Pickleball is great exercise and good for your hand-eye coordination, without putting excessive strain on your body. No matter what kind of player you are, people of all ages can play, and most of all, it’s fun! All this makes it the perfect family sport, though there are many tournaments for those wanting to play more seriously. However, with so many out there, choosing the best pickleball paddle can be a challenge. But not to worry – whether you are a power player or just trying out the sport for the first time, our pickleball paddle list sorts the wheat from the chaff so you can find the best pickleball paddle for you.
Best Pickleball Comparison Table
1. Selkirk Sport Amped Epic Lightweight Pickleball Paddle
Editor’s Choice #1: The Selkirk Amped Epic Lightweight pickleball paddle offers the perfect combination of power, control and performance. A technological game changer, the Epic has a new type of poly core, which makes it wonderfully light without losing power. The fiberglass face adds to the potency, and with its long handle, the Amped Epic is well-proportioned and comfortable to hold – one of the best pickleball paddles out there.
Selkirk is a great paddle manufacturer, and they have outdone themselves here. Most Selkirk pickleball paddles have a graphite surface, but the Amped Epic switches it up with a composite fiberglass paddle face. But what really makes this paddle special is its cutting-edge polypropylene X5 polymer core. The core material is much lighter than other polymers, meaning that the paddle can be lightweight without losing power. It also features torque suppression that helps reduce miss-hits when you hit off-center, and dampens vibration helps alleviate tennis elbow. This paddle core technology is a true trailblazer making an ideal paddle for tournament play.
Balanced For Power And Accuracy
This pickleball paddle achieves an incredible balance between power and control. It is unusually thick, allowing it to pack a punch on the court, and it does all this without becoming too heavy. The fiberglass face adds to the maneuverability and also offers a devilish spin. If you are used to a graphite face, this maneuverability may take some getting used to, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run! This paddle manages to provide the perfect combination of power, control and performance, making it seem almost too good to be true.
Fast And Smooth
The Amped Epic paddle is perfect for players experienced with tennis, or anyone who likes a longer handle. The length, along with the grip circumference of 4.25 inches (11cm), makes for a highly comfortable and balanced handle. The lightness of the paddle makes it aerodynamic and easy to move fast, but it is still perfectly balanced for a great on-court feel. Of all the paddles on this list, this is the best pickleball paddle for those who want to improve their performance in tournament play. The balance it achieves between maneuverability, force, speed and spin is unmatched.
2. Selkirk AMPED Invikta X5 Lightweight Pickleball Paddle
Editor’s Choice #2: The Selkirk Amped Invicta has all the advantages of the Epic in an elongated form. Despite its elongation, this pickleball paddle still has a decently sized sweet spot and great balance. The Amped Invikta is perfect if you want that amazing combination of control and power, but favor a longer paddle.
Balance Of Power And Accuracy
Like the Epic, The Amped Invikta is also one of Selkirk’s new Amped pickleball paddles. This refers to the fact that both power and control have been amplified in these paddles. As with the Epic, the Invikta makes use of the Fiberflex paddle face and the X5 polymer core. This gives it the exact same advantages as number 1 on this list, namely maximizing maneuverability and control while still packing a punch in terms of power and spin. With this paddle, you don’t have to decide whether you are a finesse player or a power player – you can be both!
Large Sweet Spot
Pickleball champion Tyson McGuffin was enlisted to help design a pickleball that combines extra length without sacrificing the sweet spot. Despite being an elongated paddle, the Amped Invikta is not so long that it has to sacrifice width. It is long enough to give you that extra reach on the court, as well as heightened speed and aerodynamics, but it still has a generous sweet spot. Elongated paddles are usually not recommended for beginner players because they are more challenging, but the Amped Invikta overcomes these problems with its squared-off shape and large hitting area.
Extra Grip Length
One way that the Invikta achieves greater length without sacrificing the sweet spot is through the longer grip length. Not only does this give you greater reach on the court, but it also provides more leverage when hitting those power shots. The ComfortGrip wrapped around the handle makes for a very comfortable hold. If you want a slightly longer paddle but don’t want to sacrifice the large sweet spot, the Selkirk Amped Invikta is the best paddle for you.
