Nothing beats kayaking, whether you’re on a river or on the ocean. Kayaking brings you closer to nature and is one of the best exercising activities you can undertake. But you can only maximize your enjoyment of kayaking if you have one of the best kayak paddles around.
Kayak paddles dictate how easily you can maneuver through the water and how fast you can go. A great kayak paddle can also make it easier for you to enjoy longer kayaking sessions without your arms getting tired or your kayak getting too wet. It’s no stretch to say that the ideal kayak paddle is just as important as the kayak itself.
In our kayak paddle reviews, we’ll go over the best kayak paddles on the market to find something excellent for any situation.
Top Rated Kayak Paddles
1. Carlisle Magic Plus
Carlisle Magic Plus
- Glass-filled polypropylene blades are both lightweight and durable
- Asymmetrical, slightly curved blade shape produces smooth, efficient strokes
- Wrapped fiberglass shaft is lightweight yet strong; and more comfortable to hold in hot or cold temperatures
- Ovalized shaft indexes the proper grip area
- No-fail push-button take down allow blades to be feathered at 60-degrees or set inline, for right or left-handed control
This Carlisle paddle comes in six different colors and is made with some of the best materials on the market to propel you to your destination in style.
- Six available colors
- Made with fiberglass
- Built with a two-piece design for additional storage options
It’s a phenomenal paddle through and through. It’s particularly easy to store since you can separate it into two pieces, and it includes rubber drip brings that can help you keep your hands and legs dry while you’re paddling.
Even better, this kayak paddle features a special shaft that indexes around the proper grip area. It’s comfortable to hold in either hot or cold temperatures and the blades are designed with asymmetrical curves to produce smooth and efficient strokes. You can even customize the blades to feather at 60° or set the inline depending on if you’re a righty or lefty.
- Works with a variety of paddling styles
- Made with high-quality materials that are lightweight
- Very easy to use in several kayaking scenarios
- Very durable overall
- Very expensive compared to most others
This high-quality paddle is, all in all, the ideal choice if you have a little extra cash to spend and want something both durable and lightweight in equal measure.
2. Carlisle Magic Nylon
Carlisle Magic Nylon
- Carlisle's fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades are slightly stiffer than other blades, creating more power and efficiency with every stroke.
- Fiberglass-reinforced nylon is incredibly resistant to cracking, splitting, and abrasion while offering a lighter feel than comparable polypropylene blades.
- Use the pushbutton indexing on the anodized aluminum shaft to feather the blades at 60 degrees or inline for right- or left-handed control.
- Whether you're a beginner or a hardcore paddler, Carlisle has a paddle that's just right for you.
- Measures 230 cm; one-year warranty.
This is a much more affordable Carlisle alternative made with nylon and aluminum rather than carbon fiber.
- Constructed from aluminum and nylon materials
- Two colors available
- Includes one year warranty
Despite carbon fiber not being a core part of this paddle’s construction, these paddles are fiberglass-reinforced. This makes them slightly stiffer than most other blades on the market and allows you to put more power and efficiency into each stroke. It also makes it resistant to cracking and abrasion.
Like the last Carlisle paddle, you can use a push-button indexing feature to feather the blades at different degrees. As such, its lightweight and durable design makes it a great choice for beginners and expert kayakers alike.
- Works for kayakers of any experience level
- Very easy to lift while maintaining durability
- Blades can be customized according to stroke preference
- Good for righties or lefties
- Can be scratched with some rocks
This fiberglass kayak paddle is a perfect pick if you want the durability and high quality of a Carlisle product without paying quite as much as our top pick. It’s arguably the best kayak paddle for the money.
- 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.
This top-tier paddle uses a durable but lightweight aluminum alloy and fiberglass reinforcement to make it last throughout your kayaking adventure.
- Made with fiberglass reinforced aluminum alloy
- Designed with PE tube cover
- 230 cm long
This paddle is a versatile and effective choice for just about everyone. It features three locking positions for different kayaking angle preferences as well as drip rings either end to stop water from flowing down the blades. You’ll also benefit from a free leash that can help you tether the paddles to your kayak.
