Best Pickleball Paddle Reviews [2020]

Finding the best pickleball paddle to suit your game can be a tricky task. As pickleball continues to explode in popularity across the United States, more pickleball brands are releasing the latest innovations in pickleball paddle tech. Never has it been more difficult to select the paddle that is right for you.

Here at PickyPickleball.com we have compiled the ultimate guide for reviewing the best pickleball paddles. We look at a host of factors, from player reviews, affordability, paddle weight, grip, core material, paddle size and more. Ensuring that we provide you with the most comprehensive guide online for picking your next pickleball paddle.

And, if you’re looking for something more specific, we even give you our top picks when it comes to choosing a pickleball paddle that meets your specific needs. Check out our ultimate pickleball paddle guide for 2020 to learn everything you need to know.

Pickleball Paddles Guide 2020

Ranking the best pickleball paddles out there is a difficult task. Especially with the wide variety of paddle specs that are designed to meet the needs of certain player types. That’s why our ultimate guide of the best paddles is built around a couple of key criteria.

Firstly, we only list paddles in our review that have gained a 5-star rating from a wide range of players. That way, we can guarantee that the paddles that we show you are of the highest quality when tested on court. Next, we focus on paddles that suit a wide variety of player types, meaning they are largely mid-weight, provide a strong mix of power, spin, and control, and suit most grip types. This ensures that our top paddle guide accommodates the widest range of players.

Top 8 Best Pickleball Paddles

So let’s get started, here is our comprehensive list of the best pickleball paddles in 2020. If you are looking for something more specific, check out our best paddle picks for specific aspects like core materials, weight, grip, and affordability.

1. Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

The Onix Z5 Pickleball Paddle provides excellent value for money, awesome control, power, and spin, as well as a large sweet spot. It’s Nomex Core and graphite exterior make it durable and put you in control of any pickleball shot.

Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle Review

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The paddle that tops our list is the Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle. The Onix Z5 is a huge hit with players across the sport, and is used both by beginners learning to play, and pro’s competing at the top of the game. When picking up the paddle, the first thing you will notice is the comfortable paddle weight. The paddle weighs between 7.5 and 8.2 ounces which makes it easy to move with on-court, whilst maintaining complete control playing every type of pickleball shot. The Z5’s weight-ratio also means you can generate significant power when playing smashes, something other paddles tend to lack.

The next noticeable stand-out feature when handling the Onix Z5 paddle is the large hitting area. The Z5 has an 8-1/8” wide face which means the paddle has a large sweet spot. This gives you a great chance of hitting winning shots and controlling the ball, playing both spin and firmer smash shots. Alongside the large hitting area, the Z5 has a classic paddle shape, 5″ handle length and grip size up to 1/8″. This balance provides you with a constant feeling of control on-court, giving you time to focus on your game.

The Z5 comes in a host of different color options, including blue, green, orange, red, yellow, purple, pink, and white. The paddle itself is emblazoned with a stunning ‘Z’ screen printed onto its woven black graphite face. this wide selection of colors means you can pick something to suit your style to either stand-out or blend in.

Finally, the Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle provides great value as a 5-star paddle, valued under $100. We’re sure you will love the Onix Z5, and are confident in placing it at the top of our best pickleball paddle list.

Standout Features

  • Large sweet spot provides control, power and spin
  • Nomex core and graphite exterior keeps the paddle durable and long-lasting
  • Paddle costs less than $100 providing excellent value for money

Buy Now From Amazon – $79.99

2. Bantam Ex-L Composite Pickleball Paddle

The Bantam Ex-L Composite Pickleball Paddle is quieter than the Onix Z5 and is built with a specialized polymer core. There are few paddles out there that can challenge the Bantam Ex-L when it comes to providing pop off a fiberglass paddle face.

