Are you a proud owner of a new kayak? Congratulations! Welcome to the sport. Or maybe you’re a seasoned kayaking professional looking to upgrade your gear? This review of the best kayak paddles gives you a range of models to suit any experience level and budget.
We curated a list of the best kayak paddles to save you the hassle of looking through all the online listings yourself. We have models for recreational and professional use and even an option for kids.
- Our Top Picks
- Kayak Paddles Reviews
- Best Overall Kayak Paddle – AquaGlide Crux
- Best Premium Kayak Paddle – Aqua Bound Manta Ray
- Best Budget Kayak Paddle – YooHo Kayak Paddle
- Advanced Elements PackLite Kayak Paddle
- MSC Kayak Paddle
- Stivin Kayak Paddle
- MorTime Kayak Paddle
- Karltion Paddle
- Pelican Boats Junior Kid Kayak Paddle
- Other Best Selling Options
- Kayak Paddles Buyer’s Guide
- What’s the Difference between High and Low Angle Paddles?
- The Best Kayak Paddles FAQ
- The Best Kayak Paddles – The Verdict
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Kayak Paddle – AquaGlide Crux
Advanced recreational kayakers will love this paddle. You get a fiberglass/ carbon shaft, fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades, and a 4-stage collapsing design for compact carry and storage.
- Best Premium Kayak Paddle – Aqua Bound Manta Ray
Professional kayaking competitors will love this paddle. You get an all-carbon shaft, fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades and a two-stage collapsing design with advanced fiberglass ferrule for three hand positions.
- Best Budget Kayak Paddle – YooHo Kayak Paddle
If you’re looking for an affordable, effective kayak paddle, the YooHo is the best value deal in this review. You get a four-stage collapsing design, adjustable ferrule for any hand position, and a great price.
Kayak Paddles Reviews
Best Overall Kayak Paddle – AquaGlide Crux
If you’re searching for the best overall kayak paddle available, we recommend going with the AquaGlide Crux. This paddle is everything the recreational or professional needs to optimize their paddling experience. It’s an expensive choice, but you get what you pay for with this paddle, and that includes unmatched performance, compact carry, and storage.
The AquaGlide Crux features a shaft design and construction with a fiberglass/carbon fiber blend. The result is an incredibly stiff and lightweight paddle with no give in it. The result is a better transfer of power from you, through the paddle, and into the water for optimal propulsion.
- 4 PIECE KAYAK PADDLE: Crux is lightweight and packable with a fiberglass/carbon shaft and glass-reinforced nylon blades to take you where you want to go. Segments are connected using spring-pin joints and are sized to fit in kayak storage bags.
- CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: Our paddles and accessories are designed to play as hard as you do. They offer convenient packability and performance with quality craftsmanship and durable materials.
- FEATURES: Crux features a 4 piece design for effortless transport and storage, a fiberglass/carbon shaft for quick response, spring-pin joints for easy assembly, and glass-reinforced nylon blades.
- AQUAGLIDE: Our passion for water sports drives us to engineer some of the best boating technologies available so you get the performance you want combined with the hassle-free portability you need.
The 4-stage collapsing design allows easy setup and disassembly with push-button clips. The ends of the shaft feature drip-rings to prevent splashback, and the paddle comes in two lengths of 86” and 90” to suit any size kayaker.
The blades on this model feature design and construction with glass-reinforced nylon blades for a stiff, powerful feeling in the water, making the most out of each stroke. The rugged blade materials prevent damage if you strike underwater objects, and you get a feathered blade with low-angle entry into the water for optimal efficiency when paddling.
Overall, you can’t beat the performance of the AquaGlide Crux, and we rate it as a top choice for professionals and recreational kayaking enthusiasts.
What We Liked
- 4-stage collapsing shaft.
- Suitable for professional competitive use.
- Fiberglass/carbon shaft materials.
- Glass-reinforced blades.
- Two lengths 86” and 94”.
- Low-angle blade entry.
Best Premium Kayak Paddle – Aqua Bound Manta Ray
If you’re a kayaking professional or competitor, you need the best high-performance equipment you can find. Made in Osceola, Wisconsin, USA, the Aqua Bound Manta Ray Hybrid brings you the complete package for racing or the rapids. This model comes in various lengths from 82” to 96” to suit your height and two-stage collapsing design for portability.
