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Best Pickleball Paddles 2023

Dec 25, 2023Dec 25, 2023

Whether you’re ready to take your pickleball game to the next level or simply wish to give America's fastest growing sport a try, all you need is a paddle to play. From lightweight and maneuverable models to sturdy, power-packed options, the paddle you choose will directly impact your gameplay. But because there's no one-size-fits-all paddle for every player, choosing the right pickleball paddle for you can pose a challenge. That's why we’ve researched dozens of options from the industry's top brands to bring you the best pickleball paddles available today.

Take to the court with one of the best pickleball paddles.

Invented in the summer of 1965 on a small island off the coast of Washington, pickleball is popular for more reasons than one. For starters, the game has a really low barrier to entry because the only equipment you need is a paddle. But it also blends elements of badminton, tennis and Ping-Pong, and the rules are rather simple. The court is small (it's a quarter the size of a tennis court) and, unlike tennis, it doesn't take years of practice to play competitively. But if you’re really going to enjoy the game, you’ll need a paddle that delivers confidence on the court.

While many paddles look nearly identical, differences do exist—if you know what to look for. When distinguishing one paddle from the next, factors such as grip size, weight, shape and materials will impact your play. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. This guide, which we’ve organized categorically based on every kind of player's needs, rounds up the best paddles you can buy today. Read on to find the paddle that meets your needs and dominate every match.


Founded by a family of pickleball players, Selkirk makes a number of noteworthy paddles but the Amped Epic earns top marks for its fiberglass face that delivers plenty of spin as you shape your shots and a traditional face shape that's perfect for all-court play. The polypropylene honeycomb core reduces fatigue whether you’re lobbing or smashing, and different iterations of the paddle weigh between 7.8 and 8.4 ounces, making it a suitable mid-weight option. Find the Amped in different lens colors, weights and shapes to meet your needs and style of play.

What players say: "Awesome lightweight paddle that added a little extra reach to my game. I used it for the first time in a tournament and got awesome results."


If you’d like to give pickleball a try without dropping a lot on a new paddle, Head's Radical Elite model will serve you well (no pun intended). Featuring a fiberglass surface for excellent feel and power, it's complete with a 4.25-inch handle and a polypropylene core that's perfect for mid-level play. Head's expertise in the tennis world plays a role in the paddle's Ergo grip, which should add some confidence to your play as well. Best of all, the paddle's $60 price tag makes it an affordable option, so you can get into the game with friends or play some pick-up in your free time without feeling guilty if you’re not on the court day in and day out.

What players say: "Great feel, lightweight. Useful for all skill levels. I thought about a more expensive paddle, but bought one for my wife and she liked it so much I bought another for myself."


While materials, weight and dimensions will affect any player's performance on the court, beginners should pay close attention to these details as they will have a lasting impact on your long-term experience. For instance, the Prolite Bolt offers a number of features that are great for beginners, including a thicker core that absorbs impact, a carbon fiber frame that improves control and a 4-inch grip that allows you to add tape if need be. The Bolt is also an affordable option at $71, and it's incredibly quiet to reduce noise.

What players say: "This is a terrific paddle. I didn't want to spend a lot of money until I know if I am going to stick with this game. I have been using this several months and I love it. It is just the right weight for a beginner."


After you’ve got a few seasons of play under your belt, odds are you’re going to want to level up your paddle, at which point you should consider picking up the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro. Delivering unmatched accuracy, power and forgiveness, it features a large sweet spot and balanced weight to increase your finesse, speed and maneuverability. The textured graphic surface pairs with a tacky performance grip to improve accuracy and control through every shot, and Paddletek offers the Tempest Wave Pro in multiple colors to suit your style.

What players say: "High quality paddle with large sweet spot. Paddle absorbs shock well but has plenty of power. It's a fun paddle to play with because it can do so much."


When the time comes to invest in a new paddle, you’ll probably look to top-tier models that feature a polymer core and fiberglass surface, but those same details can be found in the value-driven Gamma Quest. Weighing 7.8 ounces, this middleweight paddle blends a polypropylene core with a textured fiberglass surface to deliver more precision and power. the signature Gamma honeycomb grip features a tacky and firm surface to maintain control, and the paddle costs a mere $35, making it a suitable option for beginners seeking a paddle that's big on value, and not on price.

What players say: "Just wanted to purchase an extra paddle to have in case, so far I’ve enjoyed using it, very similar to the micron, slightly heavy but still very good for those learning to play without paying so much for a paddle."


You’ll spot various Onix paddles at tournaments across the country, and the Graphite Z5 is no exception. The slightly elongated shape gives you extra reach and shifts the sweet spot upward, while the traditional width makes it easier to block shots or dink to your heart's content. But most importantly, all that real estate allows you to generate loads of power without sacrificing control. If that's your style, this paddle's for you.

