There are a lot of factors to consider when picking out a pickleball paddle. From weight and grip size to shape and material, many options exist. And with all the new paddle technology and different brands on the market, it can take time to figure out where to start. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. This article will break down the six most popular pickleball paddles on the market and help you find the perfect one for your game.
How do you pick the right pickleball paddle?
Paddle weight is an essential factor to consider when choosing a paddle. A light paddle is easier to swing and generate speed with, but it will have less power behind it. A heavier paddle will be more challenging to swing, offering powerful shots but a loss of control.
The size of the grip is also essential. If the grip is too small, you’ll have difficulty holding on to the paddle. If the grip is smaller, you can generate as much power. It’s crucial to find a grip size that’s comfortable for you and allows you to create enough energy behind your swing.
The shape of the paddle is also essential. The two most common shapes are teardrop and traditional. Teardrop paddles have a more aerodynamic shape, allowing for power and spin, and traditional paddles are more rectangular and offer more control.
Graphite vs. fiberglass, which one is better? Read our full post to find out.
Paddle Material & Grip
The paddle material is also important; polymer, Nomex, and aluminum are the three most common materials.
Paddle grip size is also a factor to take into account. A smaller grip size will make it difficult to hold on to the paddle for an extended period, while a grip that is too large can make it hard to generate power.
You can add a contour or cushioned grip to your handle for a better fit and a customized paddle. Finding a grip size that is comfortable for you and allows you sufficient power when playing is important. Check out our full post on choosing a pickleball grip.
Why having a good pickleball paddle matters
Comfort while playing for hours on end, having the right weight, and finding a style that fits your game are just a few reasons why having a good pickleball paddle matters.
Paddles also come in different shapes and sizes to customize your playing experience. Try out a few other paddles before purchasing if you have never played before. Brands like Onix, Engage, and Paddletek offers a variety of paddle options for every type of player.
A paddle core material can reduce vibration in your hand to avoid injury and offer different levels of power and feel. Some companies even provide return policies if you are still looking for your new paddle. Be sure to research the different types of paddles available and find one that fits your budget and playing style.
The weight, grip length, shape, and material of the paddle are all important factors to consider. Paddles also range in price, so be sure to find one within your budget.
Read Next: Pickleball Paddle Dimensions.
Most Popular Budget Paddles
HEAD Extreme Tour Middleweight Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
The HEAD Extreme Tour is a great all-around paddle that offers power, control, and maneuverability. It has a large sweet spot and is made of carbon fiber, making it one of the market’s best mid-weight paddles. The Extreme Tour is a great option for those who want a budget-friendly paddle that performs well.
GAMMA Twister Lightweight Composite Pickleball Paddle
The Twister, GAMMA’s lightest paddle yet, comes in at only 7.4oz on average. It also has PolyCore tech and graphics printed directly onto the paddle face instead of decals. The paddle surface gives players more control over their shots and increases placement accuracy. The Twister is an excellent choice for those who want a lightweight, budget-friendly paddle.
Prince Response Pro Middleweight Composite Pickleball Paddle
Response Pro’s rounded paddle is an innovation in pickleball. The large sweet spot with a soft touch allows players to generate power while maintaining control over the direction and speed of their swings. Many pro players have used the Response pro on their tour-winning runs, making it one of the best-selling pickleball paddles on the market.
Additionally, players have an increased grip on Response Pro paddles thanks to the thick polymer core. The Prince Response Pro is an excellent choice for those who want a mid-priced paddle that offers power and control.
Paddletek Tempest Wave II Lightweight Carbon Fiber
The textured graphite surface of the Tempest PolyCore provides easy ball placement and delivers excellent spin control. The integrated graphite technology dampens vibrations for a more pleasant game experience with less stress on your hands. The added control and quicker reaction time around the net is noticeable.
JOOLA Simone Jardim Hyperion 16mm Heavyweight Carbon Fiber
Hyperion’s thick heavyweight paddle has impressive control and maximum power. I love this Joola paddle; the carbon friction surface allows you to put an extreme spin on the ball with the perfect amount of ball control. Seamless carbon fiber face for a consistent feel and exceptional power, Joola Simone Jardim Hyperion is one of the most powerful paddles on the market. It has a 16mm core thickness that provides excellent ball control and spin while also delivering maximum power.
Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Epic Middleweight Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
After two years of development with top sports professionals, the VANGUARD Power Air has arrived! This paddle addressed professional players’ need for spin and power. With its superior performance and maximum spin, the VANGUARD Power Air allows full-court control. Yet durable, this paddle’s carbon fiber face ensures exceptional power.
The VANGUARD Power Air is an excellent choice for those who want a high-end paddle that offers spin, energy, and control.
Things to Consider When Buying a New Paddle:
- The core material can reduce vibration and offer different levels of power and control. Polymer cores are the most popular pickleball paddles, but there are some significant price differences. You might find polymer cores in paddles that cost as little as $30 and others that cost upwards of $200. The more costly options use a durable polymer that doesn’t degrade quickly and provides a steadier feel across the entire face.
- The paddle face material will also affect your game, with various choices, from graphite paddles and carbon fiber to composite(fiberglass surface). I generally recommend composite/fiberglass for most people. It is budget-friendly and provides ball control, power, and shock absorption.
- Carbon fiber feels noticeably different from fiberglass and is more powerful. Carbon fiber is lightweight and rigid, meaning the ball’s energy at impact spreads throughout the face with a noticeable pop. This provides a quick reaction for players but takes away some touch.
- While a graphite paddle is a more affordable type of carbon fiber, it functions similarly with a cheaper price tag. Also, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a graphite and carbon fiber face if you put them side-by-side.
- The shape The paddle size will affect the sweet spot, power, and maneuverability. According to the rules, a combined length and width of 24 inches or less is allowed, including the edge guard and butt cap. The maximum length for a paddle is 17 inches. I will highlight three main characteristics of paddle shapes: Classic, Wide and Elongated.
- Classic: The classic paddle shape is what you would typically think of when picturing a pickleball paddle. It has a slightly longer length and smaller width with squared-off corners. Classic paddles offer maneuverability and spin capabilities and are easier to control. They have the smallest sweet spot but provide excellent ball control for players who have mastered their game.
- Wide-body: A wide-body paddle has a more prominent sweet spot and is easier to control than a classic paddle. They offer power but could be more maneuverable. Wide paddles are great for those who want to increase their game without sacrificing control.
- Elongated: Elongated paddles provide the largest sweet spot and the most power. They are less maneuverable than classic or wide-body paddles but offer more forgiveness on off-center hits. Elongated paddles are great for those who want to increase their power without sacrificing control.
- The paddle’s weight will also play a role in your game. Heavier paddles offer more power and stability, while lighter paddles are easier to maneuver. The average weight of a paddle is 6-9 ounces, with some going as high as 14 ounces. Most paddles above 9 oz are wood paddles and aren’t recommended. If you are starting, I suggest a medium weight paddle of around 8 ounces. As you get better, you can experiment with different weights or add more weight with lead tape to find what works best for you.
- The handle length is another important factor when choosing a new pickleball paddle. The paddle handle can range from 4.5 inches to 6 inches, as USAPA rules state that a paddle cannot be longer than 24 inches, including the handle. A shorter paddle face means a more extended handle, and vice versa.
- The handle should be long enough for your grip ball comfortably. If the handle is too short, you will not be able to generate the power you need to play effectively. A too-long handle can also be a problem, making it difficult to control the paddle. Finding a comfortable handle length is key when selecting a new paddle.
Is a Heavier or Lighter paddle better?
What is your style of play, power, or control? The weight of the paddle can affect both power and control. A heavier paddle provides power but can sacrifice control, while a lighter paddle does the opposite.
The sweet spot is finding a balance between power and touch that works for your playing style. Try out different weights to see what feels comfortable for you.
How do I know if my paddle weight is right?
The weight of the paddle can affect both power and feel. A heavier paddle provides power but can sacrifice control, while a lighter paddle does the opposite. The sweet spot is finding a balance between power and control that works for your playing style. Try out different weights to see what feels comfortable for you.
