A Definitive Guide to the Best Pickleball Paddles

There are two basic things you need to play pickleball: unique plastic balls with holes and pickleball paddles. We prepared a guide for anyone who wants to know more about how paddles are made, what parameters are essential, and how to choose the right paddle for your playing level.

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Every Player – Our Choice

niupipo Pickleball PaddleGamma Sports 2.0 Pickleball PaddlesHEAD Radical Pro Pickleball Paddle
for beginners
low-weight
for beginners and intermediate players
mid-weight
for advanced players
mid-weight
Composite Pickleball Racket
Polyproylene Honeycomb Core
Textured Graphite or Fiberglass Surface
Honeycombed Aramid Core
Durable Flush-Fit Edge Guard
Firm Honeycomb Grip
Fiberglass hitting surface
Extreme Spin Texture on the face for increased spin and shot placement
Polypropylene honeycomb core
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Content:
Paddles Sizes
Material Used
What is important to know before the purchase
– Weight
– Grip Size
– Shape
– Edge or No Edge
– Price
The Best Pickleball Sets for Starters
The Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners and Intermediate Players
The Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players

What do rules say about pickleball paddles size?

The official regulation describes the maximum sizes of paddles that can not be exceeded. The size should be less than 24 inches (60.96 cm) combined. Combined means that the length plus width of your paddle could not be more than 24 inches. The regulation also says that the length should not exceed 17 inches (43.18 cm). The thickness of the paddle is not regulated.

Standard pickleball paddles are usually around 15.75 inches (40 cm) long and 8 inches (20.32 cm) wide. However, anything that is in line with the rules stated above is okay. That caused a lot of producers are also selling elongated paddles that are 17 inches long, and the width is just 7 inches to obey the rules.

For starters, I would recommend standard-sized paddles as an entry point to the pickleball.

What material is used for pickleball paddles?

Three primary materials are used for paddles: wood, composite, and graphite.

Wood was the original material used by the game founders, and you can still find a lot of wooden paddles in the shops. The advantages of wooden paddles are their robust structure and durability. They can withstand a lot of falls or hits. Thanks to the lower price, wooden paddles are an ideal solution for schools or clubs with a high turnover of recreational players.

They are heavier, and shots with wooden paddles are sharper. The weight is also one of the disadvantages as it can be a burden to your wrist and elbow. Wood paddles are not suitable for players who prefer control over the ball and use a lot of spins.

Composite is the most used material in paddles for beginners and also advanced players. The core is either from aluminum, polymer, or carbon fiber. Composite paddles are lighter, and the textured surface enables better control of the ball. Intermediate and advanced pickleball players most use polymer and carbon fibers paddles.

Graphite paddles are the most expensive and also the most preferred by professional pickleball players. These paddles are essential made with composite core with a thin layer of graphite added on the face of the paddle. They are still light as composite one, and graphite adds crisp response and better control over the ball.

What is essential when buying the pickleball paddle

There are three basic parameters you need to consider before purchase. The decision about weight, grip, and the price will direct you to the best pickleball paddle for you. There are also other two parameters (shape, edge, or edgeless) I will mention, but they are not as crucial for the recreational players.

Weight

The most crucial factor is the weight of the paddle. Generally, it varies from 6 oz (170 g) to 14 oz (396 g), but standard paddles weigh from 7 oz (198 g) to 9 oz (255 g).

Paddles with weight below 7.3 oz are called light-weight, with the weight between 7.3 and 8.4 oz are called mid-weight, and paddles with the weight above 8.4 oz are called heavy-weight.

Light-weight paddles offer better control of the ball, better maneuverability, and players’ elbow and wrists are less exposed. On the contrary, you will need better swing for shots, and you will miss some power and ability to shoot long, hard shots from the baseline.

Heavier paddles offer more power, less effort to shoot long and hard shots. On the contrary, you will miss an excellent control of the ball, and your elbow and wrists will be more stressed.

In simplicity, the decision about the paddle weight is the decision between power and control. Therefore, beginners and recreational players usually start and play with mid-weight paddles. It is the best choice as it combines the advantages of light and heavy paddles and also suppresses the disadvantages of them. Later, you can always switch to the paddle that better suits your playing style. However, most pickleball players use mid-weight paddles.