3. Engage Encore Pro Pickleball Paddle
Decent Power, Fantastic Spin
Another powerful pickleball paddle, the Engage Encore pro has a lightweight design. It also has a wide surface area and decently sized sweet spot, which also enhances your ball control. The textured paddle face will give you the opportunity to make shots with an enormous amount of spin, which is fantastic for tournament play. However, the high level of sensitivity and spin does mean that it could take a bit of a learning curve to get used to this paddle, so it is perhaps not ideal for complete beginner players. It’s perfect for someone who wants to impress opponents with a powerful spin, however.
The Engage Encore pro feels fantastic on the court because of its weight and balance. You can thank the combination paddle core of polypropylene and polymer honeycomb, as this allows the paddle to have a good weight balance for the perfect feel on the court. The grip is also both solid and comfortable, making for better control of the ball. This is a very well-rounded paddle that is optimized to enhance your performance on the court.
If you live in a neighborhood with strict noise level rules, or have family members who are easily irritated by the thwack of a racket hitting the ball, this paddle is a great choice. The Encore Pro has been optimized so that it makes virtually no noise on impact, so you can play to your heart’s content without causing any irritation to neighbors. You might even find that you enjoy the silence as it allows you to concentrate more on the game.
4. Gamma Needle Pickleball Paddle
Elongated Graphite Face
The Gamma Needle pickleball paddle is another exceptional paddle. For players who favor elongated paddles, it is a fantastic choice. It provides more reach across the court without sacrificing the sweet spot or becoming top heavy. Less than an inch of width is sacrificed in this elongated paddle. It has a wonderful sense of balance that will enhance your feeling of control on the court. This pickleball paddle also has a textured graphite paddle face that enhances ball bite and is fast and responsive. If you like a longer paddle, this one is almost as good as the Invikta.
Sensa Poly Core
The Gamma Needle uses a similar technology to the Selkirk paddles described above with its Sensa Poly Core technology. It isn’t quite as thick as the Amped Epic or Invikta so it may not produce their level of power, but it can still exert considerable force as well as maneuverability. The Gamma Needle is a lightweight paddle and will be highly responsive to your movements. Whether you want to smash the ball across the court or do dinky shots near the net, the Gamma Needle has you covered.
The surface and core are not the end of Gamma’s technological innovations, as this paddle features Gamma’s honeycomb cushion grip that enhances comfort and control. This, coupled with the racket’s balance, makes it feel incredible in your hand which in turn means fantastic shot response feedback. Whether you are an advanced player or a beginner, this paddle feels great to play with. The green and blue coloring and unique graphic design makes the paddle look super cool too.
5. TMPR Oculus XT Textured High Performance Polymer Honeycomb Pickleball Paddle
Textured Fiberglass Face
The TMPR Oculus XT features a polymer honeycomb core, allowing for a soft touch and a high degree of control without sacrificing power. But the best thing about the Oculus XT is its textured fiberglass paddle face, which will allow you to achieve phenomenal control of the ball. The TMPR Oculus XT is one of the most well constructed and durable paddles on the market, and is a great choice for beginner or pro players.
The TMPR Oculus XT has found the golden ratio when it comes to paddle width and length. The semi-large oval shape provides extra reach while also allowing the space for a much larger than average sweet spot. This streamlined shape and large hitting surface will definitely decrease the number of uncontrolled hits you make. You can also choose from two paddle weight classes, 7.1-7.5 oz (200-214g) or 7.6-8 oz (215-227g), so whether you prefer a more lightweight or a heavier paddle, TMPR has got you covered. The shape is a bit unusual so it may take some getting used to, but it will improve your speed and accuracy in the long run.
Vibration Dampening Technology
One unique thing that TMPR is bringing to the game with their paddles is their handle vibration dampening technology which greatly decreases strain on your hands. This makes this paddle ideal for anyone with wrist, elbow or shoulder issues. It also makes it a fantastic choice for older pickleball players. But this technology benefits everyone – not only is it gentle on the arm joints, it also makes the paddle feel like a natural extension of your arm, which does wonders for performance.
6. Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pro Pickleball Paddle
Power And Finesse
The Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pro is one of the most top quality paddles on the market and provides a comfortable mix of power and control. You can both smash the ball with considerable force, or hit intricate shots when you need to. This control can be mainly attributed to the paddle’s massive sweet spot. The paddle has a polymer honeycomb core, which is the main upgrade from the original Paddletek Bantam EX-L. This core technology is proving to be a winner across all pickleball paddle brands as it provides the best combination of power and control.
Quiet And Control
The Bantam EX-L Pro is another stealthy paddle with fantastic sound absorption. This is great if you do not want to bother people nearby or you enjoy a softer paddle. This pickleball paddle features a polycarbonate surface with a velvet texture, which enhances the sense of control in all types of shots, while still providing ample force. It gives the paddle a very soft feel, which many players prefer and is ideal for beginners. However, if you prefer more of a pop, this paddle may not be for you.
Choose Your Grip Size
The Bantam EX-L Pro pickleball paddle comes in large and small grip sizes. The length is 4 ¾ long, which is long enough to provide a little extra reach, without being so long that it becomes awkward or too challenging for beginners. However, some people find the grip slightly awkward, though others find it ideal. It’s probably best to try out the feel of the grip before you buy the paddle. This pickleball paddle also comes in a wide range of bright colors to choose from.
7. Prince Response Pro Pickleball Paddle
Enhanced Sweet Spot
The main innovation provided by the Prince Response Pro pickleball paddle is its unusually rounded shape. This allows the paddle to have an enhanced sweet spot without becoming too large. The edge guard is slim to allow absolutely no wasted space. The sweet spot is one of the largest ever seen, helping with consistent direction and placing of the ball. This makes the Prince Response Pro a great choice for beginners, though it is also favored by pro players such as the two-time US Open Triple Crown winner Simone Jardim.
Thick And Powerful Core
The core of the Prince response pro is one of thick polymer, allowing you to make a powerful swing every time, while still providing a significant level of control on speed and direction. The control offered does not quite match some of the paddles on this pickleball paddle list, but it still provides a good balance between power and control. The large sweet spot also makes up for some of the control lost through the thick paddle core.
The Prince Response Pro has a handle of 5 ½ inches (14cm), allowing for impressive reach without making the paddle itself longer. The length also means that player’s of any hand size will have plenty of space. If you are partial to the two-handed backhand (like Simone Jardim), this length will accommodate you. If you are looking to increase the power you can bring to shots, the Prince Response Pro is the perfect choice, and the longer handle makes this possibly the best pickleball paddle for players who favor two-handed backhands.
8. Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle
If you are completely new to pickleball, the Paddletek Tempest Wave may be the best pickleball paddle for you. For beginners, a well balanced paddle that feels good in your hand is crucial, and that is just what this paddle offers. Not too heavy or too light, with a perfectly balanced width and grip length, the Tempest Wave just feels right in your hand and is a dream to play with.
Smart Response Technology
The Tempest Wave Pro offers a wonderfully light touch that makes for fantastic maneuverability, without being too fast for beginners. This is achieved through Paddletek’s new Smart Response Technology, giving it much better control than Paddletek’s previous offerings. Having the right amount of touch is a huge advantage for novice players, as you can practice your technique at the net without having to worry about your dinks going too high. The trade-off with this level of touch is that the paddle does lose a bit when it comes to power. This is therefore not one of the best pickleball paddles for experienced players who want more zing. For those just starting out though, this paddle is ideal.
Large Hitting Area
The large sweet spot of the Tempest Wave pro also makes it great for beginners. It is highly forgiving and allows for a greater degree of consistency. The Tempest Wave Pro is a graphite pickleball paddle with a polymer core, and is certainly one of the best graphite paddles out there. Although it is somewhat lacking in power, this paddle still provides more power than most. This is without a doubt one of the best pickleball paddles on the market today.
