Buyer Guides

The Best Kayak Paddle On Sale – Kayak Reviews

When you get into the paddling sport, one of the key components you’ll need to be careful about (aside from your kayak, of course), is the kayak paddle. There are so many of them out there, made out of different materials, with different styles, and different lengths, which does make it a bit difficult to choose the one that’s right for you and your needs.

That being said, we went ahead and did some pretty extensive research and testing, in order to find the best kayak paddle out there. Below is a list of seven options, each of which is excellent in their own regard, and we’ll take a closer look at them so you know which one to pick. So without further ado off to our winner for this years best kayak paddle, the Carlisle Magic Plus.

You may want to check the best kayak paddle under 100.

Quick Summary: Top 11 - Kayak Paddles This Year

Our seasoned editors have picked and rated these products for each specific category and area of expertise to recommend you the best models and products we can. We receive commission from some of these affiliate links.
Best Premium Model: 4.SeaSense X-TREME 1

Our Reviews

Best Overall
This lightweight and durable high - impact glass paddle will make your kayaking experience a truly memorable one.
Quick Specs
  • Length: 220, 230, 240, and 250 centimetres
  • Material: Glass-reinforced polypropylene
  • Weight: 1.3 Kg

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle (Sunrise, 220 cm)

The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle is our top pick this year for a couple of reasons. With its fiberglass filled polypropylene blade, which is lightweight, durable and asymmetrical in shape, the paddle allows you to produce smooth powerful strokes. There’s no waste here, and this is one of the overall most comfortable paddles out there.

The grip area is ovalized, which helps quite a bit when you’re picking out the ideal surface to place your hands on, and you can use it as somewhat of a guide. There’s also the adjustable feathering angle, which gives you three positions. This is pretty much standard on all the better paddles, and we’re glad Carlisle Paddle Gear have included it here.

With a wound fiberglass shaft, you have the perfect combination of the stiffness needed for a paddle stroke and flexibility needed to reduce stress on your joints. Available in sunrise and cloud colors, this awesome paddle comes in three varied lengths of 230 cm, 220 cm and 240 cm.
Runner Up
The AquaBound Sting Ray Carbon 2 Piece Kayak Paddle carbon-reinforced nylon resin blades, making it one of the best choices. One of the basic advantages of the AquaBound Sting Ray Carbon 2 Piece Kayak Paddle, is that it comes in two pieces, which you need to assemble.
Quick Specs
  • Length: 210 - 250 centimetres
  • Material: Carbon Reinforced injection molded Nylon
  • Weight: 0.8 Kg

Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak Paddle

The AquaBound Sting Ray Carbon is a truly high end paddle that checks all the boxes. Not only is it built like a tank, but it also comes with a design that allows you to break it into two pieces. This helps you carry it anywhere you want.

Additionally, with its lightweight carbon fiber blade, it provides you with the perfect combination of smoothness and stiffness. It’s that carbon fiber that makes it one of the lightest paddles out there, but it’s also what puts the price way above anything else on our list. You do get an ovalized shaft that gives you a bit more grip and comfort, and there are drip rings to keep your hands dry, too.

If you’re on a trip, you won’t find a better choice than Sting Ray! Moreover, this also comes with a 3 hole trouble free snap button ferrule with an option to rotate to 60 degrees. This does give you plenty of versatility, but thanks to the construction itself and the materials of choice, it doesn’t mean that you’re sacrificing any stiffness or performance. 
Best Budget Option
The SeaSense X – Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle is the best budget product that you’ll get with complete features!
Quick Specs
  • Length: 210 or 240 centimetres
  • Material: Fiberblass filled Nylon Palddle
  • Weight: N/A

SeaSense XTreme 2 Kayak Paddle, Blue-White, 84” - Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon Blades, 2-Piece Construction - Great for Sport, Sea, Whitewater, Recreational & Fishing Kayaking

If you are looking for a kayak paddle and your on a budget, then the SeaSense X – Treme II Mix Kayak paddle is a great option for you. It checks all the boxes for a great beginner paddle, but it has a few durability-oriented things that ensure it’s going to last you a while, too, and get you through to your first high-end paddle.

With its aluminum body and feathered blade design, it helps you to traverse quickly through water. Since it is a two piece kayak paddle, it is easy to carry, lightweight and easy to use. With three available locking positions, it will make your grip easier – and so will the foam rubber grips that help you paddle with ease even in suboptimal situations.

