Are you interested in playing pickleball? If so, the first thing you’ll need to do is purchase a paddle. But don’t just buy any paddle!
The first few times that I played pickleball I had no idea what to look for in a pickleball paddle, so I borrowed paddles from friends, just to get a feel for the different options that were out there.
There are so many things to consider when purchasing your first pickleball paddle. I put together this guide to give you the information you need to make an informed decision and purchase the perfect pickleball paddle for your game.
With the right information, choosing a pickleball paddle will be a lot easier. You’ll actually have an idea of what to look for and what factors are most important to you personally when making your purchase.
So don’t wait any longer! Take a look at this guide now and I’m pretty confident you’ll be on your way to picking out the perfect paddle for your next (or first) game of pickleball.
When it comes to pickleball paddles, paddle weight is one of the most important factors. Pickleball paddles come in a few different weights and you’ll want to determine which is best for your game.
Paddle weight is a major factor in determining how quickly and accurately the ball will move when hit towards your opponent’s court. Some people like playing with a light and quick paddle while others prefer a heavier paddle for a more balanced swing speed.
Your paddle’s weight can have a big impact on how well you play. The perfect pickleball paddle for you will depend on the type of game that you’re interested in playing!
If you’re looking for a paddle that offers more speed and agility, then you’ll want to look at lightweight pickleball paddles. Lightweight paddles usually weigh 7.6 oz or less and are best for players who have shorter swings or require extra mobility during volleys.
Paddles that are lighter in weight offer more control and are ideal for players who like to focus on touch shots and drop shots.
Typically weighing between 7.7-8.3 oz, a medium-weight paddle offers a nice combination of both power and control. They are well-balanced and perfect for all kinds of playing styles.
They’re good for serving or volleying the ball with more power than lightweight paddles, but you still have control for finesse shots at the net.
At 8.4 ounces or heavier, heavyweight pickleball paddles offer the most power, with the trade-off being less control. These pickleball paddles are ideal for players who need more mass to generate more power. However, they may be too heavy for some people who lack upper body strength.
If you’re more of a singles player, then you may prefer a heavier paddle because it is played in a style similar to tennis singles, where power usually defeats finesse. In pickleball singles, dinks and drop shots aren’t used as often as they are in doubles pickleball.
Choosing the Right Weight
Choosing the right weight paddle will depend on your playing style and preferences, as well as how much power you need when hitting shots. Weighing all these factors together should help you determine what pickleball paddle weight is best for you.
Choosing the right weight for your game can be tricky. There is no one size fits all choice.
If you’re unsure what weight to go for, you should start with a mid weight paddle to get a feel for the weight and how it plays. You can then decide if you need a heavier or lighter paddle depending on your playing style.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to find the perfect paddle weight for your pickleball game.
The shape of a pickleball paddle is another important factor that you’ll need to consider when purchasing one. Different shapes offer different levels of control and spin on the ball, so it’s essential to find the right paddle shape for your game.
In order to find the right paddle for your needs, you’ll need to understand the different shapes and what they offer.
The standard pickleball paddle shape is the most popular and offers a great combination of control, power, and touch. These paddles are typically between 15-15 ¾” long and 8” wide and come with a variety of grip lengths ranging from 4 ½” to 5 ¼”.
This traditional paddle shape is great for players that want a balanced game as it offers good control with plenty of power to put on the ball. If you’re looking for an all-around paddle that will help you up your pickleball game, then this is the ideal option for you.
Elongated pickleball paddles are becoming increasingly popular, since they offer a longer reach for players and more power on their shots. These paddles have a length of 16″ or longer with the same grip size options as standard paddles.
If you’re looking for a paddle that will give you an edge over your opponents in terms of reach and power, then an elongated paddle is definitely worth considering. However, these elongated paddles do require a strong technique to master, so they may not be the best option for beginners.
Blade paddles are the most distinctive paddle shape that you’ll encounter. They tend to be quite long and thin, which makes them a go-to option for singles players. Some blades are nearly 17 inches in length and offer a small sweet spot near the top of the hitting surface.
