I always find kayaking to be a fun sport. The sheer pleasure and thrills you can get while paddling through the water are absolutely enjoyable.
But of course, just like any other sport, we should always have the right gears and equipment with us at all times. In the event of kayaking, one of the most essential gears is a kayak paddle.
If you already own a kayak but are not satisfied with the paddle that comes with the package, you might want to consider shopping for a new one. My top kayak paddle reviews will help you decide which is the best kayak paddle for your kayaking adventures.
Top Rated Kayak Paddles | The Comparison
We have analyzed and reviewed all the best paddles out there for kayakers and anglers and found something to compare within. Lets check and pick that suits with you.
My Top Picks for Best Kayak Paddle
The Carlisle Magic Plus is a lightweight paddle made of fiberglass-filled polypropylene blades. The paddle’s blade design is asymmetrical and slightly spooned to provide strong yet smooth strokes while reducing too much pressure on your joints.
The paddle combines its ergonomic blade design and lightweight material without sacrificing your comfort. It is also designed to take a beating whether from being used repeatedly or from rocky and rough terrains.
It is a good paddle to consider when you just started kayaking. However, do keep in mind that it is considerably heavy for a fiberglass paddle.
The Escape is a good paddle for those starting out. Its nylon blades are fiberglass-reinforced which makes it stable and easy to glide through the water. It also has a comfortable and easy-to-control oval hand grips because the aluminum shaft had been anodized and heat-treated. It also adjustable because of its three-blade offset angle setting feature.
It is convenient to store and transport because of its two-piece design. It is also advertised to have drip rings to refrain water from dripping down the paddle and prevent you from getting wet. It is available in three different lengths: 220 cm, 230 cm, and 240 cm. and weighs 39 oz.
The Aquabound Manta Ray is a lightweight and stiff paddle that can take a beating with moving waters and is suited for big boats. The paddle’s carbon material in the blades helps give you that extra push because of how light it is.
The Aquabound Manta Ray design is perfect for wider kayaks, upstream kayaking, or people who prefer paddles at a higher angle.
It also has an oval-shaped paddle shaft design for a more comfortable grip and drip rings to prevent water from running down to the user.
The Compact Touring paddle is a good choice to consider if you are in need of a convenient and easy-to-carry paddle. Even with its collapsible feature, it does not sacrifice its stiffness and strength for convenience. It’s a paddle suitable for casual use and activities.
It weighs 2.7 lbs which makes it lightweight – something paddlers look out for in an ideal paddle as it helps them reduce fatigue and stress on their joints and arms. The blades are asymmetrical and unfeathered to provide more power and easy maneuverability.
The Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass paddle is a simple paddle that is suited for day trips and long distance traveling. It weighs 33 oz and has a 220 cm length. It is also available in various lengths such as 230 cm and 240 cm.
The paddle has a feathering option at 60 degrees or set inline with just a push of a button. The blades are made of fiberglass which provides more power and easy maneuverability because of its light swing weight. The paddles are naturally translucent gold in which you can see the fiberglass fibers. Its shaft can also be disassembled into two pieces.
The SeaSense X-1 is an aluminum, lightweight paddle that measures 84 inches long and is collapsible into two pieces. The blades are made of molded plastic which contributes to its lightness. The angles of the paddles are also adjustable. SeaSense’s main objectives with their kayak paddles are value and comfort.
It is also able to float which makes it easy for the paddler to retrieve in case it gets accidentally dropped into the water. With regard to comfort, it also has hand grips to prevent your hands from tiring out and acquiring blisters.
The Werner Tybee paddle is made of fiberglass. It measures 205 cm long and weighs 3.1 pounds. The nylon blades are reinforced with fiberglass to make them durable and withstand most water conditions in lakes, bays, and rivers. It is also shaped in an arch manner for easier, smoother water maneuverability and more powerful strokes.
An adjustable feather is an added feature which you can adjust in 15-degree increments depending on your comfort preference and situation. The carbon shaft makes it lightweight and suited for day-long recreational water activities and tours.