9. ONIX Z5 Graphite Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
Fast And Sensitive
When holding the ONIX Graphite Z5, you will feel that the paddle weight feels just right. The Z5 weighs between 7.5 and 8.2 (213-232g), which makes it easy to move while still generating powerful smashes. The ONIX Z5 has a graphite paddle face, which makes it highly sensitive. The core of this paddle is Nomex honeycomb, which allows you to hit powerful shots with ease. The Nomex core is not necessarily as durable as some of the other core types on this list, and it also makes for a fairly harsh and loud pickleball paddle. However, this is another fantastic pickleball paddle and is still a great choice if you don’t mind a louder paddle.
Large Hitting Area
One way that the ONIX Graphite Z5 stands out from the crowd is with its extra large hitting area. This pickleball racket features a 8⅛ inch face width which makes for a very large sweet spot. The wide hitting surface makes it easier to hit winning shots, and gives you more ball control when playing dinks and spins and allowing firmer smash shots. The paddle shape is also very well balanced, giving you a sense of comfort and control on the court.
The ONIX Graphite Z5 has a well-shaped handle that at 4¼ is not too short or too long. In addition, this paddle features a cushion grip which makes it feel comfortable in the hand. Players who favor two handed shots may want the extra freedom of a longer handle, but this one is perfect for players who tend to stick to one handed shots. This paddle also comes in a range of colors, so you get to choose what suits you best. If you favor a graphite pickleball paddle, this is a great one to pick.
10. Pro-Lite Titan Black Diamond Pickleball Paddle
Advanced Build And Durability
The Pro-Lite Titan Black Diamond pickleball paddle is very well designed and excellently durable. The paddle features a carbon fiber surface with a polymer core that offers fantastic ball control and sensitivity. If you prefer a finesse-based playing style, this pickleball paddle is ideal. The carbon fiber face makes for advanced durability, so this paddle will last you for a very long time. Not only that, but the vibration dampening system helps alleviate wrist pain and chronic tennis elbow. It is also a quiet paddle, with a lot of sound-absorbing materials so that you can play freely without annoying family members or neighbors.
Large Hitting Surface
Another stand out feature of the Titan Black Diamond is its razor-thin edge, which adds to the incredible accuracy and control that this paddle provides. This, combined with the paddle’s large hitting surface, making it easier to make those winning shots. A thin edge guard sometimes means reduced durability, but we have already established the durability of this pickleball paddle! If you know you prefer to play for accuracy rather than power, this paddle is a great choice for you.
Fantastic Graphic Design
There is one more thing no-one can deny about this pickleball paddle – it looks fantastic. It is available in a variety of colors, but the original black certainly gives it a sleek, almost James Bond type look. If you want to stand out on the court, this paddle is for you. The handle of the Titan Black Diamond is somewhat longer than usual at 5¼ inches long. This provides extra reach on the court and is great for players who favor a two-handed backhand.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a game that incorporates elements from various racket sports like tennis, ping-pong and badminton. It is played on a court, but the paddle face is solid rather than woven like a tennis racket. A pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, which makes it easier to play casually in a garden or hall. If you don’t have access to a tennis court but want to play something more active than ping-pong, pickleball is a great choice.
Pickleball is played with a perforated ball much like a wiffle ball. The court is similar to a badminton court, and the net and rules are similar to tennis, but with several differences. The game can be played with singles or doubles.
Legend has it that pickleball was invented in 1956 by three dads on Bainbridge Island, just off the coast of Seattle, Washington. The dads invented the game to entertain their kids, who were bored with their usual summertime activities. Pretty great dads to invent such a fun game just for their kids to enjoy!
How Do You Play Pickleball?
The basic rules of pickleball are as follows:
- The serve is performed using an upward, underarm stroke with the paddle.
- The server hits from behind the baseline on one side of the center line and serves diagonally.
- The ball must land within the confines of the opponent’s service court.
- Unlike in tennis, only those on the serving side can score a point.
- If you are playing doubles, both players on the service team may serve and score points until they commit a fault.
