Best Canoe Paddles – Reviews and Buying Guide 2020
To enthusiasts, canoes are more than just boating in a river or lake. Whether it's fishing or roaming around a forest, a canoe can add more adventure to your tour, and great experience when you are fishing.
The best part of canoe boats is the paddle. There is no motor in the boat; so, all you get to do is to use the paddle to control the movement of your canoe. If you get the best canoe paddle for your boat, it will make guiding the boat easier.
There are paddles of different types, shapes, and materials. So, finding the one that suits you the best is a bit confusing. To make it easy, here are the top 7 picks that got warm compliments from the users.
Our Best Canoe Paddle Picks
We have come up with the list considering factors such as durability, ease of use, weight, and user ratings.
1. Sun Dolphin Canoe Paddles (Black, 54-Inches)
When you are out with a canoe on quiet lakes, this pair of paddles will take your canoeing experience to a whole new level. You and your canoeing mate will find using the paddles quite easier if you previously used a conventional one.
Picking a paddle that seems pleasant to your eyes seems appealing, but in reality, it doesn't work. The design and material of the paddle matter a lot for it being an ideal one.
Sun Dolphin seems to understand the fact well enough and come up with designing this user-friendly and comfortable paddles that will surely enhance your manual boating experience.
The paddles feel lightweight, which is a great advantage if you prefer going for extended hours of canoeing. It will make sure your hands don’t feel tiring after continuously using it for half an hour. If this is the first time you are paddling on a canoe, it will conveniently get you where you want to go.
This beautiful looking paddles got aluminum shaft construction with a T-handle grip. Aluminum ensures that the product is pretty durable. Its T-handle grip makes paddling a lot easier.
2. Carlisle Standard Polyethylene Clad Aluminum Canoe Paddle
If you want a paddle that features a high-impact blade, this one can be worth considering. This canoe paddle from Carlisle Paddle Gear comes with a polypropylene blade, which can handle most river conditions without much trouble.
As far as the handle goes, it has a T-shape grip that will make maneuvering a lot easier for you regardless of the condition. The handle is molded in a way that protects it from UV-rays. In addition to that, due to its formulated synthetics, you will find it durable enough compared to conventional paddles.
The paddle comes quite handy when you require plenty of paddling strength on water. Its tempered aluminum shaft has vinyl-clad to give you an upper hand over the conditions of the water.
Whether you are a beginner level paddler or hardcore, you will find the weight to be super-convenient to provide you with great paddling experience.
3. Crooked Creek C11445 Synthetic Paddle with Hybrid Grip
This paddle from Crooked Creek is made to ensure your comfort while canoeing. You can choose the length from 4 to 5.5 feet as per your requirement.
Its anodized aluminum shaft feels rugged and durable enough to withstand abuses. Due to the rubber sleeve, it feels comfortable to hold as well. When the situation demands your paddling skills, this canoe paddle will not let you down. It will significantly enhance your boating experience.
If you are concerned about the blade, well, this one got an ABS polymer blade that can resist high-impact without much issue. Handling flat and still water was never so convenient before.
Due to its hybrid-grip handle, your palm can rest comfortably while ensuring you get an easy wrist motion. As far as the weight is an issue, this paddle feels very lightweight. Even if you paddle for an extended period, your hands will not feel fatigued and tiresome whatsoever.
4. Attwood Wood Paddle
If you prefer a classy looking wooden paddle, this one will satisfy your eyes. Attwood used premium wood to make this beautiful piece of creation. The finish all around the paddle gives it an impressive look. You can rely on its build quality. The paddle will easily provide you service for a long time.
Although it has a wooden construction, the paddle manages to provide you a decent and comfortable grip to enjoy every bit of your canoeing journey. You will experience a classy feel while you paddle using this gear.
The handle has a T-shaped design that will make maneuvering a lot easier regardless of the conditions. Due to the lightweight design, you can comfortably paddle without tiring the hands.
You can choose the shaft size 2.5 ft. or 4 ft. as per your comfort. If you have shorter hands, you can rely on this wooden paddle regarding the ease of use. For those who are looking for a classy looking wooden paddle without spending much, this can be a great deal for them.
