There’s been more buzz recently about Edgeless Pickleball Paddles. Traditionally, composite and graphite pickleball paddles have incorporated a plastic protective edge guard around the whole border of the paddle.
The edge guard or “rim” protects the paddle from damage: nicks and scratches from hitting it against hard surfaces or accidentally dropping the paddle on the ground. It’s not uncommon either to accidentally bang your partner’s paddle when you’re both going for a shot down the middle. Those dings add up and the edge of the paddle is what takes the most abuse.
In recent years, a series of new paddles have come on the market without an edge guard. Players that use these “edgeless” paddles prefer the increased hitting surface and reduced chances of accidentally deflecting shots off the edge.
Although the majority of pickleball paddles on the market still come with the guard or protector, there are some high-quality edgeless paddles available and many major pickleball brands are offering them in their product lines. We’ve reviewed the options and put together this comparison list of edgeless paddle reviews to help you choose.
Best Edgeless Pickleball Paddles: Comparison
Below, you’ll find our own detailed reviews or you can click the links above for more product details on Amazon.
2018 Update: Since we originally published this article, we’ve discovered GearBox Pickleball Paddles (click to read our comparison and reviews of all their paddles).
The company specializes in edgeless paddles, so if you’re serious about getting an edgeless paddle you’ll definitely want to check them out to compare. Gearbox paddles are on the higher end of the price spectrum (see prices on Amazon) but their patent-pending technology and solid construction claim to have resolved the quality issues that many other paddles face when they don’t have an edge guard.
Why Buy An Edgeless Pickleball Paddle?
The main complaint players have about the edge guard is that it is not completely flush with the paddle face and the ridge can cause mis-hits and deflections. If you are looking for an edgeless paddle, the following reviews should help narrow down your top options.
Edge Or No Edge?
The main argument for having an edge guard is that in addition to protecting the paddle edge from exterior blemishes, it absorbs shock and repeated damage to the edge that can cause the paddle to eventually break down and layers separate (delaminate).
The counter-argument in favor of edgeless design is that modern paddle construction has improved and the stronger, high-quality materials being used minimize the risk of delamination.
Pickleball-X Viper Performance Carbon Fiber Paddle Review
Franklin Sports has been making sporting equipment since 1946 for a wide range of sports. With the Viper they’ve brought an edgeless carbon fiber pickleball paddle to the market under their Pickleball X brand.
I would consider this a mid-range, intermediate paddle. It seems more aimed at players looking for a lighter weight paddle playing a control style of pickleball.
The Viper paddle features a carbon Honeycomb core and weighs 7.5oz – 7.7oz, this lighter weight makes it a good option for control players looking to maximize playability and maneuverability without losing too much power.
The viper has a large sweet spot and the edgeless design also helps provide maximum playing surface on the paddle face. The handle is 4.75 inches and resembles a tennis style grip. The grip circumference is 4 ¼ inches.
The aesthetic of the paddle is pretty cool, it comes in back with a green “Viper” brand across the front. The paddle edge is highlighted in the same bright green. currently, there is just this one style available. The paddle is manufactured in China.
I feel pretty confident recommending this paddle because Franklin Sports has been around for decades (founded 20 years before pickleball was even invented) and growing up with lots of brothers I remember Franklin sports gear in the garage (badminton set, croquet, etc). I’ve since bought Franklin gear for my son and always feel that it’s a respectable brand in a reasonable price range.
The paddle is regulation size and according to the updated list by the USAPA and the IFP (opens PDF) USA Pickleball Association & International Federation of Pickleball (which regulate competitive play) it appears the Franklin Viper is approved for tournament play.
- Easy to maneuver
- Some player may find it lacks power
Onix Sub-Zero Paddle Review
Up until recently, graphite paddles always had either an aluminum, Nomex or polymer core. The Sub-Zero paddle is first in the category with their new patent-pending Ribtec ™ Core technology. The one-piece construction delivers increased stability and boosts power with a grid patterned rib structure that connects the two paddle faces.
The unique foam core creates an effective sweet spot while also reducing noise which is a great feature for those looking to play in restricted Green-Zone areas where pickleball noise is not allowed.
