Best Kayak Paddles Review 2020

Being able to find the best kayak paddle to accompany your kayak can be tricky! After all, not all kayak paddles are created equal. The art of choosing the perfect kayak paddle for yourself requires acquainting yourself with the different types of kayak paddles that are available on the market. 

Features of a Kayak Paddle

kayak paddle

Before choosing a kayak paddle for yourself, here are a few factors that you will need to take into consideration. That’s why we’ve listed the most important features of a kayak paddle and what to look for in them. This makes picking the perfect paddle for you a lot easier!

Length of the paddle

Your height and torso size determine what kayak paddle length will be appropriate for you. Choose a length that is most comfortable for you, depending on how high you sit on the kayak.

Materials

The shaft and blade of your kayak paddle can be made up of different materials, and each will have advantages and disadvantages of its own. You will need to choose a kayak made from high-quality materials, but remember to stay within your budget.

Shaft and blade shape

Shafts can either be round or oval-shaped. They are also available as a one-piece, two-piece, or more. Meanwhile, kayak blades also offer a massive variety that you can select based on your preference. The shaft and blade shape that is ideal for your kayak paddle depends on your paddling style.

Extension paddle

Certain paddles will allow you to extend the length of the paddle by adding an extension section in the middle. Whether you would like to extend your paddle or not can influence your choice when buying the best kayak paddle for yourself.

Reviews of the Top 7 Kayak Paddles in 2020

Here are our top picks for the best kayak paddles in 2020, with the pros and cons of each, so that our thorough review helps you decide which kayak paddle is best for you.

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass- Lightweight Kayak Paddle

kayak paddle

Check Werner Camano on Amazon

ProsCons
  Incredibly lightweight Expensive
Created using premium technology
Requires less energy while paddling
Suitable for long-distance paddling
Available in a variety of colors

Designed using premium performance technology, the Werner Camano Premium is a paddle that falls near the high-end of the paddle spectrum. You will realize that holding the Werner Camano paddle feels lightweight enough to move it through the water quickly, but still stiff and sturdy enough to propel you and your kayak forward without any trouble. The company markets it as a high performing paddle available in a variety of translucent shades (yellow, orange, red, blue, and green).

Design Details for the Warner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle
It is a dihedral shaped (two-plane faced) paddle designed using impact-resistant technology that allows water to be pushed off smoothly with equal force from each face of the paddle. The blades for the Werner Camano Premium paddle are made up of impact-resistant glass and nylon, which makes them extremely durable and strong enough to withstand the force of even fast-flowing river bodies. Meanwhile, the shaft is made from carbon fiber which is what makes the Werner Camano Premium paddle lightweight and easy to use.

Is it Worth it?
There are obvious benefits to using the Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass paddle. You will have to exert less force and therefore expend less energy while paddling because of the fiberglass that is used to make the Werner Camano Premium paddle. This quality makes this paddle ideal for long-distance paddling with little to no breaks in between. If you are a frequent paddler, you will enjoy maneuvering your kayak using the Werner Camano Premium paddle, as you cover more water quickly without necessarily feeling as tired.

However, as exquisite as it is, the Warner Camano Premium Fiberglass paddle is more expensive than most kayak paddles on the market. If you are a regular kayaking enthusiast, professional, or a guide, you might find that it is worth the money. For everyone else, their budget will be a deciding factor in whether or not this premium paddle is worth it.

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Check Carlisle Magic on Amazon

ProsCons
Versatile paddling modes Not appropriate for fishing
Suitable for long-distance paddling Not the best kayak paddler for white-water paddling
Very firm and comfortable grip
Available in a wide range of lengths
Will not exhaust the paddler
 Tapered top also works for women

If you’re looking for the perfect kayak paddle for touring and recreational kayaking, then the Carlisle Magic Plus could be for you. Ideal for open water kayaking and paddling for long hours at a stretch without getting tired, the Carlisle Magic Plus has the potential to make kayaking enjoyable for both beginner and expert level paddlers.

