Are you ready to add a set of swim paddles to your swim training? Not sure what type to get? Swim paddles can be used by both beginners and elite swimmers and have long been a favorite piece of equipment used by swimmers.
Similar to flippers or fins on your feet, swim paddles can help to increase power and strength in your lower body. Based on my over two decades in the pool, I can tell you that when you put on a pair of swim paddles, you get an incredible upper body workout that helps to strengthen your stroke, increase your speed level, and do swim-specific strength building.
Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best swim paddles for your next training session.
10 Best Hand Paddles for Swimming:
1. Agility Hand PaddlesView at Amazon
Providing constant feedback on your stroke, Agility Hand Paddles are strapless strength paddles that feature an ergonomic design. Improving your stroke efficiency, these paddles will teach you an early vertical forearm position while the convex shape of the paddles will encourage the correct palm positive hand position. With the strapless design of the paddle, if you use an incorrect technique, the paddles will fall off.
Building upper body strength, these are among the best swim training paddles to give instant stroke feedback when you use an imperfect technique. You can use the Agility Hand Paddles during all four swim strokes while they help to promote the proper muscle memory and catch position.
Their convex design helps to increase traction with the water to promote early catch while the comfortable thumb hole allows you to create a correct hand placement.
Designed to improve your stroke feedback with just one lap, this low-impact exercise allows you to build your muscles safely. With their ergonomic design, the Agility Hand Paddles will fit into the natural contour of your hand and teaches you the right application of pressure throughout the swim stroke.
- They feature a nice contour and a comfortable thumb opening
- It encourages a good stroke technique
- You can use it for all four strokes
- The grip encourages an odd thumb placement
- They sink easily and don’t stack well
2. Speedo Nemesis Contour PaddleView at Amazon
With an improved ergonomic design, the Speedo Nemesis Contour Paddles can improve your technique and provide the ultimate workout. No matter what your swimming level, these paddles can benefit your swim stroke. Improved tubing straps are featured at the wrist and fingers while the contoured shape helps you to feel the correct hand position when you enter the water.
With correct hand positioning, you can lessen shoulder pain while you improve pull mechanics with the scalloped edges that push water away. Inspired by the fin on a Humpback whale, the tubercles help to increase the surface area of the paddle’s edge to create a smoother pull trajectory.
The Speedo Nemesis Contour Paddle are some of the best swim paddles for triathletes and can help to improve any swimmer’s technique.
- They help to give your upper body a great workout
- These paddles are good for any level swimmer
- They help to keep your hand in the right position as you swim
- Sizes run small
- These paddles are only good with the breaststroke
3. Arena Vortex Evolution Hand PaddleView at Amazon
Created for expert swimmers, the Arena Vortex Evolution Hand Paddle is the ultimate training paddle for an elite swimmer. Featuring multiple hand strap positions, these hand paddles are designed to serve you during a really tough training session. Giving you a comfortable, natural, and safe grip, they are easy to wear and train with.
With an ergonomic design, the Arena Vortex Evolution Hand Paddle will lessen shoulder strain while its convex palm shape gives you a better feel and hand position. The soft edges are very comfortable and prevent annoying rubbing along your wrists. Since they are not too flat or too curved, these paddles provide better water resistance to assist during extremely demanding and intense workouts.
Some of the best hand paddles for swimming, the Arena Vortex Evolution Hand Paddles give you a perfect feel for the water to make your swim stroke more natural. The molding design of the paddles, almost makes you feel like you are swimming with just your bare hands.
- They help to stop shoulder strain as you swim
- It almost feels like you are swimming with nothing on
- They have a pretty cool looking appearance and design
- They are too flexible for some users
- The rubber bands give them a bad chemical smell
4. Synergy Hand PaddlesView at Amazon
Well-designed with a broad blade, the Synergy Hand Paddles help you develop upper body and shoulder strength. They also give you a good feel of the water to help enhance your stroke quality every time. The paddle is also designed with holes to provide a smoother swim stroke thanks to a more directed water passage.
