Best Lightweight & Small Grip Pickleball Paddles for Small Hands [2022]

Our top 2 picks for the best lightweight and small grip pickleball paddles for small hands are:

The Gamma Neutron 2.0, with a 4″ grip and a weight between 6.8 – 7.2 oz and

The Prince Response Pro with a 4 1/8″ grip and a weight between 7.1 – 7.7 oz.

The Gamma Neutron 2.0 is a lightweight, fast paddle that is suited for players who like a light touch and rely on control and feel to win points.

At 7 ounces, this is an ultra-light paddle that suits a player who wants a paddle with the smallest small grip available – 4″. It’s hyper-maneuverable, allowing you to get it into action very quickly.

The Prince Response Pro is well known because it’s the paddle that Simone Jardin played with when she won four gold medals at the 2018 US Open.

It’s available as a lightweight and a standard weight paddle and they offer two paddle grip sizes – 4 1/8 and 4 3/8″.

This paddle is a great choice if you want to customize your paddle fit because you can pick your preferred weight and preferred grip size. It’s more expensive than the Neutron 2.0 but when you can pick and choose exactly what you want, on a well-made paddle, it’s worth the extra.

Gamma Sports Neutron 2.0 Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight: 6.8 – 7.2 ounces
  • Core: Aramid Honeycomb
  • Paddle face: Graphite
  • Grip length: 5¼ inches
  • Grip size: 4 inches
  • Total length: 15½ inches
  • Width: 8¼ inches

PROS:

  • Good control
  • Comfortable cushioned grip
  • Flush edge guard reduces miss-hits
  • The textured face gives good spin to the ball

CONS:

  • A bit noisy
  • A little under-powered

AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

This paddle is  Gamma’s lightest and fastest paddle. It is the ideal weapon to deploy at the non-volley line when dinking and quick reflexes are needed.

At 7 ounces, this is an ultra-light paddle that suits a player with a small grip. It is hyper-maneuverable, allowing you to get it into action very quickly.

The 4-inch grip makes this paddle ideal for smaller players. If you suffer from overuse injuries, then tennis elbow won’t be one of the things you have to worry about with this lightweight paddle.

Ball control is the name of the game with this paddle. The textured graphite finish feels very rough.

Players report that the amount of control is a great confidence builder, allowing them to play shots around the kitchen with much less stress. Drop shots and cross-court dinks are where this paddle excels.

While you can still generate a fair amount of power, the paddle doesn’t have sufficient weight to really nail power strokes. Nimble players who enjoy getting up to the net quickly are the ones who will make the most of this paddle’s control and spin capabilities.

Paddle Surface & Core

The paddle is a blend of innovative technologies, including a flush-fit bumper that reduces the edge-guard profile. This helps enlarge the paddle face, giving players more room to hit the ball and less chance of a miss-hit.

Dead spots are all but eliminated with the Gamma Neutron 2.0’s live periphery frame design. The Aramid Honeycomb core provides a solid base on which to mount the graphite face. While not having the weight to provide top-end power, this paddle is focused on providing smaller gripped players with a control paddle that can still provide adequate power when needed.

The graphite face has quite a rough, textured surface that helps impart lots of spin when required. It also helps with controlling incoming balls, giving just enough bite to make you feel confident when taking the speed off a hard, driving shot.

Vibration is well-controlled, with the honeycomb grip and stitched, perforated grip providing a comfortable, firm grip.

Have a look at the Gamma Neutron 2.0 on Amazon.

Hitting

The Aramid Honeycomb core doesn’t quite achieve the levels of power that you need to be dangerous from the back of the court.

The shots that will bring out the best in this paddle are dinks and drop shots. The lightweight design and traditional, squared-off face, also produce low amounts of drag. This makes it easy to get the paddle back into position when prowling around the kitchen.

Fit & Look

The handle length on the Neutron 2.0 is 5½ inches, which makes it bigger enough to put two hands on the backhand if you wish. The narrow grip is great for players with smaller hands, but the addition of extra grip tape can help to get the fit just right.

As this paddle has a traditional, rectangular shape with a wide face, the hitting area is large with a generous sweet spot. This makes hitting accurately much easier.

