Best Kayak Paddles Reviews in 2019 – TOP Picks and Buyer’s Guide
Table of Contents:
- 1 Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
- 2 Werner Fiberglass Kayak Paddle Camano Premium
- 3 Bending Branches Sunrise Glass Kayak Paddle
- 4 Bending Branches Whisper Recreational Kayak Paddle
- 5 AQUA BOUND Manta Ray Carbon Paddle
- 6 SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle
- 7 Buyers Guide
Using the best kayak paddles is essential if you want to enjoy your time out on the water. Choosing the wrong type can lead to a lot of frustration, especially if it ends up breaking.
Here we take a look at the best paddles available to make sure you get the perfect kayak paddle for you.
Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
When a product comes as highly rated as this, you know that it must be made to the highest quality. Carlisle Paddle Gear have been able to make this paddle which comes in either a cloud or a sunrise color. Both will look great when you’re out there on the water.
The blades are asymmetrical with a slightly spooned shape. The lightweight fiberglass material they are made from will make for a paddle that is going to be very easy. It will also give you the ability to generate very powerful strokes.
One of the other advantages of fiberglass is that it offers up a little bend which can help while paddling. It is still stiff enough to get the required power but it going to be able to store up more energy and also give your joints a break.
The paddle comes in sizes of 220, 230 or 240cm depending on your height. Another fantastic advantage of this paddle is that it is ideal for both beginners and experts. As you get more comfortable on the water, you’re not going to have to change your paddle.
The Carlisle Magic Plus comes with a two-piece construction making it highly portable. Not only is it great for paddling but it also has a durable construction. This is a brilliant paddle and one that is going to last you for many years of great kayaking.
- Polypropylene blades
- Fiberglass shaft
- Asymmetrical blades
- Versatile design
- Two-piece construction
- Three lengths available
- Durable construction
- Highly portable
- Quality materials
- Highly rated
- Heavier than other paddles
Werner Fiberglass Kayak Paddle Camano Premium
One of the best aspects of this paddle is the sheer variety of colors that are available. This means that you’re going to be able to pick a design that suits you. They look great but there’s a lot more to this paddle than just a few nice colors and a stylish design.
It features a mid-sized blade that is going to be ideal for two main reasons. It is able to ensure you can give it a good amount of power but also allow you to easily use the paddle. It’s part of what makes it such an easy paddle to use.
The low weight also makes it very comfortable to use as does the fact that the blade gives you stable strokes. There are multiple sizes available, which allows you to find the right size for you to be comfortable on the water.
If you’re looking for the perfect beginner kayak paddle then this is going to be a great choice for you. It is ideal for touring to give you a relaxed time. If you want to be able to paddle without being tired, the pickup of this paddle is as easy as any other on the market.
For many, this is a paddle that changes their view about being on the water. While the weight might be a big positive, the paddle is also durable too. It is going to hold up well and should be able to last you for many years.
- Fiberglass paddle
- Various size options
- Dihedral blade
- Carbon blend shaft
- Numerous color options
- 79 pounds
- Stable strokes
- Easy to use
- Adjustable ferrule
- Can oscillate with a light pull
Bending Branches Sunrise Glass Kayak Paddle
Bending Branches have made many great kayak products. This is a great paddle from them. It has all the features that you need from a high-quality paddle to allow you to power through the water and achieve a comfortable cruising speed.
The paddle is available in either yellow or green but more importantly in sizes of 220, 230 or 240cm to ensure you are comfortable on the water. The composite ferrule that it has will give you both a tight fit but also an easy breakdown too.
The two-piece snap button that it has will be able to change your feathering angles between 0 and 60-degree angles at either left or right. It allows you to find the perfect balance in the water and helps you to get the right stroke.
The blades themselves are made from injection-molded fiberglass and nylon. The combination will be able to give you a still paddle to help you efficiently power through the water. The blade also prevents any flutter from happening too.
Overall this is a quality paddle which will make kayaking as easy as possible. It’s another that has a durable construction. It is easily portable and all these aspects make it a paddle that is very easy to own and use.
- Composite ferrule
- Two-piece snap button
- Rubber drip rings
- Injection-molded fiberglass
- Asymmetrical design
- Easy breakdown
- High portability
- Heavy-duty rings
- Can change feathering angles
- Highly efficient
- Can get hot under the sun
Bending Branches Whisper Recreational Kayak Paddle
Bending Branches have also been able to produce this brilliant kayak paddle that has a brilliant level of usability. It allows you to have a flutter-free stroke to ensure that your pulls through the water are going to be so smooth as possible.