The paddles also come with ridges that add a bit more strength, and the two-piece construction will help you store it when you’re done. 
Best Premium Model
While pricey, the SeaSense X-TREME is one of the best kayak paddles out there. It’s got a great construction, it performs very, very well, and like the X-TREME II Mix we just spoke about, the asking price is more than reasonable for what you’re getting. 
Quick Specs
  • Length: 210 centimetres
  • Material: Molded Plastic
  • Weight: 0.9 Kg

SeaSense X -TREME 1 KAYAK PADDLE BLACK 84IN (008680) , 44.5 inches

To begin with, this is an 84 inch paddle that is made using a two-piece construction. This is a perfect compromise between easy storage and stiffness and sturdiness, because it won’t flex too much, but you can store it in smaller places. The lightweight choice of material also helps with floating, so you won’t lose it even if you happen to lose your grip over it.

The blades themselves are black molded plastic. They work rather well, and they’re durable enough for daily use, which for this price, is more than enough. They also float and are lightweight, which is great. Last but not least, you do get foam hand grips for added comfort, as well as three locking positions and an asymmetrical design – you can set it up just how you like it. 
Best Touring Model
When it comes to touring paddles, some designs work better than others. The design of the AE Compact Touring Paddle 4 works wonders, and results in one of the most effective paddles for people looking to go on longer adventures with their kayaks. 
Quick Specs
  • Length: 231 centimetres
  • Material: Glass filled nylon
  • Weight: 1.2 Kg

Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle (4 part)

One thing to note is that while this is a four-part paddle, which makes it incredibly easy to store, the design makes sure that it doesn’t flex and you don’t lose any of your stroke due to lack of stiffness. And yet, you can put it in a backpack when you’re done.

The weight is pretty minimal at only 2.7 pounds, and the asymmetrical blades ensure no stroke is wasted. Unfortunately, there are no padded grip areas so you’re left holding the bare paddle, but the round shaft makes sure that you’re getting a rather comfortable experience anyways.
Last but not least, there’s the fact that this is a pretty versatile paddle because both a person who’s just getting into paddling, and an experienced one, can enjoy it just the same. If you’re looking for a great overall paddle that can fold down to a very compact size, go for it. 
Also Good
With a choice of three lengths (220, 230 and 240cm), the Cannon Paddles Escape E is quite a versatile pick. It’s an entry level paddle, but one that’s actually pretty perfect for just about any kind of kayaking. And while entry level, advanced paddlers can still use it pretty well. 
Quick Specs
  • Length: 220-240 centimetres
  • Material: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
  • Weight: 1.1 Kg

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle with Black Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Blades (2-Piece), Silver/Black, 230cm

The aircraft-grade aluminum is very lightweight and it comes with grip areas that are ovalized and make for a very comfortable experience. This transfers to longer adventures on the water, so you won’t feel lacking in that department. The shaft itself has been heat treated and anodized, which gives it a great strength to weight ratio.

The blades are black nylon Escape blades which have been reinforced with fiberglass. Not only are they excellent in terms of performance, but they’re also very, very durable overall, and will last you a good while if you take care of them.

Last but not least, this is a two-piece paddle that allows you to set it up in three blade positions, so you get a bit of versatility and choice when paddling. It’s an excellent choice overall, and a pretty versatile one for any type of paddler. 
Best Beginner Option
If you’re only getting into kayaking, and want a beginner-friendly paddle that you can actually use until you’re advanced enough for a high end model, the Angler Classic by Bending Branches is an excellent pick. It’s a pretty simple paddle that actually covers a lot of key things, so let’s take a closer look at it. 
Quick Specs
  • Length: 220 centimetres
  • Material: Carbon-reinforced nylon
  • Weight: 1 Kg

Bending Branches Angler Classic 2-Piece Snap-Button Fishing Kayak Paddle; (Black Shaft/Orange Blade - 220cm)

To begin with, this is a pretty classic design. You have well thought out blades that are rugged and fiberglass reinforced, so durability is absolutely no issue. Even if your kayak is full of gear, the paddling experience will be smooth and not fatiguing like with other paddles. The grip surface is ovalized, which means it sits better in your hand, and gives you a bit more comfort. There’s also a coating on the shaft for more grip, and you’ll find markings to help you keep the same position every time you grab it. Until you get used to it, it’s a great tool that reduces the learning curve.

