Let’s get one thing out of the way here: Plastic and aluminum kayak paddles are your cheapest option for scoring paddles on the cheap. Contrary to popular belief, these paddles are actually quiet durable, depending on the brand you opt for.

Luckily, kayak paddles are affordable in the most cases, and unless you’re a pro or a speed paddler, the costs probably won’t break the bank. Most new kayaks also come with a free set of kayak paddles included in the price, and buying a solid new pair should cost you around $50.

Here’s the deal: New paddlers don’t want to invest in the most expensive, top like paddles. They need something to just get hem going in their kayak. But to go anywhere in a kayak, you need a solid paddle. That’s why you need to know what to look for in a paddle when your budget is constrained.

NameRatingPrice
Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle4.5:5 Stars$$
SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle4.5:5 Stars$$
Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle4:5 Stars$$
AIRHEAD AHTK-P2 Deluxe Kayak Paddle4:5 Stars$$

How To Choose Cheap Kayak Paddles

Just like kayaks themselves, paddles come with a lot of variables. Some of them are better for whitewater rafting while others thrive in flat open water scenarios. After you’ve decided what your intended uses for your paddles are, there are some other things you need to keep in mind:

  • The Size
  • The Weight
  • The Length
  • The Blade Shape
  • And the Material

Size is your main consideration, since paddles vary between 210 and 260 cm in length. The length of your paddle will depend on your height, the width of your kayak and your paddling style.

I’m not going to get technical…

If you want to make sure you’ve got the right size paddle in mind, just pop over to Werner kayak paddle sizing guide.

By the way: Cheap paddles are not only for the newbies, they make up for great spare paddles as a backup. Trust me; nothing sucks more than being stuck without a paddle.

Got that? Great! Now I can finally show you what you’re really here for. I’ve rounded up the best cheap kayak paddles out there that will get the job done without breaking the bank.

The Best Cheap Kayak Paddles

Most Durable Cheap Kayak Paddle: Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak PaddleI found this Carlisle paddle really strong and easy to control. The shaft is made from tempered aluminum and it has polypropylene blades, and you can get this paddle in sizes ranging from 220-240 cm. The firm grip turned out to be great and the fact that they break down means they’re easy to transport. All in all, the Carlisle Day Tripper is a good, convenient paddle with an attractive price tag.

The Pros

  • It glides through the water without too much effort
  • The grip on the Carlisle Day Tripper is comfortable
  • It looks sleek and performed like I needed it to

The Cons

  • It was a little heavier in my hands than what I had imagined it would be

Most Versatile Cheap Kayak Paddle: SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak PaddleIf you’re one of the thousands that always get let down by products named “extreme”, you might be a little weary from hearing the SeaSense X-Treme’s name. I was too, but for once, the marketing hype actually lived up to its promise.  The feathered blade design on these paddles is awesome and for a stronger paddling experience, the support ridge comes in pretty handy.

The Pros:

  • The SeaSense X-Treme comes with adjustable grip guards
  • It has three different locking positions, so it’s versatile
  • The hand grips are comfortable to hold for extended paddling adventures

The Cons:

  • I don’t think the grips are going to pull their weight in rougher waters, this paddle is best for flat water paddling

Most Basic Cheap Kayak Paddle: Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle

Shoreline Marine Kayak PaddleIf you’re game for something basic that will get the job done effectively, the Shoreline Marine paddles are a great pick. Their foam grips allow you maximum comfort while the drip guards help you keep dry. It’s an okay paddle for an okay price. I liked it because it worked and for the price I paid, it kept me happy.

The Pros:

  • The three-position locks into place and can be broken down in half for storage purposes
  • These paddles work great for getting you into a fast speed and keeping a straight line
  • It’s sturdy enough to get you somewhere yet light enough to not tire you out, plus the extra length is a bonus

The Cons:

  • I found the latch that locks the paddles into place a pain in the butt

Best Cheap Kayak Paddle: Airhead AKTH-P2 Deluxe Kayak Paddle

AIRHEAD AHTK-P2 Deluxe Kayak PaddleSince it name implies it, this paddle pretty much gives you all you need and want from a kayak paddle. I loved how I could easily low or high entry angles thanks to the non-fixed position blades. I think this was one of the sturdiest and best performing paddles in its price class.

The Pros:

  • It doesn’t have fixed position paddle blades
  • It can be set up for offset paddling
  • It has a great length that’s perfect for wider kayaks and inflatables

The Cons:

  • It’s a little on the heavy side

And that’s it guys. All you could ask for and more, and the best part is, these are some of the top cheap kayak paddles out there. As always, there’s no single winner in this roundup, the best kayak paddle for the money will be the one that best suits your individual needs and budget. Make sure you check back in soon to see what the big guns measure up to – yes; I’ll be dishing out some carbon fiber kayak paddle reviews!