Graphite vs Composite Pickleball Paddle: What is Better Graphite or Composite Pickleball Paddle?

Pickleball paddles made of graphite versus composite.  For years, paddle types have been argued over what is Better Graphite or Composite Pickleball Paddle. As you know Graphite and composite paddles are becoming more and more popular, and the trend is only set to continue.

What’s the best pickleball paddle graphite vs composite?  What are the differences between them?  My answer to this question is always the same.  This guide provides an honest, real answer, so I created it for your convenience.

So what is the difference between graphite vs composite pickleball paddles? In short, weight and texture. I’ll go into more detail below, but here’s a quick recap. Composite paddles provide the best-textured surface for a spin and provide the lightest paddle surface in the game. Graphite paddles provide the lightest paddle surface in the game today.

There has been an explosion of popularity and fame for pickleball in recent years. The equipment you need to play pickleball is similar to that of tennis: a court, a net, pickleball, and pickleball paddles. Pickleball paddles are available on the market in a wide variety, but knowing where to start can be difficult. 

To help you determine which paddle is right for you, I’ll explain the differences between graphite and composite pickle paddle, along with our top picks for each.

Note:  To help new players get started, I created three cool resources.  If you are interested in learning more about pickleball in general, click here.  For a deeper understanding of your strategy and a better chance of winning, try this one.  Here’s what pickleball’s name means and why it’s been the subject of controversy for decades!

Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles

Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles

The following are the main differences between graphite and composite pickleball paddles.

Cost

Whenever we think about making a purchase, the first thing that comes to mind is the cost. There isn’t much price difference between graphite and composite pickleball paddles. 

Compared to the composite pickleball paddle, the composite paddle is technically the more affordable of the two. It is possible to purchase a graphite paddle for as little as $60, though. Even at the top of the range, neither one of them will cost you more than $145. 

Your decision-making process is largely determined by other factors than cost. To that end, I have compiled a short list of good pickleball paddles that are all under $50 if you’re just starting out. You can find it here.

It is now possible to purchase wooden paddles for much less than $50.  While wooden paddles aren’t as good as graphite or composite paddles, they do not provide the same pickleball experience.  They are never recommended by me.

Material

Could you tell me what the material difference is between the two?  The most important question is, what exactly are composites and graphites?

Composite

Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles

Pickleball paddles made from composite materials come in a variety of designs and colors. As opposed to being made of a single material (like graphite), they are made from a combination of materials (like graphite).

The mesh and molding approach to combining materials allows composite materials to have textured surfaces and be combined with any type of paddle core.  

A polymer core (in composite and graphite paddles) is by far the most popular because of the response they provide. Nomex and aluminum are the next most prevalent cores. 

A combination of these materials creates a smooth, softer, more responsive, and more comfortable, foam-like body.

You can learn more about paddle types and materials in this article.

As a result of their additional power, composite paddles are my personal preference.  Putting a spin on the ball is easy because they have great “ball grab” abilities.  Furthermore, the Response Pro is the first paddle I’ve ever experienced a paddle that responds like the Response Pro (no pun intended) – which also happens to be an elite composite paddle. 

Graphite

Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles

A graphite paddle typically uses the same paddle core as a composite paddle (Polymer, Nomex, or Aluminum), but its biggest selling point is its lightweight airy feel.

Weight

Paddles made of graphite are generally lighter than paddles made of composite materials.  The difference can be as much as an ounce or more.  

The average weight of a graphite paddle is about 7.5 ounces, and the average weight of a composite paddle is about 8.0 ounces.

Is there a real difference you can feel?  There is no doubt that players can feel the lightweight comfort that can only be offered by graphite paddles.  

Graphite pickleball paddles provide elite levels of touch and feel when combined with good honeycomb polymer cores, so many players choose them as a result of the lightweight and feel of the racquet.

My experience with the Tempest Wave and the larger Tempest Pro has been similar.  It practically feels like your hand is attached to the racquet, helping you achieve greater accuracy.  You can see the balls where your hand goes.

You may enjoy reading What is the Best Weight For a Pickleball Paddle?

Durability

When considering which materials will last, you need to consider both the paddle surface and the core, as graphite is generally considered more durable in terms of face finish.

To minimize sun damage and discoloration, select a paddle face that includes ultraviolet inhibitors, whether the paddle is made of graphite, composite, plastic, or wood. 

By doing so, you will be able to preserve the paddle face of your choice. You need to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when you’re buying anything.

Graphite vs Composite Pickleball Paddles – Pros And Cons For Composite

Pickleball paddles made from composite material have more power and plow through the ball better.  For power players like myself, this is the perfect option. 

Players who like spinning their passing shots and ripping their serves should consider composite paddles. 

When you tend to dictate the pace of action during a match. In comparison to graphite pickleball paddles, composite pickleball paddles are more suitable for aggressive shots.  

Players looking for different things at different skill levels can also choose from composite paddles in different shapes like “wide body” or “blade” shapes. Putting a good spin on the ball is also easier because of the textured surface. 

As far as I’m concerned, high-level composite paddles like Prince’s Response Pro offer the most accurate power baseline-to-baseline.  While graphite paddles are capable of delivering this, I find composite paddles to be much more efficient at doing so.

