IN THIS GUIDE
What pickleball paddle is best?
Looking for a simple way to select the best pickleball paddle for your budget and your game?
There are dozens of pickleball paddles to choose from and it can be overwhelming.
The goal of this guide is to simplify your buying decision and provide you with a thoroughly researched list of the best pickleball paddles, regardless of your skill level or budget.
It’s about finding a paddle that will work best for you, your budget and your game.
There are 3 paddles in each of the 5 categories below. 3 is manageable and should make it easier for you to pick the right pickleball paddle for you.
Or, if you prefer to just get on with it because you’re ready to get out on the court with a new paddle, select a pickleball paddle category to get started OR take a look at our list of the top paddles in each category.
- Pickleball Paddles for Beginner Players
- Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate
- Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players
- Pickleball Paddle Sets
- Very Budget Friendly Pickleball Wood Paddle Sets
- Selection Criteria
- Pickleball Paddle Basics
This guide makes it easy for you to find the best pickleball paddle for your budget.
This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).
At A Glance: Top Pickleball Paddles
|TOP PICK – Beginner Players||Selkirk Neo Sport||Weight: 7.7 – 7.9 oz.|
Surface Texture: Smooth
Core: Polymer Honeycomb PowerCore
|TOP PICK – Beginner to Intermediate Player||Onix Z5 Wide Body||Weight: 7.5-8.2 oz|
Widebody shape – paddle shape with 4-1/4″ grip size
Core: Nomex, paper honeycomb core
Surface: graphite face
Dimensions:15.5″ L x 8.3″ W x 1.5″ H
|TOP PICK – Intermediate to Advanced Player||Selkirk Amped S2||Weight: 8.0 – 8.5 oz|
Dimensions: 15.75″ H x 8.0″
Core: Polypro;ylene X5 Core
Surface: FiberFlex Fiberglass
|TOP PICK – Paddle Sets for Beginner to Intermediate Playe||Selkirk Sport NEO Pickleball Paddle Set||Weight: 6.9 – 7.5 oz. |
Dimensions: 15.67 L x 7.875 W
Core: Polymer PowerCore
Includes: 2 paddles, 4 balls, and one carry case
|TOP PICK – Wood Pickleball Paddle Sets||Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Set||-7-ply wood construction made from maple for plenty of power and durability. |
-The handle includes a comfortable cushion grip with a wrist strap.
– 1-year warranty
Pickleball Paddles For The Beginner Player
Are you just getting started with pickleball and you’re not sure how often you will play or whether you’ll even like the game?
Or maybe you’re playing with a wood paddle and know that it’s time to invest a bit more money in a paddle that will help improve your game and your fun.
The 3 paddles below are good options. I know players who are still using these same paddles, well into their pickleball playing days. The detailed analysis is below.
You could start with a more economical choice (a cheaper made paddle) or a wood paddle, but personally, I don’t think either choice is the best way to spend your money.
For a bit more money, you get improved quality and most likely a better and more enjoyable game.
Summary – Pickleball Paddles for Beginners
After reading the reviews available for each of these 3 paddles, I would suggest that any of these paddles would work well for a beginner player or for someone who wants to play on occasion and not break the bank.
None of these paddles had negative reviews that were consistent and would lead me to believe that one is better or worse then the other.
Just a reminder that before I selected a paddle to include in this review, I read dozens and dozens of reviews for many paddles and only included the paddles that I believed would be a good choice for the new player or the occasional player.
I will mention that both Selkirk and HEAD are well-known brands in the pickleball paddle market and sometimes there is some comfort and benefit to know that a well-known brand manufactured the product and will stand by their product. Both these paddles are a slightly higher price than the ProBetter.
ProBetter is a smaller, lesser-known paddle manufacturer. However, from what I can gather, they have a very good reputation and manufacture a solid paddle suitable for the new or occasional player.
Pickleball Paddles For Intermediate Players
Pickleball Paddles for the Beginner to Intermediate Player
Hooked on pickleball and looking to step-up your game?
