In this paper, an analysis of the performance and flow fields of water wheel turbines for tidal energy extraction is carried out using experimental and numerical methods. The purpose of this work is to develop a water turbine suitable for sites, where fast and shallow surface flows are available, such as rivers or tidal currents. For both methods, the water wheel turbine is tested over a range of tip speed ratios with a differing number of rotor blades, ranging between three and twelve. The results indicate that the numerical simulation shows agreement with the experiment in most cases. Also, the water wheel turbine operates effectively at a range of small tip-speed ratios, where the highest turbine efficiency is produced. Under the same working conditions, the turbines using between six and nine blades generate a greater efficiency and cause lesser reverse flows than others when submerged in water. In contrast, the 3-bladed turbine is the least efficient design as it produces the lowest amount of energy and causes intense vibrations and noises. These noises are a result of a collision between the incoming flow of the channel and the wheel blades during the experimentation, especially at high load conditions. By adding more blades, the torque generated is improved considerably; however, the upstream and downstream depths of the turbine, in this case, are also elevated significantly. Furthermore, in the inlet region, the 3-bladed and 6-bladed turbines have a smaller shock loss and a lower resistance to the main flow from the inlet than the others. Meanwhile, it is found that the flow in the outlet region on the turbines with between nine and twelve blades is in the opposite direction to the wheel’s rotation, significantly obstructing the main flow from the inlet.