The ergonomic design of the Synergy Hand Paddles is perfect for any swimming resistance level. With adjustable straps, you can get a customized fit making them more convenient and comfortable. These arm paddles for swimming also come in three sizes each with an ergonomic design that will fit the shape of your hand.
- They have a good design to build up your shoulders and upper body
- The adjustable straps give you a really good fit
- The ergonomic design keeps your hand in place
- They are a little bulky for some users
5. MP Michael Phelps Hand PaddleView at Amazon
If you are looking for hand paddles for swim training, check out the MP Michael Phelps Hand Paddle. Created to build arm strength, they help to improve your strength through resistance training. Using a soft rubber frame, the paddle follows your hand’s natural to promote a good hand position while you are in the water.
With the contoured fit, you not only get correct hand positioning, but you can also flex to fit the individual stroke mechanics. The palm cup of the paddle allows you to feel the pull and catch phases as you swim while the adjustable straps will hold your hand comfortably and securely in place.
The interconnected parts of the paddle give you resistance and structure while the wide and durable hand strap allows you to customize your fit. The MP Michael Phelps Hand Paddle also is a safe paddle to use with multiple swimmers in a single swimming lane thanks to its rubber frame.
- They help to increase your strength through resistance training
- Using these can help those that suffer from arthritis
- They fit really well and are super comfortable
- The loops can soften and tear after use
6. FINIS Adult Freestyler Hand PaddlesView at Amazon
Specially designed for freestyle training, the FINIS Freestyler Hand paddles help to improve reach and distance per stroke by planning your hand forward through the water.
Using a unique skeg design and longfin shape, these swim paddles help to give you a strong pull-through as well as increased efficiency and better hip rotation. With this surfboard shape, you can decrease your resistance in the water and help to lengthen your stroke.
Featuring an adjustable finger strap design, you get a precise fit along with a narrow surface that stops should strain. If you are looking for swim paddles for beginners, the FINIS Freestyler Paddles will improve your hand entry to create a balanced body position and stop crossover.
And, the patented skeg on the paddle’s bottom will give you instant feedback on your stroke while straightening and streamlining hand entry.
- These paddles work better than other products on the market
- They really help to improve your swim stroke
- The adjustable strap design gives you a great fit
- It is frustrating to put the rubber tube in the holes
- Assembly needs a lot of patience
7. Speedo Power Plus PaddleView at Amazon
For some of the best swim paddles for freestyle, the Speedo Power Plus Paddle is a great resistance training tool for all swimming abilities. The versatile Power Plus Paddle comes in four size options that are perfect for all resistance levels, different strokes, and drill work.
Designed with scalloped edges, you can create a smoother pulling trajectory while the multiples holes let water pass through the paddles and also give you different strapping options. Made of texted EVA foam, the Power Paddle Plus allows you to increase your stroke technique and features tube straps that give you a more comfortable fit.
- You have several options to choose from to match how you train
- They fit really comfortably
- They work for any level of swimmer
- A little on the small side
- The strap can loosen as you use it
8. Speedo I.M. Tech Swim Training PaddlesView at Amazon
Basically a pair of swimming hand fins, the Speedo IM Tech Paddle can help to perfect all of your swimming strokes. Made with tubing straps, you get a comfortable fit, plus there are multiple water channel holes in the paddle to help you learn proper form and build up arm strength. This paddle will help to improve multi-stroke techniques and will benefit the catch and pull off all four swimming disciplines.
You can change out the paddles for each hand to improve specific stroke techniques and the pronounced edge of the battle improves your feel for the catch phase of a stroke. Made of both soft and hard materials, the Speedo I.M. Tech Paddle helps to enhance your performance while also improving your endurance and strength.
- Great paddles for swimming that help you develop strength
- They are adjustable and help to improve swim strokes
- These paddles will help to tone shoulder, arm, and back muscles
- The straps tend to break down in chlorine and sunlight
- They are harder to use than some users expected
9. Arena Vortex Evolution Hand PaddleView at Amazon
If you are looking for hand paddles for water aerobics, check out the Arena Vortex Evolution Hand Paddle. Designed for tough training sessions, the Arena Vortex Evolution Paddles are molded to provide a comfortable, natural-feeling, and safe grip. The hand straps offer multiple positions to make them easy to wear, plus the soft edge will prevent any uncomfortable chafing on your wrists.