We also really like that it’s easy to detach in two sections for easier transportation and storage. The oar shaft, too, is designed with a special tube cover that can prevent your hands from blistering while allowing you to maintain a solid grip on the shaft.
- Very easy to hold for long hours
- Won’t make your hands too hot or cold
- Ideal paddle size for most
- Easy to store
- Not super durable anywhere
This paddle set is a great choice for beginners or those looking for an affordable and customizable paddle for their next journey.
4. XGEAR Aluminum
- Two-piece of aluminum construction for easy storage and compact travel
- Made of marine-grade materials. Blade length x width: 18.5'' x 7.5'' . Ergonomic gasket on one side for a nicer grip and no-slip control
- Three locking positions allow you to adjust the feathering angle between 0 and 60 degrees.
- Enforced push-button connection. Easily adjustable for both left- and right-handed operation. Drip rings help to keep your hands dry.
- 5 Colors Available: Black, Blue, White, Yellow, Orange; 2 Sizes Available: 87'' (220cm) / 96'' (243cm), to better meet your needs!
This paddle comes in five different colors and two different sizes, both of which are a little shorter or longer than average.
- Five colors in two sizes
- Made with aluminum materials
- Three locking positions available
This kayak paddle is great for those who have particular setups that they enjoy for their kayaking adventures. Three locking positions and an easy-adjust control will allow you to use the paddle in either right or left-handed orientations. Drip rings are present to help keep your hands dry.
The paddle as a whole is made with Marine grade materials and two-piece aluminum construction to let you store it or travel pretty easily. The no-slip grip will help you maintain control of your water craft during travels down rapids.
- Great for a variety of kayaking needs
- Very easy to operate or personalize
- Sizes are excellent for people smaller or larger than average
- Durability is questionable
Aside from its durability, this set of cheap kayak paddles is a great choice for those on a budget and who have slightly longer or shorter arms, with paddle sizes ranging between 220 and 243 cm.
- Two Piece Heavy-duty Construction for Easy Storage
- Feather-shaped Blades and Double Serrated Teeth Edge Design
- Three Locking Positions
- Hollow Aluminum Shaft Tube can Well Keep the Paddle Float on the Water
- Package includes a Paddle Leash
This paddle and oar is made with heavy-duty aluminum and features three locking positions to help you tailor it to your needs.
- Three locking positions available
- Made with a hollow aluminum shaft tube
- Includes serrated teeth edge design
This paddle is great in terms of value for money since it is affordable but is also one of the more durable options out there. It’s made with a hollow aluminum shaft tube that helps the paddle float in water while still providing it adequate durability in case it rubs against rocks or your kayak.
The blades of the paddle are similarly well-designed, with serrated teeth at the edge. This can help you cut through flotsam or other floating debris or help you cut through water that churns in rougher river areas. You can also use the three locking positions available to tailor the paddle’s performance to your needs or handedness.
- Comes with a helpful paddle leash
- Made with a two-piece construction for easy storage
- Very durable overall
- A little shorter than average
This paddle is a phenomenal choice for kayakers concerned about overall durability and their ability to churn through water quickly and effectively.
- Two Sturdy pieces of aluminum construction
- Impact resistant fiberglass reinforced polypropylene feathered blade design for great durability
- Adjustable drip rings to help keep hands dry for a better grip
- Enforced push-button connection with 0-65˚ angle adjustment
- The perfect fit! Our 89 inch (226cm) long Paddle is not too short And not too long Perfect for your trips on the water!
This electric blue adjustable paddle is made with fiberglass and is adjustable so it can be used by multiple people with ease.
- Four colors available
- Made with sturdy aluminum
- 226 cm long
This paddle is just shy of the standard 230 cm length, but it should work for most despite this. The shaft is designed to round into a slightly oval-shaped which can help you place your hands properly on the shaft if you’re a beginner. It also benefits from a push-button connection with a 0 to 65° angle of adjustment.
The paddle comes with adjustable drip rings to help you keep your hands dry, and the entire piece is made of two sturdy sections of reinforced aluminum. The blades are reinforced with fiberglass to increase their durability without making things too heavy.
