Updated July 6, 2022
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.
We’ve compiled a summary of the top paddles in 5 categories along with a detailed review and analysis of the:
- Best Pickleball Paddles For Beginners
- Best Pickleball Paddles For Intermediate Players
- Best Pickleball Paddles For Advanced Players
- Pickleball Paddle Sets For All Players
- Wood Pickleball Paddles
This guide makes it easy for you to find the best pickleball paddle for your skill level and budget.
New to pickleball? Here’s a more in-depth review of pickleball paddles for beginners.
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 PICKS||PICKLEBALL PADDLE||SPECS|
|TOP PICK – Beginner Players||ProBetter||Weight: 7.7 – 7.9 oz.|
Surface Texture: Smooth
|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.
- Weight: 7.7 – 7.9 oz.
- Core Material: Polymer Honeycomb PowerCore
- Hitting Surface: composite
- Grip size: 4.125″
- Highly forgiving and excellent for beginners
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Available in red and blue
- A comfortable SLK ThinGrip
- There are better-looking pickleball paddles in the market
This ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow sponsored”>Selkirk NEO pickleball paddle is great for beginners because it’s a high-quality paddle at an amazing price. And its forgiveness is such that anyone who doesn’t know what they want in a paddle can easily play with it.
Thanks to the honeycomb core, the paddle’s sweet spot is large and can help a player return a solid shot.
As a result, you can learn the game with minimal restrictions and become the pro you aspire to be. You’ll notice that the face of the paddle is a little broader which will help you return balls without concerns of over-the-edge guard hits. The wider body works best for players who want to build their game around more versatility rather than concentrating on one shot.
The paddle leverages the innovative PowerCore technology to balance the design and weight for finesse and power. This saves users from the burdensome and distracting weight of wooden materials and allows for focusing on skill development. The composite polymer layered core construction distributes the impact for versatility in play.
Other helpful features include a small grip size for comfort and ease of use. Players with small hands have nothing to complain about.
In addition, the room between the handle and the palm is worth a note as it prevents loose shots.
Novices looking to use the paddle indoors can do it, given its favorable features such as control. It has a stylish look, which adds to your confidence in play – typical of the best pickleball paddles. The rich blue and red background along with the brand’s logo add to its unique design.
- Core: polymer
- Weight: 8.1 oz
- Paddle face: fiberglass
- Grip size: 4 1/4 in
- Secure and much more stable
- Enhanced feel and sound
- Ample power on the ball
- Gives better control
- Available in red-grey and black yellow
- May not have the excellent balance that beginners require
Learn pickleball at your own pace with Head Radical Elite Composite Paddle and still have a decent game. The paddle comes with an ergonomic grip and an elongated body for better control over the court. It covers larger areas.
Also, the powerful rebound capabilities keep the feelings of overswing away from your game to feel more in control when hitting the shots.
It is excellent for control players who drive balls on the serve while also dinking over the net. The tapered edge that appears to be going inwards allows extra maneuverability and feel. Some players just can’t get enough of the pop on the paddle from the smooth fiberglass hitting surface.
The paddle’s length and grip size drive some extra power into the hits for those hard slams that some players love. And with a thickness of a half-inch and weight of 8.1 oz, the paddle is excellent for handling hot hits from opponents.
The supportive fiberglass face does not require too much pressure from the player. You can hit the ball vigorously to deal with an aggressive opponent and control the game.
The distinct diamond shape stands out from the crowd, and it is a constant reminder that you are dealing with an original Head product – the brand known for some of the best pickleball paddles. The dynamic power shape allows better paddle control and mobility. Your hits feel more comfortable and light as a result.
- Core: polypropylene honeycomb
- Weight: 7.9 oz
- Paddle face: Graphite Carbon Fiber
- Grip size: 4.25 in
- Better looking paddle
- A large sweet spot for fewer mishits
- It comes with a protective cover for off-court protection
- Approved for tournament use
- Easier to apply various kinds of spins
- Some users complain of less power
- It may develop an odor
ProBetter may be an underdog manufacturer of pickleball paddles, but their paddle has gathered some reputation for solid quality. If you have been using borrowed paddles for some time, it is time to transition to a solid choice with a sweet spot for growing skills. Typically this paddle is good for occasional and new players.