The TRAC-Outdoor curved paddle is an adjustable paddle that weighs only 2 pounds and 4 ounces. It is available in 7 feet and 8 feet versions, making it perfect for any kayakers or a wide set boat.
It’s a simple paddle that gets the job done with its features including adjustable feathering options, rubber hand grips, and drip rings. It also has dock hooks and a handle to make it convenient to use. This paddle provides both comfort and functionality.
The Shoreline Marine paddle measures 85 inches long and made of aluminum which is known to resist corrosion. Its material is suited for rocky and rough terrains, thus removing the need to worry about damaging your paddle. One of its features is a high impact handle, and its lightweight design makes it durable and prevents unnecessary strain and fatigue.
It is collapsible into two pieces for portability and has foam grips to prevent hand blisters. It also has adjustable angles with three options in between the blades. It also floats for easy retrieval if you ever drop it into the water.
This paddle released by Aquabond has its popular blade style for being versatile. The pure carbon shaft with low swing weight provides durability and stiffness. It also comes with a Posi-Lok ferrule system which secures the corrosion-free composite construction and has a dual release button. The paddle shaft is oval-shaped to allow a comfortable and easy grip, making it ideal for whole day use without the strain and exhaustion.
The blades are carbon-reinforced and suitable for low angle paddlers. This paddle gives the same kayaking enjoyment but with less effort required. You can quickly get from destination to destination with its help.
The Lifetime Kayak Youth paddle is perfect for those starting out in kayaking. The blades measure 7 x 15 inches and are made of a lightweight material, making it weigh only 1.7 lbs. It can be disassembled into two pieces at the push of a button to give convenience for both storage and transport.It also features easy retrieval when accidentally dropped into the water. The shaft’s diameter measures three and a half inches which are suitable for little kids to handle.
This paddle is designed for anglers and is known for being multipurpose besides propelling the boat. It is made of sturdy fiberglass that is reinforced with nylon and has an aluminum shaft. It also allows the option to have the blades matched or feathered at a 60-degree angle. It also comes with heavy-duty drip rings to prevent water from coming into the boat.
The paddle has a measurement feature that allows you to quickly measure any catch. It also has a hook attached to one of the blades, making it useful to retrieve a catch or remove snags.
What to Consider in a Kayak Paddle
There are several factors to consider when picking out the best kayak paddle for you. Here are some factors to look out for:
Paddle length (Based on Kayak Width and Paddlers Height)
When considering the length of your paddle, you have to take note of your height and width of your kayak. The type of the kayak you are using is determined by its width. Generally, when you are using a kayak boat that is wide, a long paddle should pair it. Alternatively, when using a narrow kayak, a shorter or smaller paddle is ideal. When it comes to the paddler’s height, a small paddle is good for short users and a long paddle is for tall users.
Recommended Paddle Length based on Kayaks Width & Paddlers Height:
- If you are under 5.5 Feet, and the Kayak width is under 23 Inch; then you need 210cm Paddles. For 24 to 28 Inch (width) kayaks, you need 220cm paddles and for 29 to 33 inch (width) kayaks; you need 230cm paddles. And for even wider kayaks (34" or above); you need 240cm kayak paddles.
- If your height is 5.5 to 5.9 Feet, and the kayak width is under 23 inch; you need 220cm paddles. The wider the kayak is; the bigger paddles you need to drive your kayak comfortably and respectively like 230, 240 and 250cm.
- If you height is 6 Feet+, then for 23inch Kayak (width), you need 220cm paddle. For 24" to 28" kayaks; you need blades of 230cm and for 29 to 33" width of kayaks; you need 250cm paddles. Kayaks that are wider than 34 inches; you need 260cm kayak paddles.
The feather is the angle of both blades when they offset from each other. Blades have feathers to reduce wind resistance and to allow you to efficiently paddle in any body of water or wind condition. There are two types of blades namely feathered and matched.
