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Diadem Edge 18K Paddle Review: Spin?

I have never seen a ball move this way, for better or for worse!

(Image Credit: Dennis Rodriguez)
The Diadem Edge 18K pickleball paddle was released in early August, claiming new cutting-edge tech with their 18K Carbon Fiber weave. A standard Raw Carbon weave is unidirectional; Diadem claims this new triaxial weave drastically increases spin potential. Get this paddle on the court; you might be a believer. I have NEVER seen a paddle make a ball spin more than this! Spin is by far the most impressive aspect of the Diadem Edge 18K. It is soft compared to the paddles I play with. If you come from a thermoformed paddle, this paddle might be too soft for you. While not quite as much pop as I like, some may find this paddle to be everything they want. This is one of the few paddles suited for every player level, from beginner to Pro. If you enjoy longer rallies and dinking, you will love the Diadem 18K!

View at Pickleball Central
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

First Look

See those little 3D looking squares on the face of the Diadem Edge 18k? Those are not just for looks, although I have to admit, they definitely catch your eye. Those little squares are actually the end product of a completely new and innovative “triaxial weave” which incorporates three interwoven yarns at 60-degree angles. This triaxial weave is unlike standard unidirectional raw carbon fiber paddles. Okay okay enough with all this tech nerd talk, what does this really mean? It equates to some of the nastiest, filthiest spin you may have ever seen. I’m talking “how is this legal” type of spin! Diadem claims that their new cutting-edge 18K carbon fiber is the way of the future and unlike anything on the market. At first look, the Diadem Edge 18K is, well, quite beautiful. That sleek red edge guard, that simple yet very attractive face, and the grip feels very comfortable in hand. As a coach and paddle reviewer, I’ve had the opportunity to test out numerous paddles. Naturally, I was eager to get this one on the court and uncover what all the hype was about. My main concern was that, unlike my current paddle, the Diadem 18K isn’t thermoformed. Would it deliver the power and pop I prefer for my playing style? I had to find out.

(Image Credit: Pickleball Central)

Background Research

Company History

Diadem came on the scene in 2015 with the goal of bringing new and innovative tech to the tennis world. As pickleball’s popularity has surged in recent years, Diadem capitalized on their racquet sports expertise and entered the paddle sport arena. Signing top pros such as Christian Alshon to their team, Diadem paddles have quickly risen in popularity. After testing quite a few of their paddles, it is clear that they take their vision of “creating innovative, top-tier products” very seriously vs optimizing for lifestyle or fashion oriented paddles that have little focus on performance.

The Diadem Edge 18k is essentially the upgraded version of Diadem’s widely popular Warrior Edge. Recently we saw top pro Christian Alshon make the switch to the 18K. Diadem claims that the new 3D 18K carbon fiber hitting surface is stronger, lighter, and able to add spin regardless of launch angle.

Performance Review & My Experience

Soft game performance

The soft game is where the Diadem 18K absolutely shines. It took me almost no time at all to develop a very comfortable sense of this paddle’s touch and feel. Third shot drops were incredibly easy to execute, dinks were seamless and smooth. In fact, I had over 10 players/students perform drop shots with the Diadem 18K and all, yes I said all, saw an increase in the accuracy and consistency of their drops. Diadem clearly focused on touch and spin over power with this paddle.

Power game performance

Here is where I personally was not too impressed. The power game, while not always important to everyone, still is an integral part of the sport. I look for two things in my paddle regarding the fast game in pickleball, power and pop. I define “pop” as how quickly the ball comes off the paddle after contact. I define “power” as the amount of effort required to generate ball speed. You really can’t have one without the other yet it’s important not to confuse the two. The Diadem 18K has little pop and I found it quite difficulty to execute counters. That being said, my baseline shots, such as ground strokes and serves had plenty of power because I had more time to utilize my legs and arm to generate that power. Pop is important during firefights and counter attacks at the Non-Volley Zone because you do not always have the time to use your arms or legs. You want to be able to just block the ball and use minimal movement while still having the ball come back to the opposing side with some pace. This is where the Diadem 18K fell a bit short in my opinion.