Bantam Ex-L Pickelball Paddle

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Running in a close second on our best pickleball paddle list is the Bantam Ex-L Composite Pickleball Paddle. Like the Z5, the Bantam Ex-L is a comfortable paddle to handle, weighing between 7.7 and 8.4 ounces. The paddle gives you a comfortable mix of power and control when playing close around the net. Many players who have used the Bantam Ex-L comment that it provides power when smashing the ball, but is also excellent at providing spin and control. The paddles 7-7/8″ wide face means there is a large sweet spot on the paddle for controlling even the most intricate shots. Something that the Ex-L has in common with the Z5.

The paddle has a polymer core that has been specifically designed for pickleball paddles. This gives you power, control and strong hits, but it quieter than Nomex core paddles – comparing to the Z5 you will notice that the Ex-L is a quieter paddle. The Ex-L paddle face is made from fiberglass, with a geometric vinyl decal. Again, this is all designed to give you a feeling of maximum control across any type of pickleball shot.

The Ex-L’s handle is slightly longer than the Z5’s at 5 1/8″, and is designed to provide slightly more reach around the net. The paddle face is 15-15/8″ in length, and the paddle’s grip is padded, both contributing to a feeling of comfort and control on-court.

Like the Z5, the Bantam Ex-L by Paddletek is great value for money priced under $100. There is also a brand new model recently launched to market called the TS-5 Pro. The TS-5 Pro features Torsional Vibration Control, which gives you a bigger sweet spot and more control when striking an off-center mis-hit.

You can’t go wrong selecting the Bantam Ex-L Composite Pickleball Paddle. It’s a more than worthy runner up in our best pickleball paddle guide.

Standout Features

  • Ideal paddle weight between 7.7 and 8.4 ounces
  • Specialized polymer core provides control, power, and a quieter shot
  • Paddle costs less than $100 providing excellent value for money

Buy Now From Amazon – $99.99

3. Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle

The Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle is for the players who like to keep their opponents guessings. The paddle is easy to maneuver and has a reactive face that adds emphasis to spin shots and dinks around the net. It’s extra reach handle and lighter weight make it perfect for newcomers and intermediate players.

Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle

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We had to add the Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle to our 2020 guide. The Magnum has been a staple for thousands of Pickleball players improving their games over the past few years. The paddle is ideal for newcomers to the game or intermediate players who are looking to level-up. The paddle is easy to maneuver around the court and has a reactive, graphite face that provides awesome control playing spin shots, as well as a brilliant pop that will send balls spiraling towards your opponents.

The Magnum’s handle is 5-1/4” providing extra reach around the net, while the paddle weight is lighter than the Z5 and the Ex-L weighing in at between 6.6 and 7.5 bounces. This means that players who enjoy playing intricate shots around the net will love this paddle.

The standout feature of the Magnum Graphite Stealth paddle is its beautiful design. The paddle has a black face with Magnum written vertically down the face in a mix of bold colors. In our opinion, this design makes it one of the most visually stunning paddles on the market.

The paddle width is slightly slimmer than the Z5 and the Ex-L, measuring 7 3/4” across. This does mean you have less surface area to hit, but don’t be fooled. The Magnum’s sweet spot is designed to pop, and when you hit a good shot with this paddle it will leave your opponent struggling to maintain position. The grip size varies up to 1/8″, which is standard and compares well to other leading paddles.

The Magnum Stealth provides excellent value for money alongside other paddles on this list, priced just under $100.

We’re sure you will love this paddle. And if you are a newcomer looking to pick up the game fast, you can’t go far wrong selecting this paddle to get you started.

Standout Features

  • Graphite face provides extra pop when playing intricate shots
  • Great paddle for beginner and intermediate players looking to level-up
  • Paddle costs less than $100 providing excellent value for money

Buy Now From Amazon – $98.99

4. Selkirk S2 X5FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle

The Selkirk S2 X5 FibreFlex is an awesome pickleball paddle. It’s difficult to place this paddle at spot four on our list, as it could very well take pride of place in position one. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range paddle that provides pop off the racket, as well as power, control, and spin then the S2 X5 is for you.

