Today we’re reviewing the best pickleball paddles of 2023. We take a look at both graphite and composite body paddles with a large reach and lightweight builds. We also give you some buying tips that’ll ensure you get the right paddle for your needs.
Introduction To Paddle Selection
How seriously do we take our pickleball paddle buying experience? If you’re reading this, it means you probably have something in common with me. It means that you probably take it very seriously. And why shouldn’t you?
Pickleball is a game that requires mostly an abundance of hand-eye coordination. It’s a skill game for which high-end equipment can only do so much. But it can do something. You want that extra edge—the small advantage that the four dollar paddle at your local Walmart probably won ‘t give you.
Recognizing your need is a great first step, but the problem is that it introduces you to an entirely new world of responsibilities.
Which is the best pickleball paddle in 2023, and how do you know? These are the questions we aim to answer today. In the guide that follows we have for you a number of pickleball paddle reviews.
We’ve also included a robust buying guide that highlights everything you could ever need to know to make this important decision.
So, read on for everything you need to know about the pickleball paddle.
Our Top 14 Best Pickleball Paddles
1. TMPR Oculus XT
TMPR is quickly establishing itself as one of the leading paddle brands in the industry. The Oculus XT is one of the most versatile offerings from this family-ran business dedicated to creating the best paddles in the world.
The TMPR Oculus XT is a well-rounded paddle that balances power and control to perfection. Thanks to its semi-large oval shape, it has a much larger sweet spot than most traditional paddles. Its high-quality honeycomb polymer core and fiberglass face gives you unmatched feel and control which will particularly benefit your soft game without sacrificing power.
The Oculus XT is recommended for players of any skill level and will most definitely reduce the amount of uncontrolled edge hits thanks to its large sweet spot.
The Oculus XT boasts the impressive TMPR Sports' handle vibration dampening technology, which greatly decreases strain on your hands, elbows and arms. A pickleball paddle should feel like an extension of your arm that works seamlessly with your brain and the Oculus XT does exactly that. With this pickleball paddle, the only limitations you have on the court is your own creativity.
The Oculus XT is available in four different colorways and two weights (7.1 - 7.5 oz and 7.6 - 8.0 oz) so there is bound to be a perfect match for every player out there. This paddle is USAPA approved, designed and made in the US.
- Incredible construction quality
- Unmatched control without sacrificing power
- TMPR Sports' handle vibration dampening technology
- Available in two weights for increased usability
- Not the cheapest option out there
2. TOPP Reacher Graphite Blade
One of our favorites is an upper-priced graphite pickleball racquet. This unit will be ideal for people who are looking for something that is both lightweight and workable.
The principal feature of this paddle is highlighted by its straightforward name. It’s an elongated body paddle that will be great at giving you access to those otherwise hard-to-reach shots. Because the frame of the paddle is long, you will have a much easier time returning shots that might’ve otherwise eluded you.
But it doesn’t just feature in our pickleball paddle reviews guide for being long. The graphite build also makes the paddle very responsive producing an ideal combination of feel, and quiet, satisfying output.
As far as graphite pickleball paddles are concerned there is plenty to like here. However, there is one con that you might want to look out for. The paddle does cost significantly more than your average run-of-the-mill entry-level unit.
Hey, you pay for quality though, right? For serious buyers that don’t mind forfeiting a little bit of loot on the purchase, this will be a great option to consider.
You’ll see a whole ton of pros use paddles from TOPP Pickleball, and there’s an obvious reason for that. Every single product in their line is built to perfection.
- Large reach
- Quiet sound
- Great feel
- Impressive construction quality
- Not the cheapest option
3. TMPR Tantrum LX Premium Paddle
To be honest, the entire TMPR Sports paddle line-up could be featured in this article. But to maintain some diversity in brands, shapes and types, we'll leave you with nothing short of the best - The TMPR Tantrum LX!
The Tantrum LX is the most popular premium paddle at TMPR. It was first introduced in their 'Luxe' series designed for players who don't want to sell themselves short in terms of quality, finesse and functionality.
The Tantrum LX has a unique and effective shape with a slightly elongated face that provides greater reach so you can get to balls you never could before. It features curved sides all the way around which is a smart performance-oriented design choice that improves response and control.
