If you're looking for a used pickleball paddle or other equipment you've come to the right place. The quality of new paddles on the market continues to impress, with new technology and high end materials being added all the time.
This cool near gear comes at with a high price tag, many of the new pickleball paddles in 2018 retail for $100-$125 which is a steep price to pay, especially if you are just getting into the sport or don't have the budget for an expensive paddle.
The good news is that there is an active market for used paddles and several places to find quality second hand paddles. Some of these are in great condition, but there are a few things to be careful of when shopping for used paddles which we warn you about below. If you are lucky, you may even find paddles that have barely been used - sometimes in near mint condition. Here are some scenarios where you could find the best pre-owned paddles:
Garage Sales/Estate Sales: This one may seem obvious but it's worth mentioning, the best places to check are neighborhoods with active senior communities that have pickleball facilities and areas of town with lots of courts.
Pickleball Courts: Check bulletin boards at your local club or recreation center. If they allow it, put up a "wanted" sign, specific that it must be in good condition.
Craigslist: If you are not familiar with this site, it is a classified advertisement website connecting buyers and sellers in local areas...a modern version of newspaper classified section. The two parties decide on final price and arrange the transaction. The site has huge range of pre-owned items divided by category- anything from used toys to cars and even homes (...and used sports equipment). There are Craigslist sites for specific geographical areas (cities, metro areas). For your convenience, we've provided a list below organized by state. Each link will open a search for used pickleball equipment in respective area. >>Skip to list<<
For example, here are search results for Florida showing current items for sale...Craigslist is very user-friendly so you could just "Google it" yourself and but we thought we'd save you a few minutes of clicking around and searching to find used pickleball stuff in your area.
OfferUp: If you are looking local to buy a used pickleball paddle, another option is OfferUp. It is a website and app (available on Android and Apple) that matches local buyers and sellers of second-hand stuff. For example, here is a search for used "Pickleball" for sale within 50 miles (based on your current location).
Used on Amazon: it's become a household name, but although most people know Amazon for new products and may not even be aware that there are also pre-owned items on Amazon. Some of these are sold by large manufacturers (for example selling demo paddles or returned unboxed items) or individual Amazon users that sell items they personally own. Here is a link showing all the used pickleball items currently for sale on Amazon.
In the results, under the price you'll see "More Buying Choices" and a link to used & new offers. If you click on that link it will show you all the used options for that product, along with with the price, condition, seller information, seller rating for each and an option to "Add to Cart" if you decide you want to buy it.
Condition: "Refurbished", "Used-Like New", "Used-Very Good", "Used-Good", "Used-Acceptable". Most of those are self explanatory but if click here if you'd like to see Amazon's full description of condition. I personally stick to "Like New, Very Good and Good". It's unlikely sporting goods would be listed as refurbished but if so I would avoid.
Delivery: Double check the delivery estimate for used items (the next column over from condition. Some offer very quick delivery, especially sellers using FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) since those products are already in Amazon's warehouse. Other merchants may have longer deliver times.
Seller Information: This shows the star rating on a 5 point scale of the seller's feedback from previous buyers and the number of times they have been rated. I generally stick to sellers with 90% or or more positive feedback and I like see at least 100+ ratings, anything would be a very new seller although if it's a great deal I might still go with a brand new seller since you have still have the confidence of buying on Amazon if anything were wrong with the purchase.
Ebay: The most well known online auction site where you buy directly from the owner of the item. If you haven't bought on ebay before it's relatively simple. If you find something you want to buy you place a bid on the auction. If you have a price limit you are willing to spend on the item you can place your max bid and the system will automatically bid for you up to that amount.
More and more sellers are giving a "Buy It Now" price also so if you just want to buy it for that price you can skip the whole auction. Although when it first launched it was known for second hand items, there are now lots of new items for sale and full blown stores on ebay that have large inventory selling new and used items.
