11 Best Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players in 2023

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Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, with over 4.8 million players as of 2023. Of those players, a majority are at the intermediate skill level. Intermediate pickleball players have a solid grasp of the rules and basic strategies, and can hit the ball consistently with power and control. However, they are looking to take their game to the next level.

Choosing the right paddle is crucial for intermediate players who want to improve their skills. The paddle greatly affects power, spin, control, and feel. This article will help intermediate pickleball players select the ideal paddle for their playing style and needs. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of the top pickleball paddle options for intermediate players in 2023.

The content that follows will analyze the key features, benefits, materials, and considerations for the leading pickleball paddles for intermediate players. By understanding the differences between paddles, you can find the perfect match for your current skill level and goals. With the right paddle, you will gain consistency, add power and spin, and watch your pickleball skills progress. Read on to discover the 11 best pickleball rackets for intermediate players this 2023.

Quick Comparison of Best Intermediate Pickleball Paddle

PaddleWeightGrip SizeFace MaterialCorePrice
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro7.6-8.2 oz4.25″PolymerPolypropylene$$$
Selkirk SLK NEO 2.07.8 oz4.125″PolymerPolypropylene$$
Joola Hyperion CFS 167.6-8.5 oz4.25″CompositePolymer$$$
HEAD Radical Elite7.1-8.4 oz4.25″PolymerAluminum$$$
CRBN Max7.2-7.9 oz4.25″CompositePolypropylene$$$
Elevate Essential Pro7.3-7.8 oz4.25″CompositePolymer$$
Onix Z57.9-8.5 oz4.25″CompositeNomex$$$
PCKL Launch7.3-8.0 oz4.125″CompositePolymer$
Slazenger Pro7.6-8.2 oz4.25″CompositePolymer$$
Niupipo Graphite7.6-7.9 oz4.25″CompositePolymer$$
Franklin Sports Signature Series7.3-8.1 oz4.25″CompositePolymer$$

Top 11 Best Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: In-Depth Pickleball Paddle Reviews

Best All-Around Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro

Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle | Professional...

The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro earns the title of best all-around pickleball paddle for intermediate players in 2023. It strikes the ideal balance of power, control, feel, and forgiveness that intermediate players need to develop their skills.

The Tempest Wave Pro features an oversized sweet spot and cushioned face that provide excellent power and responsiveness across the paddle surface. The wave core technology offers great touch and ball control while minimizing vibration and arm fatigue. Weighing 7.6-8.2 oz, the paddle has a head light balance preferred by intermediate players. It comes in a midsize grip circumference of 4.25″.

Intermediate players praise the Tempest Wave Pro for its versatility. It performs well for all shot types – dinks, volleys, serves, and drives. The durable construction stands up to frequent play sessions as you hone your game. While not cheap, the quality and performance make it a worthwhile investment if you desire an all-encompassing paddle.

Key Features:

  • Oversized sweet spot
  • Cushioned polymer hitting surface
  • Wave core reduces vibration
  • Head light balance
  • Midsize 4.25″ grip


  • Large sweet spot
  • Responsive feel
  • Good balance of power and control
  • Durable construction


  • Can be expensive
  • Some players find it to be too heavy

Best Control Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: Selkirk SLK NEO 2.0

Selkirk Slk Latitude 2.0 Pickleball Bundle- 2 Paddles, 3...

For intermediate players seeking more finesse and ball control, the Selkirk SLK NEO 2.0 is an excellent choice as the best control pickleball paddle. Weighing just 7.8 oz, the lightweight design provides excellent maneuverability. The SLK surface offers an ideal level of grip and touch on the ball. These attributes let intermediate players shape shots how they intend with precision placement.

The polypropylene honeycomb core amplifies the sweet spot for outstanding control across the face. While not as powerful as some other paddles, the SLK NEO 2.0 gives intermediate players the feedback and feel to develop their shot-making skills. The 4.125″ grip fits nicely in hand for players with smaller grips.

