Best Kayak Paddles: 2020 Top Picks and Buying Guide
Paddling is one of the most important things you need to learn in kayaking. Doing it right will help you to get from one point to another. Aside from mastery of the right techniques, you should also invest in the best kayak paddles.
The best paddles are designed for your highest level of comfort. It should be lightweight. An ergonomic design is also a must-have, making it easy to grip. From the length to the materials, there are several factors to consider when deciding which one is best to buy.
Clueless about the best kayak paddles to purchase? Keep on reading and learn from our recommendations.
Our Top Picks for the Best Kayak Paddles
You might end up being overwhelmed with the long list of options available on the market. Do not take this as an excuse to choose just any paddle. This section lists down some of our top recommendations.
Choosing the Right Kayak Paddle
The options are plenty, but this should not be a reason for you to decide in haste. To find a kayak paddle that is suitable for your needs and preferences, below are the most important factors to consider.
One of the first things that you have to consider is the length of the kayak paddle, which should be proportionate for the height of the user. This will also depend on your boat. If the kayak is wider, you will need a longer paddle.
For users who are under 5’4”, the best kayak paddles are those that are anywhere from 215 to 220 centimeters. On the other hand, if your height is from 5’4” to 6’, a paddle with a length of 220 to 230 centimeters is recommended. If you are more than 6’, choose paddles that are 230 to 250 centimeters. As mentioned earlier, you also have to figure out the size of the boat to help you decide.
This is one of the most important parts of the kayak paddle, making it a crucial consideration. There are two types of blades – symmetrical and asymmetrical. If the blade is symmetrical, this means that the top and the bottom have the same shapes. It is a popular option for beginners as it delivers the same performance regardless of where you hold it. An asymmetrical blade, on the other hand, has a longer top edge compared to the bottom. This is a popular option amongst experienced paddlers because of the greater surface area, which will be crucial in improving efficiency when you paddle.
Consider the different blade materials. From the products mentioned earlier, the most popular is fiberglass. It is known for being durable and efficient. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, there are blades made of nylon and plastic. If you want the lightest blade, go for carbon fiber. There are also some paddles made of wood. It is quite demanding in terms of maintenance. It can also be quite heavy, which makes it not as popular as the materials previously mentioned.
When you look at the description of the blades of kayak paddles, one word that you will often encounter is dihedral. This means that there are two power faces. This design feature is great in terms of minimizing vibration or flutter, making it instrumental of your comfort.
The shaft is another critical component. This is the part that connects the two blades. This is where you hold the paddle. If it is poorly designed, you won’t be able to grip the paddle properly, and this can negatively affect your performance.
Aluminum is a common material for the shaft of budget-friendly paddles. While the material is durable, it can easily get hot or cold depending on the environmental conditions. If you want a material that is lighter and more durable compared to aluminum, choose paddles with carbon and fiberglass shaft. They are less sensitive to temperature.
You also have to consider the diameter of the paddle. Pick one with just the right size for your wrist. It should also have an ergonomic shape and a strong grip so that you can hold it properly when kayaking.
There are two basic types of shafts on kayak paddles – straight or bent. Most of the options will have a straight shaft. Bent-shaft paddles, on the other hand, are known for being easier to hold and more comfortable because of its shape.
The feathering of the blade is also an important factor. You can choose from feathered or matched. When the blades are matched, this means that they are aligned. When the blades are feathered, on the other hand, they are not on the same plane. This is also beneficial in terms of reducing wind resistance.
It is important that you choose lightweight and compact kayak paddles that will be easy to bring with you on your adventures. Choose either two or four-piece paddles. This means that you can break them down into two to four pieces during transport. This will also come handy when you have to take the paddles with you on a plane.
There are also one-piece paddles, which is the best option if you are into whitewater kayaking. It has a solid design, but the biggest problem is that it is difficult to travel with this kind of kayak.
So, from the top options for the best kayak paddles above, which one can provide the best bang for the buck? This is a tough question to answer. If you will ask for our opinion, however, we will pick the SeaSense Kayak Paddle. We love how it uses lightweight but durable materials. It delivers excellent performance while making you comfortable.