In swimming, the most efficient and the best swimmer will be one who will be capable of generating more power with their arm stroke. The best way to achieve this is to use the hand paddles in swim practice and stroke drills.

Using hand paddles can be beneficial as it increases forearm strength leading to stronger pulls with each stroke.

Using paddles encourages correct form while executing turns, wall push-offs, and in addition to improving technique.

There are multiple types of hand paddles available in the market. So getting the right one is not easy. To get the best hand paddles for swimming, you must consider several factors before buying a new pair of paddles.

If you are unfamiliar with the necessary factors, read this buying guide to know what to take into consideration. In addition to the buying guide, we will also discuss a few best hand paddles for swimming.

What to Consider when buying Swimming Paddles

When choosing the ideal swim paddles, you consider these essential factors:


The key component of a good swim paddle is the paddle's surface area; should be around 20% bigger than the measurement of your hand.

Why is this important? Oversized paddles that is too large may dramatically slow down your stroke rate, put undue pressure on your shoulders, and even lessen the metabolic needs of your swimming.

To put it another way, slower, less vigorous, and more prone to injury swimming. When your hand is relaxed, keep in mind those dimensions. You'll need to take these dimensions when deciding on the appropriate swim paddle size. In another way, we have a good rule of thumb: swim paddles should stretch just past your middle finger.


Fortunately, several cutting-edge designs that do away with straps have emerged recently. A strapless swim paddle is ideal for competitive swimmers wishing to fully hone their swimming technique and apply consistent pressure to the water with their palms.

If you are just starting, choose a set of swim paddles with a finger and detachable wrist strap. You can remove the wrist strap as you advance and get more comfortable with a good paddle technique to reap maximum benefits.


First, I used a set of Speedo paddles that were rectangular. It was also quite popular to use stroke makers, the first paddle to attempt to mimic the exaggerated curve of a human hand. This style has mostly taken over as the norm. Yet, the variety of swim paddle shapes has grown dramatically recently.

Types of Paddle

The large, flat, and surface-area-producing paddles are the ones that are most frequently used on the pool deck. However, various swim paddles, such as fingertip, freestyle, and more, have emerged in recent years. Below is a list of various swim paddles:

Power paddles

Most swim paddles on the pool deck are "power" paddles. The "power" in the name refers to how well these traditional swim paddles improve the overall surface area of your pull. They all include straps (or none at all, similar to the FINIS Manta and Agility paddles), vents for a small amount of water flow, and shapes that accentuate the size of your hands.

Fingertip paddles

The enhanced surface area and "paddling" area provided by these "micro" swim paddles are intended to increase your hand's surface area. These finger paddles will train you to draw more water with your bare hands and improve your sense of the water, especially when sculling.


Anti-paddles are like encircling a baseball in your palm and pulling through the water. They're another instrument for improving the feel of the water. Anti-paddles are excellent for training swimmers to produce propulsion with their forearms and firmly establish a vertical forearm.

Freestyler paddle

The Freestyler Hand Paddles from FINIS produce these types of paddles that defy convention. They have an arrow shape that reduces resistance and extends the hand entry, and they are made exclusively for swimming freestyle (obviously). Meanwhile, the finger-only strap and thinner design promote a more efficient pull backward.

How to use a Hand Paddle?

Hand paddles are great for swimmers looking to improve their technique, as well as increase strength and your swimming speed. When used correctly, hand paddles can have a significant impact on your swimming capabilities.

To use hand paddles properly, start by adjusting the straps so that they fit snugly around your hands.

Make sure that the paddle surface is fully covering your fingers and hands.

Once you have them in place, you will want to focus on getting good form with each stroke of your arms while using the paddles. Try reaching far forward before entering into the water with a flat palm instead of cupping it like how you would without them; this will help ensure optimal propulsive force when slicing through the water's surface with each pull-through stroke.

How we chose the Best Hand Paddles for Swimming

It can be tough to find the right hand paddles to fit your needs and help you improve your techniques. We've done the research for you and found the best hand paddles for swimming. Please browse through some of our picks to help with your swimming techniques.

🏅 Speedo Power Plus Paddles

Speedo Power Plus Paddles

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❤️ why we love these paddles

The number reason I like these paddles the most is that they are comfortable. On top that, they are unisex, so be it a girl or boy, you can easily use them without any confusion. The speedo adult swim training paddles have all the necessary demands covered in their name itself. So, as the name implies, these are made for power.

🏊🏽‍♂️ features

There are four size options available. This is a paddle ideal for all resistance ability levels, drill work, and varying stroke choices. They are designed for adults, and support a regular fit.

