What Is The Best Kayak Paddle Under 100?

Choosing the best kayak paddle on a budget can seem a little daunting at first, since there are so many different paddles out there in a variety of styles and lengths for use with recreational kayaks. That said, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the best kayak paddle for your needs on your budget.

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Kayaking is a fun activity that can be good for the whole family. Owning a recreational kayak is much easier and more affordable than it used to be now that there are blow up versions available. But, every recreational kayak, no matter what type, needs the paddle best suited for the use of the rider. We’re going to take a look at the best kayak paddles on the market for under $100 and how you can determine which is the paddle best for you.

Length Of Kayak Paddles

There are two key factors that determine which length kayak paddle is suited for you. The first is how wide your kayak is and the second is how tall the person using the paddle is.

Most beginners use recreational kayaks, which tend to be 26 inches to 30 inches in width. If that is true of your kayak, then you should use a kayak paddle between 210 inches to 240 inches in length, depending on your height.

Taller people need longer paddles and shorter people need shorter paddles. It’s all about which length paddle is the best kayak paddle for you because your body will have to bear the exertion to use it.

If you don’t have the right paddle length, you’ll end up having to exert yourself much more to pick up speed. Another issue you can have is the development of blisters on your hands. When you are having a hard time getting the kayak to move much, you may start to move your hands along the paddle shaft, which can cause blistering. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor making sure you get the right paddle length for your body.

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Low Or High Angle

Kayak paddles tend to come in two different types: high or low angle, which literally means which angle you’ll paddle at. This can also have a small effect on appropriate length (the above recommendations correspond to low angle paddles). You’ll have to decide which type is best for you but be aware of the differences.

When you paddle at a high angle, it means your paddle blade goes into the water at a more vertical angle. These are better for a more narrow recreational kayak. They alternative is the low angle paddle blade, which the user holds at more of a horizontal angle. The high angle paddle blades are made for getting more speed. The blade shape of the the low angle paddle blade is meant for paddling in a more relaxed manner.


You’ll also want to keep in mind what material the paddle is made out of. The best kayak paddle at a price range of less than $100 will probably be made of simple materials like plastic, aluminum, nylon, or fiberglass. 

In general, plastic or nylon blades are some of the cheaper blades, while fiberglass sits somewhere in the middle and carbon-fiber blades will really bust the bank, but the best kayak paddles out there will have them.

Typical shafts are usually aluminum. Avoid plastic if possible. If you’re willing to stretch your budget, truly excellent shafts come in carbon and fiberglass.

Something of note about the materials of different recreational kayak paddles is the weight of them. Paddles with an aluminum shaft are inexpensive but quite heavy. A fiberglass shaft is usually still pretty cheap but much lighter. If you’re looking for an inexpensive paddle best for going long distances, you’ll want to go for the fiberglass shaft paddle. You’ll find that all of those strokes will tire you out much more quickly with a heavier aluminum shaft paddle. A fiberglass shaft paddle is similar to a carbon fiber paddle, but at a much lower price point.

Source: peakpx.com

Other Best Kayak Paddles Considerations

There are certainly some other things to consider when you’re looking for the best kayak paddles. One, that often goes overlooked, is whether there is an easy storage factor. If you need your hands free during your recreational kayak journey, is there an easy storage solution where you can set your paddle down without the risk of losing it. An example would be having a two piece paddle that can be taken apart. At home, your easy storage plan should be a simple paddle rack that can be secured to the wall. 

The comfort level for when you’re holding the paddle shaft is important, too. We already mentioned that the length of the kayak paddle is crucial to the comfort of your hands because the paddle best suited for your height will keep you from getting blisters. However, another feature you can look for to protect your hands is foam grips.

Now, obviously, when you go for a recreational kayak trip, you should anticipate getting a little bit wet. That doesn’t mean you can’t take some steps that will keep you from getting more wet than you need to be. Drip rings can help keep you dry. These are rubber rings that go on either end of the paddle shaft to keep water from dripping down the paddle onto your arms, into your armpits, and even down your torso. You can either buy a kayak paddle that already has drip rings or install them after the fact.

It’s time to look at some of the best kayak paddles you can find for under $100. Keep in mind the features we’ve discussed above when you’re considering the different paddle options.

The Best Kayak Paddles Under $100

Bending Branches Whisper Kayak Paddle: This kayak paddle is ideal if you’re unsure about what length paddle you need because it is adjustable. It’s also made of lightweight, high-quality materials that make it a good choice for any kayaker. The Bending Branches Whisper Paddle is a 2 piece paddle that is super easy to store. It has an aluminum shaft that has hand grips for added comfort. The Bending Branches Whisper Paddle is considered to be a good paddle best for beginners.

Source: flickr.com

Bending Branches Angler Scout Kayak Paddle: This paddle has some cool features for those with fishing kayaks. The Bending Branches Angler Scout has an aluminum shaft. The paddle blades are oversized and made of polymer and fiberglass reinforced for extra durability. The fiberglass reinforced paddle blade also helps the user get more power with every stroke. This is one of the best fishing paddles because of the built-in hook retrieval system that allows you to retrieve your lure easily by using your paddle. The Bending Branches Angler Scout comes in at just under $100.

