So you’ve decided to take up pickleball and need to buy a paddle. But how do you choose the right paddle? With so many options available, it can be tricky to know where to start. This guide will help you figure out what factors to consider when choosing your paddle and how to find the best option for your needs. Happy picking!
It can be difficult to choose a pickleball paddle. The number of features you can select can be daunting, so it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Fortunately, we have done the research for you. As a part of this blog, we have compiled some information about how to choose a pickleball paddle.
Buying a pickleball paddle
There are many considerations to make before you buy a pickleball paddle, whether it is your first paddle or your next paddle. Your game can be greatly improved by finding the right paddle for yourself. When shopping for a pickleball paddle, you should consider various aspects. If you want to take your pickleball game to the next level, you should invest in a decent pair of pickleball shoes. You may enjoy reading How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Pickleball?
Our guide to the Best Pickleball Paddles of 2022 offers racket recommendations for players of all levels.
How to choose a pickleball paddle: 5 Steps
The following list of five key factors to understand How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle will help you make an informed decision.
1. Paddle weight
Choosing the right pickleball paddle means taking into account the paddle’s weight. Playing the game is affected by the paddle’s weight.
The following guidelines apply to paddle weights:
|Pickleball Paddle Weight Ranges|
|Lightweight Paddles||Under 7.3 oz|
|Mid-weight Paddles||7.3 to 8.4 oz|
|Heavy Paddles||8.5 oz and over|
Choose lightweight pickleball paddles
Players who are new to the sport will want to select a paddle that is lighter and easier to swing. Paddles that are too heavy for you will make you tired quickly.
The lightweight paddles that are known to be controllable are best suited for players who dink and prefer drop shots to hard shots and slams due to their control. As an added benefit, it is easier to react when a ball is being sprayed at you at the net. A downside to lighter paddles is that they are less powerful.
Pickleball paddles that are lightweight will work well if you have played ping pong or racquetball previously. Since those sports require wristy action, they are perfect for ping-pong and racquetball players.
Doubles players prefer the light racket.
Be careful not to go too light
You can encounter several problems if you’re using a paddle that’s too light. The slower you swing with a paddle that is too light for your strength, the more likely you will miss shots.
Moreover, a light paddle will limit the power of your shots. If you find that your shots aren’t as powerful as they normally are, you may be using a lightweight paddle. Power is determined by paddle weight, so if that is the case, get a heavier paddle.
Medium-weight pickleball paddles
When deciding what paddle weight to buy, a medium-weight paddle can be used by all levels of players.
Power and control can be found in midweight paddles. A paddle that is neither too light nor too heavy is best for players who want to play with finesse and power. The medium paddles offer a good balance of control and power, though not to the same level as the light or heavy paddles.
Heavyweight pickleball paddles
A player who prefers power to control will use a heavier paddle as they will be able to generate more pop.
You may be able to swing the paddle faster with a heavier paddle, but it will require more effort to do so. It will also be harder to maintain control with a heavier paddle.
As in singles tennis, power overrides finesse in singles tennis, which is a reason why heavy paddles are common. Compared to doubles pickleball, singles pickleball does not have as many dinks and drop shots.
Be careful not to overdo it
Too heavy a paddle can lead to several problems, especially if it’s too heavy for you. Paddles that are too heavy will not allow you to control the ball, which will end up going in a different direction than what you intended.
As well, a heavy paddle may injure you more easily. You may experience wrist or arm pain after playing pickleball for a day. You should consider getting a lighter paddle in this case, as the paddle could be the cause of your problem.
How to choose pickleball paddle weight?
A few things need to be taken into consideration when choosing your pickleball paddle weight. Sadly, there are no weight-based solutions for pickleball paddles.
Your strength is the first thing you need to consider. To find the right paddle for you, you’ll want to find something within your strength range. Weighty paddles are harder to swing and cause more muscle tension than lightweight paddles.
What are the attributes that you most prize in a game: control or power? When it comes to controlling, go light.
Choose a paddle that feels most natural to you after trying out a few. Beginners may need to try a couple of times before they figure out which one matches their needs.
Stay away from tennis elbow
Pick a paddle that will give you the right balance and is comfortable when you choose one for pickleball. Keeping this in mind, you can prevent injuries like tennis elbow.
You can put more stress on your elbow when you hit the ball with lighter paddles. You might not want to choose a lightweight paddle if you suffer from tennis elbow.
Heavy paddles have the disadvantage of tiring your arm more quickly. Tennis elbow sufferers may also have problems with heavy paddles.
Tennis elbow sufferers should generally start with midweight paddles. Consider other factors, such as the material and shape of the paddle, since these may also affect how comfortable and satisfying it feels.
2. Pickleball paddle grip size
Pickleball paddles also come in different grip sizes, which can be an important consideration when selecting one. A pickleball paddle typically has a circumference of 4 to 4.5 inches.
|Grip Size Measurement By Height|
|Your Height||Grip Size|
|Under 5’2″||4″ Grip|
|5’3″ to 5’8″||4 1/8″ to 4 1/4″ Grip|
|5’9″ & taller||4 1/2″ Grip|
Pickleball elbow pain may be caused by an incorrect pickleball grip size, so finding a good pickleball grip size may help.