With its powerful Luxe Core manufactured from honeycomb polymer, it packs the strength to smash hard while still being extremely capable of creating spin on the ball. My topspin has never felt as good as with the Tantrum LX - but my opponent wasn't as happy about it as I.
If you want the best money can buy and you have the money to spend, the TMPR Tantrum LX is our top premium choice. It's available in medium and heavy weight (7.6 - 8 oz and 8.1 - 8.5 oz) and four colorways so there's bound to be a match for your playing style.
4. Revive Graphite Teardrop
Compared to pickleball paddles from other manufacturers, the Revive Graphite Teardrop is one of the lightest that you will find. As a result, it might also be the best pickleball paddle for control that you will find on our list today.
This is something of a best of both worlds piece of equipment. You get the lightweight graphite build that allows for optimal levels of precision and the same elongated design that we saw earlier that is so good at facilitating extra reach.
The company advertises the paddle as a piece of equipment that grows with your game. This is the sort of thing that any manufacturer is likely to say, right? But there is also some truth to it.
Experienced players will be able to make good use of the responsive core and the lightweight build, while newer players will be able to capitalize on the large surface area to easily start hitting flush shots right out of the gates. In fact, for that reason, it might just be one of the best pickleball paddles for beginners on our list.
Granted, there are a couple of problems that might bum you out a little bit. For one thing, it’s another case of a paddle with a price tag that will sting a bit. Hey, you probably saw that coming when you realized how sweet the features were though.
There is also some trouble with the decal. It tends to bubble up a little bit over time. This isn’t a massive deal. As far as we can see the problem is not quite so bad as to impact the overall performance experience.
However, it does rapidly cheapen the appearance of the paddle which is a problem in its own right.
The Revive Graphite Teardrop is ideal if you have a little more money to spend.
- Ultra lightweight
- High level of control
- Large sweet spot
- Lots of reach
- Fragile decal
5. Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro
Bad news for the budget buyers out there: this is the most expensive pickleball paddle that we’ve seen to this point. But it is a beauty. The quality level starts with a good build. You get a lightweight graphite body and a hyper-responsive Propylene core.
And we mean hyper-responsive. The paddle features a no-dead spot guarantee which essentially means that if you make contact with the pickleball ball, you’re guaranteed to produce at least a somewhat acceptable result.
Last but not least, it also features a comfortable perforated grip that breathes well and feels comfortable in your hands as you use it. Can’t ask for too much more than that, right?
Price aside, you will want to be mindful of the sound. The racquet produces a peculiarly high-pitched, almost screech-like sound that is a little bit grating over time.
Otherwise, it’s a good paddle for buyers that don’t mind spending a little bit more money.
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro for those who care about solid grip and no dead spots.
- Graphite/propylene core
- No dead spot guarantee
- Good grip
- Expensive paddle
- High pitched screech sound
6. Onix Composite Z5 WideBody
The Onix Composite (unlike the Graphite Z5) is something of a cheap pickleball paddle though it includes features that you’re sure to appreciate. The composite build keeps the paddle light and durable while the extra-wide shape of the unit is able to maximize your surface area and provide you with a larger sweet spot to work with.
Still, when you look for products in this price range, there are some natural problems that creep up. In this case, one of them comes in the form of the grip.
We found it to be cheap and somewhat uncomfortable. Grips can be replaced or treated so this isn’t an enormous deal, but it’s also not something that you want to see out of a new racquet.
We also found this to be another pickleball bat that features a less-than-ideal decal situation. Again, we found the print to be rather delicate, bubbling upward and distorting after a relatively short period of use.
For the price, these cons might not feel as icky as they did with some of the higher-priced units on the list. That said, issues are never ideal, right?
The Onix Composite Z5 WideBody is an excellent budget-friendly oversized option.
- Grip may be uncomfortable to some
- Fragile decal
7. Paddletek Bantam TS-5
The Paddletek Bantam puts a big premium on precision. This is facilitated through a series of features that work cooperability to give you the most accuracy possible.
