Choose your Paddle
Choosing the Perfect Paddle
Finding the perfect Pickleball paddle is crucial to enhancing your game. With so many options to choose from It can be challenging to know where to start. So we're here to help and happy to recommend based on our experience of playing with various different paddles and working with others to find their perfect fit.
The main factors that will affect your choice include:
- Paddle shape
- Paddle core
- Paddle surface
As a general rule of thumb elongated shapes, thinner cores, fibreglass faces, longer handles, and heavier weights tend to provide more power. Where as wider, rounded shapes, thicker cores, graphite or carbon fibre faces, traditional lengths or shorter handles, and lighter weights tend to provide more control. Below are the key factors you need to consider when choosing your paddle.
The type of paddle that is best for you will depend on your playing style. If you generate a lot of power on your own, you may want a paddle that adds control. On the other hand, if you are a control player, you may want a paddle that hits hard and helps you put the ball away. Ultimately, all paddles have elements of power and control, and the key is to find the right mix for your style of play.
Choose a weight that feels comfortable in your hand. A lighter paddle is easier to manoeuvre, where as a heavier paddle provides more power but can feel more sluggish and will fatigue your arm faster.
The paddle should fit comfortably in your hand without slipping or causing discomfort. The premium paddles tend to have grips with technology to stop this happening. For grip size, If you have a larger hand, you may want to opt for a larger grip size like and XL model. If your hands are prone to sweating during play, a paddle with a tacky grip may work better for you (We recommend getting some overgrips for this too). Lastly, If you prefer a more controlled, finesse-style game, you may prefer a smaller grip size. Larger grip sizes tend to generate more power for a more aggressive playing style.
Material: Pickleball paddles come in a variety of materials including wood, graphite, and composite. Each material has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. For example, wood are the least expensive when compared to the other paddle materials. Graphite paddles tend to be lightweight and provide excellent control, while composite paddles are durable and offer more power.
Paddle Material Thickness
You'll often see us talk about the thickness of a paddle and how that impacts its performance. Let's break it down quickly. Thickness gets measured in millimeters (mm), ranging from 10 – 19 mm. Thicker paddles tend to offer a higher level of control as the paddle absorbs more of the balls impact.
However, the reduction of power enables you to be more precise with ball placements, including dinks and resets. On the opposite end of the spectrum, thinner materials give you more power in your shots as the ball spends less time on the paddle face. However, with great power comes great responsibility, with a trade off for control and finesse.
The shape of the paddle can affect your shot accuracy and power too. To choose the right paddle based on shape, consider factors such as head shape (larger head for power or smaller head for control), edge guard thickness (thicker for power, thinner for control), balance (balanced for control, head-heavy for power), and length (longer for reach, shorter for control).
The surface texture of a pickleball paddle affects the ball's spin and speed. Here are some common types of paddle surfaces:
Smooth: A smooth surface offers less spin and is good for beginners or players who prefer a slower, more controlled game.
Textured: A textured surface offers more spin and can be used to create more advanced shots, but requires more skill to control.
Perforated: A perforated surface has small holes and can help create a more controlled spin on the ball. Think the Diadem Vice (Sanctioned for Tournament play)
Brand can play a role in your paddle decision they offer different qualities like reputation for high-quality, durable paddles, unique materials or construction techniques for specific paddle characteristics. Some players may have a personal preference for a specific brand, based on past experience or recommendations from friends. Whilst others make brand decisions based on the overall price of the paddle, with some high-end brands offering premium products at a higher cost. Whilst brand choice is a key factor it is important to consider other factors such as grip size, shape, and surface texture to determine the right paddle for your playing style. We only stock the best brands here at The Pickleball store, those we know won't falter, snap or crack during play.
What about the Sweet Spot?
In general, the longer and narrower a paddle is, the higher the sweet spot will be on the face, which can lead to more power. Rounding of the paddle corners and increasing the paddle face area can also lead to a larger and more consistent sweet spot.
The majority of paddles are made with a polymer honeycomb core, with the material and thickness affecting power and control. As a general rule of thumb, harder polymer absorbs more energy, leading to a wider sweet spot and a more consistent feel across the face of the paddle (better control). Softer or more flexible core returns more energy to the ball, creating more pop (increased power).
Finding the perfect paddle requires a combination of personal preference and technical consideration. Take the time to explore different options and consider the key factors. With the right paddle in hand, you'll be well on your way to improving your game!