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09/10/2021

How to Choose the Right Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball players are always looking for the perfect paddle. Whether you are getting into pickleball or adding another pickleball paddle to your quiver we want to make sure you are choosing the right pickleball paddle for you! 

So where do we start when choosing the right pickleball paddle for you? Let’s start with the most important deciding factor in choosing a pickleball paddle, THE PLAYER! Head out to your local courts and you will see many players claiming to have the best paddle, but ultimately that is the best paddle for the individual player. Every pickleball player is different! Every player will have their own unique playing style, their own set of strengths, weaknesses, and overall a different feel for the game of pickleball. So what style of player are you? Are you an aggressive banger wanting to overpower your opponent? Finesse player dinking your opponents to win each game? Maybe the athlete that is all over the court, staying alive by returning each shot? The different play styles of pickleball will allow you to choose a pickleball paddle that is more suitable for your individuality of play! So let’s break it down below.

Pickleball Play Style

Power Player

  • A player who is going to overpower or slam their opponent to win the court. 
  • An aggressive player can often be referred to as a banger.
  • Often avoids dinking and goes for the kill frequently. 
  • Third shot drops are more of backline rockets at their opponent. 
  • On the offense most of the time
  • Loves a great slam (maybe even a chest bump after with their partner)
  • Enjoys singles, as well as doubles
  • Goes for the ace 
  • Loves the feel of a heavier paddle

Are you a player who is chomping at the bit to finish the point? Do a few or all of the bullet points above match your pickleball play style? If that is the case, we suggest sticking with what makes you the pickleball player you are. There is a wide range of pickleball paddles that are specifically designed for a power player and will not take away the power you are bringing to the court!

Shop Power Pickleball Paddles

 

Touch Player

  • Toes at the kitchen line
  • Spin and control are what brings you success
  • Third shot drops are your go-to
  • Slowing down the game
  • Dinks, dinks, and more dinks
  • A deadened slam puts a smile on your face
  • Your partner is often getting easy put-away shots

Have you seen opponents frustrated at your drops? Are your opponents eager to speed your game up but can’t seem to get there? If finesse, touch, and spin are your game you are going to want to stick with a touch pickleball paddle. These will enhance your control and create a wanted feel for a touch player!

Shop Touch Pickleball Paddles

 

Balanced Player

  • Well rounded player with dinks and slam in your arsenal
  • Comfortable with putaway slam and a soft dink at the net
  • Wanting both power and control out of your paddle
  • Opponents have trouble finding your weakness
  • Maybe haven’t found your comfortable play style yet
  • Entering the great game of pickleball

Are you a complete player? Finding yourself with comfort in all areas of your game? If you have an arsenal of dinks, drops,  backline rockets, and slams a balanced pickleball paddle should be in your quiver.

Shop Balanced Pickleball Paddles

 

Tip for enhancing an area of a game you struggle with. If you are wanting to increase an area of the game in which you struggle with try a pickleball paddle that is more suited towards your weakness. For example, if you are a power player looking to add some finesse and control to your game, look at trying out a touch pickleball paddle. Vice Versa for a touch player looking to add a little more power to their game, add that power paddle to your pickleball bag.

A veteran in pickleball most likely knows the exact weight of the paddle they are looking to add to their bag. Not all of us on the court are veterans, but having an idea of the weight of the pickleball paddle you are looking for can make your decision much simpler. Pickleball paddles are broken down into three weight classifications; lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. Below is a breakdown of each weight classification and what you can look for to see if it’s the paddle weight for you.

Pickleball Paddle Weights

Lightweight Pickleball Paddles

  • Roughly 7.5 oz or lighter
  • Great for increased ball control
  • Great for finesse players
  • Players looking for less stress on their elbow or shoulder
  • Players who are looking for quicker reactions on shots
  • Typically have more vibration in the handle of the paddle due to the lack of weight
  • Youth players 
  • You will have to generate more paddle speed to create power
  • Players transitioning from ping pong/table tennis

Middleweight Pickleball Paddles

  • 7.5 oz - 8.4 oz
  • Great for players entering pickleball 
  • Preferred most by players
  • Great for balanced players
  • Largest selection of paddles
  • Will not sacrifice power or touch
  • Great for all ages
  • When in doubt, middleweight is the safe choice

Heavyweight Pickleball Paddles

  • 8.5 oz or more
  • More power with less effort
  • Great for players transitioning from tennis or racquetball
  • Larger, more powerful players
  • Singles players
  • Can potentially decrease control as the paddle will weigh more
  • Avoid if you have lingering shoulder, wrist, or elbow injuries

Pickleball paddle weight is dictated by the individual player. Finding the right weight can take some time, but we suggest if it’s comfortable to play with and you are having success to stick around that same weight! Everyone is different, so try not to get caught up in what other players are using and stick with what you do best! 

Grip Length and Grip Thickness

A somewhat forgotten aspect in the selection of the pickleball paddle is the pickleball paddle grip. I mean it is the only part of the pickleball paddle that you hold while playing, so you should have the perfect feel in your hand. If the paddle grip feels uncomfortable, it is likely that your play will suffer. 

Grip length on your paddle comes down to each individual player. A good rule for the selection of your pickleball paddle grip length is below!

