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Best Canoe Paddle: Top 3 Picks For All Your Canoeing Adventures

Canoe Paddle Selection

Canoe Paddle Selection

Updated on 10/22/2023
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

Hey there! Did you know that canoe paddles are the driving force behind your boat? Choosing the right paddle can make all the difference in how long you can easily paddle. Depending on your paddle's materials, size, and style, it can affect your performance and enjoyment on the water.

Choosing the correct paddle size and width, can be overwhelming, but don't worry; we've got you covered! We've compiled a list of the top five best canoe paddles currently available in the market, and we even have a Buyer's Guide that will give you all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Let's get started, shall we?

Paddles Types

Paddles Types

Caviness Marine Twin Stripe Paddle

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • 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.

Things we don't like:

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

Attwood 11765-1 Canoe Paddle, Aluminum, And Plastic

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • 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

Things we don't like:

  • Canoe paddles cannot be adjusted and are not retractable.
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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 faster paddlers.

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

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 ensure it is dried immediately.

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.

Bending Branches Beavertail Recreational Canoe Paddle

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • 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.

Things we don't like:

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

With its slender and broad blade design, this paddle enables seamless and effective strokes without splattering in and out of the water. 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 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 thick paddle may seem awkward to more skilled paddlers. Nevertheless, it is a sturdy 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. If you are unsatisfied with your new paddle, it has a one-year warranty.

Crooked Creek Wooden Boat Paddle

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • 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.

Things we don't like:

  • Paddles are heavy - This paddle is heavier than the others on this list.
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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. With its sleek shaft and hardwood grip, this pen provides a stable and comfortable 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.

This canoe paddle has an A-Palm grip, 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.

Best Canoe Paddle Buyer's Guide

If you're in the market for a new canoe paddle, navigating the various materials, designs, and sizes can be overwhelming. This buyer's guide will help you choose the best canoe paddle for your needs, taking into account key factors to consider.

Blade Design

One of the most critical aspects of a canoe paddle is the blade design. The larger the blade, the more power and speed you can generate with each stroke, but it also requires more effort. For most recreational paddlers, a smaller blade is more efficient on the water, requiring less energy per stroke.

Beavertail Paddles

Beavertail paddle blades are long and slender, making them an excellent choice for everyday use and canoe trips. With a curved, slim design resembling a beaver's tail, these blades allow sweeping movements in deep water.

Ottertail Blades

Ottertail blades are similar to beavertail blades but have a thinner, more curved tip. They are ideal for deep water exploration and solo canoeing, as they offer rapid movement and can enter and exit the water without splashing.

Teardrop Blades

Teardrop-shaped paddles are often used with bent-shaft designs, making paddling more efficient in shallow waters and strokes quicker and more efficient overall. These paddles are typically made from high-end materials like carbon fiber and are favored by marathon paddlers.

Square Blades

Square-tipped blades provide maximum power and acceleration in whitewater and high flows. However, they can be less efficient in calm water and cause staining if used for extended periods.


The paddle size refers to various factors, primarily the shaft length. To determine the optimal shaft length, kneel about six inches off the ground and flip the paddle upside down, placing the grip on the floor. Your face should be nearly parallel to the shaft. Add the blade length (usually 20'') to the shaft length to get the overall paddle length.


Wood paddles are the most traditional and aesthetically pleasing, with a warmth and feel in the hand that plastic and aluminum paddles can't match. Hybrid paddles made from fiberglass and carbon fiber offer excellent performance but can be expensive. Plastic and aluminum paddles are the cheapest but least efficient.


A lightweight paddle is crucial for extended periods of paddling. Wooden paddles typically weigh between 20 and 24 ounces, while plastic and metal can weigh 30 or more. One-pound paddles made from fiberglass and carbon fiber are the lightest option.


A firm, ergonomic grip is crucial for comfortable paddling. Palm, hand, and T-grips are the most common grip styles. Palm grips are flexible and fan-shaped, ideal for longer, more leisurely paddles. T-grips provide the most control, facilitating steering and stabilizing.


A well-crafted paddle is an investment that can make a significant difference in your canoeing experience. Cheap plastic or aluminum paddles will be less efficient, while wood paddles can be stunning but require regular maintenance. Composite paddles offer ultimate performance but come with a higher price tag.

With this buyer's guide, you can confidently select the best canoe paddle for your needs, ensuring maximum efficiency and comfort on the water.


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.