Consider changing your paddle for one that might help you with areas of improvement such as control, power, spin, and maneuverability.
Sometimes this means a higher priced paddle but sometimes it means just changing your paddle for one that works better for you. Not necessarily a more expensive paddle.
However, a more expensive paddle will often use newer technology that can help players improve their game.
If you know that you want to get more serious with your pickleball game, then take a look at the paddles listed below in Pickleball Paddles For The Advanced Player before you make a decision.
After looking at the paddles in Pickleball Paddles For The Advanced Player, you might decide that you’re happy to pay more for a paddle that will grow with you and help you grow your game.
However, this list of 3 paddles narrows the options for you while keeping the price point in-check. The detailed analysis is below.
SUMMARY – Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players
After reading the reviews available for each of these 3 paddles, I would suggest that the ONIX Z5 is definitely the front- runner.
The Selkirk Latitude and HEAD Radical Pro are worthy alternatives but the number and quality of reviews for the ONIX Z5 is tremendous which strongly indicates that for many players, this paddle is not only popular but it is truly a paddle that people love to play with and like to refer it to other players.
I don’t think you can go wrong with the Selkirk Latitude or HEAD Radical Pro but before making a decision, I would suggest that you take a close look at the specs and the reviews for all three paddles and then decide.
Just a reminder that before I selected a paddle to include in this review, I read dozens and dozens of reviews for many paddles and only included the paddles that I believed would be a good choice for the player who is looking to commit a bit more in a paddle to help improve their pickleball game and fun.
Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate to Advanced Player
Already invested in pickleball and looking to buy a new paddle that will help you take your game to the next level?
Looking for more consistent play? More spin? More control?
The 3 pickleball paddles on this list were chosen due to their positive reviews, in particular for balance, control, maneuverability and spin.
They were not chosen because of their reputation for power although none of them were noted for a lack of power either.
If you are looking to put more spin on your ball, all 3 of these paddles are included in 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Amazing Spin (2020).
SUMMARY – Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate to Advanced Player
After reading the reviews available for each of these 3 paddles, I would suggest that any of these paddles would work well for a player who is looking to invest in a pickleball paddle that will help them advance their pickleball game.
The Selkirk Amped S2 certainly has a significant following with feedback and ratings that are very favorable placing this paddle as the front-runner.
Just a reminder that before I selected a paddle to include in this review, I read dozens and dozens of reviews for many paddles and only included the paddles that I believed would be a good choice for the more advanced player.
I’ve recently played against players who were playing with the Engage Encore and the Tempest Wave and both players were very, very pleased with each of their paddle choices.
Pickleball Paddle Sets For Beginner or Intermediate Players
Looking to buy 2 paddles? Want good value?
Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate player, if you are considering buying 2 paddles, then have a close look at these pickleball paddle sets.
In most situations, these sets are extremely good value with the paddles being either the same price and often a bit less then buying the same paddle individually and they include 4 balls which is a great bonus if you also need to buy balls.
In some situations, these sets offer extremely good value.
Pickleball Paddle Sets for Beginner or Intermediate Players
SUMMARY – Pickleball Paddle Sets for Beginner or Intermediate Players
After reading the reviews available for each of these 3 paddle sets, I would suggest that any of these paddles would work well for a player who is looking to invest in a pickleball paddle set.
The Selkirk Sport Neo Set offers fantastic value for two paddles and 4 balls.
These paddles are solid, well made and the reviews speak for themselves. While these are not the best paddles that Selkirk makes, they are good value and the best price value of the three sets included in this review. It’s more economical to buy this set than buy two Selkirk Neo paddles separately.
Just a reminder that before I selected a paddle to include in this review, I read dozens and dozens of reviews for many paddles and only included the paddles that I believed would be a good choice for the player who is looking to buy more than one paddle.
That makes these sets great for someone who wants a backup paddle, for couples or for families.
So if you need two paddles and balls, either set is a good choice.
The XSPak has the highest rating and includes a handy carrying case which is worth considering when you review the pros and cons of each set.