An attractive honeycomb design with the name emblazoned across the face will leave no one in any doubt as to what paddle you’re playing with.

Prince Response Pro Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight: lightweight: 7.1-7.7 oz, standard:7.8 oz-8.3 oz
  • Core: Polymer Honeycomb
  • Paddle face: Textured UV fiberglass
  • Grip length: 5.5″
  • Grip size: 4″
  • Total length: 15-3/4″
  • Width: 7-7/8″

PROS:

  • Large sweet spot
  • Control with spin, power
  • Small grip
  • Longer handle

CONS:

  • Lacks a bit of power
  • Higher price

AMAZON

Paddle at a Glance

The Prince Response Pro is well known because it’s the paddle that Simone Jardin played with when she won four gold medals at the 2018 US Open. It’s available as a lightweight and a standard weight paddle with two paddle grip sizes – 4 1/8 and 4 3/8″.

The Response Pro is a great choice because you can pick your preferred weight and preferred grip size. So, if you want a lightweight paddle with a slightly larger grip, you can have that.

Or if you want a lightweight paddle with the smallest grip, you can have that. It’s more expensive than the Neutron 2.0 but when you can pick and choose exactly what you want, on a well-made paddle, it’s worth the extra.

Rally Tyro 2 Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Core: Polypropylene
  • Paddle face: Reinforced fiberglass
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4 inches
  • Total length: 15-3/4 inches
  • Width: 7-7/8 inches

PROS:

  • Consistently accurate
  • Good spin characteristics
  • Comfortable grip
  • Excellent value for money

CONS:

  • Lacks a bit of power
  • Not a regulation paddle

AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

The Rally Tyro 2 utilizes a polymer core to achieve both good control and effective shock absorption. It’s perfect for absorbing strongly hit shots and returning them with good control and accuracy.

At somewhere around $60 ballpark, this paddle is worth looking at if you’re interested in an upgrade or trying something a little different.

Paddle Surface & Core

The paddle has a traditional design that is effective but lacks that little something extra. Players find the thick edge tape a little intrusive when going for marginal balls. The surface isn’t overly textured and has more of a matt finish.

The paddle hits consistently across the face, which is confidence-inspiring, especially when reaching for balls in the non-volley zone.

Hitting

The paddle is fairly light and lacks real punch when you’re trying for a solid baseline groundstroke. However, you do benefit if your game is biased towards control and spin, as the lighter weight makes for a maneuverable paddle up at the non-volley line.

You can rely on its touch to stay consistent across virtually the whole face. Take a look at the Rally Tyro 2 on Amazon.

Fit & Look

The standard grip is very comfortable, but some players prefer to re-grip the handle to give it a more personalized feel. The handle isn’t overly long, but for players with small hands, there’s enough room to get both hands on the paddle.

You’ll probably need it if you want to get any sort of power into your backhands. As it is not a tournament-approved paddle, you’ll need to upgrade if you want to play in officially sanctioned tournaments.

Head Extreme Tour Lite Pickleball paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight: 6.8 – 7.2 ounces
  • Core: SPC Polymer
  • Paddle face: Graphite
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 3-7/8 and 4-1/8 inches
  • Total length: 16 inches
  • Width: 7-7/8 inches

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Good spin characteristics
  • Responsive, with a good feel
  • Diamond face

CONS:

  • Lacks power
  • Pricey

AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

The Head Extreme Tour Lite is a high-tech paddle with an interesting diamond face that works well to help you get the paddle low to the ground. The slightly elongated face gives the illusion of extra length, which is helped by the paddle length, which is the second-longest paddle in our selection.

Despite its length, the paddle is agile and the face is easy to adjust, allowing players to get it into position quickly.

Paddle Surface & Core

The graphite face partners well with the polymer core, giving the paddle a responsive feel.

While the cut-off corners do offer some benefits when it comes to playing low down off the court, it does come at a price. The sweet spot appears to be quite small, with a drop-off in power at the edges of the paddle.

The graphite surface is lively, producing an encouraging amount of spin.

Look at the Head Extreme Tour Lite on Amazon.

