If you've played pickleball before, you already know why it's such a great sport; it's both fun and easy to play. It's uniqueness, however, is that it combines tennis, badminton and ping pong under a single roof.
In my opinion, though, I love this sport simply because it does not need much gear to start playing- in any case, if you've access to a court, all you need is a ball and a paddle.
Speaking of paddles, they're perhaps the most crucial equipment you need to succeed in playing pickleball. Your choice of paddle goes a long in determining how effectively you hit the ball, your reaction time, and much more.
For these reasons, it's not a surprise that many players are usually concerned about their choice of pickleball paddle.
The good news is if you're one of the players looking to start off or perhaps jump ship from one paddle to the other, we have geared this reviewed guide towards you. After hours of research and comparison, we're here with a comprehensive list that covers the best pickleball paddles of 2020.
Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick!
This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and just need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!
Sense Poly Core /Textured Graphite Surface
X4 Polypropylene Polymer Core/ Fiberglass Surface
QuadCore (TM) polymer honeycomb/ Fiberglass
Aramid Honeycomb core/Textured fiberglass
The Best Pickleball Paddles On The Market For The Money!
Gamma Needle Elongated - Best for Power
One of the reasons I've included Gamma Needle at the top of our list is because it has included some of my most wished-for features, including an elongated handle, balance, moderate weight and excellent grip.
Let's dive deep and see what this offering from Gamma has in store for us.
Features and Benefits
The Needle is Gamma's first entry into the elongated market, and typical of the elongated paddles, the needle will give you the ability to reach shots that you couldn't earlier with a regular paddle.
However, I found this feature handy for the cross over players migrating from tennis, or those that play singles and need to cover the whole court alone.
Beyond the extended reach, the elongated design was quite useful in adding power to my shots as the whipping action of the longer paddle added boost of power to my long drives as well as some extra strength to my serves.
Even so, one prominent issue with the blade-style design is that it sacrifices on the width of the paddle, thus narrowing the sweet spot and this can be a challenge for the beginners as it made it extremely tough to hit the ball consistently.
Again, I realized that the paddle lacked the accuracy and stability, and this was evident when I hit the ball towards the end of the head as I got less ball control compared to what I usually achieve with a shorter paddle.
True, this might not be an issue for the experienced players or those who played tennis earlier, but I must admit that newbies may struggle to adapt to this paddle.
Many experts and pickleball players agree that weight should be the overall top priority when choosing a pickleball paddle, and fortunately, Gamma has gone to great lengths to ensure Gamma Needle features an ideal weight for the perfect "feel" and action.
The needle comes in at 7.6 ounces, which I consider lightweight, and when in use, this paddle does not weigh me down and is ideal for players with conditions such as the tennis elbow or those with arthritis.
Additionally, the lightweight paddle gave me more ball control as well as increased manoeuvrability.
The only downside I found with this lightweight paddle is that they required faster reaction time and swing speed than the heavier paddles, and this is yet another reason why I wouldn't really recommend this paddle to the beginners.
Paddle Core - Sense Poly Core Technology
The core is the backbone of a paddle, as it determines how heavy or light a paddle is going to be when gripped.
Fortunately, Gamma Needle features a Sense Poly Core Technology, a nylon-based polymer that provides touch and accurate ball control.
The performance of the core is further bolstered by a graphite paddle face, which I found not only incredibly light, but amazingly responsive, allowing me to make firm, yet extremely controlled shots.
In particular, I found the graphite paddle face quite handy for blocking and dinking shots, even at sharp angles while maintaining control. Generally, the graphite face enhances ball bite and promotes perfect placement from the baseline.
However, I was quite disappointed that the material combination of the core was somewhat hard and noisy, and this is primarily attributed to the lack of cushioning effect.
Even so, the core delivered a perfect quality performance when serving and returning, which I think is what really matters most.
Honeycomb Cushion Grip
The cushioned Polymer Honeycomb grip is yet another plus on this paddle, and it has an incredible feel to it. In any case, it felt more or less like a dynamic extension to my arm, and this allowed me to pin my opponent easily.
Even better, it comes with a four ¼ inches of length, and I can't imagine a better choice than this as far as shot response feedback is concerned.
However, the cushioned grip didn't provide the grip I prefer, but gladly, you can still add high-quality grip tape to increase the grip size.
- Long reach
- Better ball control
- Narrow sweet spot
Selkirk Prime S2 Pickleball Paddle - Best for Tennis Elbow
The folk at Selkirk seems to have mastered its "pickely" craft with the Prime S2, popularly known as the Enrique Ruiz.
The Prime S2 is among the premium options on our list and one of the reasons why we featured it is because of the PowerCore Technology that saturates the hitting power, delivering extra power to the surface while at the same time providing smooth movement and a comfy grip.
Features and Benefits
Generally, if you're looking to avoid injuries in pickleball, the first thing you need to do is to skip on the hefty paddles as they exert undue pressure on your muscles and can result in strain.