Wood Pickleball Paddle Sets For the Occasional Player
Pickleball paddles for players who want to play pickleball on occasion
Wood paddles can be a great solution for families or community centers, particularly when there are young children or just new players who don’t want to invest too much.
I’ve played with a wooden paddle and it’s fine. After-all, the original pickleball paddle was made of wood. As you will see from the reviews for all 3 sets below, the people who have bought these are happy with their purchase.
Remember that these paddles are not top of the line pickleball paddles but they are good quality wood paddles and a good option for players on a budget.
This list of 3 pickleball paddles narrows the options for you. Read the summary below.
SUMMARY – Wood Pickleball Paddles
After reading the reviews available for each of these three pickleball paddle sets, I believe that any of these paddles will work well for a family or a group of people who are just getting started with pickleball.
If you are new to pickleball and only need one paddle, I suggest you consider the paddles in Pickleball Paddles For Beginner Player.
These wood pickleball paddle sets are a reasonable price and good value which means that whether you play once a week or once a month, these paddles are a good option and a good price if you are looking to buy at least four pickleball paddles.
Just a reminder that before I selected a paddle to include in this review, I read dozens and dozens of reviews for many paddles and only included the paddles that I believed would be a good choice for the player who is looking to buy a set of four paddles.
I’ve spent many hours reading dozens and dozens of pickleball paddle reviews and ratings so that I could create a list of pickleball paddles that would make it easier for you to select a paddle to purchase.
Before I included a paddle in this review, I read many reviews for many paddles and only included the paddles that I believed would be a good option.
I describe the selection criteria in the list below but I think it’s important to mention that I spent a tremendous amount of time vetting the reviews left by players and weighed the comments to determine whether a paddle would be worthy of being in this guide.
Only then did I finalize the list of paddles that have been included.
I created this guide in this fashion so that I could create a list of paddles that was easy for you to read and help simplify your decision.
I also want to mention that I have not played with all of these paddles and I’m not associated with any paddle brand or manufacturer. I know, what the heck?
I’ve chosen to do an incredible amount of research to understand how the actual users (players) feel about these paddles and share that information in a consolidated, easy to read format.
It’s true that if I had played with all of these paddles, I would be able to provide you with my own unique perspective.
However, I believe that it’s more valuable to provide you with the consolidated feedback from a large group of players.
There will be situations where I provide my own personal feedback on a paddle or another product, but not in this particular guide.
Here’s the criteria I used to determine which paddles to include:
- At least 50 consumer reviews or ratings from a minimum of 2 sources, when possible
- Average rating of at least a 4.5 out of 5
- No aluminum or Nomex™ except for the Onix Z5 Nomix™ paddle due to its popularity and extremely positive reviews
- No edgeless paddles
- No wood paddles except in Very Budget Friendly Wood Paddle Sets
- Approved by the USAPA (except for: wood paddle sets)
Pickleball Paddle Basics
Are you new to pickleball and trying to decide if this is the sport for you?
Or you aren’t too sure how often you’ll play?
One of the many great things about pickleball is that it can be affordable.
If you’re a beginner, you have many options and as long as you stay away from the following types of paddles, most others should work for you:
- Nomex™ core
- Aluminum core
- Wooden paddles unless you absolutely need the most economical option (see Very Budget Friendly Wood Paddle Sets)
- Long-board or tear-drop paddles (long and narrow instead of wide)
- Heavy or light paddles, choose a mid-weight paddle (7.3 to 8.2 oz)
There are several other key factors to consider before buying a paddle and I’ve covered these points in How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle.
If you haven’t already read it, take a look because it can help you understand the basics of buying a pickleball paddle.
The game of pickleball is quickly rising in popularity and as a result, so are the number and types of pickleball paddles available on the market.
It can be overwhelming.
I hope that this guide will help you figure out how to choose the right pickleball paddle for you and your game.
If you are looking for some additional details on the basics of pickleball paddles, have a quick look at How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle.
Or if you want to take your game to the next level with a new paddle that is well known for helping players improve their spin and control, check out The 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Spin (2020).