Paddles are responsible for a kayaker’s speed, stability, and steering. So, why do so many kayakers take this essential piece of equipment for granted? In the section below, we identify each feature that plays a part in a paddle’s performance. We also share our thoughts on five of the best kayak paddles for the money. We want you to feel confident in your paddle purchase. While any paddle will get a kayak cruising, the right mix of materials and designs will bring your kayaking experience to new heights. If you want to find out about more the best perfomance kayak paddles check this guide out.
The Best Kayak Paddles for the Money go as Follows:
- Best Marine Kayak Paddle and Accessories – (Best Kayak Paddle for the Money)
- Pelican Poseidon Kayak Paddle – (Best Budget Low-Angle Paddle)
- Overmont Kayak Paddle – (Best Inflatable Kayak Paddle)
- Best Marine Kayak Paddle – (Most Unique Fishing Features)
- Pelican Poseidon Angler Kayak Paddle- (Best Kayak Paddle for Fishing)
Table of Contents
Budget Kayak Paddle Reviews
The best budget options for kayak paddles as rated by me and verified customers go as follows.
1. Best Marine Kayak Paddle and Accessories – Best Kayak Paddle for the Money
- Length: 92 inches (234 centimeters)
- Weight: 33.5 ounces
- Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber
- Blade Material: Fiberglass
Best Marine’s Kayak Paddle is the perfect package at a perfect price. The company has paired a durable carbon fiber shaft with a pair of indestructible fiberglass blades. The materials are lightweight and sleek, making them perfectly suitable for long stints on the water. What’s more, the paddle has a uniform black color that pairs well with almost any kayak.
At 92 inches, this paddle is the perfect length for most paddlers. A paddle this length is well-suited for kayaks that are 28 inches or longer. It’s also a perfect match for paddlers that are taller than 5 feet. Despite its length, the 33.5-ounce device is far lighter than aluminum and fiberglass alternatives. This featherweight paddle helps cut down on premature paddling fatigue. It can even be separated into two pieces for more convenient storage and transportation.
The Best Marine paddle boasts symmetrical dihedral blades. The shafts are straight with textured grips that keep them from slipping out of wet hands. The blades are 17.5 inches long and 6.75 inches wide. These narrow blades are super comfortable during long stretches of paddling. Still, they offer plenty of energy return per stroke.
This kayak also boasts three adjustable paddle positions. You can straighten or tilt the blade to accommodate your personal paddling preferences. On top of this, the Best Marine Kayak comes with a stretchy 4-foot paddle leash. The Best Marine Paddle floats well and is easy to retrieve with the help of the right accessories. Rest assured, this paddle also comes with a moneyback guarantee.
- Three adjustable paddle angles
- Streamline black colorway
- Lightweight, buoyant materials
- Efficient dihedral shape
- Does not allow feathering
2. Pelican Poseidon Kayak Paddle – Best Budget Low-Angle Paddle
- Length: 89 inches (226 cm)
- Weight: 2.63 pounds
- Shaft Material: Aluminum
- Paddle Material: Fiberglass-reinfoirced polypropylene blades
The Poseidon Kayak is a low-angle paddle with a two-piece aluminum shaft and fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades. The paddle measures 89 inches in length. However, it separates into two pieces for easier storage and transportation. It also has built-in drip rings and a blade with an adjustable angle. As such, you can rotate the blades from 0 to 60 degrees. The paddle’s shaft also boasts righthand indexing for a more comfortable and secure grip.
The blades’ asymmetrical dihedral shapes offer an ample amount of acceleration. Meanwhile, ovalization, or indexing, indicates the best placement for a paddler’s hands. While the aluminum shaft can become quite uncomfortable in cold water, its rubberized grip provides a bit of a reprieve.
One of Poseidon’s standout features is its push-button ferrule system. While the shaft does not telescope, it clicks together with ease. Paddlers also have the option to feather the blades, setting them at 0- or 60-degree angles. They can also choose between four custom colors, including charcoal black, neon orange, lime green, and electric blue. The lighter colors have a pearly white swirl.
Overall, this is an inexpensive and lightweight model. The blades are long and narrow. As such, they have no trouble cutting through strong currents and wind. Our only complaint is that the paddle is not buoyant. As such, paddlers must use a leash to avoid sending their Posidon to the bottom of the sea.