- Faults refer to anything that violates the rules of the game.
Rules in doubles:
❖ For doubles pickleball, the first serve of each side is always made from the right/even court. If a point is scored, the server switches sides and initiates the next serve from the left/odd court. This continues until a fault is committed, at which point the first server’s partner will become the server. It is only when the serving team commits another fault that serving switches to the opposing team.
❖ If you are playing singles, the server should serve from the right/even court when their score is even, and the left/odd court when their score is odd. Generally, the first side that scores 11 points leading by at least 2 points wins the game. However, tournament games may be played to 11, 15, or 21 points.
Pickleball is a highly versatile sport – it is accessible for older players and possible to play in your backyard, but it is also a professional sport whose players are amazing athletes. You’d be making a mistake to think of pickleball as a lite version of tennis – there are a lot of techniques and moves unique to pickleball, and mastering them takes skill and practice.
Although casual pickleball may be played wherever you have space and a net, the paddle and ball involved are highly specific to the game. Read through the pickleball paddle reviews above to find our picks for the best pickleball paddles on the market today, or hop over to our pickleball set reviews next.
Pickleball Paddle Material
Pickleball paddle technology has advanced so much over the years, that choosing a paddle is no longer a simple process. There are many different materials to choose from and they all provide different gameplay experiences and different advantages. So how do you choose the right paddle material for you?
The original pickleball paddles were constructed out of wood, and were heavy, clunky and awkward to use. Wooden paddles today tend to be made with hardwood rather than plywood, which makes them more lightweight and powerful than hardwood paddles. If you are a casual player or want to order pickleball paddles in bulk for a sports club or gym class, wooden paddles are still perfectly viable. Wooden paddles have the advantage of a lower price, and tend to be durable. The downside is that they are heavier than the more high-tech paddles on the market.
Polymer paddles are made out of a combination of plastic and resin. They are both lightweight and durable and a great choice of paddle if you want something lighter than wood that is still affordable. Professional players tend not to use polymer paddles as they are not nearly as advanced as graphite or composite pickleball paddles. However, they are a good choice for casual players, kids or those who are not sure whether pickleball is the game for them but would like to try it out. And it depends a great deal on the make – some polymer paddles are highly impressive, while others are awkward to use and not very effective.
Many pro players favor a graphite paddle as these are both lightweight and extremely sensitive, meaning that they allow you to play fast and make highly controlled shots. A graphite paddle is probably the best choice for you if you are a fan of dinking and like to play with finesse. Combined with the right core, graphite paddles can provide both power and accuracy. A graphite pickleball paddle is a fantastic choice for players wanting to enhance their gameplay, particularly on the more intricate shots.
A composite pickleball paddle is the best pickleball material for those looking for a professional-great paddle at the cutting edge of pickleball paddle technology. They can be made from a combination of a variety of different materials, such as fiberglass, aluminum or graphite. The combination of high-quality materials means that a composite pickleball paddle can provide the perfect balance between touch and power, and fantastic durability. Many of the best paddles on the market today are composite pickleball paddles, and they tend to provide an amazing playing experience. However, they do tend to be pricey, so a composite paddle may not be best if you just want to play casually.
The core is the heart of the pickleball paddle and is a crucial element to consider when choosing a paddle. Pickleball paddle technology is constantly developing, and paddle manufacturers are always refining the core design. Despite this, there are still only three basic core materials that make up the majority of pickleball paddles sold today. Knowing the properties of each of these materials will make choosing the right paddle for you a lot easier.
Aluminum has been a popular type of paddle core material for some time, and is still a winner. Aluminum cores make for pickleball paddles that pack a lot of power. They are structured using a honeycomb shape made of aluminum. If you want to smash the ball across the court and don’t care much for the intricate shots, by all means choose an aluminum core. They aren’t the best cores if you want more control and maneuverability, but this can be alleviated if combined with a fiberglass face, as this will give the paddle more sensitivity.
The other benefit of the aluminum core is its durability. You know you can depend on an aluminum pickleball paddle to last a long time.