ProBetter Pickleball Paddles use the highest quality materials and innovative design to achieve better value for money.
Its cushioned ergonomic grip reduces hand fatigue, vibrations, and slip. This means you can use it for longer and be consistent in your game.
The paddles weigh less than 8 oz for players to focus on the ball and stay on the game – the weight is not a distraction since the paddle is well balanced for less wrist fatigue. It is great for use by kids as well.
The grip keeps your hands cool through perforations, and you can maximize your strength in the game.
The paddle face is graphite, and together with the polymer honeycomb core, you achieve better accuracy. The paddle absorbs the sound to help you direct the paddle comfortably for solid backhand and forehand drives.
A low-profile edge guard is just what a beginner needs for confidence in shots. You can serve low, hard shots without mishits and surprise your opponent. It is also responsive and quick for individuals learning the ropes ahead of schedule.
Even though sometimes looks can be deceiving, this pickleball paddle looks professional and good.
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 them 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 than 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.
- Core: Nomex, paper honeycomb
- Weight: 7.5-8.2 oz
- Paddle face: graphite
- Grip size: 4-1/4″
- The paddle is approved for competitions
- Relatively quiet
- A middle of the spectrum price
- Built to last
- Some say its power is low
The ONIX Z5 graphite pickleball paddle is common in most recreational courts and competitions for its quality. It is one of the most versatile and comes in common and popular shapes.
The classic shape and build quality are highlights and why it is such a workhorse, and its solid feel and weight make it a staple for all-around pickleball players.
Of course, there is still a section of players that feel comfortable in simple and conventional widebody pickleball paddles, and ONIX Graphite Z5 ticks the right boxes.
But apart from its old shape, the paddle is highly functional, with an easier-to-find sweet spot and broad hitting surface.
The surface has some texture, allowing for a good spin on the ball.
The cosmetic appeal may be an issue for some who focus on aesthetics, and some believe a graphic redesign would be good. However, its functionality overshadows any such shortcomings.
The paddle weighs less than 8.5 ounces and is ideal for beginners and intermediate players. Crossover players from racket sports will feel at home with the paddle.
While people with joint pains will love the paddle’s lightweight design, it’s not a good choice for singles. Singles players need a more blade style or elongation.
- Core: polymer
- Weight: 6.9 oz
- Paddle face: graphite
- Grip size: 4.25″
- Comfortable to use, cushioned grip
- Helps with power and control
- It comes in a variety of colors and styles
- Quality look and feel
- Some say the paddle is too light for effective power shots
The sleek graphite face of the Selkirk Latitude paddle has a unique feel and control that every new intermediate player will feel comfortable in. It provides a consistent hit and feels like being on top of the game and developing skills.
At less than 6 ounces and characteristic of graphite paddles, any player can leverage quicker hands and maintain control. The cushioned and standard grip thickness absorbs impact and sweat for the highest comfort level. You can play longer without fatigue and consistently.
The low profile and durable edge guard technology combines good handcrafting for balancing to make it perfect for intermediate players. The balance between power and control and sizable width is a source of excellent dinks and volleys.
An ample grip length gives you control of the paddle and the game, and the paddle’s sticky face produces versatility. But you are free to add grip tape to the handle if you feel it is too narrow.
The unmistakable large paddle face allows players to leverage on its sweet spot and defend slams.
For some unknown reason, the paddle face graphic has always been an important feature for players, including new and intermediate level players. Selkirk Latitude Wide Body comes in a selection of stunning vibrant colors and designs to suit your style on the court and feel confident in the game.
There’s also the polymer PowerCore, a source of the satisfying pop, which lasts through the various games to give you value for money. The paddle’s overall construction is top quality and ideal for various levels of players.
- Core: polymer
- Weight: 8.1 oz
- Paddle face: fiberglass
- Grip size: 4 1/4″
- Lightweight but with ample power
- Any level of player can use it
- Great ball reflecting capabilities
- Increased accuracy on the ball through its grippy surface
- It may not be the best choice for people looking for an extra spin in the game
You’ll need control, strength, and reach to advance in pickleball. That is where a quality pickleball paddle comes in. Through its textured surface, HEAD Radical Pro gives the players the ability to change the spins as the game progresses.
