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Now that we’re deep into summer, spending time on the water in activities such as kayaking is a popular family pastime. If you enjoy kayaking, and the benefits of doing it, you know the paddles can make a difference between a smooth ride or a difficult one. But finding the best kayak paddles when there are so many brands to choose from can be overwhelming work.

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We have compiled a list of the best kayak paddles available on the market today to help make your search easier.

Kayak Paddles – A Short Buying Guide

scoop best kayak paddles in the water

It is important to be informed about different types of kayak paddles and what to look for before choosing the best kayak paddle for your next trip.

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1. What Is a Kayak Paddle?

A kayak paddle consists of a long, thin shaft with a fin on each end, in contrast to canoe or rowboat oars that have a fin only on one end.

2. What Are the Types of Kayak Paddles?

There are two main categories of kayak paddles: low-angle paddles and high-angle paddles.

Low-angle paddles have horizontal thin blades and are a longer length. They are generally used for calmer waters and wider kayaks. They help you easily propel through water, which makes them perfect for kayak fishing, kayaking longer distances, or kayaking as a beginner.

Paddles falling under this category include recreational paddles and touring paddles.

High-angle paddles are wider and shorter than low-angle paddles. They are used for narrower kayaks and more challenging, moving waters such as oceans and rivers. They are generally for more experienced users, allowing for aggressive strokes to push the kayak forward faster.

Paddles falling under this category include performance paddles and whitewater paddles.

3. How Do I Choose the Right Size?

different kayak paddles leaning against a wall

You choose kayak sizing, the length, based on the height of the paddler. If you’re under 5’2″, you want a 220cm paddle. If you’re from 5’0″ to 5’8″, you want to get a 230cm paddle. And if you’re over 5’6″, you want to get a 240cm paddle.

As you can see, there is some overlap with each height range, so it’s important that you test out the paddles before purchasing them. There are also more specific measurement ranges for the different paddles; however, by following this general guide, you can find the right paddle for you more easily.

4. What Features Should I Look for?

When choosing the best kayak paddle, you want to first make sure you get the right length for your height, stroke style, and kayak width. Then be sure that your paddle is made of durable, rigid materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber for the handle and hard plastic or fiberglass for the fins, and that the welding is of good quality.

If you’re a beginner, seek a bent shaft paddle. A more experienced paddler may choose a straight shaft. Pay attention to the feathering, which ensures that they are different angles to allow you to paddle easier, and the ferrules, which allow you to rotate the paddle easily. Finally, make sure it’s easy to store, a color that’s easy to spot should you drop it in the water, and that it fits within your budget.

How We Reviewed

To come up with this list, we independently researched the different types, features, and brands of kayak paddles. We also read numerous user and expert reviews, both positive and negative. We compared each paddle based on its features, pros and cons, price, and where it can be bought so we could narrow down our list to these ten models of the best kayak paddles.

What We Reviewed

  • Werner Skagit Kayak Paddle
  • Crooked Creek C11390 Tournament Angler Fishing Kayak Paddle
  • Naviskin 5 Color Kayak Paddles
  • Bending Branches Angler Classic
  • Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
  • SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle
  • Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded
  • Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle
  • BENDING BRANCHES Angler Scout Kayak Paddle
  • AIRHEAD Kayak Paddle, 92″ With Curved Blade

Werner Skagit Kayak Paddle

Werner Skagit FG IM Fiberglass 2-Piece Paddle - Straight Shaft Yellow,...

Features

The Werner Skagit Straight Paddle is the first of the best kayak paddles. This is a mid-sized, low-angle paddle with blades made of fiberglass reinforced nylon with injection molding that makes them water-, wear-, and impact-resistant.

They are also colored, making them visible, and have drip rings. They have a smart view adjustable ferrule system that is both sturdy and durable, allowing you to adjust the paddle quickly. It comes in sizes 240cm to 260cm.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • High-quality construction
  • Durable
  • Smart-view adjustable ferrule system
  • Highly visible
  • Different sizing options

Cons

  • Ferrule springs fail after 1-2 years of use
  • Werner does not replace parts

Crooked Creek C11390 Tournament Angler Fishing Kayak Paddle

Crooked Creek Paddle Company C11390 Tournament Angler Fishing Kayak...

Features

The Crooked Creek C11390 Tournament Angler has a fiberglass shaft with a laser-engraved measurement system and poly-fiber composite dihedral blades, providing excellent performance. It has a dock hook blade cutout and a reinforced blade to help you pull yourself over to the edge and push-off.

It has a two-piece design, allowing for easy storage, and you can use the push-button feather settings to adjust the blade angle in three ways. You can get it in 8′, 9′, and 10′ size. It comes with drip rings and a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • Carbon fiber shaft
  • The measurement system and dock hook feature
  • Two-piece design
  • Adjustable blade angle
  • Three sizes
  • High-quality, durable construction
  • Two-year warranty
  • Cheap
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • The scale doesn’t line up if you offset the blade angles

Naviskin 5 Color Kayak Paddles

Naviskin Black 87-Inch Aluminum Shaft PP Blade 2 Pieces Construction...

Features

The Naviskin Kayak Paddles are some of the best kayak paddles if you need affordable yet high-quality paddles. They feature a feathered blade design with three locking positions and a locking mechanism that allow you to adjust the feathering according to your needs. It comes apart in two pieces for easy storage.

The aluminum shaft and plastic polymer blend to make it durable and lightweight, while the ribbing down the center reinforces the blade. It comes in two sizes, 87″ and 96″, and five different color options.

