Best Canoe Paddle: Top 5 Picks For All Your Canoeing Adventures

Canoe Paddle Selection

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 9/29/2022

Despite not seeming to be the essential piece of equipment, canoe paddles are the engine that drives your boat.
It will be easier to paddle for more extended periods with less effort when choosing a high-quality paddle. While out on the water, the paddle's materials, size, and style will affect your performance and enjoyment.

To paddle efficiently, you must have the correct paddle size and width.

It could be a little complex without the proper guidance, so we'll do our best to provide you with all the information you need. Below are five of the best canoe paddles currently available on the market.

Check out our handy Buyer's Guide to learn what to look for when choosing a canoe paddle. Let's get started!

Paddles Types

Caviness Marine Twin Stripe Paddle

The Caviness Marine Twin Stripe is an excellent choice for those who value appearance and performance. A lightwood blade is complemented by two black bands, making it one of the finest canoe paddles on the market today.

Additionally, the stripes serve a useful purpose by increasing the stiffness while rowing. It is constructed using cross-grain and laminated construction to prevent cracking.

A paddle with these features is often seen on luxury canoe paddles, so getting the same level of quality for a reasonable price is a significant advantage. Furthermore, it comes in four sizes, so there's a paddle for you no matter what size you are.

Canoeing involves bumping up against the river bed and boulders, so Caviness reinforces their blade with a wedge inlay with a finish. When it's time to store the paddles for the winter, the patterned blade makes a great decorative piece for the wall.

Also, more and more paddle fanatics prefer Caviness paddles for their aesthetically pleasing and functional qualities.

Some reviewers found slight flaws in the finish of their paddle, but this can be corrected at home through sanding and finishing with a clear coat of lacquer or varnish.

Pros

  • Beautiful design - The striped motif looks excellent on the water and the wall as quirky decor.
  • This paddle is made with hardwoods, which allow it to perform well without cracking or breaking.
  • A variety of sizes - This paddle comes in various sizes, ensuring a perfect fit for everyone and improving performance.

Cons

  • Several customers reported flaws in the clear varnish finish of their blades.

Caviness RD Series Laminated Wood Paddle, Natural, 5-Feet

Canoe paddlers all want to look good as they paddle, and Caviness makes it easy with these nice paddles. In addition to looking great and being well made, they are also affordable.

Attwood 11765-1 Canoe Paddle, Aluminum, And Plastic

The Attwood 11764-1 Ergonomic is the best canoe paddle for the money if you're looking for excellent performance on a budget. Due to its aluminum construction and plastic blade, it's a light, compact canoe paddle that won't cause wrist and arm discomfort over time.

Although lightweight and maneuverable, it's pretty solid and precise, allowing you to glide smoothly over the water. Having just 48 inches in length, it's a relatively short canoe paddle better suited to young or shorter paddlers.

Nevertheless, if it's the right size for you, it'll be one of the most ergonomic paddles you'll ever find.

The plastic grip feels natural in your hand, and the paddle glides through the water so smoothly that you could easily mistake it for a high-end model. Following each use, you must make sure that it is dried as soon as possible.

If the metal is stored in moist conditions, it will tarnish and rust. Let it dry indoors or in the sunlight.

It's easy to paddle across a lake or a river with the straight shaft, molded polypropylene ferrule, plastic blade, and comfortable grip.

This canoe paddle is excellent for beginners searching for a high-quality paddle at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Exceptional performance - The long and sturdy blade performs just as well as expensive, high-end paddles
  • Ergonomic paddle grip - The comfortable paddle grip will allow you to paddle for longer without feeling tired or numb
  • A lightweight design - It's strong but does not weigh much, thanks to an innovative aluminum shaft

Cons

  • Canoe paddles cannot be adjusted and are not retractable.

Attwood 11765-1 Canoe Paddle, Aluminum and Plastic, 5-Feet Long, Black Blade, Ergonomic Grip

  • Assures a sure, comfortable grip for the most enjoyable and effective paddling
    Five feet long
  • Blades of black steel
  • A comfortable grip
  • Low-hand grip with poly-protected shaft

Bending Branches Beavertail Recreational Canoe Paddle

Bending Branches make this paddle blade, a company known for producing today's finest paddles. Beavertail blades are perfect for various tasks, from deep-water canoeing to long-distance sailing to everyday use.

This paddle enables seamless and effective strokes without splattering in and out of the water with its slender and broad blade design. The rock guard innovation from Bending Branches protects against cracks, breaks, and other damages to the blade's tip.

It is made of tough and resilient upper Wisconsin Red Alder and Basswood, and it has a simple design that is pleasing to the eye. The paddle weighs 22 oz, making it ideal for long paddle sessions. With the freedom palm grip, your strokes will feel comfortable and natural as they will conform to the curvature of your hand.

Paddles like this thoughtfully designed paddle come in various sizes and are great for handling around tight corners.

However, the paddle is thick and may seem awkward to more skilled paddlers. Nevertheless, it is a sturdy piece of canoeing equipment suitable for large bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers.

