best kayak paddle under 100 for beginners [Answered]


Welcome to my blog where I’ll be sharing tips and advice on a variety of outdoor activities, from camping to kayaking!

As an avid paddler myself, I know how important it is to have the right gear to ensure a fun and safe experience on the water. And one of the most important pieces of gear for any kayaker is a good paddle.

In this post, I’ll be discussing the best kayak paddles under $100 specifically for beginners. I know that starting out with kayaking can be overwhelming, but making the right choice when it comes to your paddle can make a huge difference in your overall experience.

Additionally, I’ll be sharing tips on how to maintain your paddle, as well as alternatives to a kayak paddle that may be applicable depending on your specific needs.

So, whether you’re just starting out with kayaking, or you’re a seasoned pro, I hope this post will provide you with some valuable insights and help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right paddle for your needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Kayak Paddle

  • Weight and Material: The weight and material of your paddle can greatly affect your paddling experience. Lighter materials such as carbon fiber are ideal for longer trips as they reduce fatigue, while heavier materials such as plastic may be more durable and cost-effective for shorter trips.
  • Blade Shape and Size: Blade shape and size can determine the amount of power and speed you can generate with your paddle. Wider blades offer more power, while narrower blades offer more speed and control. Determine your desired paddling style and environment to choose the best blade shape and size.
  • Shaft Length and Shape: The length and shape of your paddle shaft can affect your comfort and paddling efficiency. A longer paddle is ideal for wider kayaks, while a shorter paddle is ideal for narrower kayaks. The shape of the shaft can also affect your grip and comfort during paddling.
  • Grip Type: The grip type of your paddle can affect your control and comfort during paddling. Consider a grip type that suits your paddling style and environment, whether it’s a straight grip, bent grip, or T-grip.

Top Kayak Paddles under $100 for Beginners

After researching and trying out various kayak paddles, I’ve compiled a list of the top options under $100, perfect for beginners:

  1. Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon Kayak Paddle – This paddle is made of durable carbon fiber, making it lightweight and easy to handle. Its blade shape and size offer a good balance of speed and power, while the T-grip provides a comfortable grip.
  2. SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle – This paddle is made of a lightweight aluminum shaft and durable plastic blades, making it a cost-effective option for beginners. The blades are designed for efficient paddling movements, while the adjustable length and T-grip provide versatility and comfort.
  3. Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle – This paddle is made of fiberglass, providing a good mix of durability and weight. The blade shape and size offer a good balance of propulsion and control, while the straight shaft and drip rings provide a comfortable grip and prevent water from running down the shaft.
  4. Bending Branches Whisper Kayak Paddle – This paddle is made of lightweight aluminum and nylon blades, providing a good balance of durability and weight. Its blade shape and size offer a smooth, efficient stroke, while the two-piece design allows for easy storage and transportation.

Overall, these paddles provide a great entry-level option for beginners and offer a good mix of speed, power, and control. Of course, everyone’s needs and preferences may vary, so it’s important to try out different paddles and find the one that works best for you.

Tips for Maintaining Your Kayak Paddle

Proper maintenance of your kayak paddle can greatly extend its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Here are some tips for maintaining your paddle:

  • Rinse thoroughly after each use: Saltwater and other debris can damage your paddle over time, so it’s important to rinse it off with fresh water after every use. Pay special attention to the blades and shaft to ensure that all dirt and debris is removed.
  • Store in a cool, dry place: Avoid storing your paddle in direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, or humid environments, as this can cause damage to the materials. Store it in a cool, dry place to prevent warping or cracking.
  • Repair any cracks or damage promptly: Even small cracks or chips in your paddle can affect its performance and durability. Repair any damage promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Use a paddle leash: A paddle leash can prevent your paddle from getting lost or damaged if you accidentally drop it in the water. This can also prevent injury if the paddle hits someone.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your kayak paddle stays in great condition and continues to perform at its best for years to come.

Alternatives to a Kayak Paddle

While a kayak paddle is the traditional tool for paddling, there are alternatives that may be applicable depending on your specific needs:

  • Canoe Paddles: Similar to kayak paddles, canoe paddles are designed for use in canoes and offer a similar range of shapes and sizes. However, canoe paddles tend to be longer and have a single blade for more efficient and controlled paddling in calm water.
  • SUP Paddles: Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) boards require a different type of paddle than kayaks or canoes, as they are designed for standing and paddling on calm water. SUP paddles tend to be longer, with a larger blade to provide more power and control over the board.

