The 10 Best Kayak Paddles Reviewed In 2021

best kayak paddles

The Winner after 20 hours of research and testing is:

icon
SeaSense X-Treme II Mix
SeaSense X-Treme II Mix
Why is it better?

Comes in two sizes

Grip feels very good on the hands

Floats

Easy to store and transport

Great value for your money

Aside from the kayak itself, the paddle has probably got to be the second most important component in the sport of kayaking. Kayaking is a rather dangerous sport as you’ll sometimes have to traverse the roughest and deepest of waters. Being a dangerous sport, it is essential that you are equipped with the best equipment to ensure your safety.

I’ve created this in-depth guide to assist all kayakers in finding and buying the best kayak paddles for them.

Check out some of our other kayaking related reviews such as these trolling motors for kayaks, or the best seats for your kayaks, Kayak Trailers, and do not forget about a trolley for your kayak also!

 The Best Kayak Paddles In 2021:

There is a wide array of choices on the market. While there are many options available, paddles shouldn’t just be chosen based on pricing and aesthetics.

As a responsible kayaker, safety is probably your number one priority. Having a top paddle helps ensure your safety because being equipped with the right kayak paddle gives you more control over your kayak. More control means that you’ll be able to handle yourself better when traversing dangerous stretches of water.

Like any piece of sports equipment, kayak paddles are made with different specifications to cater to the needs of different people. No two models are the same.

It is important to know what exactly are you looking for and what one suits you best. I suggest that you do your research and try out different kinds to see what kind suits you best. Only after this process should you find and buy the right one for you.

Like I said earlier, there are countless numbers available on the market. To ensure that you’ll be able to get the best kayak paddle available, I’ve decided to narrow down my search to the top 10 on the market.

The 10 best kayak paddles that I’ve chosen have been picked based on professional reviews and consumer feedback. Below are my top picks for the top one on the market.

Kayak Paddle Reviews

1. SeaSense X-Treme II Mix – Best Kayak Paddle for Under $100

SeaSense X-Treme II MixSeaSense kayak paddle is one of the most trusted brands in the marine industry. This excellent brand has been around since 1984 and has established a respected reputation amongst marine enthusiasts from all over the world.

Now that we know more about SeaSense, let’s take a closer look at the brand’s X-Treme II Mix.

This is perfect for a kayak that is wider on the sides. This is a little longer than most kayak paddles out there. It has three locking positions and a support ridge in the middle of the shaft to provide added strength.

Storing this paddle is a breeze as it comes apart in two pieces. Once disassembled, you won’t have to worry about putting the paddle back together as this paddle is incredibly easy to assemble.

The blade of this can easily be feathered. You’re guaranteed to be able to use it in even the windiest of days.

As for the grip, it is incredibly comfortable. You’ll be able to hold on to this paddle for hours on end without getting pesky blisters.

Lastly, the paddle’s drip guards help in preventing you from getting wet.

Overall, the SeaSense X-Treme II Mix kayak paddle is a high quality, well-built that certainly deserves a second look. This is certainly one of the best kayak paddle for under $100 available, and I suggest that you get your hands on it as soon as you possibly can.

Pros
  • Comes in two sizes
  • Grip feels very good on the hands
  • Floats
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Great value for your money
Cons
  • Drip guards take some time to adjust
  • Can’t use the paddle’s blade to push off the bank of the river
  • The 96-inch version has the tendency to interfere with your fishing lines

2. Leader Accessories Marine Aluminum – Best Kayak Paddle For Beginners

Leader Accessories kayak paddle is a brand that manufactures and markets a great variety of outdoor products. For over thirty years, this brand has been dedicated to catering to the needs of outdoor Leader Accessories Marineenthusiasts from all over the world.

This brand is known for the superior quality and lasting durability of their products. They make an emphasis on customer satisfaction by ensuring that consumers get whatever they paid for.

Now that you’re more informed about the brand behind the product let us now take a closer look at Leader Accessories’ Marine Aluminum.

This fantastic one comes in five awesome colors to suit your style and personal preference. If aesthetics is a priority for you, this is sure to have you covered.

Besides aesthetics, this has got so much more to offer. You’re guaranteed to get the ultimate combination of form and functionality.

The two piece aluminum construction of this ensures durability and easy storage. You’ll now have to worry about this paddle breaking on you, even when subjected to the worst kinds of abuse.

Another great feature of this is its lightweight, molded plastic blades. I guarantee that you’ll have no problem controlling this awesome paddle as it is incredibly light.

Lastly, this excellent paddle can be feathered for right or left handed control.