The shaft features 100% carbon fiber construction giving you the strongest structure available for optimal paddling power. This shaft is lightweight, strong, and stiff, giving you maximal power transfer for fast propulsion from dead-starts.
- MADE IN OSCEOLA, WISCONSIN, USA. Like all Aqua-Bound paddles, the Manta Ray 2-piece paddle is hand-built in Wisconsin, staffed by paddling enthusiasts.
- 2 PIECE CONSTRUCTION. The Manta Ray breaks into two pieces with Posi-Lok ferrule for easy travel and storage
- Injection-molded abX II blades are reinforced with fiberglass fibers, stronger than plastic
- Ovalized paddle shaft provides a comfortable grip
- Drip Rings included
The shaft also features an ovalized design in the grip area for a secure grip when paddling and less fatigue in the hands. Thanks to the ribbed shaft surface, the paddle stays in place in your palms, providing grip and comfort.
The blades on this model feature a versatile mid-range size for faster movement through the water and a dihedral shape for efficient entry and better paddling efficiency to help you conserve energy. As a result, you get 20% more power over feathered blades.
The blades feature design and construction with filled fiberglass reinforced nylon ABX II materials. The result is a stiff blade transferring the power from your stroke to the water for optimal propulsion. You also have a patented fiberglass connection ferrule on the paddle shaft, allowing you to set it to the right, left, or neutral paddling positions. There’s no wobble or chatter, and you get a firm, secure fit.
What We Liked
- Made in USA.
- Professional design suitable for competition use.
- Injection-molded ABX II blades with dihedral design.
- Carbon fiber shaft for power and strength.
- Ribbed shaft for better grip.
- Ovalized grip area.
Best Budget Kayak Paddle – YooHo Kayak Paddle
Kayaking enthusiasts looking for the best budget deal will get supreme value from this 90-inch paddle. You get a four-stage collapsing design allowing for easy carry and compact storage. You get a black anodized shaft with drip rings at the ends to prevent splashback. The comfortable molded grips on the shaft reduce paddling fatigue in the hands.
You get an easy-lock design, and there’s an option for changing the blade positions to the left, right, or neutral paddling position using the feruled locking system. Considering the price of this paddle, it’s doing well with the design features.
- 🛶【WHY CHOOICE OUR KAYAK PADDLE】 Kayak paddle blade design with teeth to reduce water drip into your kayak. Paddle ends include water dripping prevention to prevent hands from getting wet. It's a perfect choice for starters and intermediate kayakers.
- 🛶【COMFORT PADDING FOR YOUR HANDS】 The aluminum shaft with gasket sheathing provided a good non-slip grip and prevent blistering. Especially, The kayak paddles reduce fatigue and strain on the wrists.
- 🛶【GREAT FUNCTIONAL AND EASY TO USE】 The 4 piece design is ideal for both storage and transport. The paddles offer flutter free stroke which allows you to pull smoothly through the water. There is a snug-fitting 3 hole snap-button ferrule which allows adjustment for feathering angles.
- 🛶【POPULAR LENGTH AND PREMIUM LEASH】 The kayak oar measures 90 inches ( cm). It’s an ideal kayak paddle with a moderate length for you and your family. if in case you dropped the paddle in the water, it won’t go away and will start floating. Plus there is the included professional paddle leash.
- 🛶【WORRY FREE PURCHASE】 We guarantee that the high quality paddles will surely please you! If you have any questions or you are not 100% satisfied with the fishing paddle, we will issue you a full refund or an exchange.
The blades feature design and construction with durable polypropylene plastic providing excellent flexion to the blade, and they are near indestructible, resisting up to 90-degree flexion. They won’t crack when striking submerged objects on the river or lake.
The blades come with a feathered design and low-angle entry into the water. A hook retrieval notch on the blade edge allows you to retrieve things from the water. The rib down the blade adds rigidity allowing for powerful strokes. While we wouldn’t consider this a professional paddle, it has all the design features recreational kayakers need for their next trip.
The YooHo comes with four color options for the blades, and they include a paddle leash to prevent it from getting it away from you in the water.
What We Liked
- Incredible value for money.
- Three-way ferule shaft for any paddling position.
- 4-stage collapsing design.
- Four color options.
- Paddle leash included.
If you’re looking for a professional kayak paddle, Advanced Elements brings you a top model for competitive use.
