How To Choose A Best Kayak Paddle

How To Choose The Best Kayak Paddles & Top 7 Picks To Buy 2024

Locating the very best kayak paddle to the paddling style is almost as important as finding the right kayak.

Should you decide on a paddle that isn’t the right duration, uncomfortable to maintain or overly heavy, you will have a challenging time maneuvering your kayak.

There are lots of factors when picking your kayak paddle. To help with your decision we made this guide on the best way to choose a kayak paddle and assessed the very popular paddles and give you our top picks.

Best Kayak Paddles

You may wish to consider a set of paddling gloves, they will help alleviate discomfort and calluses.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Kayak Paddles

  1. Bending Branches Angler Classic Kayak Paddle
  2. Werner Camano 2 PC Straight Paddle
  3. Cannon Kayak Paddle with Black Fiberglass
  4. Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle
  5. Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle
  6. SeaSense X-1 Kayak Paddle
  7. Aquabound Sting Ray Touring Kayak Paddle

Our reviews of the best rated kayak paddles with our comparison table and buyers direct will help you choose the best paddle.

Kayak Paddle Reviews

1. Bending Branches Angler Classic Kayak Paddle

Bending Branches Angler Classic Kayak Paddles


Bending Branches was launched in 1982 and have over 35 year experience making composite paddles. To this day they still make their paddles in Wisconsin to have complete control over quality.

The Angler classic proceeds Bending Branches tradition of quality products and the Classic doesn’t disappoint.

One of its best features is the 3 button snap ferrule that allows you to correct the angle between 0 and 60 degrees.

There is also an upgrade to a ferrule with unlimited adjustment angles plus it allows you to correct the paddle length.

This can be a worthwhile upgrade if you intend on utilizing the paddle with multiple kayaks or more than 1 person will use the paddle.

The Bending Branches had the catalyst in mind when producing the Classic. The blade has a hook retrieval system on it and a measuring tape on the shaft to verify your grab and see whether its legal. If you’re planning on fishing you will definitely appreciate these features.

For paddlers considering extra visibility, one of those available paddle colors is orange together with the traditional green.

While you do not have to be a fisherman to enjoy this paddle, in my own opinion this is the best kayak paddle for fishing.

If you can spend the extra money, Bending Branches also has the Angler Pro Paddle that has a carbon fiber shaft and multi-laminate fiberglass blades.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Carbon fiber
  • Blade: Fiberglass-reinforced
  • Design: 2-Piece
  • Lengths: 220cm to 260cm
  • Weight: 27.5 oz

2. Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle


The Werner Camano paddle is a high-end paddle that comes with a carbon fiber shaft for the ultimate in strength and making it a very lightweight kayak paddle.

It is incredibly durable that will endure the harshest of misuse. The blades are of an advanced design that are made from impact resistant glass and nylon for durability and efficient paddling.

The dihedral shape of the paddle provides you smooth and steady paddling, especially important for long distance paddling.

The Camano is offered in a wide range of bright colors, to not just suite your design but enhances safety with increased visibility to power ships.

For those kayakers that are eager to spend a little bit more cash, the Werner Camano is the ideal carbon fiber kayak paddle.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Carbon blend
  • Blade: Fiberglass
  • Design: 2-Piece
  • Lengths: 220cm to 260cm
  • Weight: 24.5 oz

3. Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle


The Cannon paddle is most likely the perfect entry level kayak paddle. It features an aircraft level, anodized aluminum shaft that is very lightweight and durable.

The rotating shaft has 3 offset angles so you can adjust it to a preferred paddle angle and is a two-piece design.

The grips are ergonomically designed for comfort, therefore all day paddling is no problem.

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The shafts have heavy-duty drip rings to keep the water from running down the shaft to keep your hands dry.

They are also made in the united states, so you know that you’re getting a quality paddle that will last you a long moment.

For less than $70, it is most certainly the very best kayak paddle for the money and is solid option.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Aluminum
  • Blade: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
  • Design: 2-Piece
  • Lengths: 220cm to 240cm
  • Weight: 39 oz

4. Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle

Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddles


After using my Advanced Elements inflatable kayak for a little while I wanted to upgrade to a better paddle and figured I’d give their paddle a go.

This is a really lightweight paddle (2.7 Pounds) with an aircraft grade aluminum blades and shaft made from nylon that are reinforced with glass fibers.

This is paddle comes into 4 segments and packs down to 25 inches, for the best in portability.

This makes a fantastic match to my inflatable kayak since it fits easily in the trunk of my car.

The blades because you can see are Asymmetrical for longer thrust in low paddle angles. The paddle is medium length of 91 inches or 231 cm, so that’s probably its only drawback is that is offered in just 1 size.

