Onix Z5 Graphite vs Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles Review: Which is Right for You? (2022)

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Ever wonder why you see the Onix Z5 floating around the pickleball courts ALL THE TIME?

Our Onix Z5 Pickleball Paddle Review will explain why both the graphite and fiberglass, Nomex core paddles are still popular today.

There are some really good paddles on the market but the Onix Z5 stands the test of time and continues to attract players of all levels.

There are very few matches where you’ll not see at least one or two players wielding an Onix Z5, whether it’s the graphite version or the fiberglass option.

With the Onix Z5, you’ll get a good mix of a high level of technology, well-tested, traditional widebody design, and an affordable price.

Both the graphite and fiberglass versions of this paddle enjoy a large sweet spot and lots of power.

The major difference between the two is that the graphite model has a lighter head while the traditional fiberglass model is heavier and more of a workhorse. Both have a widebody paddle shape.

Both provide a good feel when you’re playing around the non-volley zone.

The Onix Graphite Z5 feels more controllable due to its lighter construction and the face provides plenty of spin when required.

The graphite face does appear to offer more feel and is more forgiving when playing cross-court dinks. The paddle’s ability to control the ball is appreciated by all who play with them, giving even new players confidence to attempt shots that they may otherwise not feel are on.

This resin-dipped, cardboard-like core is more “old-school”, but it’s durable and provides lots of punch for groundstrokes and overhead volleys. It’s less likely to soften and give your paddle dead spots.

The fiberglass face isn’t quite as rough as the graphite one, which gives the graphite Z5 the edge in providing spin.

However, the fiberglass face is no slouch in this area, and beginner to intermediate players will be hard-pressed to discern any major difference in the spin characteristics between the paddles. 

Both paddles are USAPA approved for tournament play.

SpecsGraphiteFiberglass
Weight7.5 – 8.2 oz8.4 – 9.2 oz
Paddle Face MaterialGraphiteFiberglass
CoreNomexNomex
Total Length15 1/2″ (handle-5″, grip-4 1/4″)15 1/2″ (handle-5″, grip-4 1/4″)

Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

SPECS:

  • Weight: 7.5 – 8.2 oz
  • Core: Nomex
  • Paddle face: Graphite
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4¼ inches
  • Total length: 15½ inches
  • Width: 8-7/10 inches
  • Edge guard: Yes

PROS:

  • Widebody shape with a large sweet spot
  • Lots of power
  • Grip is comfortable 
  • Very affordable

CONS:

  • A bit too heavy for smaller players
  • Lots of vibration felt through the grip
  • Some players might struggle with ball control

CHECK AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

This is a widebody paddle, making it perfect for beginners to hit accurately and with power. At over 8 ounces, it’s not quite as heavy as the composite paddle, but it is still a solid paddle that can be a bit heavy for smaller players. But, with its wide sweet spot, and wide face, miss-hits are reduced.

You’ll be able to generate plenty of power from the traditional Nomex core, with the graphite face providing a stiff surface that is responsive and long-lasting.

Paddle Surface & Core

The graphite face is solid with plenty of roughness. This makes it ideal for those who like to put lots of spin on their shots. The Nomex core provides plenty of rigidity, giving the paddle plenty of “pop”.

The core is set up to provide plenty of power. Nomex is a cardboard-like material that is dipped in resin to give it rigidity. With the large hitting area and huge sweet spot, it’s hard not to hit well with this paddle. This is why it has such wide appeal amongst new and intermediate players. It provides plenty of accuracy, allowing players to not only place their shot but to do so with a lot of punch.

The core is exceedingly durable, so it will put up with plenty of abuse and not develop flat spots which plague some other paddles.

Have a look at the Onix Z5 Graphite Paddle on Amazon.

Hitting

The combination of a firm core and graphite face provides the paddle with a great feel. Players report that both hard and softer shots are easily dealt with. 

The ability to vary the pace on the ball and impart spin when needed give players plenty of options.

The honeycomb core is able to provide a very durable and strong base on which to layer the graphite face. The two materials complement each other by reducing the weight for ease of handling and feel while still offering players enough pop to be dangerous.

Graphite is lighter than fiberglass while still providing a rigid, high-performance paddle. 

Fit & Look

The grip is not particularly long, but it is quite skinny. Even players with small hands may need to adjust the grip by adding a bit of tape to beef it up.

The wide face gives plenty of contact area, allowing you to reach most returns with ease. Its traditional shape makes this a paddle that is easy to play with, which accounts for its broad appeal.

It comes in a variety of colors and designs, so there’s something for everyone’s taste. You can order a paddle in a traditional black with blue graphic or one of the other more exotic designs in purple, yellow, orange, pink, green, white, or yellow.