The package dimensions and weight are 12.71 x 9.25 x 1.61 inches and 0.25 kg, respectively. Moreover, the dimensions and weight of the item are 10 x 13 x 2 inches and 0.1 pounds.

🥈 FINIS Floating Agility Paddles

FINIS Floating Agility Paddles

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❤️ why we love these paddles

Safety is built in this design. If you want to safely gain muscle, pair up with this streamlined thumb hole paddle. Also, it comes with adaptable paddle training tools.

These hand paddles give swimmers immediate stroke feedback. It has a strapless construction, which helps you to maintain positive pressure throughout your stroke because it will shift or fall off if you don't use a good stroke technique.

🏊🏽‍♂️ features

You won't lose them because of the fantastic way floating material is utilized for lap swimming or open-water swimming. In essence, it aids in developing good butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle stroke techniques.

The weight and dimensions of the package are ‎0.08 kg and 7.72 x 1.97 x 1.3 inches, and the item weight and dimensions are 80 g and 5 x 5 x 0.7 inches, respectively.

🥉 Sporti Power Swim Paddles

Sporti Power Swim Paddles

🥉 Podium Pick

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❤️ why we love these paddles

These Sporti Paddles consist of strong, lightweight polypropylene material, giving them a substantial appearance while being light. Also, they include tiny perforations that reduce resistance and tubing that won't be too heavy for your hands.

🏊🏽‍♂️ features

Let's get right to the benefits this product can provide for you. They are only available in black color and are solely intended for adults. The best feature I appreciate is the wide, adjustable wrist and finger strap.

It comes with two paddles and movable tubing. On average, a medium paddle fits a woman's hands that measure 4" wide by 7" long. The package dimensions and weight are 8.27 x 7.44 x 2.44 inches and 0.16 kg, respectively.

Hand Paddles FAQs

A lot of people are hesitant to buy hand paddles because they're not sure if they'll actually help them swim better. The best way to find out is to try them out. We hope this next section of Frequently Asked Questions will help you further on your decision.

Do hand paddles help swimming?

Yes, hand paddles can most definitely help with swimming. They increase resistance while swimming and help strengthen a swimmer's core muscles, shoulders, and legs. This increase in resistance helps experienced swimmers improve their technique as well as their overall speed and power during a race.

One specific benefit that hand paddles offer is an improved arm pull-through, which is essential for proper body rotation while swimming. When you use hand paddles your forearms have to work harder against water drag compared to when you don't wear them which leads to improved upper body strength over time with regular use. Additionally, they also encourage correct body alignment in the water because you tend to rely less on leg kick for propulsion when wearing them due to the extra force created by the paddle blades against water drag.

Why do swimmers use paddles?

A fantastic tool for developing strength in the water is a paddle. They overstate how much water you're drawing. In essence, paddles enable you to "catch" more water. 

Your catch and pull gain additional strength and power due to utilizing paddles in the water. You may strengthen your upper body with paddles, including your shoulders, back, chest, and forearms.

As a tool for technique correction, they are also highly useful. The wrist strap should be taken off when using them, and you should only use the small finger strap on your middle finger. This emphasizes how crucial it is to enter the water carefully with your hand.

Should novice swimmers use paddles?

When utilizing swim paddles in the water, beginners should proceed with caution. Your initial focus should be learning to swim properly with good form and technique. 

When swimming with bad technique, using the paddles excessively, or fitting them incorrectly, adding stress to a developing stroke can be dangerous.

I can see the temptation of going out and buying the largest paddles you can find, hoping that it will make you stronger by acting like packing a barbell with additional weight plates. 

However, swim paddles place additional strain on the shoulder and elbow joints and should only be used sparingly and gradually.

What size swim paddles work best?

With more surface area on the paddle, you can swim faster launching yourself through the water. Thus, our natural tendency is to get the most of the enormous paddles. Yet, a large paddle causes your stroke pace to slow down so much that it is ineffective.

Ensure the paddle you choose is only slightly bigger than your hand. In my experience, whether coaching swimmers or practicing on my own, you should strive for a paddle that is around 25% larger than your hand.

Best Hand Paddles for Swimming

Getting the best pair of hand paddles for swimming is difficult, you can follow the above guide to get the best one for your needs. You can use it to pay attention to factors to avoid buying the wrong pair of hand paddles. Furthermore, we also shared a few picks for swimming hand paddles that may meet your criteria and make your swimming enjoyable.

We hope this guide will help you to choose the best pair of paddles. So step forward and pick up one that is most appropriate for you.

Good Luck!

Be sure to check out other swimming aids:

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