Head Pickleball Paddles
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The company made news in 2017 by releasing an entire line of Head pickleball paddles. This move into the sport of pickleball by a major tennis racket manufacturer (Wilson started selling pickleball paddles a few years ago) shows the surging popularity of the sport.
Head’s pickleball paddle line was launched with a total of 8 paddles, broken down into groups: Radical and Xtreme. Each of the lines is available in 4 models (Tour, Elite, Pro and Pro L). The tour models are graphite paddles whereas the other lines have fiberglass surfaces.
I’m a little baffled why Head decided to launch 8 new pickleball paddles all at the same time having never sold a pickleball paddle before. To me the names are too similar and confusing, I actually had to put together a spreadsheet to help compare them and remind myself which one is which.
It might actually be easier to remember the color since they at least the paddle graphics are a pretty easy way to tell apart. Anyway, my goal here is to help you narrow this down so you at least know which Head paddle might fit what you’re looking for.
Head Pickleball Paddles:
First of all, let’s start with what is the SAME between the paddles models (a LOT actually):
- Head paddles are all basically the same dimensions: 16” long by 7 7/8” wide.
- All of the Head paddles have 5″ grip length and 4 1/4″ grip circumference.
- All of the Head paddles have a Polymer honeycomb core that Head calls”Optimized Tubular Construction”
- All the Head paddles have a thin edge guard overlapping the edge of the paddle face.
- Apart from the lighter Xtreme Tour, the paddles’ average weights are all between 7.8-8.2 ounces.
- Head paddles are all made in China.
Main differences between Head models
- Diamond control shape: Xtreme paddle line, diamond shape-corners are not rounded
- Dynamic Power Shape: Radical paddle line, rounded and slightly tapered head.
- Graphite Paddle Faces: The Radical Tour and Xtreme Tour.
- Fiberglass face: the other 6 paddles (except the two mentioned above) have fiberglass paddle faces.
- The Head Xtreme Elite and Radical Elite have the “Ergo” Grip (Head SofTac grip) whereas the other paddles feature “Comfort Grip” (Head’s HydroSorb Pro grip)
Head Grip Styles:
- Comfort Grip – constructed with EVA material to give the paddle grip a softer feel and lessen vibration.
- Ergo Grip – Similar shape and size as the Comfort grip but lacking the extra cushion and shock absorption since it does not incorporate the EVA.
Which Head Pickleball Paddle is for you?
Price: all of the Head paddles are all within about a $30 range (depending on the retailer)-from the cheapest to most expensive.
From around $59 for the “Elite” models to $89 for the highest-priced “Tour” Paddles. That’s really not a huge range considering there are pickleball paddles on the market at a wide range of price points with some pro-level paddles now selling in the $120-$150 range.
The lowest-priced Elite paddles have the more bare-bones “Ergo” grip (compared to the “Comfort” grip on the more expensive paddles. They also do NOT have the “Extreme Spin Texture” that is applied to the higher-end Head Pro and Tour paddle faces. So if you are looking for a more budget paddle, are willing to pass up the nicer grip , and are not as concerned with putting spin on your shots, the Elite paddles would be for you.
I’m a little surprised to see that Head made the weights so similar on their paddles. According to interviews published with Head, they’ve claimed that most players play better with a heavier paddle-and that even those players who prefer a lighter paddle may play better with the extra weight. Because of that, the Head paddles mostly all fall right around 8 ounces but the Xtreme Tour is the lightweight in the lineup at an average of 7.6 oz.
Power vs. Control players:
If you are a power hitter, you’ll want to look at the Radical line. The Radicals are more head-weighted and are thicker than the Elite. I would compare the Radical Tour and Radical Pro. The main difference in making your decision would be
1) Fiberglass (Pro) vs Graphite (Tour)
2) Slightly more weight on the Pro- although the difference is minimal.
Control players would want to consider the Xtreme line. If you’re looking for extra finesse at the net and a good dinking paddle the diamond shape and control orientated line. Unless you are on a budget, I would skip the Elite line and just compare the Xtreme Pro and Xtreme Tour.
Again, the main difference between these is the face: Fiberglass (Pro) vs Graphite (Tour). They both have the same grip and same spin capability. The other main difference is weight. If you’re looking for a more lightweight paddle, the Tour is slightly lighter (7.5 vs. 7.8).