Nomex cores also utilize a honeycomb structure, but the framework is dipped in a polymer resin which hardens as it cools down. This makes for an incredibly lightweight paddle that is flexible yet durable. However, this type of core lacks a cushioning effect, which causes Nomex core paddles to be somewhat hard and noisy in comparison to others.
The flexibility of the nomex core does allow for superb control, and these paddles are also extremely tough. This makes them popular among pro players, but are not ideal if you play mostly for fun. These paddles are loud and feel relatively harsh when hitting the ball, which does not create the most pleasant gameplay.
A polypropylene core also makes for a paddle that is durable and lightweight. However, it is softer than the Nomex core, providing enough cushioning and flexibility and the perfect amount of bounce. The cushioning also allows for longer time spent in contact with the ball, which enhances control. Paddles with polypropylene cores tend to feel good in the hand, and when smashing balls.
The cushioning effect also means that polypropylene paddles are quieter than aluminum or nomex paddles. This is a significant benefit if you play in a quiet residential neighborhood or if you don’t want to annoy family members. Polypropylene cores make fantastic, well balanced pickleball paddles. Many of the best pickleball paddles on the market today have polypropylene cores.
Because polypropylene is a fairly new technology, it is not yet clear how durable these paddles are. Nevertheless, the balance between finesse and power that you can achieve when using a poly core paddle is unparalleled.
Other Features To Consider
Besides paddle material and core construction, there are several factors to consider when choosing your new pickleball paddle.
Pickleball paddles should not exceed 24 inches (61cm) in total diameter. If you want a classic short paddle, look for those that are around 8×16 inches (20x40cm). If you prefer an elongated paddle, choose one that is around 5×19 inches (12x48cm). As you can see, longer paddles tend to sacrifice width, which means a smaller sweet spot. However, elongated paddles do provide greater reach, so some professional players prefer them.
Elongated paddles are a little trickier to play with, so we advise against choosing an elongated paddle if you are a novice player.
The paddle weight you choose depends on your playing style – a lightweight paddle allows for greater maneuverability, while a heavier paddle provides more power. If you are a beginner, it’s best to go for a slightly heavier paddle weight. This is because lighter paddles require a faster reaction time and swing speed than heavier paddles. Lightweight paddles are usually favored by pros, as they are faster and allow for greater finesse. With the right surface and core material, lightweight paddles can still offer considerable force.
When it comes to grip size, you can choose between a smaller or larger grip. A smaller grip size allows for more wrist action, which improves control. On the other hand, a larger grip size increases stability, while easing strain on the joints. However, the best bet is to go for a grip that fits your hand perfectly. If there is any discomfort, that will affect your gameplay. Set yourself up for success by choosing a grip size that feels good in your hand, so that your paddle becomes a natural extension of your arm when you play.
Edge guards protect the edge of the paddle and resist fraying or chip damage. Some players favor a smaller edge guard, as it leaves more space for the sweet spot. In addition, an edge guard that is too large can make the paddle too heavy to perform well. However, when considering durability, it is better not to skimp on the edge guard size.
Nomex paddles tend to be pretty noisy, so if you want a quieter paddle it’s best to avoid these. Polypropylene paddles are best for noise reduction, as these have a soft center and extra cushioning that absorbs sound.
Durability is an important consideration when choosing sporting goods. When it comes to pickleball paddles, both core and paddle face material impact the durability. Aluminum cores are particularly durable, but have other disadvantages. When it comes to surface material, it is the quality of the make that is most important. It’s hard to know how long a paddle will last by looking at it, but you can read pickleball paddle reviews like this one to make an informed choice.
Make sure to choose a paddle that incorporates ultraviolet inhibitors, so that you can play outdoors without being too concerned about discoloration and sun damage.
Pickleball paddles come in a wide range of prices. Deciding how much to spend all depends on how serious you are about the sport. A composite paddle is ideal if you want the best pickleball paddle on the market today, but they are out of the price range of many. If you are a casual player, you don’t necessarily need the best pickleball paddle there is. However, price is not always a perfect indicator of quality. All the paddles reviewed above are among the best pickleball paddles you can buy, but they come in a wide range of prices. When deciding how much to spend, think about your priorities and what kind of player you are.