What is the proper way to measure a pickleball paddle grip?
Personal preference may dictate which pickleball grip size you should use. As a result, you can take a few tests to find out what size grip you have the best control over.
Index finger test to determine pickleball grip size
This method is commonly used to determine the grip size of tennis racquets, but it can also be used to determine pickleball grip size. For this method to work, a pickleball racquet needs to have a grip size unknown and not be modified or built.
Placing your palm on the string face of your racquet and using an Eastern pickleball paddle grip. Fill the gap between your fingers and the palm of your hand with the index finger of your other hand.
In either case, the grip is too small for your index finger, or too large for your palm with too much space between your fingers.
Hand measure test to determine grip size
A tape measure or ruler is needed for the second method since you do not need a tennis racquet or pickleball paddle.
If you measure from your paddle hand’s middle crease to the tip of your ring finger, you should find a good pickleball grip size.
Your pickleball grip size is decided by the measurement taken between the tip of your paddle-hand ring finger and the center crease of the palm of your paddle. you can also check the below video.
When in doubt, choose a smaller grip size
If you are in between two size options, choose pickleball paddles with smaller grips. It is possible to add pickleball grips or overgrips to increase the size of a grip, but it is not possible to decrease it.
Further, a smaller pickleball grip will allow the player to exert more wrist action at the time of the shot, resulting in better control and spin.
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3. Materials in paddles
In addition to the material, pickleball paddle selection can also be influenced by the brand. Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages.
Materials commonly used for pickleball paddles include:
- Wood – Most affordable and heaviest.
- Graphite – Lightweight and expensive. Highly efficient.
- Composite – A material in the middle of wood and graphite. Priced differently depending on weight.
Despite being the least expensive and the most durable, wood pickleball paddles are also the heaviest and the least technologically advanced.
Their low retail prices are due to their ease of production. Beginners often use wood pickleball paddles since they’re inexpensive.
The pickleball section at Walmart has wooden paddles that you can purchase.
You should avoid wood paddles if you will be playing pickleball frequently and go with a composite or graphite one instead. There are now a lot of affordable paddles available since prices have dropped.
Composite pickleball paddles have been increasingly popular in recent years. Fiberglass paddles or carbon fiber paddles generally have a composite core. Aluminum or polymer can be used for the core. The cores can be made of Nomex rigid nylon instead.
The use of textured paddles helps players generate more spin with their shots thanks to the paddle’s textured surface. They are also lighter than wooden pickleball racquets, making them easier to handle.
If you are in the market for a good paddle, you can find composite paddles in different price ranges. Composite paddles offer good performance and are affordable.
Pickleball paddles made of graphite are generally the most expensive. In general, graphite pickleball paddles are more expensive than composite paddles, even low-end ones.
It is also known that graphite paddles are easy to control in addition to being lightweight. These are great for making precise shots and controlling your game.
Competitors usually choose graphite paddles when it comes to choosing a pickleball paddle. This paddle is made of extremely thin graphite, but it is extremely strong.
For this reason, if you simply want the paddle that professionals recommend, you may want to consider graphite paddles.
Weights for graphite paddles range from 6 to 9 ounces. A core will be used in the construction of these paddles as well, just like with the composite products. Aluminum, polymer, and Nomex honeycomb can be used for the cores. On both sides of the pickleball paddle are graphite faces that make graphite paddles stand out.
4. Core Construction
When choosing the right paddle for you, it is crucial to consider the core material. Pickleball paddle cores are usually made from three materials:
Pickleball rackets with aluminum cores are often the most popular. They are lightweight and extremely strong. If you value maneuverability and control, an aluminum paddle is a good choice.
Paddles with aluminum cores may lack power in comparison. In other words, the driving power won’t be the same as if your car was built from a heavier core.
A very popular pickleball racket core is the NomexTM honeycomb core. The paddle’s material is similar to cardboard. A honeycomb pattern is used to arrange the material in a resin for durability.
Paddles made of composite materials were originally made of Nomex. The Nomex core of pickleball paddles tends to be preferred by professional and amateur players alike. These cores provide precision and power to their players.
The paddle will be the loudest and most powerful on the market as well. The ball will make a loud noise each time you make contact with it. The other paddle options are better if you prefer a quiet paddle.
A polymer core is made of a special mix of plastic and is becoming increasingly popular.
One of the most recent core styles is a polymer. Polymer core paddles are quiet due to their soft nature.
The ball will sound much quieter if you don’t want to hear a loud sound every time you touch it. Additionally, they don’t cause much noise, making them ideal for those who live in gated communities.
The main disadvantage of poly cores is that they are not as powerful as Nomex cores. Polymer cores absorb some of the force of your shots because of their softer nature. If you prefer control over power, a polymer paddle may be a better choice.
