How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle

How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle – A Buying Guide

In the market for a new pickleball paddle or buying your very first one? With so many options out there, it can be tricky to know where to start. But don’t sweat it! Choosing the right paddle is totally doable if you know what to look for.

Whether you’re an experienced player looking to upgrade your current paddle or a beginner buying your first paddle ever, this quick guide will walk you through the key factors to consider – weight, grip size, materials, etc. – so you can find the perfect match for your playing style and skill level.

No need to stress. We’ll break it down step-by-step so you feel confident you’ve found the right paddle for your needs – whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out.

Sound good? Let’s get started and get you armed with a paddle you’ll love playing with!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission. 

Importance of Selecting the Right Pickleball Paddle

pickleball paddle
Photo by Laura Tang via Unsplash

The right pickleball paddle can change your game. It’s not just a tool, but more like a partner in the court. The touch and feel of it will help you strike better shots. Many brands promise to give you power and control.

Sometimes, this makes it hard to choose.

You need to know what works best for you. Think about the sweet spot and spin of the paddle because they can impact your game play greatly. Also, keep in mind the shape of your pickleball paddle affects its power and how easy it is to move around.

Understanding the Balance Between Power and Control

In the game of pickleball, balancing power and control is key. Power lets you hit hard shots. Control helps to place the ball where you want on the court. The kind of paddle you use can affect both these things.

Paddle companies often say their paddles give equal power and control, but this isn’t always true. Some paddles lean more towards power, others towards control. This is why knowing what type of player you are helps in choosing your paddle.

There are three main types of paddles: control paddles, all-court paddles, and power paddles. Control Paddles help you aim better but may not have high force. Power Paddles let you hit harder shots but might make aiming tricky.

All-Court Paddles try to give a mix of both.

The size of your paddle’s sweet spot also matters a lot for its performance. A bigger sweet spot makes it easier to get good hits even if they’re off-center from your swing or shot.

Choosing an elongated shape for your paddle provides more reach and gives stronger shots but reduces the size of the sweet spot making it harder to maneuver with finesse.

Think hard about which aspects matter more for your play style before picking a paddle: do you rely on strong heavy strikes or smart placement?

Considering Paddle Materials

a person holding a tennis racket and a ball
Photo by Aleksander Saks on Unsplash

The material of your pickleball paddle determines its overall performance, from the power it delivers to the level of control it affords. Discover how core and surface materials play a role in your game as we delve into their specific characteristics and impacts.

Read on to find out more about this crucial aspect of paddle selection!

Core Materials

Paddle core materials matter a lot. Most often, pickleball paddles have a polymer core. This type of core gives both power and touch to the paddle. But Gearbox Paddles use carbon fiber cores instead of polymer.

The density of the core also alters how the paddle plays. A denser core offers more power and feels firm in hand while a less dense one is flexible but doesn’t give as much power. Then there is thickness too – thicker cores make for stable control, thinner ones add more force.

Surface Materials

Pickleball paddles are made of different surface materials. These include fiberglass, carbon fiber, and graphite. Some are hybrids or mixtures of these. The material on the paddle’s face affects your game in many ways.

It can impact how much power you have, how well you control the ball, and even the size of the sweet spot. Thick covers like fiberglass often give more power but less control. Thin surfaces such as graphite offer better control but less power.

So choose a surface material that suits your playing style!

How Material Impacts Paddle Choice

Paddle materials make a big change in the game. The core material adds to how the paddle plays. Polymer is common for cores. It helps with control during play and stays quiet, which is good for some areas.

The facing or surface material can also change the game a lot. It affects power and control when hitting the ball. Fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite or hybrid materials are often used on the face of paddles that you might see at games.

Importance of Paddle Weight

a tennis racket and ball on a tennis court
Photo by Aleksander Saks on Unsplash

The weight of your paddle profoundly impacts your game, affecting both comfort and the amount of control you have over shots – hence, it’s crucial to choose a pickleball paddle with a weight that suits your style and physical capability.

Lightweight vs. Heavyweight Paddles

Lightweight and heavyweight paddles each offer unique benefits depending on a player’s individual needs and playing style.