Design Details for the Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

The asymmetrical blades for the Carlisle Magic Plus are crafted using polypropylene and fiberglass. This combination allows this paddle to be flexible enough to push water quickly without twisting so much that it breaks. The paddles are spoon-shaped and can be useful in scooping water aside, making paddling easy if you are a beginner. Meanwhile, if you are an expert, then the Carlisle Magic Plus will make paddling fun and easy in open lakes and rivers. The shaft for this paddle is created using wrapped fiberglass, which is a reliable and durable material that you will find in most high-quality paddles. You won’t have to worry about the Carlisle Magic Plus breaking down in the middle of paddling, or wearing down from use over the years.

Another exciting feature for this paddle is the availability of customized paddling options that can be chosen based on your preference. You can feather your paddle to a 60-degree angle using a button to set the blade angle appropriate to your paddling style. The paddle also lets you adjust angles easily for both left-handed and right-handed paddlers.

Is it Worth it?

It is easy for most paddlers to fall in love with the Carlisle Magic Plus because of its versatile paddling modes, a wide range of lengths (from 220 to 250 cm), and lightweight craftsmanship. You won’t have to worry about your wrists aching after using this paddle either because it is designed to help you stroke water with minimum effort, and offers a comfortable grip that doesn’t wear out your hands. 

However, if you are looking forward to fishing when you are sailing on your kayak, then the Carlisle Magic Plus may not be the right choice for you. For fishing, you will need a J-shaped cut in your blade for being able to retrieve your line. Unfortunately, the Carlisle Magic Plus does not offer this blade in its paddling range. Additionally, this paddle is best for open water paddling. If you’re going to go white-water paddling in fast currents or shallow water, it is a better idea to pick a shorter paddle.

Bending Branches Whisper – Best Kayak Paddle for the Money

Bending Branches Whisper

Check Branches Whisper on Amazon

ProsCons
Extremely inexpensive Slight flutter noticeable in fast-flowing water
Durable and long-lastingSlight flutter noticeable in fast-flowing water
Secure ferrule locking system
Lets you experience kayaking on a budget
High-quality performance and value

If you’re new to kayak paddling and want a paddle to help you test the waters, the Bending Branches Whisper may be worth considering. The key selling point for this paddle is its price. At $65, it is exceptionally affordable compared to most paddles that you will see on this list. However, the Bending Branches Whisper isn’t ridiculously cheap to the point where it just breaks easily and ends up being a waste of money. It is durable, made from high-quality materials, and lets you get a taste of kayak paddling without spending a fortune. Perfect for novice paddlers and buyers on a budget!

Design Details for the Bending Branches Whisper

As the name suggests, the Bending Branches Whisper paddle is made from polypropylene which is what makes it bendy and flexible during strokes. The Bending Branches Whisper is simple in design and easy to get used to for individuals paddling for the first time. The snap button system is intuitive to get a grip of, and you will be able to set your blade at three different angles: 0-degree offset, left-bias 45-degree angle, and right-bias 45-degree angle. All of these are fully functional and perform equally well. The most reassuring feature that the Bending Branches Whisper paddle offers is a ferrule locking system. For such a price point, the secure connection design that this paddle utilizes is on par with paddles which are far more expensive.

Is it Worth it?

There are apparent drawbacks to the Bending Branches Whisper paddle. You might notice a slight flutter in fast-flowing waters or when you try to launch the paddle from shore. This no-frills paddle also twists a little too much in water pressure and while it is being pushed off a gravel bank. You might feel that it is about to snap, but because of how much it can flex it almost always returns to its original shape. However, you need to remember that the unique selling point for this paddle is its price. You would have to pay hundreds of dollars more for fiberglass or carbon blade paddle that feels more rigid but still lightweight against the water current. The performance for the Bending Branches Whisper is well beyond acceptable for its cost. Novice paddlers will barely be able to tell the difference between this paddle and more expensive ones.

Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon – Best Kayak Paddle for Fishing

Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon

Check String Ray Carbon on Amazon

ProsCons
Lightweight Slightly more expensive
Suitable for long hours of paddling
Variety of blade feather angles
Secure posi-locking mechanism
Durable and long-lasting

Easy to dismantle, fun to use, and able to last long distances without tiring the paddler, the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon is an absolute delight to paddle with over all waters. If you are a professional kayak paddler, then you will be able to thoroughly enjoy yourself when you use the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray paddle. Its performance can compete with some of the best paddlers in the market without leaving you broke. Meanwhile, if you are a first-time paddler, you will find that it is easy to use this lightweight paddle for long hours without punishing your wrists or getting exhausted.

