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How To Choose a Pickleball Paddle (Racket): The Complete Buyer’s Guide

Anna Leigh Waters hitting a pickleball
PPA (Picture Kerry Pittenger)

Whether you are brand new to playing pickleball or a veteran player, you’ve likely wondered how to choose the pickleball paddle (or “racket” as some people mistakenly refer to it) that best fits your needs.

As you read through the descriptions of various pickleball paddles available on the market, you might feel like you’re shopping for some futuristic gadget designed for a journey to Mars! You’ll see phrases like “Nomex™ honeycomb,” “liquid graphite paddle face,” and “polymer paddle core.” All the different types of pickleball paddles available make the buying process confusing. 

While some of that new technology does make a difference during gameplay, I think this trend of pushing paddles made from cutting-edge materials is partly marketing hype. With more people than ever playing pickleball, brands are fiercely competing to make their paddles stand out from the rest.

However, amidst all the marketing noise, there are a few factors that really do matter when looking for the best pickleball paddles. Here we delve into everything you need to look for in a paddle, including grip, weight, paddle material, play style and more. 

What To Look for in a Pickleball Paddle

We wrote this guide to clear up the confusion and provide some clear direction on how to choose a pickleball paddle for your unique preferences. Choosing the best pickleball paddle involves several key factors:

  1. Weight: Select a weight that feels right for your playing style.
  2. Grip Size: Find a grip size that comfortably fits your hand.
  3. Shape, Build, and Color: Match the paddle’s design with your playing style.
  4. Noise Level: Opt for quieter models in noise-sensitive areas.
  5. Budget: Balance quality with affordability.

Choose the Right Pickleball Paddle Weight

Many shoppers tend to base their purchasing decisions primarily on price. While we completely understand the importance of sticking to your budget, the price tag alone won’t tell you everything you need to know about a pickleball paddle. In other words, just because some paddles are more expensive doesn’t mean they will be the best pickleball paddles for you.

Most pickleball experts agree that weight should be the top priority when choosing a paddle. 

Pickleball paddles come in a range of weights, starting from approximately 6 ounces for the lightweight paddles and going up to 14 ounces for the heavy ones. 


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Yalla pickleball paddles

Pickleball Paddle Weight Ranges
Lightweight PaddlesUnder 7.3 oz
Mid-Weight Paddles7.3 to 8.4 oz
Heavy Paddles8.5 oz and over

Paddle weight will determine the feel of the paddle in your hand and the kind of performance you can expect on the court. In general, the paddle’s weight is a personal preference that mostly depends on your fitness level and style of play.

Lightweight vs. Heavy Pickleball Paddles
Lighter PaddlesHeavier Paddles
Increased ball control.More power
Better maneuverabilityLess effort to hit the ball harder
Less stress on elbow/shoulderEasier to hit the ball deep.
Reduced Power/DriveStress on injuries, especially elbows.
Stronger swing neededLess control, slower swing.
Harder to hit long/hard shotsIncreases fatigue if playing for a long time.

Paddle Weight Determines Power vs. Paddle Control

So, how do you choose a pickleball paddle based on weight? First, ask yourself what your strengths and weaknesses as a pickleball player are and what kind of player you are. In other words, is power or control more important to you when playing?

Heavy paddles are an easy way to increase the power of your shots, so if you’ve been playing pickleball and want to increase the force of your drives, go for a slightly heavier paddle.

On the other hand, if you are looking to improve ball control and touch (precise aim and carefully placed dink shots), choose a lighter paddle. 

But what if you have no idea what kind of player you are? If you are a beginner buying your first paddle, it will be hard to predict what particular style of pickleball you’ll play.

You really need to play for quite a few sets before you establish a style of play. For this reason, the best beginner pickleball paddles are often mid-weight paddles (7.3 oz – 8.4 oz).

Here are the key takeaways for what makes a good pickleball paddle weight:

  • Pick a heavy paddle if you want extra power.
  • If you are a control player, choose a lighter paddle. (Check out our top picks for good paddles for control to learn more.)
  • Use a mid-weight paddle if you have elbow injuries or recurring tennis elbow.
  • When in doubt, go for a mid-weight paddle.