Ultimately, the best tool for paddling depends on your specific needs and preferences. Whether you choose a kayak paddle, canoe paddle, or SUP paddle, it’s important to consider factors like weight, shape, and grip to ensure the most efficient and comfortable paddling experience.

Related: How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness Kayaking: Tips and Techniques for a Pain-Free Paddle!


What size of a paddle should I buy?

The paddle size will depend on your height, the width of the boat, and the type of paddling you plan to do. As a general rule, paddles with longer shafts and wider blades will provide more power, while shorter paddles are more maneuverable. Most manufacturers provide sizing charts to help you choose the right size for your needs.

Are carbon fiber paddles worth the investment?

Carbon fiber paddles are lighter and stiffer than other materials, which can provide a more efficient stroke and reduce fatigue on longer trips. However, they tend to be more expensive than other materials, so it may not be necessary for beginners just starting out.

Is it better to have an adjustable or fixed-length paddle?

Adjustable paddles can be convenient if you plan to share a paddle with friends or have different boats with varying widths. However, fixed-length paddles tend to be more lightweight and can offer a more solid feel.

How can I properly maintain my kayak paddle?

Rinse off your paddle after each use, store it in a dry place, and repair any damage promptly. Avoid leaving your paddle in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can damage the materials.

Can I use a canoe paddle for kayaking?

While canoe paddles may be similar in shape and size to kayak paddles, they are not designed for kayaking and may not offer the same level of control and efficiency.

Should I choose a curved or straight paddle blade?

Curved blades can provide more power and efficiency on longer trips, while straight blades are typically easier to maneuver and control.

Can I use a SUP paddle for kayaking?

While SUP paddles may have some similarities to kayak paddles, they are typically longer and have a different shape that may not be as effective for kayaking.

How can I choose a grip type that’s comfortable for me?

Consider your grip size and shape preference when choosing a paddle. Some grips may be more comfortable for people with smaller or larger hands, while others may offer more texture for better control.

What’s the difference between a high-angle and low-angle paddle stroke?

High-angle strokes involve a more aggressive, vertical stroke that provide more power and speed, while low-angle strokes are more horizontal and efficient for longer, slower paddling.

Can I use a kayak paddle for other water sports like paddleboarding?

Kayak paddles may be similar in shape and size to SUP paddles, but they are not designed for use with paddleboards and may not be as effective or comfortable to use.

Real experience

Sarah was always one to try new things. When she moved to a lakeside town, she knew she had to take advantage of the beautiful water views and try kayaking. She purchased her own kayak, threw on a life jacket, and set out onto the water.

At first, things were going well. Sarah was having a blast, but quickly noticed that her arms were getting tired. After only a short amount of time, she was struggling to paddle and make any speed.

Determined to last longer on the water, Sarah began researching better paddle options. She quickly came to the realization that a quality paddle was just as important as the kayak. Unfortunately, many of the options she found were way above her budget.

But Sarah didn’t give up. She kept searching for the perfect paddle that wouldn’t break the bank. That’s when she stumbled upon a list of best kayak paddles under $100. After reading reviews and doing her own research, she found the perfect paddle for her needs – the Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle.

Sarah was skeptical that such an affordable paddle could make such a big difference, but she decided to give it a try. The first time she used it, she felt like she was paddling through butter. The lightweight and efficient design allowed her to paddle longer and cover more distance. Plus, her arms weren’t nearly as tired at the end of each trip.

From that day forward, Sarah was able to fully enjoy her new hobby, thanks to finding the perfect beginner paddle. She no longer had to worry about costs or feeling fatigued after short amounts of time on the water. Instead, she was able to focus on the beauty of the lake and the thrill of exploring the outdoors.


Choosing the right kayak paddle can greatly enhance your paddling experience, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. By considering factors like weight, material, blade shape and size, shaft length and shape, and grip type, you can choose a paddle that meets your specific needs and paddling style.

In this post, we highlighted some of the best kayak paddles under $100 for beginners, including the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon Kayak Paddle, SeaSense X-Treme II Mix Kayak Paddle, Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle, and Bending Branches Whisper Kayak Paddle.

We also provided some tips for maintaining your paddle, such as rinsing it thoroughly after each use, storing it in a cool, dry place, and repairing any damage promptly. And if you’re looking for an alternative to a kayak paddle, we discussed options like canoe paddles and SUP paddles.

Remember, choosing the right paddle is a personal decision that depends on your unique needs and preferences. Take your time to research and test out different paddles to find the one that works best for you. With the right paddle, you can enjoy a safe and fun paddling experience every time!

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