Best Kayak Paddles: Reviews And Complete Buying Guide

Most often you’ll find that the kayak paddles that come with your kayak are of questionable quality. They might easily snap in two if the waves get a little fierce. However, we’re here to tell you that you need not to keep up with this torture!

You can always buy separate kayak paddles from popular brands all over the world. These manufacturers pride themselves over ensuring the use of high-quality materials. Moreover, their products are almost always up to the mark. You’ll find smoother paddling days with our top 4 best paddles.

Check them out below:

Kayak Paddle Length – How to Pick the Right Size?

Kayak Paddle Length – How to Pick the Right SizeWhen picking out the best kayak paddle for your boat, the first factor to consider is the size. Choosing the size you need for your boat is quite simple. If your boat is very wide, you will need wider paddles. This is because you need them to hit the water with all their might. They cannot do so if they fall too short and just touch the edge of the water.

Another important factor to consider is your height. It should be no surprise when we say that taller folks would need longer paddles. This is why the kayak paddle length is so crucial to a great kayaking experience.

So, how to choose the best kayak paddles for yourself? You should try following the kayak paddle size chart below:

Boat Width Paddler Height

Under 5’ 5’ – 5’6″ 5’6″-6’ Over 6’

Under 23 inches 210 cm 215 cm 220 cm 220 cm

23 – 28 inches 220 cm 220 cm 220 cm 230 cm

28 – 32 inches 230 cm 230 cm 230 cm 240 cm

Over 32 inches 240 cm 240 cm 250 cm 250 cm

Kayak Paddle Length – How to Pick the Right SizeHowever, when choosing a kayak paddle from Amazon, we recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s chart. Each company might have a different recommendation that works with their products. Overall, we recommend you test and try out some sizes until you find the right one.

In case you fall between two different sizes, we recommend that you go for the shorter one. The reason is quite simple. Undoubtedly, you can make it work with both the kayak paddle lengths. However, choosing a shorter one is bound to save you a few ounces.

On the other hand, if your torso is shorter, you might struggle with a short paddle. In this, case the added reach of a longer paddle will help you out.

Best Kayak Paddles Reviews

Bending Branches Whisper Aluminum 2Pc

Best Kayak PaddlesWhen kayaking, you only need the best at your side! And what better than the Bending Branches Whisper Aluminum kayak paddles. These are the best kayak paddles for beginners as they allow you to maintain a flutter-free stroke. Furthermore, they enable you to smoothly kayak through all kinds of paddles.

Moreover, it includes is an adjustable construction where you can separate the paddle into two pieces. This allows you to store and travel with them easily. In addition, the Whisper includes a snap button ferrule which makes it easier to put the pieces together.

However, that’s not all! The ferrule further allows you to adjoin the pieces at feathering angles from 0 to 60 degrees. Moreover, they feature rugged and sturdy fiberglass blades. They not only offer durability but also help balance the weight out. As a result, you’ll find the Whisper to be quite ergonomic.

For added ergonomics, the grips are oval which helps the paddle fit better in your hand. However, they are rounded towards the ends, which make for better tracking as well as smoother paddling. What’s more is that the shaft is specially coated to allow for comfort. In case you need to rescue your line, you can do so easily through the Hook retrieval notch. This means you can get all your hooks free within seconds.

With the Bending Branches, you can rest assured of the highest quality manufacturing. All in all, they are quite durable, lightweight and reliable.

Pros

  • Rugged and durable fiberglass construction.
  • Oval and ergonomic grips that help reduce hand strain.
  • Easy to store, travel and use.
  • Allows you to track straight and paddle smoother.
  • Provides a hook retrieval notch to help you rescue your hooks.
  • Adjustable paddles.

Cons

  • Can be a little snug to put together.
  • Aluminum tends to heat up, which can be uncomfortable on sunny days.

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Best Kayak PaddlesAnother mid-price range kayak paddle, the Carlisle Magic Plus is perfect for all kinds of kayakers. They are lightweight which makes them easier to handle on longer journeys. What’s more is that the design of the paddles is quite asymmetrical. How does this help you? Well, the kayak paddles strike the water at shallow angles. This, in turn, lowers the blade of the paddle deeper into the water.

