If you've recently caught the pickleball bug, we know exactly how you're feeling right now. You thought the rules were easy to understand, and you loved that you were playing your first match within minutes of being on the court. You had a blast and want to play more. But your friend's loaner pickleball paddle felt weird - so you've decided to purchase the best pickleball paddle and head to Google and key in "pickleball paddles for beginners."
And BOOM. A wall of search results fills your screen. You now have a ton of questions and choices to make. Should you choose graphite paddles over fiberglass? What is dinking? What is a honeycomb core? Middleweight paddle or heavyweight? What's the right grip circumference? If only selecting the right paddle was as easy as learning the rules of the sport, right?
Don't stress. The Paddle Experts at JustPaddles have created this comprehensive resource for beginners. In this article, we'll quickly show you three important components of a paddle to look at before purchasing then we'll shift gears and break down the best pickleball paddles for beginners. These paddles are in no particular order and are all fantastic options for a first-time player. Let's jump right in.
Best Beginner Pickleball Paddles
JOOLA entered the sport they have been the paddle choice for the top players. Their first move was to sign the best player in the world and make the games most popular paddle. Since then, JOOLA has made the best paddles for all levels of play.
A standard shape paddle at 15.8’’ in length and 7.8’’ in width the Journey will have your game on an upward adventure. A 10 mm core paired with a Multilayer Composite face for added power to your game. The thin grip paired with a standard grip will have any player feeling comfortable on the court.
- Paddle Weight: 7.8 oz
- Paddle Face Material: Multi-Layer Composite
- Grip Size: Thin - 4”
- Core Thickness: 10mm
Why It Made The List
With 7 different color options the JOOLA Journey is a paddle for any player looking to start their very own pickleball journey. Utilizing advanced technologies in all of their paddles JOOLA brings performance pickleball paddles to any level of player. JOOLA’s top players have made their mark on the game and the JOOLA Journey to have your eyes on stardom when first starting out! Check it out at https://www.justpaddles.com/product/joola-journey-middleweight-composite-pickleball-paddle/36682/
Wild Monkey provides performance paddles for all players! Under $100, you are getting the highest performance materials and design. Step on the court for the first time with only the highest quality materials with a Wild Monkeys paddle!
An excellent option for beginner players the Wild Monkeys Falcon can be used for any level of player. Using Raw Carbon Fiber for adding natural spin to every shot packed with a 13.5 mm core for a blend of power and touch this paddle is great for all around play. The widebody shape will give any player a wide sweet spot and plenty of room for error great for players entering the sport.
- Paddle Weight: 7.9 (+/-.25) oz (plays as a lightweight because of the reinforced handle.
- Paddle Face Material: Raw Carbon Fiber
- 30-Day, Risk-Free Trial. Don't be afraid to get wild on your court. If it's not the right paddle for you, return it within 30 days for a full refund. No questions asked!
- Core Thickness: 13 ½ mm
Why It Made The List
If you’re looking to get into the sport with superior materials from the start look no further than Wild Monkeys! With a 30-Day trial you can ensure that its going to be your perfect paddle with no risk! Get yours today at https://www.justpaddles.com/product/wild-monkeys-falcon-raw-lightweight-carbon-fiber-pickleball-paddle/36576/
This middleweight paddle is a great choice for the price-conscious player that still wants a quality paddle. Aside from price, it has a nice balance of lower weight (averaging around 7.6oz) and a large sweet spot - which is helpful in shot forgiveness to new players.
Proudly handcrafted in the United States, the textured hitting surface enhances the spin and the quiet construction decreases noise on contact - which your neighborhood courts might appreciate.
- Paddle Weight: 7.4-8.0 oz (midweight paddle)
- Carbon Fiber Surface (paddle face material for control - also has a brushed polycarbonate texture for gripping the ball)
- Grip Size: 4” (popular size, but thin)
- Core Thickness: 10 mm (thin core, which helps with power)
Why It Made The List
The best pickleball paddles can sometimes be pricey for a beginner, but often when the price point starts to get low, so does the quality. That's not the case with the PROLITE Bolt - it's one of few paddles that let beginners take their game to the next level, at the right price point.
The Onix Z5 is one of the best pickleball paddles on the market - and certainly one of the most popular.
The Z5 is extremely well-balanced between power and control. And its weight, shape, and construction offer a smooth feel on every swing. The face is wider, which is helpful for net play and beginners in general. For beginners looking for the best pickleball paddles that have a strong balance - this is the choice. Oh, and you can't mention this paddle without pointing out that it comes in tons of colors. Pink, blue, purple - you name it, and they probably have it.
- Weight: 7.6-8.0 oz (midweight paddle)
- Graphite Surface (paddle face material for control)
- Grip Size: 4 1/4” (slightly above average)
- Core Thickness: 11 mm
Why It Made The List
Onix is clearly doing something right. And that something is making a durable paddle that performs well every time. For beginners who may not necessarily know whether they want power or control, this takes a lot of the guessing out of paddle to make sure you can focus on your game and have fun. The Z5 isn't the most affordable paddle on the list, but it's the type of paddle that could easily make its way into the "Best Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players" too
Gearbox is known for using the most innovation to push the sport of pickleball! Now they are making that innovation for all levels of play. Gearbox uses the edgeless design and a single piece mold to make one of the most durable paddles that will have you on the court longer with the same paddle! Offering a huge sweet spot and durable paddle the G2 Edgeless is a great option for players first stepping on the court.
