Understanding the differences between pickleball paddles can be VERY confusing! We receive questions like "which pickleball paddle should I purchase?" and "how can I tell if a pickleball paddle is good?" all the time. While there is no one-size fits all answer, it can be helpful to learn some of the terminology and gain a general understanding of a few aspects of paddles.
What Should You Know?
Before moving forward, there are certain things that you absolutely need to know in order to buy the best pickleball paddle. There is a lot of information out there about these paddles and what they have to offer. You need to be able to narrow your focus just a bit in order to understand what you need to concern yourself with initially. There are three basic things that you need to think about when selecting your new paddle.
- The material of the paddle
- The weight of the pickleball paddle
- How well the grip size suits your hands
Understanding these factors is going to be crucial when you want to find the right paddle for you. You need to have a pickleball paddle that you can feel perfectly comfortable with. You need the paddle to feel natural in your hands and it needs to suit your size. It is not unlike a tennis racquet when it comes to sizing your paddle.
1. The Material of the Paddle
When pickleball was first invented, players used wooden paddles and some organizations still use wooden paddles due to the lower cost. Try our EDGE100 paddle, made of tenacious 7-plywood construction, this paddle is engineered to ergonomically fit your hand thanks to an EVA handle and soft-cushion grip.
The best quality paddles are made of lightweight materials due to their lower weight and higher durability.
Professionals tend to use mostly graphite pickleball paddles with a Nomex honeycomb core, like our USA Pickleball Approved FUSE100 paddle, for the higher control and lighter weight.
We also carry the USA Pickleball Approved APEX100, which features a fiberglass face and ProPolyCore2(TM).
2. Weight of the Paddle
According to the USAPA guidelines, there is no limitation for paddle thickness or weight. Most of the best pickleball paddles weigh between 7.5 and 8.5 ounces.
3. Grip Size of the Paddle
You definitely want to play with a paddle that has the proper grip circumference for your hand. If you play with one that is too difficult for you to grip, then you are not going to have good results while trying to play the game. When you play with a grip size that is too large for you, it can lead to several issues. Your hand may slip when you are trying to make contact with the ball and this could lead to elbow injuries over time.
It is usually recommended to try a smaller grip size first and then move up from there. The advantage of using a smaller grip size is that it allows for greater action. This can aid you when it comes to controlling the ball and you will also be able to put spin on the ball far more easily. If you want to be able to serve powerfully and change hands when necessary, then a smaller grip makes a lot of sense.
Of course, you do not want a grip that feels too small for your hands. A lot of your choice will boil down to your hand size and what feels comfortable. There are also some specific advantages to using a larger grip that many players tout. For example, a larger grip may have improved stability when compared to a smaller grip. Finding the right size will take a bit of experimentation so please take the time to hold many paddles and see what feels right to you.
Most paddle grips are going to have a circumference somewhere between four and four and a half inches. The grips will go up in size at one-eighth of an inch increments. This is the same type of measuring system that tennis grips use. You should be able to find a paddle that feels just right in your hands as long as you keep looking.