5. Bending Branches Beavertail Recreational Canoe Paddle
As far as canoeing in deepwater is concerned, the paddle must be of good quality. Otherwise, it will be very tough to maneuver your canoe on the river the way you want. Bending Branches introduces you to a canoe paddle that can make your deep or river water paddling more easy and enjoyable.
The paddle has a long and slender shaped blade, which is specially designed for paddling on deep water. You can efficiently paddle using it and get the smoothest experience. To protect the blade from cracking, damage, and abuses, it has Rockgard technology. It also prolongs the life as well.
Pretty much everyone will love its rustic and natural-looking design. This classy paddle is made of beautiful upper Wisconsin wood, which is durable as well. In addition to that, the paddle has a commercial-grade varnish that protects the surface.
If you are concerned with the weight of the paddle, the good thing is, this gear weighs only 22oz. Its lightweight profile will cause your hands less fatigue and tiring. With its freestyle palm grip, your palm will comfortably rest on it and will be able to maximize its efficiency with every stroke without any issue.
6. Bending Branches Viper Canoe Paddle
Yet another top class canoe paddle from Bending Branches. This paddle is made of some quality materials that made it one of the best canoe paddles on the list.
Due to its durable construction, the paddle can outstand shocks without much trouble. Even if the paddle gets in contact with a submerged object, your hands will not feel much shock. Its shock-absorbing and protection properties make it 6x times stronger than conventional paddles.
This ergonomic paddle has an 11-degree bend design that makes it highly efficient at paddling through waves with great comfort. In addition to that, the handle has a curved palm grip that is very comfortable to hold and feels great on joints and hands.
The beautiful blade of this paddle is wrapped with fiberglass. It also has a laminated shaft with dark and light hardwoods that looks great. Apart from all these, the overall durability, strength, stiffness, and other aspects of this paddle are top-notch compared to other paddles within this price range.
7. Carlisle Economy Aluminum Canoe Paddle with T-Grip
This paddle from Carlisle Paddle Gear comes with some useful features and decent specs at a budget-friendly price. It’s built with quality materials that also check for durability issues.
Whenever you are about to get a canoe paddle, the shaft must be of good quality so that you can put your maximum strength when the condition demands. This paddle has a tempered aluminum shaft that supports the full length of the blade very efficiently. No matter how hard you push, it can withstand the impact.
The blade and handle of this sleek looking paddle are molded to withstand high-impact and abuses. In addition to that, it provides great protection against UV rays that will surely enhance its longevity.
Due to the T-grip handle, you can maneuver the canoe without putting much effort. The blade will provide you with a significant amount of power at every stroke to make canoeing relatively easier.
What to Look for before Buying?
Although a canoe paddle seems a simple gear, it greatly influences your ability to move the canoe on the water. If the canoe isn't up to the mark, you will struggle with the boat. To make sure you get the right gear for your canoe, look for the key features that are given below –
Some canoe paddles are entirely made of one material. For some, it’s a combination of different materials on its shaft, blade, and handle. The durability of the paddle depends on what the gear is made of. Here are the most commonly used materials associated with canoe paddles –
Wooden paddle might seem appealing to many people, but you need to also consider the weight factor as well. These classy looking paddles got laminate or varnish to make them long-lasting. This also adds weight to the paddle. As far as the performance is concerned, wooden paddles move a lot of water.
If you mostly canoe long-distances, consider not getting a wooden paddle. Otherwise, for short distances, it will give you a great experience.
This material is used for constructing the shaft of a paddle. The other parts may have plastic or fiberglass or metal construction. Aluminum reduces a lot of weight from a paddle, which makes it ideal for canoeing long distances. The durability of this material is excellent.
When it requires to reinforce other materials, fiberglass is the material that most paddle manufacturers put their trust in. No paddle is entirely made of fiberglass. In most cases, the blade gets reinforced fiberglass to add more sturdiness and impact to the paddle.
Due to its extremely lightweight construction properties, carbon fiber is very popular among users for canoe racing. Durability is up to the mark, and you will have to pay more money than the rest of the options.
This is the most affordable option to go with. Lightweight plastic paddles provide great value for most beginners learning to maneuver the canoe properly.
The review section illustrates that paddles are of various shapes. Each shape serves a specific purpose for specific conditions. If you mostly canoe on shallow or fast water, a wider paddle blade will make things a lot easier for you. Go with a long and skinny paddle blade if you canoe on flat and still water like lakes.
