Best Kayak Paddle – Top Picks & Complete Guide (2021)

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How enjoyable your kayaking trips will be is dependent on your kayak and paddle. Having a quality kayak isn’t enough as you also need a good paddle to improve your performance on the water.

A glance at different kayak paddles and they all seem to be the same. This isn’t surprising as kayak paddles have the same basic design – a shaft and two blades (one at each end). But differences in materials, length, blades, and shafts mean all kayak paddles are not made equal.

The best kayak paddles are those that are lightweight, sturdy/durable, easy to use, and also super-efficient. Sometimes, the paddles that come with kayaks aren’t good enough or could be better. And you should consider buying an aftermarket paddle if you find yourself in this scenario.

I’ve pitted paddle against paddle to compile a list of the best kayak paddles currently available on the market. These paddles will massively improve your performance on the water and you should take a closer look at them. Here we go.

The 7 Best Kayak Paddles for 2021

Oceanbroad Kayak PaddleOur Top Pick

OCEANBROAD Kayak Paddle 230cm/90.5in Alloy Shaft Kayaking Boating Oar with Paddle Leash 1 Paddle

$39.95
$36.95
 in stock
2 used from $35.10
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

The Oceanbroad paddle is going to redefine your kayaking experience thanks to its superb performance. This paddle is made of high-quality aluminum alloy shaft that’s as rugged as a kayak paddle can be. The blade is made of reinforced fiberglass for added durability. Overall, this kayak feels very light and will literally become an extension of your hands.

You’ll be able to track well with this paddle as it improves your paddling efficiency. There’s a soft wrap around each handle to make this paddle more comfortable to hold. This improves your grip on this paddle while preventing blisters at the same time.

Detachable at two sections, it’s easy to carry this paddle around or store it. And you can use this paddle on recreational or touring kayaks. This paddle won’t sink should you accidentally drop it while paddling or on the water. It’ll float and you’ll be able to pick it up.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  230 & 241 cm / 90.5 & 95 in
  • Weight:  2.65 lbs / 1.2 kg
  • Shaft material: aluminum alloy
  • Blade material: fiberglass reinforced PP

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Comfortable to use.
  • Detachable.
  • Sturdy and durable.
  • Floats.

Cons

  • The paddle leash could be of better quality.

Other Buying Options:

Pelican Poseidon Kayak Paddle

Pelican Poseidon Paddle 89 in - Aluminum Shaft with Reinforced Fiberglass Blades - Lightweight, Adjustable Kayaks Paddles - Perfect for Kayaking Boating & Kayak Fishing, 2021 Model

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

The Pelican Poseidon paddle will make you rule the waters wherever you are paddling. If you are looking for a reliable and robust paddle, the Poseidon got you covered.

Thanks to the aluminum shaft and fiberglass reinforced polypropylene blade, this paddle is very strong and durable. It will easily resist drops and other impacts without getting damaged.

I like that this paddle is also very lightweight which makes it very easy to transport. The ergonomic grip makes it comfortable to handle and use this paddle and you’ll be able to paddle for longer without getting tired. Pelican incorporated a hook at the end of this paddle for picking up trash.

At 89 inch (226cm), this paddle has what I’d call an ideal or intermediate length as it is not too short not too long. I also like the 2-piece design that allows you to easily disassemble this paddle for easy transport or storage.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  226 cm / 89 in
  • Weight: Not specified
  • Shaft material: aluminum alloy
  • Blade material: fiberglass reinforced PP

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Two-piece design makes it easy to store and transport.
  • Hooks for picking up trash.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Overmont Kayak Paddle

Overmont Kayak Paddle 230cm/90.5in Heavy Duty Aluminum Alloy Lightweight Boating Oar for Inflatable Kayaks with Paddle Leash

$59.99
$28.99
 in stock
3 new from $28.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

The Overmont Aluminum Kayak Paddle is one of the best budget paddles on the market. The shaft of this paddle is made of aluminum, a very strong and corrosion-resistant material. On the other hand, the feather-shaped blades, which feature double-serrated edges that cut through the water efficiently, are made of high-quality reinforced fiberglass material.

These quality materials make the Overmont Kayak Paddle very sturdy and durable. This paddle will feel like an extension of your hands as it massively improves your paddling efficiency.

Should you accidentally drop this paddle while on the water, it’s not going to sink thanks to the hollowed-out aluminum tube design. Also, there’s a high-quality leash included in the package to tether the paddle to your kayak.

