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Reviewed by our Gear Geeks:

THE BEST KAYAK PADDLES IN 2021

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Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Find the top Kayak Paddles and write reviews of the best.

The result is 11 of the best Kayak Paddles on the market today.

Christos Nicolaou

Divemaster and Paddler
Christos is a passionate diver, enthusiastic paddler & amateur SUP racer.

torben lonne

Bradley Axmith

Boating Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

The best and quickest way to upgrade your kayaking experience will be through buying a better kayak paddle. Using a higher quality paddle will fundamentally change the way you experience kayaking. An upgrade will extend your trips, generally making the sport more enjoyable.

The best paddles are lightweight, sturdy, and efficient to the point that it feels like an extension of your body. Generally, this means that the paddle is made out of carbon fiber or fiberglass and that the paddle blade has a relatively large surface area. But there are some affordable aluminum models that perform pretty well too.

Additionally, the paddle should have a solid grip and be durable enough to deal with knocks and scrapes.

Best Paddles for Kayaking In 2021

After reviewing the best brands and models on the market, we have found the best paddles for kayaking. For your consideration, we have the best aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber paddles.

See our Top 10 guide below:

The Top 10 Best Paddles for Kayaking in 2021

  1. Aqua-Bound Tango Kayak Paddle
  2. Werner Camano Kayak Paddle
  3. Bending Branches Whisper Kayak Paddle
  4. Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Kayak Paddle
  5. Wilderness Systems Pungo Kayak Paddle
  6. Perception Universal Kayak Paddle
  7. BKC KP224 Kayak Paddle
  8. Pelican Poseidon Kayak Paddle
  9. White Wolf Kayak Paddle
  10. BEST Kayak Paddle

If you have any questions about what is the best kayak paddle for you- then jump to our comment section below and ask our experts.

Check out our Featured Kayak Paddles

The Bending Branches Whisper kayak paddle is easy to assemble and features an asymmetrical dihedral shape, creating the perfect tool to get the most power from your strokes.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Bending Branches Whisper:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 86’’ to 94’’ (220cm to 240cm)
  • Weight: 37 oz (1kg)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable aluminum shaft
  • Blade: 18” (45.72cm) long and 6.75” (17.15cm) wide
What we like:
  • Lightweight
  • Balanced blade
  • Easy to break down and put together
  • Heavy-duty rubber drip rings
What we don’t like:
  • Heavy
  • Limited feathering

The Whisper is a stellar choice for flat water paddling or touring. A highly-efficient, low-angle blade shape reduces drag and noise, boosting your speed and prolonging your endurance. This sturdy carbon shaft paddle offers balanced performance with support for a wide range of paddle styles and sizes.

The Whisper breaks down to an incredibly compact size for backpacking or carrying to and from any body of water.

The Bending Branches Whisper is perfect for beginners who want a versatile and easy to use kayak paddle. The lightweight and durable aluminum shaft has a 3M Versafit over the oval grip area that provides maximum comfort for kayakers.

The Aqua-Bound Sting Ray is an intuitive kayak paddle that offers a robust and powerful tool for maneuvering your kayak across the water. It is the perfect paddle for rivers and flat water.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the AquaBound Sting Ray:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 86’’ to 94’’ (220cm to 240cm)
  • Weight: 30.5 oz (864g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable carbon fiber composite
  • Blade: 18” long (46cm) and 6” (15cm) wide
What we like:
  • Posi-Lok for strong connection
  • Rubber drip ring keep your hand dry
  • Reinforced blade
  • Intuitive design
What we don’t like:
  • Uncomfortable handle

Aqua-Bound paddles are designed with a broad range of features to help you explore new places. This 2 piece adjustable carbon fiber kayak paddle is ergonomically designed to be sturdy, yet flexible enough to withstand powerful strokes. The blade is reinforced and has a customizable feathering.

