When you’re thinking about your next pickleball paddle, an important consideration is choosing which material you want your paddle made with. There are various options available, from graphite pickleball paddles to composite or fiberglass options. In this guide, we take a look at the benefits of picking a graphite pickleball paddle, and what it will mean to your game. We review the best graphite pickleball paddles available today – ensuring you have everything you need to pick your next paddle.
When picking a graphite pickleball paddle, you’re guaranteed to get a paddle with a reactive face. In fact, the majority of adult pickleball players opt for graphite paddles for this very reason. One of the main benefits is a reactive face that creates a ‘pop’ when you strike the ball. This is caused by a thin layer of graphite on the paddle face that is built to be incredibly strong, durable and to create emphasis when playing any type of pickleball shot – whether that’s a smash, spin shot of dink.
As we run through our top graphite pickleball paddles guide, you will notice that the majority of graphite paddles sit in the medium weight ‘sweet-spot’ (7.3 – 8.4 ounces) and contain a honeycomb core that supports that graphite face is creating a reactive hitting surface. It’s this makeup which makes graphite pickleball paddles a favorite with many pro-competition players.
To check out more about graphite pickleball paddles before you think about buying, dive into our buying guide – otherwise let’s check out the best 5 graphite pickleball paddles on the market right now.
Top 5 Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Looking for graphite pickleball paddles with great touch, control, power and spin? Check out these amazing graphite pickleball paddles that have been given 5-star status by hundreds of pickleball players. No matter what paddle you opt for, we know you’re going to love your investment. We’ve also thrown in some carbon fiber faced paddles to show you paddle that will give you similar performance on-court.
1. Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle
The Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle tops our graphite pickleball paddles list at number one. This paddle is hands down one of the best pickleball paddles on the market. Made up of a graphite paddle face, and Nomex Honeycomb core the paddle gives you an extra edge on-court when it comes to striking any type of pickleball shot. Purchase this paddle without hesitation.
The Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle is a real gem. The Onix Z5 weight between 7.5 – 8.4 ounces, with an average weight of 7.9 ounces. This places the paddle firmly in the medium-weighted paddle ‘sweet-spot’. The Z5 measures 8-1/8″ across its broad paddle face, and has a standard 5″ long handle. This mix of attributes gives you ultimate control over the paddle, excellent movability around the court and a large hitting area on the paddle. The Onix Z5 also contains a 1/4″ overlapping edge guard that protects the paddle’s graphite face if you miss-hit against the floor.
Priced affordably under $100, it’s almost impossible to fault the Onix Z5 when reviewing graphite pickleball paddles. The paddle is used by some of the best players in the world and is available to buy in eight exciting colors.
If you are sitting on the fence when thinking about your next graphite pickleball paddle, the Onix Z5 graphite pickleball paddle is a great option that will give you what you need on-court.
- Graphite paddle face and reactive Nomex Honeycomb core create epic ‘pop’ when ball-striking
- Very well-balanced paddle, 7.9 oz average weight, 5″ handle, large sweet spot across 8-1/8″ wide paddle face
- Excellent value for money at affordable price point
2. Pro-Lite Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle
The second paddle on our graphite pickleball paddles list is the Pro-Lite Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle. Much like the Onix Z5, the paddle has a graphite paddle face, Nomex Honeycomb core, and an overlapping paddle guard. For players who prefer a lighter, slimmer paddle, the Magnum Stealth is our top graphite option.
The Pro-Lite Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle is lighter than many graphite paddles. The Magnum weighs between 6.6 – 7.5 ounces with an average paddle weight of 6.9 ounces (10 ounces lighter than the Onix Z5). In addition, the Magnum Stealth measures 7 3/4″ across the paddle’s face, making it slimmer than the Z5. While this means you lose a bit of emphasis hitting the ball hard, what you get in return is a lightweight paddle that gives you unrivaled maneuverability on-court. What’s more, the Magnum Stealth has a longer handle that measures 5 1/4″ long. This extra length in the paddle grip gives you a bit more reach around the court. Combining this with the light paddle weight, you get a paddle that can reach for balls in the kitchen and round the net with ease.
The Magnum Stealth is available in three exciting colorways, and in our opinion looks great. Again, priced under $100, this is an excellent paddle for anyone looking for a lightweight graphite pickleball paddle.
