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The Best Kayak Paddles Under $100 Of 2021 Helpful Guide

best kayak paddle under $100

Kayaks are a great way to get and enjoy being on the water. They offer a closeness to nature that just can’t be matched with a powerboat. They are an excellent way to get exercise too. To get the most enjoyment out of kayaking you need to find the right paddle for you. Paddle size is important. The shaft and blade materials as well as the blade shapes matter too.

If you are ready to enjoy some time in a kayak here are the best kayak paddles under $100 and a buying guide to help you with your decision.

Top Pick

Leader Accessories Kayak Paddle

Editor’s Choice

Best Marine Kayak Paddle

Best Value

SeaSense X -TREME 1 KAYAK PADDLE

The Top 5 Best Kayak Paddles Under $100

We examined several of the most popular stand kayak paddles.  Here are our reviews of the 5 best options available now.  We considered durability, price, options, functionality, and customer reviews in our selections of the best kayak paddles. We looked at both aluminum and carbon shaft kayak paddles to find the best.

Top Pick

Leader Accessories Kayak Paddle

  • 3 materials Shaft:aluminum shaft & carbon shaft & fiberglass shaft.
  • The paddles consist of aluminum shaft & fiberglass shaft with PP blades, carbon shaft with PC blades
  • Enforced push-button connection. Three locking positions, the blades also allow for being adjusted to three angles

Summary

The Leader Accessories Kayak Paddle comes in 2 paddles at 2 different prices that are both high quality and sturdy paddles. One is adjustable length with carbon shaft and polycarbonate paddle blades and the other is an aluminum shaft that comes in 2 length with polypropylene blades.

The carbon shaft paddle is adjustable in size from 84.6 to 88.6 inches. The blades are a stronger polycarbonate material. The paddle feels very sturdy and holds up well to paddling and pushing off rocks and stumps.

The aluminum shaft paddle is on the heavier side at 2.6 lbs. It is more sturdy feeling with few complains about center joiner or breaking blades.

Both paddles feature 2 piece shafts with 3 positions for feathering. Both versions have neoprene grips and drip guards. The carbon shaft version is considerably more expensive than the aluminum shaft because of the upgraded shaft and blade material. It is still well under $100 and still a great value.

The Leader Accessories Carbon paddle is an excellent value for a carbon paddle with adjustable size, feathering, polycarbonate blades, and neoprene grips. This makes it our top pick for best kayak paddle under $100.

Paddle Specifications

  • Size: Carbon 84.6-88.6inch adjustable, Aluminum 87 or 96inches
  • Weight: Aluminum 2.6 lbs
  • Feathering: 3 positions
  • Shaft: Aluminum 2 piece
  • Blades: Carbon Shaft – Polycarbonate, Aluminum Shaft – Polypropylene
  • Grip: Neoprene foam rubber
What We Liked
Carbon or Aluminum shaft
2 piece shaft
3 feathering positions
Neoprene foam rubber grips
Adjustable length on carbon shaft version

Editor’s Choice

Best Marine Kayak Paddle

  • HOW ARE WE DIFFERENT? – Our kayak paddles are made of a carbon fiber shaft and reinforced fiberglass blades.
  • WHY BEST MARINE AND OUTDOORS? – Our company goal and mission is to help people find inner peace and purpose through kayaking
  • WHO IS OUR PADDLE FOR? – The number one piece of advice most advanced kayakers will offer you is a “carbon fiber paddle”

Summary

The Best Marine Kayak Paddle is a lower cost carbon shaft entry level kayak paddle. This paddle has a 2 piece shaft with 3 positions for feathering. The blades are fiberglass reinforced plastic material that hold up well to pushing off rocks and branches. The joiner between the 2 halves of the paddle has a bit of play leaving you with some wobble feel. It is not as tight as other entry level paddles. There is no grip padding on the paddle shaft or other feature to make it more comfortable. It includes a paddle leash.

Paddle Specifications

  • Size: 92inchs
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Feathering: 3 positions
  • Shaft: Carbon 2 piece
  • Blades: Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic
  • Grip: No

What We Liked
2 piece carbon shaft for easy portability
Drip Guards
3 feathering positions
Fiberglass reinforced plastic blades
Paddle leash included

Best Value Paddle

SeaSense X-TREME 1 Kayak Paddle

  • Two Piece Aluminum Construction
  • Lightweight, Black Molded Plastic Blades
  • Adjustable Drip Guards/Foam Rubber Grips

Summary

The SeaSense X-TREME 1 Kayak Paddle is a basic kayak paddle that will hold up to recreational paddling. It has a 2 piece aluminum shaft with foam rubber grips. The grips due tend to slide a bit after getting wet but they are still much better than not having any grips at all.