- Decent durability despite the asking price
- Very good shaft design, great for beginners
- Drip rings are easy to set
- Fin aesthetic can degrade over time
This paddle is a phenomenal choice for kayakers who are just starting out, especially thanks to its shaft design and easy to use drip rings.
7. Attwood Asymmetrical 2-piece
- HIGH PERFORMANCE KAYAK PADDLE - Designed with efficiency and comfort in mind, this paddle is an excellent upgrade
- BUILT TO LAST - Thick aluminum and rugged plastic construction gives you confidence in this paddle for years to come
- EASY STORAGE - Two-piece breakdown design is ideal for both storage and transport
- INCREASED EFFICIENCY - Asymmetrical spoon-blades increase your stroke efficiency while reducing blade flutter in the water
- KEEP YOUR GRIP - Drip rings prevent water from sliding onto your grip, helping you paddle longer and more efficiently
This paddle is designed with aluminum and rugged plastic, as well as a comfortable grip that beginners and experts alike will appreciate.
- 7 feet long
- Blades are asymmetrical for increased stroke efficiency
- Made with aluminum and plastic
This is a great starter kayak paddle thanks to its affordability and other aspects. It features an easy to collapse two-piece breakdown design which makes it an ideal choice for storage and transport purposes. Meanwhile, it’s made with aluminum and rugged plastic that grants it moderate durability without making things too heavy.
The asymmetrical spoon blade shape can help you cut through water relatively easily while reducing blade flutter. The drip rings included can also keep your hands dry. Ultimately, the big draw is the comfortable grip that can help you use the paddle for hours on end without getting tired.
- Very easy to use for long periods
- Not too difficult to set or use
- Very reasonable asking price
- Actual durability isn’t that great
This paddle is a good choice if you are concerned about durability so much as you are usability and affordability.
8. Leader Accessories
- 3 materials Shaft:aluminum shaft & carbon shaft & fiberglass shaft. 2-Pieces construction paddles are easier to store and more portable, saving the space.
- The paddles consist of aluminum shaft & fiberglass shaft with PP blades, carbon shaft with PC blades. the blade length* width: 18.5'' * 7.5''. the diameter of the tube 30mm thickness 1mm
- Enforced push-button connection. Three locking positions, the blades also allow for being adjusted to three angles respectively.
- Creative water-resistant ring design to effectively prevent the water flowing down along the shaft tube and getting into the kayak.Feathered blade design. Lightweight, Molded Plastic Blades. it helps reduce the resistant of getting into water, and help pull water with more strength.
- 7 colors available: Black, White, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Green/White and Green. There have 5 sizes: 84.7-inch / 87-inch / 89.7-inch / 96-inch / 84.6-88.6 inches Adjustable.Carbon shaft blue and green paddles are of adustable size.
This aluminum shaft paddle is also reinforced with fiberglass and carbon fiber, making it one of the most complex and versatile paddles on the market.
- Nine colors available
- Made with three materials
- 30mm tube diameter
This innovative kayak paddle has an aluminum shaft that’s reinforced with fiberglass, along with carbon shaft and PC blades. The resulting paddle is pretty durable without becoming too heavy for even beginners to use with confidence. The blades are bolstered by three locking positions that can be adjusted to separate angles as you desire.
The water-resistant ring design can help prevent water flow along the shaft tube and keep it out of the kayak. Meanwhile, the paddle also benefits from a feathered blade design that will help you cut into the water relatively easily, even in churning rapids.
- Very easy to use overall
- More affordable versions are also available
- Does a great job of keeping the kayak dry
- A little pricier than most paddles
This carbon fiber paddle is a perfect fit for those looking for a high-quality piece of gear with smart design elements, rather than something super affordable.
This paddle comes in five colors and can be customized between several different lengths and materials.
- Five colors available
- Two sizes available: 84 inches and 96 inches
- Includes ergonomic foam grips
This paddle is one of the easiest to hold for long stretches of time on the market. The shaft is made with lightweight aluminum and features special foam grips that improve the overall durability of the shaft while making it easy to hold even in rapid waters. The paddle blades are normally made with fiberglass-filled nylon, resulting in a durable but lightweight kayaking tool.
