Top 8 Best Kayak Paddle Under $100

Our Pick

61t6wG5Zm7L. AC SL170

Bending Branches Whisper

The Best kayak Paddle Under 100


This paddle can be paired up with both freshwater and saltwater kayak. Moreover, Bending Branches is an Osceola, Wisconsin-based company and has been around for four decades.

When it comes to choosing the right paddle for your kayak, compromise does not help unless you can't afford it. Experts recommend getting a durable and sturdy paddle for kayak fishing. 

When fishing, you want your attention to be fully focused on the lure or the fish finder screen. You would want a paddle that will require you to spend a reasonable amount of energy intermittently, not all the time. 

On the other hand, a touring kayak demands a lightweight and ergonomic paddle. It should also be able to generate high speeds. This post is intended to help you find the best kayak paddle under $100.

Best Kayak Paddle Under $100

1. Bending Branches Whisper

61t6wG5Zm7L. AC SL250

Do you find yourself hovering over the water by flapping the wings repeatedly? It is not uncommon for the paddlers to find themselves working doubly hard per mile. Some paddles are designed for aesthetics or convenience rather than efficiency. 

Kayakers who find it challenging to up their kayaking game should check out Whisper from Bending Branches. This paddle from Bending Branches lets you effortlessly thread through the water. You can maintain a flutter-free stroke even if you haven’t had any formal training. 

The Bending Branches Whisper comes with a 3 hole snap-button ferrule. The blades can be feathered from angles 0-degree and 60-degrees. Further, this paddle is available in lengths from 210 cm to 240 cm in 10 cm increments.

The package comes with two kayak paddles for those who prefer tandem kayaking. The blades are made from polypropylene nylon (and not cheap quality plastic). The shaft is made from lightweight and strong aluminum material.

Bending Branches Whisper is Suitable for:

This is the best kayak paddle under $100 for those looking to replace their fixed angle paddle. Fixed angle paddles are inefficient, and they can lead to muscular injuries in arms.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable

  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater
  • The paddle floats in water. Easy to retrieve

Cons

  • Does not come with a hook retrieval notch


Carlisle Magic Gear Plus kayak paddle has three different locking positions. The paddle comes apart into three parts; two blades and a shaft. The blade shape is slightly spooned for enhanced propulsion power. If you are looking for new paddles as a replacement for the current one, this paddle can help cut the effort you are putting in per mile. 

When looking for kayak paddles under $100, most people expect standard characteristics like dependability, high-performance, impervious to moisture, and long-lasting. The Carlisle Magic Gear Plus checks all boxes. On top of that, you also have an option to pick from paddle length 230 cm and 240 cm. 

Carlisle Magic Gear Plus is Suitable for:

The fiberglass shaft weighs considerably less than aluminum. It is also quite flexible. The benefits of a flexible fiberglass shaft are quite similar to that of a contoured shaft. It bends slightly when you put pressure on your wrist. 

When paddling, your wrist will not remain in the same position; they will move with the direction of flow. Hence, this paddle can help you dodge major wrist injuries.

Pros

  • The shaft is made with ultra-lightweight fiberglass material
  • Spooned blade shape cuts down effort per mile
  • Easy to changes angles at 60-degrees
  • Paddles can float in water

Cons

  • Fiberglass shaft is not as durable as aluminum

71Ygc3N 81L. AC SL300

This rounded kayak paddle is manufactured by Shoreline Marine and Engineering Pvt Ltd (SLME), a Goa-based Indian company. Essentially, SLME is into turnkey solutions for maritime but also has an in-house team to handle the design and manufacturing of fishing equipment. The Shoreline Marine rounded kayak paddle is precision-engineered for more comfort and productivity.  

This kayak paddle is fully portable. You can break it apart into two parts. The corrosion-resistant aluminum shaft is uniquely designed. Instead of one long cylindrical bar, it is two-piece construction. One tube slides inside another, and the button pops through the alignment hole to make sure both are locked in. 

The product is designed for a lifetime of daily use. Although, it would be beneficial if the manufacturer had provided options to pick paddle length. The paddle length is 96-inch, which is not adjustable. The blades are 18-inch in length and 7-inch wide.  

Shoreline Marine Rounded Kayak Paddle is Suitable for:

This paddle comes with wider blades. They are as flat as they can get. Flat and wide blades are excellent for quick acceleration. The blades have a larger surface area, so you will have to exert more energy per mile. However, you can expect more propulsion power per stroke. The product is designed for a lifetime of daily use.

Pros

  • The shaft is equipped with foam grips for added comfort
  • The shaft also has drip guards to keep the palms dry
  • Fully portable

Cons

  • The blade is not durable enough to withstand the force of a rock or a tree branch crashing into it.

615RXXKAgML. AC SL350

The Camo series from Carlisle is known for being lightweight and effective. Like other models in the Camo series, the Predator Camo is made entirely with fiberglass (shaft and blades). 