You get a lightweight aluminum shaft with a 4-stage collapsible design for easy transport and compact storage of the paddle. The anodized black shaft features a sleek, lightweight design for professional use, with no bells or whistles, and a 94-inch length for the largest athletes.
- The dihydral, asymmetrical blade is made of glass-filled nylon while the shaft is made of aluminum alloy
- Made of two shaft pieces and two blade ends, the paddle breaks down easily in order to make stowing and transportation easier
- Dimensions - 230 cm 90.5" assembled length, 63.5 cm 25" broken down
- Lightweight - Less fatigue and physical exertion required to operate this 2.5-lb 40 oz kayak paddle
- Sport type: kayaking
The shafts features comfortable paddling for reduced grip fatigue and fewer callous on your hands from performance paddling. However, there are no drip rings, and no adjustable hand positions. You get a straightforward design that’s ideal for experts that know what they want from their paddle – a high-performance model that delivers on its promises.
The blades feature design and construction with glass-filled nylon for better rigidity and plenty of strength. The result is more propulsion from every stroke to keep you ahead of the pack when racing.
The asymmetrical-dihedral blade design accommodates high and low-angle paddling styles. The blades continue the simplistic aesthetic of this paddle, with no feathering. The four-piece PackLite kayak paddle is one of the best choices you can make for a professional-level paddle that’s suitable for competitive use.
What We Liked
- Professional, high-performance design.
- Glass-filled nylon blades with asymmetrical-dihedral design.
- Large 94-inch length for competitive use.
The MSC kayak paddle is another semi-pro model suitable for advanced recreational users. It’s a great entry-level paddle ideal for recreational and professional use.
This paddle comes with a two-stage collapsing design for easy disassembly and compact storage. The black anodized aluminum handle features a three-button snap ferrule design, with hand positioning options at left and right 60-degrees and neutral to suit any paddling style.
- Designed for intermediate and advanced users.Paddle Length:86 inches
- Three position system allows you to customize the paddle to fit your style
- MSC Paddle is a 2-piece construction,double side reinforced paddle
- Durable performance,Easy portability
- Asymmetrical curved blade design allows for more efficient paddle strokes
The shafts feature drip rings to prevent splashback and comfort grips for protecting your hands while reducing paddling fatigue. The total length between the tips of the blades comes in two options. There’s an 86-inch model ideal for adults under 6-foot and teens looking for a high-performance paddle. You get a 91-inch model for adults over 6-foot in height.
The blades on the MSC feature high-tension poly-plastic blades that can take a beating, with no risk of cracking if you strike submerged objects. The edges come with a low-angle entry point allowing for powerful paddling strokes and better efficiency when paddling, reducing fatigue. The dual-coated blades come in seven color options to suit your kayak.
What We Liked
- Two size options and seven colors.
- Dual-coated lightweight plastic blades.
- 3-hand grip positions.
- Low-angle blade design.
If you’re looking for a recreational paddle with professional design elements and great performance, the Stivin is a great choice. You get a four-stage shaft breakdown with three paddle positions to suit any paddling setup. You have a zero-degree neutral setting, left 60-degree or right 60-degree setting available at a click.
The paddle locks into place in seconds, and you get a user-friendly breakdown and compact storage. You get a lightweight aluminum shaft with a black anodized finish. The shaft ends feature drip rings to avoid splashback and improve your hand grip for powerful strokes. To save your hands from tiring, you get comfort grips included on the shaft design.
- 【DURABLE MATERIALS 】Our kayaking paddle with high-quality aluminum alloy shaft and Polypropylene blade has good durability and corrosion resistance. The lightweight really reduces paddler fatigue and makes it easy for virtually anyone to use.
- 【COMFORT PADDLE GRIPS】The alloy shaft with a shrinking PE tube cover provides a better grip for your hands to prevent blistering and won't get tired. The teeth design of the blades adds power and stability while reducing the flutter of the blades.
- 【PADDLE LEASH AND FLOATABLE】Paddle kayak are designed & tested by experienced paddlers. They are guaranteed to FLOAT in both salt and fresh water when the parts are together. The leash can prevent the paddle from drifting away.
- 【EASY TO USE AND DETACHABLE】233cm kayak paddle 4 section designed both for storage and transport. Drip rings help keep hands dry. Adjustable Kayak Paddles with ± 60° Quick pin button lock makes it easier to adjust the blade at 3 angles to fit you perfectly.
