Pickleball is evolving, a once retirement community sport now has more courts than ever, Major League Pickleball, and professional players on national television. Everyone’s catching the pickleball bug and more than ever your pickleball paddle can make or break your play. Whether players are new to the game or experienced veteran players, players search for the perfect pickleball paddle. This begs the question, what makes the perfect pickleball paddle?
To find the answer to this question, we must break down the pickleball paddle and most importantly YOU, the player. Sad to say this, but a perfect paddle for every player doesn’t exist. Happy to say, there is a perfect paddle for each individual player.
Below is a breakdown of what makes the perfect pickleball paddle for potential types of players.
Pickleball paddle weight is a key factor in selecting your perfect paddle. As each individual player is different this can be more difficult than it may seem. Below is a description of lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight and the type of player that will benefit from each paddle weight.
Lightweight pickleball paddles are considered to be 7.5 oz and below. Terrific options for increased ball control, great for dinks, and great maneuverability. Lightweight paddles are a great choice for players that are hard hitters who can generate their own power, as the lightweight helps a player generate more head speed. However, the lightweight design can cause a player to feel vibrations more and it is more difficult to generate power and drive. If you are a player that uses a lot of wrist action and want less stress on your elbow or shoulder and prefer to play around the net, then lightweight paddles are the play for you.
Middleweight paddles weigh between roughly 7.6 oz and 8.4oz. A great option for new players, as they fit right in between a control player and a power player. A player with any sort of arm injury including; shoulder injuries, elbow issues, or wrist problems. Middleweight pickleball paddles also offer more vibration dampening than lightweight options. If you are ever in doubt about weight, middleweight paddles are the way to go.
Heavyweight pickleball paddles will weigh 8.5oz or more. The more weight a paddle has, the more power a player can generate with less effort. The heavyweight design will decrease your swing speed and cost a player control, so if you prefer dinks and finesse shots, this is probably not the best choice. These pickleball paddles are not recommended for players with any sort of arm issue, as they can increase the stress on those joints. Heavyweight pickleball paddles are great options for light-hitting players who want more power, players who prefer to play at the baseline, and singles players power shots.
What is the perfect paddle without the player? In order to find your perfect pickleball paddle you have to look at your own play. Are you a banger, punishing the other team on every mishit or toes on the kitchen line playing each dink as precisely as possible? Below you will find a description of the different player types and what type of players will find to be their perfect pickleball paddle player type.
ouch pickleball paddles tend to be lighter in weight. They are great options for players that prefer to play the majority of their game around the net. Paddles with graphite or a carbon fiber face tend to be the most common paddles associated with touch.
Power pickleball paddles are generally heavier in weight and are around 8 oz or more. These paddles are great for players that like to have strong putaway shots and a strong baseline game. Fiberglass/composite face paddles tend to be the most commonly associated paddle face with power.
Balanced pickleball paddles are the best of both worlds between touch and power. Balanced paddles sacrifice some power and some touch to meet in the middle. Balanced paddles are not limited to one type of face material, and you can find a balanced paddle available in just about any face material. Typically, balanced paddles will feature a middleweight.
Paddle Face Material
Space-age technology, blending of fibers and whatever is coming next for pickleball the paddle face material can be a complex beast when deciding on your perfect pickleball paddle. To make things easier we have broken down the paddle face materials below.
Hitting Surfaces for Power
Composite: Meant for the power player, composite hitting surfaces are the hardest and most powerful of options.
Hitting Surfaces for Control
Graphite: Light, strong and will provide a player with control and power. Graphite paddles will typically have a thinner thickness than other face materials. Players looking for mobility, control, and the ability to generate power will be comfortable from kitchen to baseline with a graphite face material.
Hitting Surfaces for Balanced Players
Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles: Newest innovation added to pickleball face materials. Carbon fiber face pickleball paddles will have a large sweet spot, stiff at contact, and provide a true shot feel. Expanding the sweet spot and quick response puts carbon fiber pickleball paddles in the hands of beginners to professionals.
Hybrid Pickleball Paddles: Increase the power in your game and have dinking ability at the net. Hybrid paddles built from blended materials deliver improved touch alongside game-changing power with every stroke.
