Best Kayak Paddle in 2023 – Kayak Paddle Reviews and Ratings

Best Kayak Paddle in 2023 – Kayak Paddle Reviews and Ratings
Kayaking is a tremendous sport, as it gives you the rush that comes from breezing through the fresh air over water. When it comes to kayaking equipment, there’s not a whole lot that you need to get going, but the few pieces that you do need should be selected with care. Your kayaking paddle is one of the most important items that you need to purchase, and its size and shape will determine how fast you go out on the water, and how enjoyable your experience will be. We’re going to highlight the top rated kayak paddles, so that you can get a jump-start to finding the perfect one for your unique requirements.
Best Kayak Paddle

1. Shoreline Marine

Best Overall Kayak Paddle

5/5 Product Rating
This 84” kayak paddle from Shoreline is a top rated piece of equipment because it performs like no other. The surface of the paddle is corrosion resistant thanks to its aluminum construction, and the high impact handle helps you to navigate the toughest waters.

The paddle is not only lightweight, but it’s also durable, helping you to effortlessly carry it on the go while still being able to face harsh and rough waters with ease. This paddle comes in a bright blue color, which makes it easier to locate the paddle should you accidentally lose it in the water.

When it comes to a kayak paddle, you want solid construction that is also easy to hold, and this paddle is perfect for just that. It’s comfortable in the hands while still being tough and sturdy. All in all, this is a top rated kayak paddle because it is built from solid materials and will definitely stand the test of time with ease and comfort.

Jonathan Maxwell

2. Carlisle

Best Overall Kayak Paddle – Runner Up

4.7/5 Product Rating
This paddle from Carlisle is beloved among customers because it is lightweight but still gives you the push that you crave to move through the water effortlessly. No only does it cut the water, but it also has a great grip and is lightweight enough to carry on the go. What’s also great about this paddle is that it’s incredibly affordable, so that you get high-performance at a price tag that you can actually manage.

Customers also rave about the appearance of this paddle, with its sleek design and vibrant colors. Ultimately, what sets one paddle apart from the rest is the performance, and this paddle really does give you that swift lift in the water that kayakers crave. Customers claim that they really feel like they’re gliding when using this paddle, and moving faster than ever before.

If you’re ready to experience a whole new flow out on the water, then investing in this kayak paddle is a sound decision. You’re sure to not be disappointed with the durable materials that it is built from, and the speeds that it allows you to reach.

Jonathan Maxwell

3. SeaSense X-1

4.5/5 Product Rating
This kayak paddle from SeaSense features a 2 piece aluminum construction that makes it easy to take on the go but still sturdy enough for all your paddling needs. It’s not only lightweight, but it perfectly balances so that you feel secure when riding in your kayak. The paddle also has adjustable drop rings and ergonomic foam hand grips so that you always feel comfortable when you’re out on the water.

The paddle also boasts of molded plastic blades that effortlessly move through the water, helping you to feel as though you are gliding on air. This paddle is consistently a top rated piece of kayaking equipment because it allows you to use less effort while experiencing more glide.

The superior performance comes from the fact that it is constructed from the highest quality materials. Whether you’re a professional kayaker or someone just learning the ropes, this paddle is going to give you the performance that you crave at a price that you will find reasonable.

Jonathan Maxwell

Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Kayak Paddle Reviews

What is a Kayak Paddle?

Kayak Paddle1Kayaking is a tremendous sport. You get to feel that rush that comes from being out on the water and feeling the wind in your hair. There’s very little equipment involved in kayaking, so that pieces that you do buy are of the utmost importance. The kayak paddle is one of the most important bits of equipment that you can supply yourself with, and there are a lot of models out there to choose from.

It can seem daunting at first when it comes time to buy a paddle, and that’s why this buyer’s guide was written to help you to make the task easier. Lets take a look at some of the key features that you need to pay attention to when investing in a good kayak paddle.

Blade Size

In terms of adult kayak paddles, there isn’t a tremendous amount of variation when it comes to paddle blade sizes. But if you’re someone who paddles a lot, then you’re going to find that subtle variations do make a big difference. If you’re trying to paddle hard with a smaller sized blade, then you’re going to feel like you’re not getting enough power because it’s going to seem like the blade is slipping. But if you don’t have a whole lot of upper body strength, you’re going to find that a large paddle isn’t going to make it feel like you’re going that much faster, so it’s about finding the balance.

