Best Kayak Paddles

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Bending Branches
Test Winner: Bending Branches
Amazon Link
Kayaking is one of the best past times of the summer season when you are up at your cottage or a friends cottage. Or maybe you do not have a cottage and like to make day trips up to nearby lakes and explore with your kayak. Whatever the reason, kayaking is a time to paddles peacefully down a stream or river and be one with nature. Now, if you are an avid kayaker or just bought a kayak for this upcoming season, you are probably looking for some extra gear, and there is a no more important piece of gear than the paddles. The kayak paddles allow you to control your direction and momentum while cruising downstream, and if you are in the market for a new set, the below guide will lend a hand.

Standout Picks

Bending Branches
Designed with both the angler and the kayak fan in mind, this paddle helps you to excel at navigating the river waters to catch your next meal.
Werner Camano
This kayak paddle from Werner is a durable, top of the line paddle and most likely will be the last paddle you ever need to purchase. Built with durability in mind, this paddle will help you keep stable and flow down the river, so you can see nature at its best without hassle.
Amazon Link
Intex Dual
Intex is known for making a variety of products for the pool and outdoor industry, and these affordable paddles are a great set to get if you are shopping on a budget or need a backup pair of kayak paddles.
Amazon Link
$38.99
OceanSouth
These paddles for your kayak from OceanSouth are great for beginner kayakers and provide a great blade that not only allows you to direct but also has a curved blade to allow you to gain maximum speed and control if needed.
Amazon Link
$33.44
Aqua-bound manta ray
If your kayaking trip involves some serious rapids or the need for quick movements and adaptability, the Aqua-Bound MantaRay Fiberglass Paddle should definitely be on your list.
Amazon Link
$159.95
Seasense x-treme II
If you’re looking for a relatively lightweight paddle that can easily be used in a wide array of situations, this paddle with a mix blade design will be a big help.
Amazon Link
$36.20
Carlisle magic plus
Looking for a kayak paddle that will allow you to have a great day on the river without sacrificing your joints? The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle is designed to do just that.
Solstice 4
The Solstice 4 Piece Quick Release Paddle provides a fantastic way for a kayaker to not only brave some challenging rapids but also a great way to transport their paddle and kayak to those potentially far off places.
Amazon Link
$31.99
Advanced elements ultralite pack
If you’re looking for one of the lightest and easiest kayak paddle to use, the Advanced Elements Ultralite Pack Kayak Paddle may just be what you’ve been searching for.
Amazon Link
$44.99
Shoreline marine propel motion
If you’re looking for a respectable lightweight paddle that is slightly longer than the others on this list at 96 inches in length, this kayak paddle may be just what you need.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

When it comes to kayaking, whether it’s in the open ocean or handling a Class Three rapids, your paddle is an essential tool. Each time your kayak paddle passes through the surface of the water, there is a chance that it might be damaged by the water, a rock, or even debris or litter. Therefore, it’s essential that the blade of the paddle be made of a material that is not only light enough to allow for good maneuverability but also strong enough to withstand what it may encounter.

With new innovations and designs, kayak paddles on this list make use of lightweight fiberglass or carbon fiber material, both of which are reasonably strong and lightweight, although they can have their disadvantages as well. Overall, when choosing your next set of kayak paddles, you want to ensure that the material will be tough and you can verify this by reading the customer reviews to see how the paddles held up from other customers who decided to purchase the paddles and put them to the test.

Style

Of course, what the blade is comprised of really pales in comparison to what the overall design is. There are quite a few different designs available, and what you need greatly depends on what type of kayaking you’re planning on enjoying in your time on the water. If your adventures have you paddling through calmer waters, such as a lake or the open ocean, a Paddle Design that is suited for low-angle paddling.

These blades are usually long and narrow and require less effort and energy to move through the water. However, if you’ll more likely to be in environments that require powerful strokes and quick, high angle movement, a paddle that has blades that are wider and designed to quickly move water out of the way is probably more beneficial.

Use

In one way, the shaft is the backbone of a quality kayak paddle. It’s what you hold onto and move to perform your stroke. It needs to be light enough to be comfortable in your hands, long enough to provide propulsion, and strong enough to withstand a great deal of abuse. Plus, it also needs to allow for easier storage and transport out of the water. That’s a pretty tall order.

