Are you wondering what is the best pickleball paddle?
Like any other sport, equipment and gear play a quintessential role in pickleball too. Finding out which pickleball paddle would be the most comfortable for you to use during your game of pickleball can be a complicated task. There are so many latest technologies…liquid graphite, honeycomb, polymer. They sound like an ice cream flavor rather than a paddle.
Here are the main things you need to look for when buying a pickleball paddle…
- The weight of the paddle – does the paddle feel balanced in your hand
- A good grip size – can your hand fit comfortably around the handle
- Paddle shape – does this suit your playing style and ability
As with any purchase you make, it also has to fit within your budget!
In this article, we will discuss in detail, everything there is to know about the pickleball paddle and try and simplify the buying process for you.
What type of paddle are you looking for??
Here is a quick linking area for more detail descriptions on specific types and styles of pickleball paddles you may be looking for…
What Are the Factors You Need to Consider Before Buying a Pickleball Paddle?
When choosing a paddle for your pickleball game, there are a few important factors worth considering. From the material to the price, being considerate of these factors can elevate the whole experience of the game.
Beginners will need a different paddle to intermediate or experienced players who like to put a spin on their game and use a lot more strategy with their shots.
Start with the material
We can’t stress this enough but if you want to make a good investment that you won’t end up regretting later, it’s highly recommended to be mindful of the material of the pickleball paddle that you are buying.
Generally, the paddles are made with a combination of three materials – wood, composite, and graphite. If the material used in the paddle isn’t of the best quality, this may reflect in your playing experience.
Budget does come into it but I think you can understand the difference you would feel between a cheap all wooden paddle and a composite or graphite pickleball paddle.
If you feel that this is a game you would like to continue playing and can afford a better value paddle, then this is advisable. The quality of the paddle will effect the experience of your game.
Wooden Pickleball Paddle
Wooden pickleball paddles are fine to use if you are a beginner or don’t play often. The original game was played with wooden paddles and so long as you are ok with a heavier paddle, this is a cheap, good pickleball paddle option.
A wooden paddle would also be a good option for kids that are just wanting a bit of a hit. They are hard wearing, durable and affordable.
Make sure there is a grip added to the handle – just to prevent blisters – and a safety strap that you can use around your wrist to prevent those accidental flying paddles!
Composite Pickleball Paddle
These are a good option to start out with pickleball. They have a fiberglass or carbon fiber surface and suit beginners and intermediate levels. They are quite lightweight and you should be able to do a few trick shots with this paddle.
This will give you a much better experience than playing with a wooden paddle.
Graphite Pickleball Paddle
Graphite Pickleball Paddles are really lightweight – around 8 ounces – and very strong. This is important if you are a serious player because it let you play longer without getting tired.
The graphite surface also lets you really play out your strategy with spins and quick returns.
These are more expensive paddles but if your budget allows, I think they are the best value.
Edgeless Pickleball Paddles
The edgeless pickleball paddle is generally only used by serious, experienced players because they like the fact that there is more playing surface on the paddle. Most paddles come with a thin, protective guard around the edge of the paddle. This guard helps protect the paddle from chips and damage.
The edgeless pickleball paddle may have a very thin tape but they are more susceptible to impact and damage along the edge.
Encore Pickleball Paddle
The encore pickleball paddle is a totally different looking paddle that is thinner and longer – up to 17 inches long. This paddle style is becoming very popular with the experienced, competitive players as it gives them more reach and if they can find the sweet spot – it sings!!
The encore or elongated pickleball paddle is really only suitable for serious players.
Pickleball Paddle Core Construction
Graphite and Composite pickleball paddles have different materials in their core construction. These cores give different experiences and it really depends on what you are looking for in your play as to which will suit you best.
An aluminum core in your paddle tends to give you more control than power. If you are a more mature player or less competitive and don’t want to be constantly driving to your opponent’s baseline, this may be the most suitable core for you.
This core is a good option for a more strategic or just for fun game player.
The honeycomb core is a really durable center that creates a lot of power and speed. The honeycomb is a resin dipped “cardboard” that gives the loud popping noise associated with pickleball.
This core is a preferred option for competitive singles players who are wanting long, powerful driving shots and fast gameplay.
The polymer core is considered the quietest paddle on the market. Polymer is a new technology, plastic blend center that whilst still gives a lot of power and drive has a slightly softer touch so is also good with control.
It is a good all rounder option. The fact that it is quiet is an advantage for communities that have noise restrictions.
Some paddle makers are now promoting their paddles as “Quiet Paddles” or “Green Zone” paddles to deal with the, sometimes, heated issues around noise created by pickleball paddles.
Why does the Pickleball Paddle weight matter?
Before anything, the one factor that you need to consider is the weight of the paddle. This is an important consideration as the paddle needs to be comfortable while you are using it without weighing down on your hand. If you have any chronic injuries or issues that you are dealing with, choosing the right paddle can make a lot of difference to your playing experience.
If you are inclining towards a heavier paddle because it drives the ball further, you may need to compromise on the control.
Most pickleball games last about an hour. Constantly hitting a paddle that is heavy with the added impact of the ball can create shoulder and elbow problems down the track. Graphite paddles are the lightest and give good power and control. If you are serious about playing pickleball, a graphite or composite paddle is your best option.
So, we’d recommend that you stick to a comfortably weighed paddle that you can comfortably hold without any issues.
Another factor worth considering in a pickleball paddle is the grip size. The correct grip circumference is what makes the paddle comfortable to hold without unnecessary grip. If the paddle grip is too big, it will slip out of your hands. Too small and you will be constantly squeezing the handle to play.
Having the wrong grip size is like wearing shoes that don’t fit. The first few shots will be fine but you will probably start to experience pain by the end of the game.
Most of the graphite and composite paddles come with a grip tape that adds cushioning to your hold. You are also able to buy premium grip tapes that you can add on top to give you an even greater level of comfort. Some will also help absorb sweat.
There are generally two sizes – smaller and large. If you have a large hand it is usually best to stick to the larger grip variants. Small hands – smaller grip. Think about what size washing-up gloves you would wear…that will be your grip size! Remember, you can always increase the size of the handle grip with overtaping but you can’t decrease the size.
Lastly, the pickleball paddle price makes up the deciding factor. There are good quality paddles that start from $45 and can go as high as $160. Which one you buy depends on the kind of game you play and the budget you have.
When setting your budget, make sure you think about the shoes you wear when you play as well. You may do a lot of running on the court so your shoes need to have a good grip and be comfortable.
Choosing the best quality paddle for pickleball is crucial. This ensures a comfortable playing experience without any kinds of pain and discomfort.
Get the best pickleball paddle you can afford according to the style of game you want to play.
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Deciding on the best pickleball paddle
There are so many options on the market it can be confusing deciding on the best pickleball paddle for you. Here are the points again to consider when looking at making your purchase…
- A lightweight paddle, such as graphite or composite, will give you a better playing experience and help avoid injuries to your shoulder, elbow or wrist.
- Find a grip that fits comfortably in your hand. Remember, you can increase the size of the grip but can’t decrease it. When in doubt, go for the smaller size.
- The basic paddle shape and size is suitable for most players. Leave the edgeless and elongated to the professionals.
- Often, the most expensive is not always the best for you. If you are a beginner or intermediate look out for a good all rounder paddle.
- Colors, graphics and descriptive words you can’t pronounce don’t make a better paddle!
Hope this article gives you an insight in what to look for to find the best pickleball paddle for you.