Grip size

Grip size is the second most important technical parameter. It is the same as with any other racquet sport. Depending on the size of your hand, you need to choose the right size of the handle. The most common and sold sizes are  4 1/4, 4 3/8, 4 1/2 inches. If you are not sure what grip size you need, check our grip size advisory tool here. Or buy the paddle with smaller grip size, and you can always use overgrip tape for fine-tuning.

Shape

The standard size and shape of the paddle is around 15.75 inches (40 cm) length and 8 inches (20.32 cm) width. I recommend to use standard paddle before you try elongated or wide-body paddle.

Edge or No Edge

The standard paddles have the guarding around the paddle body. The thin layer of more durable material (the edge) protects the paddle from chipping in case of drops or hits to the court surface.

“Edgeless” paddles do not have this layer for protection, and therefore the playing surface of the paddle is enlarged to the maximum. Some professional players use paddles with no edges, but I would not recommend it to recreational ones.

Price

Pickleball is not an expensive sport. The paddles can be bought as low as $15. The standard-sized mid-weight paddles with a polymer core and graphite face texture are available from $30 to $70. Paddles for advanced players start at $90, but the most expensive ones can cost more than $140.

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Every Player

Best Pickleball Paddles Sets for Beginners

The sets are an inexpensive way how to start with pickleball. The sets usually include 2 or 4 paddles, 4 or 8 balls, and some of them also have net for pickleball. The set with the net is suitable for those who want to play in their garden or public park. Most of the sets include wooden paddles, but some of them offer paddles with a polymer core and graphite layer.

Amazin' Aces Pickleball Paddle SetAmazin' Aces Pickleball Paddle SetPickleball Diller Tournament Net Set
4 Wood Pickleball Paddles
4 Pickleballs
1 Carry Bag
2 Graphite Pickleball Paddles
4 Balls
1 Mesh Carry Bag
Metal Frame + Net
4 Wood Paddles
4 Balls
Rules Sheet
Carry Bag
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Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners and Intermediate Players

When you mean it seriously with pickleball, you should invest a little bit in your paddle. You should replace the wooden paddle with the composite one. Fortunately, prices are still very affordable, with most of the paddles at prices around $50.

niupipo Pickleball PaddleGamma Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddlesniupipo Graphite Pickleball Racket
for beginners
low-weight
for beginners and intermediate players
mid-weight
for beginners and intermediate players
mid-weight
Composite Pickleball Racket
Polyproylene Honeycomb Core
Textured Graphite or Fiberglass Surface
Honeycombed Aramid Core
Durable Flush-Fit Edge Guard
Firm Honeycomb Grip
Graphite Carbon Fiber Face
Polypropylene Honeycomb Core
Ultra Cushion
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Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players

Paddles for advanced and professional players are the most expensive. You can find paddles below $100, but most of the top models are well above $100. The paddles are usually on the top range of mid-weight paddles and use the most advanced materials.

HEAD Radical ProOnix Evoke PremierSelkirk Amped
for advanced players
mid-weight
for advanced players
mid-weight
for advanced players
mid-weight
Fiberglass hitting surface
Extreme Spin Texture on the face for increased spin and shot placement
Polypropylene honeycomb core
Atomic13 Edge Technology (to disperse shock while increasing power and swing-speed to the paddle)
DF Composite face
Polypropylene honeycomb core
AMPED technology for the larger sweet spot
X5 Polypropylene Polymer Core
FiberFlex fiberglass face design
Recommended for playing singles.
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Posted in Pickleball, Pickleball Paddles, Reviews and tagged , .

Tennis Pro Guru

Simon is the leading editor of TennisProGuru.com from 2015. He is an avid tennis player from age of 5, however, he never reached the pro level. Still, he likes playing tennis on different courts, with different rackets, and against different opponents. In his free time, you can find him watching all possible tennis matches he can find on the web or tv. Challenger or Grand Slam? It does not matter, just tennis matters.

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