The first of these features is the ultra-lightweight that naturally enhances accuracy. It also features an extra-large sweet spot that increases the accuracy even of shots that might have been a mishit on other paddles.
And of course, like all of the paddles on our list today, this is a USAPA-approved paddle which means that you will be able to use it in any tournament that you want without the worry of disqualification.
That said there are a couple of build-oriented issues to be mindful of. For one thing, the edges seem to assume a frayed look very easily, which means that after a relatively short period of use you may find that the face of the paddle begins to peel.
We also found the grip to be awkward and uncomfortable to use. As mentioned earlier, grip concerns don’t need to be a deal-breaker, but the idea is always to get features right the first time whenever possible.
If you can work with these issues, however, you’ll have yourself a hyper-precise paddle that will do well in the tournament setting.
Paddletek Bantam TS-5 is ideal for precision though it lacks a bit in comfort.
- Extra-large sweet spot
- Seems to peel around the edges
- Grip awkward to use
8. Harrow P200
The Harrow P200 puts a premium on combining power and accuracy. It accomplishes this by featuring a lightweight build, and a dense foam core that is housed by a 4-Layer Carbon Fiber Face.
The features of the P200 compliment the well-rounded tournament-ready player who has a firm idea of their playing style.
The ultra-lightweight design does pose problems for the durability of the paddle. Foam core just can’t stand up to the durability of aluminum. However, Harrow does what they can to offset the deficit. A handy edge guard that surrounds the paddle serves to mitigate the risk of untimely pealing and premature damage.
It’s also worth mentioning that the design of the paddle makes it better suited for elite players. While many of the paddles that we’ve seen today feature large sweet spots and expansive striking zones, the build here is much more moderate, made for players who consistently stripe it true.
If that’s you, great. If not, you’ll want to keep looking for something else.
The Harrow P200 is an excellent racquet for power and precision.
- Somewhat fragile
- Difficult for beginner players
9. Onix Graphite React Paddle
The Onix Graphite React Paddle features a long design good for increasing reach, graphite construction that keeps the paddle lightweight and reactive, and a Polypropylene base with a Nomex insert.
The features combine for a hyper-reactive sweet spot that puts lots of juice on well-struck shots. There is a lot of effortless power with this paddle while still featuring a lightweight design that gives users plenty of control as well.
Because the lightweight materials do compromise the durability factor somewhat, the racquet does offset the problem somewhat with an edge guard.
The guard can only do so much, with distortion and overall incidental damage still being a problem. However, small fortification features of this nature will still elongate your time with this racquet.
Unfortunately, the Nomex core also has some durability concerns. We found that it breaks down prematurely after just months of regular use. As the core breaks down, the paddle won’t necessarily be completely useless, but it will feature prominent “dead spots” that can have a significant negative impact on your game.
Veterans of other racquet sports will find plenty to like about this paddle. The reason for this is that it has been naturally designed to be reminiscent of a tennis racquet, the shape and handle both featuring comparable dimensions that will make the transition as easy as possible.
The Onix React paddle provides excellent reach though we question the built quality.
- Dimensions similar to other racquet sports
- Reactive sweet spot
- Good blend of power and accuracy
- Lots of reach
- Core breaks down quickly
- Decals fairly fragile
10. Wilson Tour Pro Paddle
Wilson is known for making a good racquet (known for good sports equipment in general, in fact). The Wilson Tour Pro Paddle certainly keeps this reputation.
Fair warning for budget buyers, you do pay a little bit extra for the name here. Familiar features cost a little bit more on the Wilson Tour Pro Paddle than they did on some of the other paddles that we’ve looked at today.
Still, there is plenty to like regardless of price. It’s of a fiberglass/polymer construction. This combination produces a lightweight design that provides optimal levels of control.
However, it also features a generous sweet spot that big hitters will be able to make good use of. The grip is comfortable and optimized for moisture absorption, the bumpers guarding the edges of the paddle reduce the impact of regular wear and tear, and last, but not least, it produces lots and lots of spin.
In fact, this may very well be the best pickleball paddle for spin control.
It’s not all rosy though. This paddle is pretty noisy, which may be aggravating over time. Still, the well-rounded features make for a piece of equipment that will help you improve and harness your game.
