A Complete Guide To Kayak Paddles

A Complete Guide To Kayak Paddles

Written by Joshua K.

Paddles are the kayaks’ one of the most important organs. Without paddles kayaks are immobile and useless. However, if you have one of the best kayaks in your garage but with a wrong kind of paddle, the consequence will be equally futile.

Your kayak will be of no use and if you insist on using it with those wrong paddles, serious accidents might occur. Therefore in this article our experts have come up with the guideline to show you the ways how you can pick the best paddle for your precious kayak, n, review of the 5 best kayak paddles from the global market and some of the very useful maintenance tips.

How To Choose The Best Paddle for Your Kayak:

Choosing the most suitable paddle for your kayak is very important. Kayaking comfort and safety depends a lot on the fitness of the paddle. For choosing the best paddles for your kayak you have to take the following factors under your consideration:


Length of kayaksLength is one of the most important thing to consider when you want to buy paddles for your kayak. Kayak paddles may vary from 200 cm to 260 cm. But you will chose the paddle whose length matches perfectly with your physique. Width of your boat and your pedaling style are also important issues. The best way to determine the perfect length is to have a field test.

Shape of the Blades

Paddle shapesThe well designed curves of your kayak’s blades are not just for looks. Rather they have far more important purpose. These days most of the kayak paddles are manufactured with asymmetrical design. This allows the kayaker to make the strong more horizontal which spends minimum energy from the kayaker’s end. There are also dihedral shaped blades like aeroplane’s wings which allows to glide through the water more smoothly and make the kayak more stable.

Blade Features
Blade featuresSince blade is one of the most important parts of paddle, manufacturers have been designing this sophisticated part with newer and newer features. Many professional kayak paddles have adjustable feathering options and some of the kayaks have fixed feathering.

Feathering means keeping the two blades of your kayak in opposite angle which minimizes the wind resistance while paddling. And there are some paddles which are non-feathered that means both the blades of the kayak are placed in the same angle inline.


Blades can also be fitted with some extra features like hook retrieval notch which allows the kayaker to bring back the hook and the lure if they get tangled in an underwater log or this kind of obstacle. Drip rings in the blades prevent the kayakers from getting wet from the splash produced by the constant paddling.

Blade Materials
Blade materials are also very important thing to consider. The best material for blade construction is carbon fiber which is also the most expensive. It is extremely light and highly durable.


Only high performance paddles are manufactured from carbon fibres. If you go for heavy duty paddles but with a reasonable price, you can chose one with fibreglass blade. They are also lightweight and durable and they can be of different colours. 

Besides these there are nylon, plastic and aluminum blades which are cheaper and durable. These blades require minimum maintenance and perfect for the paddles of amateure kayakers.

Simple straight shaft is much admired by most of the kayakers. However, this simple straight stick can also offer some specialties. Shafts can also be made from carbon fibre, fibreglass, plastic, nylon and aluminum.


Like blades, durability, affordability and weight also vary depending on the materials. And shafts can also be fitted with important features. Some paddles have metre scale fitted with the shaft so that the kayakers can adjust its length according to his/her convenience. Some paddles allow to adjust the length of the shaft by pushing buttons and the portable paddles allow to dismantle the shaft into several parts.

Paddling with comfort depends a lot on  the grip. While purchasing a paddle, comfortable grip should also be a priority.

You watch this video to know more about how to choose the best kayak paddle.

How We Selected the Bests:

We have brought to you five of the best kayak paddles who have a combination of the all the features that we discussed above. Before going to the best five, let’s know the process how we discovered them.

Material Test
We have tested material of hundreds of kayak pedals and selected the best paddles with the most durable materials such as carbon fibre, fibre glass, glass filled nylon and aluminum.
There are kayak paddles with a lot of options and features such as feathering options, hook retrieval system etc. We have selected the most versatile paddles with an affordable price.
Field Test
Our experts have conducted extensive field test for months with all the selected paddles by operating them through roughest of waters. Then their performance have been examined and 5 of the best paddles have been short listed.
User Comments
From extensive market survey we have accumulated extensive information about the user response on a lot of paddles and combined them with our own field test reports.


After these elaborate processes, we got the five best kayak paddles for you.

The Best Kayak Paddles:

After thorough research and a series of tests, our experts have selected five best kayak paddles for your choice. These kayak paddles have been ranked according to their performance, cost effectiveness and strength.