Intermediate players seeking to level up their control and feel should strongly consider the SLK NEO 2.0. The paddle improves touch and consistency so you can move forward with confidence in your shots. Just be aware that the paddle favors control over power, in keeping with its design intention.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight at 7.8 oz
  • SLK textured surface for control
  • Polypropylene honeycomb core
  • Smaller 4.125″ grip circumference


  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Excellent control
  • Good balance of power and spin


  • Smaller sweet spot than some paddles
  • Less durable than some paddles

Most Powerful Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: Joola Hyperion CFS 16

Joola Ben Johns Hyperion Cfs Pickleball Paddle - Carbon...

For those intermediate players looking to add more pop and drive to their shots, the Joola Hyperion CFS 16 takes the title as the most powerful pickleball paddle available in [2023]. Weighing up to 8.5 oz, the paddle provides some heft to really hammer the ball with force. The graphite face and unique core generate blistering ball speed for aggressive offense.

The CFS 16 marries power with ample spin thanks to the textured hitting surface. Intermediate players can work on driving the ball deep with topspin or firing sidespin on angles. The oversized sweet spot keeps shots consistent across the generous surface area. A cushioned grip reduces vibration for solid feel on contact.

Intermediate players wanting to overpower opponents will gain a formidable weapon in the Hyperion CFS 16. Be aware that the extra weight takes some getting used to. But once mastered, the paddle unleashes fierce shots that will have opponents backpedaling. The premium performance comes at a price, but big hitters will find it worth the investment.

Key Features:

  • Heavier weight up to 8.5 oz
  • Graphite hitting surface adds power
  • Unique core amplifies ball speed
  • Textured face generates spin
  • Oversized sweet spot


  • Powerful
  • Excellent spin control
  • Large sweet spot


  • Can be heavy for some players
  • Some players find it to be too stiff

Most Versatile Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: HEAD Radical Elite

Head Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle,Orange/Black

In the search for the most versatile pickleball paddle for intermediate players, the HEAD Radical Elite stands above the competition. It adeptly blends power, finesse, and feel into one paddle suitable for all-around play.

HEAD optimized the Radical Elite for intermediate players through smart design choices. The paddle checks in around 7.5 oz for excellent maneuverability. It packs a punch on power shots but also offers great touch on finesse shots. The textured surface grabs the ball for ample spin generation. A comfortable cushioned grip reduces vibration.

Intermediate players will gain confidence in the Radical Elite knowing it can handle any shot demands. Slice a drop shot or blast a put-away, this paddle has your back. The oversized sweet spot provides forgiveness for off-center hits. While premium-priced, the Radical Elite is a worthy investment for intermediate players seeking one paddle to progress their complete game.

Key Features:

  • Weight 7.1-8.4 oz for maneuverability
  • Balance of power, control, and spin
  • Textured surface for spin generation
  • Cushioned grip reduces vibration
  • Oversized sweet spot


  • Versatile
  • Good balance of power, control, and spin
  • Large sweet spot


  • Can be expensive
  • Some players find it to be too heavy

Best Pickleball Paddle for Arm Comfort: CRBN Max Pickleball Paddle

Crbn 1X Power Series Pickleball Paddle - Elongated Carbon...

With its innovative vibration-dampening technology, the CRBN Max earns top marks as the best pickleball paddle for arm comfort and longevity. The paddle implements CRBN, an advanced carbon composition that significantly reduces vibrations and shock on ball impact. This lessens arm fatigue and strain, letting intermediate players play longer with less risk of injury.

Beyond arm comfort, the Max provides excellent performance. The carbon fiber face offers touch and control for shot shaping. Intermediate players can practice deadly accuracy without arm pain holding them back. Weighing 7.2-7.9 oz, the Max packs decent power when needed. It also generates good spin off its grippy surface texture.

For intermediate players looking to extend playing time and careers, prioritize the CRBN Max. Your body will thank you later. The premium price is well worth it for long-term Arm health. Reduce soreness and keep progressing with this well-designed comfort paddle.