The one-piece fabrication helps reduce paddle inconsistencies and dead spots. It also, in theory, should help limit the problem of individual paddle layers separated from each other (de-lamination) which has been a major problem that has plagued some other edgeless paddles. Check Price & Read Reviews of the Sub-Zero on Amazon
The traditional edge guard on most paddles helps maintain the integrity of the paddle and helps to keep the paddle together even after repeated ball impacts and vibration – so having a one-piece design could be the answer that solves the recurring issue with edgeless paddles that have been on the market.
The sub-zero comes in at an average weight of 7.2 to 7.9 ounces, making it a great mid-weight option for all-around players looking balance of speed and power. I’d call it a hybrid between a power and control paddle.
The Sub-Zero paddle by Onix features their “Ergo” grip.
This contoured grip is designed to mold to your hand to for better control and feel in your hand. The 4″ grip is as small as it gets so players with larger hands should keep that in mind unless you have small hands you’ll need to add build up a decent layer of overgrip to the paddle handle to make the circumference more comfortable for your hand.
- Responsive paddle face.
- Solid feel.
- Grip is small for big hands.
- Ribtec ™ Core is relatively new, not clear if this structure will be durable over the long haul without a protective edge.
WOLFE XF 3K Carbon Fiber Edgeless Paddle Review
Technically speaking, the Wolfe XF 3K paddle is really unique.
The aluminum honeycomb core is covered with a total of 4 layers: a resin layer, fiberglass layer, followed by a graphite layer.
The final outer paddle layer is interwoven 3K carbon fiber, the edge is also wrapped in carbon fiber to protect it from impact and damage. This multi-layer design makes for a very durable and strong paddle face. Although the materials used, including carbon fiber and graphite make for a very solid paddle, some users question the long-term durability of the edge.
This is really the question of this whole category of paddles- how much does the paddle edge guard interfere with your game and to what point might you be willing to sacrifice some of the long-durability and lifespan of your equipment to play without one?
The aluminum core reduces the weight of the paddle, averaging only Weight: 7.3 (range:7.1 to 7.5) ounces it’s the lightest on our comparison list of top edgeless paddles.
The XF measures 15 ½ inches in length and Paddle width of 7 5/8th and a grip size of 4 ¼ inches. At the time of writing this review, the WOLFE XF was sold including a zippered paddle case and was also available to be purchased as a two paddle set including three pickleballs. The paddle is sold in black with the wolf logo in pink, blue or purple.
*Please note, if purchasing this paddle, Wolfe has a very similar looking paddle that has an edge guard. The names are also easy to confuse:
- The Wolfe X3 3K DOES HAVE an edge guard.
- The Wolfe XF 3K is EDGELESS.
- Solid construction.
- Maybe too light for some power players.
- Susceptible to chipping like most edgeless.
Onix Inferno Edgeless Pickleball Paddle
Onix is back in the list with another edgeless paddle (see review above for the Sub-zero paddle ). Onix offers these two edgeless paddles in their product line. Both of the paddles are made with Onix’s one-piece construction which creates a solid paddle.
The main difference here is that the Inferno has an Aluminum Honeycomb Core not the patent-pending Ribtec – Foam Core with Carbon Ribs that is featured in the Sub-Zero.
The Onix Inferno has a wide body paddle shape that extends the width of the paddle, the end results is a large playing surface and hard to miss sweet spot.
This mid-weight paddle averages 7.5 – 8.2 oz so although it’s not a heavyweight paddle it does deliver a few extra ounces over the other edgeless paddles on the list, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking for more power that also wants to eliminate the dreaded mis-hits that an edge guard can cause.
The contoured 4” “Ergo” grip from Onix is designed to contour to your hands. At 4 inches it’s defined as a small grip but a nice feeling grip and a good option for any small to medium players. Larger hands will require some added overgrip.
- A small amount of extra weight compared to other edgeless paddles.
- Widebody shape with a nice sweet spot.
- I’m 6’4″ tall so the 4″ grip is small in my hands.
- Not an issue for smaller hands but I need to build up grip with overgrip.
*Onix makes high-end paddles and are a well-respected pickleball brand so I can see paying more for quality – but for an edgeless paddle with an increased risk of it delaminating and some customers reporting it has a short lifespan, I just can’t see paying the current price.
Should I buy edgeless pickleball paddle?
There is no easy right or wrong answer, the main questions to ask yourself are:
- Is the edge guard affecting my game?
If you find yourself frustrated by mishits or deflected shots coming off the edge than having an edgeless paddle may give you peace of mind and you may just enjoy the game more knowing that there is no uneven ridge around the edge.