Tip for tennis players playing pickleball:

If you are a former tennis player transitioning to pickleball, you’ll be used to the heavier weight of a tennis racket. Therefore, you should be able to handle a paddle on the heavy side of the spectrum without being injured.

However, if you put a lot of wrist action into your shots, you’d probably be better off with a light to medium-weight paddle, which allows for more finesse and control.

When choosing a pickleball paddle, also look for “tennis style” grips, which are shaped to mimic a tennis racquet handle. There are several new elongated grips that make some of the best pickleball paddles for tennis players as they have a feel similar to a traditional tennis racket.

A Heavy Paddle Can Cause Injury

Picking the perfect pickleball paddle will help you reduce injuries. You might think that a few ounces won’t make much of a difference, but try holding a can of soup in your hand and swinging it around for a couple of hours. 

While this might seem like an unusual example, the point is simple: Something that’s relatively lightweight may not feel heavy initially, but when you’re out on the court and repeatedly swinging the paddle, you’ll begin to notice the weight difference in your wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

In other words, those extra ounces on a heavier paddle will start to wear on you, especially if you have existing injuries or arthritis.

However, simply going for the lightest paddle is also NOT the best choice either since players will have to swing a light paddle harder to add power to their shot. Players using a light paddle from the back of the pickleball court are at increased risk of developing or aggravating their existing tennis elbow.

A heavier paddle will get the shot across the net with less force. But if you have any wrist, elbow or shoulder injuries, and especially if you suffer from “pickleball tennis elbow,” skip the heavy paddles because the extra weight will cause strain.

We recommend a mid-weight (roughly 7.3 oz – 8.4 oz) graphite pickleball paddle or composite paddle for pickleball players suffering from tennis elbow.

Choose the Perfect Pickleball Paddle Grip Size

One of the most overlooked pickleball accessories is the grip. Proper grip size is key to choosing the best pickleball paddle. That’s because playing with a paddle that has the wrong grip size for your hand is like running in shoes that don’t fit. 

Most paddles come with standard grips from 4 to 4 ½ inches. While you can always increase the size by adding an overgrip, there is no way to decrease the grip size. When in doubt, buy a size that is one step down (⅛ to ¼ inch smaller) and then add overgrip or tape to match your grip size as needed. 

A smaller grip allows for more wrist action, making it easier to put spin on the ball and improve control. Increased wrist movement can also add extra power to your serve. If you have small hands and need a smaller 4-inch grip, we’ve put together a list of light pickleball paddles with small grips.

A larger grip will help increase your stroke stability while reducing strain on the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. However, playing for an extended time with a paddle handle that is too large for your hand can lead to elbow strain, potentially causing tennis elbow or joint pain.


If you’ve played or watched tennis or other racket sports, you are most likely familiar with wrapping the grip with “overgrip” or tape to customize the circumference to better match your hand size and personal preference.

High-end paddles usually come with a premium grip (from makers such as Gamma or Pro-lite), which adds a level of comfort and absorbs sweat. However, if your paddle came with an inferior grip or has worn out over time, you could consider replacing the stock grip with a new premium grip.

How To Measure Your Paddle Grip Size

There are a few ways a pickleball player can measure their grip size. 

Use the Ring Finger Measurement Method

Use a ruler to determine the correct paddle grip size.

Measure the distance from the tip of your ring finger down to the middle crease of your palm. (Your palm has three creases, so make sure to pick the middle one.)

The measurement you get will determine your grip size. For example, if the tip of your ring finger to your middle crease measures 4.5 inches, you need a 4.5-inch grip.

Measure By Height

You can also use your height to determine the correct grip size, but this method is less exact than the hand measurement method. 

Use the following chart:

Easy Way To Measure Grip Size By Height
Your HeightGrip Size
Under 5’2″4″ Grip
5’3″ to 5’8″4 1/8″ to 4 1/4″ Grip
5’9″ & taller4 1/2″ Grip
Check for a Natural Grip

To check if the grip size is correct, grab the paddle with your natural grip. Now slide your index finger from the opposite hand between your fingers and the heel of your grip hand. You should be able to snugly fit your finger without moving the fingers wrapped around the grip.

