Pickleball Paddle Buyer's Guide (2022)
How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle
Choosing the correct pickleball paddle involves factoring in specific qualities, e.g., paddle’s weight. These all help you to gain an advantage in a pickleball game. Whether you are a veteran player or someone new into the game, choosing a pickleball paddle is something you have to be serious about.
Main Factors to Consider in Choosing Pickleball Paddle
There are at least three factors that you need to take into account as you decide which pickleball paddle you should buy. They are outlined below:
- Construction material
The weight of a pickleball paddle is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing one. A paddle’s weight affects one’s performance in any pickleball match if you think it through.
There are different ranges when it comes to weight. These are the following:
- Light paddles: Below 7.3 ounces
- Mid-weight paddles: 7.3 to 8.4 ounces
- Heavy paddles: Above 8.5 ounces
New pickleball players are often referred to choose light paddles since they are easier to swing. This type even allows for more accuracy and wrist action. They also provide a faster response time when you are at the net, and the ball is thrown at you.
If you are a player seeking to combine finesse and power, select mid-weight paddles. Paddles that are neither too light nor too heavy provide a good balance between power and control. Mid-weight even offers incredible versatility that is useful in any situation.
Heavy paddles are for players who choose power over control. These types are known for giving the ball a loud “pop.” Heavy paddles are more common in singles, where power trumps finesse, as in singles tennis games.
There is no such thing as one weight solution for paddle’s weight. You need to consider your present strength and preferred weight type to decide which one to play with. If you want power over control, select heavier paddles and vice versa.
Another factor to look for in choosing pickleball paddles is the grip. Pickleball paddle grips typically have a circumference of 4 to 4.5 inches. Like with the first factor, you should use a paddle that is convenient with your playing hand.
Have you experienced running in inappropriate shoes? You might cover some distances, but there is discomfort, even pain, after the activity. A wrong pickleball grip size can lead to hurting wrists and elbows. Therefore, finding a suitable pickleball grip size helps you avoid injuries brought by the sport.
Going by your height is the quickest and easiest way to determine your grip size. This approach may not be as precise as that which requires hand measurements, but it is simple and effective for most individuals.
- For players below 5’2”, the recommended grip size is 4”.
- Players with a height range of 5’3” to 5”8’, grip size 4 ¼ works well.
- Suppose your height is 5’9” above, the 4 ½ grip size is for you.
Aside from the height test, there are other ways to determine your grip size. Watch this video to know more about the other tests.
The last but not the least factor for deciding which pickleball paddle to go with is the material used to craft it. Pickleball paddles are available in three different materials: wood, composite, and graphite. Each has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered.
Wooden paddles are the cheapest, for some apparent reasons. These rackets are durable and guaranteed to last a long time. However, they are the heaviest kinds. Also, pickleball paddles are the least technologically advanced since not much research is needed to make them.
Following wooden paddles is the composite group. A fiberglass or carbon fiber surface and a composite core are typical features of a composite paddle. One popular edge of composite paddles is a textured surface that allows players to generate more spin on their shots. The downside of composite paddles is that they might not allow you to hit the ball with maximum strength.
When it comes to pickleball paddles, competitive players typically opt for graphite paddles. These paddles are known for being easy to control and lightweight. So, if you prefer to make precise shots while having complete control over your game, graphite rackets will do the trick for you. However, keep in mind that this class has the most expensive tags. Even a low-end graphite pickleball paddle will be more costly than a paddle made of composite materials.
Additional Features for Pickleball Paddles
- Paddle Shape
- Edge Guard
When it comes to shape, paddles for pickleball come in a variety of styles and sizes. The length and width of the pickleball paddle (including the edge guard and cap on the handle) cannot, however, exceed 24 inches, according to pickleball rules.
There are three typical paddle shapes: standard, elongated, and paddles with longer handles.
Wide body paddles are another name for these paddles. Based on USAPA regulations, the standard paddle shape is 16 inches long by 8 inches wide.
The first paddle shape is excellent in giving you a great balance of reach, power, and control. Furthermore, paddles under this category are good for beginners because the wide surface area helps them hit the ball.
This pickleball paddle is typically 16 to 17 inches long. As a result, it has a narrower body shape than a standard paddle. These paddles are ideal for players who enjoy exchanging quick shots in the kitchen, especially when it comes to smashes and spin shots.
- Longer handle
Longer handles Pickleball players with two-handed backhands prefer the longer handle. Players who transition from tennis to pickleball are the typical ones who use this type of handle.
Edge guards are standard on most pickleball paddles, but some do not. An edge guard is essential for protecting your pickleball paddle from damage caused by hitting the ground. Novices are recommended to choose pickleball paddles equipped with edge guards since they are very likely to strike the court.
Edgeless pickleball paddles, on the other hand, are preferred by some players. Paddles without edge guards have a flat surface that allows for the broadest possible playing surface without the risk of a missed ball.
How should you take care of your pickleball paddles?
We all want to own durable pickleball paddles, ones that will last for so many seasons. However, their longevity also depends on how well we maintain them. Heed the following practical steps to prolong your paddles’ utility:
Cleaning the paddle
Any household cleaners that can leave a sticky residue on your pickleball paddle should be avoided. A valid reason is that these will simply collect more dirt and grime the next time you step onto the court. Experienced players recommend cleaning the paddle with a slightly damp, lint-free cloth.
Preserving the grip
Over time, the grime from your sweat and dead skin will accumulate on the handle. This eventually will affect your grip. After any game, take a moment to wipe it down with a towel or damp cloth. Such a routine will prolong the life of your grip. In some cases, you may want to replace the grip once it has been worn out.
Avoid extreme temperatures
To do this, you should not allow your paddle to be exposed to extreme cold and heat. Cold air can make objects more brittle and thus more prone to breaking. On the other hand, too much heat can make your paddle softer.
Choosing a pickleball paddle is a challenging task, especially for those just beginning their journey into the sport. But the information we provided here should help you decide which one fits your skill. By following everything written here, you are off to a great start to pick the right paddle for you.