Are you just trying out this great sport and want to start with a cheap pickleball paddle? While the sport is growing faster than ever and lots of people are getting hooked, it makes sense that not everyone wants to invest in the latest and greatest pickleball paddles – especially considering the price tag on the best paddles can be well over $100.
First, we should just clarify when we say cheap we are not referring to low quality. While the word “cheap” is often used to refer to poorly made products, here we are looking at affordable paddles.
The following paddles are all relatively inexpensive but high enough quality that we think they are good value for the money. At the time of the last update (June 2020), these were all under $35.
Are you just trying out pickleball? A casual player, don’t want to spend a lot of money on your first paddle? Maybe you’re replacing a broken or junky paddle OR buying several paddles for a club, camp or school? You are in the right place, please keep reading below.
BUT if you are: a beginner who is definitely hooked, you play regularly and plan to play long into the future then you’d probably be more interested in skipping over to these good beginner paddles. They are slightly more expensive but might be worth the upgrade over the long haul.
If you are looking for your first paddle you may also want to read our Complete Pickleball Paddle Buyers Guide.
Best Cheap Pickleball Paddles | 2021 Picks
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Upstreet Pickleball Paddle
This is the newer Upstreet graphite paddle. This newer version is also USAPA approved for tournament play and even comes in under our budget which is impressive for a graphite paddle. It also comes with a neoprene paddle cover (these run about $10 if bought separately) so for the price, you really can’t go wrong.
In 2020, they also have this modern-looking line of monochrome black and white paddles including the doodle model which has a unique stencil design that definitely stands out from a lot of the loud colored paddles we see on the courts. Unlike some of their previous models, this one is USAPA approved – a major plus for anyone that is planning to play in a sanctioned tournament where this seal of approval is required to participate.
Underneath the cool paddle faces, the different Upstreet graphite paddles have the same features:
- Weights 8.6 ounces.
- The core is made with Polypropylene (PP) Honeycomb composite
- Paddle length: 15.75 inches
- Paddle Width: 7.75 inches
- Grip Size: 4.5″
If you definitely want a bundled set (with paddles and balls sold together) you may want to check out our overview of pickleball sets here where we review the best sets.
Amazin’ Aces Classic Graphite Pickleball Paddle
Amazin’ Aces Graphite Pickleball Paddle features a polypropylene (PP) honeycomb core and graphite paddle face.
Polymer cores are the least noisy and softest cores on the market. Because the core is made of plastic the paddle isn’t as hard or loud as an aluminum or Nomex cores (the loudest paddles).
Due to the softcore, these paddles are best for control and touch style of play. The reduced noise also makes them a good option for “green zone” communities with restrictions on pickleball noise.
The Amazin’ Aces Graphite Pickleball Paddle weighs 9.2 oz which lands it in the heavy category. This extra weight will give you more power. So that, combined with the soft-touch core, make this a good all-around paddle for beginner or intermediate players looking to upgrade a notch from a basic wooden paddle.
As with their other paddles, Amazin’ Aces priced this one at a very reasonable price point compared to other paddles on the market with very similar characteristics, making it a good value in my opinion.
Looking for more than one: this paddle is also available in a bundle that includes 2 paddles and 4 pickleballs which works out cheaper than buying the items separately.
Rally Meister Wooden Paddle Review
The Rally Meister Wood Pickleball Paddle is one of the finest wood paddle out there and one of the best selling. It is lighter than some other wood paddles and the surface is nicely finished.
It also overcomes one of the main shortcomings of many other wooden paddles on the market (which didn’t make the cut into our paddle review list): the grip.
Unlike some poorly constructed wood paddles where the grip is basically tape wrapped directly over a wood handle, the Rally Meister sets itself apart with a high-end cushioned polyurethane grip that you wouldn’t necessarily expect on a paddle designed for beginners. The grip is similar to what you would find on a more expensive entry-level composite paddle.
The slightly elevated ribbing provides great feel when gripping the paddle and the cushion even gives a bit when squeezed making for a comfortable grip even during long sets.
If you are in the market for an affordable wood pickleball paddle, unless you’re looking for the colored paddle face of the Kanga, you really don’t need to look any further than the Rally Meister. Like the Kanga, the Rally Meister is also available in bundles (balls and paddles sold together).