Shoreline Marine Propel Escaper Kayak Paddle: This one has a low angle blade shape and comes with drip rings. The Shoreline Marine Propel Escaper is one of the best kayak paddles on our list because it’s less than $50. It has an aluminum shaft and fiberglass reinforced blades so you can get going at a pretty fast pace. This Shoreline Marine paddle comes in a 2 piece design, too, so it’s super easy to store. It’s also nice because the Shoreline Marine Propel Escaper floats if you should drop it. 

AQUA BOUND Manta Ray 2-Piece Kayak Paddle: AQUA BOUND is one of the biggest names in the recreational kayak industry. Most of their paddles are pretty expensive. The AQUA BOUND Manta Ray is right around $100, though. It’s considered to be a beginner level paddle. It has an aluminum shaft and fiberglass reinforced blades. AQUA BOUND paddles also come with drip rings already installed. This is one of the best kayak paddles made with advanced elements by one of the biggest names in the industry at a lower price tag.

Field & Stream Chute Aluminum Kayak Paddle: We love the many different color options that this paddle comes in, as well as the variety of sizes available. If you’re looking for something specific, you’ll probably find it in this paddle.

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle: This is one of the lightest paddles on our list. It has a fiberglass kayak paddle shaft with a paddle blade that is lightweight and glass-filled. The blade shape is asymmetrical and slightly curved to give you a more efficient stroke. The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle is a 2-piece design so you can easily store it and transport it. This is a great choice for long distance recreational kayak journeys. The Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle best captures all of the advanced elements more experienced kayakers are looking for, but a low price.

SeaSense X-Treme 1 Kayak Paddle: The SeaSense X-Treme is the most basic and cheapest paddle on our list. It’s a paddle best used for people who just want to try things out and are just getting into recreational kayaks. The SeaSense X-Treme has a solid 2-piece construction with an aluminum shaft. It also has drip guards and foam grips. If you’re just looking for a bare bones, basic recreational kayak paddle, the SeaSense X-Treme is the paddle best suited for you.

Advanced Elements Ultralite Pack Kayak Paddle: This paddle is best for those who need a super portable paddle. The Advanced Elements Ultralite Pack Kayak Paddles breaks down into 4 pieces. It’s made of aluminum with a polypropylene blade. This is great for those who like to use their recreational kayaks in the back country where a long trek is required to reach the destination.

Kayak 1-Piece Symmetrical Fixed Paddle: For a simple, easy to use, no-nonsense paddle, this one will get the job down, at an excellent price.

Source: pixy.org

Frequently Asked Questions:

What size kayak paddle do I need in inches?

When determining what size is the best kayak paddle for you, you need to keep two key factors in mind: How wide your kayak is and how tall you are. 

Most beginners have a recreational kayak, which is usually about 26 inches to 30 inches in width. Paddles for kayaks of that width range from 210 inches to 240 inches in length, depending on your height.

If you’re unsure what kind of kayak you have, you can always just measure the width. Most places where you can purchase kayak paddles will then have a key you can use by cross referencing your height with the kayak paddle’s width.

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What happens when you use too long of a paddle for kayaking?

If you use a paddle that’s either too long or too short for kayaking, you’ll end up overexerting certain parts of you body. For too long paddles this is usually your shoulders. In addition, if you have a too-long paddle, you’ll also have extra weight unnecessarily which further strains your body and can slow you down.

You should be sure to have the best kayak paddle for your height and the size of your kayak for maximum efficiency.

What size paddle do I need for a 10 foot kayak?

A 10 foot kayak is likely a recreational kayak, which typically range from 26 inches to 30 inches in width. This is extremely important because one of the most important factors for determining what size paddle you need for your kayak has to do with the kayak’s width.

The other factor to keep in mind is the paddler’s height. In general, for a kayak of this width, your paddle should fall between 210-240 inches long. If you are buying a paddle for a child or someone shorter than 5 feet taller, tend toward the lowest end of that range, while if you are buying for someone quite tall, tend toward the higher end of the range. 

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What size paddle do I need for a 12 foot kayak?

Similarly, to a 10 foot kayak, a 12 foot kayak is likely a recreational kayak, although there is a possibility that it could be a touring kayak. That said, it is much more likely that you have a recreational and thus a wider kayak.

These kinds of kayaks generally range from about 26 inches to 30 inches in width. The kayak’s width is very important because one key factor for determining what size paddle you need for your kayak has to do with the kayak’s width.

In addition to the kayak width, you need to keep in mind the paddler’s height. For a recreational kayak of about 12 feet, your paddle should fall between 210-240 inches long. 

For shorter people, go for a shorter paddle, while if you are buying for someone quite tall, tend toward the higher end of the range. When in doubt, stick somewhere in the middle for the best kayak paddle suited to a variety of people.

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Do all kayak paddles float?

It’s hard to say that every single kayak paddle out there floats, but it is true that most kayak paddles do float. If you’re unsure, don’t throw your paddle over the edge of your boat without testing first, but you shouldn’t generally need to be concerned about whether your paddle will float or not. Most manufacturers know that having paddles that float is important. Shoreline Marine is one that makes pretty much all of their paddles to float. You can get quality paddles from Shoreline Marine that you don’t have to worry about losing in the water.

Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by Marie Miguel

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