The Head Radical Pro is a great starting point for a lot of beginners and those who transition from tennis and already have some experience. The Radical Pro is one of their standard pickleball paddles that features the typical grip, handle length, paddle shape, and weight that most of their paddles use.
The paddle is well balanced, it does not feel top heavy at all. The face material is made of composite, which gives the paddle excellent power and control. The core is made of Polypropylene, which provides excellent cushioning and makes the paddle very lightweight. The grip is comfortable and easy to hold, and the paddle has an impressive sweet spot. Overall, the Head Radical Pro is an excellent choice for intermediate pickleball players who want a paddle that won’t outgrow too quickly but also does not cost them a fortune.
This paddle offers free shipping, a weight of 8.1 ounces, a composite surface material, and a polymer honeycomb core material. The paddle shape is standard, the length is 16 inches, the width is 7 7/8 inches, the grip size is standard at 4 1/4 inches, and the handle length is 5 inches. The colorway for this product is orange. It has also been USAPA approved.
Head Radical Tour
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line pickleball paddle for a good price, the Head Radical Tour should be considered. This paddle is made with high-quality materials and features cutting-edge technologies that make it a great choice for competitive players, and for the $134 price point, it’s a great deal. The face material ( graphite ) is extremely durable, and the core ( Honeycomb Polycore ) provides a pretty good amount of power and control. The grip is comfortable and provides good traction, making this paddle immune to slippery and sweaty hands if you play in warmer climates.
This is a middleweight paddle at 7.9 oz, but Head makes such a good grips that often their “heavier” paddles still feel great in the hand. The Comfort Grip System also ensures that you’ll have a comfortable grip on the paddle. If you’re a power player who likes to keep the rallies going, the HEAD Radical Tour Middleweight Graphite Pickleball Paddle is a great option for you. With its Carbon Fiber (graphite) hitting surface and Control Stabilizer Technology (CST), this paddle provides excellent stability and a crisp feel that will help you keep your shots on target.
This paddle offers free shipping, a weight of 7.9 oz, a graphite face material, honeycomb polycore, standard shape and length of 16”, a width of 8”, Standard grip size – 4 1/4”, Standard handle length – 5”, 15 mm core thickness, Orange colorway, and is approved for sanctioned tournament play by USAPA.
Radical Tour CO
The Head Radical Pro CO pickleball paddle is a great option for players looking for a durable and technologically advanced paddle. The paddle uses several layers of composite to create a rigid yet lightweight frame. The hitting surface is made of a composite material that combines a soft feel with more power, while the Comfort Grip System ensures a great feel and enhanced vibration dampening.
The core of the paddle is made from a HoneyComb Polymer, which offers excellent shock absorption. The edge guard is decent and protects the paddle from wear and tear, making it worth the investment. The Radical Tour CO is a high-powered pickleball paddle that incorporates HEAD’s new Control Stabilizer Technology for added stability.
This paddle is USAPA approved and has a composite face with a honeycomb polymer core. It is orange and weighs 8.1 oz. The dimensions are 16” long, 7 7/8” wide, and the grip size is standard at 4 1/4”. The handle length is 5” and the core thickness is 15 mm.
The Head Radical Elite pickleball paddle is a great option for players who are looking for a durable, tried and true, simple paddle from Head. Hopefully, the $64 price tag does not scare you off! The paddle’s face is made from a Fiberglass (Composite) material, which makes it resistant to wear and tear. The core of the paddle is made from Polymer Honeycomb, which provides excellent feel and control and helps to reduce vibration. The grip on the paddle is comfortable and textured, making it easy to hold onto during intense games. The overall design of the paddle makes it feel lightweight and easy to maneuver, even though it weighs in at 8.1 oz.
The Radical Elite middleweight is great for a wide range of players because it has the same Dynamic Power Shape for a larger sweet spot, and a thicker OTC honeycomb core which feels great to play with. The paddle has a new color, and a fiberglass surface so it has plenty of power, especially if you are just starting out.
This paddle offers free shipping and has the following features: a weight of 8.1 oz, a fiberglass composite paddle face, a polymer honeycomb core material, a standard paddle shape, a length of 16”, a width of 7 7/8”, a standard grip size of 4 1/4”, and a standard handle length of 5”. The colorway is orange and it is USAPA approved.