- Durable Hardwood -Maple Ply
- Medium Grip (4.25 inches)
- Decent Quality Grip for a wood paddle
- Heavy (9.5 to 10.5 ounces) although average weight for a wood paddle.
Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Bundle: Wood
Amazin’ Aces is a relative newcomer on the pickleball market but they have been consistently been putting out quality entry-level products and have recently expanded into more advanced paddles as well as bags and other accessories.
These wood paddles are made of similar quality and materials as the other wood paddles that we’ve reviewed here, they are also made of 7 ply maple and have comparable weight (averaging just over 10 ounces).
While the paddles are similar to others on the market in this category, the company does really excel when it comes to added bonus items. They sell this paddle as a set of two but also include 4 pickleball balls.
They also upgrade the package to include a free mesh bag (to hold the balls) and a downloadable ebook, “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Pickleball”. The company is known for stellar customer service and have been prompt and courteous in every interaction we’ve had with them.
If you are looking to get a pair of inexpensive paddles, you really wouldn’t go wrong with this choice- especially since they include the extras. If you want to check out all of their products, you can see our overview of their brand here.
Diller Pickleball Paddle Review
Diller is another top option for casual players looking for a wood paddle. It’s made by Pickle-Ball Inc, the company from the original founders of the sport of pickleball. The specifications of this paddle are very similar to the other wood paddles on the market.
It averages 10 ounces. The handle is a fraction of an inch longer than the Kanga, with a length of 5.5” and a medium grip circumference of 4 1/4″ that will fit most average hands.
This paddle, although it’s made of wood, is approved for USAPA pickleball tournament play. While that’s probably not a major concern for most of you reading this article, it is good to know that if you ever did want to try your hand in a local tournament you could use this without having to upgrade.
As mentioned, this is the original company that came up with the sport and they’ve been selling paddles since 1972 so as far as buying a paddle from a reputable company you really can’t go wrong here. These basic paddle can be seen at school in PE classes around the country, summer camps and YMCAs.
Kanga Wood Pickleball Paddle Review
Although the Kanga Paddle is made of wood, the printed paddle face does give it a unique look compared to a natural wood finish. When I first saw this Kanga paddle on the court I thought it was a composite or graphite paddle just from the bright colors.
However, it is indeed made of 7-ply hardwood that makes for a durable and long-lasting paddle. If the colors don’t have you hopping over the fence to get on the pickleball court, the price point should cheer you up as it’s one of the most affordable beginner paddles available on the market. The Kanga white maple paddle ranges from 9 – 10.6 ounces with average weighing in at 10.2 oz.
The perforated, ribbed cushion grip provides a comfortable feeling padded medium grip (4 ¼ inches). Handle length measures 5 ¼ inches, accommodating even larger adult hands.
Kanga also sells this same model in bundles (paddle with pickleball balls) in sets of 2 paddles (with 4 balls) and 4 paddles (with 6 balls) which can be a good budget option for schools, camps and community centers buying a larger volume of pickleball gear.
- 7-ply hardwood
- Also available in bundles (paddles & balls)
- No option for natural wood finish
What to Consider: Buying Budget Paddles
Price: This is obviously a requirement to make it into this category. Paddles on the market currently range anywhere from $10 – $150+. While prices do fluctuate due to sales and discounts as of the last update to this article these are all priced below $30, with some options as low as $10.
Brand: There has been an influx of budget paddles in recent years but many of these are by no-name companies or sellers who sell a random mix of products. For this list, we stick to reputable brands that are dedicated to pickleball and have a good record of quality control and customer service.
Materials: If you are looking for a very affordable paddle, especially in this lowest price range we mostly have to limit the search to wood paddles (we’ve included one budget composite paddle). As soon as you start looking at graphite and composite paddles the price jumps up to the next category.
Who’s are these paddles best for?
Curious: You’ve heard about pickleball and want to try it out, maybe you’ve signed up for open play at your local recreation center or you have a court nearby or a friend asked you to give it a shot. You want to play but have no idea if you’ll still be using the paddle a year from now or if it will be collecting dust in the garage. I’m frugal and agree, it doesn’t make sense to buy high-end expensive sports equipment if you are just “getting your feet wet”.
