You didn’t imagine that this was an old person’s game, did you? Well, it is far from that. According to statistics, Pickleball has become a sport that is fast catching up in America. Legend has it that it was invented by a couple of families from Bainbridge Island in the 60s.
The sport is a hybrid between badminton, ping-pong and tennis. It is a very versatile game that can be played by everyone. The rules of the game are straightforward, and beginners easily catch up within a game or two. It can be played on an outdoor court as well as indoors. The game is also played as doubles or singles.
Pickleball involves minimal gear and is, therefore, a favorite of many. You don’t need an athletic body or a load of equipment to enjoy the game. The entire equipment set includes a paddle, a ball and a net. Pickleball ball is unique in that is has holes all over the body.
The only real equipment you need is the right paddle. Much like any other sport, a good piece of equipment can determine whether you enjoy the game or not. If your paddle is not the right size or not right for you, you will not find it comfortable.
Finding the best pickleball paddle can be a daunting task as the market is flooded with options. But rest your worries, we’ve got you covered. In this post, we have selected the ones with the perfect combination of quality and performance. The top five paddles in no particular order are:
Engage Poach Advantage.
Engage is a brand that has grown to become very well-known and respected in the pickleball industry. The Poach Advantage is probably their best pickleball paddle available right now.
Material and construction.
The Poach Advantage is made with six layers of fiberglass on the paddle. It is also known as proprietary variable six-layer skin. The exceptional thing about this is that it does not make the paddle bulky in any way. This build also increases the width of the infamous sweet spot of the paddle, used for advanced techniques.
The core of this paddle or the skeleton is made from a polymer composite. It is also known as pro-black technology. This renders the Poach Advantage’s core black, unlike many other pickleball paddles which are white.
The design of this paddle is a perfect balance of technology and craftsmanship. It features a vertical texture that runs along the length of the paddle. The black polymer core, as well as the fiberglass skin, adds to the unique design of the paddle.
The paddle is 16 inches in length and 8 inches in width which makes it one of the largest pickleball paddles available. It has a comfortable grip size of 4.5 inches and a grip length of 5 inches.
The diagonal two-tone design of the Poach Advantage was based on a poll that the company conducted on social media, making it a fan favorite.
This paddle has an outstanding performance. It allows the player to have absolute control of the paddle and in effect the ball movement. The design and material of the paddle make the contact time with the ball longer. This means that the player can dictate the velocity and the direction of the ball with precision. This is particularly evident while executing a low swing. While performing a fast swing, you can literally equip the ball with supersonic speeds.
The responsiveness of the Poach Advantage is also excellent. The grip is very comfortable to use and maneuvering it is effortless. Performing a spin is easy even for a beginner due to the composite skin. Dinking at the net is also straightforward due to the presence of the polymer core.
The Poach Advantage is also equipped with noise reduction technology. The paddle is practically noiseless which makes it perfect even in areas with strict noise regulations.
It also features vibrational control. This feature is very often overlooked but is very important as it reduces the shock on the wrists and limbs. Because of this feature, you can comfortably hold and play with the paddle for longer hours.
The paddle comes in multiple weight categories ranging from 7.5 oz to 8.3 oz. The two-tone color comes in nine different colors. It is approved for use in tournament play by the USAPA.
Selkirk Amped X5 Core.
Released in the fall of 2017, the Amped X5 core range is the best available pickleball paddle yet another great brand, Selkirk.
Material and construction.
The Amped paddles are a result of years of testing and incorporation of innovative technology. The fiberglass used for the construction of the paddle is a re-engineered FiberFlex which is unique to the company.
The cores of the paddles in this range are made of X5 polypropylene. It is a thicker, and an innovative aspect which is patented by Selkirk. It gives the paddle a very solid and sturdy feel.
The Amped paddles come in four different designs. Although the constructions, as well as the materials used are the same, there are some distinct differences between them.
Amped Invikta – The Invikta range has a square shaped but elongated paddle. They have a distinct long grip. They come in two weight categories; lightweight which ranges from 7.3 oz to 7.7 oz, a mid-weight which ranges from 7.9 oz to 8.3 oz.
Amped Maxima – The Maxima range paddles come with a roundish head. They have a more slender look out of all the paddles in the Amped series. The mid-weight range is between 7.8 oz and 8.2 oz, and the lightweight ranges are between 7.2 oz and 7.6 oz. It has the shortest handle at 7.5 inches.
