Oar vs Paddle: The Differences You Need to Know

Oar vs Paddle

Last updated on September 2, 2022

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Oar vs Paddle ?

The question of which is better has been debated by kayakers for years. Some say oars are more efficient, while others prefer paddles because they feel they have more control. So, which is the best option for you? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between oars and paddles to help you make the decision.

Oar

Intex French Oars, 1 Pair, 48"

An oar is a single-bladed instrument that is held in both hands. Oars are used for rowing, where the power comes from the kayaker’s body and arms. It is also used to steer the boat. Oars typically come in pairs; longer boats require more than one pair of oars, but smaller kayaks only need one. It come with various shapes, depending on the type of boat you have and personal preference. It heads are usually either a spoon shape or a flat-blade design. Oars for whitewater boats typically have a spoon head to offer more control during eddy turns and maneuvering through rapids. Oars for touring boats, on the other hand, are more suited to flat blades since they are more efficient in the long run. Oars vary in length depending on what size boat you have. Oar lengths are typically between 4 feet and 8 feet, but longer oars are available for deeper-keeled kayaks.

Paddle

OCEANBROAD Kayak Paddle 230cm/90.5in Alloy Shaft Kayaking Boating Oar with Paddle Leash 1 Paddle

A paddle is a single-bladed instrument with two handles, one on each end of the blade. Paddles come in pairs and are used by kayakers to push water behind them so they can move through it more efficiently. Different strokes require different types of paddles, but most flatwater kayakers use a longer “paddle” stroke. Most touring kayaks are outfitted with “oars” or “paddles,” although flatwater boats usually have oars to keep paddling in constant motion.

Which Oar Is Best?

Generally, if you’re paddling faster, then an oar is better because it will be more efficient for that speed.

  1. Oars are typically used for touring kayaks, which require a slower stroke speed.
  2. Better in windy conditions since they can be held above the surface of the water to prevent them from being swept by the wind.
  3. Have more control when turning, particularly when eddy-turning.
  4. Blades are designed to cut through the water, while your paddle will have a tendency to catch and slow you down.
  5. Easier for those with back problems because they don’t need as much arm strength as paddling does.
  6. Blades are typically larger than paddles, which means they can speed you up faster if you increase your stroke rate.
  7. Used in much shallower water than paddles, which will limit the chances of getting hung up on rocks, logs or other obstacles.
  8. Typically held at a 90-degree angle; however, oar blades may come with various angles to help you control your kayak better in different types of water.
  9. Perfect in tandem kayaks, which require the use of two oars.
  10. Tandem kayaks can be used by both partners or one person can paddle with an oar and one with a paddle.
  11. Tend to be lighter than paddles because they don’t have any plastic on them.
  12. Shafts are typically made of aluminum, carbon fiber or a lightweight wood such as cedar.
  13. Come in many different styles and it’s important to choose the right oar for your boat, whether you’re on flatwater or whitewater.
  14. That are too short can be hard to maneuver with and slow down your speed, while oars that are too long can be impractical and awkward.
  15. That are too deep can make it difficult to get them back in the oarlock after each stroke, while oars that are too short may not slice through the water like you need them to.
  16. It come in spoon-shaped heads or flat blades; choose an oar with the right shape for the type of kayaking you do most.
  17. Typically held perpendicular to the water, although if you’re touring, they may be held parallel to increase efficiency.

Oars come with either straight or bent shafts depending on your preference; some people find bent oar shafts more comfortable for their wrists and forearms. It is also come in different lengths depending on the size of your boat and what type of kayaking you’re doing.

Which Paddle Is Best?

Generally, if you’re paddling faster, then a paddle is better because it will be more efficient for that speed.

  1. Paddles are typically used for flatwater kayaking because of their higher speeds.
  2. Better in windy conditions since they can be held above the surface of the water to prevent them from being blown off course.
  3. Have more control when turning, particularly when eddy-turning.
  4. Designed to slice through the water while your oar will have a tendency to catch and slow you down.
  5. Easier for those with back problems because they don’t need as much arm strength as oaring does.
  6. Blades are typically smaller than oars, which means they can speed you up faster if you increase your stroke rate.
  7. Used in much shallower water than oars, which will limit the chances of getting hung up on rocks, logs or other obstacles.
  8. Blades typically don’t have any angle to them; however, they can come with various blade angles depending on your preference.

Cost Difference: Paddle Compared to Oar

Most people think that paddles are less expensive than oars, but this just isn’t the case. A paddle will usually cost about 100% more than an equivalent oar. The only exceptions would be very basic models of each. For example, one could buy a simple standard-style paddle for around 25 British Pounds or thirty US dollars. This would be a little more than an oar, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near the difference in price between a paddle and an average oar. On the other hand, if one wanted to buy a high-end carbon-fiber racing paddle, they could expect to pay 100 US Dollars or more for it.

One major reason that paddles are more expensive is the materials used in their construction. Oars are made from wood, metal, or a combination of both. This makes them significantly less expensive than a basic paddle, which usually has an aluminum shaft. Many paddles also have fiberglass or carbon-fiber blades. These high-end blade materials make the paddles significantly lighter, which helps the kayak or canoe move faster through the water. It also makes them more expensive.

Finishing part

Oars and paddles are two different tools that both have their pros and cons. The one you choose will depend on your skill level, the type of kayaking you’re doing, and what is most comfortable for you. If this blog post has helped to answer any questions about oar vs paddle or anything else related to kayaks in general please let us know! We love hearing from our readers so don’t be shy-leave a comment below with any thoughts or concerns. You can also visit related post on Best Kayak Paddle Under 100.

Thank you for reading!

Kayaks Report

kayaksreport.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Copyright 2022 Kayaks Report -All Rights Reserved.