The Posi-Lok connects the flex shaft with a super-secure pivoting joint. Plus, the drip ring keeps your hand free from water spray so your strokes are always efficient. The Aqua-Bound Sting Ray is the kayak paddle of choice for adventure seekers.

The Wilderness Systems Pungo kayak paddle is proficient in its ability to create powerful and maneuverable strokes. This paddle can be adjusted to fit virtually any paddler, model of kayak, or stroke style making it an extremely versatile kayak paddle.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Wilderness Systems Pungo:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 86’’ to 94’’ (220cm to 240cm)
  • Weight: 30 oz (850g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable fiberglass shaft
  • Blade: 19” (48cm) long and 6.3” (16cm) wide
What we like:
  • Lightweight
  • Well designed and sturdy
  • Customizable
  • Easy to use and functional
What we don’t like:
  • Stiff blade

The Wilderness Systems Pungo Kayak Paddle is lightweight and sturdy. The paddle’s shape, size, and blade curvature deliver the optimal angle for smooth, efficient, flutter-free strokes regardless of paddling style or experience level. With its No-Slip grip, this paddle will keep you firmly in control.

The Wilderness Systems Pungo Paddleis ideal for anyone as it is also designed for ease of use.

The Perception Universal is a great paddle for any recreational kayaker irrespective of or experience. It’s small blade makes it fun in easy generally easy-going conditions, but not robust enough for extreme kayaking.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Perception Universal :
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 90.6’’ (230cm)
  • Weight: 33 oz (936g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable aluminum shaft
  • Blade: 15.5” (39cm) long 8.5” (22cm) width
What we like:
  • Durable and robust
  • Easy storage and transportation
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Suitable for all conditions
  • Great for touring
What we don’t like:
  • Colors fade over time
  • Not robust enough for wilder conditions

The Universal Kayak Paddle is made for versatility. The paddle is suitably lightweight and breaks down into two portable and easy to transport pieces. Plus, its fiberglass reinforced blades are designed for flexibility in all weather conditions.

This kayak paddle provides smooth and responsive turning while tracking straight on lakes or rivers. It’s the perfect length to use in any kayak, and strong enough to handle high-powered strokes, yet it also features a smooth shaft for slower cruising.

Composed of aluminum the BKC KP224 kayak paddle is an affordable and dynamic tool to help you get the most out of your kayak. This paddle is an affordable and durable option for all skill levels.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the BKC KP224:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 67’’ to 86’’ (170cm to 218cm)
  • Weight: 32.8 oz (930g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable fiberglass shaft
  • Blade: 18.5” (47cm) long and 7” (20.8cm) wide
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Anti-slip grip and drip guards
  • Easy storage and transportation
  • Will last you a long time with the right maintenance
What we don’t like:
  • Poor joints
  • Some kayakers complain that the shaft twists due to a lack of anti-twist clamps

The paddle features a superior, slender blade designed ideally shaped to cut into the water and propel you along, offering exceptional speed and control.

It offers an anti-slip grip for easy paddling and comfort, along with drip guards that help keep your paddle dry and comfortable for you while you’re out on the water. This is a great paddle to bring out on the river or lake, or take with you while kayaking down your favorite river. With the right maintenance this paddle will last you a long time.

The Pelican Poseidon is the ideal kayak paddle for beginners looking for a reliable and robust paddle. This affordable paddle is constructed for durability.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Pelican Poseidon:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 89” (226cm)
  • Weight: 38.56 oz (1.1kg)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable aluminum shaft
  • Blade: 16.1” (41cm) long and 7.8” (20cm) wide
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Hooks for picking up trash
  • Easy to store and transport
What we don’t like:
  • Heavy
  • No drip rings

The Pelican Poseidon Kayak Paddle has been designed to be a lightweight, high performance paddle at an affordable price. It offers an easy to use and versatile experience that is tailored to improve maneuvering and increase speed.

With an impact-resistant fiberglass blade, this paddle is guaranteed to enhance your kayaking experience. The paddle also comes equipped with hooks for picking up trash and an ergonomic grip to reduce wrist fatigue.