Gravity Light Hybrid
Head Gravity Light Hybrid pickleball paddle is a great choice for players who are looking for a light and powerful paddle. The technology used in this paddle makes it one of the best on the market, but they are probably coming out with a new one soon because these are on sale right now. The paddle face is a hybrid, so it uses composite and graphite, which is an uncommon approach, but brilliant because you get a balance of both worlds.
The paddle only weighs 7.6 oz, which is impressive for a paddle that has composite in it. The grip is comfortable and allows you to have good control over the paddle. The core of the Gravity Light Hybrid pickleball paddle is made of Polymer Honeycomb which provides good power and control. This paddle has excellent playability thanks to its lightweight and balanced design. The Gravity Lite Hybrid has a number of benefits that make it ideal for power players. It has a large sweet spot that provides a powerful impact, while the Extreme 3D Spin and Handle Stabilizer Technology give the player excellent control over their shots.
The Gravity line from Head also has an LH, SH, and lite version that you should check out on Just Paddles.
The Gravity Hybrid paddle has a weight of 7.6 oz, a hybrid face material that combines composite and graphite, a polymer honeycomb core material, and is wide body shaped. The paddle is 15 3/4” long, 8 1/10” wide, with a standard grip size of 4 1/4”, and a short handle length of 4 1/2”. The core thickness is 14 mm and the colorway is red and white. This paddle is USAPA-approved.
Head Xtreme Tour
The Head Xtreme Tour paddle is the lightest paddle in the Head lineup, with an average weight of 7.5 ounces. This is actually the paddle that Sarah Ansboury (US OPEN 2016 Women’s Champion and Head sponsored Pro) plays with.
The paddle face uses a carbon/graphite hitting surface which is ideal if you are looking for control and great paddle feel.
I think the easiest way to compare these Head paddles, as I mentioned above- is first deciding Power or Control (you probably know already based on your playing style), then the next decision is carbon graphite surface or fiberglass. The rest is very similar except for slight weight differences- all 4 of these paddles have the enhanced spin paddle face and cushioned “Comfort” Grip. If you are looking for a lighter “Control” paddle this is the paddle from Head, the Xtreme Tour is for you.
Extreme Tour Lite
The Extreme Tour Lite is of course going to focus on using lighter materials than the original extreme tour. The site uses a carbon fiber paddle face and the core material is an OTC Honeycomb Polymer. The Tour lite only weighs 7.2 oz, and pairing that with Head’s amazing grips, this one really feels solid in the hand. The paddle is shaped like a diamond, which is their new go-to teardrop design, and spends paddle material only where you need it.
This paddle is $134, but you can find it on sale now at Just Paddles for $89! They are always running deals and they have great shipping and warranty policies, so check them out!
This paddle has a carbon fiber face with a teardrop-shaped diamond, an OTC honeycomb polymer core, and is yellow and silver. It is 16” long, 7 7/8” wide, with a standard 5” handle and thin 4 1/8” grip size.
Head Pickleball Paddles- Company History
Head is a well-known brand in the tennis world, having been around since 1950. Recently, they have decided to get into the Pickleball market. Here is a bit of information on the company and its history. Head was founded by Howard Head, who revolutionized the ski industry with his invention of the metal laminate ski. He later turned his attention to tennis, where he designed oversized racket heads that resulted in more power and improved accuracy for players.
The company has been a leader in tennis innovation ever since, introducing technologies like graphite composite materials and synthetic gut strings that are now standard in the sport. In recent years, Head has expanded their reach beyond just tennis equipment. But they still maintain their focus on making high-quality products that improve people’s experience with their chosen sport. That commitment has led them to produce some of the most popular pickleball paddles on the market today. Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and squash.
It can be played both indoors and outdoors, making it a versatile activity for all kinds of weather conditions and locations. Head’s entry into this market is strategic; as Pickleball continues to grow in popularity, they want to be one of the leading brands associated with it. So why pickleball? For Head, it’s all about giving people what they want: quality products that help them enjoy their favorite activities even more.
And as more and more people discover Pickleball – whether through playing at local parks or watching professional tournaments on TV – Head will be there with top-of-the-line paddles to give them the best possible experience.
Sarah Ansboury was named as the ambassador and professional face of the new pickleball brand. This is a huge move in the pickleball market shows pickleball is growing and the demand is sufficient enough for tennis industry-leading companies like Head to create whole new product lines in another racket sport.
Interestingly, this parallels the path of ProLite Paddles whose original founder was also an aeronautical engineer and the first to introduce a composite pickleball paddle.