The Wilson Tour Pro paddle is great and comfortable if you have the money to spend.
- Big sweet spot
- Lots of spin
- Comfort grip
- Desirable blend of power and control
- Quite noisy
11. HEAD Radical XL Red Paddle
One of the first things you will notice about this paddle is that it is really cool looking. Radical even. The hitting surface is elongated and oversized to produce lots of surface area to work with, and tons of extra reach.
It also features a textured pattern on the face of the paddle that puts lots of extra “bite” on the ball. Basically, this means that you will be able to effortlessly generate a lot of spin, which is always nice.
This, coupled with the padded comfort grip, the graphite face, and the polymer core aggregate into paddle that is comfortable, and extremely reactive. You get lots of pop with the HEAD Radical XL, and an outstanding feel that you will really enjoy.
We only came across one problem, but unfortunately, it’s something of a doozie. Dead spots. Several of them throughout the paddle. You really need to hit it flush to get any traction on the ball with this paddle.
Dead spots are an inevitability when it comes to pickleball paddles. Eventually, cores break down, and the equipment ceases to work the way that it used to.
However, to experience this problem with a new product is somewhat disappointing. Good players will be able to consistently find the sweet spot. However, even the pros have the occasional mishit. When those errors crop into your game, it is nice to have equipment that can compensate.
This paddle won’t do that. Still, if you’re looking for a lot of spin and a ton of reach, this is going to be one to think about.
The HEAD Radical XL Red is solid for spin and provides a characteristic look.
- Tons of spin
- Hot sweet spot
- CL face
- Dead spots
12. Wilson Surge Pro Paddle
If you experienced sticker shock from the last Wilson paddle on our list, you might like what you find with this one a little bit more. This is one of the cheapest pickleball paddles on our list today, which will make it a great option for buyers on a budget.
Still, for the price, you do get some good features. The graphite hitting zone is made to produce a satisfyingly soft feel. This sensation is further enhanced by the honeycombed vibration-reducing core that suppresses shock vibration for a better feel and improved durability.
Finally, you also get a cushioned grip that will be able to absorb moisture and keep you comfortable while you play.
Granted, the overall quality level will deteriorate over time. The honeycombed design does protect the core thus mitigating the risk of dead spots. However, this feature does nothing to guard the exterior against wear and tear.
We found that the Surge Pro chips and blemishes very quickly. The decal is also prone to warping and distortion.
You get what you pay for. Bottom line though, if you want something affordable while still producing good results, the Wilson Surge Pro is certainly worth your time.
If you like the Wilson brand, the Wilson Surge Pro is an excellent affordable option.
- Good feel
- Honeycombed design protects the core
- Edges chip and tarnish quite easily
- Decal will warp and distort over time
13. Engage Encore Pro
Winding down our list, we now look to the Engage Encore Pro. This paddle features a simple but elegant design stretched out over an extra-wide hitting surface.
The focus of this paddle is on versatility. Rather than putting all of its attention into one factor (power, spin, or control) it pays equal attention to all three. The lightweight design gives you as much power as possible while a massive sweet spot gives you the chance to really overpower the ball.
Meanwhile, an enormous amount of spin is facilitated by a textured face that puts lots of zip on the ball.
If you’re interested in keeping your game as well-rounded as possible the feature list of the Engage Encore Pro will definitely help you to meet that goal.
Finally, the Engage Encore also just feels great. This is thanks to the Polypropylene / Polymer Honeycomb core combination.
There is something of a learning curve to this paddle. The ball comes off the face fairly hot which may prove a challenging adjustment for some users. Otherwise, though, it is a good paddle for users of every variety.
The Engage Encore is a blend of spin, accuracy, and power - but it comes at a steep price.
- Lots of spin
- Easy accuracy
- Tons of power
- Learning curve
14. Gamma Razor Graphite Paddle
Finally, we end our list with the Gamma Razor Graphite Paddle. Our closing option is composed of Poly Core and a textured graphite surface. The combination creates a hot face and a good deal more spin than your average run-of-the-mill paddle.
