Best Kayak Paddles

best kayak paddles comparison

You know we paddle almost every single day and we’ve been using so many different kayak paddles throughout the years. From cheap plastic paddles up to the best kayak paddles made of carbon fiber.

For this kayak paddle comparison article, we’ve been testing, researching and discussing so many kayak paddles. But also the paddle types, materials, blade sizes, weights and performance differences in order to provide you a complete overview.

See below the links to the reviews of the best kayak paddles:

Brand & ModelQuick ReviewMore Info & Buy Now
SeaSense X-1Click HereClick Here
Carlisle Day TripperClick HereClick Here
SeaSense X-Treme IIClick HereClick Here
Aqua-bound Manta Ray CarbonClick HereClick Here
Cannon Paddles Escape E SeriesClick HereClick Here
Sea Eagle Double-End Pro CannonClick HereClick Here
Bending Branches WhisperClick HereClick Here
Advanced Elements Compact TouringClick HereClick Here

Continue reading our comparison article of the best kayak paddles and your decision to buy the best kayak paddle will be made easier and simpler. If you’re more interested in the top inflatables kayaks, please read this article.

See below the reviews of 8 of the best kayak paddles:

SeaSense X-1 Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-1 Kayak Paddle - plastic blade

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The SeaSense X-1 is a super affordable kayak paddle that’s a great entry level purchase or even a quality spare. This made for travel and practicality 2 piece paddle is a stand out for its price. Though a downfall of the portability is users report the joint slipping a little while paddling, the Seasense makes up for it in other areas.

The Seasense X-1 features a rubber grip for your hands, providing comfort and ease for longer paddling. The blades are adjustable to 3 different locks in positions for all styles of paddling, so this paddle will suit most riders beginners-advanced. Beginners, in particular, will find paddling a breeze as the symmetrical blades provide extra stability and as it doesn’t matter what way you hold them, there will be no confusion when picking up the paddle.

Another feature of the SeaSense X-1 to admire is the drip guard that keeps water from splashing over your hands – you want to be able to still feel your fingers at the end of your paddle!

Length: 215cm
Blade size:
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 2.3 lbs, 1 kg
Materials: Aluminum shaft, plastic blades
Price range: $
Best suited for: Beginner-Intermediate, Touring

PROS

  • Price tag
  • 3 position adjustable blade angles 0-60 degrees
  • Drip guards
  • Easy for beginners to use

CONS

  • Joint slips
  • Not the most lightweight paddle on the market
  • Basic design for anyone above beginner level
  • Only available in 1 size

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Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle

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As the name suggests, this Carlisle paddle is an ideal Day Tripper. There’s been a lot of thought put into keeping hands warm with drip guards but also an insulated strip on the shaft that users remark is noticeably warmer than areas without the strip. Power, speed, and propulsion in touring isn’t an issue using the Day Tripper with the choice of asymmetrical blades.

If you’re beginning, asymmetrical blades can take a bit to get used to. So sticking to a symmetrical like the Sea Sense X-I would be a good idea if this is your first paddle.

A combination of excellent maneuverability, propulsion, lightweight manufacturing and long distance comforts makes the Carlisle Day Tripper a perfect touring paddle. Available in 1 or 2 pieces, you can choose your paddle according to how important portability is for you. Just keep in mind, there is a risk of movement in the joint for the 2 pieces.

Length: 220cm, 230cm, 240cm
Blade size: 7” x 16”
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 2.3 lbs, 1 kg
Materials: Aluminum shaft, fiberglass reinforced plastic blades
Price range: $
Best suited for: Intermediate, Touring

PROS

  • Insulated strip and drip guard to keep hands warm
  • Asymmetrical blades with adjustable blade angle provides excellent propulsion
  • EXTREMELY lightweight

CONS

  • Insulation area is prone to wear and tear
  • Asymmetrical blades can be tricky for new kayakers
  • No foam grips for comfort

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SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle - blade

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While it’s not adjustable, the SeaSense X-treme II does come in two different sizes. 215cm or 240cm gives enough variant for most users. That and SeaSense is one of the more popular brands on the kayak paddle front, so you have a bit of assurance in buying their products.

