10 Best Kayak Paddle 2020 (Tried & Tested): Our Unbiased Reviews

What do you think of when paddling a kayak comes to mind? A serene setting featuring cool waters perhaps?

Kayak paddling is not just a recreational activity; it can also be a workout session. Now that you are ready to go out paddling, you need the best kayak paddle.

So, what exactly sets an average paddle for a winning one? In our view, the following factors matter quite a lot.

  • Length
  • Material
  • Brand
  • Aesthetics

The Best Kayak Paddle (Tried & Tested)

1. SeaSense-Kayak Paddle

A great kayak should withstand the challenges that come with paddling e.g. waves, rocks, wind, and currents. The SeaSense-Kayak Paddle is sturdy and can hold up against what the waters may present.

Designed in attractive colors, the SeaSense-Kayak Paddle is also an affordable kayak paddle. Its price makes affordability possible, especially for newbie kayakers.

Product Description

This is a two-piece paddle. As such carrying it with or without your car is convenient. In addition to that, it is easy to store. The good thing is, assembling the two parts is easy and the parts fit well without any sloppiness.

Additionally, it comes with a reasonable weight for balance and performance. The lightweight makes it possible to do extended hours of paddling without experiencing hand fatigue. Constructed from lightweight polypropylene and reinforced with fiberglass the blade is sturdy and durable.

The lightweight shaft is manufactured from aluminum for durability. There are foam grips on the shaft which enhance the comfort features of the shaft and its strength. Drip rings are inserted to keep you dry when paddling.

Other Features and Benefits

You have a choice between two sizes, either an 84 inch or a 96 inch. When buying, you need to ensure that the length you will choose will match the size of your kayak. You also need to ensure that you get the right length for your height.

Pros

  • Six color models available
  • Two sizes to choose from
  • It is a budget kayak paddle
  • Foam grips provided

Cons

  • Only two lengths are provided

2. Aqua Bound-Manta Ray 2-Piece Kayak Paddle Carbon

This is a premium kayak paddle, handcrafted by artisans in the USA. It is ideal for high-angle paddling.

Manufactured in the USA, the Aqua Bound-Manta Ray Kayak Paddle blades are constructed from a blend of carbon and nylon material. A carbon ABX resin blade is strong, stiff and lightweight in comparison to other brands in the market made from glass blades.

Product Description

It is a two-piece kayak paddle. As such, it is easy to transport it in the trunk of your car when it is disassembled. In addition to that, it occupies minimal storage space. Assembling or disassembling the two pieces is fast and easy. The ferrule system of construction provides a simple button to connect the two pieces.

At 3.47 pounds, the paddle is lightweight which comes with handling ergonomics. As such, you can do extended hours of paddling without experiencing hand fatigue. In addition to that, the shaft is shaped in an oval shape providing a comfortable grip. What’s more, the shaft has a ribbed texture for grip even with wet hands.

Drip rings on the shaft are to keep you dry while paddling.

Other Features and Benefits

There are five different sizes available to match your height and to suit the kayak vessel you are using, from 210 cm to 250 cm. Apart from that, there are two designs to choose from to suit your personal tastes and preferences, the snap bottom and posi-lok. However, it is quite a pricey paddle.

Pros

  • Handcrafted
  • Two designs
  • Five different sizes on offer
  • Space-saving two-piece design
  • Easy to carry
  • Lightweight and ribbed texture for ergonomics
  • Drip rings

Cons

  • It is pricey

3. SeaSense X-1 84-Inch Kayak Paddle

Featuring molded plastic blades, this affordably priced kayak paddle has various other features that make it perfect for long-distance paddling adventures. It has various handling ergonomics, functionality and durability features.

Product Description

This is a two-piece 84-inch aluminum kayak. Weighing 2.25 pounds, the aluminum construction gives it lightweight yet sturdy and durable construction. As such you can do paddle long distances without your hands getting fatigued.

For additional handling ergonomics, it has adjustable foam rubber grips and plastic guarded blades. The foam rubber grips provide comfort and therefore you can do extended hours of paddling with minimal fatigue. The drip guards are for keeping you dry when paddling.