You’ll be able to pick from two different sizes depending on your needs or preferences. The drip rings are positioned strategically to prevent water from getting into the kayak. We’d recommend going for one of the brighter colors available so it’s easier to see in case you drop it.
- Very comfortable to hold
- Doesn’t get too heavy for most
- Price can be affordable depending on the length
- Shaft grips aren’t that durable
Ultimately, this paddle will be a favorite for anyone whose fingers start to ache after gripping their paddle for hours on end.
10. Best Marine
$105.00 in stock
- PERFORMANCE: This 234cm paddle weighs 33.5oz & separates into 2 pieces
- ULTRA LIGHT: Carbon paddle shaft weighs less than fiberglass or aluminum
- COLORFUL DESIGNS: 6 fun & exciting color options to choose from
- COMFORTING: Reduces arm fatigue & makes kayaking fun & more enjoyable
- AFFORDABILITY: Similar quality to other carbon paddles at a better price
This premium kayak paddle is made with carbon fiber and reinforced fiberglass blades, making it both durable and lightweight.
- 234 cm
- Two materials used
- Only weighs 33.5 ounces
In terms of combining durability and light weight, you can’t get better than this. It weighs less than 34 ounces and costs less than $100, meaning you can balance budget and long-term durability without breaking the bank too much. The carbon fiber is phenomenally durable and even allows the paddle to float easily in water if you drop it.
The purchase also includes a tethering rope to help you secure the paddle to your kayak, along with excellent drip rings to keep your hands dry. These are a bit low for comfort but still do a decent enough job except in very cold water.
- Made with excellent materials
- Good blade design
- 5-foot leash keeps your paddle secure
- Drip rings are a little low
This paddle will be a favorite for those looking for the ultimate practical usability and security, both in terms of durability and the included leash.
11. Bending Branches
Bending Branches Angler
- BUILT IN TAPE MEASURE: Check the length of your catch with the tape measure (in both inches and centimeters) on the shaft. Don’t struggle with additional tools and items onboard, quickly measure your keeper right on your paddle.
- ADJUSTABLE CONSTRUCTION: This kayak fishing specific paddle easily separates into two pieces for compact travel and storage. A snug-fitting 3 hole snap-button ferrule is adjustable for feathering angles 0° and 60°, left or right hand control.
- PADDLE FURTHER AND LONGER: The fiberglass-reinforced blades offer a perfect blend of lightweight performance and durability, resulting in smooth paddling with less fatigue, even with a fully loaded kayak.
- HOOK-RETRIEVAL NOTCH: One blade has a convenient hook-retrieval notch so you can rescue your line and lure in case of a less-than-perfect cast. Get those pesky hooks free again with the hook retrieval system built right into the blade.
- MADE IN USA: Built in Northwestern Wisconsin and our company is staffed by paddling enthusiasts. Since 1982, Bending Branches has been producing paddles with a breakage rate of less than 0.03%.
This paddle comes in three colors and a built-in tape measure, ideal for checking the length of your catch and as a pairing tool for fishers.
- Includes fishing-specific features
- Can separate into two pieces
- Made with fiberglass and aluminum
This is one of the best kayak paddles for fishing, right off the bat. It easily separates into two pieces, but that doesn’t compromise the built-in tape measure that allows you to check the length of your caught fish in both centimeters or inches. This is a lot easier than bringing your own tools into the kayak.
It also comes with a three-hole snap button control to let you adjust your feathering angles between 0 and 60°. The blades are reinforced with fiberglass, and one of the blades features a hook retrieval notch. This allows you to rescue your line and lure if you don’t cast quite perfectly.
- Very durable overall
- Extremely valuable to fishermen thanks to compass and notch
- Easy to adjust
- Quite expensive compared to others
In terms of fishing kayak paddles, you won’t find much better than this, especially since it has fishing-specific features along with a generally durable and lightweight construction.