Thankfully, most of the shafts in this list have found an ideal balance between strength, comfort, and durability without too much of a hassle. While not every shaft choice is not perfect for every situation, having a shaft that fits your needs generally speaking is a great idea.

Portability

Regrettably, you can’t spend all your time testing the waves. Sooner or later you’re going to have to bring your kayak paddles out of the water and put them into storage. Whether you’re transporting them to the next location or hanging them up for another season, being able to easily break down the paddles and store them away is essential to making sure they last.

Thankfully, the shafts listed here are well made and relatively easy to break down and put back together when necessary. Chances are you won’t have too many surprises here. Overall, the two factors you want to consider is if your kayak paddles compress or break apart in order to store more conveniently and that your paddle is lightweight to ensure when you are transporting it, it will not weigh you down. You already will have a kayak that you are transporting, you do not want any more extra weight then you need to carry.

Top Ten Kayak Paddles

1. Bending Branches

Where to buy
Bending Branches
Amazon Link

Designed with both the angler and the kayak fan in mind, this paddle helps you to excel at navigating the river waters to catch your next meal.

Read more

Blade Material
The blades are made from reinforced fiberglass that allows for easy movement and an overall reduction in weight.

Paddle Design
This paddle features a number of unique design choices that make it perfect for both fisherman and kayak enthusiasts alike, The fiberglass reinforced blades feature a smart hook retrieval system, so you won’t have to worry about snagged lines, or lost lures. Plus the shaft has an easy to read ruler, so determining the size of your catch is easy as well.

Use
The two blades on this kayak paddle are asymmetrical around the shaft by a small amount and are fairly long as well. They’re perfectly suited for the river waters that are a bit calm, but still, have a ripple or two on the surface-- in other words a great place to go fishing in.

Portability
The aluminum shaft is lightweight and easily splits into two separate pieces with a simple push of a button. It’s easy on the hands but can get a little slippery as the day goes on.

This paddle can quickly break down into two pieces, through the use of a snap button ferrule. This makes storage relatively simple and straightforward. Plus transportation is a breeze since it can easily fit into most car trunks, or in the bed of a pickup truck along with your kayak easily.

2. Werner Camano

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Werner Camano
Amazon Link

This kayak paddle from Werner is a durable, top of the line paddle and most likely will be the last paddle you ever need to purchase. Built with durability in mind, this paddle will help you keep stable and flow down the river, so you can see nature at its best without hassle.

Read more

Blade Material
The blade material is comprised of fiberglass, which ensures it is durable and lightweight.

Paddle Design
This paddle is designed to be easily taken apart and to be lightweight and easy to carry. The paddles design also features two good sized grips and a secure locking mechanism that allows for easy feathering.

Use
The blade is slightly asymmetrical around the shaft, giving a more dorsal fin type of shape that allows for both low angle and high angle use.

Portability
The shaft is created out of a carbon fiber material that is relatively strong and lightweight.

This paddle breaks down into two separate pieces that can easily be stored in various locals including the back of cars, trucks or with the kayak itself.

Amazon Link

3. Intex Dual

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$38.99
Intex Dual
Amazon Link

Intex is known for making a variety of products for the pool and outdoor industry, and these affordable paddles are a great set to get if you are shopping on a budget or need a backup pair of kayak paddles.

Read more

Blade Material
This kayak shaft is made from an aluminum shaft which means it is lightweight and will not weigh you down as you paddles downstream. The paddles are made from rubber and plastic to ensure they can hold up to the use you intend to put them through this summer season.

Paddle Design
This paddle has a basic design and was manufactured for maximum efficiency while paddling downstream. When not connected this paddle acts as two individual paddles but if needed and you are going on a solo adventure, this paddle can be connected to give you one double ended paddle.

Use
This paddle comes highly rated from previous customers due to the durability and price. These paddles are great to have on hand and even if you have a great set of paddles you are currently using, these are great for back-up in case something happens to your current pair.

Portability
The fact that this paddle disconnects and can be transformed into two paddles is great for portability. They are also lightweight due to their aluminum design and weigh less than a pound.