5. Pickleball paddle shapes
There are many types and sizes of pickleball paddles. A pickleball paddle can be no more than 24 inches long or wide (including the edge guard and cap on the handle), per pickleball rules. you can check in the video provided below:
Standard, elongated, and long-handled paddles are the three types of paddles available.
Standard pickleball paddle shape
In accordance with USAPA regulations, the paddle has a standard size of 16 inches by 8 inches. This type of paddle is commonly referred to as a wide-body paddle.
By combining this shape with the right length and width, you can achieve an excellent balance between power, reach, and control. For beginners, since they provide a greater area for ball contact, they are an excellent choice.
Elongated pickleball paddle shape
Pickleball paddles usually measure 16 to 17 inches long. It looks like a thin paddle because its shape is narrow, so it is thin compared to a standard paddle.
The shape, however, provides better power, reach, and spin rather than control. Consequently, the shape is more popular among singles players.
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Long-handled pickleball paddles
Pickleball paddle handles differ in length from paddle to paddle. Paddles with longer handles are preferred by players with a two-handed backhand. A larger paddle that will have a smaller paddle face and a larger handle will be the shape of these paddles.
Oversized pickleball paddles
Pickleball paddles with oversized faces have shorter handles, while their oversized faces have longer faces. With a longer hitter surface, there will be a larger sweet spot.
These paddles sometimes exceed the usual club size requirement of 24″. Paddles like these are usually designed for fun, not competition.
Edge guard vs edgeless paddles
A paddle edge guard wraps around the paddle to protect its edges from damage. In most games in which paddles are used, edge guards are used. Edge guards have their advantages and disadvantages.
Protecting your paddle with an edge guard is one of the advantages of having one. Conversely, a paddle guard can hinder play. When a ball strikes the guard, it creates a lip, causing a misshit shot.
In some cases, edgeless paddles are preferable to edge guards when playing pickleball. There is no risk of a ball being missed on pads without edge guards since their flat surface provides the greatest playing area.
Continuous use, however, may cause chips and dents if there is no edge guard protecting the paddle.
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What should you look for when selecting a pickleball paddle?
There is no easy way to choose a pickleball paddle. Several factors need to be considered before you make your final choice. Make sure your paddle feels good in your hand and allows you to swing smoothly. If you are looking for paddles within your price range, we recommend that you try them to determine which one you like best.
How can a beginner choose the best pickleball paddle?
Pickleball paddles usually have large hitting surfaces and are comfortable to hold for a beginner. Furthermore, depending on how you play the game, you may need to use a different kind of paddle.
Paddles that are easy to use are best for beginners. As a result, you will develop your skills faster, and the game will be more enjoyable for you. You can become comfortable with the sport by keeping the ball in play.
What is the ideal weight for a pickleball paddle?
Pickleball paddles have different weights based on how well you can control them. You should not use heavy weights when you are a beginner. A paddle that weighs approximately 7.3-8.4 oz is considered medium weight based on its weight.
Which grip is most popular for pickleball?
Handshake grips, also called Continental grips or V grips, are the most common and popular pickleball grips. Learning materials usually teach this grip, which involves creating a V with your thumb and index finger.
What is the lifespan of a pickleball paddle?
In general, the lifespan of a pickleball paddle depends on how often it is used. Due to this, if they are used frequently, for instance in training or in a tournament, they may not last as long as a paddle that is used infrequently.
Professional players should be able to use a graphite or composite paddle for about a year before degrading. When you take proper care of them, whether you are a beginner or a recreational player, they should last several years.
You’ll get more use out of wood paddles compared to composite or graphite paddles.
What is the best place to buy pickleball paddles?
There are many different styles of pickleball paddles. If you want a basic one, you’re best off going to a sports equipment store that specializes in tennis. Pickleball clubs may also sell pads.
Since the right paddle can make a big difference to your game, it’s important to select a pickleball paddle that fits you. Your playing style is directly affected by the paddle’s weight. Those who prioritize ball control will benefit from lighter paddles, while those who prioritize power will benefit from heavier paddles.
Pickleball paddles come in various grip sizes, which should also be considered when selecting one. You may have to try a few games before you find which one fits your personality and what you value most. Tennis elbow, for example, can result from using the wrong pickleball grip size.
There are three main types of paddles used in pickleball: wood, graphite, and composite. Graphite paddles are most commonly used by competitive players. These paddles are lightweight and extremely durable.
Most paddles are made from wood, which is the heaviest material and the least technologically advanced. A composite or graphite paddle is a better choice than a wooden paddle if you plan to play pickleball frequently.
You can choose from a wide range of pickleball paddle styles and sizes. Nevertheless, the paddles must not measure more than 24 inches wide and 24 inches long. Most paddles are 16 inches long by 8 inches wide. As the paddles get longer, they produce more reach, more power, and more spin, but they also produce less control. We do not recommend using oversized paddles for competitive purposes.
If you are interested in buying a new paddle, you should test out a few different ones before finalizing your purchase. And certainly, having fun playing pickleball is absolutely essential. What are you waiting for?