With so many paddle brands in pickleball right now and the competition continuing to grow daily, the push to create something “different” is at an all-time high. As we’ve learned from talking to those responsible for designing and producing paddles, even the smallest change to the paddle’s design can translate into a big difference when you hit the court. We’ve seen different weights, lengths, head shapes, and now even holes cut out of the paddle’s face to create an aerodynamic swing. The newest feature we’re seeing tweaked is paddle thickness. Before we dive into the details, here is a high-level overview of the different categories of paddle thickness:
- Thin: 13mm or Less
- Standard: 14mm - 15mm
- Thick: 16mm or More
Paddle thickness is most often measured in millimeters and typically ranges from 11mm to 16mm but we’ve seen some paddles step outside the norm whether that be thinner or thicker. A paddle like the Diadem Warrior is a great example of a brand stepping outside the box, as it hits the measuring tape at 19mm thick. Adjusting paddle thickness is all the rage but how can a thick paddle affect your game?
Thicker core paddles (16mm+) have the ability to dampen the impact of the ball, creating a very “feel-friendly” paddle. This feel has become incredibly popular and is something that pickleball players are gravitating towards. As we battle a 20+ shot dink rally in the kitchen, a soft feel and a forgiving sweet spot are irreplaceable characteristics for our paddle. Thicker core paddles commonly weigh on the heavier range of paddles, due to the extra material needed to build the paddle’s width and because of that extra weight and added thickness, stability and a larger sweet spot are also bonuses that thicker paddles offer. If you find yourself missing the sweet spot a few more times than you’d like to admit, a thicker core paddle may be a perfect fit for you. To recap, thick core paddles provide the following:
- Incredible feel
- Larger, forgiving sweet spot
- Higher than average weight
- Superior stability
Another useful benefit to a thicker core paddle is the energy absorption that can prolong your pickleball day (and career!). Tennis and golfer’s elbow are two of the more common injuries you’ll see in pickleball (and any racquet/paddle sport for that matter). The repetitive motion can wreak havoc on your elbow and shoulder, and the impact of the ball, as much as you enjoy the feel of the ball on the paddle, is not your friend. A thicker core paddle with added weight can provide the shock absorption you need to keep your body out of harm's way and prevent nagging injuries that keep you sidelined for weeks at a time. Thicker core paddles absorb the ball’s energy so that less travels through the paddle and into your body. This can be a huge selling point, especially if you’ve suffered from elbow tendonitis in the past.
If there was a downside to thicker core paddles, it would be that they can seem to “drag” through the air compared to thinner paddles. If you’re looking for maximum maneuverability from your paddle, you might steer in a thinner direction. But for us, the pros of a thicker-core paddle far outweigh the cons!
There you have it! We hope that this breakdown of thick pickleball paddles was helpful. If you’re ever unsure which paddle might be your best buddy, check out our Paddle Buying Guide. It breaks down all the information you’ll need to know before buying a pickleball paddle. Or, you can contact our friendly Paddle Experts who are standing by to answer any additional questions you might have. You can give us a call at 866-382-3465, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to live chat. We're JustPaddles and we're with you from Click To Court!