The Bending Branches beavertail recreational model will function well, and you will enjoy paddling alone on it. If you are not satisfied with your new paddle, it comes with a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • One of the lightest canoe paddles on this list, this paddle weighs just 22oz.
  • Paddles with Rockguard technology are protected from damage at the tip, extending their lifespan.
  • Bending Branch's products are all USA-made, focusing on quality and design.

Cons

  • A little thick for more experienced canoeists - The wider design may feel clunky.

Bending Branches Beavertail Recreational Canoe Paddle For Deep Water Lake Paddling, 54in

The lightest canoe paddle available is ideal for paddling solo in deep water. We are proud to make products in the USA for Bending Branches, a brand known for paddle sports.

Attwood 11761-1 Canoe Paddle

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A low-cost paddle like this is an excellent option for visiting the lake or on summer vacation. Canoe enthusiasts will appreciate the old-fashioned charm and practicality of this kayak. Small paddles are perfect for smaller paddlers, while large paddlers can use the big paddles.

An inexpensive paddle will provide a great workout when canoeing, particularly wearing a life vest. The shaft size can be either 2.5 ft. or "4" ft., depending on your preference.

This wooden paddle is convenient if you have small hands. People looking for a hardwood paddle with a great look can find this to be a terrific deal.

Even with its hardwood structure, the paddle offers a solid, comfortable grip so you can enjoy every moment of your canoeing experience. It gives you a good feeling when you paddle.

Despite inclement weather, the T-shaped grip makes navigating much more manageable. You can paddle effortlessly without tiring your arms and hands with the lightweight design.

Pros

  • The canoe paddle is constructed from quality hardwood and finished with lacquer to enhance durability.
  • A comfortable paddle grip makes it possible to paddle without strain or injury for long periods.
  • Design - The paddle is lightweight for easy transport and storage when not in use.

Cons

  • The paddle is short - This paddle isn't suitable for people with long arms or large hands.

Attwood 11761-1 Canoe Paddle, Wooden, 4-Feet Long, Ergonomic Grip, Premium Wood Construction, Protective Finish

It can withstand rough water on shallow rivers and creeks because it is varnished. Stylish and comfortable, this canoe paddle is just right for paddling.

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Crooked Creek Wooden Boat Paddle

The Crooked Creek paddle is among the most durable alternatives with its multi-ply laminated structure and weatherproof polyurethane coating. In addition, it contains epoxy resin that provides additional durability.

The weight is also meager for a wooden paddle, only 1.5 pounds. This pen provides a stable and comfortable grip with its sleek shaft and hardwood grip.

This paddle is treated with PU, protecting the hardwood in fresh or salt water. The 4- and 6-foot models are available for tall canoers.

There is an A-Palm grip on this canoe paddle, which provides a comfortable feel in hand. The blade is flat for quick paddling, and Multi-process manufacturing allows the blade to be lightweight and robust.

Featuring epoxy rock guards and a polyurethane coating, the Crooked Creek Wood Paddle has been crafted with a level of detail usually reserved for more expensive canoe paddles. These paddles have consistently received compliments for their stylish and long-lasting finish.

Pros

  • This canoe paddle ranges from 3.5 to 6 feet, so there's something for everyone.
  • This paddle is made to last with a laminated hardwood construction and a polyurethane finish.
  • The comfortable A-palm paddle grip will allow you to canoe for longer without getting injured.

Cons

  • Paddles are heavy - This paddle is heavier than the others on this list.

Crooked Creek 4-foot Wooden Boat Paddle - Features Multi-Ply Laminated Construction For Added Strength - Lightweight, Waterproof Finish (50431)

There is a paddle to fit everyone's height and paddling style, offering a range of sizes. This well-built paddle will give you years of fun on the water.

Best Canoe Paddle Buyer's Guide

Choosing the best canoe paddle can be difficult based on the materials, designs, and sizes. This article will discuss the most important aspects to consider when choosing a paddle.

Blade Design

It is essential to consider the blade design when selecting a canoe paddle. More oversized paddles offer more velocity and power, but they also require more effort to use effectively. In general, shorter paddles are more efficient on the water.

Paddling with a bigger blade exhausts you more quickly than paddling with a thinner one. Therefore, the larger blades suit whitewater paddling and canoeing in heavy currents. As a result, shorter blades require less energy per stroke but offer less force and speed.

With these paddles, you don't have to deal with strong winds or currents in calm streams or ponds.

Beavertail Paddles

Beavertail paddle blades are long and slender, making them great for canoe trips or everyday use.

Traditionally, these blades are slender, curved, and resemble the beaver's tail. In deep water, the length of the blade makes sweeping movements possible.

Ottertail Blades

Beavertail blades are thin and curved at the tip of Ottertail blades. Canoeists need them to travel, explore deep waters, and solo canoeing. Ottertail blades and Beavertail blades both offer rapid movement.

The curved tips allow them to enter and exit the lake without splashing, making them ideal for paddling in quieter conditions and getting close to animals without frightening them. This makes them ideal for canoe fishing.

