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Lead Tape For Pickleball Paddles

Lead Tape For Pickleball Paddles
Published: 2022-09-28
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Lead tape added to pickleball paddles is becoming common, especially in the professional pickleball players' community.  The advantages of heavy metal lead tape added to a paddle can add weight, but strategically placed can create a larger sweet spot, resulting in fewer mishits and offering a bit more power when striking.


Reasons Why Lead Tape on Your Paddle Is Worth Considering



If lead tape on pickleball paddles is so good should you add it too?  And, is it rules permitted?  Why do the big players do it?  How do they do it?  Where can you get it?  Discussions of those topics follow.


It is OK to add lead tape to pickleball paddles within these rules:

 (1) Lead tape is a permitted alteration to commercially made pickleball paddles; and (2) there is no restriction on pickleball paddle weight.

And more specifically:

USA Pickleball Rule 2.E.5.a. – Alterations – The only alterations or additions that may be made to a commercially made paddle are edge guard tape, lead tape, changes to the grip size or grip wrap, and name decals and/or other identification markings on the paddle face.

USA Pickleball Rule 2.E.4. – Weight – There is no restriction on paddle weight.

And so your paddle can have as much lead tape as you want, handles, edges, and on-face id markings.

Reasons Paddles Get Lead Taped

Well, if pickleball pros are adding lead tape it must be good.  For them it is.  For you, our only advice is to try it, experiment with placements, hit shots, and change till it works for you.  The lead tape is generally easy to install and remove.

What do they get, and might you?

Power--Additional weight leads to more power on drives, overheads, volleys, etc.  Spin can increase too with a heavier paddle and helps defensively in blocking put-away shots your opponents bang at you.

The Sweet Spot Grows – Lead tape added to your paddle grows its sweet spot and, importantly stabilizes the paddle, making dinking and blocking easier, and especially increasing the efficiency of mishit shots.

Now for the going rate of a roll of lead tape at around ten bucks giving it a try is worth it.  Within some parameters, finding out what works for you is experimental.  For those of you with two similar paddles, the tape and switch method should work well.  Tape one, and hit with both.  Which feels good?

Words of Caution—Heavier, tape-leaded paddles and handles can lead to elbow stress, so loading up for power and precision may be the less is more precept that speaks to you. 



Adding Lead Tape To Your Pickleball Paddle

When you decide, how much and where you apply lead tape to your paddle is fundamental.

A gram in lead tape weight is a four-inch strip a quarter of an inch wide.  That seems tiny but when placed will surprise you.  A few strips are noticeable.  And depending on where they are placed can affect the balance and strength of your paddle and act differently.

Placing lead tape on the sides of the paddle will produce some power and sweet spot growth, turning some mishits into good hits.  When applied to the center of the top, you also get power, you’ll get a heavier feel, and too much weight rings the injury caution bell.  Toward the sides of the top, ie near or on the corners lead tape produces broader sweet spots.

The lower sides, nicknamed the throat, are near the handle on both sides will add weight without too much heft to the feel, and should not slow paddle speed when the lead tape is added there. 

To add a full ounce to your paddle install a quarter-inch wide lead tape all around the edge of the paddle to just above the handle.  This will generally keep the paddle in balance.

Reports We Get

Most like the additional sweet spot.  Others tell us their elbow shows some stress with a heavier lead taped paddle. Interestingly some tell us experimenting with weights on sides and at the throat tends to put more overspin on shots.  Overall experimentation-to-fit is the end all of lead tape application to pickleball paddles.


Tiny steps to add and subtract lead tape.  Lead on top of lead has some unique feedback.  Adding tape to the sides is a good way to start, and if your sweet spot is expanded and you're hitting fewer mishits, then go for the power edge on top of the paddle.

Handle with Care

Slight lead particles can be released while you’re handling the lead tape.  Be sure to clean areas, clothing, and your body when working with anything lead.  When you've found your playing final taping, cover the lead tape with a lead edge guard or electrical tape.  On final caution whenever working with lead tape please do that away from your face.