Unlike other paddles, this is available in four different size options from 210cm all the way up to 240cm. That gives you the greatest possible opportunity to give you exactly what you need and be as comfortable as possible on the water.
The construction of the paddle is of the highest possible quality. It will be able to separate into two parts to make it highly portable. It also allows you to change the feathering angle from 0 to 60 degrees depending on your style.
The fiberglass reinforced blades are going to be able to give you an exceptional level of durability. They are able to do that while still giving you a lightweight paddle. The oval grips are also going to make the paddle very easy to use.
The shaft is made from durable aluminum and they are also covered in comfortable grips to prevent any blistering from happening. This is a high-quality paddle that is going to be suitable for many ranges of expertise and will last for a long time.
- Aluminum shaft
- Fiberglass blades
- Adjustable construction
- 2-piece construction
- Highly rated
- High durability
- Versatile design
- Adjustable construction
- Low locking power
AQUA BOUND Manta Ray Carbon Paddle
In terms of the highest quality material you can get, carbon stands out among the rest. It is lighter than other materials to reduce any arm fatigue but they also have a great deal of stiffness while still being a highly durable material.
What’s unique about this paddle is that you can get it with either a posi-lok system or a snap-button system depending on your preference. The two-piece construction will hold together very firmly and allow it to be easily transported.
It’s available in a great size range from 210cm to 250cm and therefore all kayakers will be able to have a paddle that is comfortable and easy to use. That ease of use is added too by the oval shaft that is going to be comfortable to grip.
On the shaft you are able to adjust the angle in 15-degree increments, allowing you to get the feathering that you want. It is able to have such a great feature without there being a wobble as the shaft has a secure fit that won’t lead to any frustration.
There are a few other great features of this paddle too. It has a ribbed shaft for a secure grip, an efficient dihedral blade, and carbon reinforced nylon blades. This is an excellent paddle that is perfect for those serious about their kayaking.
- Carbon reinforced nylon blade
- Dihedral shape
- Carbon fiber shaft
- Multiple size options
- Oval grip
- 2-piece construction
- Easily adjusted
- Lightweight design
- Comfortable to hold
- High strength
- The shaft can cause blisters
SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle
SeaSense have been able to produce an affordable kayak paddle which still has a high degree of quality. You are able to get it in colors of either orange or blue and it’s a highly stylish paddle that will look great while you’re out on the water.
The feathered blade design is going to allow you to power through the water and easily control your kayak. Those blades are made out of the highest quality and will allow you to have a high level of confidence in their performance and durability.
The adjustable grip guards are going to allow you to keep a good hold onto your paddle. It is another model with a two-piece construction to allow for easy storage and high portability. It makes them very easy to own wherever you are in the world.
They also have a high degree of adjustability too with three locking positions, depending on your preference. The paddle will also float while it’s in the water to avoid ever being worried about losing it when you’re kayaking.
It is not made out of the highest quality materials as the blades are plastic and the shaft is aluminum. Despite that, the paddle still remains light and easy to use. Despite being a more budget option, it’s able to deliver a very high level of performance.
- Feathered blade
- Two color options
- Adjustable grip guards
- Two-piece construction
- Three locking positions
- Able to float
- Easily portable
- Adjustable design
- Value for money
- Comfortable to hold
- Inferior materials
Type of Paddle
In terms of kayaking there are a few different paddle types that are going to be available:
Recreational paddle – These paddles are on the lower end of the performance scale as they are built with durability in mind and are generally a little heavier. These are ideal of casual kayakers who won’t be out on the water for too long. These types of the paddle are also great for fishing.
Touring paddle – These kayak paddles can be characterized by having a low weight and a comfortable grip. That’s as they are meant for longer kayak trips where you are going to be on still or slow moving water.
Performance paddle – Performance paddles sit at the higher end of the budget scale. They will be exceptionally light with a huge level of water sports performance. Sometimes durability is sacrificed in order to make them as easy to uses as possible.
Whitewater paddles – Paddles that are made specifically for whitewater usually have a mix of qualities from the other types of the paddle. They have to have both a very high level of durability and performance. They often have wider blades to be able to cope with the current.