As a beginner, you shouldn't hit a shallow or deep water zone. Learn how to maneuver on still water and get a basic paddle to make things less complicated.
This is where you put all your force into. There are straight and bent paddle shafts to serve different purposes. A straight shaft keeps it simple and easy on rougher water, such as rivers. It allows you to get a high amount of strokes to handle most river situations.
On the other hand, get a bent shaft for cruising flat water to be able to stroke more efficiently. However, unlike a straight shaft, you will have to compromise with the versatility of the paddle.
Great canoe paddles provide comfort to hold grip. If the handle isn't convenient to hold, you will have to struggle to steer the canoe in the right direction. There are two types of grips; T-grip and palm grip.
The T-grip allows you to get a reliable and firm grasp on the handle. You can have full control over the paddle by wrapping fingers all around the grip.
On the flip side, the palm grip provides excellent comfort while canoeing on flat water. The grip naturally rests on your palm and gives you good control over the paddle. For long-distance canoeing trips, getting a palm grip handle is recommended.
This is the most crucial factor that influences your paddling performance, especially for long trips. As canoeing requires you to stroke the paddle for thousands of times, if it is a heavier one, you are going to have a tough time dealing with it.
Paddling with a heavier gear will make your hands fatigue and cause soreness on the shoulders. Therefore, it's always good to go with a lightweight paddle if you mostly take long trips. You can comfortably stroke for an extended period using lightweight gear.
For canoeing short distances on flat water, it’s okay to use a heavier paddle. However, you will still face fatigue in this case. The lightest paddles mostly have reinforced fiberglass and carbon fiber components. Plastic and aluminum made paddles are comfortable to use due to their lightweight design as well.
This is the length of the paddle shaft, excluding the blade part. There are a few ways to determine which length is perfect for you. To measure the length, squat down while keeping the hip above 6-inches off the floor.
Now, ask someone to measure the length between your nose and the floor; this is the shaft length you need to go for.
Another way to choose the shaft size is based on your canoe. Get a short paddle for solo canoes; get a bigger one for bigger canoes. You should be able to reach the paddle while you sit on the floor of your canoe.
Some paddles offer a collapsible feature for convenience. You can expand and collapse the length of the shaft for convenient storage and transportation. If you decide to get a collapsible paddle, make sure when it extends, you get the right length suitable for you to paddle the boat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have some of the most commonly asked queries regarding canoe paddles:
1. What are the differences between a canoe and kayak paddle?
Although both canoe and kayak paddles seem similar, they aren't the same. Kayak paddles have blades on both ends; for canoe, the blade is only on one end of the shaft, and it includes a handle on the other end.
Kayak paddle allows you to stroke using both the end of the paddle to move the kayak. It’s more efficient than canoe paddles. However, you require more skills to learn using a kayak paddle as steering with two blades is a bit difficult. Whereas, canoe paddling is much easier to learn.
2. Can I use a wooden paddle for an aluminum canoe?
The paddle material doesn’t need to be exactly the same as canoe material. So, yes, you are good to go with a wooden paddle with your aluminum canoe.
3. How do I clean my canoe paddle?
As the paddle gets contact with water constantly, washing it will not cause any damage. You need to regularly clean the paddle to keep it clean from dirt and debris to maintain its optimal performance.
Gently rinse the paddle with water. You can also scrub off the surface using a sponge to clean the dirt build-up. Don't use detergent, as its chemical properties can remove the protective layer. You need to be extra careful with a wooden paddle so that there is no harm caused to the varnish.
4. Can I use the same paddle in both rivers and lakes?
Technically, there is nothing wrong with using one paddle on both water conditions. However, paddles for rivers and lakes are made differently. It's recommended to use a paddle that has a straight shaft and a wider blade on shallow water.
On the other hand, you can use a paddle with a bent shaft and long-skinny blade on flat water.
5. How much weight can you put in a canoe?
Based on design and purpose, most canoes come with 500 pounds holding capacity. However, the weight capacity can be more or less depending on the manufacturer and materials of the canoe.
The best canoe paddle can enhance your touring experience significantly. Comfort while paddling, ease of holding, ability to move a significant amount of water, durability, etc. aspects make a paddle ideal for canoeing.