Pickleball is a great entry-level sport for anyone interested in having fun and getting in better shape. As players become more competitive, many start to put more thought into their pickleball gear. This is particularly true for considering what types of pickleball paddles someone should be using.
So which type of pickleball paddle is best? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all paddle. Instead, you’ll need to examine what precisely you want out of a paddle and what goals you are trying to accomplish before you can land on the paddle that is “best” for you!
If you’re looking for a complete beginner’s guide check out our guide: Pickleball Strategy: Complete Beginners Guide!
What is the Best Type of Pickleball Paddle?
When deciding which pickleball paddle is best for you, there are many factors to consider, including the paddle’s material. However, you should avoid getting distracted with available materials and designs and focus on two key factors: the weight of the paddle and the grip size.
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Deciding the weight of your paddle is important because it will determine the style of pickleball you’ll play. Heavier paddles provide more hitting power, making balls go further and faster. Though power is good, heavier paddles will also fatigue you more quickly.
Most top pickleball pros would say that the weight of your paddle should be the top factor when selecting a paddle. Picklball Paddles range in weight from about 6 ounces to about 14 ounces.pickleballgalaxy.com
In the same vein, lighter paddles are easier to swing and can help conserve stamina. Of course, you’ll sacrifice hitting power in exchange for easier swings. First, you should start with a lighter paddle and work your way up to a weight that is a good compromise between stamina and power.
Paddle weight also affects the techniques you can use during play. If you want to focus on spins and slices, a heavier paddle will make it more difficult for finesse control. Lighter paddles will make it easier to pull off advanced swinging techniques.
If you are looking for a heavier paddle, consider those made from fiberglass. If you are looking for a lighter paddle, then graphite paddles will be where you want to start your search.
The other important factor in choosing a pickleball paddle is the size of the grip. Unlike paddle weight, where you are looking for a compromise between power and control, determining your grip size is more like looking for the “right answer.” A paddle that is too thin or too wide will impact your ability to play, so you want a paddle that fits “just right.”
Determining the ideal paddle size can be challenging, especially for beginners. If possible, we recommend going into a retailer where you can hold and try several different paddles to determine your grip size.
This may not be an option for many players, so there are some general rules you can follow to get as close as possible. Your height will generally play a role in picking the right length of the handle. Those below 5’2” will usually choose a 4in grip, those between 5’2” and 5’8” will choose a 4.25in grip, and those taller than 5’8” will choose a 4.5in grip.
Your height and corresponding grip size is not a rule set in stone, especially if you know that you have unusually large or small hands. However, if you have never bought a paddle and don’t have access to a retail store, your height is a good rule of thumb.
You can measure your hand to get a general idea of how wide the circumference of your paddle should be. Using a tape measure, determine the length between the tip of your ring finger and about the middle of your palm. This will give you a good idea of the circumference you need in a paddle.
If you are buying a paddle for the first time, it is better to err on the side of the circumference being a bit too small. A paddle that is too small may feel a little uncomfortable to use, but you will still be able to play without much issue.
A paddle that is too large, on the other hand, could prevent you from playing at all. It will make swinging challenging, putting a spin on the ball nearly impossible, and you’re much more likely to throw your paddle in the heat of a match.
Now that you understand how to best pick a paddle for yourself, it will be easier to determine what type of pickleball paddle is best for you. We’ve mentioned a few already, but we’ll take the time to go a bit more in-depth here for the types of pickleball paddles you can expect to find.
Different Types of Pickleball Paddles
Fiberglass paddles will usually be in the middle range in terms of weight and on the low end in terms of budget. They typically provide a middle ground of power and control, though other materials of similar weights will provide more power.
One of the more popular materials, carbon, is strong and lightweight. Budget carbon paddles are common, but you will sacrifice a lot of power. High-end carbon paddles will give you both control and power, though their high cost prices many casual players out.
Wood paddles are what players will look for when they want power. Wood will be the heaviest material, which translates to offering the most power in a swing. If you have the strength and stamina to handle a heavier paddle, wood offers a compelling choice for that extra “pop.”
Textured paddles are usually a mix of fiberglass and carbon. The textured surface grips the ball better, allowing players to more easily add spin to the ball. The carbon-fiberglass mix means most textured paddles are lightweight, which further aids in the precision control required to put a spin on balls.
Finding the Best Pickleball Paddle for You
There are dozens of choices of pickleball paddles. While we covered the most important factors in this article, there are many other factors to consider, including the interior design of the paddle and even the overall shape of the paddle.
Most pickleball players won’t know the exact paddle they want until they have played several games. You may even end up with several different paddles depending on the varying styles of play you are practicing. Take your time evaluating the factors, and don’t be afraid to try out all different types of pickleball paddles!
Are you looking for more pickleball guides? If so, you’re in luck! We have plenty of other guides to help you, check them out: Why is it Called Pickleball?, Pickleball Rules, Pickleball Court Dimensions, Pickleball Scoring, What is Pickleball?, Best Pickleball Shoes, and How to Play Pickleball!