If you have extra space between the heel of your palm and your fingers, and your index finger isn’t touching, the grip is too big. The grip might be too small if you have to move your fingers to get your index finger to fit in the gap. If you are choosing between two sizes, choose the smaller size.

For a demonstration of how to check for a natural grip, watch this video. (This video was made for tennis rackets, but the technique is exactly the same for a pickleball paddle.)

Understand Pickleball Paddle Composition

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US, and along with the surge of new pickleball players, many new pickleball equipment manufacturers, retail shops and online stores selling pickleball paddles have also popped up. This is part of what makes knowing how to choose a pickleball paddle so complicated. 

The recent pickleball craze has been great for the players since there are many new options for pickleball gear. But having so many types of pickleball paddles available, especially with how quickly they change, can make it really hard to know what the best pickleball paddles really are.

The first pickleball paddles were just a single piece of plywood cut in a garage with a bandsaw. With updated technology and materials, a new pickleball player must now consider whether to pick a wood, polymer, Nomex or aluminum core. They also have to research whether their paddle face material should be carbon fiber, fiberglass or graphite. 

To answer the question, “What are the best pickleball paddles made out of?” we first need to understand how different paddles are made and how the paddle face material and texture will affect how the ball plays off the paddle. 

Types of Pickleball Paddle Material

  • Wood: Heaviest and cheapest.
  • Graphite: Often the most expensive option but also a light and powerful performance on the court.
  • Composite: A compromise between a wood and graphite paddle. Variety of prices and weights. Gaining popularity since paddle face texture helps impart spin on shots and there are higher-priced composites.

Wood Pickleball Paddles

Wooden pickleball paddles are still some of the best beginner pickleball paddles for those who are looking for an affordable entry-level paddle and are fine with a heavy paddle because they don’t spend a long time playing.

Plus, the newer wood paddles have been improved with the addition of grips and safety straps to prevent the paddle from flying out of your hand.

If you’re stocking up on a large quantity of pickleball equipment for sports programs in schools, the YMCA, community centers, or summer camps, wooden paddles are a smart choice. The wood can take quite a beating without breaking the bank. 

Wood paddles can also be a good option when you have visitors who want to try their hand at pickleball. Say your grandkids are visiting and want to give pickleball a try – these paddles are an easy way to make sure everyone can play.

For everyone else not mentioned, we recommend skipping the wood paddles and looking for a mid-range graphite or composite pickleball paddle. The prices have come down in recent years, and you can find very affordable paddles that better suit your needs. 

Graphite Pickleball Paddles

Graphite pickleball paddles typically weigh between 6 and 9 ounces. Graphite paddles are also built with a core (Nomex, aluminum or polymer) similar to composite paddles. The graphite face on both sides of the paddle is what differentiates this type of pickleball paddle.

The layer of graphite is thin, usually only a few millimeters thick, which is about the thickness of a fingernail. Light and strong, graphite paddles are some of the best-selling paddles.

Some of the best pickleball paddles are graphite. Competitive players like the quick action off the graphite face. If you are sold on the idea that this is the right type of paddle for you, see our top picks for graphite pickleball paddles.

Composite Pickleball Paddles

Composite pickleball paddles are constructed with a composite core and a fiberglass or carbon fiber-hitting surface. The core is made of either Nomex™ (rigid nylon), polymer or aluminum. 

Composite paddles are becoming more popular because their textured surface makes it easier to put a spin on the ball. If you are looking for a good composite pickleball paddle, check out our recommended paddles for spin.

Aluminum Core

The internal honeycomb core of aluminum paddles makes them strong while still being light. The aluminum core can be a great option for the “control” player willing to sacrifice some drive and power for more finesse and maneuverability.

Aluminum is softer, which gives aluminum paddles the “touch” some players refer to, but it’s also why they lack some power. Aluminum is also quieter than Nomex but not as quiet as polymer.

Nomex Honeycomb Core

Nomex™ was the first material used to create durable composite pickleball paddles. The process starts by dipping a material resembling cardboard in resin to create a very durable material that is arranged in a honeycomb pattern and used to construct paddles.