However, it doesn't necessarily mean that you go for the lightest paddles either, as these will require you to swing them harder to achieve a powerful shot and this can similarly result in an injury.
Instead, what you need is a moderately weighted paddle, and this is just what the Prime 2 offers with 7.4–7.8 oz, which in my opinion isn't too hefty or too light.
When in use, Prime S2 strikes the perfect balance between speed and power; I was able to make incredibly powerful shots, without having to swing too much, consequently reducing the risks of getting an injury.
Large Sweet Spot
One of the significant advancements on this paddle is the large sweet spot design, which is a departure from what we had seen in the elongated and narrow space of the Gamma Needle.
With an increased surface area for hitting, beginners will find it easy to find the sweet spot, and at the same time getting lots of control consistently.
At the backbone of Prime S2, we have an X4 Polypylene core that is designed with the sole purpose of amplifying your paddle's power and control.
When in use, it allowed me to get double the output from what I would have achieved from a regular paddle.
However, the only gripe I found with the core is that it's quite soft, and as such, it dampened my shots, and while this is a good thing for the control player, it required me to exert a bit of swing when looking to achieve a power shot.
The performance of the core is further amplified by the proprietary FiberFlex fibreglass surface that has been re-engineered to improve the match-play feel as well as increase the performance.
The contoured grip is yet another impressive feature on the Prime S2, and I loved how it delivered swing action and power to the surface while providing a smooth movement.
Now, combine the incredible grip with a 4.25" short handle, and you'll see why it's easy to generate powerful total swing movement with Prime 2.
Sure, the grip may not be particularly ideal for the heavy hitters, but still, it delivers an incredible amount of comfort that will improve your playing technique, especially if you're a beginner.
Finally, it's hard to resist mentioning the EdgeSentry Edgeguard Technology, a feature that will give your paddle all the protection it needs against the heavy blows during the intense power play.
- Moderately light
- Larger sweet spot
- Amplified performance
- Not ideal for heavy hitters
Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle - Best for Spin
Onix Z5 is a premium and popular paddle that never goes out of style, and we love it because it works wonders and is designed to deliver.
It's an ideal option for players with reasonable ball control and those looking to add more pop from the baseline.
Features and Benefits
With a weight ranging from 7.5-8.2 oz., Onix z5 falls under the heavy-weight category.
Typical of the heavy paddles, however, Onix z5, is quite powerful, and when in use, I did not require me to exert much force to achieve a power shot.
Again, despite the hefty weight, this paddle feels surprisingly lightweight, and it did not weigh me down; in any case, I used it hours on end without straining.
Even so, some users still found this paddle heavy. Thus, I wouldn't really recommend this paddle if you're looking for a lightweight paddle.
Large Sweet Spot
Perhaps the unique feature of the Onix Z5 is the larger than average sweet spot that makes it easy for beginners and veterans to make shots with consistent accuracy.
The core of Onix Z5 is designed from Nomex Honeycomb, a material that is increasingly becoming a popular option among the premium paddles.
What's really unique about this core is the ruggedness and durability it offers, and more particularly how it stands up to anything that you throw at it.
Above all, the Nomex is hard, and unlike the soft X4 Polypylene core, we saw on the Prime S2, the core at Onix Z5 does not dampen your shots, but instead, it, provides excellent power while maintaining control at the same time.
I also found Nomex quite a handy choice for the single play, where I needed an extra boost of power and an up-tempo style of play.
The only gripe I found with this core was the loud "pop" sound, which some users claim was somewhat irritating, but in my opinion, it's not a big deal-breaker.
Underlining the superior performance of the Nomex Honeycomb comb is a graphite face, which helps to increase the lightweight characteristic, though the most prominent benefit I found with the face is its role at increasing the speed, pop, and manoeuvrability of the paddle.
The 4-1/4" grip size feels quite comfortable, and it provides the perfect touch and superior ball control. However, for users with busty hands as mine, I found the size quite limiting, though I had the chance to add the grip by taping the handle to meet my grip size.
Requires least effort to use
Large sweet spot
Boosts power output
- Tad heavy
Prolite Crush Powerpsin - Best for Beginners
ProLite Crush Powerspin is the latest offering from Prolite and a popular option for the beginner players. However, it's equally a suitable choice for the seasoned players who might be looking to add more spin and power play to their performance.
Features and Benefits
A significant highlight of this paddle is the SPINtac hitting surface that allows users to perfect their spin control.
When in use, I found out that this technology allowed me to spin the ball in whatever direction I wanted, and even better is that I could quickly generate shots with added spinning ability.
The QuadCore technology, which is mainly comprised of the honeycomb cell technology, helps to cut the weight of this paddle drastically.
Above all, however, I found that it promoted a superior performance, and it allowed me to place shot with higher power and consistency as compared to the traditional paddles.
