According to an article in the Economist, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America.
So it’s no wonder many well-known tennis and racquetball brands are now jumping into the pickleball market. And now that you’ve got more options than ever before, it’s all the more important to choose the right paddle for your skill level and style of play. Playing with the right paddle can have a huge impact on your performance. And we've compiled the top pickleball brands for you here, along with some of their most popular and best-performing paddles. Read More
If you’re not familiar with Babolat, you’ll definitely want to be. In such a rapidly growing sport as pickleball, Babolat is one of the fastest-growing pickleball paddle companies. And they’ve got some very unique technologies that they incorporate into their paddles.
Babolat Rebel Series
Babolat’s Rebel series paddles are a diehard fan favorite.
The Rebel Series comes in a Touch model and a Power model, the only difference being that the power model is heavier. Generally speaking, a heavier paddle will help you naturally generate power, where a lighter one will require you to use more arm strength to generate power.
So if you’re newer to pickleball, or just prefer a paddle that helps you generate more power with less effort, then you’d probably prefer the Rebel Power over the Rebel Touch.
If you’ve built up your arm strength, or if you just prefer a lighter pickleball paddle that makes it easier to put spin on your shots, then you’d likely want to go with the Rebel Touch.
If you’d prefer playing with a fiberglass paddle, then you’d want to opt for one of the Renegade models. Though fiberglass VS graphite is mostly a personal preference.
Best Babolat Pickleball Paddle for power shots
Great Power, a little control -- The Rebel Power
If you’re slightly more interested in targeting where you hit the ball, you’d probably appreciate a graphite paddle like the Rebel Power. Especially since it still has plenty of zing to hit each shot over the net.
Best Babolat Pickleball Paddle for spin and finesse
If you're the type of pickleball player who likes to play aggressive and use lots of spin, you’ll probably be more interested in either the Rebel Touch, Renegade Touch, or Monster Power.
Great control, just a hint less power -- The Rebel Touch
The Rebel Touch is made of graphite and the lighter of the two Rebel models. This means less natural power and more control over your shots.
Diadem is known for being an innovator with their pickleball paddles. And they try to make pickleball accessible to players of all levels, including beginners.
The Diadem Hero is the ultimate paddle for newie pickleball players.
The Hero has a large head size with a generous sweet spot. This makes it easier for newer players to return the ball even if they aren’t yet accurate enough to hit dead center of the paddle with each shot.
Who is the Diadem Hero for?
The Diadem Hero is ideal for brand new pickleball players, particularly players who want a paddle with more power as they’re starting to build up their arm strength.
Franklin is one of the prominent pickleball brands, which is why their paddles are used by pro pickleball players like Aspen Kern, Christine McGrath, and Ben Johns.
In fact, Franklin partnered with these elite players to design pickleball paddles named after them.
Of all Franklin's signature paddles, the Ben Johns is definitely the most well-rounded.
The Christine McGrath paddle is geared more for delivering power, and the Aspen Kern is geared more toward delivering touch. The Ben Johns sits right in the middle of those two, and offers both power and touch.
But perhaps the most standout feature of this paddle is the gritty surface, making it excellent for putting spin on the ball. This might just have the grittiest surface of any pickleball paddle.
It’s on the heavier end of the mid-weight paddles, so it’s going to feel more stable when hitting the ball. And as a nice bonus, it’s got a longer handle (5 ½ inch), which makes it easier for two-handed shots.
Playing experience with the Franklin Ben Johns pickleball paddle
Because of just how thick this paddle is, it feels like you’re catching the ball like a glove, taking some of the power off. So even though the Ben Johns has a fiberglass face, which is typically associated with power, it still gives you plenty of control of how you hit the ball.
This is why, when it comes to going on offense and attacking the ball, the Ben Johns really shines.
Who is the Franklin Ben Johns pickleball paddle for?
The Ben Johns is probably best suited for an intermediate pickleball player who’s focused on putting spin on the ball.
If you’re looking for a thick paddle with a little more power, the Ben Johns is likely what you’re looking for.
For defense, especially dink shots, the Ben Johns may have just a bit too much power. The reason it might not be ideal for a beginner is that you’ll have to use your own finesse for dink shots. If you rely on the paddle alone, you’ll hit dinks too hard and send the ball flying.
But don’t think of the Ben Johns as a power paddle. If you’re just looking for a paddle with tons of pop, this probably doesn’t offer as much as you may be thinking. It’s still a thick control paddle. It just has more power than other thick control paddles.
So if you’re an intermediate player looking for a thick control paddle with just a bit more power, and great for generating spin, The Ben Johns is one of the better paddles out there.
Gamma is one of the elite pickleball paddle brands. This is why they’re used by rofessional pickleball players like Paul Olin.
The Gamma Compass is an extended length paddle, built to give you great control and a longer reach.
The Compass is a very long paddle (16 ⅝ inches) so you’ll be able to reach more shots than with a shorter paddle. And because the face isn’t as wide as other paddles, you’re going to have a slightly smaller sweet spot.
The graphite facing material is lightly textured to help generate spin. And when combined with the thick 16mm core gives you more control over your shots.
The Compass is going to be better suited for one single-handed players thanks to its shorter 4 ½ inch handle. If you like hitting double-handed shots, the Compass might not be the best fit for you.