At about seven ounces, it’s a midweight paddle that produces the ideal combination of touch and power. It’s a moderate piece of equipment that will be ideal for players that want to foster a solid, well-rounded game.
It also features an ergonomic, sweat-absorbing grip that will be comfortable to use even over long periods of time.
Unfortunately, though, this is another paddle that will deteriorate fairly quickly, both inside and out. The edges chip, the decal fades and ruffles, and after months of heavy use, the core begins to succumb to dead spots.
The Gamma Razor games very well to start with, but the diminishing returns may prove disqualifying for buyers that want something built to last.
A well-balanced paddle, the Gamma Razor Graphite paddle is highly comfortable but suffers in terms of construction quality.
- Ergonomic design
- Well balanced for spin, power and control
- Exterior chips and warps after a period of use
- Core begins to break down after heavy use
Pickleball Paddle Buyer's Guide
Here we have some buying considerations that will help you figure out exactly what sort of paddle is right for your needs. The factors illustrated below won’t just help you find the best pickleball paddle, they will also help you get the crucial edge in all of the matches to come by showing up with the best equipment possible.
Pickleball Paddle Material
One of the most important factors for any pickleball paddle is the material. Since this is the aspect of the equipment that is actually making direct contact with the pickleball ball, you really want to get it right.
There are a few different types of material that you will be able to choose from, mostly on the basis of your own personal preferences, but also on your own unique playing style. For your convenience, we now highlight the merits of each unique style.
Wood has always been the standard baseline material for the pickleball paddle. Back in the day, it was made of harder woods that produced an interesting feel, but also weighed a ton (not literally. Pickleball paddles never actually weigh a ton).
They were heavy, clunky, and awkward to use. The hardwood paddles from days gone by are now mostly valued as collectibles rather than actual pieces of functional equipment.
We’ve traded the hefty materials for plywood. Plywood pickleball hands are as ubiquitous as their hardwood counterparts but they come in at a small fraction of the weight.
The main reason most opt for the plywood paddle is that it is probably the most affordable material you have at your disposal. You can find them at any sporting goods store for a fairly affordable rate to get started.
There are other benefits as well though. They are also durable, reliable, and able to be used for many years without the need for replacement.
The downside, however, is that even plywood is heavier than some of the other materials on the market.
Big deal? For players that want to be as competitive as possible, yes. For beginners that just want to find something cheap to add to their online shopping cart, not so bad.
2. Polymer Plastics
Your mutt of paddles. That brownish, spotted, sort of blonde, maybe it’s a lab, maybe it’s a pug, maybe it’s a, whatever-you-want-it-to-be dog that you find at your local shelter.
Polymer paddles feature a mix of materials but whatever the makeup most units operate in a similar fashion. The goal of the pickleball paddle is to be lightweight.
Granted, this isn’t necessarily for the serious players out there. The big benefit is that they are ultra-affordable. You’d probably stick a polymer paddle in the hands of a kid before you would those of a tournament-ready player.
Still, they can be handy to have on hand, either for beginners or for people that just don’t know how to be cool with expensive equipment.
And of course, like all things, the quality scale varies significantly. Some polymer paddles can be very impressive.
Graphite! Graphite is the standard for upgrades in sporting equipment. From golf to tennis, to yeah, pickleball, graphite is always there to take clunky old materials and make them a little bit better.
Naturally, graphite will cost a little bit more than plywood—it is an advent of more sophisticated technology after all. But for your extra dollars, you see marked improvements.
Graphite is mostly for professional or very serious players. The expense, in this case, at least, can translate into real results. Graphite paddles are lighter, quicker, and more responsive than other similar options. If you want that tiny extra edge over our competition, this Is unequivocally the way to go.
Composite is much like polymer in that it features a mixture of materials. However, in this case, the blend is often of a higher quality. It might feature fiberglass, aluminum, and graphite. Higher-end materials that are light, durable, and made to last a long time.
That said, the definition of a composite paddle is fairly loose, but in general, this is a feature that can be favorable.
Composite paddles are a good run-of-the-mill material for serious players looking for a product that is of moderate cost.
In the last section, we often talked about weight in the context of light being good. However, this is only a partial truth. Balance is certainly good and this is a function that many lightweight paddles are able to deliver on. However, the actual ideal weight will depend heavily on the preferences of the use.