Designed to serve the needs of expert swimmers’, these paddles aren’t too flat or too curved making them perfect for a demanding workout by providing greater water resistance. The Arena Vortex Evolution Handle Paddle gives you a more natural swim stroke, almost like you were swimming with just your bare hands.
Created for power training, the hydrodynamic shape of these hand paddles makes them the perfect training tool for an elite swimmer.
- They are very comfortable and work really well
- These paddles give you a good amount of resistance
- You can these paddles for a lot of different pool activities
- Different colors are priced more than others
How To Choose the Best Swim Paddles
Worn during swim practice, swim paddles can help to improve shoulder and arm strength along with stroke technique. They can be used by anyone including Olympic swimmers or laps swimmers at your local pool. There are many types on the market that benefit different skill levels and types of water exercises. Keep reading to find out how to choose the best swim paddles for your training needs.
Types of Swim Paddles
Flat Swim Paddles
Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, flat swim paddles are considered a classic piece of equipment for swimmers. Some flat paddles will have holes while others are solid.
Great for all lap swimmers, beginners need to be careful when using flat swim paddles and maintain their focus on technique as they use them.
Reflecting advances in comfort and design, ergonomic swim paddles use curves that mimic your hand’s natural shape when you pull underwater.
The actual silhouette of the paddle will closely mirror your hand’s outline allowing you to benefit from resistance training and not disrupt your technique.
They also come in a solid design or with holes and come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. An ergonomic paddle is a great choice for both advanced and beginning swimmers.
Designed for a specific technique or stroke, you will often see swim paddles that are created for freestyle only. You can also purchase “catch” paddles that help you to develop the catch of the stroke instead of just the entire underwater pull. Usually, a catch paddle will be smaller, and you wear them just under your fingertips.
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Factors to Consider When Buying Best Swim Paddles
Performance can vary when it comes to swimming paddles depending on the purpose they are serving. While some can be designed to improve technique while others were created to help elite swimmers win a gold medal. There are some paddles that were designed to improve a specific stroke and there are others that can be used as a multi-stroke training tool to work all four swim strokes.
Make sure you know what you want the swim paddles to help you with as you make your purchase. You want to buy a pair that will improve your performance and technique while also keeps in you safe from injuries or developing bad habits.
A large and wide paddle can give you more resistance and force your body to work harder. These are perfect when you want to build upper body strength. But, if you want to improve the catch and feel of your stroke, you will want to look for fingertip paddles.
If you want to develop power or improve your technique, your swimming hand paddles need to fit correctly. To get a good fit, make sure you order the correct size and consult the sizing chart when you order. Also, remember that paddles that are adjustable can give you a more customized fit.
For effective training and fit, you want the paddle to be about 10% larger than your hand. When your palm and fingers are open, you want your fingers to be positioned naturally and not extend out of the edges of the paddle.
You want a one-centimeter gap in between the edges and your fingers to make sure you have an even distribution of the pressure that is applied by your shoulders, arms, forearms, and palms on the paddles.
If the paddles fit right, you want to have to spread out fingers wider to apply pressure evenly on the paddles. Plus, you won’t need to have your fingertips curl over the paddle edges to gain stability.
Available in large, medium, and small sizes, swimming hand paddle sizes are intended to reference different training levels. The size you choose should depend on your shoulder’s resistance and strength level.
If you are a beginner, look for small hand paddles or paddle fingertip paddles. As you become more advanced and gain strength, you can try smaller hand paddles that are just a little bigger than your hands.
Once you become slightly more advanced and get stronger, you can switch to the medium size before graduating to a large size with a harder pull and more resistance which helps you to build power and strength. and power. When swimming in open water, look for large paddles that can withstand strong currents.
You can get seriously harmed or injured by using the wrong size paddles. Paddles that are too large for you will give you too much resistance. When you exert too much effort for each pull, you can have trouble with your shoulder later.
