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6 Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin: 2023 & 2024 Paddle Reviews

(Picture Kerry Pittenger)
FAQ / Buyers Guide

If you’ve landed here, I’m guessing you are probably looking for a paddle that can help you put more spin on your pickleball shots.

There is quite a bit of buzz in the pickleball world around the topic lately and every major pickleball brand has at least one paddle specifically designed and marketed to help you add spin to your game and the makers of pickleball practice machines have all upgraded to add a spin feature to their products.

Continue reading below for our full reviews of several other top-rated paddles for spin along with tips to improve your game to put more spin on a pickleball. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide at the end that answers frequently asked questions and what to look for in your next paddle.

If you are buying your first paddle or just want to see the best way to determine the best paddle for your grip size and playing style see our pickleball paddle buyers guide.

The pro XR zane Navratilova carbon 16 the standard
(Picture Richard Livornese Jr.)

ProXR Zane Navratil Signature

SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight 8.0 – 8.4 oz
Paddle Face MaterialT700 Raw Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core MaterialPolypropylene Honeycomb and added Shock Foam
Paddle ShapeStandard
Paddle Length16”
Paddle Width8”
Grip Size4 1/4”
Handle Length5”

View at JustPaddles with discount code PORTAL

Upside

  • Exceptional spin capabilities.
  • High-quality materials like T700 raw carbon fiber.
  • Versatile for aggressive play and drives.

Downside

  • Smaller sweet spot, challenging for less advanced players.
  • Higher price point might not suit all budgets.

After trying out the ProXR Zane Navratil Signature Paddle, I found its spin capability to be a game-changer for me, especially with the way pickleball is evolving towards a faster pace. Its design, particularly the rough surface, allowed me to control my shots with more aggression than usual. However, the smaller sweet spot made me realize it’s probably better suited for more advanced players. If you’re someone who loves adding spin to your game and considers yourself at an advanced level, this paddle might just be what you’re looking for.

Read our in-depth ProXR Zane review.

The six zero ruby paddle
(Picture Vijay Nitesh)

Six Zero Ruby

SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight 8.3 ounces / 232gm +/- 10gm 
Paddle Face MaterialKevlar® fiber
Paddle Core MaterialPremium Honeycomb Polymer Core
Paddle Core Thickness0.63″ / 16mm
Paddle ShapeSlightly flared shape
Paddle Length16.3” / 413mm
Paddle Width7.5” to 7.7” / 192mm to 196mm
Grip Size4 ¼ – 4 ½ ” 108 – 114mm
Swing Weight117
Twist Weight6.76

View at JustPaddles with discount code PORTAL

Upside

  • Balanced for spin, control, and power.
  • Kevlar surface enhances durability.
  • Well-balanced weight feels lighter in play.

Downside

  • On the heavier side, which might not suit all players.
  • New on the market, so long-term durability is yet to be fully tested.

The Six Zero Ruby paddle, with its Kevlar surface, genuinely balances between control, spin, and just enough power for a solid game. It’s a bit on the heavier side, but that weight translates to stability and control, not bulkiness. For folks looking to step up their play without going all-in on power or spin alone, this paddle might be the ticket. It’s been durable in my experience, and for the price, it’s a solid piece of gear for those looking to improve their game.

Read our in-depth Omega Max review.

volair paddle
(Picture Kip Lacey)

Volair Mach 1 Forza 14mm

SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight8.2 oz
Paddle Face MaterialRaw T700 Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core MaterialPolypropylene Honeycomb, Foam Walls
Paddle ShapeStandard
Paddle Length16.5 in
Paddle Width7.5 in
Grip Size4.125 in
Handle Length5.5 in

View at Pickleball Central

Upside

  • Endorsed by Julian Arnold.
  • Unique T700 Carbon Fiber surface.
  • Distinctive blue grip.
  • Consistent and precise play.
  • Good spin generation.
  • Low vibration.
  • Useful included accessories.

Downside

  • Lacks top-end power.
  • Might be too rigid for some.