On top of that, the blade angles on this paddle are adjustable, giving you maximum control. The two-piece design comes with two main conveniences, firstly it is easier to transport because of a shorter length. Secondly, it is a space saver when not in use.

What’s more, it floats in water, preventing the risk of losing it.

Other Features and Benefits

It is an affordable kayak paddle. Please note that it comes in a standard size of 84 inches. On this note, it cannot be used on oversized kayaks. Also, due to its length, it may not be very comfortable for very tall individuals.

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Lightweight, suiting long-distance kayaking
  • Foam grips for slip-resistance
  • Drip guards
  • Two-piece design

Cons

  • Only one size available
  • Not suitable for tall kayakers

4. Carlisle Paddle Gear Magic Plus-Kayak Paddle Polypro Blades and Fiberglass Shaft

A sturdy and comfortable kayak paddle gives you the confidence to tackle long stretches knowing that you will be able to go and return safely. This kayak paddle is durably constructed and is fit for touring or recreational kayaking in rocky shorelines and open waters.

The Carlisle Paddle Gear Magic Plus-Kayak Paddle is a product of Carlisle Paddle Gear. The company offers several models of kayak paddles to meet the different needs of both seasoned and beginner kayakers.

Product Description

You can use this paddle on standard recreational kayaks of between 10 and 12 foot in length. The paddles are light in weight with the 220 cm model weighing only 39.8 ounces.

The fiberglass shaft is stiff for durability and also comfortable for handling ergonomics. In comparison to aluminum kayak paddles, the fiberglass is cool during hot weather and warm when it is cool.

On the other hand, the blades are manufactured from a fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene for durability. They are asymmetrically shaped, which reduces hand fatigue enabling you to do extended hours of paddling. In addition to that, it has a slightly spooned shape which helps in moving more water than standard shaped blades which propels your kayak faster.

Other Features and Benefits

Another important highlight, the paddle is a two-piece. The good thing is, it is easy to assemble and disassemble it. The feature helps in space-saving storage and it is easy to transport it by hand or in the trunk of your vehicle.

There are three length models available with the following measurements 220cm, 230cm and 240 cm. As such, you can choose the length that suits your height and the size of your kayak.

The blade of this moderately priced kayak paddle comes in several color options including cloud and sunrise.

Pros

  • Ideal for long-distance paddling
  • Blades shaped to deliver power
  • A fiberglass shaft
  • Two-piece design
  • Three lengths to choose from
  • Two color options

Cons

  • It is not a budget kayak paddle

5. Shoreline- Rounded 96” Marine Kayak Paddle

You can use the Shoreline- Rounded 96” Marine Kayak Paddle on different water bodies.

This kayak paddle is 96 inches (240cms) long which suits kayaks that are 12 feet and wider and taller kayakers. Short individuals can struggle with the height of the kayak paddle.

Product Description

Built with a corrosion-resistant aluminum material, this paddle comes in a two-piece design. A two-piece design is easy to transport and also a space saver when it is not in use.

Contour molded, the blades use less effort to push than regular designs. The shaft is uniquely designed with a three-point system enabling you to customize the blades to several different angles to fit your paddling needs. For straight blades, use the center position.

The shaft of this paddle is constructed from aluminum while the blades are made from a sturdy plastic material for durability. Although aluminum gets hot or too cold depending on the temperature conditions, the foam guards will give you comfort in different weather conditions.

Its drip guard feature comes in handy when you are in rough waters to keep you dry.

Other Features and Benefits

This is a competitively priced kayak paddle. It doesn’t float on water for long. The good thing is that it has foam grips which provide a firm and nice grip preventing the paddle from slipping from your hands. However, if you are concerned about dropping them, you can buy a paddle leash.

Pros

  • Drip guards for keeping you dry
  • Aluminum construction
  • Two-piece design
  • Comfortable grip

Cons

  • Only one size available
  • No color options

6. Carlisle Paddle Gear Magic Mystic Poly-Kayak Paddle

This is another brand of kayak paddles in this review we are doing from Carliste Paddle Gear. It is a perfect kayak paddle for newbies. It can make a perfect gift to a friend or family member.