A fiberglass face gives ample power and excellent finish to stay in the competition. In addition, you have a better grip on the ball for shot placement and improved spins, thanks to the paddle’s extreme spin texture.
The paddle also has a characteristic long face for a better reach. With good reflexes, no ball will go past your reach.
Take advantage of the HEAD’s paddle technology to enjoy the game and put down points. The advanced tech, plus the cushioned handle, reduces the vibration and makes every game pleasurable. Issues such as the “pickleball elbow” are common, especially when you make wrong paddle choices, but HEAD helps you avoid that with this paddle.
HEAD Radical Pro is constructed from one piece of material, giving it a robust and stable feel during swings. HEAD designed this paddle to produce an extra pop during competitions, but one of its most important features is its lightweight construction.
Players can swing it in the air easily, and the fiberglass face makes it effortless to reflect the shots. The textured paddle surface enhances your accuracy on the ball without compromises on the form.
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).
- Core: polypropylene
- Weight: 7.4oz – 7.8oz
- Paddle face: fiberglass
- Grip size: 5.25″
- Approved for tournaments
- Fiberglass face as a good source of power and control
- Torque suppression and vibration dampening
- More dynamic paddle graphics
- The oversized sweet spot for consistency
- Hitting the ball slightly off-center gives undesirable results
Everyone wants to have an edge in their favorite game of pickleball, but it does not always happen, especially when facing a more experienced opponent.
But with the right pickleball paddle, it is possible to tilt the odds in your favor. The Selkirk Amped utilizes proprietary technology and the finest materials to give intermediate and advanced pickleball players the advantage they crave.
The paddle blends a thick Polypropylene Core with FiberFlex Fiberglass to ensure an optimal surface for the ball to bounce and spin without breaking a sweat. The popular Selkirk X5 Core shows up just in time to produce the power.
The core may be thicker than others, but it helps minimize errors and mishits.
The paddle defuses the spins directed with a nice pop with an inbuilt ball cushioning tech. You can then apply enhanced ball rotation and spin when returning the ball.
The pickleball paddle has a large polymer sweet spot that makes it easier for intermediate players. In addition, its excellent balancing also makes the paddle ideal for two-handed players and tennis converts.
Selkirk Amped offers a soft and patient game when you need it and also allows some versatility and power for the tournaments.
The paddle face is designed to reduce the vibrational waves and amplitude to result in a smoother feel. It has a balanced, controlled feeling for the hard balls, resets, and dinks.
- Core: polypropylene
- Weight: 7.8 – 8.3 oz
- Paddle face: fiberglass
- Grip size: 4 3/4″
- The paddle has less vibration and is comfortable to use
- Budget-friendly considering the quality
- Available in four colors
- Approved for tournament
- It may not be very comfortable for two-handed backhands
Most manufacturers will claim that their paddle has the perfect blend of control and power, but that is not always the case. Engage Encore Pro achieves this.
When it comes time to replace your pickleball paddle, you will want something better like the Engage Encore Pro.
At 7.8-8.3 oz, the paddle is a bit weightier than its peers, but for a purpose. The extra weight adds some power to the ball and has an extra-wide body shape to help with the reach. You don’t have to move a lot. And if you have a thing for one-handed backhands, the grip length of Engage Encore Pro allows it.
The gritty face gives the ball a good spin and is heavy enough for some power on the serve or response. The paddle’s design includes a fiberglass skin and polymer honeycomb to increase the time the ball is on the paddle (a concept that the brand came up with). It enhances the feel of the paddle. But that is not all that the rough skin helps achieve.
It also increases the spins in the shots. The overall build quality is excellent and a good value for money.
- Core: polymer
- Weight: 7.6-8 oz.
- Paddle face: graphite
- Grip size: 4 3/8″
- An all-around paddle for intermediate and pro players
- Versatile for any style of play
- Ergonomic handle
- A great mix of control and power
- The paddle is a little pricey
The Tempest Wave Pro has the makings of a premier paddle, with its characteristics and design to the extent that it has been dubbed ‘the most complete paddle.’
It comes with a professional-looking appearance, with black blended with various colors. Polymer and carbon fiber show just how far technology has evolved the pickleball paddle, but the polymer core in Tempest Wave Pro is something else.
The balance and control are mind-boggling, and the best part is that you don’t sacrifice any power. Throughout the game, you can hit hot surprise shots that tire and take out the competition.