This is one area where it’s totally up to you. Some people like bright colors, while others want a more understated paddle. Some players don’t care about the paddle look at all and are only focused on performance. Luckily, there are so many great pickleball paddles out there with all kinds of attractive designs, so you are sure to find something that suits your taste and also aids your performance on the court.
How To Choose The Best Pickleball Paddle For You
Although some pickleball paddles are unquestionably better than others, there is no one-size-fits all perfect paddle. Which pickleball paddle is the best for you depends on a wide range of factors. All of the pickleball paddles listed above are top-notch paddles. Choosing between them requires you to think about factors related to you and how you play.
Skill Level – Beginner Or Advanced?
Which pickleball paddle you should choose depends a great deal on your skill level. Something that is ideal for an advanced player may be disastrous for a beginner. But what factors affect whether a paddle is better for novice or advanced players?
❖ Paddle material: The best pickleball paddles tend to be graphite or composite pickleball paddles. These allow for the most maneuverability and speed. It’s not that beginners should not use a graphite or composite paddle. However, the benefits may be wasted on a novice player. For those playing for the first time or just for fun, a polymer plastic or even wooden paddle can be perfectly satisfactory.
❖ Core material: Many pros favor a nomex or a polypropylene core. And while polypropylene cores can work great for beginners too, nomex is not ideal if you are an amateur as they tend to be quite harsh and loud, and not very comfortable. Aluminum cores are durable and powerful, but may lack sensitivity. This may be perfectly fine for amateurs, but advanced pickleball players may want something that allows for more intricate shots.
Playing Indoors Or Outdoors
You can play pickleball on both indoor and outdoor courts, and you should take this into consideration when choosing your pickleball paddle. Picking a paddle with a strong edge guard and UV-resistance is more important if you are going to play outside. You should also consider issues like humidity and exposure to rain for your paddle.
Wooden paddles are especially vulnerable to warping from water or sun damage, so are not great for outdoor use.
If you play indoors, you don’t have to pay quite as much attention to durability factors, as your paddle won’t be subject to sun exposure. In this case, you can go for more lightweight paddles that will provide more ball control. However, you still want a good-quality paddle that will last you a long time, so you shouldn’t ignore the question of durability entirely.
Playing style is a highly significant factor in choice of pickleball paddle. The main thing to consider is whether you favor power or accuracy.
❖ Power players: For those who like to overpower their opponents by smashing real zingers, a lightweight paddle is not ideal as it does not provide the greatest amount of force. A midweight paddle with good bounce is better for power pickleball players.
❖ Finesse players: If you like to make precise shots around the net like spins and dinks, a lightweight paddle will suit you best. If you are a finesse player, it is also a good idea to pay extra attention to the grip. Some paddles provide moisture-resistant grips, which allows for greater accuracy.
❖ Versatile players: If you want to be the type of player that can hit power shots as well as accurate dinks, you need to choose your paddle carefully. Many of the paddles outlined above provide a great balance of control and power, but to different degrees. Our editor’s choice pickleball paddles provide an unparalleled combination of force and maneuverability.
❖ Beginners: You may not be sure of your playing style yet. In that case, refer to the section on skill level above. Beginners usually need some practice before being able to go for the highly precise shots. However, if you are used to playing other racket sports, this could provide some insights. If you have played a lot of ping-pong, you are likely to naturally go for dinks and shots near the net that involve a lot of wrist action. Someone who has more experience with tennis may prefer to make smashes from further away. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily stick with any specific playing style, but it is something to consider.
How To Look After Your Pickleball Paddle
On The Court
A big part of good pickleball paddle maintenance is about how you treat it on the court. For example, using your pickleball paddle to pick up balls from the ground or hitting two paddles together will lead to the paddle wearing out much quicker than necessary. Treat your pickleball paddle like the valuable item it is – don’t throw your paddle in a gym bag with lots of other items or toss it around in anger or joy at the outcome of a game. Even highly durable pickleball paddles can have their lifespan diminished by careless handling.