This kayak also has a 2-piece design that makes storage and transportation easier. And assembling and disassembling is fast and easy.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  230 cm / 90.5 in
  • Weight: Not specified
  • Shaft material: aluminum alloy
  • Blade material: fiberglass reinforced

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Floats.
  • Designed to improve paddling efficiency.
  • 2-piece design.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Other Buying Options:

Intex Boat and Kayak Oars Series

Intex Kayak Paddle, 1 Paddle, 86in

$26.99  in stock
3 new from $26.99
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

Intex is well known for producing quality inflatable kayaks. So the brand naturally gets attention when it puts a kayak paddle on the market.

The Intex kayak paddle is lightweight while also feeling very sturdy. You can break this paddle down into five pieces which makes it super easy to transport or store. When assembled, this paddle isn’t going to come apart during use.

You have some control over the length of this paddle as you can remove the smallest part of the aluminum body to reduce the length. But the length of this paddle is appropriate for most kayakers.

There’ll be a noticeable improvement in your paddling with the Intex kayak paddle. This paddle cuts through the water efficiently and improves your ability to paddle in a straight line.

The Intex kayak paddle also shines when it comes to durability as it is manufactured with high-quality materials and designed to be used for a very long time.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  137, 121 cm / 54 in, 48 in
  • Weight: Not specified
  • Shaft material: aluminum alloy
  • Blade material: fiberglass reinforced

Pros

  • Lightweight and sturdy.
  • Detachable into smaller pieces.
  • Improves your padding efficiency.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Other Buying Options:

SeaSense Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-TREME 2 Kayak Paddle - Black (96")

$51.09
$42.60
 in stock
3 new from $42.60
5 used from $29.24
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

If you are looking for a budget kayak paddle under $50, then you should take a good look at the SeaSense kayak paddle. There aren’t a lot of quality paddles under $50 but the SeaSense is one of the few we’d recommend.

Ideally, you should use the SeaSense kayak paddle for short journeys or as backup/spare for longer kayaking expeditions. The aluminum shaft and plastic blade used to manufacture this kayak paddle are high-quality. However, this paddle is also heavy, the main reason they’re suited for short kayaking trips.

There’s a foam grip on this paddle that makes it more comfortable to use. If you are a beginner who isn’t concerned about performance or still new to kayaking and isn’t keen on investing a lot yet, then the SeaSense kayak paddle makes sense.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  213, 243 cm / 84, 96 in
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs / 1.04 kg
  • Shaft material: aluminum alloy
  • Blade material: Plastic

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Durable construction.

Cons

  • A bit heavy.

Best Marine Kayak Fishing Paddle

Best Marine Kayak Fishing Paddle. 250cm (98in) Premium Carbon Fiber Paddle with Durable ABS Blades. 34oz Lightweight Angler Oar for Kayaks. Two-Piece Adjustable Kayaking Paddles Accessories.

$99.99
$94.99
 in stock
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

The Best Marine kayak offers a good combination of price and performance. By cutting through the water with ease, tracking will be a lot easier with this paddle. The shaft is made of carbon and the blades boast reinforced fiberglass materials. All this together makes this paddle very strong and durable.

Thanks to the lightweight materials, this paddle doesn’t weigh much. It’s easy to use thanks to the lightweight and compact design.

The Best Marine kayak paddle is also designed to disassemble into two parts and this makes storage and transportation a whole lot easier. There are also two well-designed dip rings that keep water from running down the shaft. And there is a quality five-feet-long leash that keeps the paddle securely attached to the kayak.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  250 cm / 98 in
  • Weight: 2.11 lbs / 0.96 kg
  • Shaft material: Carbon fiber
  • Blade material: Reinforced fiberglass materials

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable to use.
  • Easy to transport and store.
  • Good combination of price and performance.
  • Durable and strong.

Cons

  • Not suitable for small-sized kayakers.

Other Buying Options:

Bending Branches Whisper Kayak Paddle

BENDING BRANCHES Whisper Aluminum 2Pc 230

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of July 26, 2021 10:47 pm

The Bending Branches Whisper takes the prize for the best budget kayak paddle. Truth be told, you aren’t going to get the best performance out of the Whisper. Instead, the Whisper offers you an almost unmatched combination of affordability and durability. Chances are that you’ve seen the Bending Branches Whisper at lakeside cabins or kayak rental shops.

This paddle can be detached into 2 pieces for easy storage and transportation. The asymmetrical dihedral blade is made of durable polypropylene which is very rugged and sturdy. There’s also the carbon shaft paddle which is very durable. And the lightweight design of this paddle means it’s suitable for a touring kayaker that’s on a tight budget.