Teardrop Blades

With bent-shaft paddles, teardrop-shaped paddles are used. In addition to making paddling more efficient in shallower waters, these blades also make strokes quicker and more efficient.
These paddles are usually made of high-end materials, such as carbon fiber and fiberglass, and are preferred by most marathon runners.

Square Blades

Square-tipped blades produce maximum power and acceleration in whitewater and high flows.

When you paddle with them for an extended period, they are inefficient in the water and can cause staining. It is less effective for canoeing in flat water since the square tip may splash when entering and leaving it.

Size

The paddle size refers to various factors, the most significant of which is the shaft length. Specifically, this refers only to the length of the shaft, not the blade and the whole paddle.

The shaft length should be nearly equal to the distance between your shoulder and the water. Here are some ways to check:

When using a paddle, kneel about 6 inches off the ground. Flip the paddle upside down and place the grip on the floor. Your face should be near parallel to the shaft.

If you do not have a paddle, kneel 6 inches from the floor. Measure how far your head is from the floor. Measure how long your shaft should be.

If you purchase a paddle, you should add the blade length (usually 20′′) to the shaft length.

You should choose this paddle size for optimal performance. Typically, pads are provided in three-inch increments, so round up. Add another 2 inches to the top if you want to paddle alone or if your canoe is large.

Material

When it comes to paddle components, nothing beats the appearance and structure of a traditional wood paddle.

Hardwood is not only lightweight and aesthetically pleasing but also feels good in your hand. The inherent warmth of wood provides a soothing sensation in contrast to the false sense of plastic or aluminum.

Solid or layered wooden pads are available. Modern paddles frequently combine hardwoods and softer woods to create lightweight and durable composites.

In general, lighter wood is used for the center, while more potent, more robust wood is used for the perimeter.

While wood paddles are reasonably light, with higher-end versions weighing less than one pound, they will never be as light as carbon fiber. In addition to reglazing and sanding, wood requires regular maintenance.

Hybrid paddles are made from fiberglass and carbon fiber. Fiberglass is a relatively uncommon material except for canoe competitions and stand-up paddleboarding. Paddles made from carbon fiber are ultra-lightweight, long-lasting, and virtually maintenance-free.

This paddle is somewhat expensive since it provides excellent performance. Plastic and aluminum paddles are the cheapest materials, but they perform the worst.

Blades and handles are typically made of plastic, while the shaft is aluminum. Low-maintenance, long-lasting, and inexpensive, these paddles are a great choice. Plastic and aluminum are not recommended as primary paddles, but they perform well as backup paddles.

Weight

When choosing a paddle, you should also consider its weight. On average, the lighter your paddle is, the better. Especially when hiking for long periods or camping by boat.

By using a lightweight paddle, you will be able to paddle for more extended periods without becoming fatigued. Wooden canoe paddles typically weigh between 20 and 24 ounces, but lighter options are available.

Plastic and metal paddles are typically heavier, weighing 30 oz or more. One-pound paddles made of fiberglass and carbon fiber are the lightest on the market.

Grip

A paddle's grip serves as a point of contact between your palm and the pivot generated by the paddle.

Paddling for long periods without soreness or pain is possible with a firm, ergonomic grip. The most common grip styles are canoe paddles, hand grips, and T-grips.

Specifically designed to fit the contours of your hand, palm grips are flexible, fan-shaped grips. They're comfortable holding and feeling strong in your hands, making them ideal for longer, more leisurely paddles.

Paddles with T-shaped grips provide the most control. Using a T-grip facilitates steering and stabilizing.

Price

Canoe paddles are precisely for what you pay. The efficiency of your canoeing will decrease if you use an inexpensive plastic or aluminum paddle.

In addition to being a reliable and efficient source of propulsion, a well-crafted wood paddle has other benefits. Many are stunning - and would look great hung on your wall. It will motivate you to go out and paddle more often if you have a decent paddle!

A composite paddle may be suitable if you are a seasoned paddler seeking ultimate performance. These are not cheap, but they are very light and durable and last for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Should My Canoe Paddle Be?

The size of your canoe paddle depends on your height and the size of your boat. It may be uncomfortable and reduce your efficiency if your paddle is too short or long. You can calculate the paddle size by measuring the distance between your head and the floor at the level of your canoe seat. After a few hours of paddling, you won't have muscular fatigue because you'll be able to find the height of the paddle that best suits you.

Can I Use A Kayak Paddle When Canoeing?

Paddling a canoe with a kayak paddle is not a good idea, and you should only use canoe paddles. A kayak paddle is smaller than a canoe paddle, which is why. Paddles for kayaks typically have blades on both sides and are meant to be held horizontally so that you can use both ends to propel the kayak through the water. When you try to paddle your canoe with a kayak paddle, you'll get exhausted because you'll have to switch sides.

From What Should A Canoe Paddle Be Made?

A canoe paddle's lightweight structure makes it buoyant and straightforward to use. Wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber are the most common materials used for canoe paddles, and they can also be made of plastic. Consider a paddle made of wood, aluminum, or both if your budget is limited.

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