The textured graphite offers some good maneuverability, flexibility, and grip. Most people choose graphite mainly because of the extra pop it produces with every hit, and you can feel and hear it so well in Tempest Wave Pro. The lightweight nature of graphite also allows the player to put some good power in the shots.
The grip and the overall feel of the Tempest Wave Pro are premium and let you feel in control throughout the game. Users say that they can feel the sweet spot with every hit, which helps with confidence and control.
Some people will complain of the premium price, but it is a higher performance paddle. It is every bit worth the price, especially when you consider the satisfying feel of the core throughout the different kinds of shots.
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 than 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.
- Core: polymer
- Weight: 7.5 oz
- Paddle face: graphite
- Grip size: 4.25″
- Comfortable to use
- A good amount of forgiveness for beginners
- Ergonomic grip
- The paddles are affordable
- Premium-priced paddle set
The Selkirk Sport NEO may be a relatively new player in the game, but they have been making large strides with some of the best products in the market. Their high-end paddles use the latest technologies and attractive designs to make them an excellent choice for beginner and intermediate players.
The core of the paddles features the exclusive SX3 honeycomb core, and the entire face is FiberFlex fiberglass. The improved core, which features a large sweet spot, has been a hit among the beginner and intermediate players because of the associated power and feel. The honeycomb core also softens the impact and ensures a consistent speed.
Their build quality and weight are pretty much what make the paddles quite popular, especially among tennis and other racket sports crossover players. There have been some complaints about the weight, where some users felt it is a bit higher than others. The new line of graphite paddles is better at 7.5 ounces.
The majority of the pickleball paddles in the market are around 8 ounces. The 0.5 ounces difference is quite significant, and the best part is that it does not sacrifice power and balance.
Some players may notice the Neo paddles are relatively smaller, but that is not a major concern. On the flip side, they are easier to use and carry.
The set comes with an ultra-cushion grip that absorbs sweat and the impacts. This reduces fatigue, and you can play for longer.
You can also use the paddles in local and international tournaments since they are USAPA-approved.
- Core: polymer
- Weight: 7.8 oz – 8.2 oz
- Paddle face: graphite
- Grip size:
- Lightweight and comfortable to use
- Approved for use in tournaments
- It comes with a one-year warranty
- Some users say they chip easier than rivals
This Amazin’ Aces set includes paddles with a graphite surface and polymer core. The brand has a reputation for quality paddles that beginners and intermediate players would find useful. And the fact that it is USAPA approved means that it has passed all the necessary testing for use in competitive sports.
Amazin’ Aces Signature Pickleball Paddle Set combines high-quality materials with cutting-edge technology. The graphite face and honeycomb polymer are responsive, and the low profile edge-guard does its job quite well.
The paddles may not be as lightweight as most of its high-priced competitive peers, but its blend of power and control stands out. This is mostly because of its optimal weight with the perfect distribution. It is adequate for intermediate and beginner players.
But its large sweet spot, the high-performance polymer core, and the classic shape also play an important role in making the paddle a great pick. That means the whole family or group of friends can have some fun while improving their pickleball skills.
In addition, the hand-stitched contour grip has a good feel to the hands, and the grip’s standard circumference makes it easier and more comfortable to use.
Overall, you cannot overlook the bright and fun designs. It feels better to play with beautiful paddles, and they add some confidence to the shots. The paddle set comes in a beautiful box that makes gifting so much easier. It has nice protective covers to keep the paddles in good shape when not in use.
So apart from being a great set for beginners, the paddles give a good bang for the buck.
● Core: polymer
● Weight: 8 oz
● Paddle face: Carbon Fiber
● Grip size: 4 1/4″
● Suitable for all ages and player levels
● Multifunctional pickleball bag for storage and transportation
● Same weight and feel as premium paddles
● The surface is not textured and may not give the best ball spin
A carbon fiber face has its advantages, and precise control is among them. The XSPAK Pickleball Paddle set accurately suits intermediate and advanced players.
The durability of the edge guard and polymer honeycomb core keeps the paddle strong against abuse that characterizes the indoor and outdoor courts. The low-profile edge guard is sufficiently slim to prevent ball mishits.