Design Details for the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon

The Aqua-Bound Sting Ray is a dihedral blade paddle that is designed to push water against the surface of the blades as smoothly as possible. You will notice that the blades don’t resist the water much, but still feel firm enough to use. Even in fast water currents and high pressure, there is minimum flutter to be experienced with this paddle. The blades for this paddle are made from carbon-reinforced nylon. The fibers of carbon are held together by resin. This composition helps the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray deliver powerful strokes across the water without the paddler having to put much force on the shaft. You will find that this paddle is easy to use. There are markings visible on the shaft that indicate which angles are available for use, and you won’t have to spend too much time figuring out the paddling modes. The paddle is also easy to transport and disassemble if you want to carry it as two pieces.

Is it Worth it?

With a wide range of blade feather angles, the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon is equipped to handle almost any situation that you put it in. Even if you have sufficient experience paddling, buying this paddle will still let you be able to appreciate the tiny details of careful craftsmanship that have been put into making this masterpiece. However, it isn’t the most lightweight paddle out there. Other paddles perform much better than the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon, but you would have to spend over $400 to enjoy those the next time you go kayaking. Overall, the secure Posi-Lock mechanism, the high-quality material, and the durability of this paddle make it a strong contender to compete against the best.

Werner Skagit FG – 220 cm Kayak Paddle

Check Werner Skagit on Amazon

ProsCons
Extremely durable and can last you a lifetime Made of plastic and does not compare to carbon or fiberglass paddles
Simple and easy snap-button functionalityHeavier than most paddles
Inexpensive for the performance it offers
Perfect for touring/recreational kayaking
Viewing portal for blade angles

If durability is what appeals to you most in a paddle, then the Werner Skagit FG could be the right kayak paddle for you! Recreational and touring kayakers will find this paddle to be the best value for money, as it will last you for a very long time. With maximum easy of adjustment, a high-quality locking mechanism, and a fantastic build, the Werner Skagit FG is one of the most excellent options on the market for when you want to purchase a kayaking paddle. It is recommended that you take it out for a test run to see if the performance is up to mark with what you expect it to be.

Design details for the Werner Skagit FG

As a plastic blend paddle, the Werner Skagit FG outperforms its peers by a landslide margin. Its premium plastic composition has been designed for kayaking, and paddlers will find it easy to propel themselves in water using this paddle. Each stroke delivers a powerful punch from this plastic paddle to the sea that helps you and your kayak move forward. However, it is still self-evident that its performance falls short compared to carbon or fiberglass paddles in the market. The design features a viewing portal that helps users identify the different angles for adjustment. With nine different blade feather angles, the Werner Skagit FG is suited to most paddlers and their kayaking needs. The Werner Skagit has a secure point of connection that does not experience instability even after hours of paddling. It is easy to mistake it for a one-piece paddle. The snap button functionality that this paddle offers is easily among the best across the board.

Is it worth it?

The Werner Skagit FG is a high-quality and reliable paddle that performs well for the price you pay, which makes it a fantastic value for money. However, any experienced kayaker can tell you that it is not on par with premium fiberglass or carbon premium paddlers from the same Werner line of paddlers. Meanwhile, the use of plastic and the nylon injected blades make the paddle heavy, so you may not want to use it for high-speed sprints or if you plan to paddle for several hours a stretch. The silver lining here is that it is still one of the most robust and most durable paddlers that can easily last you a lifetime! Buying one of these won’t be a waste of money, and you will enjoy using them for several years to come.

