Are you looking for a new pickleball paddle? If yes, then you first should know the procedure of how to choose a pickleball paddle and what factors are involved in choosing the right paddle.
Pickleball is one of the famous sports in the US that is played by every age person. With the rapid growth of many new players, there is also a rise in online stores and sports shops selling pickleball gear.
Among the most important pieces of gear in the entire game of pickleball is the paddle. Finding the perfect pickleball paddle is a tough task especially as there are so many paddle options to choose from.
Therefore, in this article, I have explained the pickleball paddle buying guide that will make it easy for you to pick the right paddle for your game. Let’s begin the journey.
Things to consider in buying a pickleball paddle
There are several things to consider before purchasing a pickleball paddle. These include size, shape, material, price, and warranty. Your performance and post-game physical state both can be significantly affected by the paddle.
Thus, it is crucial to have information on how to buy a pickleball paddle so that you can have the best paddle in your hand.
How to select a pickleball paddle?
In my opinion, there are six main factors that you should consider and focus on when selecting a pickleball paddle. Those are
- Paddle weight
- Paddle size
- Paddle grip size
- Paddle material
- Core Construction
- Paddle shape
The weight of the pickleball paddle is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a paddle. Your playability is impacted by the paddle’s weight.
When it comes to weight, pickleball paddles have a range of 6-14 ounces. Paddles that are less than 7.2 oz. are considered lightweight. Mid-weight paddles lie between 7.3-8.2 ounces while anything above 8.2 ounces is said to be heavyweight.
How important is the weight of the pickleball paddle?
If you are a newbie, you will want to start with a lightweight pickleball paddle. It gives you more control over your gaming experience. With strong wrist action, you can easily swing the lighter paddle and gets more precision in your shots.
The only downside of a lightweight paddle is the lack of power and you have to swing it harder to get more force and drive.
If you are looking for a combination of both power and control then mid-weight paddles are the preferred option. They provide a perfect weight balance for all play situations, as they are neither too heavy nor too light.
In the case of heavy paddles, you do not need a big swing, as it will give you more power and drive but less control at the same time. Players who prefer more power than control should consider heavy paddles.
While a heavier paddle will enable you to swing it more quickly, doing so will involve more work and it can lead to elbow pain and arm fatigue.
The size of the paddle is determined by how much power you want to have while playing. If you play at a recreational level, then you should look for a paddle that is about 4 inches wide. If you want to compete in games, you should look at paddles that are 6-8 inches wide.
When choosing a size, you also need to Think about the size of your hand. Those with little hands might select a smaller-sized paddle. On the other hand, if you have big hands, you may prefer to go for a larger-sized paddle.
Paddle grip size
After selecting the paddle’s weight and size, the next important step in how to choose a pickleball paddle is to find the right grip size that will easily adjust in your hands. Just like weight, choosing the wrong size grip can also cause severe elbow pain.
There are two main sizes of pickleball paddle grips: small and large. For better spin and control, I prefer smaller grips as it provides more wrist action. While for more stability, you should use a larger grip as it will put less strain on the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints.
In simple words, a smaller grip is for those who have small hands while for big hands a larger grip is more suitable.
How to select the appropriate grip size for a pickleball paddle?
There are numerous ways to measure the correct grip size. However, the simple, quickest, and easiest way that works most of the time is to find out through your height.
|Your Height||Grip Size|
|Under 5’2”||4” grip|
|5’3″ to 5’8″||4 1/8” to 4 ½” grip|
|5’9” and taller||4 ½” grip|
It is better to try out some paddles before choosing the grip. If you’re still unclear about the two sizes, always pick a smaller grip. You can make it bigger after some time once you feel it is too small by adding extra over-grip tape.
The material used for making the pickleball paddle should be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of playing pickleball. You should check to see if the paddle is strong enough to last throughout the entire season. There are three different kinds of components used in the material of a pickleball paddle.
- Fiberglass (Composite)
Wood paddles are considered the cheapest but also the heaviest paddles among these three types. They last a long time and are strong. They don’t, though provide any cushioning for your hand. For a beginner, if you want to invest in pickleball equipment then a wood paddle is the best option.