Nomex paddles are the hardest and loudest paddles and give that well-known “popping” sound you hear on the pickleball court. If you are looking for speed and power on your shots, Nomex is probably the ideal choice, which is why it’s in some of the best pickleball paddles in the industry and why many serious players still prefer a Nomex core pickleball paddle.

Plus, if you’re into singles play where power and a quick game are key, choosing a Nomex core can really give you that extra edge.

Polymer (Poly) Core

Polymer core paddles are made of a plastic blend. While considered the newest core technology on the pickleball market today, they’re also one of the most popular. 

Apart from being the quietest of the three cores, polymer paddles are softer. While you can still put power behind your shots with a good polymer core, the core does dampen the shot, so these are a better pick for a control player.

Polymer pickleball paddles are considered the quietest paddles on the market. This fact could be an important part of the buying decision if you live in a gated community, shared gym space, or recreation center where the noise produced by pickleball can be a negative factor.

Pick the Right Shape of Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball paddles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Finding the right shape is another important component of how to choose a pickleball paddle. 

Edgeless Pickleball Paddles

When a pickleball paddle is described as “edgeless,” it means it lacks a protective guard that normally protrudes slightly around the edge of the pickleball paddle. If the paddle is dropped or banged against hard surfaces, the guard protects the edge from chipping.

Some serious players prefer an edgeless pickleball paddle as it maximizes the playing surface of the paddle face. Although these paddles do normally have a thin tape around the edge of the paddle to protect it without interfering with the face of the paddle, it may not be enough to protect it from impact, so these kinds of paddles are more susceptible to chips or nicks along the paddle edge.

Wide Body Paddles

According to the official pickleball regulations regarding the dimensions of an approved pickleball paddle, the combined length and width of the paddle, including any edge guard and butt cap, shall not exceed 24 inches (60.96 cm). The paddle length cannot exceed 17 inches (43.18 cm). There is no restriction on paddle thickness.

The most common classic-shaped pickleball paddle is a “wide-body,” which measures approximately 8 inches wide by 15 ¾ inches long (20.32 cm x 40 cm).

Oversized Paddles

Many pickleball paddle manufacturers now design oversized paddles by adding length to the face and shortening the length of the handle, therefore keeping the total length of the pickleball paddle the same and within regulation.

Elongated Pickleball Paddles

A new pickleball paddle category is on the market that includes paddles such as the “Encore Blade” that sacrifice face width to allow for an increased paddle length of up to 17 inches, which is the maximum pickleball paddle length allowed by the USAPA.

Part of the challenge with this category of pickleball paddle for newbies is the small “sweet spot.” Think of the sweet spot as the perfect part of the face where you get the best percentage shot. The longer, thin paddle shape gives these a narrow sweet spot, which makes it harder for novice players to hit consistently. That’s why this type of paddle is considered a specialty paddle for a more experienced player looking for added reach.

Since we originally published this guide, the elongated paddle has become more popular, and it seems almost every major brand is now competing in this space. Most pickleball brands have come out with their own elongated pickleball paddle.

For most players, we recommend sticking to the classic or wide-body-shaped paddle. Also, if you are planning to play singles, then these would be a good match. If you are planning on participating in tournament play, make sure your new pickleball paddle falls within USAPA guidelines.

Choose Your Pickleball Paddle Color

When it comes to pickleball paddles, their color and graphics are more a matter of personal taste than functionality. Some pickleball partners buy matching paddles, while others buy more unusually colored paddles to help quickly identify their paddle among all the other paddles at busy pickleball clubs or tournaments. Some people have even matched their pickleball outfits with their paddle color! 

An interesting point of debate among some players is the potential tactical advantage of using a yellow paddle. The theory is that a yellow paddle could blend with the ball during play, potentially making it harder for opponents to track and anticipate shots. 

However, this advantage, if any, seems negligible given the variety of ball colors now available in pickleball. Standard ball colors include white, orange, and yellow. Companies are even now offering balls in bright colors like pink and blue. With all of this in mind, the best pickleball paddle colors are simply those that fit your personal taste.  