The blades of this paddle are constructed from fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene for performance and durability. As such you do not have to worry about hitting rocks while paddling. In addition to that, the blade has a cup shape, which gives each paddle power.

Product Description

This affordable kayak paddle’s aluminum shaft is anodized, making it corrosion resistant. What’s more, the shaft is bendable where it is held which minimizes wrist fatigue typical when one is doing forward strokes.

This shaft weighs about 1lb which is quite light and a characteristic of aluminum. The low weight comes with handling ergonomics because you can paddle for extended hours without experiencing fatigue.

The paddle is a two-piece for convenient transport and storage.

Additionally, splash guards are provided to keep you dry while paddling.

Other Features and Benefits

In regards to price, it comes at a moderate price point. There are various color options to choose from. In addition to that, there are three sizes available to suit different frames of persons and sizes of kayaks. The sizes are 220cms, 230cms, and 240cms.

Pros

  • Both the blade and shaft are sturdily built for longevity
  • Splash guards
  • One year warranty
  • Anodized shaft to resist corrosion
  • Light in weight
  • Three sizes available
  • Several color options to choose from
  • Bent shaft which minimizes wrist flex

Cons

  • It is not a budget kayak paddle

7. Airhead-Kayak Paddle, Deluxe 84" Curved Blade

This is a sturdy kayak that can withstand rough water environments. Although the shaft is light in weight, the blades are heavy.

The blades are manufactured from ABS plastic. Weighing 3 pounds, this paddle is heavy in comparison to others in the market. However, it is light enough to use it to maneuver through the waters.

The kayak breaks into two pieces for convenient transportation and storage.

Product Description

At 84 inches (213 cms) might seem short. Because of the short length, it works well as an entry-level kayak paddle for teenage kids. It is also ideal for short kayaks and persons with a small frame but it is not recommended for tall kayakers.

It features an aluminum shaft for durability.  The shaft has drip rings to keep you dry while paddling in rough waters.

Foam handgrips are also fitted on the paddle to provide a comfortable grip. This is because aluminum can get too hot or too cold depending on the temperature. The foam grips also keep the paddle afloat if it drops in water.

It is designed with an adjustable blade which you can adjust for offset or standard paddling. Besides that, the blades are curved which deliver more power increasing your paddling speed.

Other Features and Benefits

This paddle is competitively priced. However, note that the paddle comes in one color and also in one length. You can check this review for other paddles that are longer if the length is too short for your kayaking needs

Pros

  • It floats in water
  • Durably constructed
  • Foam grips for ergonomics
  • Drip rings to keep you dry
  • It is a two-piece
  • Affordable
  • Curved blades for enhancing paddling efficiency
  • Adjustable blade

Cons

  • One size
  • Short in length, not ideal for tall kayakers

8. Carlisle Paddle Gear Day Tripper-Kayak 2-Piece Paddle

This paddle like other Carliste Paddle Gear in this review is designed with efficiency in mind. The sturdy blades can paddle in various water environments including rocky waters.

This is a two-piece kayak paddle that comes with the convenience of storage and transportation. The kayak paddles are available in three sizes measuring 220cms, 230 cms and 240 cms, as such you can pick the size that suits you most.

Product Description

The blades are made of polypropylene, for sturdiness, they are also designed with a shape that delivers power with every stroke. Apart from that, the blades have an asymmetrical shape for efficient and smooth strokes. Which enhances your speed while lessening hand fatigue.

The shaft, on the other hand, is constructed from aluminum for durability.

On top that, the shaft is designed with several ergonomic features, first and foremost, it has a slight bend to give it an oval shape that provides a firm grip. Secondly, it weighs only 1.2 pounds which is quite light and therefore easy to carry.

A lightweight kayak paddle also assures of an extended paddling experience without experiencing hand fatigue.

Other Features and Benefits

The paddle's push-button feature allows you to adjust the angle of the blade to suit your particular paddling needs. What's more, you can adjust to left or right-hand orientation as is fitting you.

