This is a review of the best kayaking paddle under $100.
My name is Nick and I have been canoeing, kayaking and SUPing for nearly a decade, I have used all types of kayaking paddles over the years. I’ve tried many high-end options but have purchased a lot of reasonably priced but solid paddles.
The Poseidon Kayak Paddle by Pelican is my pick of the best kayak paddle under $100. Its durable, affordable, comfortable and very beginner friendly.
In this post, I will put together several great options that all come in under$100, so you can paddle efficiently and effortlessly.
Let’s save some money for our next kayaking trip!
Best Kayak Paddle Under $100 – Quick Summary
Best Kayak Paddles Under $100 Reviewed
Here are our top picks of kayak paddles under $100 and their detailed reviews.
- Best for: Beginners on lakes and calm rivers
- Benefits: Durable, affordable, good for beginners
- Key Features: Aluminum shaft with reinforced fiberglass blades, anti-slip coating
- Cost: $
This is a great kayak paddle for a beginner who wants an affordable paddle for casual days out on lakes and calm rivers. While it is not as lightweight as some of the more expensive paddles on the market, the Poseidon makes up for this with a durable reinforced fiberglass blade.
In addition to being affordable and durable, this paddle feels comfortable in the hands, which is very important for beginning kayakers. The shaft can also be adjusted so that you can “feather” or offset the blades, allowing you to have less air resistance and hold the paddle lightly.
Another great feature is the design of the aluminum shaft – the shape of the shaft changes from round to slightly oval to provide a reference for where to place your right hand. This is particularly useful for beginning kayakers still learning their paddle hold.
The Poseidon paddle also breaks down into two pieces smoothly and can be stored easily. The blades have a clean design and look good in the water. Overall this paddle looks and feels good in the water, and performs great for a paddle at this price level.
Unfortunately, the styrofoam in the shaft can lose its ability to float the paddle if you drop it in the water (and usual accessories like a kayak leash can solve this problem)Also, the paddle is set at an angle that isn’t very aggressive, meaning your kayak will not propel as fast as other paddles would allow. For the low price, this is a great paddle.
- Best for: Beginners on oceans, lakes and rivers
- Benefits: Lightweight, comfortable, good for beginners
- Key Features: Aluminum shaft with fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades
- Cost: $
While the Bending Branches Whisper paddle is slightly more expensive than the Poseidon, it comes with some advanced features that provide more control when paddling. This includes the ability to adjust the angle of feathering from 0 to 60 degrees so paddlers can have left or right-hand control.
These features are useful for beginning kayakers learning to paddle on oceans, lakes and rivers on calm days without much wind resistance.
This paddle is also lighter than the Poseidon Paddle at only 1050g, making it a comfortable paddle for beginners on longer kayak trips. Like the Poseidon, the shaft of the Bending Branches Whisper changes from round to slightly oval and is coated for a comfortable grip.
Overall this is a great paddle for beginners to kayaking. The blade shape is wider than the Poseidon Paddle, which means that it will give more control at lower speeds. The paddle is also designed to break apart for easy storage and comes with drip guards to keep your hands dry.
Drawbacks include a weak locking mechanism in the middle of the shaft where the two parts of the paddle connect – sometimes this can lead to the shaft slipping in your hands. Also, the 3M coating can rub off over time, leaving a stain on the hands. Overall, a good lightweight paddle.
- Best for: Beginner and intermediate level kayakers on oceans, lakes and rivers
- Benefits: Durable, comfortable, rigid blades for powerful strokes
- Key Features: Fiberglass shaft with fiberglass/polypropylene composite blades
- Cost: $$
This is a great paddle for the beginning kayaker that is ready to make an investment in a paddle that will last for years. Priced at $99 on Amazon, the Magic Plus is constructed with a fiberglass shaft that is much more durable and less likely to bend or break than aluminum shaft paddles.
The Magic Plus paddle also has a ribbed protective coating on the shaft that makes for a comfortable hold while paddling. The coating protects the shaft from being too hot or cold in the hands on sunny or windy days. It also makes for a secure hold when paddlers have sunscreen on their hands.
The composite blades can be angled for greater control and feel very solid when paddling. This makes for firm and steady strokes in the water, allowing beginning kayakers to focus on their technique without exhausting effort with a paddle that has more flex in the blade.
While this paddle is built well, there is one weak point to be aware of. Over time, the connection point where the paddle breaks down can become clogged with dirt or debris from the ocean. The locking mechanisms can begin to become loose if these connections aren’t cleaned regularly.
Overall this is a very durable paddle that is a great purchase for a beginning kayaker who is ready to plan for years of paddling and who is looking to get to an intermediate level. Although it is more expensive than the Whisper or Poseidon paddle, the construction and rigidity of the paddle make it worth the price.
Best Kayaking Paddle Under $100 – What to Consider?
When searching for a quality kayaking paddle, there are a few factors to consider. Many of these factors depend on your experience kayaking, as beginners have different needs than experienced kayakers. We’ve made a list of things to look for in a good kayak paddle.
The weight of the paddle is important because most kayakers want a paddle that they can hold for hours without getting tired or sore. This is especially true for beginners who are learning to paddle and may not have strong muscles for kayaking yet. Look for a paddle under 1200g.
The way a paddle performs in the water is judged by four factors. First is the way the paddle slices into the water. Next is the pull of the paddle on the water. Then, the movement of the paddle side to side as it slices and pulls the water.
Finally, we have the way the paddle feels. A paddle that performs well slices into the water easily and pulls on it smoothly, does not move side to side much while doing so, and feels comfortable in the hands for hours at a time.
Ease of Adjustment
Some paddles are very easy to shorten or lengthen, to take apart, or to pack up when the day is over. Other paddles can be very confusing or have parts that make it very difficult to adjust, especially while you are on the water. We look for paddles that are easy to adjust on a kayak.
Durability is a factor because kayakers are looking for a paddle that will last for years. Rocks, sunlight, and collisions can cause a paddle to break, crack or lose its strength. Many paddles are made of cheap plastic which can break down over time. Fiberglass and carbon are best.
- Always wear a pfd (personal flotation device, aka life jackets) when you go for kayaking. If you are buying your own life jacket, go for one with a lot of pockets
- Always go with friends and avoid kayak alone
- Bringing a rope with you is always a great idea
- Put on sunscreen, even it’s a cloudy day
If you are new to kayaking and want a very affordable paddle that will give you basic features at a low price, the Poseidon Kayak Paddle by Pelican is a great choice. While it does not have the ability to angle blades it is a great introductory paddle from a kayaker going out on the water a few times a year.
If you’re a beginner looking for a lightweight paddle that gives more control so that you can navigate more choppy ocean waters or rivers, the Whisper Paddle by Bending Branches is for you. At only 1050g it is the lightest paddle we review and ideal for a beginner looking to build their paddling technique without exhausting their arms and shoulders.
If you’re ready to be paddling regularly for the next few years and hope to become an intermediate kayaker, the Magic Plus Carlisle is the paddle for you. With its fiberglass construction and firm blades, the Magic Plus provides durability and power worth its price.