Selkirk S2 X5 FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle

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The S2 X5 paddle is a versatile paddle with a large, broad face. This gives you a big sweet spot to play brilliant shots from. The stand out feature of the paddle is its FiberFlex face which Selkirk claim gives you more time to pick your shots. The face is designed to ensure balls react off the face of the paddle to unbalance your opponent and give you greater emphasis on your shots. That means more ping on a smash and greater spin on shots around the net. The X5 core is also designed to provide consistency across all of your shots and provide a quieter impact. Like the Magnum stealth, the X5 provides quieter gameplay.

Another stand-out feature of the AMPED S2 X5 is that the paddle comes in two weights. Either a medium weight of 8.2 ounces or a lighter weight option of 7.2 ounces. This means you can select a paddle weight that suits your playing style. The larger paddle weight gives you more power, yet the lighter weight option is designed to give you effortless movability across the court. The S2 X5’s handle is shorter than other paddles on the list (and other Selkirk AMPED paddles) to allow for the larger face and bigger sweet spot zone.

The Selkirk S2 X5 FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle comes in six colorways, including green, blue, purple, black, orange and red. The face has a large Selkirk ’S’ logo taking up the majority of the paddle, while the lower part of the paddle fades to white. We love the look and feel of the S2 X5 and believe it’s another stand-out feature of the paddle.

The S2 X5 Pickleball paddle is more expensive than other paddles on this list, which is why it ranks lower than the Z5, Ex-L and the Magnum Stealth. The paddle costs around the $130 mark, which provides value for money when considering the build quality of the paddle. But this paddle is designed for more serious Pickleball players.

Standout Features

  • FiberFlex face provides large sweet spot and forces balls to ping off the paddle
  • Quieter gameplay compared to other paddles featured in our guide
  • Beautiful paddle design, with multiple colorways

Buy Now From Amazon – $129.99

5. Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle

The Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle is built for the extremes. Sitting just within the USAPA guidelines for roughness and spin, this unassuming pickleball paddle sends balls spiraling off its face whether you’re, spinning, dinking or smashing.

Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle

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The Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle is a great addition to our best Pickleball paddle list. This paddle is built for the extremes. The paddle edges past the USAPA guidelines as providing players with the largest amount of deflection and roughness allowed in Pickleball paddle construction. This means that the paddle is designed to shoot balls back over the net which will unbalance your opponent and keep them guessing how the ball will react next.

The paddle is built with a composite and polymer construction, this means you will get a strong mix of power, combined with a delicate touch which will give you control when dinking and spinning around the net. This mix of stand-out features makes the Encore Composite Paddle one of the most fun paddles to play with on the market. Designed for versatility and enjoyment.

The Engage paddle is a middleweight paddle weighing between 7.2 and 7.9 ounces, and measures 15-1/2” long. The paddle face is 8 1/8” wide meaning it suits a wide range of players and provides a big sweet spot to hit winning shots. The other great thing about the paddle is it comes in six different colorways, including blue fade, pink swirl, purple fade, white-red fade, and pink fade.

The Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle is well-worthy of its spot on our best Pickleball paddle list. The paddle is versatile, fun to play with and provides a great mix of power and control. If you are someone looking for something a bit different from your paddle, pick the Encore Composite paddle.

In terms of value for money, the paddle also comes in under $100, providing excellent value for money.

Standout Features

  • Maximum roughness and deflection (in-line wit USAPA guidelines)
  • Composite and polymer construction provide power and control
  • Paddle costs less than $100 providing excellent value for money

Buy Now From Amazon – $79.95 – $94.50

6. Rally Tyro 2 Pro Pickleball Paddle

The Rally Tyro 2 Pro Pickleball Paddle features on our list for the opposite reason to the Selkirk S2 X5. Unlike other paddles on this list, the Rally Tyro 2 Pro is priced at under $60. This makes it one of the best Pickleball Paddles on the market at a cheaper price point. What’s more, many top players comment that it plays like a paddle that costs between $80 and £100.

Rally Tyro 2 Pro Pickleball Paddle

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The Tyro 2 Pro has a shock-dampening polymer core that gives you great control on the court. If you find yourself continually playing players who like to hit the ball hard, the Tyro 2 Pro is a great paddle to combat this tactic. The paddle allows you to defend against big hitters and also gives you ping off the paddle that will send balls back in a way that puts your opponent on edge. The paddle is a middleweight paddle that offers you fantastic versatility across a broad range of shots, from serves, baseline shots and smashes. However, it’s playing around the net with soft touches and dinks where the paddle excels.