The blades are equipped with a notch in the bottom end to assist you in removing the fish lure from a tree branch or any other floating object in the water. This is an intricately detailed product.

Carlisle Predator Camo comes with asymmetrical dihedral blades. These blades are slightly spooned and have one side shorter than the other. They allow you to paddle smoothly without compromising the propulsion power. It is one of those tweaks that dramatically improve your kayaking game.

As I mentioned earlier, this paddle comes in three sizes. Three paddles are just 10 cm apart. So, there is not much difference between them. The longer one suits best for tall paddlers who have a wider kayak.

A shorter paddle is lighter in weight but does not go for it if you are tall or have a wider kayak. You don’t want to nick the sides of the kayak with your paddle while paddling. It can damage the kayak and can also distract you from focusing on your secondary task (casting or finding an unexplored fishing spot).

Carlisle Predator Kayak Paddle Camo is Suitable for:

This kayak paddle under $100 is portable. It is a two-piece construction paddle that breaks from the middle of the fiberglass shaft. Furthermore, this product is available in 220, 230, 240, and 250 lengths. Pick the paddle length based on the size of your kayak.

Pros

  • The shaft and blades are made with lightweight and flexible fiberglass
  • Asymmetrical dihedral blades help cut down energy exerted per mile
  • Portable and easy-to-transport

Cons

  • Does not come with foam grips. The fiberglass stick can get slippery if you don’t wear hand gloves

71yZ6yEbBCL. AC SL250

Are you looking for one of the best entry-level kayak paddles under $100? 

Escape E Kayak Paddle is manufactured in Cannon Paddles facility in Minnesota. The blades are not entirely dihedral, but they do have a slight medial twist, running from farthest to the innermost part of the blade. 

The fiberglass-reinforced black nylon blades are designed to make tracking easy. Hence, in the kayak fishing community, this product is termed as an entry-level paddle.

The aircraft-grade aluminum shaft is heat-treated and anodized. No matter how hot the day is, the shaft will never lose its grip, stiffness, and flexibility. The product package also includes two rubber rings. 

Paddlers are typically not aware of their utility. The rings prevent water from running down from the blade onto your body. This scenario occurs when you lift one blade up and lower the other into the water. 

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle is Suitable for:

The Escape E Kayak Paddle is suited best for beginner kayakers who haven’t had much training. You will be surprised to learn that most kayakers go months or even years without learning the proper paddling technique. There is a science behind paddling. 

If you are excited about kayaking and are not willing to spend time learning the proper form and arm movement, this product will help you learn by the process of osmosis. You can always attend a kayaking course later when you have had some in-field experience under your belt.

Pros

  • The blade is designed for better efficiency
  • The paddle does not have holes or gaps. It can float on water
  • The product is made in the USA
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum shaft comes with hand grips

Cons

  • Cannon Paddles do not provide an option to buy just blades

71FWaNjvopL. AC SL250

Best Marine and Outdoors is one of the leading manufacturers of kayak accessories. This Massachusetts-based company is also quite popular in the kayak fishing communities in Europe and Australia. The feather-light paddle from Best Marine and Outdoors is intended to help kayakers enjoy their hobby without letting fatigue and tiredness get in the way. 

The combination of carbon fiber shaft and reinforced fiberglass blades makes the paddle lightweight and durable. You will be glad to know that this paddle comes apart in two pieces; hence they are easy-to-transport. Another key distinguishing factor about this paddle is its low angle. Meaning, you won’t have to lift the paddles in the air, not more than 20 to 30 degrees.

Best Marine and Outdoors Carbon Fiber Paddle is Suitable for:

This is an affordable product for those who cannot afford (or do not wish to invest more money) paddles from high-end brands such as Bending Branches. These paddles come with all the features needed for efficient paddling. On an accurate postal scale, they weigh 34 lbs. Also, the carbon fiber shaft is an upgrade to the aluminum shaft.

Pros

  • International product
  • Ultra-lightweight paddle
  • Easy travel and storage

Cons

  • The paddles are designed for better maneuverability and not speed

61IC5yOoT0L. AC SL250

Are you looking for one of the cheapest kayak paddles under $100? 

This kayak paddle is 84-inches long. Unfortunately, SeaSense does not provide more options to choose paddle length. An 84-inch long paddle suits perfectly fine for a normal-sized tandem kayak. Also, you can bulk buy for your entire family. The two, three, four, and five packs can be gifted to a friend or a family member who wants to get into tandem kayaking.

The black modeled plastic blades are narrow and lengthy. They are well suited for those who wish to go tandem kayaking with a partner or a small family. The blades are not designed for speed. The lightweight and narrow blades will keep the kayak moving with minimal effort on your part. Moreover, the aluminum shaft is equipped with adjustable drip guards and foam rubber grips.  