Overall, this kayak paddle is something that I’d recommend to anyone and everyone looking for a simple, durable, and reliable that doesn’t hurt your wallet.

You are guaranteed to be getting great value for your money with this fantastic product.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Very easy to store
  • Can be feathered
  • Ultra durable
  • Constructed out of high quality materials
  • Great value for your money
  • The paddle floats
Cons
  • May be a little short for most paddlers
  • Plastic material of the blades feels cheap
  • Not ideal for experienced kayakers

3. Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum  – Great Heavy Duty Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Paddle Gear is a purely dedicated brand to the production of kayak paddles of the highest quality. This awesome brand was started over thirty years ago by Ralph Stevens who built his kayak Carlisle Day Tripperpaddles to deliver the core strength and durability that experts need. He succeeded and today, Carlisle Paddle Gear is has become one of the most sought out brands on the market.

Whether you’re a beginner, a hobbyist, or a serious river rat, I can guarantee that Carlisle Paddle Gear has something for you.

Now that we are more informed about the brand, let’s take a closer look at the product.

The Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle is an awesome paddle that both beginners and experienced kayakers often go for.

Priced at $61.07, this amazing paddle is a little bit more expensive than the others on my list, but don’t let the price dismay you as you’re sure to be getting the most value for your money with this amazing product.

Being made out of lightweight tempered aluminum of the highest quality, you can be sure that transporting and using this paddle will be a breeze. You will be able to subject this paddle to all kinds of abuse with the guarantee that it won’t break down on you.

This is made out of polypropylene to ensure the blade’s durability and ability to stand up to the toughest conditions that it may be subjected to.

Like the other kayak paddles on my list, this amazing paddle can float. You won’t have to worry about losing this paddle when you accidentally let it go.

Lastly, the push-button two-piece design allows blades to be feathered at 60-degrees for right or left hand control or used inline.

This is something that I would recommend to any hobbyist or beginner that is looking for the highest quality. You’re sure to be getting a bang for your buck with this amazing product and I suggest that you get it as soon as you can.

You can’t go wrong with this.

Pros
  • Sturdy and lightweight
  • Great value for your money when quality is considered
  • Made of material of the highest quality
  • Well constructed
  • Durable
Cons
  • Does not come with hand grips
  • Drip catchers tend to slide down towards the paddle’s blades
  • Comes in an oversized box

4. Intex Dual Purpose Paddle – Best Multipurpose Kayak Paddle

Intex is a very famous company known to be the world’s number one manufacturer of air beds, pools, and spas. Aside from these three products, Intex also manufactures toys, furniture, Intex Dual Purpose Kayak Paddleboats, and many more products.

Since the 1970s, Intex has strived to provide the market with products of the highest quality. Besides providing the market with high quality products, Intex also makes it a point to price their products affordably. You can be guaranteed that you’ll be getting the best quality and price with anything from Intex.

Now that we know more about Intex and the brand’s rich history, mission, and vision, let us now learn more about the Intex Dual Purpose.

This fantastic product is an excellent 2 in 1 that can either be a kayak paddle or an oar for boats. This is perfect for any outdoorsman that engages himself in an array of different water oriented activities.

The 96-inch paddle is connectable, and when it connects, it transforms into two 48-inch oars that are perfect for boating.

This awesome two-in-one kayak paddle/oar is constructed out of high quality aluminum. You can be sure of the durability of this amazing material. You won’t ever again have to worry about having your paddle breaking on you when subjected to stress.

Affordably priced, this amazing product is the ultimate budget option for any enthusiast. You’ll certainly have no regrets about this amazing product.

Overall, I’d recommend this beautiful product to any outdoorsman that engages himself in a wide array of different water oriented outdoor activities. You are sure to be getting the best kayak paddle bang for your buck with this awesome product.

So what are you waiting for? I suggest that you get your hands on this fantastic product as soon as you can.

Pros
  • Easily stored
  • Lightweight
  • Doubles as an oar
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Durable
  • Floats
Cons
  • The connector of the paddle could be better
  • Water runs down and you can get wet when using the product
  • Feels heavy after being used for a while

5. Bending Branches Whisper – Best Kayak Paddle For Fishing

Bending Branches Whisper 2-Piece Snap-ButtonIn 1982, whitewater and touring canoeist Dale Kicker and flat-water racer Ron Hultman teamed up to create the first composite tipped canoe paddle. The composite tipped canoe paddle forever changed the paddle industry, this innovation gave birth to Bending Branches which today has become one of the leading manufacturers of paddles in the world.

This American manufacturer is the world’s largest manufacturer of canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddles of the highest quality.