Another stand-out feature of the paddle is its sizeable sweet spot. The paddle is 7-3/4” wide and features an elongated neck. This gives you greater reach around the net while providing enough paddle to control even the toughest shots. In fact, when we tested the Rally Tyro 2 Pro, the sweet spot performed much like a paddle priced closer to $100. The handle length is the same as the Z5, measuring 5” long, giving you great control.

The paddle’s face is made of polycarbonate composite layered over a fiberglass, polymer core. This makes the paddle feel hard to touch but gives you loads of density defending hard shots. This is one of the things we love most about the paddle.

Priced under $60, the Rally Tyro 2 Pro provides excellent value for money. The paddle performs like a paddle twice its price and is available in two awesome colorways, fire (orange/yellow) or ocean (blue/green). We’re sure you’re going to love this paddle if you are looking for something that is affordable but performs brilliantly.

Standout Features

  • Polymer core provides excellent control defending hard shots
  • Large sweet spot provides great control playing a wide range of pickleball shots
  • Excellent value for money performs like a paddle valued twice the price

Buy Now From Amazon – $59.99

7. Titan Pro Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddle

The Titan Pro Black Diamond Series makes our best pickleball paddle list thanks to its advanced build, sleek design and excellent durability. The paddles carbon fiber polymer core makes it one of the most advanced pickleball paddles on the market.

Titan Pro Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddle

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The Titan Pro Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddle is one of the most advanced paddles not only on our best Pickleball paddle list but on the market. The Titan Pro has a razor-thin edge guard and large hitting surface to provide players with the opportunity to maximize their shot potential. The paddle itself is made from carbon fiber, with a polymer core that helps to give players unrivaled ball control, touch, and feel on-court. What’s more, the paddle is packed full of sound-absorbing materials that make it a quiet racket to use.

The Titan Pro is a middleweight paddle that weighs between 7.6 and 8.3 ounces. The grip is also a medium size to suit a wide range of player types, regardless of grip size. The face width is 7 5/8” which is slightly smaller than the Z5, S2 X5, and the Ex-L. Yet the paddle handle is somewhat longer than most models at 5 1/4” long. We found this provides slightly more reach around the court, especially at the net.

The stand-out feature of the Titan Pro Black Diamond paddle is the razor-thin edge, which gives unrivaled accuracy and control over the ball. The paddle also looks fantastic, sporting a sleek, black design and a metallic feel. Though it’s worth mentioning, the paddle is also available in other colorways, including blue, red, green, and raspberry.

The Titan Pro Black Diamond price point is closer to the Selkirk S2 X5, priced just under $140. However, you are getting great value for money as the paddle packs some of the best and latest tech on the market. We are confident adding the Titan Pro to our best Pickleball paddle list and believe it to be a great paddle for serious players.

Standout Features

  • Carbon fiber polymer core provides one of the most technically advanced paddles on the market
  • Large sweet spot and razor-thin edge create unrivaled control of the pickleball
  • Beautiful and sleek design, suited to serious pickleball players

Buy Now From Amazon – $134.99

8. Elite Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle

Closing off our best Pickleball Paddles list is the Elite Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle. This veteran of the sport was used by nine pro players during the 2017 US Open and was a winning paddle every time it was used. What a fact to kick things off!

Elite Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle

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The Elite Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle is loved by many graphite paddle lovers as it features a chemically-bonded ‘liquid-graphite’ skin with a polymer core. That gives you a consistent and delicate touch playing every type of Pickleball shot. The paddle is also quieter than other paddles on the market at the same price point, meaning you can put away your winning shots in peace. The paddle weighs between 7.9 and 8.3 ounces making it a medium weight paddle, however, there is also a LITE range for players who prefer a lighter paddle. The LITE paddle weight between 7.5-7.8 ounces. What’s more, the paddle features a standard 8” wide face, with a 5” grip length. These features make it a paddle with a wide hitting surface while providing a feeling of control on-court.