Playing experience with the Gamma Compass
The Gamma Compass is great for your soft game, especially if you play aggressively around the kitchen.
When it comes to attacking, you probably won’t be quite as fast because of the extended paddle size. And as far as generating power, just keep in mind that you’ll most likely be playing with one hand due to the shorter handle length.
Who is the Gamma Compass for?
The Gamma Compass is great for more experienced players who want a control paddle with an extended reach.
It probably won’t be the most ideal if you like using two hands for power shots because of the shorter handle.
But if you’re looking for a thicker paddle to absorb power and a longer reach, then the Compass is likely what you’re looking for.
HEAD is one of the most loved pickleball brands out there. Some of the top players like Will Willson, David Seckel, and Steve Deakin play with HEAD paddles.
The HEAD Gravity is a thick paddle with a wide face. It’s great at absorbing the energy off shots so you can slow down the game and have better control.
This is what makes the HEAD Gravity paddle perfect for your soft game.
It also has a shorter handle which lets you get closer to groundstrokes without actually scraping the ground.
The Gravity has a very grippy surface, which makes it easy to generate spin.
And while control paddles typically have less power, the HEAD Gravity actually has plenty of power, though for a different reason.
The Gravity is such a dense paddle, its power comes from the momentum of plowing through your swing. This is definitely not something you’ll get playing with a thinner, lighter paddle.
What's it like playing with the HEAD Gravity?
One of the first things you'll notice playing with the Gravity is how stable it feels in your hand. It also feels balanced, not head heavy like some other paddles.
Another thing you’ll notice playing with the Gravity is that even when the ball hits the outer edges, thanks to the paddle's density, you’ll still have enough power to send the ball back across the net.
Who is the HEAD Gravity for?
The Gravity is great for more higher-end players with plenty of experience who are mostly focused on control, particularly on offense.
Onix is one of the most respected pickleball brands in the game. Professional pickleball players like Steve Cole, Bonnie Williams, and Bryon Freso all use Onix paddles.
The Graphite Z5 WideBody is the flagship paddle of the Onix brand. In fact, it’s possibly the most popular pickleball paddle in existence.
It leans towards control which means just a hint less power, mainly because of its graphite facing material. And it’s got good consistency thanks to its wider face and therefore a larger sweet spot.
One of the reasons the Z5 WideBody is so popular is because it's similar in size to a tennis racquet. This makes it easy for people to transition to pickleball from playing tennis.
Who is the Onix Graphite Z5 for?
The Graphite Z5 is great for intermediate players, especially ones coming from a racquet sport like racquetball or tennis.
The Graphite version might not have enough power for newbies, but probably not enough touch for very experienced pickleball players. It sort of sits in that sweet spot for intermediate-level players.
Paddletek is a fan favorite pickleball brand, and plenty of diehards swear by it. Many pro pickleball players like Catherine Parenteau, Dave Weinbach, and Adam Stone all use Paddletek.
The Paddletek Tempest Wave II is one of the most well-rounded pickleball paddles, which is why it’s the bestselling Paddletek paddle.
The Wave II is a little lighter than a model like the Wave Pro, which makes it easier to swing and gives you better maneuverability.
This also makes it easier for less experienced players to swing while they’re building their arm strength, or just for players who’d prefer a lightweight paddle.
Who is the Paddletek Tempest Wave II for?
The Tempest Wave II is great for beginner-to-intermediate players who want a well-rounded paddle so they're covered in all areas of the game.
PROLITE was the first pickleball brand to use composite facing material in a pickleball paddle, and they're still innovating with ground-breaking paddle technology today.
The PROLITE Rebel Powerspin is an elongated paddle built for power.
The first place the Rebel Powerspin gets its power from is its fiberglass face. Fiberglass is known for having more pop than a softer graphite material.
Another place this paddle derives its power is from its 16-inch length. This gives you more leverage when hitting the ball.
And the third place the Rebel Powerspin gets its power is the weight distribution. This is a head-heavy paddle that gives you more plow-through momentum in your swing.
Who is the PROLITE Rebel Powerspin for?
The Rebel Powerspin is ideal for more recreational players who are interested in spin and especially power.
It’s also going to be better for players who aren’t quite as accurate yet. It’s got a more spread-out sweet spot, which means even if you don’t hit each shot dead center, you’ll still give a nice return.
Wilson is one of the well-known brands in existence, and their pickleball paddles are used by some of the best pickleball players on the planet.
The Wilson Juice XL is a skinny, light, very long paddle.
It has the maximum allowed paddle length at 17 inches long. This gives you great reach and extra leverage which translates to more power.
The hitting surface is pretty narrow, so you'll have to be skilled at getting into position in order to hit the ball just right.
The face is made of a hybrid composite fiberglass so you'll have a good combo of touch and power.
Thanks to the lengthy frame this isn’t the most maneuverable paddle. But when you whack the ball, you will definitely notice the difference in the power it generates.
Who is the Wilson Juice XL for?
If you're a brand new pickleball player the Juice XL might not be the best paddle for you because if you’re not yet accurate enough to hit the ball just right, you’re not going to have great control over it.
But if you're looking for extended reach and tons of power, this is the longest, most powerful Wilson pickleball paddle.
Tips for choosing the best pickleball paddle for you
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.
Power VS Touch
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!Back To Top