What Are The Best Pickleball Paddles

What Are The Best Pickleball Paddles
Published: 2022-09-13
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The answer to our headlined question might rightfully be your best pickleball paddle is going to be the one that best fits you.

The pickleball best-fitting quest often begins with confusion, due to the casual use of sometimes confusing language.

Take for instance in pickleball there is unfortunate confusion caused by the multiple uses of the word grip.  Taken as a verb, it means how you arrange your fingers and palm about the end of the paddle you are supposed to hold.

Making the process even more problematic is how is the varying ways a player can grip the paddle.  There are eastern, western, and continental grips that are popular.  Lurking elsewhere are less popular versions.

Taken as a noun, the word grip references the part of a pickleball paddle that a player grasps, hence the confusion.  This blog intends to avoid confusion.

In our How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle we refer to the end which is held as the handle.  We will do the same in this more extensive appreciation of the paddle handle.

Appreciating the value of the handle in a player’s relationship with the paddle is obvious.

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. 

Make sure you check out our suggested HEAD paddles


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.  

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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.  

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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.