When choosing a kayak paddle, you don’t necessarily have to opt for the expensive ones. Oftentimes, a cheap kayak paddle is just what you need.
If you happen to be the one who would benefit from a cheap paddle more, then you are in the right place.
On this material, we are going to review 6 high-rated and inexpensive kayak paddles.
And besides, we’ll share our ideas on whether or not you should get a cheap kayak paddle.
Shall we begin?
Kayak paddle comparison
|Sea Eagle AB25
| X-Treme II
| Oceansouth Paddles X2
| Leader Marine
| Naviskin Paddle
Our pick of the best cheap kayak paddle
In our humble opinion, the Leader Marine is the best cheap kayak paddle among the paddles we reviewed today.
It offers good control – especially when feathered – and comes in two length options. Aside from that, you’ve got 5 colors to choose from.
Does this mean that this kayak paddle will be the best for you as well?
Read on to find out!
Cheap kayak paddles reviewed
Up first on our reviews is a very inexpensive kayak paddle from Oceansouth.
This kayak paddle weighs just 2.5 pounds, which is somewhere in the middle among the examined paddles: not the lightest and not the heaviest.
When it comes to the materials, what catches the eye are the fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades. These definitely aren’t as strong and light as pure fiberglass blades, but they certainly are better than regular polypropylene blades.
As for the shaft, it is made from aluminum, which is a very common choice of a shaft material in this price range.
Like the majority of the examined paddles, the Oceansouth paddle can be broken down into two halves, which makes this paddle more convenient for transport and storage.
This kayak paddle has one downside: it has vinyl stickers for grips instead of rubber. This may make the kayak less easy-to-handle.
- Pretty light: weighs just 2.5 pounds.
- 3 color options.
- Fiberglass-reinforced blades.
- Has stick-on vinyl instead of foam grips.
Behold the most compact kayak paddle on our reviews! Well, that’s the case when it is disassembled.
Sea Eagle AB25 kayak paddle comprises of 4 pieces that each measure about 33 inches long. This allows superior transportability and storage efficiency over the rest of the examined paddles.
When it comes to materials, this paddle doesn’t offer anything that spectacular. Its shaft is made from aluminum and the blades from a material called “fibrylon.”
To be fair, we don’t really know what fibrylon is. Maybe that’s just a fancy name for plastic or polypropylene?
In any case, the blades of the AB25 paddle would probably perform on par with those of the other paddles we examined.
The AB25 paddle is a bit on the heavy side, weighing 2.7 pounds. This is by no means heavy, but it is heavier than most of the reviewed paddles.
- Extremely compact 4-piece design.
- Packed length is under 33 inches.
- Weighs 2.7 pounds.
SeaSense has implemented a couple of interesting things in their X-Treme II kayak paddle.
First of all, this paddle weighs just 2.2 pounds, so if you were looking for an extra-light & cheap paddle, this one may be the pick.
But that’s not all.
The X-Treme II kayak paddle comes with two foam grips that can be slid along the shaft, allowing for narrower/wider grip.
This interesting design has one minus though: the grips may tend to shift on the shaft while you are holding it.
- Weighs only 2.2 pounds.
- Adjustable foam grips.
- The grips may tend to shift on the shaft.
The name of this set sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
That’s because it comes with the same Oceansouth kayak paddle we reviewed in the very beginning. But this set has got 2 paddles in it.
If you’ve got 2 kayaks or 1 kayak with two seats, then getting this set could be the right thing for you to do.
Needless to say, the paddles included in this set don’t differ from the single Oceansouth paddle at all. They weigh the same, have the same fiberglass-reinforced blades, as well as the vinyl stickers for grips.
This set comes in 4 color options rather than 3 though, which could be a plus for some.
- 2 paddles included.
- Each paddle weighs just 2.5 pounds.
- Fiberglass-reinforced blades.
- 4 color options.
- Stick-on vinyl instead of grips.
If you are looking for an extra-long cheap kayak paddle, then Leader Marine paddle – our top pick – might be the right choice for you.