- Paddle Weight: 7.9-8.1 oz
- Paddle Face Material: Carbon Fiber, Glass Fiber, Epoxy Thermoset Resins
- Advanced Single-Piece Molded Construction for Durability
- Textured Paddle Face for Spin
Why It Made The List
Paddles are continuing to advance with technologies and the G2 Edgeless gives you the most up to date technology with an entry level price! Additionally Gearbox paddles tend to hold up over extended periods of play, to keep you out on the court longer without having to switch up your paddles! Get your Gearbox today at https://www.justpaddles.com/product/gearbox-g2-edgeless-quad-middleweight-carbon-fiber-pickleball-paddle/37280/!
Pickleball Paddle Buyer's Guide for Beginners
Let's look at three of the main factors to consider before purchasing a paddle after checking out our list of best beginner pickleball paddles - the weight of the paddle, the role of two materials, and grip sizes.
Pickleball Paddle Weight
When you first picked up a paddle, you might have been surprised at how light it was - most pickleball paddles will be in the range of 6 to 14 ounces. Arguably, the most important decision you'll make when selecting a paddle is deciding what weight to select.
Why is a Paddle's Weight Important?
From a performance perspective, the paddle's weight influences power and control. A heavier paddle will add power to your game, but it can give you less control of your shots. And you guessed it, lighter pickleball paddles will give you more general control of your shots, but at the expense of power - without a certain level of power, you won't even be able to control your shot.
Pickleball Paddles Are Classified Into Three Weight Classes
- Lightweight Pickleball Paddles: Roughly 7.5 ounces and below
- Midweight Pickleball Paddles: Between 7.5 ounces and 8.4 ounces
- Heavy Pickleball Paddles: Greater than 8.5 ounces
Pickleball Paddle Materials
There are endless combinations of materials used in making pickleball paddles - and different materials for different parts of the paddle. The grip, the handle, the edge guard, etc. To simplify, we will focus on the materials of the paddle surface and core since they represent the clearest impact on play.
What Are Paddle Surfaces made out of in Pickleball?
The most commonly used materials for paddle surfaces today are fiberglass and graphite. Due to the prevalence of fiberglass and graphite, it's where you should primarily focus as a newcomer.
What's the Difference Between Fiberglass and Graphite Pickleball Paddles?
Regarding playing, fiberglass leans more towards power, whereas graphite is closer aligned to control and finesse.
- Incredibly strong
- Rigid structure spreads impact throughout paddle
- Heavier weight
- Have more give to them
- Absorbs, then slingshots power
What is the Core of a Pickleball Paddle?
There are a few options on core materials - Nomex, aluminum, and polymer. Nomex core can add extra power to play, but the most popular core material in use today is polymer, sometimes referred to as polycore or polypropylene core.
Polymer core is a durable and flexible plastic material in paddles. It provides a nice balance of power and control. This should be your default core material as a new player. The bigger consideration for polycore should be around thickness.
Should a Beginner Choose a Thick or Thin Paddle Core?
A thinner core is going to create more power than a thicker core. For beginners, a thicker core is going to give you more control and create a bigger sweet spot, which is great for adding forgiveness to where the ball hits your paddle.
For anyone new to pickleball, it's recommended to choose a paddle with a thicker core.
Pickleball Paddle Grip Sizes
Grip size, also referred to as grip circumference or grip thickness, is the measurement around the base of your grip and one of the areas you'll want to give some thought to.
Every paddle manufacturer will list the circumference of their grips, which makes it easy to compare options. You'll have a lot of options on this front too: the most common sizes you'll run across will range from 3.875" to 4.25", increasing in increments of one-sixteenth inches.
What is the Recommended Grip Thickness for a Beginner?
Grip size is a matter of personal preference and what feels comfortable in your hand.
That said, there are a few common trends that can help you make an informed decision.
- The most commonly purchased grip sizes are 4" and 4 1/8" - this size provides a lot of room for players to customize the thickness with tape to fit their hand perfectly
- Err on the side of small if you aren't sure - you can also build up.
- JustPaddles offers 30-Day Paddle Assurance, so you can test the right grip and get it right the first time.
JustPaddles has a great resource for all the factors discussed above - even a chart that looks at your height and provides a recommendation on the best-fitting grip size. If you need more details, head over to the Pickleball Paddle Resource Guide.
Additional Resources For Selecting The Best Beginner Pickleball Paddle
You now know how to evaluate a paddle. You also know the 5 best paddles for beginners. But guess what? There are many other "best" pickleball paddles for beginners, which ultimately comes down to what's best for you. If you want to get a more personalized paddle recommendation, check out the Paddle Coach. Answer a few questions and get a custom recommendation in just a few clicks.
And, of course, JustPaddles is always ready to help you find the perfect fit as well. Contact the Paddle Experts via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call/text 866-382-3465, or you can click here to live chat at justpaddles.com.