What are the Best Pickleball Paddles

February 3, 2024

Looking for the best pickleball paddle can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the game. With so many options available on the market, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, choosing the right paddle is essential to your game, as it can significantly impact your performance on the court.

When selecting a pickleball paddle, there are several factors to consider, such as weight, grip size, and materials. The weight of the paddle can affect your swing speed, while the grip size can impact your control and comfort during play. Materials used in paddle construction can also influence durability and overall performance. By carefully considering these aspects, you’ll be better equipped to find a paddle that complements your playing style and enhances your game.

In this article, we’re diving into the world of pickleball paddles, evaluating their features, performance, and value for money. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned player looking to upgrade, our guide aims to cover all bases, ensuring you make an informed choice on your quest for the best pickleball paddle.

Choosing the Right Pickleball Paddle

Selecting the ideal pickleball paddle is a critical step that greatly impacts your performance and pleasure in playing. The market offers an extensive assortment of paddles, featuring different materials, weights, and grip sizes, making it challenging to navigate the options. However, by delving into the details of paddle specifications and how they align with your personal needs, you can find a paddle that enhances your game.

Understanding Paddle Materials:
The construction material of a pickleball paddle plays a critical role in its performance characteristics. Options range from lightweight carbon fiber and graphite, known for their power and precision, to durable polypropylene, polymer, and fiberglass that offer a unique blend of spin and tactile feedback. For those seeking a traditional feel, wooden paddles provide a classic option, though they tend to be heavier and less enduring than their modern counterparts.

Paddle Core Types:
The core of the paddle is where much of the magic happens, impacting everything from the paddle’s feel to its sound upon impact. The honeycomb core stands out for its balance of power and control, making it a favorite among players of all levels. Polymer cores excel in providing enhanced spin and a softer feel, ideal for strategic players, while foam injection cores are prized for their lightweight nature, offering swift maneuverability and potent power strikes.

Paddle Weight and Balance:
The weight of your paddle can greatly affect your agility and power on the court. Lightweight paddles facilitate quick wrist action and ease of movement, essential for rapid volleys and defensive plays. Conversely, heavier paddles can lend a player more power and stability, especially useful for driving shots and serves. The balance point of the paddle also matters, influencing how it feels during play—whether it’s head-heavy for more power or balanced for an even feel.

Paddle Shapes and Sizes:
Pickleball paddles are not one-size-fits-all. They vary from elongated designs, which extend reach and power, to traditional shapes that enhance control and precision. The dimensions of the paddle affect the size of the sweet spot and the overall power it can generate. Players must consider their playing style and what they wish to optimize—power or control—when selecting a paddle shape and size.

Grip Size and Comfort:
Finally, the grip is the paddle’s point of contact with the player, making its size and comfort paramount. A grip that fits well in your hand will not only enhance control but also reduce the risk of strain or injury over prolonged play. It’s essential to choose a grip size that complements your hand size, allowing for a firm yet comfortable grasp throughout the game.

In summary, selecting the ideal pickleball paddle involves a blend of personal preference and understanding of how different features affect performance. By considering the material, core type, weight, balance, shape, size, and grip of potential paddles, players can find a paddle that not only suits their play style but also elevates their game on the court.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Different Skill Levels

Navigating the vast selection of pickleball paddles available can be quite the journey, especially when considering the diverse needs of players at different skill levels. From those just stepping onto the court to seasoned competitors, the right paddle can significantly enhance your game, offering a blend of control, power, and spin suited to your playing style.

For Beginners:
Starting out, the focus should be on control and ease of use. The Onix Graphite Z5 and Selkirk Prime S2 stand out as top picks for novices. These paddles are celebrated for their generous sweet spots and lightweight design, facilitating ease of movement and making those first games more rewarding. Their construction aims to forgive mis-hits and improve ball placement, laying a solid foundation for developing skills.

Intermediate Players:
As skills progress, so does the need for a paddle that can handle the nuances of more strategic play. Intermediate players often seek a balance between control and power to enhance their evolving game. The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro emerges as a standout, offering a harmonious balance that doesn’t sacrifice spin for power, or vice versa. Meanwhile, the Ben Johns Signature Pro Model by Franklin Sports provides a distinctive edge in spin and precision, catering to players ready to refine their technique further.

Advanced Players:
At the advanced level, the demands on a paddle become more specific, with players seeking tools that can elevate their performance to match high-level competition. The Engage Encore Pro is a favorite among professionals, including Ben Johns, for its superior power and control. Its design emphasizes a large sweet spot and an innovative core that aids in both power shots and finesse plays, making it a formidable choice for those at the pinnacle of their game.

