Let’s be honest for a second. You aren’t going to make it very far in your kayak without an excellent paddle to get you there. While you could deal with any paddle or even slowly use your arms to make it through the water, it’s not going to be a lot of fun to do either of those things. That means you need to find a paddle that fits your needs. You aren’t necessarily going to be happy with the same paddle as your neighbor or best friend
The good news is that there is a paddle out there that offers exactly what you need. All you have to do is consider a few things about where you kayak, how you kayak, and what your body type is to narrow down the hundreds of options on the market. We wanted to make that even easier by showcasing the top kayak paddles on the market for 2019. Whether you choose one of the options below or find your own, you’ll have the information you need to know it is going to work with your favorite kayaking activities.
In addition to looking at 11 of the best paddles out there, we’ll also have a look at what factors go into the best paddles and what you should look for when searching. But first, let’s go over the top paddles and what puts them above and beyond the other options on the market.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Kayak Paddle
- 2 Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
- 3 SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle
- 4 SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle
- 5 Aqua Bound Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle
- 6 Leader Accessories Marine Aluminum Kayak Paddle
- 7 Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle
- 8 Best Marine & Outdoors Kayak Paddle
- 9 Attwood 11768-2 Asymmetrical 2-Piece Heavy-Duty Kayak Paddle
- 10 Bending Branches Angler Classic
- 11 Bending Branches Whisper Aluminum
- 12 Carlisle Predator Angler Fiberglass Paddle
- 13 Factors to Think About When Choosing a Kayak Paddle
- 14 Choosing Your Perfect Kayak Paddle
The Best Kayak Paddle
Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle comes in three different sizes and two colors including a gorgeous orange and yellow or a light blue. This paddle is made of fiberglass, which is why it weighs very little and remains durable. That also means you can paddle all day long without your arms getting overly tired.
The blades are made of glass-filled polypropylene which is also lightweight while being extra sturdy. These are materials that won’t break or get damaged no matter where you are paddling. When we say this is a light paddle, we aren’t kidding. It weighs less than two pounds. This is a paddle that can be used by professionals who want the best of the best.
- Very lightweight but constructed of durable materials
- Blades separate for easy transportation and storage
- Spooned blades offer an efficient and smooth stroke
- Water blocking rings may need replacement from time to time
SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle
The kayak paddle by SeaSense offers a feather blade design and comes in blue and white or orange and yellow. It is a two-piece paddle, so it comes apart for easy storage and assembly. The paddle shaft features a support ridge for added strength which is uncommon on other kayak paddles.
This is a highly versatile paddle that can be locked into three different positions. It also has two separate hand grips to ensure the best comfort when on the lake or river. Another plus that you should expect with the best kayak paddles is that if you happen to lose grip of the paddle and drop it into the water, it floats.
- Features convenience and comfortable hand grips
- Offers three separate locking positions
- Floating paddle prevents chance of loss
- May not be suitable for long trips or heavy use
SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle
Those looking for an affordable paddle to learn kayaking will love the price and feature set on the SeaSense X-Treme II. This is an entry-level recreational kayak paddle which has all the functionality you need as a beginner. The foam grips and point of connection might not be quite quality enough for a professional, but for those looking for a bargain, this is an excellent place to start your kayaking journey.
Adjusting this paddle is simple and easy for anyone. It also has a locking mechanism to keep things together while paddling. However, this is a rather heavy paddle that some may be put off by, especially when going on long tours. Those who take short trips may not notice this as much. The blades are durable and hard to damage so that won’t be a problem.
- Economical option perfect for those on a budget
- Features a durable blade construction
- Great option for beginning paddlers
- Foam grips may lead to some slipping
Aqua Bound Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle
The Aqua Bound Manta Ray paddles come in various sizes to fit the needs of any kayaker. The paddles look great but go farther by offering the comfort and performance that you are looking for. This is a model of paddle that can really show what different quality can make. It has a two-piece construction with a snap button for easy assembly and disassembly.
This paddle is created of carbon and weighs less than four pounds based on that. This means that maneuvering the paddle is easy, even if you go on a long trip. The blades of the paddle are carbon reinforced. This paddle also offers a high angle which may take some time to get used to for some people.