Werner Kalliste
Werner Kalliste

Check Werner Kalliste on Amazon

ProsCons
  Incredibly lightweight Expensive
 Created using premium technology
 Requires less energy while paddling
 Suitable for long-distance paddling
Available in a variety of colors

If you are trying to reignite your passion for kayaking, then the Werner Kalliste can help you find that forgotten spark in kayaking again! With effortlessly minimal design, sleek blade construction, and high-quality materials used to put together the Werner Kalliste, this paddle is the best of the best. If you are a professional with years of experience kayaking under your belt, then you will be able to appreciate the fine details and phenomenal paddling experience that the Werner Kalliste offers. As light as a feather, the Werner Kalliste will have paddlers feel they are being carried by the water to their destination. But be careful with the Werner Kalliste, as it is a rather sensitive piece of equipment. You will find that it is as delicate as it is precious. Careless paddlers, be careful while maneuverings yourself using the Werner Kalliste. 

Design details for the Werner Kalliste

This dihedral paddle is made entirely from carbon, which explains why it is incredibly lightweight and expensive. It may take some time for the average paddler to get used to the exceptionally light feel that you experience upon holding and paddling with the Werner Kalliste. However, once you get used to it, you will find that the Werner Kalliste is outstandingly well-balanced at any angle, both in and out of water. The blades for this paddle are wrapped with dynel, which helps them resist wear and tear, and reinforces blade edges to stand water at high pressures. The paddle also features a smart view system that lets you view different angles for the blade adjustment. Overall, the Werner Kalliste offers a smooth kayaking experience that feels like pushing aside fluffy clouds in the air instead of powering through unforgiving water currents. 

Is it Worth it?

The high price is a strong deterrent that will discourage even the most passionate kayakers from buying the Werner Kalliste. However, should you purchase this paddle, you won’t regret it. The carbon technology used to engineer this paddle along with the Werner reputation in the market is perfectly captured in the high price for this paddle. You really do get what you pay for, but it is best enjoyed if you are already closely familiar with the art of kayaking. This paddle is fairly high-maintenance and requires a great deal of care while you are handling it. Unfortunately, the surface of the blades is extremely sensitive, and it is easy to get a few scratches on them. But don’t worry, this does not affect performance. 

If you want to buy the Werner Kalliste, you’re going to have to guard it with your life. Carry a paddle bag or transport it after you have dismantled it entirely. Moreover, dismantling it can get tricky because dirt can collect in the connection point, but you can easily avoid this if you regularly clean it.

Oceanboard Carbon Shaft Kayak Paddle

Oceanboard Carbon Shaft Kayak Paddle

Check Oceanboard Carbon on Amazon

ProsCons
Inexpensive Will eventually have to be replaced
Available in a variety of colors
One of the best entry-level paddlers
Simple and convenient blade angles for novices
Durable

If you’re looking for an inexpensive kayak paddle that will help you get through, without wasting money, then the Oceanboard kayak paddle could be right for you. This paddle performs well and is cheap enough to fall within the purchasing power of most kayakers. Weighing less than 34 oz, the Oceanboard Cabon Shaft paddle is relatively lightweight compared to its competitors. It is reasonably durable because of its UV-stable PP blade and sturdy carbon shaft. You can also choose from an exciting range of colors (red, green, blue, black, and yellow)!

Design Details for the Oceanboard Carbon Shaft Kayak Paddle

The carbon fiber composition makes this paddle extremely lightweight, and the shaft lets you have a firm grip while kayaking. Whether you are just starting or have years of experience kayaking, you will find that the Ocean board paddle is easy to use for paddlers with varying levels of skill. As a 2-piece paddle with blades made from fiberglass and polypropylene, this paddle is a fantastic buy at its current price. This paddle also easily outperforms other entry-level paddlers that fall within the same price range. You will find that it is reasonably simple to get the hang of it while kayaking too. With three different basic positions to fit your paddling style, you won’t be confused by an overwhelming number of angles for your paddle blade.

Is it Worth it?

Simple, inexpensive, and it gets the job done. The Oceanboard Carbon Shaft paddle is not outstanding as there are better paddles that are lighter, have less flutter, and offer more angles to adjust the blade. However, it is still good value for money if you are an entry-level kayaker or are still new to the craft. It is also a great inexpensive option to have as a spare paddle for emergencies.

Final Words

These kayak paddles have individual strong features and some cons. We have reviewed the top kayak paddles in a way that you can pick the one most suitable for you and your kayaking trips. Just remember to check the price tag but not make decisions based on it because the expensive ones might just be worth it sometimes.

 

Michael Holding
 

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

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