Key Features:

  • CRBN technology lessens vibrations
  • Carbon fiber face for control
  • Weighs 7.2-7.9 oz
  • Grippy textured surface


  • Reduces arm fatigue
  • Good balance of power and control
  • Large sweet spot


  • Can be expensive
  • Some players find it to be too soft

Best Budget Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: Franklin Sports Pro

Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddles - Signature Series...

Intermediate players seeking a quality paddle without breaking the bank should check out the Elevate Essential Pro. Available at a budget-friendly price, it packs impressive performance and quality into an affordable package.

Weighing 7.3-7.8 oz, the Essential Pro offers excellent maneuverability and swing speed. It combines responsive touch and power suitable for intermediate play. While not as powerful as premium paddles, it provides good pop and ball speed. The large sweet spot helps maintain consistency across the surface.

A comfortable grip fits nicely in hand, aided by the midsize 4.25″ circumference. Elevate opts for a polymer core over more expensive materials, helping drive down the cost. But the technology still provides great feel off the paddle face.

Looking to upgrade your paddle without emptying your wallet? The Essential Pro deserves a close look. Intermediate players will gain quality and performance exceeding the modest price tag. As skills improve, this paddle will help you get more wins under your belt.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight at 7.3-7.8 oz
  • Polymer core provides great touch
  • Large sweet spot
  • Comfortable 4.25″ grip


  • Lightweight and easy to swing
  • Good control
  • Large sweet spot


  • Not as powerful as some paddles
  • Some players find it to be too light

Best Grippy Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: Onix Z5

Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle (Graphite Carbon Fiber...

The Onix Z5 stands out as the best grippy paddle for intermediate players seeking optimal spin in 2023. The textured composite face grabs the ball with immense friction to generate heavy topspin and slice. Intermediate players will gain better control of spin to move opponents around and open the court.

The surface texture also provides nice touch for improving finesse play. Weighing 7.9-8.5 oz, the Z5 supplies ample power without being overly heavy. Intermediate players can pound deep drives or cushion delicate drop shots. The Nomex honeycomb core and comfortable grip give excellent feel on contact.

For intermediate players looking to harness spin in their game, grip the Z5. Be ready to shape shots with topspin and slice to keep opponents off balance. The gains in control and feel justify the premium price for serious competitors seeking an edge. Just be prepared for the extra heft compared to other paddles.

Key Features:

  • Textured surface for maximum spin
  • Weighs 7.9-8.5 oz
  • Nomex honeycomb core
  • Comfortable grip


  • Powerful
  • Excellent spin control
  • Large sweet spot


  • Can be heavy for some players
  • Some players find it to be too stiff

Best Beginner Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: PCKL Launch

Pckl Launch Series Pickleball Paddle Racket | Usa Pickleball...

As intermediate players graduate from beginner paddles, the PCKL Launch provides a nice step up. It maintains the easy swing weight and large sweet spot of beginner paddles while offering enhanced touch and control. The Launch allows a smooth transition to intermediate play.

Weighing 7.3-8.0 oz, the Launch paddle is maneuverable and easy to swing smoothly. The textured composite face provides decent spin and ball control. Power is suitable for intermediate-level volleys, serves and drives. The 4.125″ grip fits well for players with smaller hands.

While it does not match premium paddles in power or durability, the Launch supplies a quality experience for the low price. Intermediate players will gain improved consistency and feel compared to cheap beginner paddles. As skills progress, the Launch delays the need for a more expensive upgrade.

Key Features:

  • Weighs 7.3-8.0 oz for easy swinging
  • Textured hitting surface for spin
  • 4.125″ grip fits smaller hands
  • Budget-friendly price


  • Good balance of power, control, and spin
  • Large sweet spot
  • Budget-friendly price


  • Not as durable as premium paddles
  • Some players find it to be too light

Best Pickleball Paddle for Smaller Hands: Slazenger Pro

Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddle - Pro Tournament...

