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Werner Baja Review

This well-designed paddle delivers outstanding value without sacrificing on performance or durability
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Werner Baja Review
Credit: Sara James
Price:  $124 List
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Manufacturer:   Werner
By Sara James ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 19, 2021
  • Performance - 40% 6.0
  • Ease of Adjustment - 20% 6.0
  • Locking Mechanism Security - 15% 5.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.0
  • Quality of Construction - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Werner Baja earned our Best Buy award for its incredible value. Werner is a leading name in kayak paddle construction and the Baja opens up their market to the bargain-seeking kayaker. Made from more moderate materials than their premium models, the Baja comes in at a fraction of the cost and we struggled to find a cheaper paddle that we wanted to use. The fiberglass reinforced nylon blades perform well under pressure and are not prone to flex or wear down after significant use. Affordable, durable, and well-designed, the Baja will excite the budget-minded paddler who doesn't want to sacrifice performance or durability.
Exceptional value
Quality blade design
Fiberglass reinforced nylon blades
Heavier than some models
Locking mechanism prone to wobble

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Werner Baja paddle offers the rare but favorable partnership of affordability, reliability, and quality design. This paddle will attract the price-conscious amongst us; however, unlike most other paddles at this price point, you won't be disappointed by overly flexible blades.

Often the manufacturer of choice for professional kayakers, Werner knows a thing or two about designing kayak paddles, as they have been honing their craft since the 1960s. The dihedral blades are carefully crafted for a smooth entry and exit, as well as a flutter-free feel in the water. This well-engineered design results in a paddle that performs better than other paddles within the same price range. Coming in at a significantly more modest price than Werner's other offerings, the Baja delivers the performance and reliability of a well-established American manufacturer at an exceptional price point.

Performance Comparison

werner baja - even when put under pressure, the baja blades did not flex. an...
Even when put under pressure, the Baja blades did not flex. An important feature for those that want efficient forward paddle strokes.
Credit: Sara James


The fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades performed on par with some of the pricier paddles we test. Most notably, the testers were happy to report that the blades did not overly flex when put under pressure, and as a result, kayakers were able to get powerful strokes. In addition, no bending was found even after extensive use.

Although fiberglass reinforced blades did not perform on par with more expensive models made of carbon fiber. The slight give produced by the locking mechanism was the only thing noted to hold this paddle back in terms of performance.

werner baja - over time the snap button locking mechanism became more difficult to...
Over time the snap button locking mechanism became more difficult to use in order to adjust or dismantle this paddle.
Credit: Sara James

Ease of Adjustment

The push-button mechanism used to join the two pieces of this paddle is straightforward to use, and when the paddle was new, it didn't cause the testers any concerns. By pushing in the stainless steel push button, users are able to disengage the connection, and a simple twist should enable the two paddle pieces to come apart.

As noted in many other paddles that use this style of joining mechanism, we found that the paddle becomes more difficult to adjust over time as the snap button components are prone to collecting grit, sand, and river residue. Frequent cleaning with freshwater, as well as the application of a small dab of lubricant, helps to ensure that this paddle is easy to adjust even after extended use.

werner baja - the looseness of the locking mechanism produced a slight wobble in...
The looseness of the locking mechanism produced a slight wobble in the paddle, this was not noticed by casual kayakers but may disappoint the performance minded
Credit: Sara James

Locking Mechanism Security

The snap button system was found to be a bit lose, producing a slight wobble in the shaft, even when the paddle was new out the packaging. This is attributed to the snap hole being slightly larger than necessary. Although novice users did not notice this defect, advanced users were quick to note that this deteriorated the efficiency of their power strokes.


Compared to Werner's premium (aka more expensive) models, the Baja falls in the heavier weight range due to the injection-molded nylon blade construction and the fiberglass shaft. However, when compared to other manufacturers' paddles made of the same materials and a similar price point, the Baja faired very well in terms of weight.

Most importantly the carefully engineered design of this paddle gives the Baja a well-balanced feel that should not feel too heavy nor wear out the casual kayakers when in motion.

werner baja - the swing weight of this paddle gave it a lighter feel in the water...
The swing weight of this paddle gave it a lighter feel in the water than on the scales.
Credit: Sara James


The fiberglass-reinforced injection-molded nylon blades are robust and not prone to flex under pressure, unlike many other budget paddles we tested. The blades stood up well to our gravel test and showed no significant wear in the blade edges. Unlike some other high-performing models made of more expensive materials, we did not feel the need to be careful when transporting this paddle, as the blades are impact-resistant. Users of this paddle can feel confident that this paddle will stand up to whatever they have to throw at them.

After frequent use, the snap button joining mechanism was noted to become more difficult to use, and this is the only component within the paddle that may need some attention and care over time.


The Werner Baja stands out for its exceptional value. It performed significantly better than other paddles of a similar cost and also gave more expensive paddles a good run for their money. Unlike other budget paddles, the Baja does not look or feel like a cheap toy, and users should not have to worry about having to replace it after a few seasons of use.

werner baja - the baja is  cheaper than some other paddles offering a similar...
The Baja is cheaper than some other paddles offering a similar performance
Credit: Sara James


This paddle will be an easy choice for those seeking both affordability and reliability. This is a budget paddle that does not sacrifice performance and has the added bonus of being produced by a well-established US paddle manufacturer with a reputation for performance and great customer service. Kayakers of all skill levels will enjoy this paddle and will love the price.

werner baja - winning an award for its exceptional value, the baja paddle is an...
Winning an award for its exceptional value, the Baja paddle is an easy choice for the recreational kayaker looking to get on the water without dropping too much money.
Credit: Sara James

Sara James