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My 10 Best Canoe Paddles (Comparison & Buying Guide)

Reading Time: 6 minutes(Last Updated On: July 1, 2021)

QUICK ANSWER: MY BEST CANOE PADDLES

MY BEST CANOE PADDLES COMPARISON:

Product:
Features:
Pros/Cons:
Price:
Best for control and lightweight
Best
Werner Journey Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle
  • Length: 54″ 56″ 58″ 60″ 62″
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Kayak weight: 58″ is 24 oz oz
  • Features: Smooth back face is quietEdge guard creates a knifelike feel in and out of the water,Traditional symmetrical palm grip ensures comfort
    • Excellent lightweight
    • Excellent control
  • Expensive
  • Flexes a little in heavy paddling but never like it was going to break
    • Handle may be smaller for big hands
    Best for durability and smoothness
    Best
    Werner Journey Fiberglass 1-Piece Wood Shaft Canoe Paddle
  • Length: 58 – 60 inches
  • Material:  Premium Fiberglass Blade – Wood Shaft
  • Kayak weight: 26 oz
  • Features: triple laminated poplar symmetrical walnut gripTapered oval shaft
    • Effortless popping from the water
    • Familiar wood feel
    • Durable shaft
    • Pricey
    Best for canoe tripping and touring
    Best
    Werner Journey Algonquin Canoe Paddle
  • Length:N/A
  • Material:  Carbon Fiber Blade and shaft
  • Kayak weight: 16.3 oz
  • Features: 10° shaft-to-blade offsetbuoyant carbon bladeSuper thin edge guard
    • Lightweight
    • stroke pops quietly from the water for effortless forward strokes,
    • impact- and abrasion-resistant
    • very pricey
    Best for flatwater paddling
    Best
    BENDING BRANCHES BB SPECIAL
  • Length: 54 inches
  • Material:  Wood
  • Kayak weight: 11.6 lbs
  • Features: Super wide blade for more power, Palm grip to reduce fatigue, Bicolored wood design for that nice look, Bent shaft to reduce the effort
    • More power
    • great look
    • grip reduces fatigue
    • Expensive
    Best as a high impact paddle that withstands any rough beating
    Best
    CARLISLE STANDARD POLYETHYLENE CLAD CANOE PADDLE
  • Length: 60 inches
  • Material:  Vinyl Clad Aluminum
  • Kayak weight: 34oz
  • Features: Well designed shaft, T-grip handle for a nice grip, UV protected for long-lasting use
    • High impact resistant
    • nice grip
    • lightweight
    • Not a great look at all
    Best for vigorous paddling
    Best
    BENDING BRANCHES SUNBURST ST CANOE PADDLE
  • Length: 58 inches
  • Material: Roasted Basswood and Red Alder
  • Kayak weight: 17oz
  • Features: Fiberglass wrap to make it strong, Symmetric palm for easy handling, Contour grip for a natural feel
    • Great grip
    • durable
    • lightweight
    • retains warmth
    • beautiful design
    • It is bent and it might not suit all paddlers

    MY BEST CANOE PADDLES REVIEWS:

    Werner Journey Carbon Fiber Canoe Paddle

    This excellent lightweight canoe paddle gives excellent control and makes expeditions in whitewater a lot smoother. Other than that, it has a good feeling in the shaft and the handle.

    • Length: 54″ 56″ 58″ 60″ 62″
    • Material: Carbon Fiber
    • Weight: 58″ is 24 oz
    • Features: Smooth back face is quiet, Edge guard creates a knifelike feel in and out of the water, Traditional symmetrical palm grip ensures comfort
    • Pros: Excellent lightweight, excellent control
    • Cons: Expensive, flexes a little in heavy paddling but never like it was going to break, the handle may be smaller for big hands.

     

     

    Bending Branches BB Special

    • Length: 54 inches
    • Material:  Wood
    • Weight: 11.6 lbs
    • Features: Super wide blade for more power, Palm grip to reduce fatigue, Bicolored wood design for that nice look, Bent shaft to reduce the effort
    • Pros:  More power, great look, grip reduces fatigue
    • Cons: Expensive

     

     

     

    Carlisle Standard Polyethylene Clad Canoe Paddle

    • Length: 60 inches
    • Material:  Vinyl Clad Aluminum
    • Weight: 34oz
    • Features: Well designed shaft, T-grip handle for a nice grip, UV protected for long-lasting use
    • Pros: High impact resistant, nice grip, lightweight,
    • Cons: Not a great look at all

     

     

    Werner Journey Fiberglass 1-Piece Wood Shaft Canoe Paddle

    • Length: 58 – 60 inches
    • Material: Premium Fiberglass Blade – Wood Shaft
    • Weight: 26 oz
    • Features: triple laminated poplar, symmetrical walnut grip, Tapered oval shaft, Buoyant fiberglass blade, super thin edge guard
    • Pros: familiar wood feel, durable shaft, effortless popping from the water, quiet smooth blade, easy linking strokes, Impact- and abrasion-resistant, comfortable flex
    • Cons: Pricey

