10 Best Pickleball Paddles According to the Internet

Jared McKinney
01 Jan , 2019

If you’re looking for the best pickleball paddles, then you’ve come to the right place. We will review what makes a great paddle, how you can find the right fit for your game, and show you where to purchase the best pickleball paddle.

Before you can make a decision on which paddle is right for you, you must appreciate the different parts of a paddle. In order to find one that’s a good fit you have to know what your options are and figure out whether or not you have a preference for things like grip size, edge guard, heavier paddles, different core materials, etc.

Next, we will break down every piece of the perfect paddle to help you understand why you may or may not have a preference within each category. This will help you determine which paddle is right for you.

 

Parts of Paddles

Pickleball Paddle Grips

Diamond Grips (Hard)

Diamond grips like these, are meant for serious players. The grip is actually fairly hard and true to the paddle, which gives you a better hold when your hands start to sweat. These won’t be the most comfortable, but they will provide an excellent grip during longer rallies. Typically, these are only used by more experienced pickleball athletes. These are not standard on most racquets. You’ll need to custom order them from Amazon or find them at your local pickleball pro shop.


Basic Grips (Medium)

Basic grips, like the one featured above come on the majority of racquets. They provide a great balance between comfort and competition. This type of grip will work well for the majority of pickleball players. If you find your hands or joints in pain after a long game, you might want to go with a softer, more premium grip. On the flip side, if your hands are slipping, then it could be time to level up to a diamond grip.


Ultra-Cushion Grips (Soft)

Ultra Cushion paddle grips are a step up from the basic grips in terms of comfort. They will keep you from feeling pain in your hands or fingers during an intense game of pickleball. With a softer grip like these, it can be easier to lose control of your paddle, but it also depends a lot on your preference. Some serious athletes perform well will softer grips, depending on how hard they hold the paddle, and whether or not grip is an issue for them during a match. These grips are standard on some performance paddles, but are not typical for entry-level pickleball equipment.


Gel Grips (Softest)

Gel grips are the softest and most comfortable pickleball paddle grips. They are typically reserved for anyone who experiences regular joint pain from arthritis or frequent play. You can order these types of grips from Amazon, or pick them up in your local pro shop.


Once you have an idea which type of grip you prefer, it’s time to move onto the actual pickleball paddle. What determines which paddle is the best pickleball paddle for you, comes down to preference. Just like with grips, choosing the right size and weight of paddle will depend on how you play, and your preference for different types of shots.


Pickleball Paddle Size (Weight & Length)

Weight

Heavy Pickleball Paddles (8.5 oz+)

The heaviest pickleball paddles are usually wooden paddles between greater than 8.5 ounces. These are typically entry-level paddles that are fun for hobbyist, but not ideal for competitive play. One benefit of a heavier paddle is that it’s easier to slam the pickleball once you’re in the right position. Heavy, wooden paddles also make it hard to hit short dinks that require greater finesse. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen (the area close to the net), a heavier paddle might not be ideal for you.


Medium Weight Paddles (7.3 oz - 8.4 oz)

Medium weight paddles are great for beginners who are interested in competitive play. These paddles have large sweet spots and are perfect for a casual game or learning competitive play. The shape and size of these paddles vary, but they usually have a polymer core and cost $50 to $90.


Lightweight Paddles (Under 7.3 oz)

Lighter paddles, on the other hand, are perfect for hitting various types of shots. Depending on the core material you prefer, you can still get great touch and power with a lighter paddle. Typically, lighter paddles will be under 7.3 ounces and have a carbon fiber or polymer core. These paddles have a smaller sweet spot but are much easier and faster to maneuver. You can expect to pay over $90 for most lightweight competitive pickleball paddles.


Length & Width

According to USAPA regulations, a pickleball paddle’s dimensions must not exceed 24 inches (including edgeguard and butt capp) based on width multiplied by length. In addition, the paddle may not exceed 17 inches in length. In recent years, major pickleball paddle brands have experimented with various shapes and sizes of paddles. Below are to of the most popular variations in size and shape.


Wide Body Paddle

The wide body paddle is the most popular pickleball paddle today and was created for beginners. It features a body of at least 8 inches in width and allows for a much larger sweet spot. The large sweet spot makes it much easier to hit than traditional pickleball paddles and elongated paddles.


Elongated Paddle
The elongated pickleball paddle is gaining popularity in 2019 and will likely replace other variations of paddles for competitive pickleball athletes. These paddles are typically the maximum length permitted (17 inches) by USAPA and give experienced athletes additional power due to the additional length. Because these paddles are narrower than the wide body, they also have a much smaller sweet spot, making them harder to hit for inexperienced players.


10 Best Pickleball Paddles


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