The White Wolf carbon fiber kayak paddle offers a perfect balance between durable and lightweight. This is the perfect paddle for the advanced kayaker or kayakers who want to upgrade to a premium paddle. It is also ideal for beginner paddlers looking for an affordable premium paddle.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the White Wolf:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 88’’ (223.5cm)
  • Weight: 28.8 oz (816g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
  • Blade: 18” (45.72cm) length 7" (17.78cm) width
What we like:
  • Light, durable, adjustable
  • Affordable for a premium paddle
  • Slip-resistant grip
  • Customizable
What we don’t like:
  • Stiff blade
  • Limited feathering

The White Wolf carbon fiber kayak paddle offers an ergonomic grip, solid shaft, and flexible blade. These features provide quick pace and handling while minimizing energy consumption. The blades have a streamlined shape to provide an efficient, smooth stroke through the water while the slip-resistant grip reduces hand fatigue.

The BEST Marine kayak paddle is a high-end performance paddle that offers durability and strength. Affordable for a premium paddle, it tracks straight and cuts through the surface of the water. Easy storage and transportation makes this a staple in all kayak gear bags.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the BEST Marine:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 92’’ (234cm)
  • Weight: 33.5 oz (950g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
  • Blade: 18.5” (47cm) length 7.67" (19.5cm) width
What we like:
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Affordable for a premium paddle
  • Easy storage and transportation
  • Strong and durable construction
What we don’t like:
  • Lack of options for customization
  • Not for small kayakers

The blade has structural reinforcements providing flexibility at the point where the most force is applied. The grip is ergonomically designed for maintaining stability and supporting balance. The BEST Marine kayak paddle is one of the more affordable premium kayak paddles on the market and is a favorite with kayak enthusiasts.

This paddle is perfect for all kinds of water adventures providing comfort and ease for paddlers of every skill-level. Made with the high quality materials, this paddle is lightweight and easy to handle and features an extended length for increased power and efficiency.

The Aqua-Bound Tango is a 2-piece kayak paddle that features an asymmetrical dihedral fiberglass blade. The Tango is constructed for flatwater paddling strokes and ensures minimal blade fluttering while being extremely lightweight. The result is an easy to use and versatile kayak paddle.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Aqua-Bound Tango:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 86” (220cm) but adjustable to 80” (205cm) or 83’’ (210cm )
  • Weight: 26 oz (737g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable carbon fiber
  • Blade: 17.9” (45.5cm) long and 6.6” (16.8cm) wide
What we like:
  • Portable
  • Comfortable grip
  • Rubber drip ring keep your hand dry
What we don’t like:
  • Only one shaft dimension
  • Very low paddle angle

The Aqua-Bound Tango kayak paddle is constructed of a lightweight fiberglass, making it easy to maneuver for both flatwater and white water paddling. Rubber drip rings ensure that your hands stay dry during your paddling adventures.

This paddle is constructed to provide comfort and durability. The Classic fiberglass construction is rigid in order to provide a powerful and strong paddle stroke, while also reducing vibration. An asymmetrical dihedral blade provides exceptional power, while the nylon-carbon blend shaft reduces weight and provides a secure and comfortable grip for long touring sessions.

The Werner Camano is one of the best kayak paddles on the market. This fiberglass paddle is a super durable and lightweight tool made for reaching top speeds.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Werner Camano:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Length: 86’’ to 102’’ (220cm to 260cm)
  • Weight: 27.25 oz (773g)
  • Shaft: 2 piece adjustable fiberglass blend
  • Blade: 20.5”(52cm) long and 6.3” (16cm) wide
What we like:
  • Lightweight yet stiff
  • Customizable
  • Easy to put together
  • Sturdy and durable
What we don’t like:
  • Paint might scratch off a little too easily

The Werner Camano is a multi-sport kayak paddle designed specifically with the whitewater rafter in mind. The blade of this paddle has a large surface area in order to push more water. The Camano allows for less energy consumption compared to regular paddles as the intuitive design makes it easier to maneuver.