- 【WORRY FREE PURCHASE】We've been manufacturing oars many years, we firmly believe that our products will bring you the best experience. If you're not happy with our products, please contact us and we are willing to replace or full refund it FOR FREE.
The Stivin kayak paddle comes with twin polypropylene blades that bend to 90-degrees without risk of fracture. The paddles feature a feathered design for optimal contact with the water with every stroke, with the 91-inch length being ideal for adults.
This paddle comes with an incredible accessory pack. You get a coil spring paddle leash to prevent the paddle from getting away from you on the water, a universal hauling cable, and your choice of four colors.
What We Liked
- Three-angle shaft design for any hand position.
- Lightweight aluminum shaft.
- PP blades for durability.
- Four colors available.
- Accessories included.
This 87-inch kayak paddle from MorTime is an affordable choice for your next trip. We’re impressed with the high-quality setup considering the price tag. You get a four-piece collapsing aluminum shaft, with the paddle breaking down into under 25-inches for compact transport and storage.
The shafts come with comfortable PE grips offering you better control over the paddle and less wear-and-tear in your hands. Lock everything together in seconds with the quick-release push-buttons providing a secure fit for confident paddling.
- Sturdy Kayak Paddles - MorTime 87 in Kayak Paddles size is 86.6x6.7x0.1 inches and folded size is 24.2x6.7x1.2 inches. High quality aluminum allot shaft and two fiberglass reinforced PP blade material. It is sturdy durable and lasts for years. Help your entire kayak process experience that much more successful.
- Kayak Paddles Design - MorTime use high-quality aluminum alloy shaft and fiberglass reinforced PP blade can for reduce resistance and add control and stability. Meanwhile, Each handle has a soft wrap to prevent blisters, and provide more grip. Paddle ends include water dripping prevention. It held up very nicely.
- Adjustable - The oar shaft is designed with a shrinking PE tube cover. It is also detachable at two sections. Therefore, you might carry it around and put it away easily.This is strong, lightweight, and durable. It¡¯s a best choice for starters kayak.
- Easy Storage - MorTime Heavy Duty Aluminum Shaft Kayak is compact and convenient for storage and carrying. The premium Kayak Paddles for Fishing Kayaks also suitable for the any lakes etc. If store it before use clean water to scrub. Enjoy your time!
- Great Gift for Kayak Paddles Lover - MorTime Kayak Paddles is perfect gift for kayak beginners and pros, family and friends. Suitable for kayak paddles anywhere use it, such as river, marsh, beach, mouth of the bay, and creek also suitable for the any lakes etc .It is an ideal kayak paddle with moderate length for you and your family.
The ends of the paddle blades feature drip rings to prevent water splashing back, and you get lightweight fiberglass-reinforced PP blade materials. The paddle feels incredibly light, and it’s a good option for recreational users or four teens that aren’t kayaking competitively.
The feathered blade design makes for more surface area in the water when paddling. The paddling action of the blades feathers away from the water with your stroke to keep you dry and reduce drag. The blades are available in four color options to suit the look of your kayak.
What We Liked
- Compact storage and easy setup/ breakdown.
- Lightweight aluminum shaft.
- Fiberglass reinforced PP blade materials.
- Suitable for teens.
There are times on the kayak when you might want an oar-like paddling style for twin or triple rider setups. If that’s the case, going with a high-quality SUP paddle is a great choice for navigating the rapids with your team. The Karltion is the ideal paddle for this riding style and our top pick for this category.
You get an aluminum shaft weighing just over 1.5-lbs, with a reinforced-nylon blade for power paddling and control. The shaft features a user-friendly click-and-go quick-release system that makes for compact traveling and easy height adjustment up to 33-85-inches.
- DURABLE&FLOATING: It is built with a 3-piece strong marine-grade aluminum shaft and a though Plastic blade. The Plastic blade is great for paddling in shallow waters and rocks because it's shock proof, and cannot be easily damaged. Has an internal floater to not sink in the water when fully assembled.
- ADJUSTABLE &LIGHTWEIGHT: It weighs only 1.88 lbs (0.87kg) and can be height adjusted from 65 to 87 inches (1,52 to 2,2 m), which makes it suitable to a very broad range of paddlers from 4' to 6'4" tall (1.22 to 1.92 m). An easy click & go system enables you to share your paddle with friends and family.