Feathered blades are at an offset angle from one another which helps prevent wind resistance. It mimics the way feathers on animals are positioned. Meanwhile, matched blades are uniform in design, thus making them offset at the same angle as each other.
There are two shaft designs to choose from: straight shaft and bent shaft. A straight shaft is the commonly used between the two. Some say when it comes to weight, a straight shaft is a better option because of its uniformity. Some would prefer a straight shaft because its attachment is only at the blade compared to the bent shaft.
A bent shaft has angled parts, making it comfortable and allows better grip especially when doing power strokes. It helps prevent unnecessary fatigue and stress on your joints. Some would say that bent shafts promote proper back posture and more engagement with your paddle.
There are two blade shapes to choose from: low-angle and high-angle. Low-angle is commonly used mainly for relaxed and casual environments. It has a longer and slimmer blade than a high-angle blade. A paddle with a low-angle blade shape is used relatively parallel to the water.
High-angle is used in fast-paced waters. It has a shorter and wider blade than a low-angle blade. A paddle with a high-angle blade shape is used relatively perpendicular to the water which allows the paddler stronger strokes.
Most kayak paddle blades are made of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or plastic which are all lightweight. Some manufacturers use lightweight materials on a heavier scale for paddles that are used in high-paced or rough waters.
Different Types of Kayak Paddles
There are different types of kayak paddles namely recreational, touring, whitewater, and performance paddle. Here is a list of their distinguishing features and where they are well-suited for:
A recreational paddle is for relaxed and calm trips, hence the term “recreational”. It is used for exercise, water exploration, and short trips. The materials usually used in a recreational paddle are aluminum, fiberglass, and plastic. It is heavier than a touring and performance paddle and also the least expensive among the three.
A touring paddle is used for lakes and slow moving bodies of water. It is an optimal choice when you are going to spend plenty of time in a river or lake. It is usually made of lightweight fiberglass or carbon shafts. It is suitable for all day use in the water.
A whitewater kayak paddle is meant for rough and fast moving waters. Compared to the other two, it can most definitely take a beating. It is the perfect paddle for rapids and rugged conditions.
A performance kayak paddle is suitable for kayakers who prefer the latest paddle innovations and new ergonomic designs. It is lightweight and varies in features.
These paddles have the same use of propelling you forward in a kayak boat but vary in terms of capabilities, uses, and water situation. Always assess what you need in a paddle and where you will be paddling when picking your paddle type.
Typical Width of Different Kayaks (You need to know this before choosing a Paddle)
Width (In Inches)
Long (In Feet)
26" to 30"
6' to 12'
22" to 25"
12' to 15'
19" to 22"
15' to 18'
7' to 11'
Types of Materials Used in a Paddle Construction
The material of a paddle is an essential factor when choosing one on the market. Some materials offer comfort and convenience while kayaking, and some materials aid in providing more powerful strokes. It all depends on your interest and personal preference. Here are the most common materials used:
Fiberglass is most commonly used and is considerably inexpensive. Despite being inexpensive and light, it is a durable material.
Plastic paddles are one of the cheapest and usually come with the kayak you have already purchased. This kind of paddle is usually used by beginners.
Aluminum is the cheapest but also one of the heaviest. A lot of people purchase paddles made of aluminum due to their affordability.
Wood paddles are lightweight and also inexpensive just like fiberglass. These paddles are not used very often but are durable and tough. People who purchase wood paddles lean towards their aesthetic, woody look.
Carbon fiber paddles are not as common as the other types like fiberglass, and one of the reasons is due to their quite high price tag. Although being quite expensive, carbon fiber is considered very lightweight.
Kayaking is a fun sport, and using the right paddle will help you enjoy that experience. Knowing the factors in picking the best kayak paddle for you will allow you to have an enjoyable kayaking adventure.
Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down which product to go for.
If you have any thoughts regarding this article, leave a comment below. Happy kayaking!
Last update on 2020-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API