Pickleball Paddles are a combination of materials such as graphite, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and other finished parts; these parts include the edge guard, the grip, and face layers. As explained in more detail below, these parts surround the core material. That core material will heavily determine the paddle's feel, sound, and sweet spot. If you're starting out and just interested in the game, it would be best to start with a beginner pickleball paddle that's higher quality with more standard head size, texture, and thickness
Buy a Pickleball Paddle
Pickleball is one of; if not the fastest growing among the racquet sports but also American sports in general. This has led to a lot of people entering the game more casually. Some are taking it up alongside their other racquet sports like table tennis, ping pong, or tennis. With the sports growing we are seeing a lot of pickleball paddles being made to accommodate the growing player base.
From the cheapest pickleball paddles to the most expensive pickleball paddle; the change in quality and features can be a lot of information for a newer player to understand. We want to help players find the right pickleball paddle while passing along the right information so you can shop with knowledge and confidence.
The technology and materials used are also rapidly evolving and that can make it difficult to find the pickleball paddle for you. We have so many options to cover what we think is the wide array of play styles. I don't believe in the idea of a "best paddle" but I do believe there is a best paddle for every individual.
Introduction to paddle selection
Pickleball is a specialized game where the number of factors to consider can feel daunting. Pickleball paddle weight, paddle length, size of the grip, core, and face materials. Pickleball like other racquet sports has so much variety because of all the different ways you can approach the game. The information we want to convey to you hopefully aids in the search for the right paddle. Pickleball can be fun with any equipment, but the right equipment lets you tailor your experience to how you want to experience the game.
Read this before you buy a pickleball paddle
When you're deciding on a new Pickleball paddle there are three things to consider. The First would be how advanced of a paddle are you looking for. Pickleball paddles can be tailored to a certain way of playing; for example, there are several different textures for spin and different thicknesses for ball control and power. Serious players know what they want from their paddle to match their playing style.
The second thing to consider would be the pickleball paddle weight. Paddle weight can depend on the materials the paddle is made of such as composite paddles or graphite paddles. Typically they come in three categories; Lightweight paddles, Medium Weight paddles. You usually want to play with the highest weight you feel comfortable using over a long period.
Playing with a heavier paddle can feel right for the first couple minutes but near the end of the match if you are feeling pain it would mean a lighter paddle may be the better for your game. A medium-weight paddle is a great place to start since you can have a good baseline on how the pickleball paddle weight affects your game.
The third point of consideration when buying pickleball paddles would be price. First off, you would want to make sure you get a quality paddle. Something along the lines of graphite paddles or composite paddles because they provide the most comfort. An expensive pickleball paddle usually has a textured hitting surface, special materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass, and a customized grip size. At the very minimum, a graphite paddle would be best for a modern experience. These details are important to competitive players but for beginners, this can just overcomplicate learning the game. The more beginner-focused paddles come in at a more friendly price tag because they are simplistic.
How to choose a good pickle ball paddle? Graphite paddles? Composite paddles?
With those considerations in mind, we can focus on the different qualities that pickleball paddles have to help you make a well-informed choice on your pickleball paddle. From a polymer paddle, a composite paddle, or graphite paddle; the range of options can be daunting but here is what I would say to look for when deciding on a paddle. Finding the difference between a good paddle and the best paddle for you boils down to preference and the playstyle in mind. We will be going over what the different factors in pickleball paddles mean when it comes to your game.
An easy way to determine if a paddle will fit your game is by starting with the thickness of the paddle. As a touch and reflex game, the thickness determines a lot of the feel of the paddle. The inside of the paddle can sometimes have a special core material to change the feel and play. The core material is almost always a polymer core but can be a Nomex core which is more lightweight or an aluminum core that can add more power to the paddle.
The core construction is usually in a honeycomb pattern which provides strength while remaining light. There are going to be more factors but the simplest way to put is this; A thick pickleball paddle absorbs the ball for longer allowing more ball control and more accuracy. A thin pickleball paddle makes the contact point shorter and transfers more power into the ball giving you a move heavy powerful shot.
