Is your pickleball game sweet or sour? Naturally, practice will help you improve tremendously, but playing (and practicing) with the right paddle for your skill level and style of play can also have a huge impact on your performance.
Pickleball paddles come in a variety of weights, shapes, and materials. Light paddles offer more control and less power, whereas heavy paddles provide less control and more power. If you opt for a heavier paddle, be careful of elbow strain or arm fatigue during gameplay. The original pickleball paddles were made of wood, and wood paddles are still popular among players looking for power—despite the considerable weight of wood. Another benefit to having a wood paddle is that it’s inexpensive and relatively durable.
Composite paddles feature a core material covered in a different face material to achieve the desired combination of power and touch. The main core materials are polymer, Nomex, and aluminum. Polymer-core paddles are lightweight and flexible with a soft touch, Nomex-core paddles are stiffer and offer a little more power, and aluminum-core paddles are heavier and stiffer for more power. Popular face materials include graphite, fiberglass, and polymer. Graphite is ultralight and ultra-stiff for good control. Fiberglass faces are a bit more flexible and their textures can help players control ball spin. Polymer faces offer improved durability as well as vibrant aesthetics.
When choosing a pickleball paddle, decide whether you want to focus more on power or touch—or if you’d prefer a balance of both. Hybrid paddles utilize layers of different face materials to achieve an advanced power and touch combination. To determine if the paddle is a good fit for your hand, grip it in your dominant hand and place the index finger of your other hand between your gripping hand’s fingertips and heel. Your finger should fit without you having to adjust your grip on the paddle.
After you’ve figured out what you need in a paddle is when the real fun starts! We carry a vast collection of the best pickleball paddles available from brands like HEAD, Gamma, Harrow, Wilson, Paddletek, Onix Pickleball, and more. Your budget, skill level, and personal preferences all come into play when you’re shopping for a pickleball paddle, and with so many combinations of weight, size, shape, and material—your perfect paddle is out there! Browse our large collection of paddles by brand, core, or price to make finding your match a snap!