Amazon Link
$38.99

4. OceanSouth

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$33.44
OceanSouth
Amazon Link

These paddles for your kayak from OceanSouth are great for beginner kayakers and provide a great blade that not only allows you to direct but also has a curved blade to allow you to gain maximum speed and control if needed.

Read more

Blade Material
These kayak paddles from OceanSouth are built to last as they are made from a fiberglass and polypropylene material which means the blades will be durable and lightweight. The shaft is made from aluminum to ensure it is lightweight and can be carried easily.

Paddle Design
This kayak paddle comes with two and is a double ended paddle, which means it has two blades (one on each side). The blade is curved which allows for maximum speed and control when in use.

Use
These paddles come highly rated amongst previous customers as they are built to last and will provide the best control and speed when in use. These paddles are a little pricier than others on our list but after you use them, you will understand that the price is justified for ho they perform.

Portability
These paddles weigh 10 pounds but that is for two paddles, so each paddle weighs around 5 pounds which is a little heavy. These means they may be tougher to transport as you will already have the weight of your kayak. Best used if you have a partner or a two-person kayak.

Amazon Link
$33.44

5. Aqua-bound manta ray

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$159.95
Aqua-bound manta ray
Amazon Link

If your kayaking trip involves some serious rapids or the need for quick movements and adaptability, the Aqua-Bound MantaRay Fiberglass Paddle should definitely be on your list.

Read more

Blade Material
Fashioned out of lightweight but durable fiberglass material, the blades are able to easily move through the water and move water out of the way with each powerful stroke.

Paddle Design
The paddle is designed for use in rough waters and designed for high-angled entry into the water. It can also be easily pulled apart into two pieces for easy storage and feathering as needed. Overall it’s a simple and solid design.

Use
Slightly asymmetrical in design, but still fairly wide, these blades are a great choice for situations where you really don’t know what’s coming around the next bend. Plus, with a snap of a button, you can easily adjust the angle of the blade from 0 degrees to 60 degrees in either direction. And with the overall wider profile, you actually end up doing less of the work, which is a great thing for a beginner.

Portability
The shaft is made from a lightweight reinforced fiberglass material that is surprisingly durable.

While it does come easily apart into two pieces, the blades and the elongated shaft overall makes storage and transportation slightly more difficult than the other kayak paddles on the list.

Amazon Link
$159.95

6. Seasense x-treme II

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$36.20
Seasense x-treme II
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for a relatively lightweight paddle that can easily be used in a wide array of situations, this paddle with a mix blade design will be a big help.

Read more

Blade Material
The blades are made from a fiberglass filled nylon material that is very lightweight and strong. However, the blade themselves have been known to bend when being used to push off harder objects such as sand bars or rocks.

Paddle Design
This paddle is designed to be easily used in a wide array of situations, especially one where there is likely to be higher winds, where feathering may be a good option.

Use
This paddle is designed with an asymmetrical blade on each end. The blades are about as long as they are wide, which makes this paddle a great choice for choppy waters that are a bit harder to navigate.

Portability
The shaft is a two-piece aluminum shaft that is fairly lightweight and strong. It also features three locking positions for easy feathering.

Overall this kayak paddle is easy to store and transport, although the aluminum shaft can be a bit heavier than others on this list.

Amazon Link
$36.20

7. Carlisle magic plus

Where to buy
Carlisle magic plus
Amazon Link

Looking for a kayak paddle that will allow you to have a great day on the river without sacrificing your joints? The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle is designed to do just that.

Read more

Blade Material
The blades on this kayak paddle are made from a lightweight yet strong glass-filled polypropylene which allows for added strength as it pushes through the water, and flexibility to allow for a lower amount of impact on your arms.

Paddle Design
The paddle weighs just under 36 ounces, and the lengths range between 220 and 240 centimeters or 86 to 94 inches in length, so chances are you’ll find the right size for your kayaking needs. Plus it easily breaks down into two pieces, so storing it isn’t a problem. The one complaint we had was that the blades were known to come loose over time. However, we don’t believe that they were designed that way.

Use
The blade shape is slightly asymmetrical, which makes it a great choice for those situations where you don’t quite know what you’ll be facing. In addition, the overall scooped shape of the blade makes it easy to move it through the water creating powerful strokes without much effort.

