Best Pickleball Paddles Under $100 [2022]

In this article, we’re reviewing the best pickleball paddles under $100.

Top Pick & Runner Up

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Top Pick – Head Radical Elite

The HEAD Radical Elite offers both beginners and more advanced players a well-balanced paddle that is suited to powerful groundstrokes with great feel and control at the non-volley zone.

Runner Up – Paddletek Bantam EX-L

The advanced technology built into the Paddletek Bantam EX-L polymer core makes the paddle extremely responsive, with a great balance between power and control. Ground shots and serves can be played with ease, requiring little extra effort. 

Best Pickleball Paddles Under $100

HEAD Radical Elite

  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  • Core material: Polymer Honeycomb
  • Paddle face: Fiberglass
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4 1/4″
  • Total length: 16 inches
  • Width: 4-1/8 inches
  • Pros
    • Excellent power
    • Lots of control 
    • Textured surface provides plenty of spin
    • Comfortable grip
  • Cons
    • It may be a bit heavy for smaller players
    • Weight can vary

Paddle at a Glance

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

Surface & Core

You’ll be able to snap ground strokes and volleys off the fiberglass paddle face while at the same time absorbing hard shots from your opponents and returning controlled shots. It’s the ideal paddle for the intermediate player.

The polymer honeycomb core and 8.1-ounce weight absorb just about any shot your opponents send over the net.

The fiberglass face and polymer core combine to provide lots of power and its textured surface imparts plenty of spin. The paddle’s thickness and weight translate into great stability and a really soft touch, perfect for dinks and cross-court drop shots.

The paddle is fairly wide, and the sweet spot extends well towards the outside of the paddle. This all but eliminates miss-hit balls and inspires confidence when reaching for shots.

Fit & Look

The octagonal handle is well-padded and provides a comfortable grip, even when your hands become sweaty. It has a fairly classic, clean look with 3 color options.

Paddletek New Era Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle

  • Weight: 7.8-8.4 oz
  • Core material: Polymer
  • Paddle face: Polycarbonate
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4 1/4″
  • Total length: 15-5/8 inches
  • Width: 7-3/4 inches
  • Pros
    • Excellent control
    • Provide plenty of power
    • Great spin characteristics
    • Quiet
  • Cons
    • Not a vibration dampening paddle
    • A bit heavy for some smaller players

Paddle at a Glance

The Paddletek Bantam EX-L is a heavier paddle that is more suited to larger players or those who don’t want to work as hard to hit the ball. 

Surface & Core

The advanced technology built into the Paddletek Bantam EX-L polymer core makes the paddle extremely responsive, with a great balance between power and control. Ground shots and serves can be played with ease, requiring little extra effort. 

The sweet spot is not particularly large but the rest of the paddle provides a reasonably good feel. This reduces the number of mishits and is a confidence booster for those who may not be able to get themselves into the perfect position for each shot.

Hitting

Dinks and drop shots pop easily over the net with accuracy and control, which is unexpected given the amount of power one can develop off the paddle. The paddle plays incredibly well around the non-volley zone, being easy to wield with none of the awkwardness you may associate with a larger, heavier paddle.

ONIX Graphite Z5

  • Weight: 7.5-8.2 oz
  • Core material: Nomex, paper honeycomb
  • Surface face: Graphite
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4 1/4″
  • Total length: 15.5 inches
  • Width: 8 inches
  • Pros
    • Large sweet spot
    • Extra-wide face
    • Provides high power levels
    • Very maneuverable
  • Cons:
    • Not the prettiest paddle
    • Focus more on power at the expense of control

Overall Feel of the Paddle

This is a beginner-friendly paddle with a wide face and large sweet spot. However, due to its focus on power rather than control, new pickleball players may struggle a little with placing the ball accurately. 

Core & Surface

Too much power is a relatively minor complaint as the Nomex core does a good job of absorbing powerful returns as well as providing enough feel to play dinks and drop shots around the non-volley zone. Drop back to the baseline and swing hard into a shot and the paddle develops plenty of power and pop.

Hitting

The large sweet spot makes it easy for beginners to place the ball accurately and advanced players will enjoy the added advantage of having a large, powerful hitting surface. This paddle has been around for a while and I continue to see it frequently on the pickleball courts.

Fit & Look

Rather than going with the latest elongated shape, the Onix Z5 is manufactured with a wide, versatile face that will promote a confident style of play.

If you’re an intermediate player, you’ll appreciate the classic widebody design.

Gamma Sports 2.0

  • Weight: 8.0 ounces
  • Core: Aramid honeycomb
  • Surface face: Textured fiberglass/graphite
  • Grip length: 5″
  • Grip size: 4″
  • Total length: 15-5/8 inches
  • Width: 8-1/4 inches
  • Pros
    • Excellent spin and control
    • Well-balanced
    • Flush-fit bumper (fewer mishits)
    • Strong and durable
  • Cons
    • Lacks power
    • A bit light for stronger players

Overall Feel of the Paddle

This is a smaller paddle, designed with the beginner and intermediate player in mind. 

Core & Surface

The textured face imparts excellent spin characteristics, with many players commenting on the improvements they’ve noticed in their ability to put lots of spin on both their ground strokes and slice.