- Made from a combination of durable aluminum and polypropylene
- Adjustable drip rings for dry hands and hulls
- Perfect length for teen and adult paddlers
- Righthand indexing for a more accurate grip
- Four unique colorways
- A bit heavy compared to carbon fiber alternatives
- Does not float/must be used with a leash
3. Overmont Kayak Paddle – Best Inflatable Kayak Paddle
- Length: 87 inches (222 cm)
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Shaft Material: Aluminum
- Blade Material: Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene
The Overmont Kayak Paddle is designed with inflatable kayaks in mind. The paddle’s aluminum shaft separates into two pieces for easier transportation and storage. It also boasts a set of durable, lightweight fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades. The blades are bright yellow, making it easier to retrieve them in low-light conditions. The paddle also floats. Not to mention, this package comes with a durable paddle leash.
The blades have a unique design, consisting of feather-like shapes and serrated edges. According to the manufacturer, this design helps divert water away from the boat. The blades also have a slight arc, which provides paddlers with more leverage. Additional drip rings keep water from flowing down the shaft.
Customers have corroborated the manufacturer’s claims. Many people say that the paddles are lightweight and efficient. Most consumers say they would need to exert themselves a lot more if they were using a different model. According to most, the most effective element is the serrated edge. The only downside of this paddle is the aluminum shaft, as it becomes very cold in low temperatures.
- Serrated teeth for water diversion
- Separated into two pieces with riveted connections
- Adjust to three angles
- 0.9-inch shaft
- Duck palm arc
- Drip rings
- Aluminum is conductive
4. Best Marine Kayak Fishing Paddle – Most Unique Fishing Features
- Length: 98.4 inches (250 cm)
- Weight: 34 ounces
- Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber
- Blade Material: Reinforced ABS
This Best Marine kayak paddle boasts a clever combination of lightweight materials and premium elements of design. The carbon fiber blades measure 98.4 inches long. It is the perfect length for an extra-wide fishing kayak. Despite its size, it weighs just 34 ounces! The reinforced ABS blades are made to withstand harsh impacts. It’s durable enough that we would use it to push off the shore.
The paddle features a smooth, straight shaft made from ultralight carbon fiber. The shaft can be straightened or bent to suit your paddling preferences. This paddle is 100% buoyant. Still, it comes with a stretchy paddle leash for easier retrieval.
Customers love that the Best Marine kayak paddle has several built-in fishing tools. For one, the shaft doubles as a 40-inch fish ruler. The paddle also has hook and lure removal tools built into the blades. Other angling elements include dual drop rings. These keep excess water from dripping into a kayak. The paddle also splits into two pieces for effortless storage and transportation. What’s more, you can alter the angle of the blades to suit changing weather conditions.
At just under $100, this Best Marine fishing kayak should be considered a long-term investment. Still, you’ll reap the benefits of this paddle with each stroke. Not many anglers can resist a paddle than will propel them forward and free up snagged lines.
- Smooth, soft, lightweight shaft
- Built-in fish ruler
- Hook retrieval tool
- Lure removal tool
- Risk-free purchase
- Too long for traditional kayaks
5. Pelican Poseidon Angler Kayak Paddle- Best Kayak Paddle for Fishing
- Length: 98 inches
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Shaft Material: Aluminum
- Blade Material: Fiberglass-Reinforced Polypropylene
The Pelican Poseidon Angler is yet another marvelous kayak paddle for kayak fishing. This paddle has a 98-inch aluminum shaft and two fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades. The materials are engineered to resist the impact of large rocks and abrupt launches. Meanwhile, its adjustable drips assist in keeping your arms and the inside of your boat dry.
This fishing kayak paddle boasts a black shaft and sage blades. The colorway isn’t ideal for those looking to boost their visibility. Still, it is hard to miss this 98.5-inch paddle.
Customers love that they can adjust the angle of the paddle’s blades to improve their speed and steering. Many people also appreciate the paddle’s distinct righthand indexing. Not to mention, consumers have found the blade’s optional feathering to be a favorable element of design. This feature has helped some anglers avoid the pressure of the extreme wind.
Customers on a budget will have trouble resisting the Pelican’s low price. At just under $50, this paddle is quite the steal. The only downside of this tool is that the aluminum shaft is conductive. As such, it can be uncomfortable in extreme heat and cold. One way to avoid discomfort is to purchase a PVC sleeve.
- Righthand indexing
- Built-in retrieval hooks
- Sand color
- Adjustable drop rings
- Tape measure
The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Kayak Paddle for the Money
Most people spend the bulk of their budget on a kayak and it’s equipment. As such, they tend to cut corners when purchasing a paddle. Before you opt for the cheapest paddle on the market, consider the importance of this tool. Most kayakers take hundreds of strokes during each kayaking excursion. With a good paddle, these repetitive movements can become a rewarding upper body workout.