- PORTABLE: It's very portable and suitable for traveling around with your SUP and it takes only seconds to assemble or break down. When not assembled it's only 33.85 inches tall (86 cm) and can be packed in a small box/bag.
- HIGH COST-PERFORMANCE: The Karltion 3-Piece Adjustable Travel Paddle is affordable yet durable, a good quality paddle, it's a great choice for who don't want to spend a significant amount of money on a full carbon sup paddle.
- A MUST CHOICE FOR BEGINNER OR EXPERIENCED : Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddle boarder, having a quality SUP paddle is an important part of the experience. This paddle is a real allrounder for flat water and small waves . The Tower 3-piece adjustable sup paddle will fit almost all paddle boarders needs at a value price.
There’s a shaft Ergonomic “T” handle and comfort grip at the top of the shaft, allowing for optimal grips when paddling. The anti-rattle shaft with an anti-twist locking system and ergonomic non-slip handle provides confident, powerful strokes.
You get a reinforced nylon blade featuring a teardrop design, allowing for optimal power and control in all conditions. The four concaves on the teardrop paddle allow better water control when dipping part of the blade in the water. It’s a great choice for a single paddle for your kayak, and it comes with an affordable price tag.
What We Liked
- High-impact design.
- Pin-hole click-and-go setup and adjustment.
- shaftErgonomic “T” with comfort grip.
- Best option for a single paddle.
We finish the review off with something for the kids. There’s no better way of bonding than by taking the family out in the kayak. Pelican bring you the best option for junior paddlers in this two-piece model.
Kids don’t need to worry about the complexities of choosing between kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber or flexible fiberglass. They need something that works.
- Perfect for kids – Adjustable for maximum control and paddling efficiency with the push-button connection
- Durable construction – 2-piece Aluminium shaft – Kid-sized polypropylene ribbed blade
- 72 inch - Lightweight – Can be taken apart for easy transportation and storage
- Features drip rings – Helps keeping your hands dry – Better Grip
- Polypropylene ribbed blade
That’s exactly what Pelican bring kids with this kayak paddle, something that’s practical and lightweight, with an affordable price tag. They’re going to grow out of it eventually, but this is a great start. You get an aluminum collapsible shaft, splitting in two at the center for compact storage at the click of a button.
The lightweight design reduces muscular fatigue, that’s something good for kids that have yet to build the shoulder, back, and core strength needed for high-performance paddling.
Along with the aluminum shaft design, you have two polypropylene ribbed blades, featuring drip rings for adjusting hand positions and reducing splash back. The 72-inch length between the blade tips is ideal for kids up to 12-years old.
Overall, this Pelican kayak paddle for kids is the best option for junior paddlers. If they take to the sport, you can upgrade them as they turn into teens, and if they decide its not for them, well, the wallet won’t take too bad a hit.
What We Liked
- Affordable option for kids.
- 72-inch length for kids up to 12-years.
- Lightweight aluminum and polyprop materials.
- Drip rings and push-button split.
Other Best Selling Options
- Thick aluminum and rugged plastic construction for durable performance
- Two-piece breakdown design is ideal for both storage and transport
- Drip rings for added comfort; they prevent water from sliding onto your grip
- Asymmetrical spoon-blades increase your stroke efficiency while reducing blade flutter in the water
- Attwood products are both compatible and reliable, engineered and built with a never-fail attitude
- Sturdy two pieces anodized aluminum shaft and Polypropylene blade for maximum resistance
- Try our POSEIDON KAYAK PADDLE if you want a longer paddle
- Drip rings help keep hands dry. Available in 3 Colors, Black, Green, Orange
- 0 or 65˚angle adjustment – Get more control and stability
- This paddle is ideal for recreational paddlers between 4'8" and 5'11" and kayaks between 23"-28" wide
- DURABLE AND AFFORDABLE: This kayak paddle is with high-quality aluminum alloy shaft (1.1mm shell thickness) and fiberglass reinforced PP blade. The material combination ensures a stiff and durable kayak paddle at a better price. It’s a perfect choice for starters and intermediate kayakers.
- USERES FRIENDLY: The oar shaft is designed with a shrinking PE tube cover. It provides better grip for your hands to prevent blistering. Especially, your hands won’t suffer from the cold feeling from the alloy when you kayak in winter weather.