The shaft can be locked in three positions, which gives you a bit of versatility in terms of feathering angles. And aside from the bright orange paddles that you just can’t miss, there’s one feature we’ve never seen before – there’s a notch in one of the blades that allows you to rescue your line and lure if something happens. It’s a great addition and we’re really happy you get it with a beginner-friendly paddle. It’s a great pick all-round.
Best Light in Weight
The Crooked Creek C11370 Kayak Paddle is highly durable and has an excellent grip. Thus, it allows you to use it even for a relatively long duration without surfacing any difficulties.
Quick Specs
  • Length: 213 centimetres
  • Material: Poly-fiber
  • Weight: 1.19 Kg

CROOKED CREEK 7-foot Fishing Kayak Paddle, Camo - Features a Lightweight Construction and Asymmetrical Blades - Versatile and Comfortable (50485)

First things first, the Crooked Creek C11370 Kayak Paddle offers reinforced tips of the blades. Thus, it would be easy on your part to row a kayak with great ease. The two-piece design of the paddle lets you store the product safely. Further, with the help of a push-button setting, you can easily make different adjustments on the blade angle.

Besides, the poly-fiber material offers additional durability to this kayak paddle and you do not have to worry about any frequent repairs. Being light in weight is also an added advantage of this kayak paddle. Thus, experts, as well as beginners, can easily use this product. You do not have to worry about the working quality of this paddle as a laser-engraved scale is used for the fiberglass shaft.

The Crooked Creek C11370 Kayak Paddle comes with a slot for lure retrieval and a weed-less line, giving you ease in removing stuck lures. Along with a wide range of features, this product also comes with a genuine product warranty of two years. Thus, you do not have to worry about a thing while using the product. Moreover, you will also get a high-quality cover and this kayak paddle is a great universal fit.
Best for Expert Users
The Backwater Paddles Assassin Carbon Fiber Paddle is made up of nylon, offering excellent durability. You also get a chance to choose it from two different lengths viz. 230 or 240 centimeters. Further, its low weight will let you use it for a long time without straining your wrists.
Quick Specs
  • Length: 230 or 240 centimetres
  • Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 1.36 Kg

Honbeanify Backwater Paddle Company 06-0017 Assassin Full Paddle Carbon Hybrid - 98.5' to 102.5' Length

Along with nylon as a prime material, the Backwater Paddle Assassin Paddle also contains injected ABS. This ultimately increases its overall strength. The ABS material is fade resistive; this will keep the kayak paddle as good as new for a long duration. Furthermore, you can even break this paddle in two. Thus, you can easily store it after use. Its serrated edges will offer you ease in launching yourself from several solid surfaces with less exertion.

This paddle also offers excellent grip, now you do not have to deal with slippage while rowing your canoe either in a lake or balancing it down-stream. Further, the innovative hook feature present at the edges of the paddle will give you ease in grabbing the line, tree limb, or dock.

With the primary purchase, you will also get dip rings that will keep water from entering the kayak even when you are paddling at high speed. Due to wide paddles and being light in weight this product can float on the surface of the water. You can even adjust up to 10 centimeters of length on this paddle as per your overall height.
Best Durability
Being made up of two different pieces, the Airhead Kayak Paddle can be stored even in less space. Irrespective of your kayaking skills, you will find it relatively easy to use this paddle. 
Quick Specs
  • Length: 213 centimetres
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 1.36 Kg

AIRHEAD Kayak Paddle, Deluxe 2 sect, 84', Curved Blade

One of the most endearing features of this product is that is made up of 100% aluminum. Thus, it is not only waterproof but can easily withstand extreme temperatures. Unlike traditional wooden paddles, you do not have to worry about termites and other pests that destroy the product. In addition to this, the blades are made up of ABS material, offering it exceptional durability. The blades of Airhead Kayak Paddle are slightly curved which gives you ease during the time of rowing.

Further, you can easily adjust the angle of the blade for offset or standard paddling. With a diameter of 2 inches, it is relatively easy for most of the people to hold this paddle without straining wrist muscles. The Airhead Kayak paddle is only 1.36 kilograms in weight, this provides you efficacy in carrying it from one place to another.

