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Is Grip Thickness Your Paddle's Most-Important Feature?

pickleball paddle grip thickness

When you think of important pickleball paddle features, many characteristics come to mind. Face material is always high on the list, core material is one you can’t overlook. Then there’s the pickleball paddle shape, which can drastically change the way your paddle plays. But there is a “sleeper” paddle characteristic that might just be the most important feature of your paddle. In this article, the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles break down everything you need to know about grip thickness and how it may impact your game on the courts. Let's dive in. 

Before you say, “There’s no way the grip is more important than (insert paddle feature here)” hear us out. We’re not necessarily saying grip shape and size are more important features than face material or a paddle’s core. However, it is the first thing you notice when you pick up a paddle, and the size and shape will 100% affect how comfortable you feel with your paddle, it can limit your range of motion and power, and maybe most importantly, impact your confidence when stepping on the court. Here are three things to consider when shopping based on grip thickness:

Go Small When Choosing a Grip Size 

There are a few reasons why you should pick a smaller grip if you’re in between sizes or are unsure what size to pick. 

    1. A smaller grip can create more range of motion, leading to more spin and power potential. 
    2. If you’re in between sizes, you can always build up a grip that’s too small using an overgrip. If you’re using a grip that’s too big, you’ll not only limit your potential, but you can’t make your grip smaller. 
    3. Grips that are specifically designed short or long will have a big impact on your play. Be sure to find a grip length that you’re comfortable with and that fits your play style! 

Why Grip Shape Is Important

The shape of your grip (while likely less important than size) can also affect how comfortable the paddle is in your hand, which might impact your play. Pickleball grips come in a variety of shape options: rounded, octagonal, flared, not flared, and more. If you’re sticking with the same brand, you know what to expect since almost every brand uses the same handle mold for all of their paddles. Some players prefer a rounded grip since it fits so universally in their hand, while others find comfort in an octagonal or “square-like” grip so they can accurately find their grip as they switch between forehand and backhand. Whatever your preference, finding a shape that you like is important, although, with reps, it’s likely easier to get used to a new grip shape rather than becoming accustomed to a new grip size! 

Is Handle Length Something to Keep in Mind? 

Whether you’re a two-handed backhand type of player, or you’re a dinker that loves a short handle and a huge hitting surface, making sure your handle is the appropriate length is extremely important to finding the perfect paddle for you. 

  • Short: 4”-4 ¾” 
  • Standard: 5”-5 ¼” 
  • Long: 5 ½” + 

If you’re not looking for power, but want a big face to dink all day long, try a shorter handle. Need a balanced paddle? Standard is your best bet! If you’re a two-handed player using a tennis-style backhand, look for something 5 ½”+.


There are hundreds of paddles on the market, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to know which one will be best for you. Because of this, 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, 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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