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The 10 Best Kayak Paddles in 2022

Last updated May 26, 2022| Gear

I bet the only period you thought about a paddle was when you found yourself on a kayak or canoe and wondered how you would move the thing along in the water. Kayak paddles are hand-held short oars used for water-borne propulsion or steering, and they are a paddler’s most important tools after the Personal Floatation Device (PFD). They are made from durable materials with different designs to appeal to other paddlers’ needs.

Paddles have come a long way from being a piece of stick or rod with flat ends. Modern lightweight paddles are designed to make paddlers feel like it is an extension of their bodies, changing their paddling experience radically. They are produced from aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber with broad, thin-edged paddle blades that slice through the water efficiently.

Choosing the best kayak paddle is as important as buying the right kayak. A good paddle must have a firm grip on your hands and be strong enough to take a good beating against rocks and logs. Additionally, you should consider your paddling skills and kayak type, the waters you plan to kayak, your budget, and how often you paddle.

The 10 Best Kayak Paddles in 2022

Do not worry if it all feels overwhelming. Our buying guide on the best kayak paddles in 2022 will give you great ideas about your paddle preferences, helping you choose the best paddle for your future watersports adventures. Our list of the best kayak paddles includes the best budget kayak paddles for paddlers looking for the best kayak paddles under $100.

Essential Tips When Buying a Kayak Paddle

Paddling is an essential part of the kayaking experience, and buying an unsuitable kayak paddle could seriously ruin it for you. If you want to buy the best kayak paddle, there are several factors to consider.

Kayak Paddle Blade Type

The different kayak paddle blade types offer different paddling experiences for seasoned paddlers and beginners. The different kayak paddle blades include symmetrical paddles, asymmetrical paddles, feathered and matched blades. Most beginners and white water kayakers prefer symmetrical blades, while a more seasoned paddler will typically opt for asymmetrical blades, which offer more control over the kayak.

Kayak Paddle Shapes

Understanding the different types of kayak paddles, their shapes, attributes, and how they handle the water is key to getting the correct kayak paddle.

Material

Kayak paddle shaft and blades consist of wood, aluminum alloy, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. These materials provide the kayak paddle with varying degrees of strength and efficiency. Fiberglass and carbon fiber are lightweight kayak paddles, with wood and aluminum alloy on the heavier side. The type of material your kayak is made from will determine its price, weight, and efficiency.

Kayak Paddle Shaft

This is the primary structure of a paddle and the power behind every stroke. Kayak paddle shafts are produced from various materials with varying thicknesses and shapes.

Kayak Paddle Length

It matters to have the correct paddle length as it could impact your paddling activity. A tip for getting the correct paddle length is adding between 8-12 inches to your height. Below is a chart indicating the kayak paddle length based on the paddler height and kayak width.

Paddler Height Kayak Width (Inch)
23” 23” – 28” 28” – 32” Over 32”
Less than 5” 82.6” 86.6” 90.5” 94.4”
5” – 5.6” 84.6” 86.6” 90.5” 94.4”
5.6” – 6” 86.6” 86.6” 90.5” 98.4”
Above 6” 86.6” 90.5” 94.4” 98.4”

Source: https://www.wernerpaddles.com/fit-guide/

Budget

Kayak paddle pricing ranges from affordable to very expensive, depending on your wallet size and viewpoint. Inexpensive but high-quality kayak paddles are available for as low as $30, while high-end kayak paddles can sell above $400. The price difference is primarily due to the materials used in the paddle construction. Fiberglass and carbon fiber kayaks are generally more expensive than wooden or aluminum.

The 10 Best Kayak Paddles in 2022

The Best Kayak paddles Under $100

#1. BKC KP224

316yr4hzjDL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: BKC
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 0.86 kg (1.9 Pounds)

The BKC KP224, is a heavy-duty and lightweight kayak paddle produced by the Brooklyn Kayak Company. It is an aluminum kayak paddle with three-position locking, which allows use by different size paddlers. The BKC 224 feels like part of your arm due to its lightweight aluminum shaft with built-in dual anti-slip grips providing exceptional control even in rough conditions. The feathered blades are contour-molded for high performance, and they are designed to withstand prolonged use in various water types. The BKC KP224 is easy to use, making it one of the best kayak paddles for beginners and a worthy contender for the best kayak paddle under $100.

Product highlights:

  • Adjustable long 86” length shaft with three-position locking for different size paddlers.
  • Contour-molded blade design offers fast speed and more control.
  • Strong aluminum construction for years of reliable service.
  • The paddle disassembles into two pieces for storage and transport.