Amped Omni – The paddles in this range sports an exaggerated longish appearance. It has a long grip of 8 inches. The lightweight ranges fall between 7.2 oz and 7.6 oz, and the mid-weight range is between 7.8 oz and 8.2 oz.
Amped Epic – These paddles feature a traditional paddle look and are also the most versatile. The mid-weight paddles are between 7.9 oz and 8.3 oz while the lightweight ranges from 7.3 oz to 7.7 oz.
Amped S2 – The paddles in this range have the widest surface area. They are often considered the most consistent of all the paddles in the Amped range. The lightweight paddles are between 7.4 oz and 7.8 oz while the mid-weight is from 8.0 oz and 8.4 oz.
The paddles in the Amped series have well-balanced control and power. Well engineered design, as well as the incorporation of innovative technology, makes these paddles well equipped.
The lightweight models are specifically designed for effortless maneuvering. They are ideal for beginners and intermediate in the field. On the other hand, mid-weight models are made to deliver more power. They are most ideal for playing a game of singles.
The X5 core paddles possess more significant sweet spots. Another unique feature of this series is the Unibody design. The FiberFlex outer is fused with the core of the paddle which makes it very stable and durable. The EdgeSentry tech is also unique to these paddles. It keeps the edges from fraying or getting loose. It also balances the weight evenly, so it doesn’t feel heavy.
ProLite SuperNova – Black Diamond.
This award-winning paddle is known to have been produced in collaboration with Simone Jardim. It is often described as the perfect transitioning equipment from tennis to pickleball.
Material and construction.
This paddle is made with high quality and 100% pure carbon fiber. The core of the paddle is made with trademarked QuadCore polymer. The enhanced honeycomb polymer makes this core one of the strongest and the most durable in the industry.
The paddle has an overall sleek aesthetic. The graphics on the surface of the paddle coordinates with the color on the grip. The MicroEdge technology on the edges makes the surface low profile but wider in area.
SuperNova’s predominant color is black. It is also aptly named as the SuperNova Black Diamond, and it has a glossy black surface. It comes in four bright designs; brilliant blue, orbital orange, radiant red, galactic green.
The SuperNova’s performance is just as spectacular as its name. It is easy to maneuver, and executing a spin is effortless. It generates powerful shots and gives the player absolute control of the paddle. The QuadCore feature also adds more power to the paddle.
The incorporation of the MicroEdge gives more surface area to the paddle. The sweet spot is also invariably larger. The carbon fiber cradles the ball on contact with gives increased momentum to the ball. The direction of the fibers in the paddle, the heat generated on contact, and the right amount of pressure add to the powerful performance of the paddle.
The grip is a comfortable range from 4.8 inches to 5.4 inches and has anti-slip properties. It has one of the most comfortable and stable grips among all the paddles on the market. It was said that Jardim wanted a comfortable length on the grip to accommodate players who were transitioning from tennis.
The SuperNova is equipped with noise dampeners which make it ideal for playing even in areas that have strict noise regulations. The paddle is approved for tournaments by the USAPA.
Onix Graphite Z5.
This is perhaps the most popular model from the company.
Material and construction.
The core of the paddle is made of Nomex honeycomb. For the uninitiated, Nomex was widely used as the fireproof component in the helmets of firefighters. So you can imagine how uncompromising this paddle can be.
The paddle surface is made of graphite. Graphite is widely known for its lightweight properties.
The Z5 is designed with a wide-body design. This gives the paddle a considerable sized surface which makes it a favorite of many players, especially the beginners.
The paddle comes in a wide variety of colors; blue, green, yellow, red and pink among others. The graphics on the surface of the paddles are bright and catchy.
The grip of the paddle has a comfortable size of 4.8 inches. It is well cushioned and has perforations for added comfort.
The Onix Z5 is famed for giving a lot of bounce to a ball when it hits it. Beginners can benefit significantly from this. But the paddle can perform spectacularly in the hands of an experienced player. This is primarily due to the Nomex surface of the paddle.
The wide-body feature makes the paddle very forgiving and also contributes to a larger sweet spot. The slightly heavy nature of the paddle gives the ball a lot of power on contact with it.
The lightweight nature of the graphite balances out the weight perfectly. This allows the player to maneuver the paddle very effortlessly making a perfect spin. The paddle is one of the most tactile and responsive ones in existence.
The Onix X5 has a handle that is designed in the style of a tennis racquet handle. It weighs between 7.7 oz and 8.1 oz.
Kinetic Pro Speed.
This paddle from Prokennex is the result of two years of testing. The Kinetic Pro Speed was unveiled as the company’s gold standard.