With Thickness out of the way something to look and feel for next when deciding on a pickleball paddle is the texture on the face. A good rule of thumb to follow although it is not an exact science is that the more texture there is the more grip and spin the pickleball paddles will have. Pickleball paddles can cover a wide range of textures due to different material layers being used on the face.
This can be a graphite face which is great for someone looking for touch and feel. A fiberglass face would give more pop and power to your shots. A Poly-faced paddle may lack some extra playing features but makes up for it with amazing durability. Some textures add more grip at the sweet spot while others are meant to add more spin at the sweet spot of the paddle. Since there are no uniform types of textures it's best to demo most paddles that have intricate patterns.
Thickness and texture are big factors in how pickleball paddles feel but there's another factor that changes how a paddle plays and that's the face. The face of a pickleball paddle can be tall and thin, short and extra-wide, or some combination in between. While it doesn't directly correlate to the paddle weight the size and shape of a pickleball paddle's face can change where the weight is distributed and the size of the sweet spot.
If you have an extra-wide paddle you gain a bigger sweet spot but trade a bit of reach; whereas if you go the opposite and have a taller paddle you have a smaller sweet spot but more reach and control on average. It would be best to know for yourself your type of grip before deciding on a face style as if you choke up on a grip you might lose some of the advantages of playing with a taller pickleball paddle solely because of your grip.
As I mentioned before the face style or paddle length can change the way weight is distributed. This boils down to two extremes with an even balance in the middle. Pickleball paddles can be head heavy or head light (handle heavy). Not all but many paddles that have an extended paddle length put more of the weight towards the handle because the paddle weight being focused at the head would result in a slower swing of the paddle.
A wider and thicker paddle can be more head heavy for stability when receiving shots. Paddle weight and where it's balanced towards can affect your game so it's best to feel for where the weight is leaning towards. A lighter paddle may be easier to swing but its weight being shifted towards the head would mean you would have more pop and less control on pickleball than if you used a heavier paddle.
The last quality I would look for when picking a paddle would be the grip size. The grip size can average between 4 and 5 inches. Grips can also come in different lengths, for example, the Head Gravity LH (long handle) has a longer than average handle at the trade-off of a smaller face. Grip size on a paddle is almost always going to be a personal preference so I would say before buying yourself a new paddle find a way to at least get your hands on it just to determine if that grip size is right for you.
What is a great Beginner Pickle Ball Paddle?
If you're new to the game and playing with friends or just started taking a course at your local court's pickleball is one of the most accessible of racquet sports. When you're getting into the game the pickleball equipment may not feel too different like most pickleball balls will feel the same, all paddles will feel the same, the grip won't feel like it matters but that quickly goes away when you find yourself playing with equipment that was almost too budget focused.
These pickleball paddles will be the right options for price and quality that we can recommend when starting to help narrow down your search.
This pickleball paddle comes with a standard paddle length, grip, weight, and polymer core. The dual-layered graphite material on the face helps keep the paddle feel comfortable while not giving up on control. With a slightly wider face than average and polymer power core inside, you get good power and control for an entry-level paddle. The pickleball paddle weight ranging between 7.5-8.0 ounces makes for a friendly entry to pickleball.
2. Babolat XPLR
This Paddle is a great all-arounder while keeping comfort in mind. The grip is a small 4" circumference which helps it remain maneuverable for someone finding their grip style. This Pickleball paddle weight comes in between 7.6-7.9 ounces. The composite fiberglass face gives you just enough to play with some pop and spin. The polymer honeycomb core lets you play with a more modern experience.
This comes in at the lowest price of the three but that doesn't mean it's lower quality. The Selkirk SLK Latitude Paddle is a well-rounded pick for beginner players who want quality, balance, and comfort. The slightly wider graphite layered face gives new players a bigger sweet spot for a great experience putting pickleball balls away. Unique for an entry-level pickleball paddle, the handle length being longer helps if you are trying a two-handed ( using your other hand) backhand. For getting into pickleball this is a great place to start for not a lot of money.