ProLite Micro Edge Guards
The ProLite Micro Edge Guards play a crucial role in preserving the structural integrity of the paddle, and they will not only keep the paddle away from the abrasions, but they also play a pivotal role in protecting the paddle from accidents such as dropdowns.
I know noise does not in any way affect the performance of a paddle, but I've to mention that this sporting equipment is specially approved for a quiet zone, in that it's noise-free and you can play it without producing any noises.
- Cushion grip
- Power shots
- No carry bag
Gamma Sports 2.0 - Best Under $50
The final on our list is a budget option from Gamma.
Now despite being a relatively inexpensive paddle, it's quite a performer assist lots of players in making powerful shots as well as helping them add spin.
Performance aside, I love it because of its ruggedness. If anything, it provides users with years of quality performance without breaking down.
Features & Benefits
Gamma Sports 2.0 comes in with a moderate weight of 7.6, tying with the Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle we had reviewed earlier.
The weight is a tad higher than what I prefer, but I must admit that Gamma didn't feel hefty, and in any case, it allowed me to swing my shots with ease.
However, I wouldn't generally recommend this paddle for users who are looking for lightweight models, or those with joint injuries.
Gamma Sports 2.0 is specially designed to boost your playing level, and I was impressed by the Aramid Honeycomb core that allowed me to generate shots with greater stability, control, and power.
The performance of the core is further promoted by the textured fibreglass that I find soft to the touch, lightweight, and performance-oriented.
The 4" cushioned grip is neither short nor long, but it strikes the perfect balance between ease of use and performance.
With this grip handle, for instance, I was able to get better and firm control over the paddle.
I was also impressed by the perforated nature of this grip as it absorbed all the sweat off my hands for the ultimate performance.
- Budget option
- Generates stable and robust shots
- Doesn't have a premium feel
Best Pickleball Paddle Buying Guide
In the section below, we shall highlight some of the critical features that you need to consider when purchasing a pickleball paddle. Even advanced players have subtle variations they feel comfortable within their new paddle, so worth reading this handy guide through. From composite paddle to hitting surface to polymer core, there are countless subtleties.
The first consideration is the weight factor as it affects the ease of use and performance of a paddle.
Lightweight paddles often require a faster reaction time than the heavier, and this is why beginners prefer the heavier paddle variants.
Now, while the heavier paddles require the use the minimal strength and are easier to control, many users find their heftiness quite limiting as they quickly wear out the players and can even result in injuries.
The idea here is to find a paddle with a moderate weight, ideally, anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds.
Paddles come in various cores, with each type of core having its benefits and downsides.
Some of the popular cores include;
- Nomex core - This nylon-based polymer is known for its industrial flexibility. This core is incredibly light, yet durable, but noisy.
- Aluminium core - Unlike Nomex, aluminium is heavy and lacks control. However, the performance, including shot accuracy, can be improved by the use of a fibreglass face.
- Polypropylene core - This innovation is designed with durability and lightness properties. It's quite soft, and its build is flexible, though it dampens the shot requiring additional energy from the players.
The preferable size should not exceed 24-inches, and ideally, it should look out for paddles that measure eight by 16 inches or five by 19 inches.
There're no exact dimensions that you should go for, but instead, you should look for optimal it and a paddle that feels right in your hands.
Often, shot accuracy and control are dependent on the grip. In my opinion, it's recommendable that you avoid grips that are either too long or too short, but instead, find a grip that will compliment your hold, and ideally, it should be the same size as that of your palm. Remember small grip is known to affect your gameplay!
We understand the purchase of a new pickleball paddle can be quite a challenge, but it doesn't have to be.
Whether you're a beginner who has just started playing or a seasoned pro, we hope that you'll greatly benefit from our best paddle selection.
Carefully go through the list again and identify a model that you think will fit your needs. While at it, you need to place your comfort, safety, and ease of use at the back of your mind.
What is the suitable weight for a pickle paddle?
The PickleBall Paddles vary in weight and this determines the overall level of use. Since weight is a top priority when it comes to the selection of a pickle paddle, you’ll need a unit that ranges between 6-12 ounces. The weight chart is available for you to pick the one that suits your demands.
Are pickle paddles durable?
Most pickle paddles will take you through a year of usage and this is attainable by users who don’t use them frequently. Most of the units require careful handling to ensure they last you longer. If you are an aggressive player, you’ll have to change them frequently.
What differentiates the fiberglass and graphite paddles?
The fiberglass paddles are heavier than the graphite paddles hence have more power. The graphite models are fine and guarantee more control. When it comes to usage, individual preferences come in place and you’ll pick the one that fits yours well.
Do we have indoor and outdoor paddles?
No, the paddles can work anywhere but the balls are made differently with indoor and outdoor balls coming with different features to suit the conditions around.
Do we have men's and women's paddles?
No, all the paddles are designed neutral and will work for either gender.