- Like the Onix Z5, the graphite paddle face, with Nomex Honeycomb core you get fantastic ‘pop’ off the paddle face
- Lighter than the Z5, the Magnum Stealth is an amazing paddle for anyone who likes to play with slim, lightweight paddles
- Excellent value for money at affordable price point
3. ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle
The ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle comes third on our graphite pickleball paddles list. The ProKennex Kinetic contains tungsten-filled chambers within its core that evenly distribute impact and minimize the impact on your joints. Unlike other graphite pickleball paddles that feature a Nomex Honeycomb core, the Kinetic Pro contains a Polypropylene, carbon-reinforced core with Kinetic Tungsten inlays.
The top reason that you buy the ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle is that it features some of the latest and best tech available today. The tungsten-filled core helps reduce the impact of playing with a graphite paddle on your elbows and wrists, without impacting performance. The ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed weighs between 7.9 – 8.2 ounces with an average paddle weight of 8.0 ounces. This makes it a very well balanced and comfortable paddle to hold.
The Kinetic Pro’s paddle face measures 7 5/8″ across and the grip length is 4 7/8″, again slightly slimmer than the Onix Z5. However, the paddle’s face and core will give you maximum control and comfort when playing shots. In fact, the paddle face contains extra ‘spin-grab’ built-in which helps you get greater curve and spin when playing close at the net or smashing at the back of the court.
The Kinetic Pro is available in three different colors and features an edgeless pickleball paddle design. This means you get greater hitting surface and a larger ‘sweet-spot’. Players like Steve and Jennifer Dawson used the Kinetic Pro during the US Open.
More expensive than the Magnum and Z5, the Kinetic Pro is a premium option. With that said, you will get a great edgeless paddle that will give you the ability to hit great shots, while protecting your joints in the long-term.
- Polypropylene, carbon-reinforced core with Kinetic Tungsten inlays protect against long-term joint injuries
- Edgeless design provides a larger sweet spot and hitting area
- Extremely well-balanced paddle with an average weight of 8.00 ounces
4. Pro-Lite Titan Pro Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddle
Fourth on our list is a carbon fiber faced paddle that performs up there with the best. The Titan Pro Black Diamon Series contains an extra-large hitting area, razor-thin edge guard and polymer core which provides a different, but equally powerful combination of attributes that will rival the best graphite pickleball paddles.
The Titan Pro Black Diamond pickleball paddle weighs between 7.6 – 8.3 ounces with an average paddle weight of 8.0 ounces. The Titan Pro’s paddle width is 7 5/8″ while the grip length is the same as the Onix Z5 measuring 5″. These mix of sweet-spot attributes give you balance and control with the paddle in-hand. The paddles edge is a specially designed razor-thin edge with a low profile. This thin edge makes the paddle more aerodynamic and gives you more control when hitting the ball off-center. Finally, the carbon fiber paddle face and polymer core give you the same ‘pop’ off the paddle as some of the top graphite pickleball paddle options, however the Titan Pro is quieter thanks to the polymer core.
Available in stealth black or five other colorways, the Titan Pro is a beautiful paddle to look at and will set you apart on-court. Priced between the Kinetic Pro Speed and the Z5/Magnum the Titan Pro is a great option if you’re looking to upgrade on a graphite face.
- Carbon Fiber paddle face with polymer core provides a graphite-like feel while dampening sound on-court
- Beautiful paddle to look at, available in stealth black or five other exciting colors
- Razor-thin edge gives better control when hitting off-center shots
5. Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle
The Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pro completes our best graphite pickleball paddles list. Recently launched as an upgrade to the much lover Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro, the Tempest Wave II contains torsion vibration control and grip dampening systems.
The standout features of the Tempest Wave II are the polymer core and textured graphite paddle surface which ‘grab’ the ball and provide greater control on impact. Unlike other paddles on this list, the polymer core contains torsion vibration control which reduces the impact on joints and gives you better ‘feel’ on-court. The Tempest Wave II weighs between 7.4 – 7.8 ounces with an average paddle weight of 7.6 ounces. This puts it comfortably in the middleweight paddle ‘sweet-spot’. What’s more, the paddle measures 8″ across and the paddle grip is 5 1/4″ long. This gives you a large hitting surface, with a handle that provides extra reach and the ability to play two-handed.
If you are looking for a viable alternative to the Magnum Stealth or Onix Z5 carefully consider the Tempest Wave II. This paddle is understated but an absolute winner when it comes to providing you with a middleweight paddle with brilliant control, touch and feel on-court. The polymer core helps to absorb noise and shock, giving you a different feel to a Nomex core – something we’re sure you’d love
Available in five colors, the Tempest Wave II looks great on-court and will get people talking.