Because of this compact sweet spot, beginners might find this paddle shape difficult to use. Another group that often chooses blade paddles is tennis players who are transitioning into pickleball as they appreciate the extra length these paddles provide.
Teardrop pickleball paddles have a more rounded shape compared to other types of paddles. The weight in the teardrop paddle is evenly distributed, which helps extend the sweet spot further up the paddle face. In general, this type of paddle offers an extensive and wide sweet spot, something that beginners will especially appreciate.
These paddles are slightly heavier than other pickleball paddle shapes. This weight can help you generate more spin and power on your shots, something that advanced players will appreciate. The teardrop shape is also great for touch shots. So, if you’re looking for a pickleball paddle with a nice balance of power and control then this is the one for you.
Another popular paddle shape among pickleball players are wide body paddles. These paddles typically measure 8 inches or more in width and a shorter length of around 15.5 inches. This makes them easier to control and helps you keep more shots in play.
This design is great for beginners because it offers the largest sweet spot and plenty of maneuverability, but at the sacrifice of reach and power.
Grip size is an important factor when choosing the right pickleball paddle for your game. Grip sizes range from 4.0″ to 4.5″ and having a grip size that’s too big or too small can lead to elbow problems as well as less control of your shots.
Having the proper grip size is critical if you want to perform your best during pickleball. Generally, it’s better to start with a grip size that’s on the smaller side and then increase it if you don’t feel comfortable.
If a player is using the incorrect grip size, their comfort and performance will suffer as they overcompensate.
How do you choose the right size grip?
It’s important to find the grip size that provides you with the most comfortable and secure grip on your pickleball paddle. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to determine what grip size is best for you!
Based on Your Height
Although this grip size method is the least accurate, it’ll give you a decent estimate to start with.
- Under 5’3″: Your grip size will probably be around 4.0″
- Between 5’4” and 5’9”: Your grip size will range from 4.125″ to 4.25″
- Taller than 5’9”: Your grip size will be around 4.5″
You can see why this method could easily be off. If you are shorter but have larger hands than typical or vice versa then you could end up with a grip size that isn’t great for you. You’re really just using averages across the population to come up with an estimate.
The Index Finger Test
Start by holding a paddle with an Eastern pickleball paddle grip. This grip is formed when the palm of your hand is placed against the same side of the handle as the face of the paddle. Place the index finger of your opposite hand in the area between your fingertips and the palm of your hand.
If you cannot fit your index finger into that gap, then the grip is too small. On the other hand, if there is a lot of space between your fingertips and palm then the grip is too big.
Measure Your Hand
This method will be the most accurate way to determine grip size. You will need a ruler or a measuring tape.
Hold your hitting hand up facing you and measure the distance from the second (lower) horizontal crease in your palm to the tip of your ring finger. Place the ruler so that it is parallel to your ring finger and measure from that crease on your palm to the tip of your ring finger. That measurement will be your ideal grip size.
Paddle Core Material
This is one of the most important aspects of paddle technology. When pickleball was first invented, wood paddles were the only option. Today however, core materials have been revolutionized. Manufacturers are using high-tech materials that are light, strong, and durable such as aluminum, graphite composites, carbon fiber and Kevlar (the same material used on rocket ships).
These materials help the paddle last longer and make it easier to control the power and spin of your shots. It also helps reduce vibration, which gives you a better feel when hitting the ball. This is especially important for those just starting out, as it allows them to learn how to control the paddle.
Below we do a deep dive into the most common core materials.
An aluminum core is extremely lightweight and feature a honeycomb design, making them easy to maneuver. They also provide good control and touch to your shots. However, keep in mind that if you’re playing in an area with where noise is an issue, this paddle material will be louder than other materials.
Aside from the lack of power, there is another upside to aluminum cores. Aluminum paddle cores are very durable and resistant to dings and scratches. This is why many players opt for an aluminum paddle as it’s able to withstand repeated impact.
Finally, aluminum paddles are usually the most affordable option. If you’re looking for an entry-level paddle and don’t want to invest too much money, aluminum paddle cores may be the way to go.
So, if you’re in the market for a lightweight paddle with great control and spin potential, then an aluminum core paddle should work for you.