For all-rounders who want a paddle that will meet the demands of every type of Pickleball shot, the Elite Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle is a great option. The paddle comes in four different colorways; blue, red, white and a signature ‘Steve Kennedy signature’.

Priced around $130, you are paying slightly more for this paddle than other paddles higher up the list. But for build quality and gameplay, you will not be let down.

Standout Features

  • Great all-rounder and used in the 2017 US Open by nine winning pro’s
  • Features medium and LITE range for players who want a medium or lightweight paddle
  • Great spec, with 8″ wide face and 5″ handle

Buy Now From Amazon – $129.99

Best Pickleball Paddle By Category In 2020

Now we have completed our list of the top all-round Pickleball Paddles on the market, let’s take a look at the best Pickleball Paddles by category. If you are a player that knows what they want from their next paddle. Whether that is a graphite face, large grip, affordable price point or something more, our detailed guides can help you. Here we breakdown the winners from each category, but for more information click into our details Pickleball guides and reviews to learn more.

Best Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle ReviewOur pick for the best graphite Pickleball Paddle is the paddle that topped our all-around list, the Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle. The paddle is a middleweight paddle, with a wide face and excellent sweet spot and striking zone. Similarly, the paddle provides excellent control on the court and allows you to move effortlessly with the paddle in-hand. The paddle weighs between 7.5 and 8.2 ounces, features a 5” handle and has a super-wide 8-1/8” face. Playing with this paddle you will be able to control your shots, generate significant power when playing ashes and importantly, dink well around the net.

The Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle also provides excellent value for money, making it a brilliant investment for graphite lovers looking for their next pickleball paddle.

Buy Now From Amazon – $79.99

Best Composite Pickleball Paddle

Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle

Encore Composite Pickleball PaddleFor composite Pickleball Paddle lovers, our pick for the best Pickleball Paddle is the Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle. The paddle is built to appeal to players who love an exaggerated reaction off the paddle face. The paddle has the largest amount of deflection and roughness on the Pickleball market and features a composite, polymer core that pings balls back towards opponents with extreme precision. Designed for players who love to combine power, with a delicate touch around the net, the Encore Composite paddle is an amazing paddle if you are looking for the best composite Pickleball paddles. The paddle is a middleweight, weighing between 7.2 ounces and 7.9 ounces, features an 8 1/8” wide face and comes in a wide range of colorways.

The Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle also provides brilliant value for money at an affordable price point. We’re certain Pickleball Paddle players who love composite are going to fall in love with this paddle.

Buy Now From Amazon – $79.95 – $94.50

Best Fiberglass Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk S2 X5FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk S2 X5 FiberFlex Pickleball PaddleWhen it comes to picking the best fiberglass Pickleball Paddle, it’s very difficult to look past the Selkirk S2 X5 FibreFlex paddle. The FiberFlex face is built to ensure that balls ping off the face vigorously to unbalance opponents and gain you an edge. If you are a player who loves to smash the ball, spin the ball, and delicately place the ball around the net, then the Selkirk S2 X5 is a great option. The paddle is also designed to be quiet during gameplay so will suit those who prefer the feel and noise generated from a fiberglass Pickleball paddle. The Selkirk AMPED S2 X5 paddle comes in two weight options, either a medium weight of 8.2 ounces or lighter weight of 7.2 ounces. The handle length is also shorter than other leading paddles to allow for the large face and sweet spot hitting zone.

The S2 X5 does come at a more expensive price point. However, for those players who are willing to pay a bit more for a leading fiberglass paddle, this is an amazing option and we’re certain you will love the enhancements that it will make to your game.

Buy Now From Amazon – $129.99

Best Cheap Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk Neo Composite Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk Neo Composite Pickleball PaddleIf you are looking for the best cheap Pickleball Paddle that will give you amazing gameplay, at an affordable price point then we have a paddle for you. The Selkirk NEO Composite Pickleball Paddle tops our list (just!) as an extremely affordable paddle that is packed full of quality. The paddle features Selkirk’s famous PowerCore which means it can be made more cheaply than other paddles, without sacrificing performance. The paddle weight between 7.6 and 8.4 ounces making it a middleweight paddle, wheel the face is broader than most paddles at 7-7/8” wide. That makes the NEO Composite paddle from Selkirk perfect for beginners or those who are looking for a great paddle, without breaking the bank.