The longer style asymmetrical blades are perfect for gaining traction in the water quickly, however, the length of the SeaSense X-treme II paddle does mean that a little more effort is required for each stroke. It’s better used for long periods of paddling like in the open ocean and not short bursts of quick paddles like in whitewater situations.

Beginners will tire quickly and find maneuverability a bit shaky if buying this paddle. Beginners; if you are wanting to stay with SeaSense check out the SeaSense X-1. Adjustable blade angles to take advantage of a feathered setup for windy paddling conditions.

Length: 215 cm or 240 cm
Blade size: 7″ x 18″
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 2.4 lbs, 1.1 kg
Materials: Aluminum shaft, plastic blades
Price range: $
Best suited for: Intermediate-Advanced, Touring

PROS

  • Foam grips for comfort
  • Can pack down into a 2 piece for portability
  • Price tag
  • Available in 2 colors

CONS

  • The joint in the shaft can slip
  • Drip guards move a little
  • Only available in 2 sizes

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Aqua-bound Manta Ray Carbon Posi-Lok 2 Piece Kayak Paddle

Aquabound Manta Ray Carbon Posi-Lok 2 Piece Kayak Paddle - blade

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So far we’ve looked at some entry-level paddles. The Aqua-bound Manta Ray Carbon step’s it a notch and is worth paying the extra few pennies. If you are looking to buy a quality paddle that will last and serve it purpose gracefully, look no further. Noticeably lighter than other paddles in this comparison, the carbon shaft not only is lightweight but extremely durable to corrosion and the wear and tear of extensive use.

Most of the reviewers have named the Aqua-bound Manta Ray Carbon as their preferred kayak paddle for this comparison review.

Drip rings to keep your hands dry and warm and the Posi-Lok ferrule ensure a strong, stable shaft that doesn’t slip after you’ve joined your paddle. While you won’t want to use the Aqua-bound Manta Ray paddle in heavy rapids it’s ingeniously designed for larger boats and long distance paddling as well as holding its own in light rapids. The Aqua-bound 18 x 7-inch blade heads feather between 0 / 15 / 30 / 45 / 60° right or left as well as asymmetrical blades for the best propulsion.

Length: 210cm, 220cm, 230cm, 240cm, 250cm
Blade size: 7.25” x 18”
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 1.8 lbs, 0.836 kg
Materials: 100% Carbon Fiber
Price range: $$
Best suited for: Intermediate-Advanced, Touring, Whitewater

PROS

  • Lots of adjustment in the blade for finer tuned feathering
  • Non-slip joint
  • SUPER Lightweight
  • Comes in 5 sizes

CONS

  • Blades size in comparison to its length can be hindering if you’re a smaller paddler
  • Blades aren’t removable

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Cannon Paddles Escape E Series Kayak Paddle with Reinforced Polymer Blades (2-Piece)

Cannon Paddles Escape E Series Kayak Paddle with Reinforced Polymer Blades

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The competition on the entry-level paddles is extraordinary. With paddles like the SeaSense and Cannon Escape E-series, you’ll have a hard time choosing. This Cannon has 3 angles for blade adjustment, 60 degrees RHC (Right-hand control) and LHC (left-hand control) and unfeathered. Perfect for combating all types of kayaking. Packs down into 2 pieces for easy storage/portability and is relatively stable at the joints.

You get all the necessary features you would expect at this price too, grips, adjustable drip rings and two colors to choose from! Yellow or black. The downfall is that the Cannon Escape E series is not a high-grade paddle. If you are a serious kayaker have a look at the Aqua-bound previously mentioned. You’ll get more out of strokes and entry is noticeably smoother.

As a beginner, the Cannon Paddles Escape E-series would be an affordable and ideal choice. Easy to use easy to store and easy on the bank!

