How To Choose a Pickleball Paddle

How To Choose a Pickleball Paddle
Published: 2022-09-09
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In pickleball one thing is sure: You need a paddle to play. 

Pickleball’s sudden and important growth has attracted pickleball manufacturers as gold did at Sutter’s Mill.  

There are over 250 pickleball paddle manufacturers. 

Whether you're a pickleball newbie or a hard-nosed tournament player, there are many options in picking a pickleball paddle.

Check out what SportsEdTV Senior Contributor, Sarah Ansboury, the lead clinician and educational consultant for the Professional Pickleball Registry, suggests for finding the right paddle.

What do you need to know to be a smart pickleball paddle shopper?

Like any shopping trip, this one should set some parameters, especially as pricing goes.  The dollar spectrum with pickleball paddles can tiptoe through the pricing gamut from affordable to gulp before you buy.

At the low end, a wooden paddle can be found for $25 to $35 and the pricing pyramid steps up when the material changes.  Paddles made with composite materials range from $40 to $100 and graphite paddles top out at between $9 and $200. Souped-up models are going as high as $279.00

To get started without breaking the bank these may help.

Once the high-end sticker shock wears off, this next series of pickleball paddle selection questions might affect your choice.

What Are The Best Pickleball Paddles

Your best pickleball paddle will reflect you, yet always include these principle factors. Given the amazing variety of choices, we endorse the organizations with staying power and high acceptability by pickleball players.

Be sure to check out our suggested HEAD paddles


Pickleball Paddle Weight

The overall weight of a pickleball paddle ranges widely from 4 and 14 ounces.  Heavy paddles drive the pickleball harder.  Light paddles offer more control.  A word to the wise to athletes with previous elbow issues, a heavy paddle may exacerbate an elbow weakness. Most players us between 7.6 and 8.1 ounces.

Pickleball Paddle Material

The pickleball materials mentioned above—wood, composites, and graphite—have individual characteristics.

Wood paddles, cheaper and traditional, are heavy and tend to be hard to play over an extended period.  Graphite pickleball paddles, the most expensive are the lightest. Composite materials as would be expected, fall in the middle of the extremes.

Pickleball Paddle Shapes

Long versus wide paddles refer to their shapes and the dimensions of the hitting service they provide. Wide paddle surfaces are generally more suitable for players learning the game.  Experienced players tend to get better results when using paddles with a longer hitting area. 

What size grip is best for pickleball?


How the paddle’s handle fits in your hand is likely the most important fitting element you can make in your selection process. After all, your hand is the only connection your body has between the paddle and the game itself. 

A paddle with a larger or thicker handle offers stability and will reduce pressure on your arm as compared to smaller-handled paddles.

Smaller handles offer more control over shots and allow spin to be applied more easily than with a large-handled paddle.  Small-handled paddles are easier to switch hands while playing.

To ease your selection decision, remember when you buy a smaller handled paddle there are solutions to temporarily building up the handles, such as over grips and taping.  Downsizing a large handle is nearly impossible.

Handle sizing can begin by using the ruler test.  Simply open your hand, extend your fingers and align a ruler parallel with your ring finger with the base or end of the ruler in line with the palm’s middle crease.

Most hands will find the length between the tip of the ring finger to the middle crease will fall between 4 and 5 inches. Your precise measurement determines your handle size. 

Another way to find the handle size that will work best for you is the index finger test.  Here's how to do it.  With your dominant hand grasp the handle so the knuckle of your index finger and the heel pad of your playing hand rests on the same bevel that matches the face of the paddle. 

Now, with the index finger of your free hand, slide it between the gap between the handle and the tip of your ring finger grasping the handle.  The space there determines your choice. 

Too much space or too little indicates whether the paddle handle is too large or small for you.  A snug fit indicates your correct paddle handle size.

After fitting yourself, remember it is always easier to adjust a smaller grip to your changing handle issues, by adding an overgrip to the handle.  Again, it is difficult to reduce the size of the handle and a larger handle can be the culprit for arm fatigue. 

Take a look through the wide variety of our suggested paddles


Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginner Players

Your first paddle might be made of composite materials, as your passion for pickleball gets ignited you're apt to progress to the intermediate level quite quickly and want to upgrade to stronger paddles.

To review for beginners, a composite material with a wider hitting surface and a thicker handle, in the beginning, will help with the wear and tear on your arm that may not be in pickleball shape right away.  As for color, have fun, pickleball is.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players

By now you’ve likely graduated from the fun and social part of pickleball that will always stay, but the athlete in you has begun to enjoy the competition and you want equipment to mirror your improvement.  It’s time to sack the thick handle and graduate from a wide-hitting surface to a longer one and make sure your paddle is yellow.  As for the handle, a small one can be a drastic change from your thick one, so you can tape it for purchase and sizing until you become comfortable. pastedGraphic_1.png


Get your pickleball game on

So now we hope we've armed you with the information that will help you answer the question what are the best pickleball paddles as a key to your enjoyment?  The answer of course will be the one that fits you and your pickleball game. Finally, to take the edge off, we have one un-asked pickleball question. How many times can you repeat? 

Peter Piper Picked a Pair of Perfect Pickleball Paddles