When it comes to this consideration, it’s ultimately just a matter of whatever feels best in your own hand. Naturally, a low eight keeps you agile, but there is also something to be said for a paddle that has a little bit of heft behind it.
Ultimately, it’s a fairly low-stakes, you do you sort of scenario. If it feels good, go for it. As a general rule of thumb though, you might want to consider your own physical limitations the same way you would for any other piece of equipment that you will be interacting within a physical capacity.
If you don’ have very much upper body strength, you won’t want to get something super heavy. If you’re really strong, you won’t want to get something that is underweight. Pretty simple really, right?
The core of the paddle is what will be responsible for the feel of the unit, as well as how the ball itself reacts. There are a few different core types, so let’s chat about them, shall we?
Aluminum core paddles probably have the widest appeal out there. They are lightweight and very responsive producing this nice snappy feel that seems to have broad appeal. They also have the benefit of being hyper-tough and long-lasting. You go with an aluminum core pickleball paddle, you’re getting something that will last for a long time.
The word Nomex doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Hey, that’s ok. You don’t actually have to say the word, you just have to decide how the material feels in your hand.
Truth be told, we don’t know exactly what it is. Unless you’re making it yourself (and you’re not, I mean come on. Obviously, you aren’t) it’s not something you will have a precise understanding of. But we do get the gist of it. Untreated, Nomex is a lot like cardboard in a honeycombed state, lightweight and agile.
Eventually, though, it hardens into something that is extremely tough. Nomex core paddles are hard, loud, and tough. Perhaps because of this combination, they are very popular with competitive players.
Chances are, the average user won’t need to worry about the Nomex core, nor its homely name.
Haha. Ok. If you didn’t like the word “Nomex” you aren’t going to like this much. Polypropylene is kind of the new kid on the block when it comes to core technology. But it is also a fairly popular piece of technology.
Though not quite the exclusive piece of equipment on the pro scene it is gaining traction with competitive players for the fact that it is soft, quiet, and, in short, very different than the experience provided by aluminum and Nomex.
You get a nice feeling with this type of core, with none of the mainstream consequences.
That said, it is fairly expensive and it’s also new enough that we can’t say for sure exactly what the future will hold for it. Still, things are looking pretty good for polypropylene, the Smuckers of pickleball paddles.
And of course, there are also different types of pickleball paddles to keep in mind. Because why make anything easy ever, right? But the multiplicity of options are ultimately to your benefit, so let’s get right down to it shall we Here are all of the different types of pickleball paddles that you will want to look out for as you make your decision.
Edgeless paddles tend to have large sweet spots, loads of workability, and a nice, seamless design that many players appreciate. You might use this paddle to maximize the forgiveness factor, is simply because you like the way that it feels and looks in your hand.
Pretty much exactly what the name would make you think. The elongated paddle is just like your standard option but with a longer more rectangular framing interface that gives you a little bit more reach out on the court.
The difference is not enormous, but it can have a substantial impact, especially if you have shorter arms.
Oversized paddles are like regular-sized paddles, but bigger. Another apt name, no? The reason is fairly simple. Many players find the oversized paddle to be confidence-inspiring. And this is more than just a mental trick—they actually may make you play better.
The increased surface area means more forgiveness and a better chance of making solid contact with the ball while you play.
Power vs. Control
Ideally, the paddle you get will be able to strike a good balance between power and forgiveness/ accuracy. The much-desired sweet spot that will give you complete control and uninhibited power on all of your shots.
There are paddles that can give you something like that though they are few and far between. Still, we’ve looked at some today.
These things said, there are features that can tip the emphasis of the paddle from control to power or vice versa.
For example, if a paddle has a heavier body weight, it means it will probably be better for hitting super flush power shots. Lower weight means you might be able to enjoy a little bit more control with your shots.
That said, there are really just rules of thumb. A heavier paddle won’t suddenly make you a power player. The real key is to get equipment that naturally compliments your playing style.
We talked about weight a little bit in the last heading, insofar as how it pertains to power versus control. There is certainly plenty to be said about this factor. However, there is more to the weight of the paddle than how much juice you are able to apply to your shots.
