What to look for in a paddle 

One of the most common questions asked in pickleball is “Does the paddle you use actually matter?”

The short answer to this is yes. Higher quality paddles that suit a players game will allow them to gain a slight edge over an opponent who is using a basic wooden paddle. In a mismatch, like a pro playing against a beginner, the pro could win with a wooden paddle, but in a game of 2 similarly skilled people, if one was using a top tier paddle and one was using a wooden paddle, the smart bet would be on the person with the better paddle.

 Now let’s talk about what makes a good paddle. There’s no such thing as the “best” pickleball paddle, it’s all about personalizing the paddle to fit your game. Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing a paddle.


Probably the most important factor, as this is what is most noticeable and what you’ll feel the most. Generally, the heavier the paddle, the more power, the lighter the paddle, the more control

Weight balance

Different paddles will have different centers of gravity. 2 paddles may  both weigh 8 ounces, but feel completely different because one could have weight centered in the handle, while one could have it in the paddle face itself.

Paddle core

Most of the higher end paddles are composite, meaning they are made of multiple materials, normally a core and a face. The core is what is inside the paddle, and it normally influences weight, power, and control. Most cores are made out of a honeycomb pattern now, which allows the manufacturer build a solid and durable paddle while also keeping the weight low. There are 2 main paddle core types.

Polymer variations– Most paddles are made out of some type of polymer variation, which gives a good balance between power and control. Companies normally have their own (sometimes) patented technology for the core, and can use different grades of polymer or amounts to influence how much weight, control, or power the paddle has.

Nomex – Nomex is an interesting material that is actually used to build fireproof suits and airplanes. It is very light, but very rigid, making this a powerful, lightweight paddle. It has as lot of pop, meaning the ball will fly off this paddle very fast. When standing at the non volley zone, you can generate a lot of quick power with this paddle, due to the rigidity of the material. However, at the baseline, this won’t generate as much power, because it is a lighter paddle.

Aluminum is another type of core, but it’s quite rare to see. Aluminum paddles offer supreme control, but dent really easily and don’t have much power.

Paddle face

The face is what you see on each side of the paddle. Faces influence the amount of spin, and some control and power. There are 3 main types of faces. Like with cores, each company has different tech and different ways to make their faces, causing slight differences between the paddles.

Fiberglass – This is the most common facing. It also has the most variability, meaning some fiberglass paddles, can have more power, control, or spin, depending on the maker. In most cases, it’s used to add a gritty surface for a lot of spin.

Graphite – A blend between power, control and spin. Graphite surfaces are seen very often with nomex cores, as the 2 materials work well together.

Carbon Fiber – This is the industry standard for supreme ball control. Carbon fiber paddles excel at softening shots, but aren’t as powerful as graphite or fiberglass paddles.

Grip length

Grip length is consideration many players don’t look at. While it is less important then the other factors, it can still come into play, especially if you want to hit a 2 handed backhand. Shorter handles simply don’t have the space to put 2 hands on the paddle for a backhand.

Set on paddles but looking for other equipment?