Portability
The shaft is made from lightweight fiberglass material and features two easy to use grip areas that make paddling a lot easier on the hands and arms overall.

This paddle easily breaks down into two smaller pieces, so it can easily be stored along with your kayak, transported in just about any four-wheeled vehicle, and is lightweight enough to carry on its own.

8. Solstice 4

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$31.99
Solstice 4
Amazon Link

The Solstice 4 Piece Quick Release Paddle provides a fantastic way for a kayaker to not only brave some challenging rapids but also a great way to transport their paddle and kayak to those potentially far off places.

Read more

Blade Material
The blades are made of a hard molded plastic that is relatively lightweight and yet reasonably strong.

Paddle Design
Unlike other of the best kayak paddles on this list, this paddle is designed for compact travel, and can easily be split into four separate pieces, the largest one measuring 30.5 centimeters in length. In addition, the overall weight is just 2.7 pounds, making it one of the lighter ones on the market. The only two real complaints we encountered was that the parts became harder to pull apart and put together with use and that the blades could be a little more stiff for use in more turbulent waters.

Use
The blade is asymmetrical in shape, and relatively wide and short. This allows them to function well in faster flowing, more demanding waters such as a river, although some customers indicated the preference for a stiffer blade for more fierce rapids.

Portability
The shaft is made of aluminum and as stated earlier, can be easily divided into four segments for easier storage. It’s a matter of simply sliding the parts together or apart with a simple twist.

Of all the kayak paddles on this list, this one that has the ability to split into four parts provides the most versatility when it comes to storage and transportation. The relatively small size of the pieces – at most 30.5 centimeters- allows the paddle to be stored in a wide array of places, including the trunk of your car, carried in a large backpack, or even stored in the kayak itself.

Amazon Link
$31.99

9. Advanced elements ultralite pack

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$44.99
Advanced elements ultralite pack
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for one of the lightest and easiest kayak paddle to use, the Advanced Elements Ultralite Pack Kayak Paddle may just be what you’ve been searching for.

Read more

Blade Material
The blades are made of hardened resin plastic and are relatively lightweight.

Paddle Design
The paddle is designed to be easily broken down into four separate pieces and reduces from a length of 224 centimeters down to a length of 60 centimeters. That’s a difference of over five feet! It’s clearly been designed for use on backpacking trips along with an inflatable raft or kayak. The overall weight is also surprisingly little, just 23.6 ounces. However, we did notice that the decrease in weight did mean less overall material, which could lead to breakage under more strenuous use.

Use
The blade is symmetrical around the staff, but is relatively wide, making it ideal for use in multiple situations, whether it’s a calm lake or a river with calmer rapids.

Portability
The shaft appears to be a lightweight reinforced plastic material that is a bit thinner in diameter than most other kayak paddles but does become easier to handle after a while.

This particular kayak paddle is designed for storage in a backpack for use and transport in a wilderness environment. Whether you are portaging your kayak over to the next river or inflating one to use along the shoreline, this paddle can easily stay apart and fit into your backpack for easy retrieval later.

Amazon Link
$44.99

10. Shoreline marine propel motion

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Shoreline marine propel motion
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for a respectable lightweight paddle that is slightly longer than the others on this list at 96 inches in length, this kayak paddle may be just what you need.

Read more

Blade Material
The blades are made with lightweight plastic material.

Paddle Design
The paddle is designed to be easily broken apart with the push of a snap button into two pieces. In addition, with a simple twist of the shaft, the paddle blades can easily be feathered as needed by the user.

Use
The blade is asymmetrical in shape and they are slightly curved. They are, however, a little bit more narrow than what is normally seen in river kayaking. This combination makes it a good choice for a variety of situations, but not including stronger or faster moving waters such as those around waterfalls or fast-moving streams.

Portability
The shaft is comprised of lightweight aluminum material with two grips on either side of the central point to aid in hand placement.

Because of the longer length, even in two pieces, this kayak paddle is a bit harder to store overall. While it will fit in the back of a pick-up truck or garage, there may be some issues fitting it into smaller vehicles.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. Karen Doogan , Best Kayak Paddle,