This kayak paddle comes in two sizes: 87” and 96”. The former would be suitable for shorter kayakers, while the latter would be better for taller individuals.
Besides, if you have a low-angle paddling style, you may find that the 96” paddle is the better choice. Don’t forget to match it with your height though!
The Leader Marine kayak paddle also features two rubberized grips that offer superior control when compared to foam grips.
Besides, one of the grips has an oval-like shape that contributes to the feel of the paddle when its blades are feathered. Let us explain how.
When you are paddling with a feathered paddle, you need to pivot it during each stroke to align the blade with the water.
The oval grip would allow you to feel the angle of the offset blade better, while the round grip would allow you to easily pivot the shaft in your hand and align the blade with the water.
You also have 5 color options to choose from in case you really want to make the paddle fit your kayak.
However, keep in mind that this paddle weighs 2.8 pounds and is heavier than most of the paddles we examined.
- Two size options: 87” and 96”.
- Rubber grips for solid control.
- Paddles great when feathered.
- 5 color options.
- Weighs 2.8 pounds.
- Some kayakers may dislike the difference between the grips’ shape.
Naviskin kayak paddle is pretty similar to the Leader Marine paddle we have just reviewed.
It has comparable rubber grips with offset shape, an 87-inch length that matches the shorter version of the Leader Marine paddle, and 5 color options.
There are two differences between the paddles, however.
Firstly, the difference between the grips’ shape isn’t as dramatic. If you don’t quite like the grips of the Leader Marine paddle, then this one might be the better choice.
And secondly, it weighs 2.9 pounds, just a tad heavier than the Leader Marine paddle. Not such a big difference, but it may play a role if you’ll be taking a lot of stuff on your kayak and if every ounce could be decisive.
- 5 colors available.
- Rubber grips.
- Paddles good when feathered.
- The shape difference between the grips isn’t so dramatic.
- Weighs 2.9 pounds.
When should you pick a cheap kayak paddle?
So why would you want to pick a cheap kayak paddle over a more expensive and more high-quality one?
Well, there are two cases when you should go for a cheaper paddle: you are a beginner or you just don’t need an expensive paddle.
You are a beginner
Let’s start with the “beginner” point. Why would you want to pick a cheap paddle if you have just started kayaking?
Because you don’t know what kind of a kayak paddle would be the right one.
As a beginner, you are essentially developing your technique and are on your way to discovering your personal preferences. It’s often more reasonable to go for a cheap kayak paddle when you are just starting out.
By all means, you may go for an expensive kayak paddle if you have the budget. But it may just end up being a waste of money.
You may be thinking: well, if I don’t like the paddle, I may just return it, right? Not quite.
Let’s put it this way: if you were an experienced kayaker, you would feel right away that you’ve gotten the wrong kind of paddle. In this case, you could just return the paddle and look for something better.
But if you don’t have any experience with paddles, you may spend months before realizing that you have made the wrong choice. And you won’t be able to return the paddle because you would most likely be well past its money-back guarantee.
Now, this may not be the case for you and your paddle, but you get our point.
So, instead of going all-out on an excellent paddle that may or may not be the right one for you, you should go for a cheaper one to develop those initial skills and feel of the paddle with.
You don’t need an expensive paddle
This one is more straightforward. If you don’t have the need for it, why spend $200 on a pricey paddle?
What makes expensive paddles different? It’s primarily the choice of materials that are more light and durable in pricey kayak paddles.
Going for an expensive paddle would be reasonable if every ounce of weight saving is crucial for you, if you kayak very frequently, and if you are serious about kayaking.
But if you kayak once a week just recreationally, then an inexpensive kayak paddle, albeit not as durable, would probably serve you quite a long time.
So what’s next?
Well, if you liked one of the paddles we examined and certainly know that it is the one, then go for it. Easy as that.
But don’t rush your decision. As good as a paddle may seem, make sure to think well enough about your choice.
And, in case you don’t know how to go about kayak paddles, you could read our kayak paddle buying guide. It should be able to answer most of your questions in regard to them.