     

     

    Werner Journey Algonquin Canoe Paddle

    • Length:
    • Material: Carbon Fiber Blade and shaft
    • Weight: 16.3 oz
    • Features: 10° shaft-to-blade offset, buoyant carbon blade, Super thin edge guard
    • Pros: Lightweight, stroke pops quietly from the water for effortless forward strokes, impact- and abrasion-resistant, smooth and stable forward paddling, Optimized flex and strength enhance comfort, comfortable palm grip 
    • Cons: very pricey

     

    Bending Branches Sunburst ST Canoe Paddle

    • Length: 58 inches
    • Material: Roasted Basswood and Red Alder
    • Kayak weight: 17oz
    • Features: Fiberglass wrap to make it strong, Symmetric palm for easy handling, Contour grip for a natural feel
    • Pros: Great grip, durable, lightweight, retains warmth, beautiful design
    • Cons: It is bent and it might not suit all paddlers

     

    HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR CANOE PADDLE

    CANOE PADDLE’S PURPOSE

    Normally, before you make your purchase you need to figure out the exact thing you are going to do with it. They are designed differently to suit different paddling needs. Here is a quick look at different types of paddles to help you make a very informed choice.

    • WHITEWATER CANOE PADDLES

    Paddles designed for whitewater come equipped with shorter and wider blades. They also feature a square blade tip. They are designed in a way to help you make those quick strokes and also do those last-minute maneuvers such as pries and draws. For whitewater paddling, you need to get a straight shaft to makes things like bracing incredibly easy.

    • RACING CANOE PADDLES

    If you are into racing, your needs have also been well taken care of. We have paddles designed for racing. They come with shorter and wider blades just like those we used in whitewater. These blades allow you to catch more water and paddle much faster. Most racing paddles also come with shafts that are slightly bend to help you net the forward power and also great efficiency for every stroke you make.

    • SOLO CANOE PADDLES

    For solo paddlers, you need a much longer and narrow blade. You also need a short shaft. All these features will give you more control. You also achieve precision when you are in the water. One of the key reasons you need a longer blade is for it to remain in the water as you recover underwater instead of in the air.

    MATERIALS

    Canoe paddles also come made from different materials. Each comes with its own advantages and you can actually choose what to go for depending on what you really need. Here are the most common types of materials we have in the market.

    • Wooden Canoe Paddles: This is a traditional material that has been used for years. Because it comes with a number of great features, it is still being loved by many people. One of the key reasons wooden paddles are quite popular is because of the offer a nice feel, especially when the weather is cold, Paddles made from this material are best for lake water paddling. However, it is important to note they will need some little maintenance over time. You need to sand and varnish it to keep moisture at bay and prevent the paddle from rotting.

    COMPOSITE MATERIAL

    This is basically a blend of different materials.

    • Fiberglass, Aramid and Carbon Paddles: One of the best things about paddles made from these composite materials is that they are light and super strong. The best part, unlike wooden paddles, they don’t need any maintenance. Paddlers made from carbon are the best choice for racers. However, depending largely on the amount of carbon that has been used, prices will vary. For example, if you get one with a higher amount of carbon, that paddle is going to be more expensive. Composite materials, in any case, are a bit stiff and come with less flex than wooden paddles.
    • Aluminum & Plastic Canoe paddles: If you find a plastic paddle today, you will notice they come equipped with a plastic blade and the handle is made of aluminum. Compared to a wooden handle, aluminum at times, is less enjoyable to grip, especially when it is cold. Paddles made from aluminum and plastic tend to be heavier. They are also less efficient and often come with very complex design when compared with other types of paddles. However, they are the best for those long trips.

    WEIGHT

    As you sieve through that huge collection of canoe paddles, you also need to factor in the amount of weight you are getting. Since you will be picking it up and striking with it countless times, clearly, you need to go for a lightweight design. This is important if you decide to use a heavy paddle today; that could actually leave you with some serious pain in your hands.

    Unless you are an advanced paddler, you need to settle on a lightweight paddle that meets your specific needs. In other cases, we have seen a good number of flatwater paddlers go for a more flexible paddle. On the other hand, whitewater paddlers often go for a stiff and more powerful paddle available.

    GRIP SHAPE

    Just like the weight of your paddle, the kind of grip it comes with is also crucial. It can dictate how you are going to use that particular paddle. We have two main types of grips and they mostly vary when it comes to controlling and precision.

    • Palm grips: These are wide grips and are designed to fit the shape of your palm when you are paddling. This type of grip is very comfortable and offers plenty of power and most importantly control. It is the best choice for lakes and flat water.
    • T-grip handles: This is very thin and narrow. It is designed to allow you to fully wrap your hands around the handle, giving you total control and also the best precision when you are paddling. This type of grip comes highly recommended for beginners. You will find it on most children’s paddles as it helps them improve grip.

    Last modified: July 1, 2021

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