Werner is a popular and respected name in the kayaking industry. It is a low angle blade design suitable for long distances. The shaft is made from a mixture of carbon fiber and fiberglass making it lightweight and efficient in terms of performance.

It is also strong and cannot easily break upon impact on obstacles.

It might not be easy to catch fish but the Camano paddle comes in different colors that include fish scale design patterns.

Pros
  • Lighter due to the carbon fiber and fiberglass
  • One can easily stroke through the water
  • Adjustable ferrule keeping it firm
Cons
  • Difficult to track in a straight line
  • Quite expensive

Best Kayak Paddle – Buyers Guide

How to choose the best kayak paddle for you

Every kayaker has needs and these must be put into consideration when looking to buy the best marine kayak paddle. To help you arrive at that decision, here are the factors to consider before spending your money on a kayak paddle:

1. Kayak paddle construction material

  • Plastic paddles:

    They are more common due to their cheaper price and durability. They do not need much maintenance but weigh more than carbon and fiberglass paddles.

    This type of kayak paddle usually has thick edges and flex resulting in a poor stroke. They are good for recreational paddling, as a spare if you lose a paddle.

    In contrast with other kayak paddles, plastic paddles are not necessarily the most effective because they have a tendency to bend.

    But the good thing about them is that they are user-friendly and will keep your hands warm when compared to aluminum paddles.

    If you have a thing for rapid or river kayaking, then you can go for a plastic paddle as I consider it to be the most appropriate. It will hold up in situations where other types of paddles may fail.

  • Aluminum paddles:

    In terms of price and quality, they are at the lower end. They are preferable for beginners who need something to paddle and use for a few times.

    They can be cold in chilly weather and heavy to paddle for long distances and cannot be as enjoyable as fiberglass or carbon paddles.

    The problem with aluminum paddles is that they get cold and tend to be weightier, making them more of a challenge to paddle with.

    If you are just starting, we wouldn’t recommend an aluminum paddle. (but that should be your choice). Buying paddle grips can help to deal with the cold.

  • Carbon fiber paddles:

    This is the highest quality and most expensive paddle for kayaking. Carbon fiber is very light, stiff and strong and is suitable for long-distance paddling. The shaft is warmer on a chilly day as compared to aluminum paddle.
  • Wooden paddles:

    They are flexible, aesthetic, and warm. However, they require a bit of maintenance like varnishing and sanding. They come in different weights and sizes and vary in price depending on the type of wood.

    Wooden kayak paddles are best for classic kayakers. Although they tend to be not so lightweight, they put in a solid performance and are sturdy.

    But keep in mind that you’ll have to sand them now and then to maintain their shape.

  • Fiberglass paddles:

    These types of paddles are stiff, light, and durable. They are the most preferred for touring and recreation. The blades have fiberglass and carbon shafts balancing the efficiency of price, balancing, and weight. Fibre glass makes the lightest kayak paddle.

    Fiberglass and carbon paddles tend to be costlier than the other types but they are not as heavy. These paddles also retain their warmth when the weather gets cold and are pretty solid.

    For someone who has a high level of experience at kayaking and is looking to put in a lot of time, consider going for these types of paddles.

2. Kayak Paddle Angle & Blade Shape

If you are just getting into the world of kayaking, this is arguably the easiest quality to pass over. That’s because many beginners think that this isn’t worth their attention. Remember that you will have to paddle to get your kayak moving and that’s why you want to find the right angle.

If you’re a racer, go for a product on which the paddle’s face has a dip. In other words, I’m recommending that you go for a paddle that has the shape of a wing.

That’s the best way to increase your chances of attaining high speeds. But if you’re someone who just wants to ride around slowly, I recommend considering something of a different shape, especially as a beginner.

Selecting the appropriate shape of the blade determines how your paddle interacts with water on each stroke:

  • High angle paddle:

    This is a paddle that needs to be held vertically when stroking forward. This implies that the stroke is more powerful held this way and will propel the kayak faster in the water. This paddle is better used for racing or paddling in rough white water. The blades on these types of paddles are broader and shorter for gaining control in challenging conditions.

  • Low angle paddle:

    This implies that the paddle is held horizontally and the hands are close together and at the same level through the stroke. This method of paddling is less tiresome and is preferred when paddling for longer distances.
    The blades on these types of paddles are skinnier and longer as compared to high angle blades. These types of paddles are the best if you are going for a kayaking tour on flat water.

High-angle paddles help you to kayak effectively on high-speed water bodies. A paddle that has a low blade angle requires lesser energy but can still help you attain great speeds. If you want the best water flow, you can go for a dorsal or dihedral blade paddle.

3. Kayak paddle length & size

  • The perfect size should also be considered depending on your need and comfort.
  • An oversized paddle can hurt your wrists and shoulders.
  • A good paddle will depend on the type of paddling a kayak is designed for.
  • For a recreational kayak, it has been designed to be stable and is widely built.
  • Touring kayaks are narrow and longer for more speed.