Lightweight PaddlesHeavyweight Paddles
ManeuverabilityLightweight paddles are easier to maneuver, allowing for a quicker response time and improved ball control.Heavyweight paddles may be less agile due to their increased weight, requiring a more forceful swing.
PowerThese paddles may provide less power compared to heavy paddles. The hitting power with lighter paddles primarily comes from the player’s arm motion.Heavier paddles provide more power due to their weight. This can be beneficial for players looking to increase shot force.
StabilityLightweight paddles may offer less stability, which can affect the accuracy of shots.Heavier paddles offer increased stability, which can improve the accuracy of shots.
Weight AdjustmentPlayers can add lead tape to increase the weight and stability of a lighter paddle.Adjusting the weight of a heavier paddle is not as straightforward, as removing material can affect the paddle’s balance and performance.
Personal PreferenceLightweight paddles are often preferred by players who prioritize speed and control over power.Heavyweight paddles are generally preferred by players who prioritize shot power over maneuverability.

Remember, the weight of a paddle is a personal preference based on fitness level and playing style and is an important factor to consider when choosing a pickleball paddle. Ultimately, the weight of a paddle can impact both power and control in gameplay.

Also read: How To Select The Right Pickleball Paddle Weight

Determining the Right Weight for Your Needs

Picking the right weight for your pickleball paddle is very important.

  • First, think about how you feel. The best paddle weight is helpful for your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. So, if these parts of your body hurt, choose a medium weight pickleball paddle.
  • Wood paddles are heavy. If you don’t have much money, you might want to buy wood paddles. But if you can spend more money, try to get a mid-level composite or graphite paddle.
  • A light pickleball paddle lets you move fast. You can hit the ball many times quickly. This type of lightweight paddle is good if you like to play at the net.
  • A heavy pickleball paddle lets you hit the ball hard. You will get power shots with this heavyweight paddle. This type of paddle works well if you like to play at the backline.
  • Paddle weight is a big deal when thinking about what fits in your budget and game style. Don’t pick a paddle just because it looks nice or has a cool name! Make sure its weight feels good in your hand first.

Paddle Size and Shape

Choosing a pickleball paddle isn’t just about the weight and material, but also the size and shape. The standard shaped paddles are wider, providing a larger hitting area or “sweet spot”, while elongated shapes offer extended reach and swift maneuverability.

It is crucial to understand how these variances impact your game when deciding on paddle characteristics that best suit your needs.

Standard vs. Elongated Shapes

When it comes to the shape of your pickleball paddle, you essentially have two options: standard and elongated. Each has its unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.

Standard ShapeElongated Shape
Main CharacteristicsStandard paddles are generally more square-shaped and have a wider hitting surface.Elongated paddles are often more rectangular, providing more reach and better power and spin as per our important facts.
Sweet SpotStandard shape paddles typically have a larger sweet spot, making it easier for beginners and providing consistent performance.Elongated paddles have a smaller sweet spot, which could be more challenging for beginners but offer more precision for experienced players.
ManeuverabilityStandard shaped paddles have better maneuverability, making them ideal for quick volleys and shots at the net.However, elongated shapes tend to be less maneuverable, demanding a higher skill level to handle effectively.

Each paddle shape has its place in the game, and the choice between a standard or elongated shape largely depends on your skill level and play style.

How Size and Shape Impact Paddle Choice

Size and shape are key to choosing a paddle. A big paddle gives you more power but less control. A long handle lets you move fast but cuts down on the sweet spot. The sweet spot is where the ball hits best on your paddle.

Having a widebody shape or elongated shape can change how you play. Widebody paddles have a large sweet spot, great for new players. Elongated paddles let skilled players hit hard and aim well.

So, choose the size and shape that suits your play style.

Understanding the Grip

The grip of your pickleball paddle is a crucial factor in maintaining control and comfort during play, so understanding how to measure it and knowing the impact of its shape and material can greatly enhance your gaming experience.

Grip Size and How to Measure It

Choosing the right grip size for your pickleball paddle is key. It brings a difference in your game play. Here are steps to find out the best grip size for you:

  1. Look at your hand. The right grip size links with how big your hand is.
  2. Get a ruler or tape measure.
  3. Check the space from the end of your ring finger to the line in your palm. This length tells you the best grip size.
  4. Smaller grips let you move your wrist more.
  5. Bigger grips keep your stroke steady and sure.
  6. Some players use extra wraps or tape to make their grips better for them.

Grip Shape and Material

The grip shape of your paddle should feel good in your hand. Some paddles have a rounded grip, while others have a flat side or edges. Try out different shapes to see what you prefer.

The material of the grip also matters. It can be leather, rubber or foam tape. These materials differ in softness and grip strength. Pick the one that is comfy and gives you control over the paddle.

In wet weather, some grips may get slippery, so choose wisely.