The paddle blades are square cup shape so not the most efficient for moving through the water. The shaft joiner has 3 positions so you can set the blades to feather. The plastic blades are strong enough to stand up to pushing off of rocks and branches.

Overall it is a good value basic kayak paddle that will serve any recreational kayaker well. This makes it our pick for best value kayak paddle under $100.

Paddle Specifications

  • Size: 84inch
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Feathering: 3 positions
  • Shaft: Aluminum – 2 piece
  • Blades: Plastic
  • Grip: Foam Rubber
What We Liked
2 piece aluminum shaft
Foam rubber grips
3 feathering positions
Square blade shape
Drip Guards

Overmont Kayak Paddle

  • Two Piece Heavy-duty Construction for Easy Storage
  • Feather-shaped Blades and Double Serrated Teeth Edge Design
  • Three Locking Positions

Summary

The Overmont Kayak Paddle is a great entry level paddle. It features a piece aluminum shaft with 3 feathering positions. It has fiberglass reinforced polypropylene blades for added toughness. The blades are rounded shape with cuts that help reduce drag when paddling. The paddle includes a paddle leash so it won’t float away if you drop it in the water. Many customers report that they did not get the leash with their paddle. The paddle blades are sturdy enough for recreational use as is the joiner connecting the 2 halves of the paddle. Overall it is a sold paddle and very good value for the price.

Paddle Specifications

  • Size: 87inches
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Feathering: 3 positions
  • Shaft: Aluminum 2 piece
  • Blades: Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene 
  • Grip: No
What We Liked
Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades
2 Auminum shaft for portability
3 feathering positions
Drip Guards
Includes paddle leash so it can’t float away

Attwood 2-Piece Heavy-Duty Kayak Paddle

  • Thick aluminum and rugged plastic construction for durable performance
  • Two-piece breakdown design is ideal for both storage and transport
  • Drip rings for added comfort; they prevent water from sliding onto your grip

Summary

The Attwood 2-Piece Heavy-Duty Kayak Paddle is a well made entry level paddle that is durable and a great value for its price. It is a bit heavier feeling then most other paddles in it’s price range but no users complained about breaking the joiner between the 2 paddle halves or breaking paddle blades pushing off with it.

The paddle has a 2 piece aluminum shaft with 3 positions for feathering. It has spoon shaped asymmetrical blades for paddling efficiency. The paddle shaft has foam rubber grips for hand comfort that stay in place when they get wet.

Paddle Specifications

  • Size: 84inchs
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Feathering: 3 positions
  • Shaft: Aluminum 2 piece
  • Blades: Plastic
  • Grip: Foam rubber
What We Liked
Asymmetrical spoon shape blades for paddling efficiency
2 piece Aluminum shaft
3 feathering positions
Foam rubber grips
Drip guards

whitewater kayak in rapids using paddle

How To Choose The Best Kayak Paddles Under $100 – Buying Guide

Paddle Size

Picking the right size paddle for your kayak is important. The correct kayak length is based on 2 main factors. How tall you are and how wide your kayak is. The taller you are, the higher out of the water you are so you need a longer paddle. The wider your kayak is, the farther out your paddle blades need to be so your paddle also needs to be longer.

The below chart shows you the correct paddle length for your height and kayak width.

kayak paddle size chart

If you are on the border between 2 sizes or you can’t quite find the size you want, you should choose a slightly smaller size paddle.

Fishing kayaks frequently have you sitting a bit higher out of the water so you might want the correct size or slightly longer.

Click here for more information on kayak paddle size and choosing a paddle.

Blade Style

Most kayak blades fall in the categories of wide blades and narrow blades. There are 2 paddling posititions that also affect blade shape. High and and low angle blades.

Narrow Blade

Narrow blades are lighter and enter and exit the water more efficiently. These are preferred for long distance and duration paddling such as touring.

Wide Blade

Wider blades move more water so you get more thrust with each paddle stroke. These are preferred for kayaking short distances with kayaks that don’t coast that well such as recreational kayaks or surf and fishing kayaks.

Low Angle Blade

Low angle paddle strokes are where you keep the paddle below your shoulder height and contact the water at a shallow angle. Shallow angle blades tend to be long and narrow. This is the paddle of choice for most recreational kayaking or touring kayaking.

High Angle Blade

High angle kayak paddling are when you hold the kayak above your shoulder height. This is an aggressive kayak paddling postion that allows you to do very powerful strokes but also will cause you to fatigue much faster. This is common for whitewater kayaking where you need very aggressive maneuvering. This paddle shape typically has wide short blades that can move a lot of water quickly in one stroke.

Paddle Weight

Weight is an important factor. The heavier your paddle is the more energy you use just holding up the kayak that could be going towards paddling and moving the kayak. The most lightweight paddle is desired.