Thus, you’re left with immense power and better maneuverability. For added maneuverability, the paddles are flexible as well. This way they can bear the brunt of the waves without breaking apart in your hands.

Also included is a fiberglass construction that helps you produce the smoothest strokes. As a result, you can imagine how well constructed the Carlisle Magic Plus is. It combines stiffness with the flexibility to ensure strong strokes that do not stress out your joints.

The kayak paddle length is about 240 cm. This is perfect for most boats and their kayak paddle holders. Moreover, taller folks or those with longer boats will find it easier to maneuver Furthermore, they are durable and can easily bear all the punishment you wish to dish out on them.

In addition, they are available in two different colors. One is a light pink shade called sunset while the other is a light blue shade called the cloud. No matter which one you choose, the Carlisle Magic Plus ensures high-quality construction and smooth performance. All in all, it is perfect for beginners as well as hard-core enthusiasts.

Pros

  • Sufficient length, perfect for taller individuals or those with a longer boast.
  • Flexible fiberglass construction makes it durable and ergonomic.
  • Available in two different colors.
  • Lightweight construction makes it easier to use for hours on end.
  • The asymmetrical design lends more power and maneuverability.

Cons

  • Water blocking rings are a little flimsy.
  • A small amount of play in the connection joint.

AQUA-BOUND Sting Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

Best Kayak PaddlesWhen it comes to kayak accessories, there’s very few that can compete with Aqua Bound. Their Sting Ray Kayak paddles are proof of their high-quality construction and durable materials. Although it does hit the high-price range, but its immense features truly justify the price.

The Paddles are made in two-piece which you can join to form a single paddle. This makes it easier to carry and store as you can simply take them apart and store them in your trunk. Furthermore, high-quality construction is due to the fact that these paddles are hand built in the US.

In fact, other paddle enthusiasts build them with their expertise and knowledge. The two pieces snap together with a Snap Button or a Posi-lock. This ensures that the pieces never come apart while you’re paddling.

Moreover, the blades include a Carbon abX resin construction. As a result, you’ll find that the blades are quite lightweight and stronger than fiberglass blades. However, they do tend to be a bit. This means that although they are strong when it comes to paddling, they might be hard on your joints. The shape of the blades is oval which makes it easier to grab on to them. One can easily say that the Aqua-Bound is made to be ergonomic and comfortable. What it lacks in flexibility, it makes up for it with comfortable traction.

Overall, the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Kayak paddles are one of the best kayak accessories made by Aqua bound.

Pros

  • Two-piece construction makes it easier to travel with and store.
  • Ergonomic and comfortable grip.
  • Durable yet lightweight construction.
  • High-quality hand construction by paddle enthusiasts.
  • Provides powerful paddling.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Tend to be a little stiff.

Intex Dual Purpose Kayak Paddle/Boat Oars, 96″

Best Kayak PaddlesAnother best kayak paddles in the low price range, the Intex Dual Purpose Kayak Paddles are perfect for all kinds of kayaking. The best part about these paddles is that they can also be used as boat oars. This means you need only buy a single package for both these purposes.

This is because this, too, is a two-piece constructed paddle. This means you can join the pieces together to make a single kayak paddle, or use them separately as boat oars. Furthermore, they are about 96 inches in length which makes them long enough to be used by folks taller than 6 foot. Furthermore, they are well-suited for longer boats.

Moreover, the two-piece construction allows for easier traveling and storage. In addition, you can easily put them together or separate them without any hassles. What’s next is the durable and rugged aluminum construction. As a result, you’ll find that the shaft is ultra lightweight and easy to maneuver. Your joints will thank you for choosing the Intex!

The blades include a ribbed design which adds to the strength. Moreover, this grants you immense power when you use them. Furthermore, the blades include a symmetrical design which makes it easier for beginners to use them.

As a result, it does not matter which way you hold them for use. In addition, they make for less strenuous paddling. Mostly, whitewater kayakers and those touring kayakers who use higher strokes may benefit from these blades.

Pros

  • Two-piece construction makes it easy to use and store.
  • Can be used as a long kayak paddle or two small boat oars.
  • Durable and rugged construction which is lightweight as well.
  • Ribbed and asymmetrical blade design lends more power to each stroke.
  • Ergonomic and comfortable to use.