- How careful am I with my paddle?
Let’s be honest, apart from unavoidable mishaps during play, some people (based on habits and style of play) are more (or less) likely to abuse their equipment and need for an edge guard. If you have been playing pickleball for a while, take a close look at the edges of your paddles- are they really banged up? If so, I say stick with a traditional paddle that has an edge guard unless you want to be buying a replacement paddle often.
Full Disclosure: I’m not the most careful guy (my wife says I’m kind of a klutz) and I play pickleball aggressively. I’ve dropped paddles on the ground and in the heat of the game have accidentally smacked it against my partner’s paddle when both going for a shot up the middle (my fault for not calling the shot), I’ve whacked the net cord and even hit the metal net post (oops!).
Because of all that, I currently do NOT use edgeless paddles.
But, if I were to buy one I personally would go for a mid-priced one like the Franklin Sports Viper. I just can’t see paying top dollar for a paddle that is going to get banged up and I might have to replace a year from now.
2018 Update. Since being introduced to Gearbox paddles I do think this is a quality option. They don’t put edge guards on any of their paddles and have specialized in the manufacturing technique based on their past experience with paddleball and other racket sports. So, if you’ve made up your mind that you definitely want a high-end paddle without and edge guard AND are willing to shell out the money – then I would take a look at the Gearbox line of paddles. Either the G-11 that we recommended at the beginning or one of the other paddles in their lineup depending on the weight and shape you are looking for.
The general wear and tear of playing pickleball and transporting your gear to and from the court will take its toll on your paddle. Even that gentle paddle tap after winning a good point can sometimes end up being a little more aggressive than intended. Those bangs, dings and whacks add up which is why a large percentage of players stick to traditional paddles that have a rim or edge guard.
However, in recent years a new wave of edgeless paddles has hit the market and many players do really like the obstruction-free paddle face that gives them the maximum playing surface possible and lessens the chances of misdirecting their shots.
It’s good to keep in mind that the edge guard was created specifically to protect the paddle edge this feature is built into most of the composite and graphite pickleball paddles on the market for good reason.
For comparison purposes, racket sports such as racquetball, squash, and tennis all include some kind of bumper on the edge of the racket. All three of those sports have built-in bumper guards, protecting the most vulnerable part of the rackets.
Our choice: Although I’m impressed with Onix’s high end paddles in general like the popular Z5 and their new C1 elongated pickleball paddle I’m not as impressed with their Inferno or Sub-Zero based on the quality of the construction for a $100 range paddle.
If I were to buy an edgeless paddle, I personally (for the reasons above) would buy the Franklin Sports Carbon Fiber Viper Pickleball Paddle. It’s a mid-range paddle with decent quality and affordable price.
Also, if you do opt for an edgeless paddle, just remember that it may have a shorter lifespan than traditional paddles.
I would also make sure I always carried my paddle in a pickleball bag.
If you don’t want a full sized bag at a bare minimum, I would get invest in one of these simple neoprene paddle covers to protect it.
Manta Sport “TORNADO F5” Edgeless Paddle Review
This paddle has consistently been out of stock when we’ve tried to find it so it is not currently including it on our list of edgeless pickleball paddle options but we will leave the paddle review below for reference for anyone considering this paddle. As a Canadian padd,le it may be easier to find north of the border.
Manta World Sport is a Canadian company that has been producing racquet sports equipment since 1972. Known for Squash rackets originally, it started producing pickleball paddles in 2011. The Tornado F5 by Manta is an edgeless paddle manufactured in North America.
The Tornado F5 is part of Manta’s 3rd generation of paddles (3G) and is completely edgeless. The paddle has a polyethylene honeycomb core and carbon/graphite face. It weighs in at 7.8 ounces.
The handle length is 5 inches and has a grip size of 4 ¼ inches. The paddle length is 15½ and width is just shy of 8 inches as 7 7/8″. The construction creates a quiet, lightweight paddle that many players will appreciate. There is no noise restrictions where I play but still I prefer a quieter paddle.
The Tornado F5 is a good hybrid paddle offering both good control and power. The design is a black paddle face with colored cyclone graphic in the center. The paddle is available in the following colors: Black with a green logo or black with red logo. The Manta brand name is printed vertically on right and left side are also several other words bordering the entire paddle.
- Wide paddle surface.
- Quiet paddle.
- Made in North America.