It will also cause you to spread your fingers unnaturally or too much as you attempt to evenly apply pressure leading you to strained tendons and ligaments. A paddle that is smaller than your hand size will cause you to grab the paddle edges for stability creating a lot of tension in your wrist and can cause it to become inflamed.
When you are using hand paddles as you swim, you want your hand to be open and flat with your fingers spread in a natural position. With a contoured hand paddle, you get a design that mimics your hand’s form, size, and shape to promote the correct hand position.
As you wear them, you will find that your hand will conform to the shape of the paddle falling into a natural position that is perfect for swimming. Typically, the contours will have an ergonomic design that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Sturdy and high-quality materials are what you want to look for in the best hand paddles for swimming.
Comfortable and lightweight, traditional plastic swim paddles provide strength development and power while rubber paddles will give you more flexibility when you swim water and are safe to use when you are with other swimmers. Always make sure that the straps are made with flexible and strong material that won’t break as you swim.[/su_spoiler]
Solid vs. Holes
Swimming hand paddles either come solid or with holes. Basically, a solid paddle will help you build more resistance, and a paddle with holes will build less resistance.
A beginner should choose swim paddles that come with holes and then switch to solid paddles when they are more advanced. Also, keep in mind that the more holes found in a paddle, the less resistance you will encounter while fewer holes will give you more resistance.
Swim Paddles vs. Gloves
Swim paddles and gloves differ in several ways. Plastic is usually found in a swim paddle while rubber can also be used to improve flexibility. However, swimming gloves are made of neoprene and have a similar appearance to a typical glove.
The main difference will be webbing that can expand in between your fingers when you open your hand while a swimming paddle will be constructed of solid material at the top and feature straps that you insert your fingers.
Swimming gloves provide a freer range of motion that allows your hand to move easier. In comparison, swim paddles will keep your hand in a stiff position that limits your motion. However, paddles are very beneficial when it comes to building power and strength in your swimming strokes.
What Are the Benefits of Swim Paddles?
Using hand paddles while swimming will help to improve your power and technique.
Helping to accentuate everything that makes you more aware of your overall stroke, swim paddles will help to build power and strength with used properly as well as improve your stroke and pull technique.
A set of hand paddles will improve your efficiency of catch and pull while hand paddles that do not have straps will help to improve your hand entry.
When swimming with hand paddles on, you can lengthen your stroke by reaching farther with your leading arm and pulling more water so you can move forward.
With a more efficient pull, you can increase your distance per stroke and swim faster.
When you use paddles, you get a workout that is swim-specific strength training. With the increased surface area of the paddles, you get more resistance forcing your shoulder, arm, chest, and back muscles to power through swim stroke and work harder. This, in turn, builds upper body strength allowing you to power pull when high-speed swimming.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using A Swim Paddle?
A great training accessory, swim paddles, when used excessively or incorrectly, can lead to injuries or bad habits. If you have an oversize pair, they can strain tendons and arm ligaments causing inflammation. Anyone with shoulder injuries or weak shoulders will see aggravation of their issues if they use swim paddles.
Make sure to only use a swim paddle for about ¼ of your workout and remember that overuse or incorrect use can cause stress on your body. This can lead to a swimmer’s shoulder or incorrect muscle use.
How to Do You Maintain Swim Paddles So That They Last Longer?
Since swim paddles tend to be low maintenance, you won’t need to do a lot to take care of a set. Just keep them in good condition to ensure that they last long and always rinse them after they are used while remembering to carefully pack them in your swim bag.
The winner of the best swim paddles is the Speedo Core Tech Competition Swimming Paddles. These swimming hand paddles are perfect for any swimming ability level and will help to improve your performance and technique in the water as well as your overall fitness and health.
Soft and flexible, Speedo Core Tech Paddles feature a hydrodynamic design that gives you the best water contact while the unique airfoil shape helps to improve your hand lift motion.
These are really durable paddles that will last you years, plus they included flow holes that will help to improve aquatic sensitivity The definite winner of the best swim paddles is the Speedo Core Tech Competition Swimming Paddles hands down.