Pickleball paddles can be no longer than 17" in length and have a combined total size of 24" long and wide to be USAPA certified. Finding the right paddle shape can take some experimenting as well as trial and error. The perfect pickleball paddle shape is the perfect paddle shape for you. Take a look below at the different paddle shapes and why specific players benefit from the different shapes.
A standard shape paddle will give players a mixture of length and width. Getting into the game of pickleball or wanting to stick with a comfortable shape, a standard paddle shape would be the option to go with.
Elongated sacrifice face width and increase the length up to the max 17”. Elongated paddles are best suited for experienced players who are looking to add more reach to their game. The elongated shape allows for a more whippy feel and the sweet spot will be farther down towards the head of the paddle, this can make it difficult for players to hit the ball consistently.
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 7” in width to be USAPA Certified, making them more challenging for beginners.
Wide Body pickleball paddles are the most common shape for a pickleball paddle. A wide body paddle typically measures 8'' or greater in width and is 15 ¾” in length. Getting into the game of pickleball the wide body shape is a great option as it gives you room for error on the width of your paddle.
Tennis pickleball paddles are designed to be similar to a tennis racquet by their overall shape. The oval shape of the paddle face gives it a similar look to a short tennis racquet. The tennis shape helps centralize the sweet spot for the center of the paddle face. Players transitioning from tennis will feel like they are right back on the big court with a tennis-shaped pickleball paddle.
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.
Pickleball paddle grip thickness can make or break the perfect paddle for you. Considered one of the most important factors in selecting a paddle. Being a direct connection to the paddle, everything else in the paddle can be perfect, but if your grip isn’t perfect neither will your paddle. If your paddle doesn’t feel perfect at the first grip, take a look at your grip thickness to ensure you are getting the most out of your paddle. Below is a breakdown of the different grip thicknesses.
Thin (4 - 4 ⅛’’) - Thin grips are great for men with smaller hands, women, younger players and can be a familiar comfort to players transitioning from table tennis. You can always increase your grip size, and we can even apply that for you!
Standard (4 ¼ - 4 ⅜’’ ) - Most common grip size used by pickleball players. Most males will gravitate towards the standard grip due to the average hand size.
Thick (4 ½’’) - Thick grip thickness pickleball paddles are the largest grip manufactured. A player with large hands or who prefers a thick cushioned grip is going to notice comfort at first grip. Grip still too thin? Add one of our overgrips, to make you a custom feel on arrival.
Finding the perfect grip length can be tough, but we are here to make it easy for you. Stick with what’s comfortable! Grip lengths on pickleball paddles can vary from 4’’ - 6’’ depending on the specific pickleball paddle! Below you will find what type of players are what players are going to look for specific-length pickleball paddles.
Short (4- 4 ¾’’) - Players transitioning to pickleball from table tennis, racquetball and players that have their index finger on the face of the pickleball paddle will feel most at home with a short grip length.
Standard (4 ¾ - 5 ¼’’) - The majority of pickleball players will prefer standard grip length. Giving a player a sweet spot between reach and maneuverability the standard handle is a go-to choice for beginners to professionals.
Long (5 ¼’’>) - Players coming from tennis sticking with the two-handed backhand in pickleball will want to gravitate towards a long grip length. Players looking to add some reach without making the jump to an elongated paddle should stick with a long grip length.
Finding the perfect pickleball paddle can be a difficult task. Take a look at your play and your pickleball paddle and ask yourself, “Does this make the perfect pickleball paddle for me?”; and if your answer is no, take the information from above to help find what makes your perfect pickleball paddle. Are you still finding it hard to locate your perfect paddle? Check out our JustPaddles Buying Guide to answer any questions that you may have. Want to talk over your perfect pickleball paddle? Give one of our Paddle Experts a call at 1-866-382-3465, email us at email@example.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!
Never second guess your paddle purchase. The industry standard of “Once you take the plastic off, it can’t be returned.” just doesn’t cut it for us. We know that finding the perfect paddle for a player is crucial. It can be the difference between a first-round loss or a tournament victory. But how can you know it’s the perfect paddle without actually playing with it? You can’t. This is why we have created the Paddle Assurance Program. Now, unlike ever before, players will have an option to return their paddle for a refund if it doesn’t meet their expectations.