More importantly, the weight factor will be a matter of what feels good in your hands.
What Kind Of Player Are You?
Another factor that we’ve hinted at a little bit. What is your playing style? Do you go for hyper-precise shots that your opponents can’t keep up with? Or do you overpower them?
You don’t want to buy a paddle that goes against the grain of your natural playing style. If you’re a natural power player, it’ll probably make the most sense to get a paddle that plays to that strength. In that instance, you might favor an at least moderately weighted build that will be able to increase your precision while still maximizing the power of your already powerful shots.
Most players don’t get a feel for their playing style until a few months in (you know, sometime after the point where they are positive they will make contact with the ball most of the time).
Take your time. Figure out your game, and the equipment that works right for you.
What is your background?
If you’re like me, pickleball was not your first paddle sport. Perhaps you’ve spent some time on the tennis court, or even the ping pong table. If that’s the case, great! You’re actually at an advantage to other people who haven’t been rowing that racquet sport muscle memory and hand-eye coordination.
But, if you do have that kind of experience, you should also let it serve as an advantage in the type of equipment that you use.
Example? If you come from the world of table tennis, it probably means that you are going to be a wristy player. Someone that likes to put a lot of snap into their swing.
Great! There are pickleball paddles for that. In fact, there are many pickleball paddles that look quite a bit like the paddles on a ping pong table.
Once again, it’s just a matter of playing to your natural skill set. If you’re good at using a ping pong paddle, why waste time and energy learning to use something that isn’t at all like it? Take every advantage you can get.
Where are you playing?
If you play outdoors, you may want to let that factor into the type of equipment that you buy. Wood pickleball paddles are a little bit less resistant to the elements than say, a polymer unit.
The best pickleball paddle for outdoor play will be able to handle humidity and other elemental considerations so that it won’t warp or deteriorate quickly over time.
Price is kind of the mack daddy of considerations for any purchase. It’s something that we all dwell about to some extent. How much you want to spend is going to be a matter of personal choice.
If you’re new to the game and don’t want to invest a ton of money, that’s just fine—you’ll be able to find options out there that only cost $20 or less.
On the other hand, though, you’ll also be able to find options out there that cost hundreds of dollars or more. Isn’t that always the way?
Chances are that most buyers will settle for something in between the two extremes. In any case, more money typically goes towards better materials an (at least hopefully) a more durable build.
Less money will probably buy you a cheapo lightweight plywood board that is more or less just a glorified ping pong paddle. Those can be fun too, but if you are going to be competitive out there, you may need to take your equipment more seriously than that.
Of course, how you finance your pickleball game is a personal decision contingent on more than just how much you like the sport. Still, guides like this one should hopefully be able to help you find top-rated pickleball paddles at a price that is suitable for any budget.
Also on the hunt for some balls and a net to accompany your upcoming paddle purchase? Why not check out the best pickleball sets?
Conclusion: Best Pickleball Paddle
So, now you know how to buy a pickleball paddle. You came to us with a very specific problem: how to choose a pickleball paddle. And we answered: by doing lots and lots of research. If you took one thing from this guide, it should be this: there is no such thing as the perfect pickleball paddle.
There are just too many variables at work for everyone to be satisfied. However, what’s equally true? The perfect paddle for you does exist.
As you continue to comb over the vast amount of information laid out before you in the guide today be sure to survey the needs of your game. That’s one factor that we just can’t emphasize enough.
As you saw in our guide today different paddles are for different players. Some spin a lot, some are for power hitters, and others are for precision snipers.
If you buy a paddle that cuts against your natural skill set, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Not literally of course. Actually shooting yourself in the foot would be much worse….But you get where we are coming from.
The plethora of options may seem overwhelming to begin with but they are a gift to you in the long run. The more choices you have, the more likely you are to find the equipment that is perfect for your game.
The pickleball is now in your court. This massive guide assembled here today has everything needed to connect any type of player to the best piece of equipment for their game.
Time to tie on your pickleball shoes and bring your new paddle out on the court!
Further reading: Best Regulation-Approved Pickleball Nets (Buying Guide)