Hitting

The paddle is biased towards control rather than power and it achieves this goal superbly. The responsive core absorbs your opponent’s power shots and gives you plenty of feel, especially when you are placing shots around the non-volley zone. 

When playing ground shots from the baseline, you can hit the ball with as much power as you want, secure in the knowledge that with the top spin it imparts, the ball will land accurately where you want it to.

Some players may find that the paddle feels a little underpowered and “soft”. Despite the fiberglass face, the ball doesn’t quite pop as you may expect or even want. If that is the case, you may want to try one of the other paddles we’ve reviewed that is aimed more at the power game.

Look & Fit

In the final analysis, though, this paddle is very good value for money and can elevate your game with plenty of ball control.

HEAD Radical Pro

  • Weight: 7.9 – 8.5 oz
  • Core material: Polymer honeycomb
  • Surface face: Textured fiberglass
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Total length: 16 inches
  • Width: 7-7/8 inches
  • Pros
    • Diamond cutter head shape
    • Good spin control
    • Control
    • Longer grip (suitable for two-handed backhands)
  • Cons
    • Some concerns about durability
    • Weight can vary quite a bit

Overall Feel of the Paddle

This USAPA-approved paddle comes with a uniquely designed head which is wider at the top and narrower towards the handle. This gives you more maneuverability when approaching ground strokes, allowing you to get the paddle closer to the ground.

The Radical Pro is biased towards control, so if you like to finesse your way around the non-volley zone, then this paddle is well worth your attention. Aimed more at intermediate players rather than beginners, this paddle will help to improve your third shot drop.

Core & Surface

The textured face imparts plenty of spin as you would expect from a paddle that favors control. Both top spin and back spin is easily achieved. 

Hitting

Of some concern is the variation in weight and you could find that the paddle you receive could be a lot heavier or lighter than you would prefer. The heavier paddle helps to make up for the lack of power and will give you a bit of added confidence in your drives and serves.

Niupipo Explorer

  • Weight: 7.5 – 8.0 oz
  • Core: Polypropylene honeycomb
  • Paddle face: Fiberglass, graphite
  • Grip length: 4-1/2 inches
  • Total length: 16-1/2 inches
  • Width: 7-1/2 inches
  • Pros
    • Power 
    • Balanced control
  • Cons
    • Weak spin characteristics

Overall Feel of the Paddle

The graphite adds enough texture to provide spin but the surface is much slicker than the other paddles we’ve reviewed. 

Core & Surface

It takes lots of effort to hit consistently with topspin. For the price point, it’s a good paddle, but for more advanced players, a more expensive textured paddle may be required.

Beginners will find lots to enjoy about this paddle as it is very maneuverable, making it easier to play around the kitchen. The paddle is quite forgiving, allowing you to use the full width of the face without mishitting. 

Hitting

While the Explorer does lack the attributes necessary to make it a great control and finesse paddle, at this price point, it is perfect for introducing new players to the game.

HUDEF HB2.0 Graphite Elongated Pickleball Paddle

  • Weight: 7.9 oz
  • Core: Polypropylene honeycomb
  • Paddle face: Graphite
  • Grip length: 5″
  • Grip size: 4 1/3″
  • Total length: 16-3/8 inches
  • Width: 7 inches
  • Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Longer face
    • Comfortable, secure grip
    • Balanced power and control
  • Cons
    • Not much pop
    • Some quality concerns

The elongated HB2 is aimed at both intermediate and beginner pickleball players. While it’s designed as a balanced paddle with power and control being equally favored, it does lack a little power.

Hitting

It makes up for the lack of power by being very easy to use close in, with players reporting that it possesses a good feel, especially when hitting dinks and drop shots. The lightness helps with maneuverability, making this a great paddle for lighter, less powerful players.

Look & Fit

The grip is comfortable with a butt cap that isn’t intrusive. The grip is styled as a long, 5-inch handle but the usable length is only around 4-3/8 inches. This makes it impossible to play two-handed backhands.

While the edge guard protects the core well from ground strikes and scratches, it isn’t so large as to interfere with the ball hitting the face off-center.

Beginners may struggle with the elongated shape, but they soon learn to adjust their play to manage the longer hitting surface. The longer face gives better reach and makes games that much more enjoyable.

SLK Evo Hybrid

  • Weight: 7.6 – 8.0 oz
  • Core: Polymer 
  • Surface face: Carbon fiber
  • Grip length: 4-7/8 inches
  • Total length: 16 inches
  • Width: 7-7/8 inches
  • Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Plenty of power (for stronger players)
  • Good control
  • Spin characteristics
  • Cons
  • Grip
  • Weights can vary

Paddle at a Glance

The SLK Evo Hybrid is suitable for beginners, more experienced players and advanced players.

Core & Surface

As a lightweight paddle, it offers a good balance between power and control. Players who focus on powerful groundstrokes will appreciate its fiberglass face that really pops when you put effort into your shots.

However, weaker players may not have the strength to really make the most of these power characteristics. They are better off playing from around the kitchen, absorbing their opponents’ shots and finessing the ball around the court.

The Evo Hybrid does well as a control paddle and it is a standout feature for most players who enjoy a more nuanced game. 

What is Selkirk’s most popular pickleball paddle?

Selkirk’s most popular pickleball paddle is the Amped Epic S2. It’s tried and true, at a bit of a higher price point but 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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