Paddle And Blade Stiffness

If a kayak paddle is too soft you will waste a lot of energy bending the paddle. If the blades are too soft you will waste a lot of energy also. A flimsy paddle blade won’t move water well and it is likely to break if you use it to push off of rocks or branches. We want both the paddle shaft and paddle blades to be stiff with as little flex as possible.

Shaft Material

The material the kayak paddle shaft is made of contributes to how stiff and how light the paddle is. The more expensive the material, the more stiff and lightweight you can make the paddle.

Aluminum

This is the cheapest shaft material. You can still make a very stiff paddle out of Aluminum but the stiffer it gets the heavier it gets also. If it is too light you risk having a paddle that will bend at which point it will be useless. Aluminum is a very good choice for a recreational paddle for a paddler on a low budget.

Carbon

The lightest and stiffest option for paddle shaft material is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a composite material where fibers are layed up into mold and glued together with resin. The stiffness characteristics can be controlled by the fiber density and the direction they are layed out.

Carbon fiber can be made as stiff as an aluminum structure at a fraction of the weight but also at a much higher cost. A carbon paddle can be very stiff and light. All carbon shafts are not created equally. There is a reason a $200 paddle costs $200 and a $100 paddle only costs a $100 even if both have carbon shafts. One will probably have less good paddle blades or joiner between the paddle halves.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is an inbetween material between aluminum and carbon. It can be made very stiff and light but not as stiff and light as a carbon paddle. It will likely cost somewhere in between the 2 as well. Fiberglass is a composite like carbon where fibers are glued together with resin to create the finished shape.

Shaft joiners

Most kayak paddles are 2 pieces with a joiner in the center. This joining piece is important and if it fails the paddle is useless. Some inexpensive paddles use plastic joiners while better paddles use aluminum or carbon. A plastic joiner will not be as durable as an aluminum or carbon joiner and will not last as long. This is a part where many paddle manufacturers choose to save money.

Feathering

Feathering a kayak paddle is holding the paddle so that the out of the water side is parallel to the water and not catching the air while you are paddling with the other side. This will make your paddling more efficient because your not back paddling the air while forward paddling the water.

If it’s a windy day and your paddling with the wind at your back you may not want to feather because the paddle can act as a sail pulling you while your pushing water with the other side.

Feathering is adjusted by tilting the blades with respect to each other. On a feathered paddle the 2 paddle blades are at offset angles instead of the same angle. Most kayak paddles have at least 3 positions to adjust the feathering angle.

Grip

Many paddles have foam or rubber grip material on the shafts where you hold them. This makes the paddle much more comfortable to hold. Not all grips are created equally. Some will slide and not stay in position well. Others will wear out quickly. A good grip will be durable and bonded to the shaft so it stays in place when the paddle is wet.

Some paddles have bends or other features in the shafts where you grip them to make them more comfortable without using a foam or rubber grip. This works well too.

bunch of kayak paddles

Kayak Paddle FAQ

Q: How do I paddle with a kayak paddle?

Paddling a kayak paddle is quite simple. You pull or push the kayak to move. The below video gives some basic instruction on how to paddle a kayak.

Q: How do I hold a kayak paddle?

You hold a kayak paddle with your hands a little wider than shoulder with apart. The below video gives some good instruction on how to hold a paddle.

Q: How do I feather a kayak paddle?

Feathering your kayak paddle is paddling so that your free kayak blade is parallel to the water and not pushing against the air while you are pushing through the water with your other blade. This allows you to waste less energy while paddling. The below video gives some instruction on how to set your paddle up for feathering and proper paddling technique.

Q: What size kayak paddle should I use?

Your kayak paddle length is proportional to your body height and the width of your kayak. The below table shows what size paddle you should use.

kayak paddle size chart

Q: Can I use my paddle to push off with if I get suck?

Yes you can. Your kayak paddle can be an excellent tool for getting yourself unstuck from the ground or branches or other obstacles. You should be careful not to break your paddle using it this way. If your paddle has flexible plastic blades you should use caution with how hard you push off with it.

Q: Are carbon paddles worth the extra money?

A lighter stiffer kayak paddle will make paddling more enjoyable. You’ll waste a lot less energy just holding up your paddle that could be going towards paddling. If you ever drop a paddle on your head by accident. You will notice a big difference in how an aluminum paddle feels verse a carbon paddle. The aluminum paddle will leave you with a ringing headache.

Q: What kind of paddle should I use for a fishing kayak?

You typically sit higher out of the water on fishing kayaks so you want to use a paddle that is on the longer size for your height and kayak width.

Q: What kind of paddle should I use for a touring kayak?

If you plan to paddle long distances you want the most efficient paddle possible. This means you want a lightweight stiff paddle with narrower blades. You will probably be using a low angle paddling position so you won’t wear yourself out quickly.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water.  I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions.  I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.

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