Which pickleball paddle is best?
Those who enjoy playing pickleball know that players are only as good as their paddle. For that reason, many pickleball players take the time to learn which pickleball paddle is best for them before making their purchase, even as daunting as it may be.
Those that aren’t sure which paddle to buy will benefit from the Gearbox GX6 Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle, which features a carbon-fiber core that’s great for both beginners and experts alike.
What to know before you buy a pickleball paddle
Level of expertise
The first thing you might want to consider when choosing between the best pickleball paddles is the level of pickleball expertise of the player. For beginners, a cheap pickleball paddle may be sufficient to learn the basics may be adequate, while others hoping to compete in tournaments or play at a high level may want to consider choosing a higher-quality paddle.
Edgeless vs. edged designs
Pickleball paddles usually feature either an edgeless or an edged design, sometimes called “edge guard” design, both of which are good and are largely left to the buyer’s individual preferences. In contrast, edgeless pickleball paddles tend to offer a little bit more surface area compared to those with edge guards, while edged pickleball paddles tend to be a bit more durable in the long run.
The USA Pickleball Association is the highest regulatory association for pickleball play, and they feature a standard set of paddle features and a standardized size. The standard size for a USAPA-approved pickleball paddle is 16 inches long and eight inches wide. While most tournaments will accept these dimensions, you can also find some that will accept larger paddles to a varying degree.
What to look for in a quality pickleball paddle
Correct size and weight
Ultimately, finding a pickleball paddle that’s the correct size and weight for your level of expertise and where you plan to play (tournaments, competitively, recreationally, etc.) is the first step. While pickleball paddle sizes range upwards from 16 inches long, the weight of pickleball paddles will usually vary from around 7.3 ounces to 8.5 ounces.
Core and surface material
The core and surface materials of a pickleball will affect factors like how durable it is, how it makes contact with the pickleball and the overall feel the user experiences when hitting the ball.
Another helpful thing to consider when picking pickleball paddles is the overall feel of the paddle’s grip. While certain grips may be more comfortable to hold for those getting a feel for the game, others may offer smaller or larger overall thicknesses and materials for added grip, control and maneuverability over the paddle itself.
How much you can expect to spend on a pickleball paddle
Depending on the quality of paddle you’re hoping to get, pickleball paddles can span a fairly wide range of prices. You can usually find cheap pickleball paddles for $40-$60. Mid-tier and high-quality paddles, as well as bulk pickleball paddle sets, may range from $70-$155, with professional-tier paddles sometimes costing even more.
Pickleball paddle FAQ
What paddles are good for pickleball tournaments?
Choosing the best pickleball paddle for tournament play doesn’t matter too much, so long as you choose one of the many paddles approved by the USAPA. For seasoned pickleball players, finding the best paddle for competitive play may require a series of trial and error attempts, but a little education about paddle types can also go a long way.
Do pickleball paddles matter for gameplay?
Pickleball paddles can significantly affect gameplay because paddles are the surface you use to serve and return the pickleball. While cheap pickleball paddles may work well for beginners, those attempting more serious pickleball play may want to consider upgrading to USAPA-approved pickleball paddles and those with surface textures and core materials best suited to your style of gameplay.
What’s the best pickleball paddle to buy?
Top pickleball paddle
Gearbox GX6 USAPA-Approved Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
What you need to know: These carbon fiber pickleball paddles offer powerful, precise hits, as well as a unifying vibrational feel when making contact with the ball.
What you’ll love: This pickleball paddle is super thin for easy maneuvering during matches, and it utilizes a completely edgeless frame that adds a little extra surface area on every side. It also features a hyper bite spin technology that makes it great for vicious topspin and slice hits.
What you should consider: This pickleball paddle is only available in the 7.8-ounce “power” configurations, and some found this model a little more expensive than they wanted.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top pickleball paddle for the money
Gamma Sports 2.0 USAPA-Approved Graphite Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles
What you need to know: These midweight pickleball paddles come at a fair price, and they feature about eight ounces of weight for a nice, controlled hit.
What you’ll love: In addition to being USAPA-approved, these pickleball paddles feature a surface with an added texture that you can use to add grip and spin to your hits. They also feature a sweat-absorbing grip that you won’t lose control over mid-swing.
What you should consider: Some buyers said these pickleball paddles had a few more dead spots than they hoped.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
ONIX Graphite Z5 Graphite Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle with Cushion Comfort Grip
What you need to know: This pickleball paddle is excellent for those just starting, offering a slightly-wider body than most paddles as well as a lightweight carbon fiber build.
What you’ll love: This pickleball paddle features textured graphite on its surface for extra control and spin, and its medium weight and large build offers a huge area of optimal contact. You can also purchase this pickleball paddle in various colors and designs like yellow, blue and green, among others.
What you should consider: This paddle’s handle isn’t as easy to hold as other pickleball paddles.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.