The Neo Composite paddle also looks awesome and is available in both blue or red. We’re sure you won’t regret investing in this Pickleball Paddle if you are looking for the best cheap Pickleball Paddle option.

Buy Now From Amazon – $49.99

Best Large Grip Pickleball Paddle

Response Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle

Response Pro Composite Pickleball PaddleWhen it comes to picking the nest large grip Pickleball paddle, there are so many options to choose from. However, it’s the Response Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle that tops our list. The Response Pro Paddle has one of the most innovative shapes on the market, with a highly rounded design that maximizes the sweet spot zone and provides great touch around the net. In fact, Simone Jardim used this paddle to win the multiple titles including the 2018 US Open, four gold medals, and the Triple Crown.

While the Response Pro is available in a small grip, it also has a 4 3/8” grip option that caters to players who love a larger grip on their paddle. The paddle itself features a wide 8-1/4” face, with a slim edge guard to provide maximum hitting space. The handle is also longer than other paddles, measuring 5-1/2” long. This gives you great reach around the net both when defending or attacking. Another thing that is great about the Response Pro Composite paddle is that the face pops shots back at opponents while giving you the chance to generate power and spin at all times.

The Response Pro is a more expensive paddle, but we’re sure you will absolutely love it if you are looking for the best large grip paddle around.

Buy Now From Amazon – $127.99

Best Small Grip Pickleball Paddle

GAMMA Needle Graphite Pickleball Paddle

GAMMA Needle Graphite Pickleball PaddleWhen it comes to reviewing the best small grip Pickleball Paddle on the market, it’s difficult to look much further than the GAMMA Needle Graphite Pickleball Paddle. The paddle stands out with its long design, measuring 16-5/8” in length. This long paddle face design means you get an excellent reach around the net, and with the paddles, graphite face ensures balls pingback at opponents easily. GAMMA has also designed the paddle to ensure that it is not top-heavy. The paddle also features a Sense Poly Core which dampens vibrations in the paddle, providing maximum comfort.

Importantly for players looking for the best small grip Pickleball paddle, the paddle features a small grip size of 4 1/8”, with a shorter grip length of 4 1/8”. This makes it a super comfortable paddle for those looking for a small grip sized option.

The paddle is slightly more expensive than other leading paddles. However, if you are looking for something specific to suit your gameplay, the GAMMA Needle a more than worthy investment that won’t let you down.

Buy Now From Amazon – $108.95

Pickleball Paddle Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have comprehensively covered our best pickleball paddle list, let’s get into more detail on what to look out for when you’re picking your next pickleball paddle. With the variety of shapes, sizes and core types in today’s market it has never been more difficult to pick a paddle that will suit your game. To get you started, here are a few pointers that we have learned over the years to help you when making your next paddle purchase.

The Core

The core of a paddle is its backbone; the most essential part which determines if the paddle is going to be lightweight or heavier when gripped.

There are three types of paddle cores which are by far the most popular:

  • Nomex Core

A nylon-based polymer, the Nomex Core is known for its industrial flexibility and lightweight design. It is created by dipping a honeycomb framework into polymer resin, which then is left to cool down and harden.

Nomex paddles are incredibly light yet durable, but they are somewhat hard and noisy when compared to other cores, because of the lack of the cushioning effect.

  • Aluminum Core

The Aluminium Core is all about weight, power, and heavy-hitting. And just like Nomex cores this is also structured using honeycomb shapes, but are instead featured an aluminum hexagonal walls and not polymer resin.

Aluminum core though heavy and lacks control, can be ideally balanced out with improved accuracy by the use of a fiberglass face. Not only will this enhance the durability but the shot accuracy as well.