The sweet spot on the Diadem Edge 18K is large and even mishits on the outer edges felt very forgiving. If you are a fan of dinking and 3rd shot drops, it is going to be hard to find a paddle that competes with the 18K! The paddle is well balanced and gives the player a sense of confidence in their control even on their worst day. This really comes in handy on tournament day when you have those tournament jitters and seem to be finding anything but the sweet spot.

Spin Capabilities

Another area where the Diadem Edge 18k simply shined. Right out of the box this paddle outshined just about every other paddle I have tested for spin. Some people are finding this paddle to generate upwards of 2200 RPM! That is unreal type spin. I had my hitting partner receive about 20 of my serves and he was blown away with the amount of movement I was causing the balls to have. It is pretty rare to be able to see the action on your ball from your serving point of view but there were many times where I could. I could literally see the ball curving in the air with such topspin that it would kick at my opponent, sometimes causing him to almost whiff the ball. We were both extremely impressed with how consistent our serves, ground strokes, and drives became when using this paddle.

Comfort and Durability

Overall, the Diadem Edge 18K feels very balanced. After applying an over grip my paddle weight was 8.3oz and felt very fast in my hand. I felt very comfortable executing rolls and flick shots. While the paddle is not too head heavy, I would still recommend adding a bit of lead tape to the top portions of the paddle to increase power. Diadem claims that this new 18K triaxial weaved Carbon Fiber is more durable in comparison to most of today’s paddle standards and so far it has held up very nicely. I have yet to see any decrease in texture and spin. Diadem’s new Edge Shield Pro edge guard feels very durable and has not shown any signs of wear.

Comparative Analysis

It is hard to compare this paddle to anything I have tried to date. It has the control of a Selkirk Project 003 with the spin of a Six Zero Double Black Diamond. This paddle is well suited for any level from beginner to Pro and I have no doubt that players will see a multitude of benefits when upgrading to the Diadem Edge 18k. I highly recommend this paddle for doubles play. However, for singles play, I feel there are better options on the market. If you do not prefer thermoformed paddles and want something with less pop, I strongly suggest trying the Diadem Edge 18K.

Social Proof

I typically give my students and playing partners the opportunity to test the paddles I review, seeking their feedback to confirm or dispute my own impressions. Across the board, those who tried the Diadem 18K paddle noted significant improvements in both spin and control. This feedback only confirms my initial impression. If your gameplay focuses on control and precision, the Diadem Edge 18K might just give you the ‘Edge’ you didn’t know you were missing. Pun intended! 😉

References & Testing Tools

Pickleball Tutor Mini ball machine



Photo of author

Hey guys, my name’s Dennis. I’m a full-time Firefighter and “part-time” Pickleball Instructor who honestly loves coaching, teaching, and competing in sports. I played baseball & tennis throughout highschool and college and fell in love with pickleball. My goal with Pickleball Portal is to give you the most honest and reliable info on everything related to pickleball gear and equipment! I want to arm you with the knowledge to feel confident in your paddle choice by giving thorough reviews and comparisons through my hands on testing. Also hoping to share some tips and tricks with you to help your game and continue the growth of this awesome sport! dennis@pickleballportal.com

26 thoughts on “Diadem Edge 18K Paddle Review: Spin?”

    • It’s pretty soft. If you like that extra pop and power, I would not recommend this paddle. If you are focused more on your soft game and those solid drops and dinks, this might be perfect for you.

  1. Impressive review! Sounds like it’s a good one to try out, since I’m not one particularly good with spin. @gabrielodisho

  2. Wow! Thanks for doing the work and creating an honest review. This is the type of content that really helps me to decide if I want to buy it or not! I like the spin aspect and control, so this paddle should be right up my alley! @dylanboliva

    • Appreciate it Dylin. Yes if you have that power already and want a bit more control, this paddle might be a perfect fit.

  3. I’m loving the spin aspect of this paddle! Overall I generate a lot of power on my own, but to have the power and control all built into one paddle, that’s pretty fantastic. I’ve also heard great things about this paddle from the general public as well!! Great review D-rod! I always look forward to reading about the next best thing in the pickleball world! Also great work to Diadem from creating such a worthy paddle!


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