8 Affordable Pickleball Paddles for 2023: Upgrade Your Game on a Budget!

Discover the top 8 budget-friendly pickleball paddles for a game-changing 2023!

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In the rapidly evolving world of pickleball, choosing the right equipment is crucial for enhancing your play without breaking the bank.

A top-notch paddle can transform your game, striking the perfect balance between power, control, and finesse.

That’s why I’ve curated a list of the top 8 pickleball paddles under $100 as of August 2023. This selection balances quality, performance, and affordability, ensuring you get excellent value for your money.

Whether you’re an experienced player or stepping onto the court for the first time, there’s something in this guide for everyone.

Explore this list to discover your next budget-friendly, game-winning paddle, selected for its unbeatable quality that fits well within your budget.

Best Pickleball Paddles Under $100

HEAD Radical Elite – Best Pickleball Paddle Under $100

The HEAD Radical Elite is not a power paddle nor a control paddle, but it’s a well-balanced combination of the two.

Surface & Core

The HEAD Radical Elite allows you to snap ground strokes and volleys with its fiberglass paddle face, absorbing hard shots from opponents for controlled returns.

It’s ideal for intermediate players.

Its polymer honeycomb core and 8.1-ounce weight handle almost any shot.

The combination of fiberglass face and polymer core delivers power and spin, thanks to its textured surface.

The paddle’s thickness and weight ensure stability and a soft touch, perfect for dinks and cross-court drop shots.

It features a wide body and a large sweet spot, boosting confidence and reducing miss-hits.

Fit & Look

The octagonal handle, padded for comfort, remains grippy even when sweaty.

It boasts a classic look and is available in three color options.

Buy if:

  • You require a racket with high power and control.
  • You need additional spin from a textured surface.
  • A comfortable grip is important for you.

Don’t Buy if:

  • You find heavier rackets difficult to use.
  • Consistent weight in a racket is crucial for you.

Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle – Best pickleball paddle for spin under $100

The Paddletek Bantam EX-L is a heavier paddle that is more suited to players who can control a ball and that is why it’s our pick for the best pickleball paddle for spin under $100.

Surface & Core

The Paddletek Bantam EX-L‘s advanced polymer core technology ensures a responsive experience, perfectly balancing power and control. It makes ground shots and serves effortlessly, minimizing the need for extra force.

While the sweet spot isn’t very large, the overall feel of the paddle is quite good, reducing mishits and boosting confidence for players who are not always positioned perfectly for shots.

Hitting

Dinks and drop shots glide over the net with precision and control, surprisingly, without sacrificing the power generated by the paddle. Its capability for spin secures its position as the best pickleball paddle for spin under $100.

The paddle excels in playing around the non-volley zone, offering easy handling without the bulkiness of a larger, heavier model.

Buy if:

  • You want excellent control.
  • You need a paddle that provides power.
  • You prefer a quieter paddle during play.

Don’t Buy if:

  • You are sensitive to vibrations and need a dampening paddle.
  • You are a smaller player who might struggle with a heavier puddle.

ONIX Graphite Z5

ONIX Graphite Z5 is a beginner-friendly paddle. It features a wide face and a large sweet spot.

ONIX Graphite Z5’s wide face and large sweet spot cater to those new to the game. However, its emphasis on power over control might challenge newcomers in precise ball placement.

Core & Surface

While the power might be overwhelming for some, the Nomex core excels in absorbing powerful returns and allows for nuanced dinks and drop shots around the non-volley zone. From the baseline, this paddle generates significant power and pop.

Hitting

The large sweet spot aids beginners in accurate ball placement, while advanced players benefit from the powerful hitting surface. The Onix Z5 continues to be a common sight on pickleball courts.

Fit & Look

The Onix Z5’s wide, versatile face encourages confident play, which is especially appealing to intermediate players with its classic widebody design.

A long-standing favorite, its popularity endures, partly due to its USA Pickleball approval for tournament play. Personal preference plays a role, but its track record speaks volumes.

Buy if:

  • You prefer a paddle with a large sweet spot.
  • You want an extra-wide face for better contact.
  • High power in your shots is a priority.

Don’t Buy if:

  • Aesthetics are important to you.
  • You don’t want to sacrifice control for power.

Gamma Sports 2.0

The Gamma Sports is a smaller paddle, designed with the beginner and intermediate player in mind. 

Core & Surface

The Gamma Sports‘ textured face provides excellent spin, enhancing players’ ability to apply significant spin on groundstrokes and slices.

Hitting

This paddle prioritizes control over power, excelling in responsiveness. It absorbs power shots effectively, allowing for precise shot placement around the non-volley zone.

From the baseline, you can apply as much power as desired, trusting the paddle’s top spin to place the ball accurately.

However, some might find the paddle feels underpowered, lacking the expected pop despite its fiberglass face.

For those seeking more power, exploring other reviewed paddles might be beneficial.

Look & Fit

Ultimately, this paddle offers great value, significantly improving game control.

Buy if:

  • You prefer a well-balanced paddle.
  • You want a paddle with a flush-fit bumper to reduce mishits.
  • Durability and strength in a paddle are important to you.

Don’t Buy if:

  • You are seeking a paddle with a focus on power.
  • You prefer a heavier paddle for your gameplay.

HEAD Radical Pro

The Head Radical Pro is a USAPA-approved paddle that comes with a uniquely designed head that is wider at the top and narrower towards the handle.