What Type of Kayak are You Paddling?
There are many different types of kayaks.
Recreational kayaks are popular options for inexperienced paddlers. These kayaks tend to be wide, measuring where from 26 to 30 inches. Many recreational kayaks come with paddles. These paddles are made from inferior, heavy materials, such as plastic, nylon, and aluminum.
Touring and sea kayaks are much thinner and more efficient. They are usually between 22 and 25 inches wide. These types of kayaks perform best with the help of thin, light paddles.
Fishing kayaks are another popular style. These kayaks tend to be very wide, measure as much as inches in many as 42 inches across. If you’re shopping for a fishing kayak, you will need a paddle that is between 240 to 250 centimeters long.
Premium kayak paddles can cost several hundreds of dollars. However, there are plenty of quality options in the $40 to $100 range. Price is often a reflection of a paddle’s quality. If you have a limited budget, you may have to settle for inferior blade or shaft materials.
Fiberglass and carbon fiber blades tend ffer ample energy returns. Still, plastic and nylon blades are perfectly suitable for recreational purposes. A paddle with an aluminum shaft is likely to be less expensive than one with a carbon or fiberglass blade. While aluminum is heavy and conductive, it’s not a complete bust.
$25+ Paddle vs $100+ Paddle
What’s the difference between a $25 and a $100 paddle?
Paddles that cost $25 are made from basic, inexpensive materials, such as aluminum, plastic, and nylon. These materials are more fragile and less performance-oriented than pricier alternatives. They’ll provide you with adequate mobility without going above and beyond.
On the other hand, a paddle that costs $100 or more will boast premium materials and elements of design. Pricier models also better energy returns upon each stroke. Performance-oriented materials also tend to be lightweight and durable. Pricier options may boast unique amenities, such as shaft indexing, adjustable blade angles, and built-in fishing tools.
What Length Kayak Paddle Do I Need?
You must take your height and the width of your kayak into consideration when determining your ideal paddle length. In thisvideo, a paddling expert explains that paddle and blade length are two of the most important buying considerations. As a rule of thumb, short paddlers should use small paddles. Meanwhile, tall paddlers should opt for longer models.
Paddlers that are 6 feet or taller will need a paddle that is 230 to 250 centimeters long. Meanwhile, paddlers that are 5.5 feet or taller need a paddle that is between 220 and 230 centimeters long. Finally, paddlers that are shorter than 5 feet 4 inches may use a paddle that is less than 220 centimeters long.
Of course, you should also take the width of your kayak into consideration. Recreational, fishing, and sit-on-top kayaks tend to much wider than traditional kayaks. Meanwhile, sea and touring kayaks are usually much narrower. If you are trying to outfit a narrow kayak, you’ll probably want a paddle that is between 210 and 220 centimeters long. If you’re trying to pair a paddle with a traditional sit-in or sit-on-top model, you’ll want something that ranges from 220 to 250 centimeters. Of course, if you are outfitting an extra-wide boat, such as a fishing kayak, we recommend a paddle that is anywhere from 240 to 260 centimeters in length.
Low-Angle vs High-Angle Paddle
What’s the difference between high- and low-angle paddles? High-angle paddles are short and stout. According to kayaking experts, high-angle paddles are engineered for speed. Still, their small blade surface can be a hurdle for amateur paddlers. As such, we recommend these for advanced paddlers or enthusiastic athletes.
On the other hand, low-angeled paddles are longer and narrower than high-angle paddles. Their large surface space provides paddlers with exceptional paddling returns. Inexperienced and recreational kayakers tend to prefer this type of paddle. Check out the below video to see the differences between low- and high-angle paddles compare.
Kayak blades are made from a variety of materials, including fiberglass, polypropylene, nylon, and plastic.
Plastic and Nylon
Plastic and nylon blades tend to be the least expensive. These materials provide paddlers with plenty of mobility. However, they are more susceptible to breaks. Typically, plastic and nylon blades have a limited lifetime.
Fiberglass is an excellent midrange option. Fiberglass tends to be a lightweight workhorse. As such, its a great choice for kayakers who intend to use their boating equipment for extended periods. You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $70 for a paddle with a fiberglass blade.
Carbon fiber is the priciest, most performance-oriented blade material. If you use your kayak extensively, this is an excellent option. While carbon fiber will increase the price of your paddle, there are plenty of options below the $100 mark.
