2023’s Best Pickleball Paddles: Expert Reviews & Comparisons
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Ready to elevate your pickleball game? Choosing the right pickleball paddle is a crucial step in enhancing your performance on the court. This comprehensive guide will cover the best pickleball paddles for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players, as well as those transitioning from tennis. Dive in and discover the perfect paddle for you!
- The Head Radical Elite and Prolite Bolt are great beginner-friendly pickleball paddles.
- Intermediate players should look for a balance of power & control, such as the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro or Engage Pursuit EX 6.0.
- Advanced players may opt for premium brands like Joola or Selkirk to maximize performance.
Top Pickleball Paddles For Beginners
Starting your pickleball journey with the right paddle is essential. The Head Radical Elite and Prolite Bolt are two of the best paddles for beginners, offering a combination of control, power, and affordability, making them some of the best pickleball paddle options for new players. As a beginner, it’s recommended to prioritize control over power, which may be achieved with a lighter paddle. Midweight paddles, typically weighing between seven and ten ounces, provide a balanced combination of power and control that is ideal for novice players.
Constructed with padded EVA plastic, beginner-friendly pickleball paddles are fairly weighty, providing stability and power. However, some players may prefer a heavier paddle for even more power in their shots. The wide body of a pickleball paddle benefits new players by offering a larger sweet spot, making it easier to strike the ball accurately. While the beginner-friendly pickleball paddles mentioned in this article are affordable, more advanced players may opt for expensive paddles that offer additional features and improved performance.
To sum up, it’s good to start with an entry level paddle as a beginner. The best pickleball paddles for beginners should offer a balance of control, power, and affordability. The Head Radical Elite and Prolite Bolt are excellent options that will help new players build confidence on the pickleball court.
Best Intermediate Pickleball Paddles
Intermediate players can benefit from a combination of performance and value that allows them to achieve the optimal balance between power and control. The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro, Gamma Sports 2.0, and Engage Pursuit EX 6.0 are among the best pickleball paddles for intermediate-level players. These paddles possess a large sweet spot, balanced weight, and a combination of power and control. Additionally, they feature a textured graphite or fiberglass/carbon fiber surface and a headlight balance.
The advantages of a mid weight paddle, which is an intermediate-level paddle, include their mix of performance and value. As you increase you control and consistency as you move from beginner play to intermediate play, you need a pickleball paddle that gives you the control and power you need to be successful on the pickleball court.
In conclusion, the best paddle options for intermediate-level players, such as the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro, Gamma Sports 2.0, and Engage Pursuit EX 6.0, offer a great combination of affordability, value, and the performance to prove it’s worth, making them ideal choices for those looking to improve their game.
Premium Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players
For advanced players seeking high-quality paddles, options such as the Joola Ben Johns Hyperion and the Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle offer increased power, control, and feel, even if it comes at the expense of forgiveness. The Joola Ben Johns Hyperion boasts a reactive polymer honeycomb core, a 4 1/4” (Medium) grip circumference with Sure-Grip technology, an overlapping 1/4” paddle face, and a weight of 8.4 ounces (Standard) or 7.9 ounces (Swift).
Pro players like Tyson McGuffin, Enrique Ruize, Joanne Russel, and Kaitlin Christian use Selkirk’s pickleball paddles. Now you can get the same paddle for your game!
The Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle features a state of the art FiberFlex Fiberglass face with a thicker Polypropylene X5 Core providing optimal ball cushioning. The sleek fiberglass surface generates unmatched ball spin, and defuses your opponents spin effortlessly and accurately.
These premium paddles enable advanced players to play a game more similar to their tennis game, giving them more confidence to hit the shots they desire.
Optimal Paddles for Tennis Players Transitioning to Pickleball
Former tennis players transitioning to pickleball can benefit from paddles specifically designed to cater to their needs and their play style. The Selkirk Sport AMPED Invikta and ProKennex Black Ace Pro are highly recommended pickleball paddles for tennis players making the switch.
The Selkirk Sport AMPED Invikta X5 FiberFlex paddle is Selkirk’s intermediate paddle offering, featuring an elongated shape, large sweet spot, and a thicker but surprisingly soft polymer core for a great balance between power and control.
The AMPED paddle combines a state of the art FiberFlex Fiberglass face with a thicker Polypropylene X5 Core providing optimal ball cushioning. The sleek fiberglass surface generates unmatched ball spin, and defuses your opponents spin effortlessly and accurately allowing you to have more control and consistency of your game.
Another benefit of the Selkirk paddle is that the handle is a bit longer than other traditional pickleball paddles, which is great for those tennis players who prefer to use 2 hands on the forehand or backhand.