Other important features include the soft and quiet polymer core, which redefined durability and performance. The lightweight characteristics of the polymer core add to the maneuverability, pop, and speed on the court. Most users love how the ball comes off the face of the paddle.
The hit is easy to control and comes off strongly to subdue the opponent or stop powerful serves.
At 4.9 inches, some players say the handle is too short, but it is ideal for beginners and younger players. The length allows for easier maneuverability and the ability to try different styles.
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.
That being said, both the Amazin Aces and the ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow sponsored”>XSPak are good value where the price of the set really means the balls are a bonus.
So if you need two paddles and balls, either set is a good choice.
The ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow sponsored”>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.
- Core: Wood
- Weight: 10 oz
- Paddle face: wood
- Grip size: 4.25″
- Inexpensive pickleball set
- Good quality box for gifting
- It can be used both indoors and outdoors
- Some players complain of splintering after a period of use
- It is relatively heavy
The Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Set includes four pickleballs, four wooden pickleball paddles, and one mesh bag to help beginners in their pickleball journey.
Some crossover tennis players grow fond of pickleball, especially when they buy an inexpensive, comfortable pickleball paddle such as Amazin Aces. The set is easy to use and allows the players some wiggle room to try out the game without breaking the bank.
The set is perfect for community centers and schools.
The construction of seven-plywood maple wood ensures that the paddle can withstand the constant abuse of learning the ropes. It motivates the children and beginners to do more exercises and develop skills.
The paddles have a wrist strap, a cushion grip, and the weight is not so much for comfort. The feel and the comfort of the paddle depend so much on the paddle’s weight. Some of the premium paddles are as light as 7 ounces.
The Amazing Ace’s wooden paddles are 10 ounces, and while the difference might not seem much for some people, it can affect the game of some, especially those used to playing with lighter paddles.
There are still heavier paddles, and 10 ounces is at the middle of the pack, which means less stress to the elbow, shoulder, and wrist.
Lighter may seem better, but it can lack power and balance. If you are tight on budget or trying to see if the pickleball game is right for you, then Amazin Aces is a good choice.
- Core: Wood
- Weight: 10 oz
- Paddle face: plywood
- Grip size: 4.25″
- Built based on USAPA specs
- Best for those tight on budget
- Good quality carry bag
- The plywood may separate after a period of use
- Users have reported fraying on the carry bag
If you have found a past-time activity in pickleball, you’ll be hesitant to make a significant investment in premium paddles. But at the same time, you want a quality paddle.
The Westop Sports Pickleball Paddle Set is a great choice for people uncomfortable with fiberglass and looking for an activity to increase the family bond time. Most users mention convenience and user-friendliness when using the paddles set.
The paddles have a comfortable small to medium-sized ribbed grip, with more cushion, and its strap secures your hand for good control.
This ergonomic handle reduces fatigue to play for longer and perfect the shots. The handle is sufficiently small for use by children and adults alike.
They also have a lighter than usual weight, and the larger 8-inch body allows for better forgiveness – there is more surface to catch the ball and something that beginners and young players appreciate.
The accuracy is less than other non-wooden and premium paddles but still subtler than other wooden paddle sets. Westop Sports is more balanced and easier to use.
The paddles have a fully painted face to safeguard against cracks and warping. The overall construction is durable, and the handle will not snap mid-game.
The balls included in the pickleball set are good quality, and their bounce is decent, and the included bag can carry everything you require for a good day of pickleball. A portion of the amount earned goes to supporting military professionals.
- Core: Wood
- Weight: 9.5-10.5 oz
- Paddle face: plywood
- Grip size: 4″
- Ergonomic grip
- Lightweight and sturdy
- USAPA Approved
- The paddles are not very durable
- Relatively heavy
The Rally Meister wood pickleball paddles are constructed of seven-ply alternating wood for durability and strength. Regardless, the paddles are lighter than their wooden peers in the market.
Most budget-friendly paddles are the cheap grip, mostly covered with cheap tape. But that is not something you will see with Rally Meister Pickleball Paddle Set.
In fact, the paddles have a high quality and comfortable grip that reduces fatigue and hand discomfort, and safety straps add to its stability in your palms. The polyurethane grip is similar to what you see in more expensive models, and so you can play for longer and easier without the paddle flying out of your hand. You can also use the straps for storage.