  • Polypropylene Core

A much more recent core of choice, but steadily growing to be a more popular option is the Polypropylene core. This new core type is primarily picked to create paddles that excel in both durability and lightweight properties.

As the material is very soft, the inner structure of the paddle build tends to be more flexible with the right amount of bounce. The soft surface also creates a cushioning effect, which makes the paddle less reflective and allowing it to have more contact with the ball and grant the player a significant amount of control.

The Material

The material used in the making of a Pickleball paddle determines its deflective attributes. Here are some of the most used material types to look out for:

  • Polymer

A polymer paddle is made out of a combination of plastic and resin. They are well known to be lightweight and durable and are the most affordable variants of Pickleball paddles that are available in today’s market.

Polymer paddles are much more popular among local sporting clubs, who cater primarily to amateurs and casual gamers. They are absolutely unfit for professional players as their performance pales in comparison to graphite and composite builds.

  • Wood

When the sport came into being, the very first Pickleball paddles were made from wood. The initial paddles were quite simplistic having just basic functionality in mind. Over the years wooden built paddles have been refined, leading to more sophisticated designs.

Today, wooden paddles have features like wrist straps and ornate grips for control. Plywood has also been replaced with hardwood for more durability and hitting power.

  • Graphite

For a lot of professional Pickleball players, graphite is the material of choice. A graphite paddle is not only lightweight but amazingly responsive, making it easy to make strong yet extremely controlled shots.

And if you’re a fan of dinking, then a graphite paddle will be able to suit your desires the best. It’s amazing stroke accuracy when coupled with a small edge guard for a bigger hitting surface is unmatched when it comes to performance.

  • Composite

Composite paddles scream ‘hi-tech’ with every shot. Made out of an amalgamation of a variety of materials, these professional grade paddles are one of the most expensive in the market and are absolutely the best when it comes to performing on the professional stage.

The use of different materials ensures the best in durability and Pickleball experience. Some of the most popular materials used are:

  • Fiberglass
  • UV-resistant vinyl
  • Aluminum.
  • Polymer Surfaces

Other Essential Features

Even though the build material and core are the most fundamental aspects of a Pickleball paddle. There are some other features that (something we have learned the hard way) should be considered as well.

  • Paddle Size

The preferable size for any paddle should not generally exceed more than 24-inches. Hence you should be looking out for paddles that measure 8 by 16 inches or 5 by 19 inches for short and long paddles respectively.

These measurements ensure the optimal balance for any paddle, and the wider hitting area is always appreciable for a beginner. Whereas for professionals the longer paddle that provides a better grip is much more optimal.

  • Weight

Paddles that are extremely lightweight require a faster reaction time and swing speed than the heavier ones. This is precisely why beginners prefer to use the heavier variants, as owing to their higher deflection, lesser strength and lower reaction speed is required for power hitting the ball

Lightweight paddles are highly prevalent in pro-play, while in the amateur scene it’s more of a doubles pick while the heavier paddle is used in singles games.

  • The Grip

A lot of the shot accuracy and control banks on the paddle having the right grip. If you ask me, it’s crucial to try avoiding grips that are either too long or too short. A grip should always compliment your hold and should be of the same size as your palm.

Though a longer grip might provide more paddle stability and the shorter might promise more control. But in our experience, it’s always better to go for a grip that fits in your hand just right

  • Durability

A durable product always ensures value for money.

As we have already discussed core and material durability previously, we would like to put a bit of emphasis on the sturdiness of face finishes. When it comes to the hitting surface of a paddle, a face finish is as important as the core.

From graphite to plastic, wood, and composite, a paddle face can come in many varieties. But it’s essential to choose the one that comes with ultraviolet inhibitors, which can minimize discoloration and sun damage.

  • Deflection

When it comes to paddle deflection, USAPA has set standards which forbids a paddle to have a trampolining effect. For example, if the paddle you want to choose weighs around 3 kg, then the ball deflecting off of its surface should not bounce further than 5000th of an inch.

Paddles that offer more deflection has more spring in the core and generates more power for lesser the effort. But this, in turn, can compromise a lot on accuracy and control.