Based in the state of Wisconsin and staffed by paddling enthusiasts, this amazing brand spends countless hours spent designing, prototyping, testing, and perfecting each one of its kayak paddles.

After the long process of making their paddles, the brand looks back and searches for ways to make even better paddles for consumers.

Besides meticulous manufacturing processes, this brand strives to make their kayak paddles using top quality materials that ensure that their kayak paddles are robust and durable and can stand up to even the worst kinds of abuses. You can be sure that you’ll be getting the best kayak paddle with Bending Branches.

Now that you know more about the brand, let’s learn more about their product.

The Bending Branches Whisper 2-Piece Snap-Button kayak paddle is a paddle that any kayaker would love to have. It is the perfect paddle for any kayaker whether he be a beginner or an experienced hobbyist.

This is constructed out of an aluminum shaft that comes with designated grip areas. I guarantee that you’ll be equipped with a paddle that is very durable and at the same time very comfortable to hold.

The shape of this blade enables you to pull through the water to maintain a flutter-free stroke smoothly. You are sure to have full control over this excellent paddle thanks to the design of its blade.

Storage and transport are effortless as this paddle is lightweight and can be broken into two pieces.

Lastly, this is 100% made in the USA. You are sure to get top US quality with this amazing product.

Overall, I’d have to say that this paddle is the best option for those looking for a top quality US made that isn’t expensive and incredibly durable.

You are sure to get a great bang for your buck.

Pros
  • Great value for your money
  • Easy to store and transport
  • 100% made in the USA
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Floats
Cons
  • The paddle’s lock could be better
  • Blades aren’t ideal to be used in shallow water
  • Hand grips can get hot when exposed to the sun

6. Carlisle Adult Magic Plus/Glass Shaft – Has The Best Design Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Adult Magic Plus/Glass ShaftThis is perfect for anyone that is into classic color schemes. Any outdoorsman would love to have this, if aesthetics were the only thing to be considered when purchasing.

Don’t be bewildered though, this awesome paddle isn’t only about aesthetics. You’ll be glad to know that this excellent paddle is the ultimate combination of both form and function.

This has a fiberglass shaft. You won’t have to worry about the durability of this product as it is sure that this paddle will be able to stand up to any abuse that it is subjected to.

Thes blades are made out of glass reinforced polypropylene to ensure that you’ll be equipped with a kayak paddle that’s super light and durable.

Overall, this is a certain must-have that is perfect for any kayaker looking for a kayak that paddle that looks good and functions perfectly.

Pros
  • Looks great
  • Great value for your money
  • Lightweight
  • Very durable
  • Solid construction
Cons
  • A little heavy for a fiberglass

7. AIRHEAD AHTK-P3 Asymmetrical Blade – The Ultra Portable Kayak Paddle Choice

AIRHEAD AHTK-P3The one thing that sets this apart from the other kayak paddles on this list is that this amazing paddle can break down into four sections instead of the traditional two sections.

Besides being able to fold into four sections, the blades of this are shaped asymmetrically to equalize the force on both sides of the blade when paddling.

The high impact plastic blades are that these amazing kayak paddle boasts are lightweight and reinforced with fiberglass for added durability.

Aside from this, the blade angles are adjustable with a simple release of the spring loaded pin and a twist of the lightweight anodized aluminum shaft.

You are guaranteed to be getting one of the best kayak paddle with this.

Pros
  • Ultra durable
  • Affordable
  • Made of high quality materials
  • Great value for your money
Cons
  • Not comfortable to use
  • Looks flimsy

8. Bending Branches Bounce  – Best Kayak Paddle For Sea

Bending Branches Bounce 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak PaddleBeing 100% made in the USA, you can be sure that you’ll be getting a kayak paddle of the highest quality with this amazing product.

Like the other kayak paddles on my list, it breaks down into two easy storage and transport pieces.

Aside from being easy to store, the blades of this paddle provide excellent durability when pushing off rocks or barnacles. This kayak is the perfect option for those who prefer to kayak at sea.

The blade’s durability isn’t the only thing worth talking about, as this kayak’s blade’s shape and surface area eliminate blade flutter and allow for a smooth paddling stroke.

Lastly, this is extremely comfortable to hold and is easily visible from afar thanks to its yellow color.

https://youtu.be/FQ5hI6qmyFA

Pros
  • 100% made in the USA
  • Easy to spot during emergency situations
  • Affordable
  • Well designed blades
Cons
  • Paddle could be longer
  • Consumer reports have said that the rubber grips cause blisters

9. Carlisle Magic Nylon Kayak Paddle – A Durable Alternative Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Nylon PaddleThis was designed for optimal use with a recreational kayak. This means that any outdoorsman that’s hobby is to spend his time outdoors would love this amazing kayak paddle.