Length: 220cm, 230cm, 240cm
Blade size: 7.1” x 18”
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 2.4 lbs, 1 kg
Materials: Aluminum shaft, Fiberglass blades
Price range: $
Best suited for: Beginner, Touring, and light whitewater

PROS

  • Packs down into 2 pieces
  • 2 different colors – yellow for easy spotting
  • Adjustable blades

CON

  • Size availability might be limiting for bigger/smaller paddlers
  • Not as lightweight as other paddles mentioned
  • Mid-range performance – entry and stroke efficiency could be improved

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Sea Eagle 8-Foot Double-End Pro Cannon Asymmetrical Kayak Paddle

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If you’re looking for a good overall paddle, the Sea Eagle Double-End Pro is going to hit home and not be costing you an arm and a leg. Blades are adjustable at 3 angles for flat, left or right feathering. The asymmetrical curve of the blade is something common to be seen in this type of paddle however it has a spoon effect that delivers power for where it may be lost in length of the overall paddle.

Hence making the Sea Eagle Double-End Pro suitable for easy whitewater as well as long-distance paddling. As with all 2-piece paddles, there is fear of some slipping and movement in the joint, however, the Sea Eagle has been put to the test and the results are that it’s incredibly stable.

Length: 243cm
Blade size:
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 3 lbs, 1.3 kgs
Materials: Aluminum shaft, Fiberglass blades
Price range: $
Best suited for: All levels, Touring, and whitewater

PROS

  • Ideal all-rounder for the intermediate kayaker
  • Packs down into 2 pieces for portability
  • Durable, wear and tear resistant fiberglass blade

CONS

  • Grip can be uncomfortable on long trips
  • More angles for feathering would be ideal to compliment already multi-purpose spoon-shaped blade

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Bending Branches Whisper 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak Paddle

Bending Branches Whisper 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak Paddle - blade

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Yet another winner, the Bending Branches Whisper. We found the 18 X 6.75” blade size to be a little smaller than what we liked for a long day of paddling and its shape doesn’t suit a crazy day in the rapids, however, it’s a great entry level paddle. It’s perfect for beginners as it’s lightweight, affordable and the oval-shaped blade helps propel you along while you are getting the correct paddling technique down. Unlike other paddles at this price, the Bending Branches doesn’t flex at the joint thanks to its sturdy snap button lock.

Length: 210cm, 220cm,230cm,240cm
Blade size: 6.75” x 18”
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 2.3 lbs, 1 kg
Materials: Aluminum shaft, plastic blades
Price range: $
Best suited for: Beginners, Touring

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Oval shaped blades for easy paddling

CONS

  • Not enough power for long distance paddling
  • The grips became uncomfortable after a long day

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Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle (4 part)

Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle - blade

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Are you a traveler? You just found your paddle. Not only does the Advanced Elements Compact Touring paddle dismantle into 4 pieces that pack down to 25” (63.5cm), it also is the as light as a mouse. You can’t ask for much more out of your travel companion.

There are downfalls of the Advanced Elements Compact Touring paddle, it’s a fixed length and only available in one size. On the brighter side, the blade is able to be feathered 60-degree angle LHC or RHC or unfeathered. The only improvement that could be made here is in the materials. They aren’t the lightest or most durable, not using carbon fiber or fiberglass means the cost has been able to get kept low though.

The joints are sturdy, so you’ll have no flexing and if the length and shapes suits you, you’ll have a sturdy paddle that performs well in calm – whitewater conditions.

Length: 231cm
Blade size: 6.5” x 16″
Adjustable: Blades Yes, Length No
Weight: 2 lbs, 0.9 kg
Materials: Aluminum shaft, reinforced Nylon Blade
Price range: $$
Best suited for: Beginner-Intermediate, Touring

PROS

  • Super portable
  • One of the lightest paddles on the market
  • Joints are sturdy

CONS

  • One size available only
  • Blade shape/size, as well as shaft size, is a mid-range quality for paddles

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The Final Say

Thank god your search is over. There is a little bit of something for everyone on this list.

Read our top buying tips to find the best kayak paddles here. And just because we care and want this purchase to be the easiest choice you’ve made all day. Here’s a chart that sums it all up.

If you don’ know which size kayak paddle you need, continue reading our kayak paddle sizing article and find out what the ideal paddle length is for you!

Please feel free to reach out and ask any additional questions you may have about any of the paddles we have listed here by commenting below.

PaddlePursuits Best Kayak Paddles Comparison

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