When it comes to pickleball paddles, there are two common materials you will see paddles made of, composite and graphite. If you don’t know much about pickleball paddle materials you may be wondering, what are the differences between the two materials? and which type is right for me? Here’s Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles.
Before we begin, let’s talk about wooden pickleball paddles, or really let’s talk about why we aren’t going to talk about them. Wooden pickleball paddles have been around for a very long time, they were actually the first type of pickleball paddle. Wooden pickleball paddles are a fine option. They’re affordable and great introductory paddles. However, if you’re serious about playing Pickleball or looking to upgrade, graphite and fiberglass are the way to go. Wooden paddles offer less power and control and are heavier than the more modern materials.
What is the Best Pickleball Paddle Material?
Composite and graphite are both popular materials for Pickleball paddles. I would like to note though, that there isn’t a definite winner between the two. This is because the “best” material is going to depend on the person. One material is better than the other depending on play preferences and style. However, you should stick to picking between popular materials like composite and graphite and completely avoid wooden paddles.
Composite Pickleball Paddles
Composite paddles are becoming more and more popular every single day due to how affordable they are. This is especially true when you compare them to their graphite counterparts. Composite pickleball paddles tend to have either fiberglass or carbon fiber surfaces and are constructed with composite cores. These cores can consist of that can consist of a variety of different things like polymer, Nomex, and even aluminum.
Composite pickleball paddles allow for great for adding spin to the ball, this is because of their textured surface. Furthermore, these paddles are also lightweight and allow for a great amount of precision and control. Luckily, you can get an excellent, high-performing composite pickleball paddle without breaking the bank. I’d strongly recommend that you use a composite paddle for casual games where you just want to enjoy the game.
Graphite Pickleball Paddles
If you’re someone who is used to playing tennis and are transitioning the Pickleball then a graphite paddle is your safest bet. This is because it’s going to feel the most familiar to you. They’re heavier, more rigid, and stiffer than the other pickleball paddle options.
Graphite pickleball paddles are also usually more expensive than others, this is due to the manufacturing process. This can make it difficult for some players who want to purchase these higher-quality paddles but don’t have the budget for one.
Lastly, graphite pickleball paddles are considered more forgiving because it’s easier on your hand and wrist in comparison to paddles made with fiberglass. These kinds of paddles are also more durable. The most common complaint is that the handles on these pickleball paddles wear out quickly if you don’t take care of it properly.
Paddle Features to Keep in Mind
Of course, if you’re reading this article you’re most likely looking specifically for spin so you may be okay with compromising in some areas. However, I’m still going to share other features to keep in mind as you search for the right pickleball paddle for you.
If there’s one vital feature that you should pay attention to other than control, it’s weight. Weight determines how the paddle feels when you’re holding it, and it affects how well you swing.
Pickleball paddles can range significantly in this area, from anywhere from six to fourteen ounces. Lightweight paddles are those under 7.3 ounces, while medium ranges from 7.3 ounces to 8.4 ounces. Anything over 8.5 is considered heavy.
Every pickleball player’s goal is to take accurate, controlled shots, and finding the right grip is paramount to achieving that goal.
There is some debate about long vs. short grips. You’ll hear that longer grips offer more stability, while shorter grips deliver greater control. But in our humble opinion, the grip should be neither too long nor too short. For most people, a good rule of thumb is that it be roughly the same size as your palm and comfortable to hold.
The paddle’s width is another feature to consider, as it influences how well you can hit the sweet spot. In most cases, paddle width should not exceed twenty-four inches.
Some pickleball paddles have edge guards or protection for the edge of the paddle against chips and damage. Most people prefer medium-sized edge guards, though others go with large sizes, which increase the hitting surface. The trade-off with large edge guards is that the pickleball paddle’s weight increases, which may not be something you want.
Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles: Which One Has a Better Grip?
You may be wondering, why does it matter which kind of paddle has a better grip? Believe it or not, the size of the grip on a pickleball paddle has a pretty big influence on making the perfect shot. When a pickleball paddle has a bigger grip, the paddle can slip off the hand. This makes players miss their shots. When the grip is too small, it may be uncomfortable to hold. However, between the two I usually recommended a small grip.