Along with the primary purchase, you will also get drip rings. This way you can easily prevent the water from dripping inside the kayak while rowing. A foam grip offers additional friction, now you do not have to deal with any slippage even while rowing down-stream. Lastly, this product can be shipped throughout the US. 
Best Easy to Store
The Maxshade Covers Fishing Kayak Paddle is specially designed for an expert as well as intermediate users. One of the most fascinating features of this product is that you get to choose from two different lengths.
Quick Specs
  • Length: 218 and 241 centimetres
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Weight: 1.36 Kg

MAXSHADE COVERS Fishing Kayak Paddle,Color Available Olive,Tan 2-Piece (Olive, 86 inches)

Irrespective of your overall height you can easily use this kayak paddle as it has three position features. Moreover, the shaft consists of a laser-engraved scale and its angle can be adjusted as per your will. Anodized aluminum offers additional strength to this kayak paddle. Anodized aluminum also makes this paddle rust and weather-resistive.

Being asymmetrical blade design will offer you the relative ease in using the paddle without surfacing any issues. The Maxshade Covers Fishing Kayak offers you ease in setting the paddle to 3 different off-set angles. Thus, you can easily set the paddle as per your ease or kayaking style. Whether you are kayaking in a lake or a stream, the excellent handle grip will offer genuine friction.

The Maxshade Covers Fishing Kayak Paddle weighs only 1.36 Kilograms and can be broken down into two different parts. Thus, you will find it easy to transport the paddle and store it even in less space. Last but not least, you can easily remove stuck lures from debris and logs with the help of weed-less line slots. Now it gets easier for you to secure the product effectively.

How To Choose

Paddle Length

The paddle length must be chosen with care, the length is the most important thing that provides the kayak speed and control. Apart from this, the length of the paddle must be adequate in order to make the rider comfortable while kayaking. Make sure the paddle’s length is chosen according to your height. Height is essential as a inappropriate paddle will not only make you uncomfortable while on the water, but also will decrease your speed and control. The appropriate length of the paddle also heavily depends on the size of the boat.


So, while choosing a kayak paddle, make sure that you have paid enough attention to these two essential factors.
According to surveyed kayak experts the proper sizing's for choosing the right sized paddle are:

For the relatively short riders (Below 5’5”), the appropriate length of paddle will be 200-230cm.

For the riders who fall in the range of 5’6”-6’, the recommended length should be 210-250cm.

And for those who are above 6’, the length of the paddle should be 220-250cm.

Remember one thing, these are only numbers for reference, you can always look for a paddle that suits you, and with which you are most comfortable regardless of size or other factors.


Apart from the length, another factor that can highly affect your performance, is the material from which the paddle has been made. The professional kayak paddles are made up of a variety of materials, out of which the most common and popular ones are fibreglass, plastic, and carbon fibre.

The basic idea behind using the light-weight fibre in making the paddles is simple, it reduces the paddle’s overall weight without actually affecting their performance and toughness.

So, next time while you are out for buying the kayak paddles, instead of purchasing ANY paddle, choose the one which is made up of light-weight, yet strong material which can easily withstand the pressure.

Aluminium - Pros: Cheapest. Cons: Much heavier than other paddle types making you wear yourself out much quicker and worsening the distance paddled for the force exerted

Plastic - Pros: Cheap. Cons: Also heavy and a bit more flimsy then a more expensive paddle leading to more exertion and potential breaks and wear and tear.

Fiberglass - Pros: Lightweight, Less expensive though more expensive than aluminium and plastic. Can withstand more abuse than plastic and aluminium.

Wood - Pros: Less expensive though more expensive than aluminium and plastic. Can withstand more abuse than plastic and aluminium and possibly last longer then fiberglass. Cons: Weight

Carbon Fibre - Pros: Extremely lightweight great for getting the most out of your paddle and taking long trips. Cons: Much more expensive than other materials listed.

Design of the Blade

Have you ever noticed the different shapes of the paddles? No, they are not just for making them look good, but they also enhance their productivity too. The common and the most popular designs that the kayak paddles are available in the market are as follows:

(1) Feathered
(2) Non-feathered
(3) Wing
(4) Touring
(5) Asymmetric
(6) Square-ended


All these shapes are specially designed for different purposes and you should know the ideal usage of the kayak paddle. Moreover, if possible, try to consult with the experts for their advice while purchasing the kayak paddle for yourself. Correctly chosen kayak paddle can not only help you perform better, but also will reduce the wrist and arm fatigue that can be caused due to wrong paddle.