Hitting

The core is surprisingly giving, absorbing vibration well and cushioning hard shots with ease. The paddle helps players to build confidence at the net, offering consistently well-balanced dinks and drop shots. It does take a little getting used to if you’ve come from a paddle with a hard fiberglass face. Don’t expect any fireworks in the power department, as you’ll have to work hard to generate speed and power when playing off the baseline.

Fit & Look

The paddle looks expensive, and it is. The handle provides a comfortable grip for players with small hands, especially. It is encouraging that the paddle comes in two grip sizes, making it much easier to find the grip that suits your hands. We did enjoy the extra length, making this a good paddle for smaller players as it increases your reach by a good inch. The paddle comes in a limited range of two colors; red/white and yellow/black.  

ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight: 7.5 – 8.2 ounces
  • Core: Nomex
  • Paddle face: Graphite
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4 ¼ inches
  • Total length: 15½ inches
  • Width: 8⅛ inches

PROS:

  • Nimble design
  • Big sweet spot
  • Very comfortable
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Old-school look and feel
  • Lacks a little power

AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

The Onix Graphite Z5 is a comfortable, stable performer with excellent power and control characteristics.

Beginners enjoy the feeling of confidence they get from playing with the graphite version of the Onix Z5. This is achieved through a combination of a large, broad face with a sweet spot that extends across the paddle.

This helps to reduce miss-hits and inaccurate shots, making players more willing to have a go at everything within reach.

The Onix Z5 is a very well-priced mid-weight paddle that is suitable for novices and advanced players. The wide, traditional design is confidence-inspiring with a large sweet spot and an almost edge-edge playing surface.

Paddle Surface & Core

The slightly textured graphite surface provides plenty of bite when attacking balls around the non-volley zone. The paddle feels stable with both control and spin characteristics fully evident.

The surface has a fairly rough texture, akin to sandpaper. This explains the paddle’s ability when it comes to putting on the ball. Both topspin and backspin are easy to achieve, with the ball seeming to “bite” as it contacts the paddle.

For lighter players who utilize their nimbleness and quick reflexes around the kitchen, this paddle is the one that they will really enjoy. And for those players carrying injuries, the lightness and comfortable grip will help reduce irritation and allow you to play a lot longer.

Check out the Onix Z5 on Amazon.

Hitting

Despite its traditional shape, the Onix Z5 is light enough to easily get into action no matter how quickly you need to move. This is possibly one of its best features, especially as most of the game is spent close to the non-volley line. For players with smaller hands, the grip is comfortable and absorbs moisture well.

This is not a paddle for power players as, despite the graphite face and honeycomb Nomex core, there isn’t enough weight in the body of the paddle to really get a lot of power into your shots.

Fit & Look

As a lightweight, small grip-focussed paddle, the Neutron 2.0 is exactly what one is looking for in the best pickleball paddle for small hands. At 5-inches, the handle is still long enough for a two-handed backhand if you have tiny hands. This gives added power where you need it most.

The 4¼-inch grip accommodates tiny hands with a lightly padded material providing adequate moisture management. If you need to increase the size of the grip, you have the option of adding tape as the paddles are not available with anything but the standard grip size. The cushion grip design is comfortable with no lumps or bumps to interfere with your grip.

Gamma Neucore Hellbender Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight:  7.6 ounces
  • Core: Polypropylene
  • Paddle face: Textured graphite
  • Grip length: 4-1/4 inches
  • Grip size: 4-1/8 inches
  • Total length: 16-1/8 inches
  • Width: 7-5/8 inches

PROS:

  • Great reach
  • Good touch and feel
  • Very responsive
  • Good control

CONS:

  • Lack of power
  • Very expensive

AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

The Gamma NeuCore Hellbender is the longest paddle in our selection with an elongated face that narrows to the handle. Despite its somewhat unusual design, the face works well, allowing you to reach balls that you would perhaps have miss-hit with a shorter paddle.

This is a control paddle by design and it is very good at its job. The shape allows for quick, easy movement close to your body and the lightness brings lots of agility to your play.

The core absorbs shots well and allows for well-controlled return dinks and volleys. The textured graphite imparts impressive spin.

Paddle Surface & Core

The graphite face tends to bite well too. You get impressive control over your returns, with an excellent feel. The paddle absorbs vibration and speed well, making your job a lot easier.