Consider Pickleball Paddle Noise

As pickleball grows in popularity, with more pickleball courts opening in gated and closed communities, noise from the game is becoming a significant issue, often causing friction between players and residents who don’t play. The issue has gotten so heated in some areas that we’ve seen it escalate to lawsuits

How do you choose a pickleball paddle that won’t make a lot of noise? If you’re playing in a place where pickleball noise is a concern, using a polymer paddle is usually a safe bet. However, some communities and courts are introducing strict rules, creating specific lists classifying paddles into “Approved (Green Zone)” or “Banned (Red Zone)” based on the noise that each paddle produces.

While there’s no official certification for these noise ratings, many clubs are following a well-known list circulating on the internet as a standard to qualify “Quiet Paddles.” Some paddle manufacturers have even begun labeling their quieter types of paddles with a “Green Zone” approved seal.

If you’re in a community with noise-sensitive neighbors or strict paddle noise regulations, it’s a good idea to consult this list of “Green Zone” approved quiet paddles, which have been tested and confirmed to be less noisy.

Choose the Right Pickleball Paddle Price

Price is arguably one of the most important considerations for how to choose a pickleball paddle. Pickleball paddles range from under $15 for the least expensive wood paddles to $150+ for the top-of-the-line graphite and composite paddles.

Although you can drop well over $100 on the very best pickleball paddles, plenty of affordable options exist. Plus, the total investment in pickleball equipment is pretty low compared to sports like golf.

Although everyone has their own budget and limits on how much they are willing to spend when buying a pickleball paddle, one thing to keep in mind is that a pickleball paddle should last you years if you take good care of it. 

When planning your budget for pickleball gear, I would prioritize buying a good pair of pickleball shoes before spending a ton on a paddle.

Cheap Pickleball Rackets

Wood pickleball paddles are normally made of 7-ply maple or Baltic birch wood and are by far the cheapest pickleball paddles available on the market. You can currently find the lowest-priced wooden paddles for around $10 up to about $25 for the most expensive wood options.

If you are a beginner buying your first pickleball paddle and can afford to, we recommend you skip wood options and go at least one rung up the ladder to a decent composite or graphite paddle, which could cost around $50-$120. If you plan to play even just once a week, the difference between the cheapest wood paddle and a decent mid-range graphite rod may work out to pennies per game over a year.

To save money, you can also find affordable pickleball paddle sets that come in a bundle along with multiple balls. These sets are perfect for a couple or family that needs multiple paddles and balls.

Club paddles are normally priced in the $30-$35 range. These low-end composite pickleball paddles got that name because they are a relatively affordable option for clubs, camps and community centers that buy a large volume of paddles.

Usually made of some form of honeycomb polymer core, composite club paddles are durable and will stand up better to repeated wear and tear than a wooden pickleball paddle that will begin to chip along the edges and may break down where the individual layers of wood begin to separate or “de-laminate.” 

The Selkirk Sport Club Paddle is a good example of this type of paddle.

To learn more about the most affordable options, check out our recommendations for the best cheap pickleball paddle picks for beginners

Expensive Pickleball Paddles

What is the most expensive pickleball paddle?

I don’t have an exact answer. There are so many different sporting goods stores and thousands of online sites that sell pickleball equipment that it’s almost impossible for me to compare all of those to find “the most expensive pickleball paddle.”

Just going off of MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price), the new paddles being released in are some of the most expensive paddles to date, some selling for ~$130, such as the Selkirk Sport Pro S1 and the ProLite Titan Pro ($124.99 MSRP at the time of publishing). Both of these paddles are considered “Pro” paddles by the respective companies. (Yes, there are professional pickleball players and national tournaments).

More recent paddles sell for around $150, including the Poach Advantage by Engage and the Selkirk AMPED line of paddles. I could be wrong, but I expect the top-end paddles to continue rising.

With the continual evolution of paddle technology and the use of high-cost materials to make these paddles, I would not be surprised to see even more expensive paddles in the near future. Just look at how the tennis industry evolved from wooden rackets to high-end tennis rackets that now sell for $300-$400 or more.

Additional FAQs for How To Choose a Pickleball Paddle

Should I Use an Indoor or Outdoor Paddle?