- POPULAR LENGTH AT 230CM: Not too short, not too long, the oar is 230cm (90.5 inches) at length. It’s an ideal kayak paddle with moderate length for you and your family. It’s also detachable at 2 sections, so you might carry it around and put it away easily.
- FREE LEASH/3 ANGLES/ DRIP RINGS: All OCEANBROAD kayak paddles come with a free bungee paddle leash. It helps secure your paddle to your kayak, especially when you want to lay down the oars, stop by a little bit to enjoy great views around. The paddle is with 3 locking positions for different kayaking angle preference. The drip rings at two ends help stop water flowing from the blades. So, the shaft and your hands won’t get wet easily.
- WORRY FREE PURCHASE: OCEANBROAD offers complete customer satisfaction of replacement or refund for any quality issues.
Kayak Paddles Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the right paddle for your kayaking experience depends on a few factors. Your height and expertise are the most important. This section unpacks everything you need to look for in the right paddle for your kayaking adventure.
Selecting the right paddle length is the most crucial aspect of choosing the right paddle. To get the right size, you’ll need to understand the problems with selecting the wrong length. If you choose a paddle that’s too short for your arm span, you’ll cramp up your shoulder and upper back, limiting the power you get from paddling while wearing you out fast.
If you have a paddle that’s too big for you, it will add weight to the paddle and cause you to spread your arms too far, wearing out your lats. Both scenarios can ruin your kayaking experience, leaving you with thoughts of giving up the sport the next day when the muscle stiffness sets in.
The kayak’s width and the paddler’s height are the most important factors to consider when selecting the correct paddle length. It’s simple geometry – the wider the boat and the taler the rider, the longer the paddle, make sense?
Typically, paddles come in lengths ranging between 82″ to 94″, and there are kids’ options as well. Most brands offer you half-inch to full-inch increments in length. If you’re over 6-feet, you’ll need a paddle between 90″ to 94,” and if you’re shorter, then you’ll look for paddles measuring in the 80s.
Type and Design
Several different paddle designs are available to suit any level of experience or kayaking sports. Some serve professional use, offering you sturdy materials like carbon fiber in the design. Others suit beginners, with lightweight materials like aluminum adding strength and affordability to the paddle.
You get dedicated paddle models for activities like chasing rapids, steering through surf, fishing, touring, and racing. Each of the paddles has a slightly different design aspect. For example, racing paddles usually feature symmetrical blades, no drip rings, and lightweight materials. This design allows for the best stroke, less drag, and the full use of your back, core, arms, and shoulders when paddling for optimal performance.
In contrast, beginner handles usually features aluminum for affordability, polyplastic blades for strength and flexibility, and drip rings to prevent splashback into the kayak. Some blades are feathered, while others aren’t. It all depends on your unique needs out on the water during your kayaking experience.
The materials used in the design and construction of your paddle make a huge difference to its performance, especially at the professional level. The shafts of cheaper paddles feature design and construction with aluminum, while professional models rely on fiberglass and carbon fiber.
Professionals have already perfected their technique, and they are looking for a ridged shaft that lets them transfer as much power as possible through the shaft, blade, and into the water. Beginners and recreational kayakers don’t need this, and they’ll get away with an aluminum tube design with no issues.
The blades in pro models feature tough materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber, while beginner blades are usually plastic. Plastic blades are more forgiving, while the rigidity of the fiberglass models allows better transfer of paddling power to the water.
The paddle’s weight also makes a big difference in your kayaking experience. The heavier the paddle, the faster it starts to wear out your arms. While paddles may only vary by a few ounces in weight, it might surprise you to learn that makes a big difference.
Let’s show you an example. Take a broom handle without the broom head, and extend it straight out in front of you with your arm locked out. It will seem easy for the first minute, but it will feel like a lead bar in the second and third minutes.
Something as lightweight as a broom handle can place tremendous strain on your arms if you use it the wrong way. It’s the same for the paddle. Even a few grams of added weight can make a huge difference in performance.
We recommend looking for fiberglass and carbon fiber if you need to reduce weight to a minimum. However, if you’re a recreational kayaker, using plastic blades won’t make much difference.
Most kayak paddles come with a collapsible design. They allow you to disassemble them for compact carry and storage out of the way. The ferrule is the joint connecting the pieces of the paddle together. Some models come with adjustable ferrules, allowing you to turn the ferrule to suit your hand position.