Having tried out the Volair Mach 1 Forza, I can see why Julian Arnold endorses it. It’s a step up from the well-known Volair Mach 1. Weighing in at 8.2 oz, the paddle’s T700 Carbon Fiber surface combined with its honeycombed polypropylene core gives it a distinct feel. The blue grip is a nice touch, making it stand out, but it’s more than just looks. In terms of play, the paddle offers good precision and consistency. I particularly noticed its ability to generate spin. While it’s not the most powerful paddle I’ve used, it does provide decent depth on serves and returns. One thing I appreciated was the reduced vibration, likely due to its advanced construction. The additional accessories, like the protective cover and spare grip, are practical inclusions, though not game-changers. Overall, it’s a solid choice for those looking for a mix of control and spin in their game.

Read our in-depth Volair Mach 1 Forza review.

engage pro mx paddle
(Image credit: Nick Uzunyan)

Engage Pursuit Mx Pro

SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight7.65 ounces (LITE), 8.15 ounces (Standard) 
Paddle Face MaterialRaw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber 
Paddle Core MaterialControl Pro ‘Black’ Polymer Honeycomb 
Paddle ShapeStandard
Paddle Length16.5″ 
Paddle Width7.5″
Grip Size4 1/4″ (Medium)
Handle Length5.75″ 

View at Pickleball Central

Upside

  • Uses advanced Raw Toray T7000 Carbon Fiber.
  • Elongated shape for extended reach.
  • Smart tech adjusts to swing intensity.
  • Part of Engage’s innovative Pursuit Pro Line.

Downside

  • Priced at $259.99, might be steep for some.
  • Adaptive tech has a learning curve.
  • Elongated shape not for everyone.

Engage’s Pursuit Pro MX paddle is making waves in the pickleball community, and for good reason. Part of their updated Pursuit Pro Line, this paddle boasts an eye-catching “Artic Gold” hue that’s both stylish and distinctive. But it’s not just about aesthetics. Engage has transitioned from the traditional graphite to the cutting-edge Raw Toray T7000 Carbon Fiber, ensuring enhanced ball grip and superior control. Its elongated design is a boon for players favoring a two-handed backhand, offering them an extended reach. A standout feature is its adaptive technology, which responds to the player’s swing intensity. Gentle swings yield precision, while more forceful hits deliver power. Priced at $259.99, the Pro MX underscores Engage’s commitment to blending quality with innovation for the discerning player.

Read our in-depth Engage Pursuit Mx Pro review.

Tempest v3 paddle
(Image credit: Richard Livornese Jr.)

Tempest Reign v3

SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight7.6 ounces
Paddle Face MaterialICED Carbon Fiber 
Paddle Core MaterialPolymer Honeycomb 
Paddle ShapeElongated
Paddle Length16.5″ 
Paddle Width 7.5″ 
Grip Size4 1/4″ (Medium), 4 1/8″ (Small)
Handle Length5.25″ 

View at Pickleball Central

Upside

  • Unique elongated design.
  • Enhanced reach.
  • Carbon fiber face for spin/control.
  • Highly forgiving.
  • Ideal for intermediate transitions.
  • Great for spin techniques.

Downside

  • Limited power.
  • Shorter handle.
  • Not ideal for high-level players.
  • Requires adjustment period.

Paddletek, a forerunner in the pickleball realm, has introduced the Tempest Reign v3 paddle. At first glance, its unconventional design, characterized by an elongated face and a compact handle, might raise eyebrows. However, this design isn’t just for show. It’s a strategic move to enhance a player’s reach, especially during those crucial kitchen plays. The carbon fiber face, a departure from Paddletek’s traditional designs, promises not just durability but also an edge in spin and control. This makes the paddle an excellent choice for those transitioning from basic to more advanced equipment. While there’s some debate on its power quotient, with Paddletek’s rating being more generous than some users’, its control and forgiveness are undeniably good. In essence, the Tempest Reign v3 seems like a promising option for those looking to refine their skills, especially beginners and intermediates.