Best Pickleball Paddles for Spin, Power & Control
Here are the best Pickleball paddles for SPIN
1. Head Gravity
This Pickleball Paddle is one of the best among composite paddles; Its surface provides great topspin while having a larger sweet spot than most paddles. while being a bit head heavy the pop and spin on this paddle feel great because it doesn't sacrifice too much control to get that much spin. Its Teardrop face makes for a comfortable hitting surface while having a thicker core for great feel and power.
My favorite out of Babolat's paddle families, the Monster touch is the lighter paddle of the two offerings in the Monster line. The paddle weight we found to not be a large issue when handling heavier shots. The face and texture are what we found best about this paddle. It's a mix between carbon fiber and fiber glass making for a nice spin friendly surface with good ball control. A great light paddle with a focus on spin. Even if you have a slower swing this will be an easy paddle to help you hit the pickleball.
The textured graphite face on this paddle is meant to give you more control and while it does, we have found that it gives a very predictable spin which allows you to place your shots with great spin. The edge guard on this paddle is especially nice for dampening vibrations from off-center shots. The grip length being 5 1/4" makes for comfortable reach.
Here are the best Pickleball paddles for POWER:
What draws this paddle into the power category unlike the touch is the paddle weight. This heavier paddle gives you good heft and plows through on the pickleball. Its thicker core gives you more power on your shots while the face being carbon and fiberglass helps add spin to that power. Being a head heavy paddle if you find you have a slower swing then be careful giving this paddle a try.
The polymer blend core in this paddle has been made thicker which has been a great surprise for extra power on a paddle that was already a great all-around paddle. The face on this paddle is 1/4" larger, this makes a larger sweet spot. The power from the paddle helps with giving pickleball balls depth.
The LH in the name stands for Long Handle and changing that one part makes it feel like a completely different paddle. This pickleball paddle has a longer handle which has carved out a niche that makes this great for people coming from other racquet sports like tennis. The main use of the longer handle is to support a two-handed backhand. The highlight of this paddle is the grip; by making the grip longer the weight of this paddle has been shifted and has a larger swing weight, giving more power behind shots.
Here are the best Pickle paddles for CONTROL:
- Selkirk AMPED S2 X5 Fiberflex
This pickleball paddle has the largest face out of Selkirk's Amped paddles and it is our pick for a great control paddle. The Fiberflex (fiberglass) face allows the pickleball to sit on the paddle for longer and lets you place your shots with great accuracy. The X5 core inside gives this paddle a consistent shot while giving you access to easy power for putting balls away.
In search of an elongated pickleball paddle with extra reach and a higher sweet spot? The Tempest Reign Pro not only does this well but is our pick for these features. The weight of this paddle can range between 7.5 ounces to 8.0 which makes it a very comfortable static and swing weight. The core in this helps with the touch and feel to help you place your shots where you want them. The paddle length matched with a comfortable weight comes together to give a paddle with excellent touch feel and control.
When we think of a control pickleball paddle we look for a good core thickness and a good blend of face materials like graphite and fiberglass to give enough grip on the pickleball to make placing our shots an afterthought. The Bantam TS-5 Pro brings all of that to the table. It also comes in different grips for larger or smaller hands.
Pickleball Paddle Buyer's Guide conclusion
The points above will not only help you pick the best pickleball paddle they will also help you search for different paddles if you ever want to change up your playstyle. With a quality paddle, your own experience with pickleball will become more enjoyable and makes it easier to make pickleball something to stick with. Pickleball is one of the growing sports and with that growth we can fill pages on pages of all of the different things to consider.
Hopefully, all of the information above has been made so you can shop with more purpose when you are picking the paddle for you. We understand from our experience with other racquet sports that the equipment can give make your experience better while also giving you an edge in a more competitive sense. If you choose to shop with us online or come into our local shop we are more than happy to help. If you want to stay posted with us on Pickleball and other racquet sports you can subscribe to our newsletter, and join it to bring our local shop to you!