Navigating Paddle Pricing

Pickleball paddle prices can vary a lot. Some cost as low as $15, while others may go up to $150 or more. Usually, basic wooden paddles are the cheapest. But they don’t give much control or power when you play.

If you want better game skills, look for middle-priced paddles. They range from $50 to $100. Most players find them good enough for their needs. High-end paddles costing over $100 provide superior performance and durability but may not be necessary unless you’re a very serious player.

Addressing Common Questions

In this section, we’ll tackle some frequently asked questions like the lifespan of a pickleball paddle and how much difference a paddle’s cost can make in terms of its performance.

How Long Does a Pickleball Paddle Last?

A pickleball paddle can last for about a year if used daily by top-notch players. A lot can change this. How often you play and your skill level can affect how long it lasts. Some paddles may wear out faster due to their quality, materials used, and how they were made.

Cheaper wooden paddles might not last as long as costlier professional ones. You can make your paddle last longer with good care; clean it after each use and store it in a safe place.

What is the Difference Between a Cheap and Expensive Pickleball Paddle?

The price sets cheap and expensive pickleball paddles apart. Cheap paddles are often under $50. They are made from light, durable stuff like polypropylene. On the other hand, high-quality paddles can cost up to $250.

They use better materials like composite or graphite for great play. These costly paddles last longer too.

10 Tips for Avoiding Tennis Elbow with the Right Paddle

Choosing the right paddle can help you avoid tennis elbow. Here are some tips:

  1. Pick a light paddle. It puts less strain on your arm.
  2. Find a paddle with a good grip size. The wrong size can hurt your hand and arm.
  3. Make sure the handle fits in your hand well. A poor fit can put extra stress on your elbow.
  4. Try different paddle shapes to see what works best for you.
  5. Use a paddle with a polymer core, it’s softer and easier on your arm.
  6. Avoid paddles made of hard materials like carbon fiber if you have elbow problems.
  7. Check how thick the paddle is, thinner ones often work better for people with elbow pain.
  8. Get a paddle that lets you make easy hits with less force.
  9. Don’t go for power paddles if you’re still new to pickleball, control paddles may be better for beginners.
  10. Get advice from other players, they might have good suggestions for paddles that won’t hurt your elbow.

Comparing Edge Guard vs. Edgeless Paddles

When comparing pickleball paddles, it’s important to consider whether you prefer an edge guard or an edgeless design. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Edge Guard PaddlesEdgeless Paddles
Feature a protective barrier around the perimeter of the paddle.Offer a seamless surface from the core to the edge of the paddle.
Enhance comfort and can absorb sweat, providing a better grip.Promote a larger hitting area, enhancing the agility of the paddle.
Less likely to sustain damage from ground contact or collisions because the edge guard serves as a buffer.More susceptible to chipping or damage if dropped or hit against a hard surface.
May slightly increase the overall weight of the paddle.Generally lighter due to the absence of the extra material around the edge.
Often preferred by beginners for added protection and durability.Favoured by advanced players who appreciate the larger hitting area and reduced weight.

Remember, the choice between an edge guard and an edgeless paddle largely depends on your personal preferences and style of play.

Final Advice for Your Pickleball Paddle Selection

Picking the right pickleball paddle is easy with this guide. Trust your feel, look at cost, and pick a size that fits you well. Don’t forget to check the weight too! Now go out there and play your best game ever.

You might also like our article about the best pickleball accessories!


1. What is a paddle buyer’s guide for pickleball?

A paddle buyer’s guide helps you choose the right pickleball paddle. It offers advice on core density, handle length, and midweight paddles.

2. How does the type of core in a paddle affect its performance?

The core density affects power and control in pickleball shots. Paddles with aluminum or nomex cores can provide more power.

3. Can beginners use any kind of pickleball paddles?

Beginners may prefer classic shape paddles like those from Paddletek’s Bantam or Phoenix series, as it balances both power elements and control elements well.

4. Does grip size matter when choosing a pickleball paddle?

Yes! The grip circumference should fit your hand size nicely to generate spin easily while ensuring comfort during play.

5. Is there any difference between an indoor and outdoor paddle?

Yes, there are differences in terms such as weight classifications.The choice between indoor or outdoor pickelaball rackets depends on where you’re playing most often.

6.What are some top recommendations for types ofmaterials used in Pickle-ball Paddle construction?

Material options include graphite , fiberglass ,or carbon fiber faces which each affect the power vs control balance differently; also consider solid span technology for honeycomb cores like Nomex™ .

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