The paddle comes at a competitive price. Unfortunately, it is not designed to float.

Pros

  • Adjustable blades
  • Two-piece
  • Durably constructed
  • Three different sizes available
  • Lightweight for ergonomics
  • Oval-shaped shaft for ergonomics
  • Asymmetrical blades
  • Suitable for both right and left-handed individuals

Cons

  • It doesn't float, you require a leash

9. Naviskin Five Color Kayak Paddle with Aluminum Shaft

This is a basic paddle with all the features you need in a functioning kayak paddle. You can consider this paddle if you are looking for an affordable kayak paddle.

This is a two-piece design, for ease of portability by hand or using the trunk of your car. The two-piece design also comes with convenient storage.

Product Description

This top-rated kayak paddle is light in weight and also quite easy to transport. Moreover, you can also paddle for extended hours without experiencing hand fatigue. What’s more, the lightweight design suits newbie paddlers.

The blades have a feather-blade design which delivers power when paddling. The feather design paddles more water at once smoothly, while using less effort while increasing your paddling speed.

There are three locking positions which allow you to customize the blade to suit your paddling needs.

Other Features and Benefits

The shaft is constructed from corrosion-resistant aluminum and, therefore, you can use it in both salt and freshwaters. There are two lengths provided to meet different needs of kayakers namely, an 87 inch (220 cms) and a 96 inch (244 cms).

If you have a short kayak, then it is advisable to buy the short paddle. Also note that the shaft has rubber grips for comfort and to prevent direct contact with the aluminum material.

You have a choice between five attractive colors and two different sizes.

Pros

  • Excellent for newbies
  • Affordably priced
  • The shaft is constructed from a rust-resistant aluminum
  • Available in five different color models
  • Two-piece construction
  • Two size models
  • Adjustable blades
  • Feather-blade design

Cons

  • Other models have up to three sizes

10. Werner-Paddle Kalliste Kayak Paddle

The Werner-Paddle Kalliste Kayak Paddle is a product of Werner a company that has a reputation for making quality paddles.

The manufacturer has combined weight, power, handling ergonomics and durability for a well-performing paddle.

And although the Werner-Paddle Kalliste Kayak paddle is costly, it offers five different sizes of kayaks ranging from 220cms to 260cms. The different lengths are sufficient to match different sizes of kayaks and also to suit different heights of kayakers.

Product Description

The paddle’s shaft is constructed from carbon for sturdiness and durability. The blade is also carbon with its trim protected with Dynell. The blades have a low-angle design and are finished with a dihedral which provides smooth forward strokes.

The blades operate smoothly entering and exiting waters fast. In addition to that, they are efficient increasing your paddling speed.

This kayak paddle weighs about 2.77 pounds, which is a moderate weigh in comparison to other paddles in the market. The weight is balanced for especially big sizes of paddles. The impact-resistant blades can work in the toughest water environments possible.

Other Features and Benefits

Built using the ferrule system the two pieces of the paddle are well connected to work as a solid piece without sloppiness. Plus the system is generally easy to assemble and disassemble.

Simply put, you’d find it incredibly easy and convenient to store and transport. And if aesthetics matter to you, you’ll be glad to learn that there are two color varieties that you can choose from.

Pros

  • Very balanced features
  • It is a two-piece paddle
  • It is constructed from carbon for performance and durability
  • Smooth paddling

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • A bit heavy

Buying Guide for Kayak Paddle

A paddle is not just a paddle. You need to factor in some things before you decide to buy one. Here are some of those things.

The Length of the Paddle

Ordinarily, kayakers will choose paddles that are about 198 centimeters long. However, to get the perfect fit for your kayak, bend your elbows at ninety degrees while holding the paddle. There should be a width that is the same as that of your hand from the starting point of each blade.

If you intend to go general river running or creek boating, you should get a paddle that is longer by at least two centimeters. The additional length will give room for more leverage. On the other hand, if you want rapid strokes as you play boat, get a shorter paddle as it will give a quicker response with each stroke.

The Material

Paddles come in different materials and this affects their prices as well as performance.You might want to overlook strength and go for efficiency if you are touring or sea kayaking.