Ebay processes payments through Paypal allowing you to pay with any major credit card. I can understand some people are may be nervous buying off a platform for the first time but I've bought and sold many items on Ebay and have found some great deals. I've personally never had any issues but ebay does off a "Worry Free" Money Back Guarantee on all purchases if you were to have an issue with a seller not sending you the item or if the item were not as described.
Factory seconds technically aren't "Used" because they are not pre-owned. Seconds are usually unused paddles sold direct from the factory or equipment manufacturer at a steep discount. They usually have minor cosmetic defects. The paddle face may be scratched or have small dents or air pockets- decals, logos or vinyl graphics may be faded or uneven.
Factory seconds can be a great way to pick up a cheap pickleball paddle since normally the defects are minor and do not have a negative impact on your game. You can get some great deals, sometimes even half price. It's a good way for the paddle makers to recoup some of their losses rather than throwing the paddles away...because of the savings they normally sell very quickly and are hard to find. You may need to contact the brand directly and inquire if they have any "seconds" for sale.
One piece of pickleball equipment NOT to buy used! Although it can be tempting to buy used shoes since they are still in the box and sometimes the seller claims they've never been worn, I never buy used shoes. Even if they are in perfect condition, I buy new pickleball shoes online from sites that offer free returns.
Grip: Check the condition of the grip. If the grip is worn bare or to the point where the cushioning is gone you'll need to replace it. Although the cost is minimal- you can get a quality replacement paddle grip for around $10-$15, it's another cost to factor into the price. And you'll still have to redo the grip, with a little practice you can get the grip to feel brand new, but if it's your first time doing it- you may not get that plush comfy feel of a brand new paddle grip has.
Dead Spots: paddles are exposed to repeated contact and after banging thousands of balls, the repeated impact takes it's toll on the paddle surface. The vibration and repeated shock can cause the layers of the paddle face (graphite, fiberglass, etc) to separate from the paddle core material (nomex, polymer, aluminum).
When the layers separate it can cause "dead spots" where the paddle loses responsiveness, the ball just does not bounce off the surface as you would expect. This can be a frustrating experience for the player since it creates inconsistencies in shots as some fall shorter or bounce farther than others.
No Guarantee: If you buy a new paddle, you are normally covered by some kind of guarantee. Some companies offer limited warranties against manufacturer defects. Paddletek actually offers a 5-year guarantee against dead spots! When you buy a used paddle, you are pretty much at the mercy of the seller.
You can limit the chances of getting a paddle that spent it to look for paddles in "like new" condition or lightly used demo paddles. If I buy used gear online sites (such as ebay) I contact the seller with some follow up questions, such as- when they bought the paddle, how many hours they estimate they've used the paddle, etc....But of course a lot of that comes down to the honor system of how much honest details the seller gives you.
If you are buying in person, like if you are meeting a local seller off of Craigslist, bring a pickleball ball with you to the meeting. That way you can test out the paddle -otherwise you are stuck just kind of looking at it! That's fine to check out the cosmetic condition of the paddle and if it has any major damage but you really want to be able to "feel" the paddle.
Even if you are just meeting in a parking lot you can find a nearby wall and hit the ball for a couple minutes. No wall- just hit the ball off your paddle straight into the air. Make sure to hit the ball on both sides of the paddle and try to hit different parts of the paddle face, checking for any differences, inconsistencies or dead spots.
Another thing you can do is hit down on the ball off the ground and back...similar to some players's pre-serve routine. This allows you to hit the ball harder that just bouncing in air, do this repeatedly checking for responsiveness.
I hope this post helped you in your search for a used pickleball paddle (or other second-hand equipment). Buying used can be a great way to get quality items at a substantial discount and I definitely think there are some good deals out there worth looking out. You can find some gear that in almost new condition.
Take time compare prices and vet online sellers by checking their feedback on previous sales. Asking the right questions before buying and physically testing the paddle (when possible and practical) also helps avoid an bad buying experience.