Many do not know this but the simple truth is that the fun, excitement, and relaxation that could be derived from kayaking all depend on the paddle as much as the kayak itself. Imagine you want to take a long, relaxing adventure on your kayak and your arms are already fatigued from the heaviness of your paddle halfway through your adventure. This just completely sucks the fun out of it all, doesn’t it?
Paddles, like many other items out there, come in different brands, types, and sizes. All these varying properties make the paddle prices vary too. And believe me, there are paddles that cost as much as a kayak.
So, if you are looking to get yourself a really great paddle and you have a really tight budget, don’t worry. There are still a good number of great paddles on the market that cost less than a hundred bucks. Listed in this article are some paddles that I consider to be the best kayak paddles under $100.
Short Guide to Choosing a Paddle
Things to Consider and Look Out For
There are many things that you really need to consider before you decide to get yourself any paddle. Some of them are:
The most common and the best material used to make paddle shafts is aluminum. Aluminum is a really strong and durable metal but yet, it is really lightweight. Although fiberglass-made shafts have an even better combination of lightness and strength, they tend to be quite expensive.
This is something you really want to pay attention to if you’re a professional ‘yakker. Some blades are narrow while others are wide. The wide blades help your kayak go faster than a narrow paddle would.
So if you are just kayaking for recreational purposes or you are still a beginner in kayaking, you might not really need to pay attention to this. It wouldn’t hurt if you did though.
Suffice to say, not all paddle sizes would be good for you so you need to find out what paddle size you want to be kayaking with. The more compatible you are with your paddles, the more efficient your strokes would be.
I talked about paddle length in one of my previous articles where I mentioned that your torso height can be used to determine the best paddle length for you. You may use the table below to see what paddle length would most likely fit you.
|Torso Height||Paddle Length Range|
|24″||180cm – 200cm|
|26″||190cm – 200cm|
|28″||200cm – 220cm|
|30″||210cm – 230cm|
|32″||220cm – 240cm|
|34″||230cm – 250cm|
|36″||240cm – 250cm|
Paddles have dripping guards to help stop water from the upper end of your paddles from dripping into your grips, thereby getting you and your grips wet. While some paddles use normal dripping guards, others use rings. This is one thing to consider if you mind getting wet.
Another thing dripping guards are great for is preventing your paddles from sinking when the slip into the water.
Some paddles are adjustable at the shoulders of the paddle blades in such a way that they can rotate around the shaft. Maybe you have seen some paddles that have one end beating back the water below while the upper end looks like it’s slicing through the air. Such paddles have been feathered.
Feathering just largely helps you reduce fatigue and increase comfort by reducing the air resistance against your paddle. Not all paddles come with this feature.
Many paddles just have straight shafts and are really great for short recreational trips. However, if you’re going on a long kayaking trip you had better put a lot of thought into the gripping position of your paddles.
For the gripping positions, some paddles use foam grips which make you grip firm and comfortable. Other paddles have ovalized space that does well for strong and firm grips too.
Kayak Paddles FAQ
- Which is Lighter between Aluminum and Fiberglass Shafts?
A fiberglass paddle shaft is lighter and stronger. However, I stated earlier that it is more expensive than its aluminum-made counterpart.
- How Important is the Size of my Paddle?
Picking the right paddle size is just as important as picking the right shoe size. Using a paddle that isn’t your size would cause you a lot of discomforts and unnecessary fatigue. So, make sure you take your time in selecting the best paddle size that suits you.
- How Important is the Shape of my Blade?
This mostly depends on whether you are using the paddle for professional purposes or if you are just using it for fun and recreational purposes. Narrow blades don’t make you go as fast as the wide blades would. So, professional kayakers that need to pay attention to every single detail of their kayak gear, no matter how little, tend to go for paddles with wider blades.
- My Paddles Were Made with my Kayak. Do I have to Use that Particular Paddle?
You definitely don’t. One reason why manufacturers make paddles with kayaks is that they must have designed the kayak for a specific purpose. So there is a need to make the paddle to suit the purpose for which the kayak was made.
However, if you find out that the paddle isn’t convenient for you in any way, by all means, change it and get one that you’re comfortable with.
Best Paddles Under $100
The first thing that I find amazing about this paddle is the fact that it comes in different colors, giving you a wide range to pick from. So, if you are the type of person that cares about how your paddle looks, here’s one for you.
Another great thing about this paddle is that it has narrow blades that are just perfect for recreational purposes. Although it may not be really great for getting you to accelerate quickly, it still holds its own really well as a recreational paddle. These blades are also feathered so you can have a much less stressful paddling experience.
The SeaSense X-Treme II paddle comes with foam grips which help you to have a firm grip on your paddle. The paddle is made of aluminum, weighs 3.6 pounds and comes in two different sizes; 86 inches and 96 inches. These two sizes mostly cater to a wide range of paddlers with varying heights.
- Nice aesthetics
- Great for recreational purposes
- Floats well
- Quite heavy for a paddle
- Not great for speed
This paddle is really great for a number of purposes. It has rounded blades which are made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. The shaft is made of pure aluminum so, the strength and durability of the paddle isn’t something you’d worry about in a hurry.
Because of its build materials, this paddle has a really lightweight of 2.31 pounds. With this weight, you can paddle for a really long time without getting easily fatigued. Also, there are four different sizes for the paddle; 210cm, 220cm, 230cm and 240cm.
It gets even better with its adjustable feathering angles that are made possible with its three-hole snap button. Also, you can separate it into two pieces for easy transporting. Finally, it has ovalized grips that are coated to ensure that it would hardly slip from your hands. Isn’t that just awesome?
- Can be easily stored
- Really durable
- Allows for firm and comfortable grips
- It sometimes wiggles where the two separable ends join
The strength and durability of this paddle alone are enough to make you not bother to check other paddles out. Its shaft is made of rigid fiberglass while its blades are made of glass-filled polypropylene. These features make the paddle great for pushing against rocks and withstanding the assaults of the water.
The paddle is manufactured in three lengths; 220 cm, 230 cm, and 240 cm while weighing nothing more than 2.5 pounds. With it, you can paddle for long without getting tired. Also, the paddle comes apart in two pieces so that it can be easily transported.
Generally, this paddle performs well in all kinds of water bodies and its lightweight and strength are its best selling points.
- Easily stored
- Lightweight and durable
- Comes in different colors
Of them all, my pick is the Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle. This paddle perfectly combines its lightweight, its durability and its beautiful aesthetics to make your strokes as efficient as possible. And if you really think about it, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
However, you should know that all those paddles are really nice and would make for a good purchase if you buy any of them. Also, I encourage you to follow the buying guide to help you choose a nice paddle in case you need it.
Okay! Enough chit chat. Let’s get paddling!