You want to get out on the water but are on a strict budget. After reading article after article you’re starting to think that you have to spend hundreds on a paddle. Which is probably more than you spend on your kayak!
Well, you can get good cheap kayak paddles without breaking the bank.
But, you also have to be careful. The wrong paddle can make your outing an exhausting affair.
Read the article on some good cheap kayak paddles like the Chute kayak paddle to make sure you are buying the right paddle even though you’re on a budget.
How To Choose A Kayak Paddle
It doesn’t matter if you are buying one of the cheap kayak paddles you find in this review, you still need to take some time to figure out what you need so you get the right kayak paddle for you.
There are a number of factors that go into buying good cheap kayak paddles so take a look at some of the considerations you need to be thinking about.
Type Of Paddle
There are different kinds of paddles for different kinds of kayaking. If you consider how many different styles of kayaks you saw when you were shopping for yours, then you can imagine that there is a paddle suited for that kind of kayak.
For instance, if you are going whitewater kayaking then you need to use a paddle that is going to be durable enough to be banged around on the rocks.
For kayak fishing, then you’ll need a paddle that can give you quiet strokes so you don’t spook the fish.
Here is a short list of the type of paddles you may need.
- Whitewater kayak paddle – Handles the rough conditions of rapids and strong currents of whitewater kayaking
- Angler kayak paddle – Has a low angle stroke to allow for quiet paddling
- Touring kayak paddle – Is easy on the shoulders and torso to for a relaxing day out on the water
- Performance kayak paddle – Can handle any type of paddling from speed to precision to rescue maneuvers
Sizing The Paddle
I wrote a long and detailed article about how to pick the right size kayak paddle so click the link for all the info including a sizing chart.
Here is a short version to get you started on choosing the right length for your paddle.
The three biggest factors in choosing will be your torso height, the width of the kayak and the desired stroke style.
This is the measurement from your waist to your neck. Since your torso does the paddling and not your arms, it is the most important factor in what length paddle you need.
When you have a wide kayak, you get a lot of stability. But, a short paddle will be banging against the hull constantly and won’t allow you to make the type of stroke you are looking for.
There are two types of strokes. Low angle and high angle. A low angle stroke is easy and slow where the shaft is more perpendicular to the surface of the water. This is ideal for fishing since it doesn’t disrupt the water so much. It is also great for casual touring since it doesn’t require using a lot of power. Look for longer paddles for this.
High angle strokes have more of the blade going deep into the water so the paddle can be shorter. This stroke requires more force since you are pulling more water per stroke. This stroke is ideal for speed and distance kayaking.
Feathering is a kayaking term that means how to offset the blades are from one another. Instead of being parallel with each other, they are set at an angle. Even the best choice cheap kayak paddles are going to offer adjustable feathering so you can paddle with them symmetrical or at whatever angle you prefer.
What the shaft and blades are made out of is very important for durability and weight. Unfortunately, when you are buying cheap kayak paddles you’re limited on the type of material. The best paddles use carbon fiber for durability and are lightweight. When you go for an economic paddle usually you are dealing with aluminum shafts and plastic blades. This isn’t a bad thing but be prepared for heavier paddles and blades that don’t offer much flex and are prone to abrasions.
Here Are Some Good (Cheap) Kayak Paddles
Chute Kayak Paddle Aluminum
This is a great first kayak paddle for beginners since it is so durable and offers an easy stroke.
The shaft is made out of anodized aluminum so it can take a beating if it gets banged around. The width of the shaft is just right for a loose grip that won’t fatigue your hands. There is a sheath of plastic on the spots where you would normally grip so it feels right in the hands. Also if you are out in the sun those grips won’t get hot and make your grip uncomfortable.
You can adjust the fathering of the blades up to 45° which is really nice. When you are getting better at paddling, then you can move up to feathered blades without needing to upgrade your paddle. As for the blades themselves, they are made out of durable plastic and can handle a few bumps and bruises against some rocks without getting damaged. They are medium-thin as far as width with the lower half nicely rounded. This makes them great for those that want a low angle stroke that is quiet but still efficient. They are curved so they cal pull a nice amount of water per stroke.
Drip tips round out the convenience factor of these paddles to prevent you from soaking your hands when paddling.
Ok, so what are the downsides of the Chute kayak paddle? For starters, the weight. The 220cm long paddles seen in the link above weighs 39 ounces. That can cause some fatigue in your arms if you are paddling for more than a few hours. Another negative is the joint becoming loose over time. Since aluminum will expand and contract quite a bit, you may notice the ferrule that connects the two halves gets a little bit loose and can make some noise when paddling.
Overall, the Chute kayak paddle is a good cheap kayak paddle that performs well given the price. Use it to learn to paddle or have for backup once you decide to upgrade to a more serious kayak paddle.
SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle
These are truly considered cheap kayak paddles as the price simply can’t be beaten. They may just be the cheapest you can get without sacrificing too much performance.
Though, I must admit there is not much extreme about it notwithstanding the name. These are really meant for gentle paddling as they won’t be pulling too much water and are not great in rough currents or conditions.
It does offer adjustable feathering with ferrules that lock firmly into place. There are also some adjustable grips on the shaft so it is further customizable.
Don’t be fooled by the color and style of these paddles. It is made out of aluminum but made to look like carbon fiber.
Verdict? This is a good kayak paddle that offers simplicity at an incredible price. Don’t expect to do any actual extreme paddling and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Though this list of cheap kayak paddles is not exhaustive, it does give a good idea on two very good paddles that can get you started kayaking cheaply.
If you have any questions about these two paddles, or would like some other recommendations, then just drop a line in the box below and I will get back to you ASAP!