What Are Pickleball Paddles Made Of? Explained

What Are Pickleball Paddles Made of? Explained

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So you’ve started playing pickleball and you’re wondering what the paddles are made of. The answer may surprise you!

Contrary to popular belief, pickleball paddles are not always made of wood. In fact, many paddles nowadays are made of materials like graphite and aluminum. This makes them lightweight and durable, perfect for players of all skill levels.

So which material is right for you? Keep reading to find out!

Types of Pickleball Paddles:

Wood Paddles

In the past, pickleball paddles were almost always made of wood. The most common type of wood used is northern white ash, a lightweight and sturdy hardwood that provides a great deal of control.

Wood paddles tend to be less expensive than other types, which makes them popular among novice players who are still learning their swing. However, they are also favored by some advanced players because of the control they provide.

Typically, wood paddles are painted with a non-toxic lacquer coating to prevent splintering and rotting when in contact with moisture.  It is possible to purchase unfinished or natural paddles which are not coated, but they will require more care to ensure that they remain free from moisture.

Graphite Paddles

As pickleball popularity has increased over the years, so have the materials used to construct paddles. In recent years, manufacturers of graphite paddles have become more common as players demand lighter and stronger equipment.

Graphite paddles are made by layering thin sheets of the material (formed into a paddle shape) and then curing them in an oven. Graphite paddles are known to be lightweight, durable, and strong.

They also conduct heat well which is good for players who tend to develop blisters or soreness during play.

Aluminum Paddles

Although not as common as graphite and wood, aluminum paddles are still favored by some players. Aluminum is a popular material for many sporting goods because it is lightweight and strong, allowing manufacturers to get the same performance from less weight.

Aluminum paddles are constructed in a similar manner as graphite paddles. However, they tend to be more durable than graphite paddles because they do not conduct heat as well.

Typically, aluminum paddles are more expensive than graphite but less expensive than wood. They also tend to be more popular among advanced players who can generate enough power to break a graphite paddle.

Composite Paddles

There is one other type of pickleball paddle construction that you may see. These paddles are made of many layers of different materials which are laminated together under heat and pressure.

This construction technique is typically used with different types of wood, graphite, or aluminum to get the best qualities of each material in one paddle. However, it can also be used to create composite paddles which are made of different materials.

When it comes to pickleball paddles, there are many options available for players of every skill level and price range. The material you choose will depend on your personal preferences as well as the amount of money you are willing to spend.

Which Paddle Is Best for You?

As you can see, there are different pickleball paddle materials available for players of all skill levels. However, each type is best suited to a specific type of player.

If you are just starting out or your game relies on finesse rather than power, a wood or graphite paddle will suit you best. Either material is lightweight and durable, making them appropriate for novices still improving their techniques.

Wood paddles tend to be less expensive than graphite and provide a great deal of consistency and control during play. If you prefer lightweight equipment or do not generate much power in your swing, graphite paddles will be the perfect option for you.

For advanced players who can generate a great deal of power in their swing, aluminum or composite paddles may be the best choice. Aluminum paddles tend to have a little more heft which can increase your control over the ball.

Composite paddles combine different materials into one paddle, allowing you to get the best qualities from each type of material for a personalized feel.

If you plan to play in a league or in tournaments, it may be in your best interest to invest in an expensive graphite paddle. Although they cost more than wood and aluminum paddles, graphite equipment is known for its durability under intense play.

Whatever type of pickleball paddle material you choose, make sure that you are comfortable with it. Seek out reviews online or ask around to find paddles that are recommended for your skill level and playing style.

Remember, the pickleball paddle is one of your most important pieces of equipment. It needs to be comfortable enough to play with over an extended period of time without causing you physical discomfort or pain. Also, choose a paddle that you can easily adjust to when throwing different types of shots.

When in doubt, consult with an experienced pickleball player about their favorite paddles and why they like them. If you take the time to consider which type of equipment is best for you and choose a paddle accordingly, your game will improve dramatically in no time!

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