  • Sound

Might not be as important as the other features to most, but it is still mentioning either way.

If you live in a somewhat noise-sensitive area, then choosing a paddle that generates a lot of sound during the game can be extremely inconvenient to those around you.

In such cases, it’s best to avoid paddles that use Nome cores and go for a polypropylene one, which also has a foam center for extra cushioning and noise reduction.

  • Edge Guard

Edge guards, as the name suggests, keeps the edge of the paddle safe and resistant to chip damage. A medium-sized edge guard is the most ideal, though the larger ones can provide a wider hitting surface than usual. But a wider guard can make your paddle relatively heavy and impact your overall Pickleball performance.

  • Color

Pickleball paddle color means different things to different players. Some people love to customize their look with the brightest or sleekest designs. Others care more about how the pickleball paddle performs on the court. Thankfully many brands now offer a combination of amazing paddle design, mixed with a quality build.

  • Price

No matter how attractive a composite paddle might feel, it more often than not is beyond the budget of a casual player. So it’s important to stay within your price range and go for the best paddle deals that are currently available in the market.

Making the Right Choice

Identifying your skill level is important. Picking your next paddle will depend. on whether you are just getting started, trying to improve your game, or ready to compete at the highest level.

As an amateur player, picking a paddle that has a large sweet spot, reactive surface and medium weight/grip will help you get to grips with the game, and improve.

If you are a pro that prefers to play with graphite, composite or fiberglass paddles, you will need to get into the details to find out which paddle really suits your needs.

  • What is my Skill Level?

Identifying one’s skill level is important. Whether you are a professional or an amateur, will decide the paddle you should go for.

As an amateur myself (even after playing for so long, sigh!) I tend to shy away from the more professional-grade paddles, even after I try so hard to convince myself that a composite will make me a better player.

So, I have been sticking to my wooden paddle with Aluminum core for years now. If I had not assessed my own skill, I would have never been able to decide on the most essential features.     

  • Which Shots Do I Prefer the Most?

If you are a power hitter, then a lightweight design won’t suit you. Instead, you will get better performance out of a heavier paddle with more bounce off the face.

However, if you are a player that likes to play intricately around the net with spin and dinks, then you will be better suited to a lighter paddle that can also absorb the shock of players who shoot powerful shots at you. Picking a paddle depending on your playing style if a big consideration.

  • Do I value Control or Power?

Much like choosing between heavy and light paddles, you should check to see whether you prefer to play with power or control (or a mix of both). Many of the paddles in our best pickleball paddle list are there because they give you a great blend of both attributes.

But if you lean considerably in one direction over the other, you should pick a paddle that suits that power player or someone who needs ultimate control around the net. Another consideration is the grip. Some paddles provide moisture-resistant grips that provide greater accuracy over other paddles.

  • Am I an Indoor or Outdoor Player?

Some people absolutely love playing indoors, whereas others love to play outside in the sunshine. Outdoor courts tend to be harder on the edges of your paddles, so picking a paddle with a strong edge guard is important. Also, if you want your paddle to stay looking fresh, it’s worth investing in a UV-resistant coating to protect the face against sun damage.

If you like to play indoors, you have slightly more flexibility and might look at picking a lighter weight paddle that will provide you more accuracy in your play.

  • Do I Value Price Over Premium Quality?

Like anything, picking a pickleball paddle often comes down to a trade-off between price and quality. If you are someone who plays a lot and takes your pickleball seriously, then you might feel more willing to invest in your next pickleball paddle. If however, you are just starting out, you might be looking for a cheaper paddle that still gives you a great quality product that will help you learn and improve. Our best pickleball paddle guide shows you the best paddles at both ends of the spectrums and allows you to see the difference between each paddles specs.

Final Thoughts

From the core to the material to grip and handle, choosing the right Pickleball paddle that fits your unique needs is never an easy task. But we hope that our pickleball paddle guide was able to shed some light on your way to making a decision. For more information on other pickleball products, be sure to check out our recent reviews on Pickleball Nets, Pickleball Shoes, and Bags.

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