The Best Edgeless Pickleball Paddle
Another excellent option for advanced players is this power paddle: the ProKennex Black Ace Pro Pickleball Paddle which features a large sweet spot and widened face, making it ideal for both newer players and advanced players who can take advantage of its spin capabilities and balanced power and control.
The edgeless design of this paddle enhances the Pickleball player’s reflexes in quick exchanges while producing more power compared to other carbon faced rackets due to the enhanced swing speed.
The Black Ace Pro is equipped with kinetic technology, their patented shock and vibration absorbing system that reduces vibration by 43%. An additional kinetic system is added to the handle of the paddle and acts as a last-pass filtration system due to the enhanced power of the Black Ace.
In summary, the Selkirk Sport AMPED Invikta and ProKennex Black Ace Pro offer the perfect blend of features to accommodate former tennis players transitioning to pickleball, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition to the sport.
Lightweight vs. Heavyweight Paddles: Pros and Cons
Before you can play pickleball, it’s good to identify whether you need heavier paddles or lighter paddles. When selecting a pickleball paddle, it’s essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of a lightweight paddle and heavyweight options. Lightweight paddles, such as graphite pickleball paddles or those made of fiberglass, offer increased maneuverability and enhanced control, making them suitable for novice users or those seeking a gentler touch. These can be a great option as a starter paddle. However, they may provide less power and may not be ideal for players looking for heavier paddles.
On the other hand, heavyweight paddles offer increased power and stability, making them a perfect choice for pickleball players who can deliver those power shots and enjoy paddles sport. However, these paddles may have a slower speed and can be challenging to maneuver.
Consider your playing style and preferences when choosing between lightweight and heavyweight paddles. Both options have their unique benefits and drawbacks, and selecting the right one will undoubtedly impact your performance on the pickleball court.
Material Matters: Graphite, Composite, and Wood Paddles
To find the best pickleball paddle, you also need to consider what your paddle is made of. The material of your pickleball paddle has a significant impact on its performance, durability, and price. Let’s explore the differences between graphite, composite, and wood pickleball paddles.
Graphite paddles are lightweight and provide a high level of control, making them ideal for players seeking precision and delicacy in their shots. Having a textured graphite surface allows for more spin capability as well. Composite paddles, on the other hand, generate even more spin and power, making them suitable for players of all skill levels. Carbon fiber paddles, while sharing some similarities with graphite and composite options, offer their own unique benefits. A wooden paddle is cost-effective, long-lasting, and offers excellent ball control, making these types of paddles a popular choice for beginners or for those on a budget. While wooden paddles may lack the advanced features of graphite, composite, or carbon fiber options, they still provide a solid performance on the court.
In summary, understanding the differences between graphite, composite, wood paddles and different paddle surfaces will help you make an informed decision when selecting the right pickleball paddle for your play style and budget.
Exploring Unique Paddle Shapes and Their Benefits
Pickleball paddles come in various shapes, such as square, rectangle, oval, and teardrop, which can affect sweet spot, reach, and accuracy. Square paddles offer a larger sweet spot and greater reach, making them a popular choice for beginners and intermediate players.
Oval and teardrop paddles provide increased accuracy, making them ideal for players who prioritize precision over power. Rectangle paddles offer a balance between sweet spot, reach, and accuracy, catering to players seeking an all-around performance.
Understanding the benefits of various paddle shapes will help you select the right pickleball paddle to enhance your performance and cater to your specific needs on the court.
Edgeless Paddles: Advantages and Drawbacks
Edgeless paddles, which do not include an edge guard, offer players increased surface area to strike the ball and are ideal for those who favor a gentler touch. However, they may be more susceptible to damage due to the lack of edge protection since they are a rimless pickleball paddle.
The PCKL edgeless paddle, approved by USA Pickleball, offers a textured face for increased spin and amplified power, making it a popular choice for those seeking the benefits of an edgeless design.
In summary, edgeless paddles provide unique advantages, such as increased surface area and soft touch, but may also have drawbacks in terms of durability. Consider your playing style and preferences when deciding if an edgeless paddle is the best pickleball paddle for you.
Customizing Your Paddle: Grip Size, Handle Length, and Accessories
Choosing the right grip size and handle length for your pickleball paddle is essential for comfort and performance. Measure from the lowest crease in your palm to the top of your ring finger. Make sure that your fingers are together and your palm is flat. This will help you determine the appropriate handle length. However, players with large hands may find the small grip circumference of a particular paddle to be inadequate. Edge guards safeguard the edge of the paddle from chips, though a larger edge guard may decrease the total surface area available to use—consequently reducing the sweet spot. The Joola Sure-Grip offers improved shock absorption, moisture-wicking, comfort, and lessens fatigue in the paddle hand for extended play.