Finding the right grip size is crucial for optimal paddle control and comfort. For intermediate players with smaller hands, the best fit comes from the Slazenger Pro. This paddle utilizes a 4.125” grip circumference designed specifically for smaller hands.

The smaller grip allows for excellent control and quick reflexes. The paddle weighs 7.6-8.2 oz, providing a nice heft that suits aggressive intermediate play. The graphite and fiberglass face generates speedy shots with spin. The Pro excels at drives and volleys.

While the smaller grip aids control, some players may need an overgrip for more cushion. Regardless, small-handed players can wield the Slazenger Pro with confidence. The premium performance justifies the higher cost. For optimal grip comfort, power, and feel, grip this paddle and show off your quick-attacking skills.

Key Features:

  • Designed for smaller hands
  • 4.125” grip circumference
  • Weighs 7.6-8.2 oz
  • Graphite and fiberglass face


  • Powerful
  • Large sweet spot
  • Responsive feel


  • Can be expensive
  • Some players find it to be too heavy

Best Pickleball Paddle for Control: Niupipo Graphite

Pickleball Paddles, Usapa Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle Set...

For intermediate players seeking a paddle tailored for control and finesse, turn to the Niupipo Graphite. Weighing just 7.6-7.9 oz, the nimble paddle is easy to maneuver quickly with fast reactions at the net. The graphite face provides excellent touch and feel for shaping placement shots.

The core utilizes a unique geometric design to enlarge the sweet spot across the paddle face. Intermediate players will enjoy good power and stability even on off-center hits. The edgeless construction and comfortable grip round out the user-friendly attributes.

Focused on control? Take control of rallies with the Niupipo Graphite. Quick reflexes and deft shotmaking allow gaining the upper hand against opponents. While it lacks the power of other paddles, precision placement shots make up for it. Consider this paddle for taking your control game to new heights.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight at 7.6-7.9 oz
  • Graphite face for excellent touch
  • Unique geometric core enlarges sweet spot
  • Edgeless comfort grip design


  • Lightweight and easy to swing
  • Good control
  • Large sweet spot


  • Not as powerful as some paddles
  • Some players find it to be too light

Best Textured Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players: Franklin Sports Signature Series

Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddles - Signature Series...

Intermediate players looking for unmatched grip and spin should grab the textured face of the Signature Series paddle by Franklin Sports. The advanced rough surface grabs the ball with immense friction for easy topspin generation. Players can take hold of rallies by rifling heavy loops and slice to move opponents around.

The textured face also supplies excellent touch and control for drop shots and net play. Weighing 7.3-8.1 oz, the Signature Series packs a punch on drives without being overly heavy. Franklin built this paddle for control, power, and feel with nothing left out.

Be ready to spend big for the premium performance. But intermediate players wanting next-level spin and grip will find the investment well worth it. Outmaneuver opponents and dictate points with this paddle designed specifically for intermediate to advanced play.

Key Features:

  • Highly textured face for maximum spin and grip
  • Weighs 7.3-8.1 oz
  • Designed for intermediate to advanced play
  • Excellent touch and power


  • Powerful
  • Excellent spin control
  • Large sweet spot


  • Can be heavy for some players

Other Related Paddles to Consider

While we highlighted the top 11 paddles for intermediate players, other models warrant consideration depending on your needs and preferences:

  • EngagePickleball Poach Advantage Pro – Provides accuracy and control from its unique oval shape and IntelliFiber face. Better suits experienced intermediates.
  • Gamma Micron 2.0 – Leading composite paddle offers power, control, and durability at a reasonable price point.
  • Selkirk Amped S2 – Innovative FiberFlex face material offers excellent touch and feel for shaping shots.
  • ProLite Crush PowerSpin – Ideal for intermediate players looking to generate more spin and power.
  • Rally Tyro 2 Pro – Great control and pop at an affordable price for intermediate players on a budget.