However, with different kinds of unique features, any of these paddles can fit your purpose and then you can purchase them without hesitation. These strong and tested gears will never fail you.

Number 1: Bending Branches Angler Ace

Bending Branches Angler Ace

This is probably the best kayak paddle available in the market. This elite kayak paddle is made of carbon fiber shaft and carbon reinforced nylon blades. These high quality materials have made extremely lightweight but amazingly durable. The paddle weighs only 1.94 Ibs and 95 square inch blades and shaft size enables the kayaker to attain a great speed with awesome manoeuvrability.

However there are a lot of sizes from where you can pick the best that suits with your physique. This kayak has the feathering options from 0 to 60 degree. So, kayakers can conveniently configure the paddle to run smoothly through all kinds of waterfronts whether is windy rivers, seas, rapids or calm lakes and streams.

This powerful paddle is very lightweight and kayakers can operate it with great comfort and spontaneity. This paddle also features  a measuring tape on the shaft which allows the kayaker to adjust the shaft length at his/her convenience.

One of the most convenient features of this gear is it has a unique hook retrieval notch in its blade which allows you to hook your fishing line through it and save the hook and the lure from getting away with an underwater long or branches. And drip rings fitted with the paddle will prevent you from getting wet by splash produced by paddling. Price of this versatile and all purpose kayak paddle ranges from 213.90 to 214.95 US$.

  • A paddle with all available options such as adjustable shaft, feathering option, hook retrieval system and what not
  • Extremely lightweight, durable, powerful and dynamic

  • Expensive and sometimes not available in all the common sport gear stores

 You can learn more about this paddle from the manufacturer’s official website and from this video.

Check this product on Amazon

Number 2: Carlisle Expedition Angler

Carlisle Expedition Angler

This is also a very good choice for the kayak obsessed anglers and adventure loving kayakers. It’s two piece fiberglass shaft is  lightweight and 17’x17” fiberglass blades can give the ultimate kayaking experience with great speed, highly effective tracking capacity and smooth manoeuvrability.

Its larger fins and lightweight shafts can glide through the water so smoothly that your long kayaking tours will become a comfortable luxury ride.

This blade is available in the market in three different sizes such as 220, 230 and 240 centimetres which make it suitable for people of all sizes. It has a push button for feathering into 60 degrees or set unfeathered. These paddles are highly favoured by the anglers as the black shaft and olive green paddle of the paddle make it very efficiently camouflaged for angling expeditions.

There are also drip rings to keep you dry and comfortable.This highly dynamic and efficient kayak paddle can be obtained at 129.99-179.95 US$.

  • Lightweight shaft and larger fins provide great speed and comfortable paddling experience
  • With three different sizes, it can be used by people of all ages and physiques

  • Fixed 60 degree feathering option may prove a bit uncomfortable for some people, however, it is the most effective feathering angle to achieve maximum speed and comfort while paddling upwind
  • Fiberglass shaft and blade are a bit fragile and prone to leakage

You can learn more about this paddle from the manufacturer’s official website and from this video.

Check this product on Amazon

Number 3: Carlisle Taboo Stand Up

This kayak paddle with T-Grip handle is much admired by the racing kayakers who love to indulge in speed and adventure. It’s aluminum shaft and durable polypropylene blades can glide with extreme smoothness through the roughest waters with strong currents or rapids full of rocks and obstacles.

Carlisle Taboo Stand Up

It’s lightweight and unique grip features allows the kayaker to adjust it conveniently and hold move it with firmness and speed.  It’s 8 x 20 inch super strong high impact polypropylene blades are designed to attain greater speed in all kinds of waterfronts. While paddling upwind you can easily press the push button to convert this 75 inch paddle into 230 cm to exert more power with minimum stress.

It’s easy button locking system also allows you to change the blades conveniently whenever you need. This highly effective convertible kayak paddle can be obtained at 77.79 US$.

  • Stainless steel push button adjustment can give variable length of the paddle for all kinds of users
  • Durable high impact plastic blades and aluminum shaft make it highly efficient and easy to use instrument
  • A convertible paddle with a very reasonable price

  • There is no feathering option.
  • Aluminum shaft can have bumps and bruises from strong obstacles like rocks.

You can learn more about this paddle from the manufacturer’s official website and from this video.

Check this product on Amazon

Number 4: Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle

Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle

This is one of the most acclaimed sport gear innovation by the Advanced Elements. The paddle can be disassembled into four different parts and can be carried even in a burlap bag. It’s aluminum alloy shaft is very light and durable. It’s glass filled nylon asymmetrical-dihedral blades are purpose built for whitewater kayaking.