Read our in-depth Tempest Reign v3 review.

diadem paddle

Diadem Edge 18k

SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight7.8-8.2 oz
Paddle Face Material3D 18K Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core MaterialPolymer Honeycomb
Paddle Thickness & Shape 16mm Elongated
Paddle Length16.4 in
Paddle Width7.5 in
Grip Size4 1/8” (G1)
Handle Length5.3 in

View at Pickleball Central

Upside

  • Incredible spin potential
  • Touch and control 
  • Durable 

Downside

  • Lacks some power and pop

The latest addition to Diadem’s paddle lineup, the Edge 18K, has not only met but exceeded our expectations, offering all the qualities of their highly popular Diadem Warrior Edge and more. The most striking improvement is its exceptional spin performance. I personally have yet to witness a paddle produce more spin than the Diadem 18K! While it may not be the most powerful option on the market, it more than compensates with its outstanding control and spin capabilities. Dinks become effortless, drops more consistent, and it’s possible to generate spin rates exceeding 2000 RPM on drives and serves!

From beginners to pro-level players, I firmly believe that every player can experience improvements in their game with the Diadem Edge 18K. While it is a well-rounded paddle, I would argue that it’s particularly well-suited for doubles play rather than singles. There are other paddles on the market better tailored for the singles game, offering a bit more power and punch.

Read our in-depth Diadem Edge 18k review.


What’s the big deal about pickleball spin?

…and why are so many people talking about it now?

From what I see, there seem to be two main reasons for this growing trend:

1) The sport continues to evolve. Compared to the game’s early days, pickleball has progressed from a slower dinking game to a much more athletic sport, and players are more technically skilled than before. More athletes are being attracted to the sport and companies have responded with high tech paddles to meet this demand.

This combination of skill and better paddle technology continues to push the level of play. Advanced skills – like putting spin on the ball – have become mainstream. It’s pretty clear that pickleball equipment makers have taken notice of this trend by launching paddles that are optimized for the style of play we are seeing on the court…with new textured surfaces to maximize spin.

2) As the sport continues to grow, pickleball is attracting an increasing number of former tennis players. Most advanced tennis players are skilled at putting different effects on the ball (topspin, backspin, side spin) and most are able to put some pretty decent spin on their serve.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a seasoned tennis player that isn’t able to put spin on the ball. Most veteran players have a strong topspin serve, can place a well-targeted drop shot with backspin and are able to handle returning a serve with a lot of “junk” on it. If you watch pro tennis you’ll see forehand topspin as a dominant weapon in the sport.

Why Are Composite Paddles Best For Spin:

If you look closely at the face of a composite paddle you can see the texture of the material (normally fiberglass) compared to the glossy finish of a graphite/carbon fiber paddle face. You can also feel it (and probably hear it) if you scratch your fingers back and forth over the face of a composite paddle. That texture is what gives the paddle some “bite” or “grab” so when you slice it across the ball it gives it spin.

On a tennis racket, the player (or a Pro shop) can enhance the “bite” factor on their racket by using rougher, textured, or tacky strings to “grab” the ball by modifying the space between the strings (more space between strings for the ball to sink into). So while in tennis you can modify your strings to help increase spin, with a pickleball paddle you are stuck with the paddle face you buy, so no real way to increase texture or “grab” after you’ve bought the paddle.

Why Graphite Paddles are not the best pickleball paddles for spin.

Graphite paddles are known for being lightweight and strong, are. The one feature they have been missing (up until now) was texture. Graphite/carbon fiber are high gloss and slippery surfaces and lack surface roughness we just discussed that composite materials are known for. Things changed when Engage Pickleball released what they call “liquid graphite”, a chemically bonded surface that lays over the surface of the paddle and enhances the texture to give it extra touch and feel.

Engage has added the new technology to its line of Encore paddles. In addition to enhanced touch and “playability”, the bonded “skin” gives it the bite you would get from a composite paddle. This new material could be a major milestone since it would deliver the benefits of graphite paddles (lightweight, durable) with the paddle surface grab that was lacking up until now.

Why Pickleball Paddles Alone Don’t Put Spin On Your Shots!

While high-quality sporting goods can definitely help improve your game but many players overestimate how much impact the equipment has. Just as buying a $400 titanium golf driver won’t make you hit hole-in-ones, buying a paddle marketed as a “paddle for spin” doesn’t automatically add effect to your shots as soon as you pick it up!

While the paddle face surface does help, there’s no doubt that a high-end composite paddle with a textured face or a new “liquid graphite” face will make it a lot easier to spin the ball – compared to a slippery face of a cheap wood paddle- buying a new paddle is not a magic wand!

