When it comes to pickleball paddles, there are two common materials you will see paddles made of, wood 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 Wood vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles.
What is the Best Pickleball Paddle Material?
Wood 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.
Wood Pickleball Paddles
Before diving into wood vs graphite pickleball paddles, we need to take a look at why you would want to purchase a wood pickleball paddle.
Wooden pickleball paddles are very durable, however, they’re heavy. This is why many people avoid wooden pickleball paddles these days, especially because technology has surpassed wood as the material of choice for paddles. If you are new to pickleball and just want to give it a try, wooden paddles are a good option to try. Also, if you have children who want to play since they’re such durable options wooden paddles work well.
Additionally, if you want to have extra paddles on hand for guests or participate in clubs where you need to share a large number of paddles, wooden paddles are a good option since they’re inexpensive. However, if you’re an individual who plans to play pickleball on a regular basis, I recommend you don’t go with a wooden paddle and go for a lighter graphite pickleball paddle instead.
Pros and Cons of Wooden Pickleball Paddles
There are some pros and cons of using wooden pickleball paddles. Here are some of the things you should consider before making a purchase:
- Wooden pickleball paddles tend to be less expensive than other options
- Wood pickleball paddles are more durable, they last longer than composite and graphite pickleball paddles
- Wooden pickleball paddles offer more power, which can help you return the ball easily
- Wooden paddles are heavier than graphite pickleball paddles. They tend to weigh around 10 ounces or more. This weight can put significant strain on the wrist
- It’s harder to control shots with wooden pickleball paddles
- Modern-day technology provides us with paddles that have special features that can help you during a 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.
Pros and Cons of Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Many professional pickleball players prefer a graphite paddle for a variety of reasons. Although the graphite portion of the paddle is light and rigid, the paddle itself provides exceptional levels of touch and feel.
- Graphite paddles are more rigid than composite paddles, this is actually a good thing because it provides a softer touch when it comes in contact with the ball.
- If you’re a player who wins at the kitchen line a lot, then a top-of-the-line graphite paddle is for you. They provide enough power to return the ball
- Response and feel is something graphite paddles excel at, that’s also what makes them fun to play with!
- Their lightweight feel is great but it does limit these paddles from providing enough power
- Game-winning and plow-through passing shots can be slightly harder due to graphite paddles lighter weights
- There are tons of graphite paddles on the market, while this may seem like a good thing this can be problematic because it can be very easy to get sucked into buying a paddle that looks good. It looks good but it may not perform well.
Paddle Features to Keep in Mind
Of course, if you’re reading this article you’re most likely looking specifically for information on wood vs graphite pickleball paddles so you may be okay with compromising in some areas. However, I’m still going to share other features that you 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 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know wood vs graphite pickleball paddles, you may find that you still 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 Wood 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 wood 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 Wood vs Graphite 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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