Players say that it’s almost as if the paddle knows what you want to do before you do it. The sweet spot is not overly large and located more towards the top of the face. This does take some time to get used to, as the paddle feels a little unbalanced on groundstrokes.

Hitting

This is not a power paddle and you’ll work quite hard to generate a lot of force. Despite that, the feel is good and you can control the opposition well, especially if you have a “banger” on the other side of the net. Vibration is minimal as the core soaks up power shots quite well.

Have a look at the Hellbender on Amazon.

Fit & Look

This is a long, attractive paddle with a comfortable grip. To get the most out of this paddle, you’ll have to hit accurately. Get the ball in the sweet spot and you’ll be rewarded with the power available. Take the ball out towards the edge and it’ll feel a bit dead.

This paddle shines close to the net. Dinks, cross-court drop shots, and plenty of spins are what the paddle is designed for. Graphics and color schemes are limited, with a blue and white patterned face with yellow lettering being all that is available on this model.

Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Paddle Weight:  7.4 – 7.8 ounces
  • Core: Graphite polymer composite
  • Paddle face: Textured graphite
  • Grip length: 5-1/4 inches
  • Grip size: 4-1/8 and 4-3/8 inches
  • Total length: 15-7/8 inches
  • Width: 8 inches

PROS:

  • Wide face
  • Excellent reach
  • Comfortable grip
  • Spin control

CONS:

  • Unusual feel on the top third of the face
  • Expensive

AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro pickleball paddle is the most expensive paddle in our lineup. It’s a quirky offering, with a character all of its own.

We definitely don’t recommend it for beginners, as you need to hit very accurately to take advantage of the different characteristics of the face.

The top third of the paddle appears to be very hard, giving lots of power on ground strokes, while the middle and lower thirds provide control and spin.

Paddle Surface & Core

The surface offers good grip, as we’ve come to expect from textured graphite. With a little extra pop, the paddle is more capable in the power department than some of the other paddles we’ve reviewed.  

Have a look at the Tempest Wave Pro on Amazon.

Hitting

Players are happy with the responsiveness of the lightweight structure. There’s minimal drag as you put a lot of effort into returning the ball with speed and power. It can generate lots of spins, which is where this paddle excels. For finessing the ball around the court, it’s hard to beat the Tempest Wave Pro. There’s lots of feedback from the responsive core, giving you lots of confidence when you’re playing around the kitchen.

Fit & Look

The wide, traditional design and long handle are not new, but it works well. The paddle comes with a choice of grip sizes, so you can fit the handle perfectly into your hand. The wide elongated face does offer plenty of surface area to play off, but there’s quite a difference in the various areas of the paddle. It’ll take a bit of getting used to and is, therefore, more suited to an experienced player. The graphics are muted and you get a choice of 5 color schemes.

FAQBest Lightweight & Small Grip Pickleball Paddles for Small Hands

Is it better to have a lighter or heavier pickleball paddle?

Players who are smaller and lighter with small hands will do better with a lighter pickleball paddle. It’s better for nimble players who prefer a more controlled way of playing. However, they may struggle with getting enough power into their shots. Heavier paddles suit larger players who focus on a power game.

Do I want a lightweight or midweight pickleball paddle?

Lightweight pickleball paddles are suited to smaller players who are more comfortable with quick play around the kitchen. Midweight paddles will suit players with slightly bigger hands, and, due to their weight, can impart more power to their groundstrokes and overhead smashes.

Is a heavier or lighter pickleball paddle better for tennis elbow?

A lighter pickleball paddle is better for tennis elbow because it’s easier to keep the amount of irritation in the elbow joint down. Heavier paddles generate more resistance and thus put much more strain on the joints. It’s important to note that in some situations, a really light paddle can also contribute to tennis elbow because more effort might be required when trying to hit with power.

What is the smallest grip size for a pickleball paddle?

The smallest grip size for a pickleball paddle is a 4″ circumference and the grip sizes typically get larger in 1/8″ increments.

Are wooden pickleball paddles good?

Wooden pickleball paddles are good enough for someone who is just starting out and isn’t sure if they want to play long-term or for someone who doesn’t have the budget to spend more money. Wooden paddles are also the cheapest paddles available. In fact, you can get a well-made pickleball paddle set with four paddles for under $50.

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