Best Pickleball Paddles, Tested and Reviewed (2024)

What size paddle do you need? Pickleball paddles are limited by a size formula similar to that used by airlines: The paddle cannot be longer than 17 inches, and the total length and width of the paddle cannot exceed 24 inches. Standard paddles are 16 inches long and 8 inches wide, but some long paddles use the entire 17 inches and tend to have more power than wider options. There are no restrictions on the thickness of the paddle; Thin paddles can be about 1/3 inch thick, while thick paddles can be up to 3/4 inch thick.

What does “pop” mean? You will see me use this term a few times in this guide. Pop is handball-speak for how hard the ball bounces off the racket—you can think of it as an analogy to how much “bounce” a basketball gets.

Are they heavy? There are no regulations on the weight of pickleball paddles, but most paddles range around 8 ounces. I tried to test as many types of paddles as I could find and ended up testing paddles that were about an ounce apart. Lightweight paddles tend to be around 7.5 ounces, while heavy paddles are around 8.5 ounces. What’s more important is that weight distribution — paddles that provide more power typically have heavier heads. I like the paddle to have a more balanced feel.

Are they all the same shape? Pickleball paddles tend to look quite similar in appearance. In my testing, I tried a few exceptions, including the Joola paddle, which has a rounded shape more like a tennis racket, and some Selkirk paddles, which have a cutout between the paddle face and handle designed to minimize force. air lock. I think the standard shape is still the best.

What are they made of? Old-fashioned wooden paddles still exist, but cheap fiberglass paddles are how I started playing. You can buy a starter kit for $30 (see “Best for Beginners”) and it may take six months before you feel the need to upgrade. That said, the paddles recommended here tend to have carbon fiber sides that are stiff and light, giving them plenty of bang for their buck. I also tested several graphite paddles, which are cheaper, heavier, and softer than carbon fiber. If your budget doesn’t allow you to start with carbon fiber, I recommend starting with cheap fiberglass and then moving on to carbon fiber. Note that when I refer to material, I mean what is used for the face of the paddle—nearly all paddles have a similar honeycomb-shaped polymer core. More expensive paddles tend to cut that core in a way that creates even gaps on the edge and use heat pressing to seal the face against the core.


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