Clubs: If you run a YMCA, recreation center or senior activities program at a gym or athletic club, retirement community or senior center and need to buy a large number of paddles, these are good options. For casual recreation play, wooden paddles are fine. If you find the heavyweight is too much for seniors, for example, you could go up one step to the cheapest composite paddles which will be lighter than wood but still affordable.
Camps: We’ve seen more summer camps adding pickleball to their list of sports activities which is great. Having been a counselor at a sports camp years ago, I know first hand that the equipment takes a beating…just due to the sheer amount of use the gear is getting with so many different kids sharing the same paddles and being used daily they will wear out quickly and need to be replaced much more often compared to paddles that are used occasionally and cared for by the same person.
Backup: Do you play pickleball regularly and have a decent paddle but want to have a pair of backup paddles for when friends and family come to visit? If you live in a community that has a court it’s nice to have an extra paddle around, you never know when you’ll be one player short and need to recruit a newbie to make a foursome. Having a cheap paddle they can shoot around with is a good option.
Other Budget Options:
Although one meaning of “cheap” does infer a lesser product, we are simply referring to budget paddles for people that do not want to spend a lot of money. The problem with buying a low priced paddle is that many of them are poorly made with low-quality materials. In this article, we wanted to give you a list of good choices that are low priced but not low quality.
Since we published this article, many of our readers have sent us emails asking our opinion on other low priced paddles they’ve seen online and been considering buying.
While I’m sure there are many quality options out there beyond what we have reviewed here, we’ve limited our list of top picks to companies that are well known and are dedicated to the sport of pickleball.
We’ve tested these paddles, borrowed them on the courts to try them out, used demo paddles or have friends and/or readers that have also added their feedback. We see all of these paddle brands on the courts on a regular basis.
As we’ve mentioned, many of these are major brands in the sport that also make pro-level paddles, sponsor tournaments and have a major web presence (social media, a website with information on their history, warranty, toll-free customer service numbers, etc.).
We’ve spoken directly with the companies that have paddles on our list and have experience talking with their customer service or in some cases even the owners of the company.
One problem that since pickleball has become the fastest growing recreational sport in the US, the market is now flooded with low-priced paddles and it’s really hard to know which ones are decent and which are just junk.
With the rise of the sport and the number of people starting, there are also many other companies selling pickleball paddles and other equipment. Some of them are private label sellers on Amazon that appear to sell a wide variety of products- so not particularly dedicated to the sport of pickleball. Some offer one paddle alongside other household items or unrelated sports equipment.
We sometimes see these cheap paddles being offered at deep discounts as a way to launch their products and many times they do giveaways or promotions online via social media with coupons and promo codes to get some initial reviews. I’m sure some of these price-cuts can be a great way to pick up an inexpensive paddle.
While I’m sure some of these brands offer quality products and service, we just don’t know enough about them or their products to give an honest opinion. However, regardless of how cheap they price them -we are just not able to buy one of each of these to test them out.
I’ve been asked about several brands. Some that I have not previously heard of or even seen their paddles on the courts. Some of these companies do not have websites or an easy way to contact them. Some may be great companies or just new and I haven’t had a chance to see them yet.
In the past, many names have come up including Algor Venatics, Amarey, Ianoni, Bison Paddles, Duck Ranger Paddles, HUDEF, Sabu, Sports Adventure, Golden Win-gs, Veetop among others.
Again, I really can’t say if these are quality products or not. At some point in the future, we may include some of these if we have a chance to test their products or if we have enough people asking about them we’d be happy to try them out but in the meantime, we can’t really say much about them. If you are considering any of these brands, it’s probably best to read online reviews, check out their other products and contact them directly before making a decision.
Keep in mind, you will not get the same ball control and feel with an inexpensive wood paddle as you would with a top of the line graphite paddle, but if you’re just heading out on the court and still working on just getting the ball over the pickleball net you may not want to drop your hard-earned cash on a high-end competitive paddle. Paddle construction has improved and you can find decent paddles at affordable prices.
Hopefully, the above paddle reviews have given you a few good options for your first wallet-friendly paddle to help you chose the best one that meets your budget, grip, and playing style.
While we love writing reviews of the top cutting-edge paddles, we also want to give useful information for all readers including those that are just discovering this great sport.