This shouldn’t be an issue unless you have an extremely broad kayak. I believe that the Advanced Components is the best compact kayak paddle.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Aluminum
  • Blade: Glass filled Nylon
  • Design: 4-Piece
  • Lengths: 231cm
  • Weight: 43 oz

5. Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddles


The Magic Plus paddle is a good choice for touring paddle. It has a durable, lightweight fiberglass shaft and polypropylene blades reinforced with glass fibers.

These blades are extremely tough and will take a beating from hitting rocks and other barriers or pushing off once you get trapped.

The blades are offered in high visibility orange and blue giving you more visibility for added safety if you’re around power boats.

It is provided in 3 lengths, 220, 230 and 240 cm and weighs in at just 2.5 pounds and comes apart into two pieces for portability.

The small bend at the shaft makes it easier on your wrists while still giving you plenty of power in your stokes.

Carlisle makes quality water diversion gear and the Magic Plus is a good choice for a kayak paddle and in my opinion the very best kayak paddle under $100.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Fiberglass
  • Blade: Glass-reinforced polypropylene
  • Design: 2-Piece
  • Lengths: 220cm to 240cm
  • Weight: 8oz

6. SeaSense X-1 Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-1 Kayak Paddle


The SeaSense is our cheapest encounter recommendation. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean its not a great paddle.

It features a two piece, aluminum shaft that is both lightweight and strong with molded, lightweight plastic blades. The grips are made from a comfortable foam that makes it a fantastic choice for an all day paddle.

The SeaSense paddle comes with rubber drip guards to keep your hands dry and the blades can be adjusted to 3 different positions so that it will fit your paddling style.

With its bargain price and solid performance, the SeaSense is the best kayak paddle for beginners. It is a great entry level paddle that makes a great spare.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Aluminum
  • Blade: Plastic
  • Design: 2-Piece
  • Lengths: 213cm
  • Weight: 8oz

7. Aqua Bound Sting Ray Touring Kayak Paddle

Aquabound Sting Ray Touring Kayak Paddle


When you’re trying to find a touring kayak paddle that the Aqua Bound Sting Ray Carbon should be on very top of your list. The Sting Ray is a great touring paddle, it is lightweight and weighs just 28 3/4 ounces.

You will be hard pushed to find a lighter paddle at any given cost. Sting Ray achieves this with a 100% carbon fiber shaft combined with a remarkably tough and durable carbon reinforced nylon resin blade.

The carbon fiber blade is significantly thicker and stronger than paddles that use fiberglass reinforced blades.

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With the paddle being lightweight, it creates paddling all day not as tiring. The Sting Ray Carbon is specifically designed for slow moving rivers or horizontal lakes, this isn’t a paddle you wish to shoot white water rafting!

The patented Sting Ray Posi-Lok ferrule is also composite therefore it is corrosion resistant and provides infinite feathering angles. The Sting Ray Carbon comes in 5 lengths, from 210cm into 250cm and can be a two piece design.

There’s also a 4 piece Sting Ray, it costs a bit more but if you want a more compact paddle, this can be a better option. All of Aqua Bound paddles are made in their factory in Osceola, WI for quality control.

I think the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray is undoubtedly the very best flying kayak paddle, highly suggested.

Key Features:

  • Shaft: Carbon
  • Blade: Carbon-reinforced abXII Nylon
  • Design: 2-Piece
  • Lengths: 210cm to 250cm
  • Weight: 43 oz

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

  • Paddle Length
  • Kayak Width
  • Fitness
  • Paddling Style
  • Blade Materials
  • Blade Shape
  • Paddle Shaft

Best Kayak Paddle

Paddle Length

Finding the correct length for you and your kayak depends on a multitude of factors such as your height, paddling fashion, and the width and height of your kayak.

A general rule to consider is that the taller you are, the longer paddle a paddle you will need.

How Broad Is Your Your Kayak

Here is a Fast reference with average kayak widths:

  • Recreational Kayak: These kayaks are usually from 26″ to 30″ inches wide. They are normally short and wide.
  • Performance Kayak: Are generally from 19″ to 22″ inches broad. Performance kayaks are normally longer and narrower.
  • Whitewater Kayak: With a whitewater kayak that the paddlers elevation is the most important element.
  • Touring Kayak: A touring kayak have a width from 22″ to 25″ inches. Touring kayaks are much like performance kayaks but with much more storage capacity.

If you are a newcomer recreational kayaker then the diameter of your kayak is the most important element for choosing a paddle. If on the other hand you are into sea or touring kayaking, then your paddling style and physical fitness will be much more important element in your choice.