I think this question comes from the fact that pickleball balls are sold for either indoor or outdoor play. You do not need to consider this because paddles are not specific to either. However, you definitely should consider the surface you are playing on when selecting a good pair of pickleball shoes!

Where Do I Buy Pickleball Paddles?

There are so many brands now that sell directly on their sites (see our list of brands from the main menu) or through online distributors. As mentioned, many brick-and-mortar stores and sporting goods shops also now sell pickleball paddles. Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example, sells Monarch brand pickleball paddles. Large online retailers like Walmart and Target also sell paddles.

Amazon also sells a wide selection of paddles from almost all the major pickleball equipment makers.

Also Recommended:

Here are a few of our most popular lists to check out if you’re looking for recommended paddles:

On the last list, we track newly launched pickleball paddles and update the list every time we see new types of paddles hit the market. If you like to buy the latest and greatest sports equipment, that’s a good place to start your search.

If you still aren’t sure and want more options, check out our other top paddle recommendations. We’ve researched nearly every paddle there is to come up with lists by type, budget, playing style and more. For the latest information on upcoming releases and great deals on previous years’ models, check out Pickleball Central (the largest online pickleball superstore.)

Conclusion: How To Choose the Best Pickleball Paddle

Selecting a new pickleball paddle can be confusing, especially with all the different types of paddles flooding the market and the new technology and features constantly being introduced. 

To simplify, here are a few basic takeaways to help you narrow down the options to the very best pickleball paddles for you:

  • Weight Matters: First, decide which weight suits you. If you have “tennis elbow” or any wrist, elbow or shoulder injuries, buy a medium-weight pickleball paddle.
  • Skip the Wood: Avoid wooden paddles and start with a mid-level composite or graphite paddle if your budget allows.
  • Find Your Grip: Pick the right grip size. Use one (or both of the methods above) to confirm your correct size. When in doubt, buy one size smaller and build up the grip if needed.
  • Don’t Go Overboard on Price: The most expensive paddle is not necessarily the best one for you.
  • Looks Aren’t Everything: Don’t be distracted by the colors, fancy graphics or catchy model names.

We hope this guide has been helpful in teaching you how to choose a pickleball paddle. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and we’ll get back to you. If you are just getting started and want to learn more, don’t forget to check out our tips and strategy.

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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

47 thoughts on “How To Choose a Pickleball Paddle (Racket): The Complete Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Hi, I am confused. Can you advise me as to whether I should be looking for a heavyweight or lightweight paddle (I will probably end up with a mid-weight)?
    I am a table tennis player, but I play table tennis more like regular tennis, that is, I use table tennis technique to generate topspin, but I use longer strokes, unlike table tennis and take cuts at the ball. As a result, I am confused as to whether I would want a heavier paddle, in order to take advantage of my longer strokes and generate lots of pace, or the exact opposite, a lightweight paddle so that after I take my cuts at the ball, I would have more time for recovery – to get my feet into the right position. Should I just stick with a mid-weight paddle?


    • Hi J.J.
      Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, somehow I missed this comment.
      It sounds to me like a mid-weight would be the best compromise to give you enough
      power on your stroke but still be light enough for the the touch and maneuverability you need on your slices.

      By now I’m guessing you might have already selected a new paddle.
      If so, please let us know what you bought and how it is working out for you.

    • Hi Sue,
      Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.
      I’m guessing you may have already bought a new pickleball paddle…
      For a two-handed backhand grip, you’re going to need more room on the handle so I would look for the longest handle you can find (which on current pickleball paddles would be 5 1/2 inches).
      The 3 models I can find with longest handles are: Onix Sports Evoke Graphite, Crush PowerSpin Paddle, Venom 2 (Pickleball Inc).
      Otherwise, you may just need to choke up on the handle and may have the top hand creeping up onto the paddle face a bit…
      Hope that helps-Matt

  2. Is there a paddle available made without honeycomb core? A friend has a paddle with honeycomb core and I can see and reel this honeycomb on the surface of his paddle ,

    • Hi John,
      You might want to take a look at Gearbox Paddles, their newer paddles (Seven, Eight, GX5, G11) use “Solid Span Technology” that is solid molded core (No Honeycomb Core).