- Sturdy construction while remaining lightweight
- Compact and simple to transport
- Features a high angle operation
- Blades cannot be taken away from the shaft
Leader Accessories Marine Aluminum Kayak Paddle
Leader Accessories is a company that has been putting out outdoor products for many decades. Their products are typically long lasting and durable, and this kayak paddle is no different. This paddle comes in two sizes and an assortment of five colors to handle the aesthetics of any taste. It offers a two-piece construction for easy transport and storage.
One of the great features of this paddle, especially for those who are beginners, is that the blades are molded, lightweight plastic. That means that controlling the paddles is a simple act. The paddle also can be feathered for lefthanded or righthanded control. This is a great paddle for anyone who wants an inexpensive, simple paddle that can be used straight out of the box.
- Lightweight, compact, and easy to store
- Created out of high-quality materials
- Offers a good value for the price
- Plastic blade material feels a bit low quality
Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle
The Werner Camano kayak paddle has a lightweight feel with a quality blade design which ensure effortless, smooth strokes through the water. The fiberglass laminate used on the blades offers a great aesthetic as well as high performance. The adjustment system is easy to use and finding the correct blade angle takes only a few seconds.
The adjustment system makes the paddle feel secure and there is little play noticeable in the shaft. It’s one of the lightest paddles you will find out there, which is fantastic for those who are going long distances. The paddle is quite durable and is right for those who want the ultimate in performance but don’t mind paying a little bit extra for that power and strength.
- Lightweight and easy to use paddles
- Blades created to offer high level of performance
- Features a secure locking mechanism
- Blades can wear quickly is not treated well
Best Marine & Outdoors Kayak Paddle
This is a quality performance paddle that is designed for use by recreational and casual kayakers. The symmetrical blades are great for use in flat waters and still lakes. The Best Marine paddle offers three different positions to cater to both offset and straight blade styles. The shaft comes apart to accommodate easy storage and drip guards prevent you from getting water in your boat or on yourself.
While this brand is new compared to many others, it is already getting great reviews. While most fiberglass and aluminum shafts are often heavy, this one is still pretty light. It also is simple to grip without foam or rubber grips. This adds to a relaxing kayaking experience for beginner or intermediate kayakers.
- Made of high-quality materials throughout
- Light and smooth paddle shaft for convenience
- Features adjustable positioning
- Only comes in a single length
Attwood 11768-2 Asymmetrical 2-Piece Heavy-Duty Kayak Paddle
The Attwood 11728-2 is a two-piece heavy-duty kayak paddle that was built to create efficient stroke performance while preventing loud noises and sounds when blades flutter in the water below. This paddle is created from aluminum that is plastic engineered along with foam grips. The paddle offers asymmetrical spoon blades and a breakdown style for ease of transport and storage.
This is a paddle that has the quality to last for years. Those who want dependability along with little need for maintenance will find this is an excellent choice. It works just as well for beginners as it does for experienced kayakers. The paddle gives a nice selection of features for the price and well-loved by those who want good performance for a reasonable price.
- Features comfort grips on shaft
- Offers three different feathering options
- Drip rings prevent paddle slipping out of your grip
- Feels more fragile than some kayak paddles
Bending Branches Angler Classic
The first thing to know about the Bending Branches Angler Classic is that it’s an affordable kayak paddle compared to many other similar models. It offers exceptional performance and quality and even adds an integrated hook system which you won’t find on many other paddles. This is something typically only seen on much more expensive paddles.
The blade for this paddle is made of fiberglass, which means it’s lightweight but quite strong. This type of blade can last a long time making it an investment that pays you back over the long run. This blade is durable and can stand up to things like rocks that might destroy other paddles of the same price.
- Construction offers strength and durability
- Available in several different paddle lengths
- Comes with an integrated hook system
- May not be comfortable for those who use carbon foam blades
Bending Branches Whisper Aluminum
The Bending Branches Whisper kayak paddle is an affordable and durable option that happens to be popular with rental shops. Even beginners or those who are a bit more careless with their equipment aren’t likely to damage or destroy this high-quality paddle. While the plastic blades are more flexible than with some paddles, they’re also more durable just like the paddle itself.