Bigger blades are going to add weight, and this will make it more fatiguing for those who aren’t as strong. However, if you are a strong paddler, then a larger blade is going to give you much more speed. So what it comes down to is experimentation and knowing your level of strength. This will help guide you to the length of paddle that is just right for you.

Blade Style

There are many styles of blade that you’ll find on the market. Most of the paddles that you are going to find come in the traditional Euro style which have short, wide blades. But even among Euro paddles you’re going to see a lot of variation in terms of ratio of blade length to width. An expert paddler is going to be able to perform well with any kind of blade, no matter what its shape, but those who are new to paddling need to take shape into consideration. Wide blades will tend to be more forgiving in terms of making mistakes when turning and bracing.

This just means that the blade will be less likely to dive and cause your vessel to capsize should you make an error in the angle of the blade mid-stroke. But this is also the reason that wide blades will make rolling easier. That’s why it’s recommended that you get a touring paddle with a blade that is at least 7” wide. But, if you’re someone who doesn’t like kayaking in rough conditions and you don’t want to roll, then you will be better off with a low, narrow blade, which will be easier on the shoulders.

Paddle Length

Kayak Paddle2If you’re someone who enjoys kayaking on the sea, then you probably have a taller, wider front of your kayak and therefore you need a longer shaft for your paddle in order to be able to reach into the water for a strong forward stroke. This has nothing to do with how tall the person is, keep in mind.

The optimal way to choose your paddle length is to try several different paddles until you find the one that gives you the best average speed over a long distance. You’re going to find that different lengths will give you different speeds, but it’s all about finding the balance in terms of how much speed a paddle is giving you and how comfortable it is to use.

Shaft Size

When paddles used to all be made of wood, the shafts of the paddles had a larger diameter than the fiberglass ones that we find today. Once the shift to fiberglass happened, the paddle builders went with a common size which was smaller and proved to be strong enough for most people. This shaft was also much lighter and easier to hold. The reduction in diameter was not noticed by most people, and within no time this new shaft size became the standard.

This means that those with average sized hands or even larger hands are going to benefit by adding heat shrink tubing or some other kind of material around the paddle shaft to thicken it up a little, as the fiberglass handle was not designed with ergonomics in mind. Should you have small hands, then you’re going to find that the standard size is going to be just about right for you.

Straight Shaft vs. Bent Shaft

“Bent shaft” kayak paddles feature many bends on either side of each hand grip, and this makes the shaft appear bent. The reason that it is designed with this complicated shape is because it extends the reach that you get when you’re planting your paddle at the beginning of your stroke. This also keeps your wrist in better alignment with your forearm. The flip side to this is that to maintain the same strength as a straight shaft the bent shaft ends up being heavier, and even though it improves your wrist position, it also makes your wrist position worse when it comes to backing up and low bracing for stability.

Should your wrists have a history of injury from repetitive use, then a bent shaft paddle is going to help you to minimize the risks of further injury. But, if you haven’t had any problems so far, either style of shaft is going to work for you just fine. It’s always important to maintain a loose grip and learn to use ergonomic stroke patterns in order to prevent injury. If you’re just starting out with kayaking, then it’s recommended that you begin with a straight shaft paddle.

Feather Angle

Feather angle is the twist from one blade relative to the other, and it was once a deciding factor when it comes to buying a paddle. But today, all the two-piece sea kayak paddles have adjustable ferrules that will allow you to set any feather angle that you choose.

Kayak Paddle3This means that you can adjust it from 0-90 degrees left or right in various 15 degree increments. It’s important to experiment a bit to change the feather angle to whatever is most comfortable for you.


If you’re someone who loves to kayak, then finding the right paddle is very important. It may seem like they’re all the same, but this is simply not true. We highlighted the top rated paddles on the market, and these are the ones that are guaranteed to give you solid performance. You can purchase any one of these paddles with confidence, but if you choose to continue your search then our buyer’s guide will no doubt help you to make a great purchase. When in doubt, go in person to a kayaking or sporting goods supply store and ask the representative about which paddle might be best for you. You need to take into consideration your height, level of strength, and skill set before choosing the paddle that is right for you.

With so many options out on the market, it may seem daunting at first when looking for the right paddle for you, but take heart. No matter which paddle you choose, you’re going to have an adjustment period where you learn to use the paddle properly, then after this you’re going to see that you have it down in no time.



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