  3. Do you know the grip size on the Selkirk Sport Neo Composite paddle. It says thin grip but I need 4 in. This paddle is on our list for our community for noise control but if you can suggest any others I would appreciate it.

    • Hi Ann,
      The Selkirk Sport Neo has a 4.125, although it’s just over 4″ it still considered a small grip and the 1/8″ shouldn’t make a huge difference. There are a few 4″ paddles on the market, including the Rally Tyro 2 and the Gamma 2.0 series but neither of those are considered “Quiet”.
      For small grip that is also quiet I would think the Sport Neo would still be a good match.
      At that same 4 ⅛” you could get the ProLite SuperNova but if you are just starting out that would probably be much more paddle than you really need (it’s a pro level paddle with a price tag to match) but might be something to keep in mind if you end up wanting to upgrade in the future.
      You can find a list of small grip paddles here.
      On that list, the first three are quiet paddles: the Prolite Supernova, Selkirk AMPED series and the Pickleball Elite

  4. I am interested in the pistol grip(cross wise) paddle. I’m a control player with a paddle just over 8 oz. Could you recommend a paddle ( core, face, etc.) in the $ 100. + range. I like novel things.

    • Hi George,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      Wow, that’s a good question. I’ve seen people play ping-pong with a pistol grip paddle but never actually seen anyone play pickleball with one.
      Years ago, I heard that Pop Paddles sold a pistol grip paddle called the “Trigger” but I don’t see it on their site anymore so maybe they discontinued it…
      Let me know if you find one. Thanks-Matt

  5. Which paddle face material is most conducive for utilizing spin shots? Fiberglas or graphite?
    Is spin equally achievable with both materials?
    What are characteristics of each?

  6. Which paddle face material is most conducive for utilizing spin shots? Fiberglas or graphite?

    What are characteristics of each?

  7. My paddles tend to get soft or mushy on the corners. Is there a paddle with a stronger core that will withstand scraping on the floor on low shots?

    • Hi Jim,
      Gearbox makes their paddles with a solid core (rather than multiple laminated layers) and are known to be strong. However, if the damage is from scraping the floor (vs soft spots from wear and tear from a high volume of hitting shots) I think most paddles will end up with some damage on the corners. That same company makes a “Gearbox Protective Bumper Tape” that and optional tape to be added to their (edgeless) paddles. You might want to try adding that to your paddle… hope that helps. -Matt

  8. I’m thinking of purchasing another paddle that fits my hand better. I’m using a Manta Custom Pro Strike Force paddle. The issue I have is the length of the handle, it’s about 4 1/4 inches long. I find my hand running out of room and slipping down and off when I play. I tried taping up the end of it but that didn’t help much. I like a nice light weight one, with a longer more rounded handle, any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Dean,
      You might want to check out the new Prince paddles , there are two models out and they both have longer handles (5″ and 5.5″) and they come in two weight options to choose from. -Matt

  9. HI Matt,

    I don’t know if this it out of date or not but what I’m looking for is information on the benefits of core construction – meaning the added benefits of a 16mm core over a 12 or 13mm core. For example, Ben Johns plays with the 16mm core Franklin but they also sell a 13mm – what’s the benefit of the 16mm over the 13mm ? From what I’ve read it looks like the 16mm offers a larger sweet spot and a softer touch – is that correct ? I like the solid feel of some of the 12mm or 13mm core paddles but wanted to ask.

    • Hey Steve, sorry for the late response. These companies that have thicker paddles are aiming to provide a larger sweet spot while maintaining power and feel. For what it’s worth, I personally have used both and really do not prefer the 16mm for some reason that I can’t figure out. Have you been able to try a 16mm?

      • thanks for getting back to me …. they seem ‘softer’ if that makes sense. There’s still plenty of pop but compared to the 12 or 13mm cores that I’ve used (not many, admittedly) the 16mm cores have a softer feel but not ‘dead’ at all. I guess the true test will come in play and having some off-center hits and see how they perform then.

  10. Thank you for explaining the difference between lightweight and heavyweight pickleball paddles. I am new to pickleball and am trying to get familiar with the equipment I need to purchase. It would be smart for me to consult a retailer who can help me decide on the best paddle for my needs.