$33.97

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Last update: 7 hours ago

#2. Bending Branches Whisper

31U3tTqMLSL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Bending Branches
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 1.08 kg (2.4 Pounds)

Embrace the spirit of adventure with one of the best kayak paddles made by the Bending Branches, a renowned maker of world-class paddles since 1982. The Whisper kayak paddle is an excellent entry-level paddle for beginners or recreational kayakers, and it delivers outstanding value and superb performance at an incredible price. Its reliable aluminum construction is highly durable, and this paddle has a few ingenious features commonly found on more expensive paddles. The Whisper kayak paddle is perfect for a long day of tooling around the lake or slow-moving river with family and friends. It is probably the best paddle under $100, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a paddle offering similar performance levels at the same price.

Product highlights:

  • Strong aluminum shaft with comfortable 3M Versafit grips for excellent handling feel.
  • A tight-fitting three-hole adjustable snap-button.
  • Divides into two separate pieces for travel or long-term storage.
  • Fiberglass reinforced blades for efficiency and speed.

$79.95 $84.95

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-6%
Last update: 6 hours ago

#3. Pelican Poseidon

41XcLdfb4GL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Pelican
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 0.95 kg (2.1 Pounds)

The Pelican Poseidon offers exceptional performance and value that ranks it among the best kayak paddles available. It is made from a rugged aluminum construction with PVC sleeves or PU insulation coating protecting your hands during cold or hot weather. The Poseidon kayak paddle is designed for low-angle paddlers with narrow fiberglass coated blades allowing paddlers to go longer distances with less effort. The paddle snaps into two distinct pieces for storage and transport with a unique push-button system. The Pelican Poseidon is hard to miss if you are looking for the best kayak paddle under $100. Check one out right away.

Product highlights:

  • Ideal length for recreational paddlers under 6-feet.
  • Oval-shaped shaft, drip rings to keep your hands dry, and 0-65O angle adjustment.
  • The indexed shaft allows a more relaxed grip which reduces fatigue, allowing you to have more fun.
  • All-weather two-piece aluminum shaft paddle.

$37.99 $39.99

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-5%
Last update: 6 hours ago

#4. Perception Universal

31uzjPE7wnL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Perception kayaks
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 0.95 kg (2.1 Pounds)

Finding the perfect balance of performance and fun in a kayak paddle can be challenging. But Perception Kayaks seems to have pulled off the feat with the Perception Universal kayak paddle. Perception Kayaks developed the 2-piece aluminum shaft kayak paddle with fiberglass reinforced blades for recreational kayak line. It is considered one of the best kayak paddles, with several reviewers ranking the Universal kayak paddle as the best kayak paddle under $100. Paddlers love the dihedral blade shape, which provides stable and smooth strokes in calm, choppy, or rough waves. Sounds impressive, right? There is more; you can take the lightweight Perception Universal kayak paddle with you on your adventures thanks to its 2-piece removable shaft with built-in anti-corrosive ferrule and 3-position feathering.

Product highlights:

  • Fiberglass reinforced blades provide excellent durability and strength.
  • Suitable for use in calm and windy conditions.
  • 3-position feathering (L60/0/R60)

$89.99

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Last update: 6 hours ago

#5. Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

41bpp4GtyfL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Carlisle kayaks
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Weight: 1.13 kg (2.5 Pounds)

Several paddlers consider the Carlisle magic Plus kayak paddle the best kayak paddle under $100, and we are inclined to agree with them. This lightweight paddle features an efficient asymmetrical blade design for torque and wrist fatigue reduction while simultaneously delivering more powerful strokes. The fiberglass shaft design is a perfect tool for paddlers who love to cruise all day on the lake and desire a lightweight paddle allowing them to keep paddling for more extended periods.

Product highlights:

  • Durable and lightweight fiberglass shaft design enables powerful strokes in all weather conditions.
  • The Ovalized shaft enhances hand grip.
  • Glass-reinforced blades provide effortless and effective strokes.
  • Blades can be feathered at a 60O angle or adjusted for right or left-handed control.

$114.99

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Last update: 6 hours ago

#6. Bending Branches Splash Kids Kayak Paddle

311GUkI+abL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Bending Branches
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Weight: 0.9 kg (1.99 Pounds)

Explicitly designed specifically for kids, the Bending Branches Splash Kids kayak paddle allows children to experience the thrills of paddling without exhausting themselves using heavier adult paddles. It has a lightweight 2-piece, 78-inch aluminum shaft proportioned to fit small hands and allows optimum self-propulsion for kids on the lake or pond.

Product highlights:

  • Adjustable ferrule enabling paddle blades feathering at 60O degrees left or right.
  • Durable injection-molded polyethylene blades.
  • The shaft breaks into two separate pieces to enable convenient transport and compact storage
  • Shaft index areas indicate where kids can hold for a firmer grip.
  • Integrated drip rings protect kids from water draining from blades.