The grip is also moisture-wicking and more comfortable on the palms – it compresses when squeezed slightly.
The attractive screen printing stands out and is a source of confidence for players. You can use the paddles for competitive sports since they are USAPA-approved. The green plastic wiffle pickleball is adequate for outdoor use.
A high-quality net system is also part of the package, which means you have everything to get started.
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’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 consolidated feedback from a large group of players.
Criteria For Selecting The Pickleball Paddles To Include
There will be situations where I provide my own personal feedback on a paddle or another product, but not in this particular guide.
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)
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 below and in How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle.
What To Think About When Buying a Pickleball Paddle
- Core Material
- Grip Size
- Surface Material
- Edge Options
Here are the key things to consider when doing your research on buying a pickleball paddle:
Most experienced pickleball players agree that the weight of a paddle is the most important factor to consider when selecting a pickleball paddle.
#1 Factor – Weight
The weight of a paddle is the most important factor to consider when selecting a pickleball paddle.
Pickleball paddles range in weight from 6 oz to 14 oz with mid-weight paddles weighing between 7.3 to 8.3 oz.
It’s also important to consider your personal preference for what feels good and your skill level.
Is ball control or hitting the ball with more power more important? Do you have tennis elbow or arthritis or other injuries?
There are many pickleball paddles on the market, but not all of them are approved by the USPA for use in tournaments. If you plan on playing in tournaments, you’ll want to be sure that you are buying an approved paddle. Check the USAPA list of approved paddles.
|Weight||Pros / Cons||What Weight Is Best For:|
|Heavy-Weight Pickleball Paddle||8.3 oz or more||– Provide more power to drive the ball harder with less effort but will provide you with less control. |
– Can also put stress on injuries such as tennis elbow.
– Can increase arm and wrist fatigue.
|Too Heavy If:|
– Regularly hitting the ball behind the baseline when using an overhead smash
– Your swing slows down
Best for more experienced players who are focused on POWER, NOT CONTROL, and have a good understanding of how to maneuver the ball.
– Example of a heavy pickleball paddle that is also USAPA approved
|Light-Weight Pickleball Paddle||7.2 oz or less|| – Improved ball control with less stress on the arm, shoulder, and elbow. |
– Often less power.
– Typically more difficult to hit further.
|Too Light If:|
– Missing easy shots
– Consistently missing the ball when serving or
– Hitting shots that don’t go as far as you think they should
Light-weight paddles are best for players who want ball control and are less concerned with hitting balls hard.
– Example of a lightweight paddle that is also USAPA approved.
|Mid-Weight Pickleball Paddle||7.8 – 8 oz||– Beginner and intermediate players |
– For players who have tennis elbow, wrist, or shoulder injuries.
Mid-weight paddles are best for most players and for those who don’t have a strong preference for power or control.
– Example of a midweight paddle that is also USAPA approved.
#2 – Pickleball Paddle Core Material
I often notice that some descriptions about paddles can be confusing with respect to the materials used to manufacture the paddle.
Sometimes the paddle description says ‘graphite paddle’ or someone will say they have a ‘graphite paddle’.
The paddle core is made of one of the types of materials I discuss in this section and the surface of a paddle has another material applied/wrapped around the core. This can be graphite or one of several other surface materials.
There are 3 types of composite material:
- Nomex™, and
The most popular core material is a composite called polymer.
- provides control and power.
- The quietest paddle so if noise reduction is important, a polymer core is best.
- The most recent core technology.
- A decent amount of power.
- There are plenty of options above and below $100.
Polymer core is best for a player who wants to play with power but not lose ball control.
Nomex™ is the original composite for pickleball paddles.
- never invented to make pickleball paddles.
- invented to provide heat and flame resistance (to protect first respondents, fire-fighters, utility, and electrical workers) but then pickleball paddle manufacturers discovered that it would make an effective core material for paddles.
- will provide power because the material is very hard
- Inexperienced players will likely find it difficult to play and keep the ball in bounds.
A paddle with a Nomex™ core is best for players who like to hit a ball with a lot of power and is not recommended for beginner players.
Aluminum core paddles aren’t quite as popular as Nomex™ core paddles.
A paddle with an aluminum core is strong and lightweight providing the ability to play with control. However, because they are light, they lack power.