What players say: "This is a great paddle for all levels. The weight is right in the middle so it's not too light or too heavy. Has a large sweet spot for consistent hits and a great surface for putting spin on the ball. The grip issues seem to be resolved and it feels great in my hand."


As temping as it may be to strike the ball with all your might as soon as it's lofted over the net, you’ll still want a paddle that prioritizes control to ensure technical shots land where you expect them to, and the Encore EX 6.0 is a standout performer in that regard. Rated highly among former tennis players that are used to playing with larger rackets, the paddle features a rough-textured skin that allows you to put more spin on the ball, and a larger sweet spot makes up for potential mistakes.

Weighing over eight ounces with a 15.8-millimeter thick polymer core, this paddle is technically on the heavier side, but the design is strategically engineered to ensure the core material doesn't detract from the control. This paddle, like all Engage paddles, complies with USAPA guidelines, and it's endorsed for sanctioned tournament play at US and international pickleball events. So while it may be a bit pricey up front, you can grow with this paddle and take it to tournaments once you’re ready to level up your game.

What players say: "I need more control than power out of a paddle, and it allows me to play a game more similar to my tennis game, which has given me extra confidence to hit the shots I want to hit. Buy this one first if you're a tennis player looking for a paddle that will complement your tennis skills on the pickleball court."


At the end of the day, we’ll always recommend fiberglass, graphite or carbon fiber paddles over wood whether you’re playing for the first time or taking your game to the next level. Generally speaking, wooden paddles are heavy, difficult to control and lacking in surface texture that's required for solid spin. But if you want to play casually or really like the look and feel of a classic wooden paddle, this set of four paddles from Amazin’ Aces will do the trick. The seven-ply maple wood looks good on the court, and because this package comes in a set of four (with accompanying balls), you can easily play pickup games with friends and family all summer long. It doesn't hurt that the set costs less than a tank of gas these days, so even if you pick up these paddles and find yourself neglecting them, you won't have to feel bad about your purchase.

What players say: "They are very sturdy, consistent, and have a good balance between maneuverability and power. Edges are still going strong because they're lined with impressively durable plastic. The grip is decent and absorbs some sweat as well."


Once you’ve finally fallen in love with pickleball after a few months of play, you’ll soon wonder how your game might improve if you were to invest in a new paddle. When that day comes, consider picking up the Joola Ben Johns Hyperion paddle—it makes for a suitable upgrade over your beloved entry-level model. The elongated handle improves grip in the midst of a heated match while a carbon surface adds texture, helping you put some added spin (and flair) on those placed shots. The paddle's edge features a reinforced guard to strengthen the core and a honeycomb layer of polymer offers better feedback and control over that of an entry-level model.

What players say: "I began playing several months ago with a normal $50 paddle. I am athletic and play a lot of sports and know that quality equipment does make a difference and this paddle made a huge difference for me. You won't be disappointed with this paddle, very much an upgrade."


When the time comes for your little one to pick up a paddle, consider introducing them to the game by way of the OneShot Juniorshot paddle. The one-of-a-kind design includes Jurassic illustrations that add a playful element to every match, and the paddle is built with durability in mind to withstand abuse. At 5.8 ounces, it's light enough to prevent fatigue but wide enough to deliver a large sweet spot that prevents mis-hits.

What players say: "If you love pickleball and have kids in your life, these paddles are the best! Finally a real paddle for kids. They are the perfect weight and well made for kids."


If you’re simply looking for a paddle with a bit of pop (in terms of color), Nettie's Ashbury should help you stand out on the court. The carbon fiber frame features a design inspired by the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco, which makes it an appealing choice for west coasters or those that just need to add a little style to their game. Complete with a 4.25-inch octagonal grip and a polymer honeycomb core, it plays just as good as it looks.

What players say: "Great style! Solid hitting capability. The grip is a bit larger than I expected, but it's soft and doesn't slip."

When the time comes to invest in a pickleball paddle, you’ll quickly notice that options abound. Some paddles feature lightweight materials, others promote durability, and every paddle claims to be the best option when the time comes to up your game. With that in mind, we pored over expert opinions, online reviews and the latest in paddle technology to assemble a list of noteworthy options. From there, we considered each paddle's weight, shape, length and construction to determine which paddles are worthy of the court, and which ones you can leave behind. This list represents the best paddles for players both casual and competitive, and it's updated often for accuracy and integrity. It was last updated January 2023.

Take a gander at the best pickleball paddles and you’ll notice that while each model looks nearly identical from one to the next, they’re not quite the same. In reality, a handful of factors differentiate one paddle from another, and how you blend these factors will dictate your play.

A heavier paddle (over 8 ounces) will add power and stability to every shot, but will come at the cost of speed. If you’re a beginner, consider investing in a lighter paddle (less than 8 ounces) that allows you to focus on control.