Composite paddles or also known as fiberglass is a medium between wood and graphite. They are neither too expensive nor too cheap and is offered in various sizes and price ranges. These paddles are slowly but surely gaining the pickleball community’s acceptance.
Composite paddles are lighter than wood paddles and are often preferred over wood paddles due to their durability and ease of maintenance.
Graphite paddles are the most expensive but extremely light in weight and provide excellent performance on the court. They have a strong thin graphite material. Many experienced players pick these paddles because they are easy to control but they are the least durable as well.
Another important factor in the process of how to choose a pickleball paddle is the construction of the core. There are three main types of core material used in making a pickleball paddle.
- Aluminum core
- Nomex Honeycomb core
- Polymer core
Most of the pickleball paddles have aluminum cores in them. These are lightweight but strong enough to offer enhanced mobility and control. But paddles with aluminum cores in addition to being lightweight do lack in power.
Consequently, you shouldn’t anticipate having the same amount of driving power as someone employing a heavier core type.
Nomex honeycomb core is a material commonly used in pickleball paddles. It is weaved into a composite material combined with nylon fibers embedded in a polyurethane matrix.
It is great for use in paddles since the material is sturdy and long-lasting. These cores are recommended by both experienced and newbie players as they provide a combination of power and accuracy.
The only drawback of these cores is that they create a lot of noise each time the ball hits the paddle. So if you prefer quiet paddles then these cores are not the go-to choice.
The polymer core is a material that is highly used in the construction of paddles. This particular composite material is made of polymers and fibers. These polymer cores are the newest style among the three core types. Unlike Nomex core, polymer core is soft and that makes the paddle less noisy.
But there are also some drawbacks of this core. Being soft, the polymer core lacks power as compared to the Nomex core and takes away the force in your shots. Those players who prefer control over power should use a paddle made with a polymer core.
When it comes to the shape of a pickleball paddle there is a lot of variety in the market. But there is a general pickleball rule that the total length and width of a paddle should not exceed 24 inches and 17 inches respectively. Hence, it is crucial to maintain these parameters when selecting a pickleball paddle shape.
Following are the different types of shapes of a pickleball paddle.
1. Standard Paddle
The standard paddle is the most basic shape of pickleball paddles. There is a smooth surface with no curves or indentations. These paddles are often used for beginners who would like to learn pickleball. The paddle’s typical size is 16 inches long by 8 inches wide, which is under USAPA guidelines.
2. Curved or Elongated Paddle
A curved paddle is similar to a standard paddle except that it has a slight curve to it. A curved paddle may have a slight curve to it or a very pronounced curve.
When choosing a curved paddle, consider what type of player you are. The average length of a curved pickleball paddle is between 16 and 17 inches with 7.5 inches in width.
3. Round Paddle
Round paddles are round in shape and have no sharp edges. They are commonly used for recreational players who enjoy playing pickleball indoors. Round paddles are great for beginners because they allow them to get their feet wet without hurting themselves.
4. Square Paddle
Square paddles are square and have sharp corners. They are frequently utilised by professional athletes who prefer to use square paddles over round paddles.
5. Wedge Paddle
Wedge paddles are wedge-shaped and have a rounded edge at the top. They are frequently utilised in pickleball tournaments.
6. Flat-Top Paddle
Flat-top paddles are flat-top in shape and have no curves or indentations on the top. They are often used for recreational players who do not want to hurt themselves while learning how to play pickleball.
7. Double-Sided Paddle
Double-sided paddles are double-sided in shape and have two different surfaces. Both sides are smooth on one side and rough on the other. They can be utilized for improving grip.
A good pickleball paddle is important if you want to succeed in the pickleball sport. Choosing a perfect paddle that matches your style of play can be challenging as there is so much variety available in the market.
To make it simple and less confusing, I have gone through the process of how to choose a pickleball paddle in this article. The easiest method to select a paddle is to test out a couple of options and determine which one feels comfortable and improves your game the most. I hope this guide will make it easy for you to find the right paddle and above all allow you to have fun playing pickleball.