Short Grip Length

  • Transitioning from ping pong/table tennis
  • Plays with the index finger on the paddle 
  • Smaller hands in length
  • Great for youth players

Standard Grip Length

  • Most commonly used
  • Works great for all hands sizes

Long Grip Length

  • Great for players transitioning from tennis
  • Players who use the two-handed backhand
  • Players wanting to add reach at the net

In order to feel comfortable on the court, your hand needs to feel comfortable on your grip. The grip thickness is key in making your hand feel the most comfortable it can. An easy way to decide on your grip thickness is by height, while it is not an exact science, we have found it is a great way to make your decision easier.

5’2’’ and under -- Thin Grip Thickness

5’3’’ to 5’10’’ -- Standard Grip Thickness

5’10’’ and over -- Thick Grip Thickness

Everyone is a little different when it comes to preference on grip thickness, so we recommend trying out a few different grip sizes to see which one suits you the best. Grip Thickness Tip is to start with a thin grip as you can always add an overgrip to make your grip feel more comfortable in the player’s hands!

Pickleball Paddle Face Material

We can’t forget a key aspect of the pickleball paddle! What makes contact with the ball itself, the pickleball paddle face material. After playing for years players seem to find the face material that they believe works for their individual playstyle, but for those just getting into the game or simply just wanting more information we are here to help. 

Carbon Fiber Face Pickleball Paddles:

Newest face material to be present on pickleball paddles and tend to have the largest sweet spot. Most manufacturers have just started using carbon fiber or are in the process of developing carbon fiber face pickleball paddles. Carbon fiber is incredibly stiff and the stiffness helps provide incredible control on where the ball goes. Carbon fiber is lighter but stronger than steel, and as a result, carbon fiber is actually used in things like race cars and space shuttles. Pickleball paddles that use a carbon fiber face are a great option for players looking for fewer mishits and can help provide a more true shot. Carbon Fiber pickleball paddles can take a hard hit shot and return the ball back with a hard shot, or they can take speed off and return back a soft shot. Carbon fiber pickleball paddles tend to be some of the most durable paddles on the market.

Composite Face Pickleball Paddles:

Designed to provide additional power, composite pickleball paddles have quickly become some of the most popular paddles in pickleball. Composite paddles deliver the touch, strength, and durability every player is looking for. Composite paddles feature a composite core and a non-carbon fiber hitting surface. Commonly feature a polymer honeycomb core and a fiberglass hitting surface.

Graphite Face Pickleball Paddles:

Designed to be light and strong, which provides a player with power and control. The graphite face on these pickleball paddles is only a few mm thick and most graphite pickleball paddles weigh between 6-9 ounces. Graphite face pickleball paddles have lightweight but are stiff which helps spread the energy of a ball strike consistently over a larger area of the paddle. The energy transfer on a graphite face pickleball paddle is great for “dinks” and for driving the ball down the court without too much effort. These features make a graphite face pickleball paddle one of the top choices for competitive and professional pickleball players.

Hybrid Face Pickleball Paddles:

Increase the power in your game with a hybrid face pickleball paddle. Hybrid paddles built from blended materials deliver improved touch alongside game-changing power with every stroke

As the game of pickleball continues to evolve, so do the shapes of the pickleball paddles. Paddle shape choice is a large component of choosing the right pickleball paddle for you as a player. As the standard shape in the past has been one of the most popular, we have started to see an increase in the use of Blade and Elongated Pickleball Paddles. Finding the right paddle shape for you can be a challenging task, but here is a quick breakdown of what to look for in each paddle shape.

Blade Pickleball Paddles:

Extend your reach on the court with the longest paddles in pickleball. These 17” pickleball paddles are perfect for singles pickleball. Blade paddles cannot exceed 24” in width, making them more challenging for beginners to use, but great paddles for experienced pickleball players.

Elongated Pickleball Paddles:

Elongated pickleball paddles sacrifice face width and increase the length up to 16.5”. Elongated paddles are best suited for experienced players who are looking to add more reach to their game. The elongated shape shrinks the sweet spot, and this can make it difficult for players to hit the ball consistently. Elongated paddles are popular among single players for the extra reach they provide. Great for players looking for a tennis or racquetball feel.

Wide Body Pickleball Paddles:

Wide body pickleball paddles, also called classic paddles, are the most common shape for a  pickleball paddle. Widebody paddle typically measures 8 inches wide and is 15 ¾” long. Great for players looking for a large sweet spot or struggling to find the consistent paddle contact spot.

Teardrop Pickleball Paddles:

Teardrop pickleball paddles feature a unique, more rounded shape than other paddles. Teardrop paddles balance the weight in the paddle to help extend the sweet spot further up the paddle. The sweet spot location generally is an easy area for players to consistently make solid contact.

Before choosing the right pickleball paddle for you, consider the above features. When selecting the perfect paddle, try finding the perfect paddle for YOU! Every single player will have a different best paddle so take into account your features, along with the features above.

Still want more information on selecting the right pickleball paddle for you, check out our Paddle Resource Guide, the Pickleball Paddle Buying Guide, or go through a series of questions at our Pickleball Paddle Coach to find the perfect paddle!

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Looking for the perfect pickleball paddle? There are hundreds of paddles on the market, which is why we have an entire page dedicated to Pickleball Paddle Reviews! If you need more information, give us a call at 1-866-382-3465, email us at experts@justpaddles.com, or utilize our live chat to speak with a Paddle Expert today. We’re JustPaddles, and we’re with you from Click to Court!

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