Ideally, the kayak paddle should be light-weighed so as to provide easy handling and better control. Apart from being light-weight, it is essential that the paddles are strong enough to resist the wind and water flow effectively. A carefully chosen kayak paddle can effectively enhance the performance and level of comfort while you are in water.

Now, in addition to the above things, a few more things that can help you choose the best kayak paddle are:

Brand Name

Frankly speaking, a well-established brand maintains a standard and sells the product according to its market reputation among the buyers. This standard makes the product superior than most of the other brands of lesser value.

Our Top 5 Kayak Paddle Brands of 2018 are:
1. Aquabound
2. Werner
3. Carlisle
4. Shoreline


Moreover, you can expect a better product from a reputed company which has been dealing with the category of the product for the past years. Therefore we can say that choosing a kayak paddle from a company that has a good reputation and is known for kayak paddles is essential since it is easy to get a bad quality kayak paddle.

Other Considerations

Low Angle Vs High Angle Paddle Stroke

There are differences between a high angle paddle-stroke and a low angle paddle-stroke a lot of people have no idea that there are actually two different techniques when your kayaking that you can use.
To make it simple for you we will explain and show you so you can see what they look like.
Low Angle Paddle Stroke. As we use a proper low angle paddle the blade design you will notice in comparison to  the other has a blade that is a lot longer and narrower and what that does for you is it gives you less fatigue over hours of time paddling- if your paddling from point a to point b and it might be miles and your doing a trek the better blade design would be the longer and narrower since it would provide you less fatigue over time.
The low angle paddle-stroke in the water is done by pushing the hand in correlation to the shoulders at a more horizontal angle, the lower angle is a more relaxed cadence.

The high angle paddle-stroke uses a paddle with a wider blade design and its a little bit shorter. The reason is as you are paddling it uses a-lot more aggressiveness as your dipping the paddle blades a lot closer to your boat.

The pushing hand extends much higher and the high angle is a power-stroke through the water and gets you moving almost like a sprint.


Feather Angle

Customizable feather angle makes it easier for the rider to change the way he rides the kayak and they can easily cope with the different situations while kayaking. Alot of people dont know what a feather is when choosing a paddle. The feather of a paddle is the angle of the paddle tip in relation to the other paddle tip, for example twisting the tip facing upwards would give it a feather of 90 degrees.
Some people choose split paddles which is great since they give you great variability with shaft length and shaft feather. I would recommend that you might want to start experimenting with the feather you use. The old adage of having quite a big feather from 45 to 50 degree feather is fine and the old theory was that you could slice through the wind if you paddled with a feather that's 60 to 90 degrees the only problem with that is that wind directions change over time so that could then mean you would get side wind and you would lose any advantages of that.
The disadvantages of having a feather is that you have to do a lot of rotation with your wrist when your touring that could cause a lot of problems especially if you get a tight wrist and cant continue.

See what works for you the less feather you get the less rotation you will need to do with your wrist. The wind problems will always be the same you should find that if you got any wrist problems you'll find that experimenting with dropping your feather down a bit may resolve your problems. Find out whats comfortable for you!


Reviews are another way to know about a product’s reliability and value. By reading the reviews, you can easily get an overall picture of the things buyers liked about the product and what the possible areas of improvement are. So, make sure that you have thoroughly gone through the paddle’s review before making a purchase.

Apart from reading the online reviews of the product, you can also consult with the other kayak experts who are living near you.

kayak paddle reviews

The thing that you should keep in mind while relying on the online reviews is that the reviews should be written by genuine users rather than those that are doing false marketing for the product. Some reviews can be too good to be true. Ex. “This box of Kleenex IS AMAZING, IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and think how lucky I am to have these Kleenex” This could be a paid review. As a rule of thumb I usually just compare negative reviews between products.

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle (Sunrise, 220 cm)

This lightweight and durable high - impact glass paddle will make your kayaking experience a truly memorable one.

feathered vs unfeathered

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About Julian Thompson

cb787c59d2808e1f609076e790ca977e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Kayaking Instructor (AKA)
Education: American Kayak Association
Lives In: Denver Colorado

I am a kayaking expert/instructor who has been fishing for over 15 years. Fishing is my passion, but kayaking keeps me on the water. I love to share my knowledge of techniques and tips with others. I live in Colorado with my wife and two kids and own a small kayak rental business On Grand Lake where I rent and instruct.