It’s vital that you get the right paddle length to make sure that you are comfortable while you are out on the water. Thankfully most companies have a size guide that is going to be able to easily show what paddle is going to be right for you.
You might think that’s just height that plays a role in the best paddle length but it is also the size of your torso too. You need to take both measurements into account to determine which size of kayak paddle is going to work best for you.
There is a fairly simple way to see what length is going to be perfect for you. When stood by the paddle you should be able to reach up and curl your fingers over it. That’s a good guide that will let you know how comfortable it is.
Paddle blades will generally be made out of plastic, fiberglass or carbon. Plastic is the inferior material of the three but still can provide good performance. It is used in many budget paddles and is still a good option for those not looking to spend a lot or are only just starting out.
Carbon is seen as the best material in terms of performance but it is expensive and lacks as much durability as other options. It is still tough but many performance kayakers are happy to sacrifice a little durability for the increased level of performance that they can get.
Fiberglass is a good middle ground for those looking for a durable paddle with a very good level of performance. It has a good amount of flex while still remaining stiff. It also has a good level of durability and is good for serious kayakers.
With the kayak paddle shaft material, it mostly comes down to weight. Aluminum is very durable but is heavier than either fiberglass or carbon. For those looking for a basic kayak paddle that is going to be able to last for a long time then this would be a great option.
Fiberglass is a brilliant material for kayaking as we mentioned as it strikes a great balance of qualities. It has a very good level of durability but remains extremely light. You’ll get years of use out of it without much arm fatigue at all.
For the ultimate in lightweight performance, carbon would be the best option. The pick-up on these blades is extremely easy and therefore arm fatigue is vastly reduced. It also helps you to power through the water with higher speeds and greater agility.
The best for you – As you can see here, there are generally three tiers in terms of performance level. For those starting out on a lower budget then using a paddle that is made from the likes of plastic and aluminum would still be a great option.
But if you are more comfortable with kayaking, fiberglass is going to be able to satisfy all of your needs with the low weight and high performance that it has. And for those kayakers looking for the very ultimate in performance, however, then getting a carbon paddle is going to give you the best control on the water.
Paddle shaft shape and pieces
The paddle shaft will generally be oval in shape or round. A lot of this actually comes down to personal preference and whatever they feel most comfortable with. Everyone is different but a lot of people prefer to use the oval shape.
This is because they feel as though it gives them a better grip onto the shaft. This allows them to power through the water without your hands getting sore. As we said there though, it is a personal preference and a lot of people prefer the round shaft.
You also need to decide about whether you want a one or two piece kayak paddle. For most, this is a fairly simple decision. Two-piece paddles are a lot more portable and easier to own. The locking mechanisms they now have will prevent any wobbling.
The blade shape plays an important role in how you’re going to be able to move through the water. In terms of blade shape, they tend to either come in two styles of either dihedral or asymmetrical and they both have their advantages.
Dihedral blades are angled together which directs the water to the end of the blade to make for a highly efficient stroke. Asymmetrical blades are also great and are great for water contact as they are going to be able to take the angle of least resistance through the water.
Low angle vs high angle paddle
The size of the blade is also important to do and this depends on how you paddle. For those with a higher angle of paddling it would be the best idea to get wider blades. Conversely, for those with a lower action, it’s best to get thinner blades.
One of the most crucial features that you can have is the ability to feather your blades. If your blades were on the same angle as each other, when one is out of the water, the other will be acting as a sail to the wind around you.
If you’re traveling into a headwind then this is going to push your blade back which can make paddling a lot harder than it should be. The way to change this would be to have the ability to change the angle of your blades.
When you have your two blades at different angles, it means that when one is in the water, the other is more or less parallel to the water. This hugely reduces any wind drag and makes paddling in the wind a lot easier.
When it comes to the best paddle for kayak, a lot of it comes down to personal preference and also the situation that you’re going to be finding yourself in. You need to know what level of durability and you need and then consider other factors such as the type of water you plan to be traveling on. And for many of us the price matters, everyone will prefer to spend time on looking for a good cheap kayak paddle, rather than spending money invane.
Once you know what your needs are, you’re going to be able to pick the perfect paddle for you. The six paddles that we have looked at here have an incredible level of quality and would all do a great job. All that’s left to do is to pick the perfect model for you and head out on your next kayaking adventure.