A composite paddle’s main weakness occurs at the net, where they lack a high level of touch.  Composite paddles may prove more difficult to use at the kitchen line…especially if they are cheap.  

The composite paddle may not be the best choice for you if what you’re after is a safe, soft shot that always lands in bounds and dinks your opponent to death.

You may enjoy reading What is a Dink in Pickleball?

Graphite vs Composite Pickleball Paddles – Pros And Cons For Graphite

The graphite paddle has become a popular choice among professionals for a number of reasons. The paddle itself is extremely responsive and responsive despite its lightweight and rigid graphite portion.

I am amazed at how graphite actually provides a softer touch even though it is more rigid than composite.

I’d recommend a top-of-the-line graphite paddle for players who like to win at kitchen lines and take well-placed third shots.  

It’s a lot of fun playing with graphite paddles at the net because they respond and feel great!

It is also possible for graphite paddles to be their own worst enemy since their strength is also their weakness.  This means that the lightweight air feel limits the power these paddles can deliver. 

As far as deep serves and return of serves are concerned, I find composite paddles to be more consistent.  Paddles made from lighter graphite can be a little harder to plow through and make game-winning passes.

It’s also worth noting that any new player has a lot to choose from when it comes to graphite paddles.  Having a high-grade graphite paddle face can also be a drawback because on the surface it looks good, but it isn’t a good paddle at all.  

USAPA-approved graphite paddles are easy to make; buyer beware. Rather than going with lesser-known brands that you can only buy from Amazon, choose Pro-Lite, Paddletek, Selkirk, Engage, Onix, and Prince.

What is better graphite or composite pickleball paddle?

A graphite paddle has the lightest surface of any of the paddles used today. A composite paddle, on the other hand, has a textured surface that makes it ideal for a spin during play.

What Has a Better Grip?

Graphite vs Composite Pickleball Paddle

It is important to consider the size of the grip when making a killer shot. It’s important to choose a grip that is the right size.

Players who use excessively large grips risk missing fantastic shots, while players who use too small grips can be equally uncomfortable, but their shots are less likely to be missed.

In terms of grip, however, What is Better Graphite or Composite Pickleball Paddle?

In fact, neither – both have two sizes of grips to choose from. Generally, a small-size grip is preferable, but players’ preferences vary. 

A pickleball grip can be made larger or smaller by adding an overgrip, but it is generally only available in two sizes: large and small.

My Top Picks – Best Graphite Paddles

You can choose from these top pickleball paddles, whether you prefer graphite or composite!

The Paddletek Tempest Wave II

Paddletek Tempest Wave II

Paddletek’s Tempest Wave II graphite paddle has consistently outperformed all of my other graphite paddles.  Whenever you need it, it’s there. It’s lightweight, predictable, and always accurate.  Tempest Wave II is considered to be the feel-good paddle by some tournament-level players.  

Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

ONIX Graphite Z5 Graphite Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle

Onix Z5 is one of the best graphite paddles on the market. One of the most affordable high-quality pickleball paddles available on the market is this graphite paddle. As well as having a large sweet spot, the Onix Z5 is also suitable for players of all skill levels.

Prince Response Pro Paddle

Prince Response Pro Paddle

 

My current paddle is the Prince Response Pro, which I consider to be the best composite paddle I’ve ever used.  A well-rounded paddle, it’s easily one of the best on the market.  It’s the large sweet spot on the paddle face that I love most about the Response Pro.  I have first-hand experience with the remarkable accuracy of shots taken when the ball is hit despite being off-center.  With composite paddles, you simply won’t get this.  The paddle would be a great choice for anyone, from a beginner to an expert! 

Some Great Graphite and Composite Pickleball Options

Selkirk Prime S2 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk Prime S2 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

 

Pickleball paddles from Selkirk are known for their high quality, and the Selkirk Prime S2 lives up to that reputation. It has the same large sweet spot as the Onix Z5, so it’s easy to shoot powerful shots no matter your skill level. The paddle is well-balanced throughout the handle, beating the Onix Z5 when it comes to weight distribution.

You may enjoy reading Selkirk Invikta Pickleball Paddle

Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle

PADDLETEK BANTAM EX-L

Pickleball paddles made from composite materials are not ideal for novices, as they were designed with experienced players in mind. The paddle may put you off of the game if you are just getting started. It’s important to note that the Paddletek Bantam EX-L can seriously benefit players with more experience.

Graphite vs Composite Pickleball Paddles – Final Thoughts

It is now time for you to decide which pickleball paddle is right for you, now that you know what graphite and composite paddles are all about.

The most important aspect to consider when choosing your paddle isn’t whether it’s graphite or composite. It is only a small difference between the two, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. 

What’re your final thoughts? Invest in the paddle that feels most comfortable in your hands. Your choice comes down to what you feel is right for your skill level, even if you already have a specific brand or model in mind.

You will be able to enjoy the game more if you are comfortable with your paddle. 

Increasingly popular, pickleball is a great way to pass the time or even grow into a professional player.  Ensure that you pick the right paddle by taking your time and asking questions

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