This paddle makes a great, all-around river paddle that is lightweight and stiff, yet customizable to give you the perfect fit. The handle design allows you to easily adjust the length of your paddle for added comfort. It breaks down with just one twist for easy and compact transportation.

What to look for when buying a Paddle for Kayaking

Length

When looking for the best paddle, it is important to get the right length as a paddle with the wrong length will be awkward to use. The best way to get the right length is to take your height and add about 8-12 inches (20-30cm).

Type

There are many different types of kayak models that offer various unique features. Some paddles offer symmetrical blades that are easy to use and beginner friendly. They are best suited for white water paddling as they allow for quick displacement of water.

Alternatively, many paddles have asymmetrical blades, meaning that each blade is a different size. This gives the kayaker more control over their strokes by allowing them to lower the blade when kayaking and creating a more streamlined kayaking experience.

Some paddles feature feathered blades, while others feature matched blades. Feathered blades are offset at an angle to increase wind resistance when paddling. Matched blades are aligned in order to give the most powerful strokes. For many paddle shafts there is the option to adjust the angle of the blade to find what is right for you.

Material

Another key factor to consider is the material used to construct the paddle. Kayak paddles have blades and shafts that are constructed using different materials. As the shaft is the bigger part of the paddle, you want to make sure that it’s lightweight and durable. That said, buying a new kayak paddle built using lighter materials could completely change your kayaking experience, but some materials are more expensive.

For example, aluminum alloy is functional and affordable, but not as lightweight or strong as fiberglass and carbon fiber. Additionally, aluminum shaft paddles are normally fitted with an affordable plastic blade option.

Fiberglass is lightweight and stiff but not as much as carbon fiber. Fiberglass shaft paddles are usually complemented by fiberglass blades making them the middle price option.

Finally, carbon fiber is the lightest and stiffest material, however, it is also the most expensive. Carbon fiber shafts come with nylon blades and are definitely the best option in terms of materials used.

Blade

It is important to choose the right blade for your needs. A large blade is more powerful as it displaces more water, however, a small blade is more efficient as it is easier to pull through the water.

The material that the blade is composed of is also important. You can have plastic blades on the more affordable side of the spectrum, fiberglass for a competitive price and nylon blades on the more expensive end.

Budget

Depending on how much you use your kayak and how often you get out on the water, you might want to consider investing in a premium kayak paddle. Kayak paddles can cost anywhere between $30 on the affordable end and $300 on the expensive range. The reason for this huge jump in price is due to the different materials and design methods used to construct each paddle.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Kayak Paddles

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    🤔 What is the best paddle for kayaking?

    For a kayak paddle to be considered the best in its class, it has to be versatile, strong, lightweight, and maneuverable.

    Check out the list of our favorite sit on top kayaks:

    Read full reviews of each kayak paddle on DIVEIN.COM by clicking the links above.

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    🤨What length should my Kayak paddle be?

    The length of your kayak paddle is dependent on your height and arm span. The right paddle length for you is generally between 8” to 12” (20cm to 30cm) above your head. For the majority of kayakers, a paddle that is between 220 and 240 centimeters in length is perfect for getting the right grip and power. For more info on kayak paddles, check out this guide

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    🤓What material is best for my kayak paddle?

    The best material for your kayak paddle depends on what you will be using the paddle for. A good endurance paddle will be made of a lightweight material like carbon fiber or fiberglass. Alternatively, a very robust and durable paddle will be made of aluminum alloy.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    🧐What type of blade should my kayak paddle have?

    The type of blade on your kayak paddle is normally a matter of personal preference, however as a general rule; a bigger paddle is made for a slower but stronger stroke and a smaller shape is for a faster but weaker stroke.

Do you have a favorite paddle for kayaking?

What do you love about it?

Let us know in the comments below what you think makes the perfect kayak paddle.

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