If you are into whitewater kayaking where control and speed are key, you will require a resilient material that is still light enough for fast handling.

Fiber composite

This material is capable of being molded so that it becomes thinner. It is therefore able to efficiently cut into water.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is an ideal option that balances cost, weight, and longevity because it is quite flexible.

Carbon

Very light but stiff as well. Different ratios of fiberglass and carbon are combined to come up with a balance of flexibility, stiffness, and weightlessness. This option is costlier but worth it if you are looking for efficiency and high performance.

Plasticor Nylon

Low-maintenance and long lasting but heavier compared to fiber composites. Among the inexpensive paddles are plastic blades made of aluminum shafts. If you are a recreational paddler or a beginner, this option is great. 

Wood

Paddles made of wood may require a little bit of maintenance but aside from that, they are flexible, lively, and warm.

Additional Features

Most anglers will find that using an asymmetric grip paddle feels more comfortable. An asymmetricgrip refers to where one side of the shaftis oval instead of round. It allows the angler to establish the blade angle even without looking at it. This means less fatigue as you go on your excursion.

How to Care For Your Kayak Paddle

Naturally, you will not want to keep replacing your paddles, which means you want something long lasting. You can do that by observing several measures such as the ones we have discussed below.

Keep It Clean

You might think that because you kayak is usually in water, it is clean. That is not true. There is bound to be gunk and debris that will accumulate on your kayak regardless of where you paddle.

The same applies to your paddle. Do not allow it to stay for long periods without cleaning otherwise it will turn into an eye sore within no time. It will also be harder to get rid of the dirt.

Safeguard your Paddles from the Sun

It might sound ironic but your paddle can actually suffer from sun damage. You do not need to panic about it either, just be careful of how much you expose your paddle to the sun, and take the required measures.

Observe the Little Things

You will need to keep the ferrule clean if you own a two-piece puddle. The ferrule is the joint where the two pieces meet and it should come apart easily to facilitate storing and packing.

If not regularly cleaned, dirt and sand can cause friction and ultimately break apart your two-piece. Ideally, the two pieces should be cleaned after each use so that you have a paddle that is in top shape the next time you venture out into the water.

Benefits of Kayak Paddling

Kayak paddling comes with its own benefits. Let us look at some of them.

Can be done by anyone

Whether you are young or old, you can go out paddling because there are kayaks out there that can accommodate anyone.

It is a Full-Body Exercise

Regardless of how it appears; you really do use more than just your arms when paddling. If you do it correctly, you will be using your back, torso, and leg muscles to propel your kayak. True, most of the movement is above the waist but the weight you apply on your foot or braces will force you to use your leg muscles.

If you want a serious body workout, you could consider buying a kayak that comes with a pedal drive system so that you can alternate between arm and leg forward motion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

People will have questions about kayak paddles and rightly so. Go through the following ones, and you just might get your question answered.

What happens when I use apaddlethatistoo long for kayaking?

You will get tired fast. Your size, torso, and arm length are all factors that you should take into account before choosing the length of your paddle. Some boats such as tandems will require a slightly longer paddle than normal.

Do kayak paddles make a difference?

Yes, they do but it depends on what you aregoing to use it for. Racing, coastal, flat water, short, or long trips, each will have different requirements. What you need to consider here is the kind of paddling you intend to do.

Why are kayak paddles offset?

Ordinarily, a touring paddle blade will have feathered blades which means they point in opposite directions. This decreases the air resistance of the elevated blade.

The Best Paddle Picked

At the end of the day, we had to pick just one paddle that we felt ticked all the right boxes. That’s none other than the Sea Sense-Kayak Paddle. We found it quite versatile and reliable.

Plus the reviews posted about it so far are quite encouraging. We think it’s a really good choice for beginners and experienced kayakers alike.

It’s made from aluminum which is a high-quality and lightweight material. This keeps in mind the fact that you might need to be out there kayaking for long hours.

Final Thoughts

You are now equipped with all the knowledge you need to have before you go kayak paddling. With this guide, you will also be able to go for the best-rated kayak paddle. All the best.

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