The Head Radical Pro’s unique design enhances maneuverability for ground strokes by allowing closer ground contact.

This control-oriented paddle is perfect for players who excel in the non-volley zone, making it a top choice for intermediates aiming to refine their third shot drop. It stands out as the best intermediate pickleball paddle in our selection.

Core & Surface

Its textured surface easily generates spin, supporting control-focused play with both top spin and back spin readily achievable.

Hitting

A potential issue is the variation in paddle weight, which may result in receiving a paddle heavier or lighter than expected.

A heavier paddle compensates for any power shortfall, boosting confidence in drives and serves, reaffirming its status as the top intermediate choice on our list.

Buy if:

  • You prefer a paddle with a diamond cutter head shape for better play dynamics.
  • You require a paddle that emphasizes overall control.
  • You use two-handed backhands and need a longer grip.

Don’t Buy if:

  • You are concerned about the longevity and durability of your paddle.
  • You prefer a paddle with a consistent weight.

Niupipo Explorer

The Niupipo Explorer leans towards a power-centric play style with its sturdy core and fiberglass face, offering a significant pop for forceful groundstrokes.

The Niupipo Explorer‘s graphite surface provides spin potential, although it’s slicker compared to other reviewed paddles.

Core & Surface

Achieving consistent topspin requires considerable effort. While it’s a solid choice for its price, advanced players might seek a pricier, more textured paddle for enhanced play.

Beginners will appreciate this paddle’s maneuverability, especially near the kitchen area, thanks to its forgiving nature that accommodates the entire face width for hits.

Hitting

Though the Explorer may not excel in control and finesse, its affordability makes it an ideal entry-level paddle for newcomers to pickleball.

Buy if:

  • You’re looking for a paddle that provides strong hitting power.
  • Balanced control in a paddle is important to you.

Don’t Buy if:

  • You rely on spin in your game and require a paddle with strong spin capabilities.

HUDEF HB2.0 Graphite Elongated Pickleball Paddle

The HUDEF HB2.0 paddle caters to both intermediate and beginner players, aiming for a balance between power and control, though it skews slightly less power.

Hitting

Its ease of use, particularly for close-range shots like dinks and drop shots, compensates for the slight power deficit.

The paddle’s lightweight design enhances maneuverability, suiting players who prefer a less forceful game.

Look & Fit

The grip, complete with a non-intrusive butt cap, is designed for comfort. However, the actual usable length of the long, 5-inch handle is about 4-3/8 inches, limiting the feasibility of two-handed backhands.

The edge guard effectively protects against ground hits and scratches without hindering off-center ball contacts.

While the elongated shape may initially challenge beginners, its extended hitting surface eventually improves their reach and game enjoyment.

Buy if:

  • You need a paddle with a longer face for extended reach.
  • You prefer a lightweight paddle.
  • You want a paddle that offers a balance between power and control.

Don’t Buy if:

  • You’re looking for a paddle with a lot of pop (reactivity).
  • You have concerns about the overall quality and durability of the paddle.

SLK Evo Hybrid

The SLK Evo Hybrid is a great beginner pickleball paddle, but more experienced players will appreciate it as well.

Core & Surface

This lightweight paddle strikes a balance between power and control, catering to players who enjoy powerful groundstrokes. Its fiberglass face enhances shot power with proper effort.

Players with less strength might struggle to utilize their power fully, finding more success in control-based play near the kitchen, focusing on absorbing shots and maneuvering the ball strategically.

The Evo Hybrid excels as a control paddle, appealing to those who prefer a more nuanced approach to the game.

Buy if:

  • You’re a stronger player who wants a paddle with plenty of power.
  • You need a paddle with good control.
  • Spin characteristics are important in your choice of paddle.

Don’t Buy if:

  • The grip doesn’t suit your preference.
  • You want a paddle with a consistent weight.

Summary – Best Pickleball Paddle Under $100

We’ve chosen the HEAD Radical Elite as our top pick for the best pickleball paddle under $100 because both beginners and intermediate players will find it a well-balanced paddle that is suited to powerful groundstrokes.

It has an excellent feel and control in the non-volley zone. It is a high-quality paddle at a very affordable price, making it an excellent choice for players of all skill levels.

The Paddletek Bantam EX-L is one of the best pickleball paddles under $100. The polymer core makes the paddle extremely responsive.

It has the perfect balance between power and control. Ground shots and serves can be played easily, requiring a little extra effort. 

Our selection aims to match every player’s style without stretching your budget. We hope you find the perfect paddle to elevate your game and enjoy the sport even more.

Here’s to finding your ideal match and enjoying countless enjoyable matches ahead!

What is Selkirk’s most popular pickleball paddle?

Selkirk’s most popular pickleball paddle is the Amped Epic S2. It’s tried and true, but at a bit of a higher price point, players like playing with it. Available in red, blue, purple, and black/gold.

What’s the difference between the Selkirk Epic and Selkirk S2?

According to Selkirk, “The S2 has a shorter handle than the Epic, but the S2 has a larger surface area on the face of the paddle. In fact, the S2 has the largest sweet spot in the Pickleball industry! The extra large surface area improves the overall power and control of the paddle, giving every shot more consistency.”

What is the difference between Selkirk Vanguard and amped?

According to Selkirk, “The VANGUARD Hybrid uses the same, proven X5 Honeycomb Thick Poly Core as the AMPED paddle. The VANGUARD Power uses our new X6 Honeycomb Streamlined Poly Core, which makes it our thinnest paddle yet.”

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