Competitive Players:
For those in the competitive arena, the Selkirk AMPED Invikta shines as a prime option. Its design caters to competitive play with an extended sweet spot and enhanced power capabilities. Endorsed by Tyson McGuffin, this paddle is engineered to support aggressive playstyles while maintaining precision and control, a testament to its high-quality construction and thoughtful design.

Enhancing Your Game with the Right Pickleball Paddle

Finding the perfect pickleball paddle is a crucial choice that goes beyond personal taste, directly impacting your effectiveness and strategy on the court. Whether you play for fun or vie in competitive matches, the right paddle selection can profoundly affect your gameplay. Discover how choosing the ideal paddle can transform your performance

Improving Shot Accuracy
Precision is a cornerstone of pickleball, and your paddle plays a pivotal role in achieving it. Opting for a paddle with an expansive sweet spot can drastically improve your accuracy, ensuring more of your shots land exactly where you intend. Moreover, a lighter paddle with balanced weight distribution enhances your ability to swiftly adjust your swings, thereby increasing your precision during fast-paced exchanges.

Maximizing Power and Control
For those moments when you need to deliver powerful shots, the construction of your paddle is crucial. A paddle designed with a robust power core can amplify the force behind your strikes. Equally important is the paddle’s surface texture; a rougher finish can grip the ball better, enabling you to impart more spin and, consequently, exercise greater control over the trajectory of your shots.

Developing Touch and Feel
Pickleball isn’t solely about the power behind your shots; the sport equally values finesse and the ability to execute gentle touch shots. A paddle with a softer face material can aid in refining these subtle strokes, offering enhanced feedback and a gentler impact with the ball. Additionally, a larger grip size can improve hand comfort and afford you finer control over nuanced shots, further developing your skill in executing strategic plays.


Selecting the perfect pickleball paddle is more than just a purchase; it’s a step towards enhancing your gameplay, whether you’re just beginning to explore the courts or you’re serving up competition-level plays. The journey from understanding the basics of paddle materials and core types to discerning the nuances of weight, balance, and grip size is crucial for every player. By considering the factors highlighted in this guide, players can navigate the vast market with confidence, finding a paddle that not only suits their skill level but also complements their playing style, ensuring a significant improvement in control, power, and overall performance on the court.

As we’ve explored the best pickleball paddles across different skill levels, from beginner-friendly options to competitive-grade rackets, the importance of choosing the right paddle cannot be overstated. Whether you’re seeking to refine your shots, enhance your power, or simply enjoy the game more fully, the right paddle acts as a catalyst, transforming potential into prowess. Remember, the ultimate goal is to find a paddle that feels like an extension of your arm, one that effortlessly connects with your unique approach to the game, paving the way for not just victories, but for the sheer joy of playing pickleball.


Which pickleball paddles offer the best value for their cost?

For those seeking exceptional value without compromising on quality, the Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control paddle is highly recommended. This paddle stands out in evaluations, offering features and performance that rival more expensive models, making it an excellent choice for players looking for top-notch quality at a reasonable price.

What paddles are recommended for intermediate level pickleball players?

Intermediate players, who are refining their balance of control and power, should consider paddles that support this development. The Selkirk AMPED S2 and the Onix Z5 are great choices. These paddles offer the perfect blend of responsiveness and strength needed to elevate an intermediate player’s game.

How should beginners select their first pickleball paddle?

Beginners should prioritize ease of use and forgiveness in a paddle. Lightweight options with a larger sweet spot, such as the Selkirk Latitude and the Onix Graphite Z5, are ideal. These characteristics make the paddle more forgiving on mis-hits and easier to control, providing a positive learning experience for newcomers.

What features should advanced players look for in a pickleball paddle to enhance their game?

Advanced players should seek paddles that complement their nuanced playing style, with a focus on achieving a fine balance between power and control. The Selkirk AMPED Invikta and the ProKennex Ovation Speed are tailored for advanced gameplay, offering precision, power, and a level of control that meets the demands of high-level play.

How do paddle thickness and weight impact a player’s performance in pickleball?

Paddle thickness and weight play crucial roles in a player’s performance. Generally, a thicker paddle will provide more power, while a thinner paddle allows for greater control. Similarly, a heavier paddle can enhance power in shots, whereas a lighter paddle offers better maneuverability and speed. The ideal thickness and weight depend on personal preference and playing style, underscoring the importance of selecting a paddle that feels right for you.