Nomex paddle cores, on the other hand, have been around since the mid-1980s. This material offers superior power potential compared to aluminum and polymer core materials.
The most notable difference between a paddle with an aluminum core and one with a Nomex core is the power potential. If you’re looking for a paddle that will generate more pop while sacrificing some control, then a Nomex core might be the way to go.
Another thing to keep in mind if you’re concerned with noise, Nomex paddle cores are even louder than aluminum paddle cores when making contact with the ball. This means that they’re not ideal for playing in areas where noise is an issue.
Finally, Nomex is often used in aerospace and industrial applications because it is lightweight, durable, and flexible. Nomex core pickleball paddles are also popular among singles players because they provide speed and power.
Polymer core paddles are the most common core material used in pickleball paddles today. This paddle core material was first used by paddle manufacturers in the late 1980s and is a great option for pickleball players of all skill levels.
The design of polymer paddle cores consists of large honeycomb cells that offer soft-touch, maximum control to any shot, and is the quietest paddle core material. Due to this, polymer paddle cores are great for players who want a paddle that provides excellent power and spin potential with minimal effort.
Plus, polymer paddle cores offer good durability so you don’t have to worry about it denting or scratching easily. But if you’re looking for a paddle on a budget, polymer paddle cores may not be your first choice because they are usually the most expensive paddle core materials.
If you’re just starting out in pickleball and want to get maximum control with great feel, then you’ll definitely want to consider polymer core paddles. The combination of power, spin, control, feel, and quietness make polymer paddle cores ideal for players of all levels.
Paddle Face Material
The hitting surface is the part of the paddle that makes contact with the ball, and it plays a big role in determining how the paddle performs. For example, a paddle with a softer hitting surface will offer more control, while a paddle with a harder hitting surface will provide more power.
Similarly, a paddle with a textured surface will provide more spin, while a paddle with a smooth surface will be more forgiving.
As you can see, the material used in the paddle face can have a significant impact on playability, so it’s important to choose wisely.
An aluminum face offers a lightweight feel and it’s an inexpensive option compared to other paddle face materials. These paddles are often used by beginners or recreational players that are looking for an affordable way to play the game.
However, if you plan on playing long term, you may want to consider skipping aluminum paddles in favor of a more expensive, higher-quality option that offers more benefits for your game. Despite their drawbacks, paddles with an aluminum face are still a popular choice for many players since it’s a light paddle at a low cost.
If you’re looking for a paddle with a little extra oomph, then you may want to consider one with a carbon fiber face.
Carbon fiber’s strength-to-weight ratio is making it a go-to material for paddle manufacturers. In other words, it’s lighter than other paddle materials but just as strong (if not stronger!). This makes it ideal for power players who want to generate a lot of force without tiring out their arms.
Carbon fiber paddles also tend to be very durable, so they’re perfect for players who are hard on their gear. So if you’re looking for a paddle that can give you extra power and durability, then a carbon fiber paddle may be the right choice for you!
Composite pickleball paddles are some of the most popular on the market for a reason – they offer power, durability, and spin in a mid-weight paddle that is perfect for all levels of play. If you’re looking for an all-around great paddle, composite is the way to go.
Durability is one of the composite’s best features – it can withstand aggressive play and repeated contact with the ball without showing wear. Power players will appreciate the composite’s ability to generate a lot of force, while spin players will love the tacky surface that provides extra control.
No matter your playing level or playing style, composite paddles are a great choice!
Graphite is a lightweight and soft material that will help you to put touch on your shots and hit with excellent control, two skills that are very important when playing pickleball.
Graphite paddles have a very thin layer of graphite on top of the paddles’ core, which results in a much lighter paddle, even approaching 7.0 ounces in weight. These paddles are a ideal for players who want a light paddle with more control.
If you’re the type of players who wants to swing easy and feel the ball like never before, then graphite paddles are the way to go!
Choosing a hybrid paddle face can offer players the best of all worlds. Hybrid paddles are made with a combination of materials, such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, composite, and graphite.
This allows manufacturers to create a custom formula that focuses on certain characteristics.