However, the blades are fixed in 60 degree and have no feathering option. But thanks to this design, this paddle can is highly efficient in turbulent waters and in high sea with treacherous waves. Compared to its length, the paddle is very lightweight (only 2.7 lbs).

It’s actual length is 231 cm and when packed it can be converted into the comfortable length of 64 centimetres. It’s portability, durability and lightweight has made this paddle one of the most sold out sport instruments of most of the renowned online stores. This paddle can purchased at 69.99 US$.

  • Extremely portable, lightweight and strong enough to glide through the roughest waters
  • Dihedral blades give the kayak more stability and manoeuvrability.
  • A high performance convertible blade at a very reasonable price

  • There is no feathering option.
  • The grip is not that comfortable, however, it can be easily replaced by soft, comfortable grip.

You can learn more about this paddle from the manufacturer’s from this video.

Check this product on Amazon

Number 5: Lifetime Kayak Youth Paddle Blade with Shaft

Lifetime Kayak Youth Paddle Blade with Shaft

For newbies in this sport, this is obviously the best kayak paddle. It’s 72 inches length allows the kayaker to have more intimate and highly effective introductory experience on kayak peddling. However, compared to its length this aluminum kayak is amazingly lightweight.

It’s 1.7 lbs weight gives the kayaker a comfortable kayaking experience. It’s 7×15 inches asymmetrical aluminum shaft can cut through a large amount of water with a single stroke.

So, this paddle is an effective and reliable instrument for long kayaking tours. Being lightweight, durable and of convenient size, this paddle is considered as the best paddle for beginner kayakers. It is available at 24.97US$.

  • An awesome introductory paddle
  • Best for stagnant water kayaking and effective in long tours

  • There is no delicate professional features.
  • The size is a bit inconvenient for long hour paddling from sit-in kayaks.

You can learn more about this paddle from the manufacturer’s official website and from this video.

Check this product on Amazon

Comparison Table

Kayak Paddle Length Material Weight Price
Bending Branches Angler Ac Adjustable length 230-260 cm Reinforced carbon fibre shaft, carbon reinforced nylon blade 1.7 lbs 213.90–214.95 US$.
Carlisle Expedition Angler 220,230, 240 cm Fiberglass shaft and blade 2 lbs 129.99-179.95 US$
Carlisle Taboo Stand Up 208 cm Aluminum shaft, polypropylene blade 2 lbs 77.79 US$
Advanced Element Compact Touring Kayak Paddle 231 cm and packable length 64 cm Aluminum alloy shaft, nylon blade 2.7 lbs 69.99 US$
Lifetime 182 cm Aluminum 1.7 lbs 24.97 US$

Final Declaration:

Although all the selected kayaks have many unique features and specialties, considering versatility, efficiency and performance in the series of field tests, our experts have declared Bending Branches Angler Ace as the best kayak paddle available in the global market. The rest others are also good and capable enough to ensure high quality performance in a wide range of waterfronts.

Maintenance Tips for Your Kayak Paddle:

You will be glad to know that unlike kayaks, its paddles do not require much maintenance. However, there are some servicing tasks that you need to do regularly to get the best performance from these heavy duty gears. These tasks are as follows:

Ferrules of the paddel’s shaft might be jammed with sand or salt. So, you need to clean the shaft regularly with clean water after returning from the expedition

  • Shaft joints especially in the portable paddles may become loose and once they become loose, the irregular friction between the shaft’s parts result in wear and tear. Cleaning with freshwater or simple lubrication can remove this problem.
  • Blades of the paddle are vulnerable to abrasion and physical damage from striking hard obstacles like rocks and woods. So, while kayaking through shallow or rocky waters, keep an eye on those tough obstacles.
  • When out for a long tour in the sea or in one of the great lakes keep an extra paddle or at least a spare with you for any emergency situation


Kayak’s paddle is one of the most important part of your precious kayak. Purchasing a perfect paddle for your kayak makes a lot of difference in your kayaking experience. We hope that this complete guide will help prove useful for you to choose the perfect pedal for your kayak

About the author

Joshua K.

We usually assume that there is no skill required in fishing when we start out. Truth be told there is method and technique to it. I started out fishing as a hobby and ended up falling in love with it. I assumed that fishing would be similar to hunting. Both involve creatures. However, I came to fishing Read More