SeaSense X -Treme 1 Kayak Paddle is Suitable for:

SeaSense X -Treme 1 is perfectly suited for those looking for affordability, quality, and assurance. SeaSense is one of the rare kayak paddle manufacturers who offer a 7-year warranty. 

Note that the warranty is on manufacturing defects and not on wear and tear due to use. The product comes with all the necessary features required for long-duration tandem kayaking.

Pros

  • The shaft can be separated into two pieces. It is easy to transport
  • The blades are flat and narrow. Precision-engineered for long-distance tandem kayaking

Cons

  • Suitable only for occasional use

61rPxh C1HL. AC SL300

Attwood Corporation is a Lowell, Michigan-based kayak paddle manufacturer. They have been supplying quality marine products for over 100 years. The Attwood 11768-2 heavy-duty kayak paddles are made from durable and long-lasting materials. The shaft is made from aluminum. The two blades are made from molded industrial-grade plastic.  

This is not one of those delicate fiberglass paddles that break into two parts easily. You can also use them to shove off rocks or broken tree branches in the water. Unfortunately, the blade does not come with a notch to retrieve the lure stuck in a floating object in the water. 

Apart from being durable and sturdy, the paddles also come with two rubber drip rings. When paddling, it is common for water to slide back from the elevated part of the paddle. The drip grips block water from running onto your body.

Attwood 11768-2 Heavy-Duty Kayak Paddle is Suitable for:

This paddle is perfect for those who wish to indulge in long-distance tandem kayaking. The aluminum shaft is lightweight and not as delicate as fiberglass. The Attwood 11768-2 paddle is engineered to take hard knocks. It can withstand medium to heavy waves in Class III water.

Further, the two-piece breakdown design makes it easy to carry. You can fit in the two-pieces into a backpack or a carry bag that comes with an inflatable kayak.

Pros

  • Easy to store and transport
  • Lets you paddle longer without feeling fatigued
  • The shaft is equipped with drip rings

Cons

  • The height of this paddle can fall short when used with wider kayaks

Conclusion

A lot of beginner paddlers do not feel the need to focus their attention on learning and choosing the best kayak paddle. If this sounds like you, you must go through the deciding factors mentioned in this post. 

Make sure to check the materials, additional accessories, size, and shape of the paddle and its individual parts.  

From the products discussed above, I would pick Bending Branches Whisper 2-piece kayak paddle over others. This paddle can be paired up with both freshwater and saltwater kayak. Moreover, Bending Branches is an Osceola, Wisconsin-based company and has been around for four decades. It is a tried and tested product.


Buyer’s Guide - How to Choose the Best Kayak Paddle Under $100

Choosing the right kayak for you and your partner (if you are into tandem kayaking) is not as easy as it seems. Most people do not take into consideration the intricacies that go into constructing a kayak paddle. It is true that an old-fashioned paddle can do the job for occasional and short-distance kayakers but not for those looking to up their kayaking game. 

To choose the right kayak paddle under $100, make sure you take into account the following factors:

1. Shaft Material

The shaft is the long stick that connects the two blades together. Generally, a paddle shaft is made with aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. 

Aluminum

Aluminum shaft paddles are versatile and low cost. They last longer than any other type of shaft. An aluminum shaft suits kayakers who are looking for affordability and durability. They are suited for occasional tandem kayaking. 

Fiberglass

Fiberglass material is generally known for being lightweight and flexible. It also adapts well to external temperature. In winter, the material gets slightly warmer, and in summer it stays cold. 

Further, the position of your wrist won’t remain fixed, since the stick is flexible. This key feature of a fiberglass stick helps prevent muscular injuries in the arm and shoulders. A fiberglass stick is suitable for those who wish to improve performance without breaking the bank.

Carbon Fiber

Lastly, carbon fiber is low-density material with a high strength to weight ratio. The look and feel of a carbon fiber material can be compared to that of polypropylene or polyethylene, but it is stiffer and lighter than them. Carbon fiber is made from organic polymers via the process of polyacrylonitrile (PAN).

A carbon fiber shaft has a low CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion). The characteristics of this material do not change with change in external temperature. This factor is not a major concern for those who are into recreational kayaking. But for a professional, a paddle shaft with low CTE offers a slight edge over its competitors. 

2. Feathering 

Feathering is a technique that involves setting the two sides of a kayak paddle in a way that the blades are at an angle to each other. Most paddles come with one or more ferrules. 

The ferrule is the point where the shaft breaks into two pieces. Usually, a metal lock arrangement keeps the two pieces of the stick together. Feathering is only possible with a paddle with an adjustable ferrule feature. 

There is no other purpose of feathering than improving the speed of paddling. Some paddlers find a featured paddle more easy-going than a flat one. When choosing a kayak paddle, it is always a good idea to go for the one equipped with ferrules. Generally, people feel the need to feather during long-distance trips.