12. Backwater Paddles
- Available in 230-240 cm (90.5-94.5 in) & 250-260 cm (98.5-102.5 in) adjustable lengths
- ABS injected nylon blade
- Hook feature to grab your line, waterfowl decoy, dock, or tree limb
- Serrated teeth edge can be used to launch yourself off solid surfaces
- Drip rings included
This adjustable carbon fiber paddle is pricey but well worth the cost thanks to its phenomenal fishing features and exceptional durability.
- Has several fishing features
- Made of fiberglass, carbon fiber and plastic
- Made only in black colors
This paddle has it all: ABS injected nylon blades, fade-resistant plastic, and the carbon fiber shafts. This results in a lightweight but supremely durable tool that can get you out of tight spots and help you cut through water with ease. The drip rings are also pretty decent and close to the blades to facilitate maximum water rejection.
The blades are bolstered by serrated teeth that can help you launch off solid surfaces or cut through water more easily. It also includes a hook feature to help you grab your line or decoys if you plan to fish while kayaking.
- Has a hook feature for fishermen
- Is very durable but lightweight
- Floats very easily in the water
- Blades have serrated teeth, which provide several advantages
- Very expensive compared to most other paddles
This paddle will be the tool of choice for kayak fishermen who want something top-tier and who aren’t concerned too much about the final asking price.
How to Choose a Kayak Paddle
Choosing a kayak paddle doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s go over the main aspects of kayak paddle selection that we used when picking out the perfect products above and what you can use to narrow down your options.
First and foremost, you have to consider the blade choice of your kayak paddle. Most kayak paddle blades are asymmetrical, which are relatively narrow and short on one side. This creates an angle to the surface area of the water which makes it easier to cut through and generate traction for your kayak.
On the other hand, wider blades are better for powerful strokes that let you accelerate quickly. These may or may not be asymmetrical, although many asymmetrical wider blades exist these days.
Narrower paddle blades are better for longer stretches of paddling because of their lighter weight.
You should also consider the type of shaft that comes along with a kayak before finalizing a purchase. Shafts generally come into designs: straight or bent. Bent shafts aren’t actually curved but just have a kinked section that positions your hands at slight angles during the powerful portions of your strokes. This is great for minimizing discomfort or exhaustion in your joints for a day on the water.
But the majority of paddles are straight and are better for more powerful maneuvering and consistent performance. We prefer straight shafts because you can always rest or shift your grip to make things more comfortable as you paddle along the river.
Furthermore, don’t forget to consider small-diameter shafts. These are better if you have smaller hands or if you are looking for a kayak paddle for a kid or teenager.
Kayak Paddle Sizing
Paddle length obviously matters a great deal. But figuring out what works for you is surprisingly easy. A wider your boat is, the longer your paddle must be. Your own height can also contribute to this equation, with taller paddlers requiring longer paddles to compensate.
Generally speaking, most paddle sizes are between 220 cm to 230 cm. Boats that are 23 inches to 28 inches across (one of the most common kayak sizes) are great for paddles of this length.
Don’t forget to consider the paddle materials for any individual pick. Material is usually different between blades and shafts.
Blade materials often range from plastic or nylon to fiberglass, although more expensive ones will be carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is arguably the best material for both blades and shafts because it’s super light and very durable, while also affording excellent energy transfer with every stroke you make.
Similarly, carbon fiber shafts are fantastic. Aluminum is the more common material, however, and it’s both lightweight and durable. It’s also a lot more affordable, but it can become too hot or cold for comfort if you are in freezing water or the scorching sun. They also float quite well, which makes them easy to retrieve if you drop them in the water.
Ultimately, kayak paddles that have carbon fiber materials will be pricier overall but are better for experienced kayakers who want the best of the best. You can sometimes find fiberglass-reinforced paddles that aren’t quite as pricey but which manage to almost match the durability of carbon fiber.
Overall, the best kayak paddle for your needs will balance weight, length, and other features. For instance, we would definitely recommend that any kayak fishermen focus on the kayak paddles above which are made for that purpose.
Alternatively, you can go for something cheaper and lightweight if you’re a beginner and want a paddle that is easier to use above all other factors. Along with your kayak paddle you may also be interested in our reviews for comfortable seats as well as kayak covers for storage.
Whatever you end up choosing, we hope this guide has been helpful and wish you luck!