Material and construction.
The core of the Kinetic Pro is made polypropylene with honeycomb matrix. It is a polymer which possesses high-impact resistance. The frame of the paddle is a carbon casing which has kinetic system technology.
The paddle surface is constructed with a proprietary seven-layer coating of composite material. It includes carbon fiberglass, soft skin with a spin-grab component which is also specially treated and the company’s own epoxy-resin system.
The Kinetic Pro has a sleek silhouette and cool graphics. The aerodynamic design enhances comfort as well as the maneuverability of the paddle. It comes in three different colors. The paddle’s grip is 4 inches and is designed for comfort.
This paddle is packed with power and speed. The slim core of the paddle makes the shots very powerful. It is effortless to control the shots. The kinetic technology increases the contact time while also absorbing all the vibrational shock and keeping the stress on the limbs very minimal.
It is also very responsive and maneuvering it is very easy. A beginner can easily execute a successful after a few sessions.
The honeycomb matrix core makes this paddle very quiet. It can be used in the areas with very strict rules on noise restrictions. It is the first paddle in the industry to incorporate the Kinetic technology.
It weighs between 7.9 oz 8.1 oz. It is approved by the USAPA for use in tournament plays.
Things to consider when buying a pickleball paddle.
Finding the best pickleball paddle can be daunting. A combination of different features makes a paddle great. Unless you understand the features, and what you need, attempting to buy one can be confusing. It can be especially hard if you are a first-time buyer. Here are the important things to consider before making your pickleball paddle purchase.
The weight of the paddle will have a huge impact on your game. A heavier paddle provides more power along with increased stability. If you are at the beginner’s level, a well-balanced paddle is your best option.
However, even a beginner can pick a heavier one if he feels it’s too light. It depends on the individual’s strength and capacity, and skill level does not necessarily matter when it comes to weight.
Individuals who have an old injury may benefit more from a paddle that is lightweight and comfortable.
The grip of the paddle will determine whether you are able to have control and maneuver the paddle comfortably. Finding the right grip size is subject to the size of the player’s hands and age.
A smaller sized grip can strain your wrists and limbs considerably. While a large grip size will reduce the ability to control the paddle and the overall game.
The easiest way to find the right grip size is to hold the paddle with your dominant hand. Firmly grab the handle and try to fit the index finger of the other hand in between the fingers and the palm. The right grip size will fit the index finger without any trouble.
Right next to the weight, materials used in the construction of the paddles affect your performance.
Nomex – Paddles with Nomex core are lightweight and allows more control to the player.
Polymer – These paddles are very durable, but they offer less control.
Aluminium – These paddles are strong and have a lot of power and control. However, they are not the most durable.
Composite – These materials in a paddle are durable and lightweight. They also produce a lot of noise hitting the ball.
Graphite – Paddles with graphite are durable and robust as well as lightweight.
Carbon fiber – It is stronger and durable than other materials.
Consider your level.
For obvious reasons, a beginner cannot use a pro-level paddle and expect to excel in the game. There is a reason why manufacturers produce different types of paddles.
Although a heavier paddle can give a beginner more stability, it can compromise the control factor. Heavier paddles can also strain the wrists and elbows. It is crucial to find the paddle that is a right balance of weight, power and control.
Advanced players can easily manipulate lightweight paddles and make the most of it.
Price and budget.
The next thing to consider before buying a paddle is the price and your budget. Quite naturally, paddles with more features can carry hefty price-tags. If you are a novice or do not play often, there is no reason to spend a king’s ransom for your first paddle.
However, with so many brands and companies flooding the market, there is a price that fits every budget. Some brands and companies make great paddles with an affordable price without compromising on the performance and the quality. There are paddles with a price to of $50 which are packed with features and are loved by many.
Contrary to popular perception, Pickleball is not a sport that is meant for the elderly and the nerds. No, it is an excellent game that can be played by people of all ages and size. It requires no experience, no skills or requirement. Of course, if you play it a competitive sport, it is different.
It can be played anywhere there is a decent court. Which explains why it has become exceedingly common to see people play it in parks, and old tennis courts. The rules are not complicated, and any person of any age can easily enjoy the game.
It is a great way to get your muscles and heart rate going. It is a fun way to lose some weight or tone your body. The versatile nature of the game makes it great to play with friends as well as family. Apart from the health benefits, it is an excellent and fun way to spend time with your family and loved ones. And you can’t put a dollar sign on it. Pick up the best pickleball paddle today and get going.