It wasn’t all that lengthy back when pickleball was freely specified as an edge sporting activity booked for retired people as well as informal gamers. Created in the summertime of 1965 off the shore of Washington, the video game called for just a paddle as well as 2 to 4 gamers, making it a racquet sporting activity much less complicated to try as well as take pleasure in than tennis. Years later on, pickleball expanded in appeal as well as today it stands as America’s fastest expanding sporting activity according to a 2022 record from the Sports as well as Physical Fitness Market Organization. With almost 5 million gamers in the U.S. alone, you as well might be lured to offer the sporting activity a shot, in which situation you’ll just require a paddle to start. As well as while there isn’t one paddle that’s best for every single gamer, the very best pickleball paddles will certainly aid you take pleasure in (as well as surpass) every suit.
Certainly, pickleball is preferred for factors past its reduced obstacle to access. Mixing components of tennis, tennis as well as Ping-Pong, the policies are instead basic, the court is little (it’s quarter of a tennis court) as well as, unlike tennis, it doesn’t take years of practice to play competitively. But as the most important piece of equipment in your bag, it’s imperative that you find a paddle that meets your needs.
While paddles look nearly identical from one model to the next, differences do exist—if you know what to look for. When distinguishing one paddle from the next, factors such as grip size, weight, shape and materials will impact your play. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This guide, which we’ve organized categorically based on every player’s needs, represents the best of the current pickleball paddle class. Read on to find the paddle that meets your needs and dominate every match.
How We Chose The Best Pickleball Paddles
When the time comes to invest in a pickleball paddle, you’ll quickly notice that options abound. Some paddles feature lightweight materials, others promote durability, and every paddle claims to be the best option when the time comes to up your game. With that in mind, we pored over expert opinions, online reviews and the latest in paddle technology to assemble a list of noteworthy options. From there, we considered each paddle’s weight, shape, length and construction to determine which paddles are worthy of the court, and which ones you can leave behind. This list represents the best paddles for players both casual and competitive, and it’s updated often for accuracy and integrity. It was last updated January 2023.
What To Consider When Buying In A Pickleball Paddle
Take a gander at the best pickleball paddles and you’ll notice that while each model looks nearly identical from one to the next, they’re not quite the same. In reality, a handful of factors differentiate one paddle from another, and how you blend these factors will dictate your play.
A heavier paddle (over 8 ounces) will add power and stability to every shot, but will come at the cost of speed. If you’re a beginner, consider investing in a lighter paddle (less than 8 ounces) that allows you to focus on control.
A paddle’s shape dictates its sweet spot, power and control. Elongated paddles (like the Head Radical Elite mentioned above) offer more power to help you drive shots, while a squared paddle has a bigger sweet spot and offers more control. The latter shape is better for a beginner.
Thickness refers to how thick the core of the paddle is. A thicker core (over 16 millimeters thick) offers a bigger sweet spot and greater potential for spins, which makes it harder for your opponent to return a shot. A thinner core (less than 16 millimeters thick) offers more power, but this comes at the cost of a smaller sweet spot and less control. Consider investing in a paddle with a thicker core if you’re new to the game, as this will allow you to control and place shots before settings your sights on power.
The length of the handle is largely a matter of preference. A shorter handle mimics the geometry of a Ping-Pong paddle, which gives you the opportunity to choke up on the grip, thereby reducing its rotational inertia to swing the paddle quicker, while a longer handle sacrifices some speed but plays a lot more like a tennis racket.
Fiberglass, graphite, carbon fiber—pickleball paddles are made with different materials that perform a bit differently in the midst of play. Beginner-to-intermediate paddles are usually made with fiberglass, while intermediate-to-advanced paddles are made with carbon fiber and graphite. Read on to discover out what differentiates these materials from one another, and how they might impact your play.
Is Graphite Or Fiberglass Better For Pickleball Paddles?
Fiberglass typically weighs more than graphite, but the added weight allows you to generate more power when smashing. Graphite, on the other hand, provides more control or finesse so you can place shots with accuracy. While pickleball paddles were once primarily made of wood, these modern materials deliver greater comfort, control and long-term durability, and both make for great options whether you’re new to the sport or looking to level up your game.
Which Pickleball Paddle Has The Largest Sweet Spot?
Pickleball paddles look slightly different from one model to the next in terms of their shape, and some feature larger sweet spots to improve accuracy and response. While there’s no single paddle with the largest sweet spot, models like the aforementioned Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro are longer than a traditional paddle to elevate the sweet spot.
It’s worth noting that Selkirk claims to offer a paddle with the largest sweet spot in the industry, the S2, so consider this option if you’re looking for a paddle that offers more reach—it’s perfect for singles players.
Is A Thicker Pickleball Paddle Better?
A pickleball paddle with a thicker core will provide greater shock absorption and offer more consistency, especially if you’re new to the game. Thicker paddles have become more popular in recent years as a result of the improved control and the reduced likelihood of the paddle twisting in your hand when a ball is struck near the edge.
Do Expensive Pickleball Paddles Make A Difference?
Not unlike the best pocket knives or a pair of award-winning hiking boots, more expensive pickleball paddles will offer a series of advantages that include improved consistency, accuracy and durability as a result of higher-quality polymers that won’t break down as easily over time.
That said, don’t assume your game will drastically improve simply because you picked up an expensive paddle. If you’ve never played pickleball before, consider investing in a budget- or beginner-friendly option that costs less but still offers consistency so you can focus on the basics before upgrading your paddle in time.
What Is A Good Price For A Pickleball Paddle?
Take one look at this list and you’ll notice that pickleball paddles come in a range of prices. Wooden paddles cost anywhere from $10-$30, composite paddles go for $30-$100 and those made with graphite or carbon fiber can run you up to $200. At the end of the day, the best price for a pickleball paddle comes down to your budget and ability. If you’ve never played before, consider investing in a composite paddle that’s less than $100. And if you’re looking to level up your game, paddles in the $100-$200 range should meet your demands without shedding an opening in your pocket.