A paddle's shape dictates its sweet spot, power and control. Elongated paddles (like the Head Radical Elite mentioned above) offer more power to help you drive shots, while a squared paddle has a bigger sweet spot and offers more control. The latter shape is better for a beginner.

Thickness refers to how thick the core of the paddle is. A thicker core (over 16 millimeters thick) offers a bigger sweet spot and greater potential for spins, which makes it harder for your opponent to return a shot. A thinner core (less than 16 millimeters thick) offers more power, but this comes at the cost of a smaller sweet spot and less control. Consider investing in a paddle with a thicker core if you’re new to the game, as this will allow you to control and place shots before settings your sights on power.

The length of the handle is largely a matter of preference. A shorter handle mimics the geometry of a Ping-Pong paddle, which gives you the opportunity to choke up on the grip, thereby reducing its rotational inertia to swing the paddle quicker, while a longer handle sacrifices some speed but plays a lot more like a tennis racket.

Fiberglass, graphite, carbon fiber—pickleball paddles are made with different materials that perform a bit differently in the midst of play. Beginner-to-intermediate paddles are usually made with fiberglass, while intermediate-to-advanced paddles are made with carbon fiber and graphite. Read on to find out what differentiates these materials from one another, and how they might impact your play.

It may surprise you to learn that there are several types of pickleball paddles on the market today, each designed to cater to different playing styles, skill levels, and personal preferences. These different types include:

Graphite paddles are incredibly popular among competitive players because they strike a balance between power and control. They're made of lightweight materials that allow for quick, responsive shots, and are ideal for players who prefer a fast-paced game.

Composite paddles are made of a mix of materials, such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and polymer, and this combination makes them more durable than graphite paddles. They offer a good balance of power and control, and are a good choice for players of all skill levels, though beginners will probably find them more appealing.

Wood paddles are a classic choice, and are often used by beginners and recreational players. They're affordable, durable, and provide good ball control, but they don't offer as much power as graphite or composite paddles. That said, they often look nice and sound even better as the ball pops off the paddle.

Edgeless paddles have a unique design that eliminates the edge guard, which can give players more surface area to hit the ball. They're a good choice for players who prefer a softer touch and want to maximize their hitting surface.

Wide paddles have a larger hitting surface than standard paddles, which can make them easier to hit with, and thus a better option for beginners. They're also a good choice for players who want to improve their accuracy.

Small paddles are ideal for players who prefer to win with finesse. They offer greater control and precision, and they’re a great choice for players with smaller hands, as they offer a better grip.

Long paddles have an elongated shape, which can offer more reach and power. They're a solid choice for players who want to maximize their reach and hit harder shots.

Fiberglass typically weighs more than graphite, but the added weight allows you to generate more power when smashing. Graphite, on the other hand, provides more control or finesse so you can place shots with accuracy. While pickleball paddles were once primarily made of wood, these modern materials deliver greater comfort, control and long-term durability, and both make for great options whether you’re new to the sport or looking to level up your game.

The most popular pickleball paddle size is 8 inches wide and 15-3/4 inches long, with a grip circumference between 4 and 4.5 inches. This size is officially sanctioned by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and is the standard size used in most official pickleball tournaments.

While there are other sizes available on the market, the 8 x 15-3/4 inch paddle size has become the norm for most players—it offers a balance of power, control, and maneuverability. It's worth noting that players of different ages and skill levels may have different preferences when it comes to paddle size, so some players may find that a larger or smaller paddle better suits their playing style.

You should replace your paddle every one to two years, or sooner if you notice any obvious signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, chips, or peeling. But other signs that it's time to replace your paddle include: loss of power, control or accuracy, or if the paddle feels heavy or unresponsive; exposure to extreme temperatures, such as freezing or overheating; a change in your playing style, such as becoming more aggressive or preferring a different grip; or if there are any rule changes in the game of pickleball that affect the type of paddle you can use.

According to a 2022 peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, you need to play as much as 4.5 hours of pickleball per week to meet recommended exercise guidelines. The study found that pickleball games reach vigorous levels of activity about 30% of the time for many players, but you can actually get in twice as many steps during the same amount of time when going for a brisk walk. That said, pickleball requires hand-eye coordination and helps facilitate fine motor skills, so don't be afraid to pick up a paddle and enjoy the game.

Not unlike the best pocket knives or a pair of award-winning hiking boots, more expensive pickleball paddles will offer a series of advantages that include improved consistency, accuracy and durability as a result of higher-quality polymers that won't break down as easily over time.

That said, don't assume your game will drastically improve simply because you picked up an expensive paddle. If you’ve never played pickleball before, consider investing in a budget- or beginner-friendly option that costs less but still offers consistency so you can focus on the basics before upgrading your paddle in time.

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