What Pickleball Paddle is Best For You? Evaluating Different Styles
Pickleball is a fun and fast-paced paddle sport that’s easy to learn but offers lots of room for skill development. While pickleball has been around for decades, it was only in recent years that the game gained popularity. And with good reason!
This unique paddle sport combines elements from tennis, badminton, and table tennis into one exciting game. It’s also very social so you can play on your own or with friends. With all the different brands out there it can be hard to know which pickleball paddles are right for you.
We’ve compiled this guide to help you find the perfect set of paddles no matter what your budget looks like or how experienced you are as a player.
- Types of Pickleball Paddles
- Pickleball Paddle Surface
- Pickleball Paddle Face
- What’s Your Skill Level?
- Right Pickleball Paddle for Your Budget
- The Best Pickleball Paddle for You
Types of Pickleball Paddles
There are three main types of pickleball paddles: aluminum, graphite, and composite. These materials as well as their combinations will determine the weight, size, and durability of your paddle.
Graphite paddles are made from a single piece of carbon fiber and are the lightest paddles available. They’re also the most expensive.
Composite paddles are a mix of graphite and fiberglass or another material. They’re typically heavier than graphite paddles but lighter than aluminum ones.
Aluminum is the most common choice for pickleball paddles. They’re also the cheapest and most durable of all three types of pickleball paddles.
Pickleball Paddle Surface
The pickleball paddle surface is made up of rubber holes and the frame around them. The size, shape, and number of these holes will determine the speed and spin of your shots. Larger holes result in more speed while smaller holes create more spin.
Pickleball Paddle Face
The pickleball paddle face is the part that you hit the ball with. You want a smooth and firm surface for hitting but enough give to absorb the impact.
What’s Your Skill Level?
Before you can find your perfect pickleball paddle, you need to know where you stand as a player.
Once you’ve figured that out, go ahead and scroll down to see our recommendations for the best pickleball paddle for you!
If you’re just starting out, we recommend an aluminum or composite paddle. These paddles are a bit heavier which will give you more power as you learn how to hit the ball. They’re also less expensive than graphite paddles so they won’t put a large dent in your wallet if you decide pickleball isn’t for you.
The intermediate player is ready to start working on their spin and power shots. At this level, you’ll want a composite paddle. These paddles are lighter which will help you with your swing speed and accuracy.
If you’re beyond the intermediate stage, a graphite paddle is likely the perfect choice for you. These paddles are the lightest and most expensive but they offer the best performance. They’re perfect for players who want to add more spin to their shots.
Right Pickleball Paddle for Your Budget
There are three main price points for pickleball paddles: budget, mid-priced, and high-end.
If you’re looking for a cheap but durable option, go with an aluminum paddle. They’re the least expensive, but they will also wear out faster if you play often.
If you’re looking for something that will last, consider a graphite paddle. They’re more expensive than aluminum but less costly than graphite paddles.
If you’re willing to splurge, a graphite paddle is the best pickleball paddle for your money. They offer the best performance and durability of all three types of paddles.
The Best Pickleball Paddle for You
Now that you know what type of pickleball paddle is best for you, let’s move on to finding the perfect one.
Budget Option: Amazin’ Aces ‘Bainbridge’
Our budget pick is the Amazin’ Aces ‘Bainbridge’ paddle. The Ace-Bainbridge is the ultimate in balanced performance. The unique “honeycomb” construction provides maximum stability and accuracy.
The oversized aluminum honeycomb core provides unmatched durability. And the smooth, composite cover is easy on the hands and offers a soft feel that promotes improved ball control. The result is a highly effective, low-maintenance paddle that performs like it was built for years of play.
The unique design of the Ace-Bainbridge makes it equally at home on the pickleball court or the pool table. It’s a great all-purpose paddle that will serve you well for years to come.
Mid-Priced Option: Gonex Pickleball Paddles Set
If you’re looking for a mid-priced paddle, we recommend the Gonex Pickleball Paddles Set. Gonex is one of the most trusted names in paddle sports. Their paddles are made from a special type of polypropylene called “honeycomb core” – which is extremely lightweight and offers great durability.
Honeycomb core allows Gonex paddles to be lighter than other paddles, without sacrificing strength or durability. Gonex also uses a special polymer coating on the outside that gives them a soft touch and makes them easy to hold onto.
These paddles are designed for all skill levels, from absolute beginners to seasoned veterans. They have a non-slip surface that keeps your hands from slipping off the paddle, even when you’re hustling down the lane.
If you’re looking for the best set of paddles for pickleball, then these are the ones to get. They’re extremely durable, offer great flexibility, and are very easy to use.
High-End Option: PROKENNEX Pro Flight
If you’re looking for a high-end option, we recommend the PROKENNEX Pro Flight Kinetic paddle. This is our top-of-the-line paddle and is perfect for advanced players.
PROKENNEX is one of the most trusted brand names in paddles, and their new Pro Flight model is their best yet! This paddle offers a super soft, comfort-gripping cushion-style grip, and an extended length handle to help you get a strong, balanced swing.
It’s made with a modern, highly-durable carbon fiber blend that makes it lightweight and super-effective. The paddle has an integrated kinetic system technology (KST) paddle frame, which means it can be used as a regular paddle or a serve/return paddle.
It also has an o-guard replaceable edge-guard system, so you can use it for pickleball or play tennis with it too. It’s approved for use in USAPA sanctioned tournaments and backed by a 1-year warranty.
This is one of the best paddles you can buy if you are a recreational player who wants a high-performing, durable paddle.
So, which paddle is best for you? It really depends on your budget and skill level. But we recommend the Amazin’ Aces ‘Bainbridge’ paddle as a budget option, the Gonex Pickleball Paddles Set as a mid-range option, and the ProKennex Pro Flight as a high-end option.