- Contains torsion vibration control and grip dampening systems within paddle’s core
- 8″ paddle surface provides wide hitting area, 5 1/4″ handle gives greater reach and ability to play two-handed
- Understated but beautifully designed paddle, looks great on court
Graphite Pickleball Paddles Buying Guide
Now that we have guided you through the best graphite pickleball paddles around, let’s take a look at what to look out for when you buy your next graphite pickleball paddle.
To put it simply, there are some key things you should consider before you buy. Firstly, the material make-up of a paddle is important. There is the option to get a graphite paddle with a Nomex core, or alternatively you can change to a carbon fiber face which is becoming more normal on newer paddles.
Similarly, the paddle’s core will also change the feel of the paddle. Most graphite pickleball paddles feature a Nomex core, however, newer models are including specialized cores that reduce vibrations and noise. But it’s not just material you need to consider. Let’s dive into our graphite pickleball paddles buying guide to discuss further.
Pickleball paddles can be made using several types of materials. The material of a pickleball paddle also determines its deflective aspects.
Here are some of the materials commonly used to design pickleball paddles.
Polymer: A polymer pickleball paddle is made using a blend of resin and plastic. These are pretty lightweight, quiet and durable paddles that you can get at affordable prices. And, these are popularly used for casual matches held at clubs or in the neighborhood. However, polymer paddles aren’t really fit for professional use, as these are barely as sturdy as graphite or composite ones.
Graphite: A graphite pickleball paddle will typically perform well in almost every kind of match: be it casual or professional. It is lightweight and yet, significantly responsive, delivering highly controlled and balanced shots for a secure win. And if you want just the fair amount of dinks, then this is the material you should opt for. Graphite paddles provide a high degree of accuracy and a bigger sweet-spot that increases the number of shots for you.
Composite: This type of pickleball paddles are made using a mix of a few different materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, polymer surfaces, and UV-resistant vinyl. Composite paddles are highly durable options that are mostly used by professionals. These are also some of the most expensive ones in the market.
Wood: Wooden pickleball are the oldest versions ever. These are simple to use and are the most affordable ones. However, these may not be as functional as the other types. But, you could still use them for a fun, casual match, nevertheless. Recent designs may feature wrist straps and decent grips for ease of use.
Size of the paddle
The ideal size of a graphite pickleball paddle is to an extent driven by you. The majority of players will prefer to play with a well-balanced paddle that measures around 15-16″ in length. However, some players like to play with shorter paddles or elongated pickleball paddles that give you a longer paddle face. The benefit of an oversized paddle is that you get more hitting-surface, the ability to play with your finger/thumb on the paddle face, and more grab/whip when striking the pickleball ball. However, what you gain in size, you sacrifice in aerodynamics and maneuverability on-court.
For many, the ideal size of a graphite pickleball paddle is 15-16″ long with a paddle face between 7 1/4 – 8 1/4″ wide. The benefits of a slimmer paddle are that the paddle will move through the air more smoothly. However, wider paddles give you a massive sweet-spot to connect with the pickleball ball. If you are unsure, we’d recommend aiming for a paddle that measures between 15-16″ in length, and has a paddle face width around 8″.
If you like to grip the pickleball paddle with two-hands then grab a paddle with a longer handle length (5″+) – if this is less of a consideration, anything over 4 1/4″ in length will work for you.
Like paddle size, paddle weight comes down to player preference. Medium-weight paddles tend to weigh between 7.2 – 8.6 ounces. By investing in a middle-weight paddle, you will get a paddle that is easy to move with, easy to swing and that packs a punch when striking the pickleball ball. Players that pick out lighter weight paddles usually do so because they prefer a paddle that is lighter to move with and easier to swing. Big-hitters will sometimes opt for heavier paddles as they typically provide more power from the back of the court. Our advice is to invest in a middleweight paddle if you do not have any specific requirements.
According to the USAPA standards, pickleball paddles should never have a trampoline effect, for safety and performance reasons. Paddles that come with a higher deflection-rate will have more bounce within the paddle core. This type of paddle will generate more power requiring less effort. The drawback is that you will sacrifice some control over more intricate shots. Newer paddles combat this by incorporating specialized paddle core’s that dampen shock when ball striking. This ensures that you get the same ‘pop’ off the graphite paddle face while maintaining control over the most delicate shots.