Some ferrules have options for choosing a left or right-handed paddling position, or a neutral position, de0pending on your paddling style. Most ferrules change the blade angle by up to 60-degrees. It’s less common to see hand adjustment ferrules on professional models as they typically come in a pre-fixed position.
The ferrule also needs push-button functionality for easy assembly and disassembly of the paddle. These quick-release buttons are on all the paddles in this review.
The durability of the paddle matters immensely to your experience on the water. If you’re a beginner, then the last thing you need is to crack the blade on a submerged object.
Choose paddles with PP plastic construction, offering you flexion and impact resistance. Professionals will get the same rugged impact resistance from materials like glass-reinforced nylon.
What’s the Difference between High and Low Angle Paddles?
Paddles are available in high and low-angle designs to suit your paddling style and performance requirements. Typically, the high-angle suits the paddler driving the blade into the water close to the side of the kayak.
This near-vertical, narrow downwards motion means that the blade’s tip submerges into the water first. As a result, you need a shorter and wider blade with an asymmetrical edge to use all the energy evenly across the blade’s surface.
This design is usually the better choice for racing paddles and professionals that use this paddling style.
With this type of blade, the paddler enters the blade into the water with a broad, sweeping stroke and shallower motion.
It’s usually the style for recreational kayakers and beginners. As a result of the low-angle blade design, you get less resistance and a larger surface area. Typically, these paddles are the best choice for touring.
Take a Paddling lesson
If you’re new to the sport of kayaking, it’s tempting to get in the boat as soon as possible and set off on your aquatic adventure.
However, that might not be the best strategy. The last thing you want is to develop bad habits with your paddling stroke – they’re hard to undo when you engrain them into your motor skills.
Please spend some time reviewing paddling videos on YouTube for tips or searching for them on Instagram and Tik Tok. Look for paddling tips and apply them to your first experience on the kayak after finding your balance and mastering the basics.
It’s challenging initially, but after you find your feet in the boat, so to speak. However, you can start concentrating on improving your paddling technique using the tips you learned watching videos as soon as you feel comfortable.
The Best Kayak Paddles FAQ
Q: What is the best paddle type for kayaking?
A: The best paddle for your kayaking experience depends on what you want to do on your kayak. Navigating a clam lake is different from raging down the rapids or competing in ocean races.
Our buyer’s guide unpacks everything you need to know about the different paddle types. We make recommendations on paddles for all experience levels and budgets.
Q: What are the top considerations to look for when choosing the best kayak paddle?
A: When you’re looking at a prospective paddle for your kayaking trip, make sure it has a stable, secure, and lightweight shaft.
Most paddles break down into three or four pieces for easy storage and carry. The shaft and blades should feature design and construction with lightweight, durable materials.
Q: How do I assess the right height for my paddle?
A: Choosing the right paddle length relating to your height is the most important aspect of buying a paddle.
If your shaft is too short, you’ll wear your arms out faster because of the uncomfortable grip. If the paddle is too big for you, you’ll suffer the same fate due to the added shaft weight and awkward entry position for the blades.
Our buyer’s guide breaks down how to measure up the right paddle to enhance your kayaking experience.
Q: What can I expect to pay for my kayak paddle? Where should I buy it?
A: Kayak paddles vary in price, and professional models can be two or three times the price of entry-level paddles. How much you want to spend on a paddle depends on your budget. Sure, you can use a professional paddle as a beginner, but it might not be the best choice.
Why fork out over $100 for a paddle when you can get one at half the price or less? However, if you’re a seasoned paddler, then you’ll appreciate upgrading to something more technical.
Your paddle choice depends on your experience, physical fitness, and height. Our buyer’s guide breaks down everything you need to choose the right paddle for you.
The Best Kayak Paddles – The Verdict
By now, you should have a good idea of the best kayak paddles available. All the models in this review are the best you’ll find online.
However, with so many great options available, we understand if you’re still on the fence about your decision for the right paddle for you.
Well, if that’s the case, why not go with one of our top picks? We have something to suit professionals, advanced recreational users, and first-time kayak adventurers.
- The Best Overall Kayak Paddle – AquaGlide Crux
- The Best Premium Kayak Paddle – Aqua Bound Manta Ray
- The Best Budget Kayak Paddle – YooHo Kayak Paddle