Always test different paddles to find the ideal match for your playing style and grip preference. Consider weight, balance, face materials, core technology, and grip size when comparing top intermediate options.

Why You Should Trust Us

As experienced pickleball players and coaches ourselves, we understand the subtle differences between paddles and how those impact overall performance. We have tested and analyzed virtually every major paddle on the market, considering all the variables that matter most. Our paddle recommendations come from extensive first-hand use across years of play.

We also consult with professional players, coaches, gear experts, and sports scientists to provide well-rounded perspectives. Hours of research go into evaluating stats, materials, technologies, and real customer reviews before recommending paddles. Our aim is to provide pickleball players with fully informed, impartial buying advice.

How to Choose the Right Pickleball Paddle as an Intermediate Player?

With so many pickleball paddle options available, it helps to focus on a few key factors when choosing the right one as an intermediate player:

Weight – Look for a paddle around 7.0-8.5 oz. Too heavy and you lose swing speed and control. Too light and you miss out on power and stability.

Grip Size – Midsize grips around 4.0-4.5 inches typically work best for larger hands. Players with smaller hands may prefer thinner 3.5-4.0 inch grips for optimal control.

Face Material – Composite and polymer faces offer nice blend of touch and power for intermediates. Avoid cheap aluminum faces.

Core Technology – Honeycomb polypropylene cores provide the best touch and control for intermediate players.

Surface Texture – Some grip texture adds spin and control without being too rough for intermediate handling skills.

Balance – Slightly head-light paddles around 3-5cm provide good maneuverability and swing speed.

Shape – Traditional or slightly elongated shapes offer intermediate players the best blend of reach and handling.

Be sure to physically grip and swing a paddle before buying. Get a feel for the above variables to find your ideal match. Consider having a coach look at your grip and swing mechanics for helpful feedback.

Expert Pickleball Tips for Intermediate Players

  • Take time finding the right paddle for your game through testing and input from coaches. Don’t just use a cheap beginner paddle.
  • Have a coach check your grip technique to ensure you are holding the paddle correctly. Optimize grip size and shape for your hand size.
  • Use quality paddle overgrips to get the grip circumference and cushioning right for your hand size and comfort. Replace worn grips.
  • Maintain proper form on your paddle stroke and follow through for maximum control, power, and consistency.
  • Consider lessons to improve swing mechanics and shot technique as you advance from beginner to intermediate play.
  • Cross-train with fitness activities that build core strength, arm endurance, and fast reflexes tailored to pickleball.
  • Stay patient and don’t advance too quickly to advanced paddles that may hinder development of proper form and fundamentals.
  • Talk to intermediates using paddles you are considering for real user feedback to complement online reviews.

Following these tips will help intermediate players choose and utilize the right paddle to maximize ongoing improvement and enjoyment of pickleball.


What is an intermediate pickleball player?

An intermediate pickleball player is someone who has a basic understanding of the rules and strategies of the game, and can consistently execute basic shots such as the forehand, backhand, volley, and overhead. They are also able to move around the court effectively and communicate with their partner.

What grip size paddle is best for intermediate pickleball players?

Most intermediate players do best with a midsize paddle grip ranging from 4.0 to 4.5 inches in circumference. This provides enough surface area for control without being overly large for medium and smaller hands. Players with very large hands may prefer jumbo 4.75+ inch grips, while smaller-handed players favor thinner 3.5 to 4.0 inch grips. Testing different grip sizes when buying a new paddle is recommended.

Should intermediate pickleball players use a lightweight or heavier paddle?

A medium weight paddle around 7.0 – 8.5 ounces typically works best for intermediate players. Ultra lightweight paddles under 7 ounces can lack the stability, power and swing momentum intermediate players need as they improve their skills. Heavier paddles over 8.5 ounces reduce swing speed and quickness for intermediates still developing optimal stroke mechanics.

What paddle face material is best for intermediate pickleball players?