A wider kayak will call for a longer paddle. So measure your kayak’s width at its widest point prior to buying a paddle.There is another significant factor we will cover next.

Your Torso Length And How Fit You Are

The length of your torso is another critical factor for picking the suitable paddle length. Here is a Fast way to Ascertain your torso length:

Sit up straight on a seat, then quantify how far it is from the chair, starting between your legs to the tip of the nose. Then use this chart as a reference:

Torso length chart

Your height, weight and fitness level is also an important consideration for choosing a paddle.

A more athletic kayaker will in general desire a shorter grind that has a wider blade to the excess energy you get.

A heavier or taller kayaker will need a longer paddle that has a broad blade to provide a slower stroke that is efficient.

A shorter or smaller kayaker or somebody who is not worried about rate should choose a smaller sword with less surface area.

In general if you want more power and speed get a drill with a blade with a lot of surface area.

1 final thing, if you’ve got small hands, your better off with a paddle that has a thinner shaft.

Paddling Style

Paddle styles vary dependent on the type of kayaking. After determining what type of kayak experience you’re embarking on, it is possible to readily decide which style is the ideal fit.

Low-angled paddlingHigh-angled paddling

Low-angled paddles are great for leisure holiday through calm waters. The horizontal thin blades are longer in length, offering more productivity and less exhaustion for those intending to take long distance trips.

High-angled paddles are fantastic for adventurous kayakers, taking on water that is more challenging and not as predictable. The paddles are useful in spots with quick flowing waters that need the kayaker to quickly move through with moderate to strong force. A lot of people who choose to kayak for fitness favor this kind of paddle as well.

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Blade Materials

There are 3 factors to consider in choosing paddle blade material including stamina, weight, and affordability. Ideally you will find the appropriate paddle for your needs, one that offers a perfect blend of these three features.

FiberglassCarbon FiberNylon, Plastic, or Aluminum

If you are trying to find a colorful paddle blade falling within the medium price range, constructed for stamina and semi-light weight, fiberglass paddles may be the best fit for you. This is ordinarily the paddle of choice for recreational kayakers and tourist rentals.

This top of the line blade in exceptionally lightweight and built for electricity. Though it is the most expensive of the blade materials, it is well worth it for the serious kayaker or for someone carrying a long trip.

Although the paddles are considerably heavier than their counterparts, they are strong and affordable. Additionally, they require little maintenance, thus are perfect for the recreational paddler or somebody taking their very first kayaking adventure.

Blade Shape

In earlier times symmetrical blades were the most popular choice among kayakers; however, asymmetrical dihedral-designed blades are getting to be a favorite design. The contour requires the paddler to exert less energy in comparison with the previous design. They resemble the wing of an aircraft, allowing water to simple flow along all sides of the blade.

Paddle Shaft

Discovering the proper shaft comes down to deciding on what feels appropriate. Both shafts are equal in quality though the other might be preferable depending on the kind of kayaker.

Straight ShaftBent Shaft

The right shaft is perfect for the complex or more adventurous kayaker. It allows for more flexibility in directing the paddle in various situations.

Bent Shaft

The bent shaft is ideal for beginner or leisurely paddlers. The angle in the shaft takes unpleasant pressure off the kayakers’ wrists. More advanced paddlers can reduce the inflammation by correcting their strokes, through practice.

Do not forget the Spare!

A smart person once said,”Be careful to not find yourself up the Creek without a paddle”. Paddles break, float away, or have lost in ferocious current, etc..

Though no one believes it will happen to them however, it is better to be safe than sorry! Carry a cheap paddle or possibly a mobile fold up paddle, in case of emergency, so you will not be captured,”Up the creek without a paddle”!

Detailed guide are available at StandUpPaddleBoardWorld, so more useful information, you can check there. 

FAQ For Kayak Paddles

Q: What dimensions kayak do I need?

A: there are numerous factors to determine the correct period paddle. The width of the kayak being the most important, then your elevation. Here’s a rule of thumb chart to help you determine the correct paddle length:

Width of the Kayak: Under 23″ 24″ to 28″ 29″-33″ 34″+
Paddler Height: Recommended Paddle Length
Under 5’5″: 210 cm 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm
Between 5’5″ – 5’11”: 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm 250 cm
Over 6′: 220 cm 230 cm 250 cm 260 cm

Q: How do I maintain a kayak paddle?

A: Sit all of the way back into the kayak chair, maintain the kayak paddle with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, reach as far forward with the paddle and pull it straight back together with your arms, shoulders and center. Repeat on the other side.

Q: how can you steer a kayak?

A: Utilize a large sweeping motion with the paddle. As you do this you will observe the bow of the kayak turning out from the stroke. Continue until you are facing the direction you desire.