For example, some paddles may be designed for power while others may be designed for spin or control. This makes hybrid paddles an ideal choice for all players, regardless of their playing style.
In addition, hybrid paddles are often lighter than traditional paddles, making them easier to maneuver on the court. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that a hybrid paddle surface is becoming increasingly popular among players of all levels.
One of the most overlooked decisions might be whether to have an edge guard on your paddle. An edge guard is a strip of plastic, rubber, or other material that wraps around the facing of the paddle.
Its purpose is twofold: to help keep the paddle from chipping, and to add durability in case the paddle scrapes the ground.
One of the biggest benefits of an edgeless paddle is that it eliminates the chance of the ball being miss hit if it hits off the edge guard. This can be a major issue with traditional paddles, as the ball can often ricochet off the edge guard and into the net or out of bounds.
However, edgeless paddles are more susceptible to damage. So, if you’re more interested in longevity and durability, then an edge-guarded paddle is probably a better bet.
The typical price for a pickleball paddle ranges from $30 to $200. While there are some less expensive options on the market, these paddles are usually of lower quality and may not last as long.
How much should I spend on a pickleball paddle?
For beginners who would like to get better at the sport, it is often best to purchase a mid-range paddle that will be durable enough to withstand regular use. As players become more advanced, they may want to upgrade to a higher-end paddle that offers greater control and power.
Ultimately, the best paddle for each player is one that fits their budget and their playing style as outlined in the article above.
Check out a list of the best pickleball paddles on the market!
What pickleball paddle is best for tennis elbow?
There are a few things to consider when choosing a pickleball paddle if you’re concerned about tennis elbow.
- Paddle weight is very important. A heavy paddle will mean more strain on the arm and more vibration from poor shots.
- Consider how often and how long you play pickleball. The longer and more often that you play, the higher your volume of swings will be.
- Take into account the thickness of your handle. The best choice would be a lighter pickleball paddle with a thicker handle. This will help to reduce the strain on your elbow.
Finally, don’t forget to warm up before getting into an intense game! By following these tips, you can help to reduce your risk of developing tennis elbow.
Is a heavier or lighter pickleball paddle better?
Pickleball paddles come in a variety of weights, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Lighter paddles offer better swing speed and control, making them ideal for players who want to place the ball exactly where they want it to go. However, lighter paddles lack power, making them less effective for players who are looking to put some extra oomph behind their shots.
Heavy paddles offer more power at the expense of control, making them ideal for players who want to generate a lot of pace on their shots. However, heavy paddles can be difficult to control, and they can also be tiring to use over the course of an entire match.
Mid weight paddles offer the best of both worlds, combining good power with excellent control. As a result, mid weight paddles are often the paddle of choice for competitive players.
What is the difference between a cheap and expensive pickleball paddle?
When it comes to pickleball paddles, you generally get what you pay for. Cheap paddles are often made from lower-quality materials, and they don’t tend to hold up as well over time. They also tend to be less comfortable to use, with less padding on the handle and a smaller sweet spot.
In contrast, expensive paddles are made from higher-quality materials and are designed for durability and comfort. They also tend to have a larger sweet spot, making them easier to use.
Of course, not everyone needs or wants an expensive paddle, but if you’re serious about the game, it’s worth investing in a quality paddle that will last.
Choosing the right paddle can help you improve your game, but don’t get too caught up in the details. We’ve spent some time reviewing a few things you should keep in mind in order to select the paddle that is right for you.
First, consider your skill level and playing style. If you are a beginner, you may want to choose a paddle with a wider face so that you can make more contact with the ball. If you are an experienced player, you may want a smaller face for more control.
Second, consider the weight and balance of the paddle. Heavier paddles tend to have more power, while lighter paddles offer more control and maneuverability.
Ultimately, the best way to choose a pickleball paddle is to find one that feels comfortable and allows you to enjoy the game. With so many great options on the market, there is sure to be a perfect paddle for everyone.
Now that you know a little more about pickleball paddles, it’s time to get out there and have some fun!
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide on choosing a pickleball paddle for yourself! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.