When it comes to pickleball paddle storage, you want to keep it away from extreme temperatures that may cause it to warp. If you live in a cold climate, do not leave it in the garage in winter, as this can cause the core material to contract and leave it vulnerable to breakage. On the flipside, leaving your pickleball paddle in the very hot sun can soften both the core material and the paddle face, thus destroying all maneuverability and power!
Lastly, let’s talk about cleaning your paddle. Special attention should be paid to the paddle grip, as this is where your hand has most contact with the paddle. Clean your grip with a damp cloth after each playing session, to ensure it is not damaged by the sweat from your hand. The rest of the paddle does not need to be cleaned as frequently, but wiping it every few games with a cloth and some glass cleaner will help keep your pickleball paddle in tip top condition.
Tips For Playing Pickleball
For pickleball newbies or more experienced players who are looking to improve their game, here are a few tips to keep in mind for your next match.
Follow The Ball To The Kitchen Line
Many players agree that the best place to be on the pickleball court is right on the kitchen line. However, if your opponent has a powerful smash, the ball can come at you out of nowhere. The trick is run up to the line quickly, while still being prepared for the ball. Watch your opponent as you are heading towards the kitchen, and if you see them preparing to hit, slow down a little so that you can follow the ball’s trajectory. This is easier said than done, so it takes some practice!
Another useful skill in pickleball is to be able to notice quickly whether your team is at an advantage or not. A mistake many beginners make is to hit an attack shot when they should be playing defensively. This is not surprising, as the advantage in a pickleball paddle can switch in a moment. Knowing when to pile up the pressure on your opponent or focus more on protecting yourself is a game-changer.
Communicate With Your Doubles Partner
Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of communication when playing doubles. Talk through your strategy before the game, and get in the habit of communicating while you are playing too. Of course, this shouldn’t be a soliloquy, but shouting out ‘yours’ or ‘mine’ as the ball heads your way can go a long way towards eliminating misunderstandings.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best pickleball paddle is the Selkirk Amped Epic lightweight pickleball paddle. Of all the paddles on this list, the Amped Epic delivers the best combination of power, sensitivity and spin. It is a lightweight paddle, with a fiberglass face and a cutting-edge x5 polymer core. It also features torque suppression, which reduces mis-hits and is gentler on the wrist and elbow. This is a fantastic pickleball paddle for spin and also allows for both power shots and great speed and accuracy.
The best pickleball paddle core is polypropylene. Poly cores are durable and lightweight, and provide just the right amount of cushioning and bounce. This cushioning also allows for longer contact with the ball, which enhances control. Polypropylene as a pickleball paddle core is a fairly new technology, but it is fast taking the pickleball world by storm.
The best hitting surface for a pickleball paddle is either graphite or a composite paddle surface. A composite paddle allows for the perfect combination of the advantages of different materials, and is usually highly durable. A graphite pickleball paddle is also a great choice for players who want to have a high degree of maneuverability, as they are highly fast and sensitive.
The best pro pickleball paddle is either the Selkirk Amped Epic or the Selkirk Amped Invikta X5 Lightweight pickleball paddle. The Selkirk Amped paddles offer an unparalleled combination of force, accuracy and spin. Although beginners will enjoy these paddles, pro players will really get the most out of them.
The best weight for a pickleball paddle is somewhere between 7.3-8.4 oz (207-238g). Beginners should not start with a lightweight paddle as these require a faster reaction time and swing speed. However, if your paddle is too heavy, it will become clunky and become more difficult to maneuver. Mid-weight paddles provide a good balance between power and control.
Whether you are a beginner or experienced player, our number one pick for the best pickleball paddle is the Selkirk Amped Epic lightweight pickleball paddle. This paddle offers an unparalleled combination of force, accuracy, spin and speed. The Amped Invikta paddle is very similar, and is the perfect choice if you prefer an elongated paddle. But whichever one of the paddles on this list you choose, you are getting one of the best pickleball paddles on the market today!