When selecting an edge guard for your paddle, look for one of quality construction. Generally, a grip size between 4 and 5 inches is recommended. Accessories such as shock absorbers and a carrying bag can also enhance comfort and performance while protecting your investment. Consider these options when customizing your paddle to ensure a seamless playing experience.
Even the highest quality paddles don’t always have the best grip that is comfortable for you. Another way to make sure your grip is comfortable is to make sure you have a high tack performance grip. There are many options of good overgrips for your pickleball paddle.
Overall, customizing your paddle with the right grip size, handle length, and accessories can significantly enhance your comfort and performance on the pickleball court.
Maintaining and Extending Your Paddle’s Lifespan
Proper care and maintenance of your pickleball paddle can prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. It is recommended to wipe down the paddle face with water on a weekly basis to remove dirt and debris.
When To Replace Your Pickleball Paddle
It is also advisable to replace your pickleball paddle every one to two years, or sooner if there are signs of wear and tear or changes in playing style. This will ensure that you are always playing with a paddle in optimal condition.
During warm summer months, avoid leaving your paddle in locations that can reach high temperatures, such as car trunks, as this can cause damage to the paddle’s materials. By following these simple maintenance tips, you can extend your paddle’s lifespan and enjoy an enhanced playing experience.
Pro Players’ Preferred Pickleball Paddles
Professional pickleball players often have preferred paddles that cater to their specific playing style. Brands such as Joola, Niupipo, Paddletek, and Selkirk are popular among top competitors. For example, Collin Johns uses one of the Joola paddles, the Scorpeus CFS 16, which boasts a carbon-forged handle designed for power, comfort, shock absorption, and optimal performance, as well as a head design that enhances swing speed and spin.
The Franklin Signature paddle is another popular choice among serious players, known as one of the power paddles and features an oversized sweet spot for dependability with each shot. By exploring the preferred paddles of professional players, you can gain insight into the popular brands and models that offer the performance and quality needed to excel in the sport of pickleball and find the best pickleball paddle for you.
In conclusion, selecting the right pickleball paddle is essential for enhancing your performance on the court. This guide has covered various aspects of pickleball paddles, including options for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players, as well as those transitioning from tennis. By considering factors such as paddle shape, material, weight, grip size, and handle length, you can find the best pickleball paddle tailored to your playing style and preferences. Now it’s time to hit the court with confidence and enjoy the exciting sport of pickleball!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There Really A Difference In Pickleball Paddles?
It is clear that there are significant differences between pickleball paddles, with varied features in terms of weight, core, surface, thickness, grip size and handle length.
Each player should carefully consider these features when choosing a paddle to suit their needs and preferences.
How Do I Choose A Pickleball Paddle For Beginners?
When it comes to picking your first pickleball paddle, go with a midweight option that will provide both power and control for any skill level. This way you’ll be able to execute soft dinks and power serves with ease.
What Pickleball Paddle Does Ben Johns Use?
Ben Johns uses a prototype paddle from Joola, which he began playing with in late 2022 and mentioned on an Instagram post on January 12th, 2023.
What Pickleball Paddle Does Tyson Mcguffin Use?
Tyson Mcguffin uses the Vanguard Power Air Invikta Paddle, as endorsed by both him and Catherine Parenteau.
How Do I Choose The Right Grip Size And Handle Length For My Paddle?
To find the right grip size and handle length for your paddle, measure from the lowest crease in your palm to the top of your ring finger with your fingers together and palm flat. Aim for a grip size between 4 and 5 inches.
What Does USA Pickleball Approved Mean?
USA pickleball approved means that the pickleball paddle or ball has been approved by the USAPA (United States Amateur Pickleball Association) and can be used in USAPA tournaments. While it doesn’t matter too much when you begin playing, as your advance your pickleball skills, you normally want to use an approved paddle so you can play in tournaments.
How Do I Choose The Best Paddle For Two Handed Backhand Shots?
One thing we learned is that it is important to have a long enough handle on your paddle to make it a great paddle. The first expensive paddle I personally bought had a comfortable grip but the handle was too short for two handed backhand shots and those are important as you move up to the 4.0-5.0 level. So make sure you test your two hand grip on the paddle and ask about the paddle weight and if it is one of the more durable paddles.
Looking for more advice on pickleball equipment, paddles, shoes, and more? Check out our blog to learn more!