So, while you gain plenty of control with an aluminum paddle, you lose a lot of power.
Depending on what kind of player you are, this can work for you because it allows some forgiveness when hitting the ball – you know that you will need to hit it really hard to get it where you want it but there’s less chance of hitting the ball out of bounds.
A paddle with an aluminum core is best for the player whose main concern is ball control NOT power. Players with injuries might prefer this lighter paddle. Quieter than Nomex but noisier than polymer core.
If you think an aluminum paddle will work best for you, check out this aluminum paddle from Franklin. There aren’t many aluminum paddles on the market but this is a good option that’s also available in a set.
The original pickleball paddles were made of wood and it’s still an option today for players who want to invest a minimum amount of money on their first paddle and are okay playing with a heavier paddle.
If you have tennis elbow or another type of injury, this is not the best paddle for long-term or regular playing.
Wood paddles are also a good, cost-effective, and durable option for large quantity purchases being made by schools, kids camps, or community centers.
A wood paddle is best for the new player who is on a budget. Also good for recreation programs that require large quantities at a low price.
If you think a wood paddle will work best for you, check out this paddle set. It’s an excellent example of a wooden paddle that is great if you’re on a budget and just getting started.
#3 – Grip Size and Circumference
Not playing with the correct grip can cause problems with your stroke and potentially cause tennis elbow or a sore arm, particularly after playing for a while.
Most paddle grips range between 4 – 5 inches in circumference with ⅛ inch increments.
A large paddle circumference or one that is too big for your hand can cause the paddle to slip out of your hand and can lead to tennis elbow.
However, a grip that is ‘just the right size’ for your hand, can improve stroke stability and be easier on your arm and elbow.
A small paddle circumference can allow additional wrist movement making it easier to put a spin on the ball and improve ball control resulting in a more powerful serve.
Other Factors To Consider When Choosing a Pickleball Paddle
#1 – Surface (Facing) Material
Some descriptions about paddles can be confusing with respect to the materials used to manufacture the pickleball paddle core and the pickleball paddle surface.
When the term ‘graphite paddle’ is used, it’s actually referring to the surface material that is applied over the core material.
As an example, graphite is the surface material that is applied over the core material (Nomex™, aluminum, polymer).
There are 4 common types of surface material:
|Graphite Pickleball Paddles||– carbon fiber material |
– graphite and carbon fiber paddles are referring to the same surface material.
– Extremely light and very stiff
– graphite surface helps distribute the energy of a ball over a larger area of the paddle making it easier for players to get a better feel for how the ball is connecting with the paddle.
– a large selection of composite core paddles (Nomex™, aluminum, polymer) that have a graphite surface.
|– players who are looking for control, predictable touch and easier maneuverability.|
|Fibreglass Pickleball Paddles||– more flexible than graphite |
– produces more of a pop than graphite paddles.
|– lightly textured surface that some players prefer because they feel it helps with ball control.|
|Polymer Faced Paddles||– it’s believed that a polymer surface can improve durability.|
– It’s technology that’s similar to what is used on equipment in other sports such as hockey and allows for digital printing designs on the pickleball paddles.
|– durable paddle face, light-weight|
|Hybrid Pickleball Paddles||– Hybrid pickleball paddles combine multiple face materials. |
– Start with a composite core and then use a combination of graphite with poly face materials
|– players who like a heavier paddle with a lot of power|
#2 – Edge or Edgeless Pickleball Paddle?
Most pickleball paddles have an edge guard that helps to protect the paddle from being damaged when dropped or banged against an opponent’s paddle.
Some players prefer edge-less because they like a slightly larger hitting surface.
Playing with a paddle that doesn’t have an edge, avoids this problem.
#3 – Price
Pickleball paddles are available in a wide range of prices, making it a very affordable sport or hobby for almost anyone.
Wood paddles are the most cost-efficient (cheapest) but you can buy a non-wood paddle for a bit more if it’s in your budget.
If your budget allows for it, consider buying a paddle that is suitable for a beginner but will also work well for you, should you decide to get more serious with your game.
There are plenty of composite paddles on the market starting at $40+
Summary of The Best Pickleball Paddles
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.
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.
I hope this guide will help you figure out how to choose the right pickleball paddle for you and your game.
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).