    • Welcome aboard! I am glad you discovered pickleball, it is so much fun… If you are looking for a beginner paddle, this article may help steer you in the right direction, but please do not hesitate to ask us any questions!

  11. Very informative thank you . Question I may have missed, some paddles have a smooth finish on face of paddles some are rough . Would have a suggestion either way please

  12. I am finding that all the review sites seem to cover American brands. Or so I assume they are. I have not seen any reviews on Pinnacle/Apex brand. I know they carry a Summit version which is graphite and a pro version that is composite but I just want to know if anyone has reviewed them or knows anything about them. Thanks. I live in Canada.

    • Hi Lori, we have not used these paddles, but they are now on the list to try out! We are currently recreating how we review pickleball paddles and will be excited to announce the method in early 2022.

    • I am not familiar with that feeling, but I would try something that is lightweight and has minimal vibration like the Paddletek Ts-5 pro.

  13. Hi: Can you recommend some mid-range price paddles for me? I am a tennis player (3.5-4.0) with 2 handed backhand and 4 1/8″ grip. I have just started playing pickle ball and would like to pick a good paddle that matches my level. I am in my late 50s – and every so often deal with minor tennis elbow.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jean. The Sticker Onix Stryker 4 may be a good fit. It has a grip size of 4 & 1/4th and the handle is longer than a typical paddle and is only $80. Weight = 6.8oz-7.4oz. However, if you want a true two handed paddle, I think the Gravity LH by Head will be a much better option. It has two grip size options of 3 7/8″ or 4 1/8″ with a 5 3/4″ grip length, and it’s only $100. But the Gravity is a little heavier at 7.9 oz, which could aggravate your elbow, but perhaps being able to grip it well with two hands could offset the weight difference.

  14. Hey, thank you so much for this review, I am thinking of buying a pickleball paddle from you guys, website is amazing, glad I landed here. For any peer pickleball players that are also paranoid and picky with their paddles here haha, did you find this guide helpful? Just wanna make sure because I hate wasting my money, so far this one and pickleballperfect.com have the best paddle buying guides. I’m probably going to buy a lightweight pickleball paddle from the information you guys provided. Thanks so much! Have a good day everyone

    • Hi Hannah! Glad you found some useful information. Keep an eye on our paddle pages because we will be rolling out a lot of new reviews and it would be great to get some feedback. You can find these under the paddles tab in the menu bar. Also,

      • Dan, please see my question posted today, 9/25/23, citing your excellent article and my question regarding finding a correct Pickleball Paddle grip size (circumference). Thank you. Peter Jacobson

      • Dan, again thanks for your excellent article (Pickleball Paddle buyer’s guide). In case you don’t see my separate question … I’m asking why online sites don’t have Pickleball Paddle grip size (circumference) as a filter. Also, why is my size 4-1/2″ so very rare? Should I consider 4-1/4″ in order to find a reasonable choice of paddles? Thank you.

  15. Hi, I think it’s ridiculous that I can’t highlight and right click. Makes it much more difficult to use the page while trying to search for more information. Won’t be using the site because of this.

  16. Dan Langston’s article “Pickleball Paddes – Read this before you Buy … ” is an excellent article – well written and very helpful. Similar to a tennis racquet, a Pickleball Paddle grip size (circumference) is important, as stated in Dan’s article. However, almost all online Pickleball Paddle websites DO NOT provide a grip size filter (seems ridiculous). I have a 4-1/2″ tennis racquet grip size (not unusual) and measure for a 4-1/2″ Pickleball Paddle grip size. However, 4-1/2″ on online sites is EXTREMELY RARE. Maybe 1/100 choices are that size. Not feasible to search 100 paddles to find one 4-1/2″ grip. Should I look at 4-1/8″ paddles to get a decent choice to choose from? Why do online buying sites ignore grip size in their filters?? Thank you.

    • Hey Peter! Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been extremely sick! So you are looking for paddles with a 4-1/2″ circumference? I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but I know a lot of people adjust the size by adding tape to the grip or taking it all off and then wrapping it to their liking.

  17. Hi,
    Instead of listing all the possibilities with pros and cons,
    can you just tell me which one paddle you like to play with, and why?


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