In the case of which kind of paddle has a better grip, the answer is both. Both kinds of paddles have different grip sizes present. So the suitability is going to fully depend on the user’s preference. If his or her grip is larger, he or she can go for a large grip-sized graphite or composite paddle. But if his or her grip is relatively smaller, he or she should choose a small grip-sized paddle made of either graphite or composite.
Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles: Which Paddle is More Suitable?
Again, just like with grip size the paddle that is more suitable is going to fully depend on the user’s preference and purchasing capability. For example, if you’re a pickleball player with a lot of energy, can keep the paddle balanced, or has the capability of bearing heavier a heavier object then you can buy a graphite pickleball paddle. Another example would be if you’re someone with a powerful swing, suffer from tennis elbow, or don’t want to carry around a heavier paddle then you can buy a composite pickleball paddle.
Composite vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles: Which Paddle is Stickier?
For those who don’t know, some pickleball paddles are more “sticky” than others. No, I don’t mean sticky like glue. Paddles that are “stickier” have a more textured face which allows the ball to gain more spin when it comes into contact with it. It’s illegal to alter the surface of pickleball paddles when going into competitions so if you want a completely legal way to add more spin to the ball, you want to go with a pickleball paddle that has a textured face.
Composite pickleball paddles are usually not as textured as graphite pickleball paddles. Graphite pickleball paddles are tougher so by default it can be assumed that the graphite paddles may be slightly “stickier” than composite ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
When looking for the best pickleball paddle, you may have a few questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or have some pickleball experience. You should learn as much as you can about paddles.
Here are some common paddle questions.
How Long Do Paddles Last?
The lifespan of a paddle depends on the materials and construction. If the paddle’s interior is thin and the exterior is too smooth, your paddle may not be good for long-term use. However, it can be good to get you started.
You should also consider that the area between the paddle and the handle is crucial. That can be a weak spot on a lot of paddles, and that can cause your paddle to break even when the surface is still usable.
If possible, feel the paddle and inspect the edges and the handle. Then, you can determine if it’s durable enough to last through many games.
What Paddles Give You More Power?
Heavier paddles have the most power. While lightweight paddles can be easier to hold and maneuver, they won’t be as strong.
You can also look for super-heavy-weight paddles for even more power. But if you just need an average amount of that, you can get a medium-weight paddle.
What Paddles Offer More Control?
While a larger paddle is more powerful, you may sacrifice control. Smaller and lighter paddles are better for players who need to respond quickly in a game.
You should look for a lightweight or medium-weight paddle for more control. A smaller head can help reduce the overall weight, so you can have more control over your shots.
Can a Good Paddle Help a Beginner?
Many things can help beginner pickleball players, and the right gear is essential. You don’t need the most expensive paddle, but you do need a good-quality one that won’t break the first time you use it.
As a beginner, you may want to start with a lighter paddle. While it won’t be as powerful, it won’t strain your wrist. Once you start playing more, you can decide if you want a heavier, more powerful paddle.
How Should You Hold Your Paddle?
While playing, try to keep your paddle near your chest. That will help improve your reaction time, so you can make more shots early on.
You should also consider stretching before you play. Many pickleball injuries are preventable by warming up. Start by walking or jogging around the court, then stretch out your wrists and arms to help avoid fatigue.
Make sure your paddle feels comfortable and secure in your hand. If the handle feels too short, you may not have the best pickleball paddle for you. It shouldn’t feel like you have to strain to hold the paddle securely.
Pickleball is a unique sport that is more accessible to a broader audience than other forms of exercise. This sport combines elements from badminton, tennis, and ping-pong in an easy-to-understand manner. This makes it suitable for those in a wheelchair, mature adults, and families with members of all ages.
If you’re trying to choose between Composite vs Graphite pickleball paddles, the decision can be a difficult one. Despite the similarities between both, the two are starkly different when it comes to gameplay. No matter whether you choose composite or graphite, you’re bound to improve the way you play over time. Both paddle options offer an ideal way to improve both striking power and grip strength.
Hopefully, this guide helped you understand Graphite Vs Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles. Do you have a graphite or fiberglass pickleball paddle? If so, what do you think of it? Please let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
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