3. Blade Material

Paddle blades are available in several lightweight materials. In this section, I have shared all the details you need to know about the paddle blade material. 

Fiberglass Blades

Fiberglass blades are ultra-lightweight. They are far more efficient than blades made from plastic (discussed later) or any other synthetic material. Fiberglass blades are a delight for those suffering from wrist or shoulder injuries. They cut down the overall weight of the paddle. Hence an injured person can paddle without exerting much energy.

Fiberglass is not as expensive as some of the other lightweight materials. This is the most common material used for making blades. When choosing kayak paddles, keep in mind that the aluminum shaft and fiberglass blade combo is inexpensive, whereas the fiberglass shaft and blade combo can be slightly pricey.

Plastic Blades

Some cheaper paddles are made with polypropylene, polyethylene, or nylon. The aforementioned materials come in the category of “plastic,” but they offer more durability as they are industrial grade. The raw materials are affordable and readily available. Hence the manufacturing cost of a plastic paddle is low. 

Plastic blades are great for beginner paddlers who wish to get started quickly and without investing a lot of money. Generally, cheap paddles come in the combination of aluminum shaft and plastic blades. 

4. Blade Shape

No matter what material you go for, you also need to consider the size and shape of the blade. Kayak paddle blades are generally available in four shapes: 1) Asymmetrical 2) Dihedral 3) Narrow 4) Flat and Wide.

Asymmetrical Blade

Most modern high-performance kayak paddle blades are shaped asymmetrically. An asymmetrical blade is shorter on the lower side (the side that strikes the water first). The lower part also has a curve that runs through the outer periphery of the blade.  

An asymmetrical blade does not have a standard shape — the shape varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The surface tension of the water makes it difficult to slice the asymmetrical blade through the water. An asymmetrical blade does not have sharp edges at the lower side. Hence it cuts through the surface of the water smoothly. 

Dihedral Blade

The dihedral blade has a spooning in the medial portion. Paddle manufacturers came up with this tweak to lower the energy exerted per mile by a paddler. It also helps improve one’s kayaking game overnight.

Narrow Blade

A narrow blade is well suited for long-distance tandem kayakers. The narrow design cuts down the overall weight of the paddle. On longer kayaking trips, speed may not be a priority. Most kayakers are simply concerned about moving the kayak forward with minimal expenditure of energy. A narrow blade helps them do just that. 

Flat and Wide

Lastly, the flat and wide paddle blade is an antithesis of the narrow blade. The extra surface area helps paddlers to collect and push more water in the desired direction. Generally, a flat and wide blade has sharp edges. Hence, they do not slice through the surface of the water easily. 

Naturally, more energy is exerted per stroke. But you can expect an increased propulsion power. It is well suited for those who wish to quickly accelerate or slow down the vessel.

5. Additional Features and Accessories

Standard kayak paddles come with features and accessories that make them even better. Along with a shaft and two blades, the package generally includes two drip guards. The drip rings are supposed to be attached on both ends of a shaft. They prevent the water from running down the length of the shaft onto your body.

Drip rings are not much use for those who have a low paddling stroke. The blades are less likely to push back water down the length of the shaft if they are not elevated above a 20 to 30-degree angle. But for those who have a high paddling stroke, drips rings are necessary.

Furthermore, good quality paddles come with foam grips on either side of the center of the shaft. The soft and grippy foam helps reduce the fatigue caused by long-distance paddling.  

Some paddles also come with a contoured shaft. These paddles are rare and expensive. Hence they are not included in the above list of products. When paddling, they keep your wrist in a natural position, reducing the chances of injury. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Kayak Paddle for a Beginner?

The Escape E from Cannon Paddles is the best kayak paddle for beginners. This product comes with oval hand grips so you can discern the position of a feathered blade with a mere touch. 

Beginners struggle to keep an eye on several things at once, especially if they are out there to catch fish. The Escape E is also a versatile kayak paddle. It is far better than the cheap ones on sale in Walmart. 

Do Kayak Paddles Make a Difference?

Kayak paddles only make a difference when you are planning to go for long trips. For short trips (less than 20 miles), you can easily use a paddle made with a combination of affordable aluminum sticks and plastic blades. The presence of ferrules and wrist grips would be a bonus. 

Having said that, an injured or injury-prone paddler should consider getting a carbon fiber paddle. There is no reason to risk further damage to your body just for the sake of a few hours of fun and excitement.  

What is the Lightest Kayak Paddle?

Premium carbon fiber paddle from Best Marine and Outdoors is one of the lightest kayak paddles on the market. The 92-inch paddle weighs just 33.5 lbs. It is made from carbon fiber shafts and reinforced fiberglass blades. Most paddle with the aforementioned configuration is priced higher than $250.

Last Updated on September 8th, 2020

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