 Specifications

  • Available length:  210, 220, 240 cm / 83, 87, 94 in
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs / 1.04 kg
  • Shaft material: Carbon
  • Blade material: Polypropylene

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble.
  • Balanced blades.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Play in locking mechanism.

Other Buying Options:

Best Kayak Paddles – The Guide 

Below are factors to take into consideration when buying a kayak paddle:

How to Choose Your Kayak Paddle?

Shaft and Blade Materials

The materials used to manufacture the shafts and blades of kayak paddle have a significant effect on their performance. Usually, materials used for paddles should be lightweight while also being durable.

Carbon fiber is the best material for the paddles’ shafts because it is the lightest and most sturdy. However, the material is very expensive.

Fiberglass is another excellent shaft material that’s lightweight and durable (not as carbon fiber though) and it’s more affordable. Most mid-range kayak paddles usually have shafts made of fiberglass.

Aluminum alloy could also be used to manufacture paddles’ shafts. It’s is durable and functional but is heavier than either carbon fiber or fiberglass.

The material used to manufacture the blade of your paddle matters. And the best blade material is nylon, then fiberglass, and plastic.

Paddle Length

The major determinants here are the length of your kayak and your height. So the wider your vessel, the longer your paddle will be. Also, taller paddlers would require longer paddles.

Manufacturers put this factor into considerations when making paddles. Typically, paddles are sized in centimeters (as opposed to kayaks sized in inches). And there is usually a size chart on the websites of paddle manufacturers to help paddlers pick the right paddle length.

Paddle Weight

The materials used to manufacture a paddle will largely determine its weight. As I said earlier, carbon fiber is the lightest paddle material which is then followed by fiberglass, and aluminum alloy.
Best kayak paddle - guide

Straight vs. Bent Shaft

Straight shafts are exactly what the name tells you. They are straight as they run in a line between the blades. The major benefit of using a straight shaft paddle is that you have more control and will be able to perform a wide variety of strokes. If you are paddling on strong currents or rapid torrents where you need to make various powerful strokes, a straight shaft will get the job done.

Bent shafts have a ‘kinked’ position and are usually more comfortable to use. They are especially beneficial for long kayaking trips as they reduce fatigue and stress on your wrists.

Feathering (Matched vs. Feathered Blades)

When it comes to feathering, blades are either feathered or matched. Matched, also called unfeathered, blades align with each other. This is in contrast to feathered blades that are not on the same plane. Instead, they are offset at an angle to each other. The advantage of this design (offsetting) is that there’s less wind resistance on the blade when it’s out of the water during paddling.

Most manufacturers make the shafts of their paddles rotatable to allow paddlers to use them matched or feathered. There is also the option to adjust the amount of feathering in 15-degree increments. There are however models that allow you to set your blades at any angle you

They also allow you to easily adjust the amount of feathering, typically in 15-degree increments. A few let you adjust them to any angle you want.

Note that “right-hand control” and “left-hand control” when talking about feathering in paddles refer to which hand rotates the shaft during a feathered stroke.

Blade Type and Size

When it comes to shape, blades are either short and fat or long and skinny. Short, flat blades are ideal for whitewater conditions as they allow you to transfer more energy with each stroke. In short, you get more powerful strokes with short, flat blades.

Long, skinny blades are more about efficiency and are suitable for touring and recreation. Intend to paddle all day on calm, deep water? Then a long, skinny blade will get the job done.

One Piece vs. 2 Sections vs. 4 Sections

Paddles can come as a single piece, 2 sections, or 4 sections. Single-piece paddles are usually the lightest and most durable. They are ideal for people that paddle regularly.

2 section and 4 section blades can be disassembled into 2 and 4 sections respectively. This makes them more convenient to store and transport. If you are hiking somewhere with a foldable or inflatable kayak, a 2-piece or 4-piece paddle will be easier to transport.

Price

Paddles could be as cheap as under $50 and as expensive as $300 or more. Materials used and performance are usually the reasons for this price jump. Ultimately, everyone has a budget in mind for paddles and I made sure to include addles for paddlers of all budgets on this list.

Final Thoughts

A quality paddle will make your time on the water easier and offer you more control over your vessel. However, choosing a paddle isn’t as easy as just buying anyone that first comes your way.

This article is intended to simplify the buying process of a kayak paddle easier and help you buy the best paddle within your price range. Have any question, contact me in the comment section below.

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