Durability is ensured as this kayak paddle shaft is made out of durable high quality aluminum that takes an extremely long time to break.

The nylon blades of this are as durable as its shaft. You are sure to be equipped with a kayak paddle with a blade that is of superior quality.

Lastly, this comes in three awesome colors to suit your style and preference.

Pros
  • Comes in three colors
  • Great for beginners
  • Extremely durable
Cons
  • Could have a greater surface area
  • A little pricey

10. Solstice 4 Piece Quick Release Kayak Paddle – Great Choice for Beginners Kayak Paddle

Solstice 4 Piece Quick Release PaddleThis is the ultimate paddle for beginners.

Like most of the kayak paddles on my list, the shaft of this paddle is constructed out of top grade aluminum to ensure durability and longevity.

This paddle can be broken into four parts for easy storage and transportation. You will no longer have to worry about luggage space when you go on long trips with this.

Aside from being ultra durable, lightweight, and affordable, this awesome kayak paddle is extremely affordable.

Unlike the other kayak paddles on this list, there isn’t much to say about this kayak paddle except that it is just excellent and perfect for beginners. I recommend this amazing kayak paddle to anyone that is just starting in the sport of kayaking.

You honestly can’t go wrong with it.

Pros
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Very affordable
  • It breaks down into 4 pieces
Cons
  • A little heavy
  • Tends to wiggle at the connecting points

how to choose the correxct paddle for kayaking

How To Choose The Right Kayak Paddle – Buying Guide

Buying the right one isn’t as simple as going to the store and picking out the paddle that looks the best. There are many things to consider when you’re out purchasing. To help you, I’ve listed down below some of the most important things to consider when purchasing a kayak paddle.

Paddle Length

Kayak WidthUnder 23"24" to 28"29" to 33"34"+
Paddler HeightRecommended PaddleLength
Under 5'5"210 - 220cm220 - 230cm230 - 240cm250cm
5'5" - 5'11"220cm230cm230 - 240cm250cm
6' +220 - 230cm230 - 240cm240 - 250cm250 - 260cm

Paddle length usually ranges from about  210 cm to 260 cm. The correct size for you depends on your paddling style, height, and kayak width. It is important to get the right sized paddle for you to make your experience easier!

Paddling Style

  • Low-angle paddling uses a relaxed style with a slower cadence. It offers efficiency on long trips. The flatter angle of the blade into the water means that low-angle kayak paddles feature slim blades and are slightly longer than high-angle kayak paddles.
  • High-angle paddling describes a more aggressive style and a faster cadence. This is preferred in moving water where acceleration and maneuverability are important. Because it requires ample force for each stroke, it’s also a great choice for fitness.

Height and Boat Width

The taller the kayak paddler, the longer the paddle that is needed. For example, a 6’2″ paddler with a 26″ wide boat would want a 230cm long kayak paddle for low-angle paddling, on the other hand, a 5′ tall paddler with the same-width boat would be happier with a 220cm paddle.

Aside from your height, the width of your boat is also necessary. For more information, feel free to check out this sizing chart.

Blade Materials

paddle board blade materialThe lighter the blade, the easier your paddling will be. However, better kayak paddles provide you with the ultimate balance of weight and strength.

  • Fiberglass Blades

Fiberglass blades are popular for touring kayaks and recreational kayaks use as they’re lightweight and extremely durable. Aside from those facts, they also usually come in various colors to suit your style.

  • Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber kayak blades are the best kayak paddle choice if you’re considering performance. Being more expensive, carbon fiber kayak paddle blades are the best option for professionals and experienced enthusiasts.

  • Aluminum/Nylon/Plastic

These are the most affordable and most common options available. They are very durable and require little maintenance. These kayak paddle blades are the best option to go for if you’re a beginner or a recreational kayaker.

Blade Design

Blades are either feathered or nonfeathered. Nonfeathered blades are positioned in line with each other. Feathered blades are not on the same plane; they are offset at an angle to each other.

unfeathered vs feathered kayak paddleThe main benefits of feathering are that it reduces wind resistance and wrist fatigue. As one blade strokes through the water, the other slices through the air.

Shaft Material

kayak paddle shaft materialShafts can be made from various kinds of materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Unlike blades where the lighter is better, shafts need to have some weight to attain a balanced feel.

The Winner after 20 hours of research and testing is:

icon
SeaSense X-Treme II Mix
SeaSense X-Treme II Mix
Why is it better?

Comes in two sizes

Grip feels very good on the hands

Floats

Easy to store and transport

Great value for your money

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