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Adjustable feathering system
  • Durable and lightweight construction
  • Five color options
  • Two size options
  • Great for beginners

Cons

  • The connections may come loose after long-term use
  • Grips are uncomfortable for some users

Bending Branches Angler Classic

BENDING BRANCHES Angler Classic 2-Piece Snap-Button Fishing Kayak...

Features

If you’re looking for paddles for kayak fishing, then the Bending Branches Angler Classic may be the best kayak paddles for you. They are made with fiberglass-reinforced blades that include a hook-retrieval notch. The shaft has an integrated tape measure that is marked with high visibility paint, and the ovalized grips allow for better comfort.

The 3-hole snap-button ferrule allows you to adjust the feathering angles so changing hands is simple. The paddles break into two pieces, allowing for easy storage, and come in a 260cm size.

Pros

  • Fiberglass-reinforced blades
  • Hook retrieval notch
  • Integrated tape measure
  • Adjustable feathering angles
  • Breaks into two pieces

Cons

  • Only comes in one size
  • Measurements are only accurate up to 50cm or 19.5 inches

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Paddle Gear Magic Plus Kayak Paddle (Sunrise, 230 cm)

Features

The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle features a flexible, lightweight wound fiberglass shaft and slightly spooned, asymmetrical blades made of glass-filled polypropylene, making the paddle impact-resistant. It has several angle adjustments and a flare on the handle to provide a better grip.

It comes apart into two pieces for easy storage and comes in three 220cm, 230cm, and 240cm sizes with varying prices for each size.

Pros

  • Wound fiberglass shaft
  • Spooned and asymmetrical blades
  • Impact-resistant
  • Angle adjustments
  • Flare on the handle provides comfort
  • Two-piece construction
  • Comes in three sizes

Cons

  • Flare may be too large for smaller hands
  • Can be hard to break into pieces
  • Water can get stuck in the paddle

SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle

SeaSense 84 in X-TREME II Kayak Paddle-Orange Yellow (008678)

Features

The SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle features an aluminum shaft with plastic blades, making it lightweight. It has a feathered blade with a support ridge design, providing precision, added strength, and speed. It also comes with adjustable drip guards.

The three locking positions allow you to fit more height, and it comes apart into two pieces. The paddle also floats, which allows it to stay close to you if you lose it. It comes in two sizes, 84″ and 96″, and two color options of orange/yellow or blue/white.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Feathered blade with support ridge
  • Adjustable drip guards
  • Three locking positions
  • Two-piece construction
  • Floats

Cons

  • The connection may be loose
  • Hard to break apart over time

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded

Shoreline Marine 96-Inch Rounded Kayak Paddle

Features

The Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddles are some of the best kayak paddles for all-day kayaking, with a corrosion-resistant aluminum shaft and a contour molded blade for easy propelling. You can adjust the blade angle with the three-position pin system, and the double drip guards help keep you dry.

The shaft features foam grips for added comfort and it breaks apart into two pieces for easy storage.

Pros

  • Aluminum shaft
  • Contour molded blades
  • Adjustable blade angle
  • Foam grips
  • Two-piece construction

Cons

  • Not highly visible due to the black color
  • The blades may get wobbly after extended or extreme use

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum 2-Piece Kayak Paddle (Black/Silver, 230...

Features

Carlisle has some more of the best kayak paddles with the Day Tripper Kayak Paddles, which feature a lightweight, anodized aluminum shaft and asymmetrical, durable polypropylene blades. The oval shaft construction allows for a firmer grip, and the pushbutton takedown allows you to feather the blades.

They can come apart into two pieces for easy storage and transport and come in three sizes: 220cm, 230cm, and 240cm. They are black and silver.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Oval shaft
  • Adjustable blade feathering
  • Two-piece breakdown
  • Three sizes

Cons

  • Does not float
  • No drip guards

BENDING BRANCHES Angler Scout Kayak Paddle

Bending Branches Angler Scout 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak Fishing...

Features

Bending Branches also has more of the best kayak paddles for fishing in the Angler Scout Kayak Paddle, which have fiberglass-reinforced blades with a hook-retrieval notch on one of the blades and a tape measurer on the shaft.

The three-hole snap-button ferrule is adjustable, and they separate into two pieces for easy storage and transport. They come in five sizes: 220cm, 230cm, 240cm, 250cm, and 260cm. They also come in either an orange or sage green color.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable
  • Hook-retrieval notch
  • Included tape measurer
  • Adjustable ferrule
  • Two-piece construction
  • Five size options

Cons

  • The measuring tape paint may rub off after extended use
  • The push-button may stick

AIRHEAD Kayak Paddle, Deluxe 2 sect, 92″, Curved Blade

AIRHEAD Kayak Paddle, Deluxe 2 sect, 84', Curved Blade

Features

Another affordable option for the best kayak paddles is the AIRHEAD Kayak Paddle, which has a lightweight aluminum shaft with curved plastic blades. It is seven feet long and features a three-position adjustable blade angle, drip rings, and foam hand grips for comfort. It breaks into two sections for easy transport and storage.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable blade angle
  • Drip rings
  • Foam hand grips
  • Two-section construction

Cons

  • Not rust-resistant
  • Not ideal for taller paddlers

The Verdict: The Best Kayak Paddles

After comparing these top ten models, we choose the Crooked Creek C11390 Tournament Angler as the best on the list. We love the high-quality, lightweight, and durable design and the included measurement system. We also like the hook blade cutout and reinforcement on the blade.

The two-piece design makes it easy to store and transport and the blade is adjustable in three ways. Because it also includes three sizes, drip rings, and a two-year warranty, we feel that these are definitely the best kayak paddles to take on your next excursion.