Gearbox pickleball paddles are made by a California based company that was founded by professional racquetball player Rafael Filippini. As an expert in composite materials, with over 25 years experience in the industry, Flippini holds several patents for the use of composites in racquet technology. His skill as a pro racquetball player and extensive knowledge in the field of composites led to the birth of Gearbox.
Although early on the company concentrated primarily on racquetball racquets and equipment, it has since broadened it's scope to include other racquet sports, including pickleball. The San Diego based company expanded their lineup in 2015 by launching a series of paddleball and pickleball paddles. The G11 Gearbox paddle seems to be the one getting the most attention on the courts.
This brand of paddles are noticeably different - all Gearbox pickleball paddles are edgeless.
(Click to read pros and cons to edgeless design).
Edgeless: all of the paddles made by Gearbox are edgeless. While some other brands offer some paddles without a plastic edge guard, Gearbox's entire product line is.
USAPA Approved: All Gearbox pickleball paddles are approved for tournament play (link will open PDF of approved paddles)
Single Piece Construction: One of the main complaints about edgeless paddles is that the layers of material tend to separate over time due to repeated shock from hitting the ball and the edge from getting banged up. Gearbox claims to have solved that problem with this unibody construction
Carbon fiber: The single piece of carbon fiber provides an even playing surface. These paddles have no honeycomb core like you find in most pickleball paddles. This make for a more uniform surface and according to the company- no dead spots.
1 Year Warranty: All of Gearbox's paddles have a one year warranty covering defects.
As we mentioned, the paddle technology and specifications on these three paddles is basically identical with just the weight being the only differentiation.
From a player standpoint it makes it easy and practical to compare since the only buying consideration between them is your preferred weight class. At seven, eight and nine ounces, Gearbox provides and option for all playing styes.
An added feature is that the paddles each come in two versions for different grip sizes: 3⅝ or 3 15/16, so you need to make sure you select the best one for your hand size when you purchase one of these paddles. This is an innovative idea from Gearbox and something we wish more paddle brands offered.
For example here is the Gearbox Eight Pickleball Paddle with a 3-5/8 Inch grip and the same paddle with the 3-15/16 inch grip.
Compared to most paddles on the market, the seven ounce would be considered lightweight whereas nine is definitely on the heavy side. While the "Nine" may appeal to power hitters and tennis players crossing over into pickleball at nine ounces, it's pretty heavy for your average player so the "Seven" and "Eight" are more likely candidates for most players.
As with all Gearbox paddles, the G2 is edgeless. The paddle features a traditional wide body paddle face. According to the company, the Greinforced interior frame holds up well without a bumper guard around the edge.
While the G2 is marketed as a balanced "touch" paddle, the face is pretty glossy and slippery so it's not clear how its been optimized for touch.
Many of the new pickleball paddles on the market have enhanced texture making them easier for spin, so side by side it's not clear this would outperform newer touch paddles that have more "bite".
G2 Paddle Specifications:
While the G2 has the honeycomb polymer core, the G7 is built with Gearbox's Patent Pending proprietary core which they call "Solid Span" technology.
The core is made up of hand laid layers of composite materials using rib and chamber structure at the core of the paddle. The end result is a single molded structure: the face, core and paddle frame are all one piece. This core is really what sets Gearbox apart from its peers and what makes their paddles unique.
Due to the single piece construction the company claims the paddles overcome the shortcomings of other paddles and bypass the weakness that layered laminate materials face on other paddles that don't use a edge guard.
G7 Paddle Specifications:
G11 Paddle Specifications:
The G11 seems to be the Gearbox paddle that's been getting the most attention on the courts, at least it's the one we see the most. Users we've spoken to seem to like the single piece construction and some claim to feel less vibration coming down through the paddle.
For players that are frustrated with frequent mis-hits or lost points from hitting a paddle edge guard, the wide open paddle face with no interfering rim is an attractive feature. Also the feel of the paddle is solid and wide hitting area is a plus with large sweet spot across most of the paddle face.
While the company claims that the solid construction of the paddle elimnated the need for a protective edge, when looking at a paddle that's gotten a fair amount of use one can see some signs of visual damage around the paddle edge.
This is understandably based on the fact that there is no bumper. From the paddles we have seen the damage was cosmetic rather than actual structural damage that would negatively impact play.
Time will only tell if this technology can hold up to repeated abuse that pickleball paddles take on the court, but the theory behind it makes sense- without the honeycomb core which over time can break down and cause dead-spots, it would seem logical that these paddle bodies with solid core could without this problem.
The Gearbox also makes other accessories for racket sports protective, for example their eyewear made it to the top of our list for best pickleball protective eyewear and they also make gloves for racquetball and other racket sports.
Gearbox celebrated it's 10th anniversary in 2017. Gearbox brings a unique perspective to the pickleball paddle industry. The brand's roots in racquetball and their founder's highly specialized expertise in composite technology continue to revolutionize the equipment and push the edge of paddle tech.