The grip on the handle of a pickleball paddle significantly affects the accuracy of a shot. It is important to find a balanced handle length and a grip that fits your palm-size. Also, a decent handle-grip will keep the paddle from slipping during shots, which does make it a vital factor when considering which paddle to buy. The best grip lengths tend to sit between 4 1/4 – 5 1/4″ in length. If you are a player that likes to place two hands on the grip, we’d advise opting for a longer grip length that sits above 5″.
Edge-guards on pickleball paddles are great for protecting graphite pickleball paddles. They offer a robust edge to the paddle that prevents breakage and chipping on hard court surfaces. The downside to an edge-guard is that is can get in the way if you’re stretching for a ball and it catches the edge-guard. This has led many manufacturers to invest in providing edgeless pickleball paddles. Edgeless pickleball paddles give you more hitting area on the paddle but are more susceptible to damage.
If you are looking to buy a durable paddle that will last you for a long time, pick an edge-guarded paddle. There are some great options like the Titan Pro which has a razor-thin edge, or the Z5 which has an edge-guard that only overlaps onto the paddle by 1/4″. For edgeless pickleball paddles check out our top guide.
If price is a big consideration for you when choosing your next graphite pickleball paddle, then check out our cheap pickleball paddles guide. Whenever you buy a pickleball paddle, it’s important to weigh up your investment, with the quality of the paddle you’re buying. Whether you buy a graphite paddle of not, there are more affordable paddle options that provide plenty of quality when playing shots on the court. Likewise, there are more expensive options that can give you the latest technology and innovation that’s designed to enhance your game. The average price of a pickleball paddle sits around $100, at the top of the market you will pay $150-200, while cheaper alternatives that perform well can be picked up for $50-60 – these can be a great option for beginner pickleball players.
Picking the best graphite pickleball paddle is not easy. There is a lot to consider whenever you buy a pickleball paddle, especially with the amount of innovation that currently exists in the space. We hope that this detailed graphite paddle guide helps you make the right decision. If you’re still unsure, trust your instinct and grab a paddle that gives you a good feeling. Our advice in this circumstance is to opt for a medium-weighted paddle, with a well-balanced grip, paddle width, and price point. Until next time!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Graphite Pickleball Paddle?
Graphite pickleball paddles are traditionally constructed with a honeycomb core, and a graphite skin on both sides of the paddle. The graphite that sits on the face of the paddle is often very thin, which gives you a reactive paddle face that ‘pop’s the ball back at your opponent. Many of the world’s best pickleball players use a graphite pickleball paddle when they’re on-court. While the core material of the paddle might change, the common theme is a reactive graphite paddle face.
What are the benefits of a Graphite Pickleball Paddle?
The main benefits of a graphite pickleball paddle is that they are lightweight, durable, super reactive – making them suitable for all player types. Graphite pickleball paddles tend to vary in weight between 7 – 8 ounces, and provide superior ‘touch’ on-court allowing players to maximize their ball-striking potential. If you like a reactive paddle face that gives you more connection with the pickleball, a graphite pickleball paddle is likely right for you.
What is the difference between Graphite and Composite Pickleball Paddles?
Composite pickleball paddles tend to be heavier than graphite pickleball paddles. As such, you can generate more power with less effort using a composite paddle. The main reason for this is that a composite paddle is made from more than one material, like fiberglass or carbon-fiber. While more power is great, graphite pickleball paddles tend to be lighterweight, and more reactive. That means if you are looking for the classic ‘pop’ of a pickleball paddle that gives you a great connection with the pickleball, opt for graphite.
Why is there an edge of Graphite Pickleball Paddles?
Edge-guards are very important on graphite pickleball paddles. Graphite paddles tend to be very brittle, whereby the graphite layer on the paddle face only measures the width of a fingernail. As a result, most graphite paddles have a protective edge-guard that protects the paddle against miss-hits on hard court surfaces. With that said, more and more grands are bringing edgeless graphite pickleball paddles to market, check out our guide.
What is the best Graphite Pickleball Paddle?
Some of the best pickleball paddles on the market are graphite paddles. The paddle that tops our list right now if the Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle, as one of the best all-rounders on the market. With that said, there are so many brilliant graphite pickleball paddles available depending on your budget, playing style and pickleball level. Check out our top graphite pickleball list to find out more.