So, you want to start playing pickleball? Excellent, pickleball is such a great sport! It keeps you fit, it’s fun, and it helps you make new friends! However, do you find that when you start shopping around for a paddle, the sheer number of brand options is overwhelming for you? That’s where I come in. I’ve put together a guide on the best paddle brands.
There are quite a few companies that make pickleball paddles and they each have an interesting story to tell. Some companies started out as the hobby of a family or individual and have grown into something much bigger. While others have been in the manufacturing game for a while and expanded their offerings to pickleball. Here is a shortlist of the best paddle brands and their story. This list should give you a good idea of your options.
The Best Paddle Brands
Here are the top 7 Pickleball paddle brands.
ONIX is a brand that solely produces products for pickleball. One thing that I love is that on their site they have something called, “Paddle Selector”, this is a short quiz for customers to take to help them find the perfect ONIX pickleball paddle for them. You can find it here.
ONIX was founded in 2005, they work with the athletes they sponsor to develop the latest technology for pickleball products and are dedicated to always improving. They have several popular pickleball paddles that I’m sure you’ve heard of, including the ONIX Evoke Premiere Pickleball Paddle and the ONIX Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle. ONIX organizes their paddles by experience level. They also offer recreational, intermediate, and performance level paddles, the performance level paddles retail from $100-$150, their intermediate level paddles retail from $80-$100, and their recreational level paddles retail from $70-$90.
Selkirk’s motto is “We are pickleball.” They back up that motto with their many high-quality products. Selkirk was founded in 2014, and they solely produce products for pickleball. Selkirk has also created a free app for streaming pickleball content, called Selkirk TV. They also have Selkirk Labs, which is a program that allows their community members to engage with Selkirk’s development of the next advancements in pickleball technology. One of their most popular paddles is the Selkirk AMPED S2 X5 FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle. This paddle is more expensive than other paddles available and is geared more towards advanced pickleball players.
Another one of the best paddle brands, PROLITE is a pickleball brand that offers a wide variety of paddle options including customizable pickleball paddles. They also have a trade-in program, fit charts, and grip fit resources. PROLITE was founded in 1984 and was the maker of the very first composite pickleball paddle. This was a development that changed pickleball forever. They offer three paddle series: the I-Series, the PowerSpin 2.0 Series, and the LX Series. Some of their most popular pickleball paddles are the PROLITE Titan Pro Black Diamond Pickleball Paddle and the PROLITE Magnum Graphite Stealth Pickleball Paddle. PROLITE’s pickleball paddles can retail anywhere from $50-$200.
Engage Pickleball solely makes products for Pickleball and they offer multi-day camps to help you learn. Their pickleball paddles tend to range anywhere from $100 to $200 and are some of the more expensive paddles you can buy today. However, I would like to mention that I believe the paddles are worth the investment if you are looking for a top-of-the-line paddle. These paddles can handle pro-level gameplay and last a long time. Engage offers four lines of pickleball paddles: the Pursuit Series, the Poach Infinity Series, the Encore Series, and the Elite Series. The Pursuit Series is the most expensive paddles out of all of them and retail around $200.
One of the best paddle brands, GAMMA Sports produces products for both pickleball and tennis. They started creating tennis equipment in 1974 and in 2014 they noticed a growing demand for pickleball supplies and began producing paddles and balls. GAMMA has many popular pickleball paddles, including the Neutron 2.0, the GAMMA Legend Neucore Pickleball Paddle, the Needle Graphite Pickleball Paddle, and the Poly Core Pickleball Paddle. I want to give a quick shout-out to the GAMMA Poly Core Pickleball Paddle. It’s really great for players of all skill levels and retails for about $120.
You may be noticing a trend here, Paddletek is another brand that only makes products for Pickleball. One of this brand’s signature features is the option to customize your paddle. Paddletek was founded in 2010, they dived in head first and introduced their honeycomb core first thing. Paddletek is one of the oldest exclusively pickleball brands. Since 2010, they have continued to introduce new technology to the market, like their Smart Response Technology and vibration control. Paddletek has many popular paddles, such as the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro and the Paddletek Bantam Ex-L Composite Pickleball Paddle.