To put lots of spin on your shots, first, you need to develop pickleball skills and practice your shots- A LOT! The combination of skill plus a quality paddle that is designed for spin can take your pickleball game to the next level. Below you’ll find several tips to add spin to your game.

Why you shouldn’t try to spin every shot:

Once you learn to put different kinds of spin on your shots, it’s tempting to put spin on every shot. The problem is that although novice players are often at a loss on how to handle spin, experienced players can read the spin on a pickleball pretty easily and will be able to take advantage of your shots. Advanced players can predict the bounce by visual clues: the angle of the paddle during your swing and the spin on the ball in flight- the large holes on pickleballs makes a spinning ball is easier to read than other racket sports.

More than once, I’ve seen a game come to a complete stop while players from both sides debate whether or not a player’s serve is legal or not. As more tennis players migrate to pickleball I think this is going to be a more common dispute since they are used to putting spin on the ball…and a lot of pickleball players (especially beginners) may not be used to seeing so much effect coming off the ball. So, can you put spin on a pickleball serve and still keep it legal?

You can definitely put spin on your serve and be legal but there are a few important factors to consider about the general pickleball serving rules to make sure your serve is legal. Here is the official rule from the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) Tournament Rulebook.

Section 4– Service Rule #4.A:

Serve Motion. The serve must be made with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below the waist level (waist is defined as the navel level).

4.A.1 Underhand Defined. The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball (paddle head is that part of the paddle excluding handle. The highest point of the paddle head cannot be above any part of the line formed where the wrist joint bends). Click here to open the official Pickleball Rule Book in PDF.

So based on the rules, there are three main criteria to keep your serve legal: 1) your arm must be moving in an upward arc. or, the paddle needs to be going in an upward motion, (2) contact with the ball must occur below the waist and (3) the highest part of the paddle cannot be above the wrist.

Here is a good video by Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports where he breaks down how to put more spin on your serve. Toward the end of the video, he shows a slo-mo video of his serve mechanics. Although some people in the comments have the opinion that he is doing an illegal serve, if you watch the end and pay attention the contact is made below his waist and the paddle is below his wrist so it is legal based on the IFP rules.  He is putting some pretty wicked serve on his serves so it’s a good example proving you can perform a legal serve.

Conclusion:

As the sport of pickleball evolves, the intensity of play and overall skill level of the average player is on the rise. That, compounded by the huge influx of experienced tennis players that have migrated to pickleball, have made spin a bigger part of the game that it was just a few years ago.

Intermediate and advanced tennis players use ball spin as one of their many weapons on the court and more players are now selecting their pickleball paddles with spin in mind. When looking for a new paddle to replace their used paddle or a new convert choosing their first paddle, many players are now taking a closer look at composite paddles and/or paddles that have some kind of enhanced surface texture to give them some extra “bite” on the ball.

We’ve talked to many crossover tennis players looking for paddles and many have said that spin is one of the top priorities for them. Having played tennis for years I understand where they are coming from- for a veteran tennis player, spin is a major part of their game and a very important skill to have whether it’s having a wicked topspin serve or a surgically placed backspin drop shot just over the net. For an informative look at how to deal with an opponent’s topspin vs backspin see this answer by national pro-level player Michael Shinzaki.

So the idea of relinquishing their ability to put spin on the ball with a glossy graphite paddle with little to no surface texture most players is not an appealing option and will gravitate towards a paddle designed, at least in part, for pickleball spin.

Pickleball companies are obviously aware of this trend and have stepped to the plate to deliver what the players want. In 2017-2018 we saw a “spin paddle” (paddles marketed specifically for spin) released by almost every major pickleball manufacturer and looking forward to will bring in the pickleball market and how much the spin factor will continue to influence the development of paddle technology.

Photo of author

About Dan Langston

With experience in the ecotourism industry and time well spent as a fly fishing guide in the remote absaroka mountain range for 6 years, Dan brings a unique perspective on customer service to the digital world. As the operator, Dan is now committed to revitalizing Pickleball Portal and plans to build a support system for content creators and provide helpful information for the pickleball community. dan@pickleballportal.com

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