$179.96 $224.95

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-20%
Last update: 2 hours ago

The Best Kayak Paddles Under $200

#1. Aqua-Bound Sting Ray

318qGeFcJpL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Aqua Bond
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Weight: 0.68 kg (1.51 Pounds)

The Sting Ray lightweight carbon fiber kayak paddle is Aqua Bond’s most popular paddle and, dare we say, one of the best paddles we have reviewed. The paddle shaft is made from highly durable 100% carbon fiber for extra strength, and the abXII fiberglass reinforced nylon blades have unlimited ferrule angles for seamless, flutter-free strokes. The unique construction materials of the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray kayak paddles provide exceptional strength and reliability in all conditions, and the patented Posi-Lok ferrule system offers paddlers more comfortable settings allowing them to make smoother and more efficient strokes with less effort.

Product highlights:

  • The 2-piece oval carbon fiber shaft separates into two for compact transport and storage.
  • Dual button-activated Posi-Lock ferrule system with corrosion-free mechanism and allows for infinite blade feathering positions.
  • Carbon abXII blades are lighter and more durable glass-reinforced paddle blades.
  • Oval paddle reinforced blades

$179.95 $189.95

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-5%
Last update: 6 hours ago

#2. YakGear Backwater Assassin

31Z8dQkkgpL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Backwater Paddle Company
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 2.26 kg (5 Pounds)

The Backwater Assassin kayak paddle is designed for ultimate paddling and fishing adventures. The high-performance kayak paddle with the serrated blade edges is not intended for leisurely afternoon lake paddling but for challenging environments where your will to push and persevere is tested. The Assassin is available in two adjustable lengths with the unique “hook and teeth” blade package offering unmatched versatility and performance.

Product highlights:

  • It is designed for high and low-angle paddlers.
  • Rugged, large ABS injected paddle blades can withstand hard use in any environment.
  • 13.7-inch fiber paddle extension available for extra length.
  • Available in two adjustable lengths; 90.5-94.5 inches and 98.5-102.5 inches.
  • Blade hook design helps grab stuff like fishing lines, waterfowl decoy, e.t.c; out of the water.

$149.99

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Last update: 7 hours ago

The Best Kayak Paddles Under $400

#1. Aqua Bound Whiskey

- Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Backwater Paddle Company
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 0.73 kg (1.62 Pounds)

The hand-crafted 2-piece straight shaft Aqua Bound Whiskey kayak paddle is the best kayak paddle for high-angle paddlers who regularly perform long, energetic trips. It has a durable compression molded carbon T-700 shaft with a multi-laminate fiberglass resin and a lightweight foam inner core. An extra feature of the Whiskey kayak paddle is the carbon Posi-Lock Ferrule corrosion-free mechanism that locks securely to provide infinite feathering angles for the paddler.

Product highlights:

  • Award-winning design (PaddleTV’s Best In Class High-Performance Kayak Paddle)
  • Super lightweight,high-angle performance.
  • 100% carbon Posi-Lok refute system.
  • Rugged T-700 carbon fiber shaft.

$374.95

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Last update: 6 hours ago

#2. Werner Camano Fiberglass

31lMm2VGnJL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Werner Paddles
  • Material: Carbon
  • Weight: 0.9 kg (2 Pounds)

The sleek and functional design of the Werner Camano fiberglass 2-piece kayak paddles has earned a nomination from the Sea Kayaker Magazine for “the best kayak paddle for everyday touring.” Camano fiberglass paddle has a premium continuous weave fiberglass shaft construction that combines durability with high-performance, making it the best-selling kayak paddle in Werner Paddles. The Camano’s low-angle fiberglass blades offer an excellent balance between swing weight and value with striking graphics and a dihedral design, allowing smooth and effortless paddling while maintaining stability.

Product highlights:

  • Highly visible translucent mid-size fiberglass laminate blades fit different paddlers and are available in solid or HD Graphics gradients.
  • Available in straight or bent carbon blend shaft models with standard or small diameters.
  • Smart View Adjustable ferrule allows feathering angle in 15° increments from 0°-75° right or left-handed.
  • 20.4 X 6.2 inch, 650 sq inch advanced dihedral paper face.
  • Two-piece shaft separation for compact storage and transport.
  • Drip rings allow paddlers to keep their hands dry.

$299.00

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Last update: 6 hours ago

Conclusion

Our final advice is to consider your personal preferences when checking out the paddles in this product guide. Nothing beats trying out a paddle to feel its character in the water. Try it before purchase by borrowing the specific paddle model from a friend or your local store for a day out on the lake and familiarize yourself with the paddle feel and performance. You can go ahead and drop your cash if all goes well. Always check the return policy on the kayak paddle to ensure you can return it if you are not pleased with the product.

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