Vulcan serves athletes who play Pickleball, Tennis, Baseball, and Softball. However, pickleball is their specialty. Vulcan Sporting Goods claims their pickleball line is the future of the sport, they sure work hard to achieve that title. They offer Vulcan IQ Pickleball Clinics to help grow the sport nationwide. Vulcan has three paddle series: the V300 Series, the V500 Series, and the V700 Series. They also have their Pickleball line called Paddle Candy, this line features paddles with vibrant art on them. One of their most popular paddles is the V560 Control Pickleball Paddle, which retails for around $150.
Different Pickleball Paddle Features
Now that you know the best paddle brands and you’ve found one that you want to go with it’s important that you first understand the different pickleball paddle features. It’s important to note that each of these features has some benefits as well as tradeoffs that you should be aware of.
As stated previously, pickleball paddles come in a variety of shapes but there are shapes that are more common than others. The most common pickleball paddle shape is the rounded rectangle. Paddles with these shapes have a length of approximately 14 to 16 inches and a width of about 8 inches.
There is a different pickleball paddle shape that is becoming increasingly more popular, the elongated shape. Elongated pickleball paddles have the regular rounded rectangular shape, however, they’re longer than the standard rounded rectangle. These kinds of paddles are usually 17 inches long and 7 inches wide. The different shapes can offer either bigger or smaller sweet spots and can help provide a player have more finesse or power when playing.
Size is important when it comes to pickleball paddles. This is because it affects how far you will need to stretch for the ball and the amount of jump the ball will have when it bounces off the face of the paddle. Choosing the right size is going to fully depend on your personal playing style and the type of grip you like.
In recent years, pickleball paddles have been being made from different materials. Back when pickleball first started and up until a few years ago a lot of pickleball models were made from wood. Wood is sometimes still used today but it usually has some type of coating to help provide more durability, control, and impact on the ball.
However, players that are more advanced use paddles that are made from better materials like composite, graphite, and carbon fiber. These kinds of paddles also use better materials for the core, like Nomex, aluminum, and polypropylene.
Weight & Balance
Pickleball paddle weights can range significantly, anywhere from 6 ounces to 14 ounces. Pickleball paddles made from newer materials weigh around 6 to 9 ounces. It may seem like a few ounces wouldn’t make a huge difference, but you’d be surprised. When you swing the paddle to hit the ball countless times during a match, you’ll definitely notice the difference those few ounces can make.
Balance is another essential feature of pickleball paddles. You may find that some pickleball paddles are heavier towards the top, while others are heavier towards the bottom, by the grip. Paddles that are balanced offer equal weight distribution in the middle of the paddle.
I want to quickly go over with you why balance is important. When you swing the paddle, the heavier side usually leads the shot. Meaning if the paddle is not balanced where you think it is your shot may not go where you want it to. Don’t worry though, it’s easy to check where a paddle is balanced. To check, lay your paddle horizontally over a few fingers. Wherever you place your fingers on the paddle and the paddle doesn’t tip shows where the center of the paddle is. If your fingers have to be placed at the top for this to happen, then the paddle is top-heavy. If your fingers are more toward the bottom of the paddle, then it’s bottom-heavy.
Paddle Features to Keep in Mind
Now that you know the best paddle brands and different pickleball paddle features here are the ones that should 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 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.
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 Carbon Fiber 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 Carbon Fiber vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles. Do you have a graphite or carbon fiber 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!
Looking for more? Here are some other articles I put together:
- The Best Pro Pickleball Paddles
- Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleball Paddles
- The Best Pickleball Paddles for Women
- Composite vs. Graphite Pickleball Paddles
- Can You Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?
- Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners
- Pickleball Strategy – Advanced
- What Is the 2 Bounce Rule in Pickleball?
- What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?
- Pickleball vs. Tennis, What is the Difference?
- The Best Women’s Pickleball Shoes
- The Best HEAD Pickleball Paddles
- Pickleball Serving Rules, Techniques, & Strategies
- Pickleball Volley Rules
- What is a Fault in Pickleball?
- Best Pickleball Paddle in 2021
- Men’s Pickleball Shorts
- Engage Pickleball vs. Onix Pickleball
- The Best Pickleball Shoes for Men
- Onix Pickleball