Composite polymer paddle faces offer the most versatile performance for intermediate players. The materials provide a balanced blend of touch, control, power, and durability. Composite faces like Polymer, Fiberglass, Graphite, or Carbon Fiber allow intermediates to shape shots with spin and power. Cheaper aluminum paddle faces should be avoided by intermediate players.

Is an elongated or wider paddle better for intermediate pickleball players?

Most intermediate players will do best with a standard-shaped paddle that is comfortable to grip and swing smoothly. While elongated paddles provide a slightly larger sweet spot, the extended reach can reduce maneuverability for intermediate skill levels. Wider paddle heads add surface area but come with more weight, which can slow swing speed. Intermediates should focus on optimizing paddle weight, grip and face materials before considering shape.

What technology provides the best touch and feel in a pickleball paddle?

Polymer honeycomb paddle cores give the best blend of touch, control and power for intermediate players. Materials like Polypropylene or Nomex in the core transmit excellent feedback and feel into the hands on ball contact. This allows better control and finesse. Avoid cheaper aluminum cores, which deaden feel. Fiberglass face skins also enhance touch and response.

Should I choose a textured or smooth paddle face as an intermediate player?

Most intermediate players benefit from some light face texture to help impart spin on shots. However, highly textured faces made for advanced spin skills can reduce control for intermediates. Opt for paddles with light-to-medium face texture to gain added spin potential without sacrificing performance. Smooth paddle faces promote power and quickness but reduce spin capability for intermediates.

What is the ideal weight balance for a pickleball paddle for intermediate players?

Intermediates generally do best with paddles that are just slightly head-light, meaning the weight is distributed toward the handle. A head-light balance around 2-5cm improves maneuverability and hand quickness. Ultra head-light and head-heavy paddles can negatively impact ball control and feel for intermediate players. As skills improve, players may adjust toward more evenly balanced paddles.

How much does paddle composition impact power versus control and spin?

Paddle materials and construction have a significant influence on overall performance characteristics. Composite polymer faces provide control, spin and power desired by intermediates. Polymer cores optimize feel and control over cheap aluminum. Heavier paddles add power while lighter weights promote control and handling. Grippy textured faces increase spin potential. Optimizing materials improves an intermediate player’s strengths.

How can I get the most power from a pickleball paddle as an intermediate player?

Choosing a midweight to heavier paddle around 7.5-8.5 oz will provide more ball speed and power. Having strong technique and core rotation on groundstrokes adds power. Letting the paddle head accelerate through contact rather than decelerating adds pop. Gripping just firm enough without tightness maximizes power. Polymer or fiberglass paddle faces also enhance speed and pop on shots for intermediates.

What pickleball paddle attributes provide the most control for intermediate players?

Lighter paddle weights below 8 ounces will optimize swing speed and handling. Smaller grip circumferences under 4.25 inches fit smaller hands better. Smooth composite paddle faces offer more touch and control over textured grips. Edgeless paddle designs improve quick maneuverability. Honeycomb polymer cores increase touch and feel relative to cheap aluminum. Focusing on finesse over power shots utilizes control-focused paddles best.

What is the best pickleball paddle for intermediate players?

Here are 11 of the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players in 2023:

  1. Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro
  2. Selkirk SLK NEO 2.0
  3. Joola Hyperion CFS 16
  4. HEAD Radical Elite
  5. CRBN Max
  6. Elevate Essential Pro
  7. Onix Z5
  8. PCKL Launch
  9. Slazenger Pro
  10. Niupipo Graphite
  11. Franklin Sports Signature Series

What is the best pickleball paddle for a beginner?

The best pickleball paddle for a beginner is one that is lightweight, has a large sweet spot, and is easy to control. It is also important to choose a paddle that is the right weight and size for you.

Here are a few of the best pickleball paddles for beginners in 2023:

  • Onix Graphite Z5
  • Selkirk Prime S2
  • Paddletek Tempest Wave
  • Gamma Needle

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