Cons

  • The plastic connector may break easily.
  • Does not include rubber grips.

Paddle Composition

Kayak Paddle Length – How to Pick the Right SizeYour paddle composition plays a crucial role in how it performs. Not only the performance, but the price depends on the composition as well. There are two parts of the paddle: the blade and the shaft. Thus, you need to pay attention to both their materials.

Blade Materials

When it comes to the blade, your best bet is going with the lightweight materials. This is due to the fact that you will lift the blade higher than your shift. Thus, a lighter blade will make it easier to lift it. Furthermore, it helps reduce fatigue.

Generally, you’ll find these types of materials in kayak blades:

Plastic/Nylon

These are the cheapest materials you can find. They are quite sturdy, however, they can crack at higher pressures. Furthermore, they tend to degrade if left in the sun for too long.

On the other hand, their major benefit is that their flexibility prevents them from snapping in two pieces. Another major drawback is that the flexibility may result in inefficient strokes.

Fiberglass

Kayak Paddle Length – How to Pick the Right SizeThe fiberglass blades land in the mid-price range. They are quite durable and offer superior performance. In fact, they are even more lightweight than plastics. However, they are prone to chipping. Moreover, they are quite rigid which makes for stronger strokes in the water.

Carbon Fiber

Lastly, carbon fiber blades are perhaps the most expensive. They are ultra lightweight, however, they are ultra stiff as well. They might be a bit more prone to snapping. On the other hand, the extra stiffness can often lead to the superior transfer of energy.

Shaft Materials

The most common material used for the shaft is aluminum. Not only is it pocket-friendly, but is durable and easy to maintain as well. However, if you’re using it during extreme winters or summers, it can get too cold or too hot to touch.

Plastic is rarely ever used for shafts, as it is not very durable. Carbon fiber, as well as fiberglass shafts, are also durable yet lightweight. You can choose either one for efficient strokes.

All in all, we recommend going for materials that are lightweight as well as durable.

Paddle Feathering

Best Kayak PaddleAnother choice you need to make is between feathered or matched paddles. Matched paddles are often straight or in the same plane as one another. On the other hand, feathered paddles are at an angle to each other.

Most kayak paddles allow you to easily adjust the feathering angle. However, if you have a snap button ferrule, you might be limited to the angles allowed by the manufacturer. Most paddles allow you to change the angle in increments of 15 degrees.

Feathering can generally help you reduce wind resistance when the paddles are out of the water. This is especially noticeable when the wind is blowing towards your face. Furthermore, many paddlers notice that feathering the paddle makes it easier to use. It reduces the tension in your wrists especially if you’re going for the higher strokes.

Moreover, feathered blades can help you increase your speed and efficiency. However, if the wind is blowing at your back, then you’d be better off with matched paddles. To feather or not to feather is a personal choice. Some users prefer it one way while others prefer it another way.

Feathering can be set with ‘right-hand control’ or ‘left-hand control’. This indicates which hand is dominant in rotating the shaft in each feathered stroke. You can mostly set it up according to your preferences.

Paddle Quality

Best Kayak PaddleThe quality of the paddle can help you determine how much it is worth the price. If it’s a low-quality paddle, you might find yourself paying a lower amount. However, that’s not always the case. High-quality paddles are usually are generally more durable.

Since they have to face the waves, you need to make sure they can stand through any abuse. If they’re durable, then they might last longer. This is why plastic paddles are often discouraged since they are not very durable, especially when exposed to sunlight.

Furthermore, they tend to be much lighter and ergonomic. If you find your wrists and elbows aching from constant use, then the quality might be questionable. So, if you’re looking to take it up for a longer ride, you might be better off with high-quality paddles.

Conclusion

All in all, kayak paddles can help your boat burn bridges and cross the oceans. It is essential that you invest in a high-quality pair that will stay with you for a long time. Our top 4 best kayak paddles are bound to serve you well. All of them feature high-quality and durable construction.

Furthermore, these paddles can be paired with folks of all shapes and sizes. So, go ahead and add a kayak paddle leash and take them out for a spin. Or perhaps, you can separate the two pieces and store them for your next journey. Whatever the case, high-quality kayak paddles are a must!

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