You can always add weight to a paddle with grip tape and lead tape if it is too light. If unsure, it’s better to air on the side of the more lightweight paddle as you can add weight but can’t take it away.
Taking Care of your New Paddle
How to take care of your paddle: Whether you have just purchased your first paddle or have been playing with one for years, it is essential to take care of it. Paddles are made of different materials, so it is important to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the suggested cleaning and storing. Most paddles come with a cover to protect them when you are not using them, usually marked as a free “gift.”
It is also important to regularly check your paddle for cracks or damage. If you notice any damage, it is best to replace it as soon as possible. Although before you buy your next pickleball paddle, check the manufacturer’s warranty because you may be eligible for a replacement.
Choosing a paddle is an overwhelming task; hopefully, we have given you insight into what to look for when making your next purchase. When starting, you might not need bells and whistles that come with higher-end paddles. I suggest a paddle you can grow into as you get more confident. You can upgrade to a paddle that fits your playing style as you get better.
Now that you know the different factors to consider when purchasing a pickleball paddle, it’s time to go out and find the perfect one. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which is right.
But by keeping in mind what type of player you are, how often you play, and your budget, you’re sure to find the best pickleball paddle for your needs. Have fun trying out all the different paddles until you find the one that feels right in your hand!
Check out this post: Selkirk Pickleball Paddles Full Break Down.
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What is the most popular pickleball paddle?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on player preference. However, some of the most popular paddles on the market include the Selkirk Sports Omni, Paddletek Phoenix, and Onix Pure 2.0.
What is the best pickleball paddle in 2022?
The best pickleball paddle in 2022 is Best Pickleball Paddle Overall: Selkirk Amped Epic.
Epic is Selkirk's top-of-the-line paddle and lives up to the hype. The ability to pick your weight makes it a great custom paddle with exceptional power. The large sweet spot and padded grip make it a great choice for players who want comfort with the best quality.
How do you know which pickleball paddle to buy?
There is no one answer to this question, as the best paddle for you depends on your playing style and preferences. However, some factors to consider when choosing a paddle include weight, grip size, balance, and sweet spot. We recommend trying out a few paddles before making a decision.
What is the difference between a cheap and an expensive pickleball paddle?
The materials used and the craftsmanship of an expensive paddle are usually superior to those of a cheap paddle. Expensive paddles offer more features and benefits, such as a more prominent sweet spot or better control.
How long does a pickleball paddle last?
With proper care, a pickleball paddle can last for many years. However, it is important to regularly check your paddle for cracks or damage and replace it if necessary. Most pickleball paddle manufacturers offer a guarantee on their products, so read the fine print before you purchase.
What is the best way to store a pickleball paddle?
The best way to store a pickleball paddle is in a cool, dry place. Paddles made of composite materials should not be stored in direct sunlight, as this can damage the paddle.
How often should I clean my pickleball paddle?
It would help if you cleaned your paddle after each use or at least once a week. Paddles made of different materials require different cleaning methods, so it is important to consult the manufacturer's instructions for the suggested cleaning method.
How much should I spend on a pickleball paddle?
How much you spend on a pickleball paddle depends on your budget and playing level. For beginners, spending a lot of money on a paddle is unnecessary, as you can upgrade to a more expensive paddle as you get better.
I'm a beginner. What type of paddle should I buy?
For beginners, it is best to buy a paddle that is comfortable and offers the features you need. You can upgrade to a more expensive paddle as you get better.
Is a thicker pickleball paddle better?
Thicker paddles offer power, while thinner paddles offer more control. The best paddle for you depends on your playing style and preferences.
What is the best grip size for a pickleball paddle?
The best grip size for a pickleball paddle depends on the size of your hand. A grip size of 4" -5" is comfortable for most people.
What is the difference between a graphite and an aluminum paddle?
Graphite paddles are lighter and offer more power, while aluminum paddles are heavier and offer more control. The best paddle for you depends on your playing style and preferences.