There are several different styles of blades. However, most kayak paddles consist of two asymmetrical or dihedral blades. Asymmetrical blades have one side that is longer than the other. They also have a large surface area. They produce bigger energy returns from low-angled paddle strokes. Meanwhile, dihedral blades have two symmetrical sides that are bent at a slight angle. This angle helps to break up water. As such, this design requires less force from paddlers.
A paddle shaft is the long, thin pole that stretches between the right and left blades. Shafts vary in size, adjustability, and material.
Shaft designs vary depending on their material makeup and shape. Paddle shafts may be made from aluminum, carbon, or fiberglass. Aluminum shafts are inexpensive and durable. However, they are highly conductive. As such, they are a poor choice for extreme weather conditions. Carbon and fiberglass shafts are pricier. Still, they are lighter, more buoyant, and more comfortable than aluminum.
Bent vs. Straight
There are also several different types of shaft shapes. While straight shafts are the most common, some paddlers prefer shafts with bends. Bent shafts offer an ergonomic shape that’s easy to grip for extended periods. Some shafts also indexed. These shafts are tapered so that paddlers have a clear indication of where to rest their hands.
Two-Piece vs. Four-Piece
Shafts may come apart into two or four pieces. Four-piece paddles come apart into small sections that can be put into the well of a kayak. Two-piece kayaks may not be small enough to fit into a kayak well or bunker, but they are preferable for transportation and storage.
It’s important to consider the weight of your kayak paddle. Lighter paddles put less strain on a paddler’s body. As such, they can be handled for long periods. You can expect to pay a bit more for a lighter paddle. However, you can expect to experience better energy returns and less fatigue.
Single vs Two-Piece Paddles
Many kayakers struggle to choose between single and two-piece paddles. Many boaters prefer the durability of one-piece paddles. Of course, these lengthy pieces are more difficult to transport. If you do opt to purchase a two-piece paddle, ensure that it has a superior connection.
Bring a Spare
Don’t forget to bring along a spare paddle. A broken or lost paddle can strand you in open water. Use deck bungees to strap your spare to the top of your boat.
It’s important to find a paddle that suits your personal paddling style. Some kayakers look to upgrade their paddles because their current paddles are heavy and cumbersome. Other consumers may be focused on improving their tracking and speed. Meanwhile, some people may just want to make a long-term investment with promising returns. Try to narrow your focus in order to get the most out of your next paddle purchase.
If you are looking for optimal efficiency, you will need to hone in on specific materials, blade shapes, and shaft designs. If you have a touring kayak, opt for a lightweight, narrow paddle that won’t fatigue your arms during long, strenuous paddling sessions. If you have a recreational or beginner boat, most dihedral blades will serve you well. If you’re ocean or surf kayaking, opt for a paddle with wide, impact-resistant blades.
Why are some paddle blades set at an angle?
Offset blades are called feathering. When each blade is tilted in a different direction, air resistance is reduced. Many paddles can be feathered with a twist of a kayak’s ferrule, or center joint. Most blades can be set at 0-degree or 60-degree angles. Advanced paddlers may rely on feathering to combat extreme wind. Others may use feathering to improve their speed.
Can I share a kayak paddle with someone shorter or taller than me?
You should always use your height and the width of your kayak to select an appropriately sized paddle. If purchasing two different paddles is out of the question, purchase a telescoping paddle. This way, each paddler can adjust the length of the paddle to suit his or her needs.
Does my kayak paddle have an impact on my kayak’s performance?
Yes! A paddle is a kayaker’s sole source of steering, tracking, and acceleration in recreational boats. Kayakers also rely on their paddle for stability.
What will happen if I use the wrong size paddle?
If your kayak paddle is too long or too short, you may overexert yourself. Many beginner paddlers wear themselves out prematurely. They may also develop blisters, sprains, and cramps.
What if I can only afford a budget-friendly paddle?
Opt for a kayak paddle that you can afford. The materials may be heavier or more fragile than those of a premium paddle. However, a budget paddle will work fine until you can afford an upgrade. There are also plenty of midrange materials, including fiberglass, aluminum, and carbon fiber.
We’re pumped about the great price on the Best Marine Kayak Paddle. The combination of a carbon fiber shaft and carbon fiber blades make this a customer favorite. Of course, the Pelican Poseidon Angler Kayak Paddle and the Best Marine Kayak Paddle are both excellent options for kayak fishing! If you’re looking to save, you’ll want to consider the >Overmont Kayak Paddle and the >Pelican Poseidon Kayak Paddle.