This paddle makes a great choice for a family or introductory kayaker who wants a paddle that will stand the test of time. The adjustments are easy to make using a snap button system. There are also three angle options including a 0-degree offset, right bias 45-degree angle, and left bias 45-degree angle. The Whisper also offers black grips so you don’t lose touch with the paddle while out on the water.
- Extremely affordable kayaking paddle
- Offers a quality locking mechanism
- Features a durable blade construction
- Aluminum shaft is fairly heavy
Carlisle Predator Angler Fiberglass Paddle
Just like the Magic Plus paddle, the Predator Angler by Carlisle is a fantastic tool to have with you on your kayak. It is a well-performing, affordable, and durable kayak paddle with an exciting aesthetic design. The paddle comes in urban camo, traditional camo, and lime camo colorings. The paddles not only look great, but they also offer safety since they can be seen from far away.
This is a lightweight paddle with a shaft made of fiberglass which means that even a long trip won’t leave your arms fatigued. It’s available in several different sizes and comes in two pieces so you can easily store and transport it. One of the extra features of the paddle is a hook retrieval system included in the blade which is used to lure in or pull in a fishing line.
- Lightweight yet durable construction
- Works well for professional and recreational kayaking
- Exquisitely designed paddle
- One of the most expensive paddles on the list
Factors to Think About When Choosing a Kayak Paddle
There are a few different things to think about when choosing a new kayak paddle. The kayak you are using is important to consider, as is the paddling style you prefer, what sort of stroke you want, whether you prefer a two-piece paddle and more. This might sound complicated but we’ll break it down so you know exactly which paddle meets your needs.
Type of Kayaking You Do
You need to think about what sort of kayak you will be using when considering the paddle to purchase. There are many kayak types like slalom, whitewater, sea, marathon, surf, and touring. Each is better using a specific sort of paddle. There are design differences that can be better for one type than the other. For example, touring kayakers want a longer paddle than a whitewater paddle. Those in gentle waters will do well with a touring kayak paddle. Those who want to go fishing may want special features like hooked blades or measurement marks on the paddle.
Length of the Kayak Paddle
When choosing the right length of paddle, you want to take into consideration your height and how wide your kayak is. There are many charts available that can give you an idea of which will best fit your needs. As a rule of thumb, those paddling kayaks under nine foot should choose a shorter paddle while those with kayaks more than 12 feet long should choose a longer paddle.
Material Used for Blade
One of the most important parts of your paddle is the blade. The materials used in its construction have an effect on the price and the weight. There are three major types of paddle materials: fiberglass, carbon fiber, and plastic. The top end paddles are made from carbon fiber which is light and has less flex. Fiberglass blades are a little heavier than carbon but lighter than plastic. Plastic blend blades are most often found in beginner’s paddles due to their inexpensiveness and the fact that they are quite durable. However, they have a lot of flex and may be hard to use over long distances.
One Piece vs. Two Piece Paddles
Most paddles on the market will come in one single piece or two pieces, so you need to decide which is the right option for yourself. The two-piece option is easier to store since it breaks down into a smaller configuration for transport. However, the extra joint makes it more likely to break or for you to feel a shake while using it. A one-piece paddle doesn’t have this issue, but it can be difficult to store in a car.
Shaft Material Choice
The materials used to create the shaft will have an effect on how that paddle performs and what its weight is going to be. Aluminum tends to be the least expensive option, but it is heavier and can transfer the temperature of the hot sun or cold water. Fiberglass shafts are more expensive, but the paddle offers a higher level of performance and tends to be lighter. Carbon fiber shafts are the lightest paddle option but the most expensive. This material is rigid and offers a highly responsive stroke.
Choosing Your Perfect Kayak Paddle
As you can see, there are hundreds of paddles on the market to choose from. This article should guide you toward finding the one that fits your needs and your budget at the same time. Those who are just starting out with kayaking may want to begin with a budget-friendly model and move up later, while those who are more experienced may want to consider the special features of various paddles. These 11 paddles are likely to offer something for everyone.