Do not make the mistake of overlooking this feature because the kayak paddle length is also very important. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have anything to do with how far you wish to travel or the level of speed you want to attain. It isn’t even about how long your kayak is.

Rather, it has more to do with you as the kayaker. Your height should determine what kind of paddle length to go with. The taller you are, the more you want to find a longer paddle.

Find a shorter paddle if your height is under 6 feet. But if your height is above 6 feet, go for a paddle measuring up to 260 cm. Consider how wide your kayak is and check to see if it is more than 25 inches. In that case, you will be better off with a paddle that measures more than 240 cm.

But kayaks that are not as wide can make do with shorter paddles.

4. Feathering

You’ll also want to think about how your paddle holds up in the wind. You may not think that this is important but you don’t want to experience anything that limits your speed. Feathering is a situation where a paddle comes with one of its sides at a different angle from the other. This feature helps it to cut through the air with a higher level of efficiency.

This is a very beneficial feature but there is a setback. Feathered paddles require that you rotate them more often than not. Keep this in mind if you always experience stiff joints because handling a feathered paddle may prove difficult for you.

5. One-piece or two/multi piece paddle

Paddles with ferrules can be separated while those without remain in one piece. A multi-piece paddle can be broken down and keep in your kayak as a spare.

However, not every person prefers them since they can be heavy due to their structure unless they are properly designed and of very high quality. Ferrules can get stuck, wear down. Be stiff due to salty air.

Kayak Paddle FAQs

Who is a kayak paddle meant for?

If you are looking to embark on an adventure with a kayak, you definitely need a kayak paddle. These paddles are different from those of a canoe because they come with two blades located on the shaft ends. That way, you will experience increased fluidity when moving with your kayak.

Another advantage is that there is no need to swap sides while paddling as it helps you make gentle movements while your arms stay stable.

Since a lot of kayaks on the market are designed to accommodate one person, the kayak paddle’s construction makes more sense.

How does a kayak paddle work?

With the help of this instrument, your kayak can have some form of propulsion. All you have to do is maintain equidistance while holding the paddle with both hands.

You then have to glide your kayak paddle through the water, making front to back movements to make the kayak go forward.

You’ll find that a lot of modern paddles are delivered in two separate pieces so that you can store them with little hassle. It is even possible to adjust the blades or shafts in some of these paddles. It is your duty as the paddler to provide support to the paddle.

Do kayak paddles make a difference?

Your kayak paddle is one of the most important aspects that determine how well you will perform when you go out on the water. Think about the many strokes involved and you’ll realize the importance of a proper paddle.

What happens when you use too long of a paddle for kayaking?

You don’t want to use kayak paddles that are too long or too short. This is very demanding and will cause excessive exertion when looking to stay on track while building your speed.

That’s because using the wrong length may cause your hand to grind the shaft, ultimately resulting in blisters.

What should I look for when buying a kayak?

Two very important qualities when buying a kayak are its length and width. In general terms, the kayak tends to be straighter and faster when it is longer and narrower. If you want something that is easy to maneuver and more stable, go for a vessel that is shorter and wider. But don’t get your hopes up when it comes to speed.

Why does my kayak keep turning?

If you notice that your kayak keeps pulling to a particular side, you will need to review your paddling style. However, if you have no problems with how you paddle, other contributing factors could be responsible. But your paddling technique is usually the biggest culprit.

What is the best kayak paddle for Fishing?

Most kayakers do not consider the effects a paddle can have on fishing. They do not give it so much thought and this is a big mistake. Upon researching the best inflatable fishing kayak it is also important to research the best paddle as well. Paddles propel your watercraft and investing in a good quality paddle would make a lot of sense.

Finding a paddle that suits your needs can be a confusing thing to do. You might be trolling to a perfect fishing spot or paddling for leisure.

Perhaps, you need to clarify the reason why you need a fishing kayak paddle. You can easily get plastic or a cheap aluminum kayaking paddle but getting a specific one made for fishing purposes can be a bit challenging.

Most kayak paddles are made from materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber which are lightweight and perform excellently in water.

High-quality paddles come with adjustable ferrules for altering the length and blade angle allowing you to use in different watercraft efficiently. Some come with a ruler to measure your catch.

Kayak paddles for fishing come with a low or high angle design. Low angle blades are used for steady and slow strokes while trolling or paddling for a long time.

High angle blades are used for powerful and aggressive strokes for a fully loaded kayak or when in fast-moving waters.

Conclusion

One of the best decisions you can make when looking to go kayaking is to find one of the best kayak paddles. With the help of these paddles, you can easily glide alone in the water while keeping your pace as steady as possible.

A kayak paddle is important because it helps to propel your vessel without which you would cover very little distance. With the help of this buying guide, I’m sure you will find the best marine kayak paddle for your needs.

If you are new to this, don’t forget to read the guide carefully to find the right product.