Onix Z5 Fiberglass Pickleball Paddle 

SPECS:

  • Weight: 8.4-9.2 oz
  • Core: Nomex
  • Paddle face: Fiberglass composite
  • Grip length: 5 inches
  • Grip size: 4¼ inches
  • Total length: 15½ inches
  • Width: 8-3/10 inches
  • Edge guard: Yes

PROS:

  • Lots of power
  • Good control
  • Wide face with a big sweet spot
  • Price

CONS:

  • A bit heavier for smaller players
  • Grip needs adjustment
  • Beginner players might lack ball control

CHECK AMAZON

Paddle At A Glance

The traditional wide-body shape and large sweet spot are the determining features of this old-school paddle. It’s not hard to miss the large Z-graphic on the face, with even some professional players opting to wield these paddles in tournaments.

The paddle is a couple of ounces heavier than the graphite model and this is put to good use when players need extra power in overhead smashes or when playing off the baseline. When you need that little bit of extra bite to help with control and finesse around the non-volley zone, this is the paddle that you want in your hand.

Paddle Surface & Core

The fiberglass face and Nomex core are a little heavier than the graphite model and you can feel it. The paddle feels more substantial with bigger players enjoying the extra power they get from the weight advantage.

The time-tested core provides a rigid paddle with the fiberglass providing a large sweet spot. It is both durable and responsive while providing plenty of feedback. The composite finish provides enough roughness to give your shots the spin you require. 

Some players prefer the extra roughness that graphite gives the face, but the fiberglass paddle’s spin characteristics are top-notch and there’s little to tell the two apart when it comes to applying spin.

Have a look at the Z5 Fiberglass on Amazon.

Hitting

Players love the power and accuracy they get from the paddle. The Z5 is known for its solid feel and this comes through loud and clear when you hear the ball hitting the surface. It’s not the quietest paddle, but it is not billed as such.

The paddle doesn’t provide quite as much spin as the graphite finish, but it’s still controllable. 

While there are now many elongated and other unusual shapes on the market, the traditional, wide face of the Onix Z5 provides a simple and elegant paddle that offers a large sweet spot and excellent control characteristics.

The paddle is not so long that it becomes unwieldy when reacting to shots around the kitchen. Players appreciate the balanced feel and ability to adjust their position no matter how quickly they need to respond.

Fit & Look

This is a distinctive paddle that has been around for many years. There are plenty of design options and more than 10 different colors to choose from, so finding the right one is a certainty.

While the handle is not overly long, it is adequate if a little too thin for most players. This is easily fixed with the application of some tape though. 

The paddle design is traditional without the use of elongated and exotic shapes. This seems to work well with beginners and intermediate players sticking with the tried and tested design. 

FAQ – Onix Z5 Pickleball Paddles Review

How much does an Onix Z5 weigh?

An Onix Z5 Graphite pickleball paddle weighs 7.5 – 8.2 oz and an Onix Z5 Fiberglass pickleball paddle weighs 8.4 – 9.2 oz.

Is Onix a good pickleball paddle?

Yes, Onix is a good pickleball. Onix pickleball paddles are a long-standing part of the pickleball scene. They are a tried and tested high-quality paddle at a reasonable price. Everyone from beginners to professional players uses Onix paddles, and for a very good reason, they’re good to play with, with plenty of power, pop and control.

Which pickleball paddle gives you the most power? 

A pickleball paddle with a Nomex core and fiberglass face has a slight weight advantage over ones with a graphite face and the added weight of the composite face gives stronger players more power, allowing them to hit harder than with a lighter graphite paddle. Both Onix z5 pickleball paddles are a good example of a paddle that gives a lot of power.

Who is the Onix Z5 pickleball paddle for?

The Onix Z5 pickleball paddle is a great all-around paddle for just about anyone. Many recommend it for beginners but I think that although it does have a wider face which might make it easier to connect with the ball, it does pack a good punch which means ball control can be tricky. That being said, I know of beginner-level players who do fine with it.

Who is the Onix Z5 pickleball paddle NOT for?

The Oniz Z5 pickleball paddle is not for players who have tennis elbow or other arm or wrist injuries. The graphite paddle might be okay because it’s a bit lighter but there are plenty of other paddles on the market which might work better for someone with arm injuries.

Who founded Onix pickleball? 

Steve Wong and his wife founded Onix pickleball in 2005. He is one of the oldest pickleball players, having started playing in 1991. Steve Wong was also the founder of the USA Pickleball Association (USAAPA) in 2005. Wong sold his company in 2015, which had by then become a well-established and trusted brand in pickleball. He has subsequently started a new pickleball company.

Who makes Onix pickleball paddles?

Escalade sports make Onix pickleball paddles.

They’re headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, a publicly traded (NASDAQ: ESCA) manufacturer of consumer sporting goods and recreational products.

The company’s involvement in sporting goods spans nearly 100 years since its founding in 1927 as Indian Archery and Toy Company.

What’s better fiberglass or graphite pickleball paddles?

Fiberglass paddles are better if you’re looking for a paddle that has more power. Typically you’ll find more power playing with a fiberglass pickleball paddle. If you want a pickleball paddle that allows you to play with more control and fitness, then try a graphite pickleball paddle.

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