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Choosing the Right PickleBall Paddle

Choosing the Right PickleBall Paddle

Pickleball paddles, otherwise known as racquets or rackets, come in a wide variety of shapes, weights, and sizes. Paddles are made from a variety of materials including simple wooden paddles and all the way up to space-age materials like Nomex. The original pickleball paddle was made from wood but paddles have since transformed into composite materials to lessen weight and to improve paddle performance. Wooden paddles are still commonly used in many schools and local clubs as inexpensive options to bring new players into the game but most people that get into the sport eventual graduate to a lighter and better performing composite pickleball paddle. The front, or face, of the paddles, are also being upgraded to use new materials that allow the player to have a better sweet spot, more ball control, and spin capability. Below we have covered many of the different types of pickleball paddles available for sale on the market today to assist you in finding the best pickleball paddle for your style of play and budget. Read more about the different types of paddles, and the positives and negatives of each, to find out which paddle is right for you.


As mentioned above, pickleball paddles come in a range of different wooden and composite core materials. The paddle core can impact how much power, control, or touch the paddle may bring and also affect weight and performance. Below we have covered the most common types of paddle cores that you may find on your hunt for the perfect pickleball paddle for your game. You may have heard the term “composite pickleball paddle” which is a broad name for paddles that have been made from a wide range of different types of non-wood materials. Composite paddles are usually much lighter in weight and offer better touch and feel compared to traditional wooden paddles. The most advanced composite paddles are made from either aluminum, polymer, or Nomex, and are usually produced with honeycomb pattern layers for extra durability, but there are endless combinations of composite materials being used by pickleball companies today. A wooden pickleball paddle is typically a great starter paddle for those seeking an inexpensive way to get into the game but the typical wooden paddle is 25% to 75% heavier than the average composite paddle and usually have fairly poor touch and control compared to composite paddles. Read on to learn more about the different types of pickleball paddle core materials that you may find while searching for the best pickleball paddle for you.


Nomex is a material design for the aerospace industry that has now been applied to creating ultra light and durable pickleball paddle cores. Nomex has been used to make things like the floors of commercial jetliners so you know it is a solid material that will last. The upside to Nomex paddles is that they are very lightweight but still provide a powerful hit. Nomex core pickleball paddles can be a bit stiff to play with, but if you want a paddle with the right amount of both touch and power then a Nomex core pickleball paddle might be just the right paddle selection for you.


Polymer paddles can be made from a wide range of “poly”, or plastic type, materials such as polystyrene, polyethylene, or other types of lightweight and robust polymers. Most polymer core pickleball paddles are very lightweight and will deflect, or compress, some when the ball makes an impact which can help provide the player with a softer and more accurate touch. Polymer paddles can offer solid ball control, but they are not usually as powerful as other paddle core materials. When power isn’t everything, and you are seeking a paddle with a softer touch, then a polymer core paddle is a option that you should consider.


Similar to Nomex and polymer paddles, aluminum core pickleball paddles are light and durable but are typically a bit heavier than their counterparts. The upside to an aluminum core paddle is that, when properly designed, they can help to supply a high amount of energy when striking the ball. When combined with a fiberglass face many pickleball players find aluminum core paddles to be some of their strongest hitting paddles. If you are a power player, then an aluminum core pickleball paddle may be precisely the type of paddle that you will love to play with on the court.


The most affordable option by far is the basic wooden pickleball paddle. The founders of the game played with wooden paddles and up until recently, and with the increase in composite paddles, they were the most common paddle on the pickleball court. The upside to wood pickleball paddles is for sure the cheaper price compared to a more expensive composite pickleball paddle but with that comes some negatives. Most wooden paddles have pretty bad touch and feel compared to their new age cousins and they are usually significantly heavier. If you are just getting started playing pickleball, or if you are searching for a cheap option, then a wooden pickleball paddle may be a great starter paddle for you. If you plan to play often and have the budget, we highly recommend a composite paddle over a wooden paddle for improved performance and overall better play.


The pickleball paddle “face” is the type of material that covers the front of the paddle “face” and is what effectively makes contact with the pickleball. While it is true that the paddle core is usually what makes the largest impact into how a pickleball paddle performs, the face of the paddle also gives the paddle different levels of play. Depending on the type of face a paddle has it may alter the amount of power, control, and spin that the player can achieve. The paddle face also can determine how much energy is absorbed when the pickleball makes contact with the paddle face. Some face materials will absorb more energy than other face materials allowing for harder or softer touch depending on the material used. There are three common materials that many pickleball companies use these days, graphite, fiberglass, and polymers (plastics), which we have discussed in more detail below.


Usually, one of the top choices for many pickleball players, the carbon fiber, graphite pickleball paddle faces are ultra light and offer some of the best touch and control of all paddle face materials. The stiffness of the graphite allows for a very consistent ball strike and high performing play.


If you want a face that offers more of a “pop”, then a fiberglass face is a pop player favorite. The fiberglass faces are more flexible than carbon fiber graphite, and they also can allow for more concentrated energy on the ball creating a strong pop during play. Fiberglass faces are becoming more and more popular by many pickleball players that want to POP!


Lastly, are plastic polymer paddles faces which can offer long-lasting durability and a lightweight. Polymer faces can be made with multiple different types of polymers, and so every kind of face will play a bit differently than another polymer blend however most polymer pickleball paddles make for lightweight and robust paddles that will last.
Some of the best pickleball equipment companies that make the top of the line pickleball paddles are Onix, Engage, Selkirk, HEAD, Paddletek, ProLite, and Gearbox. If you want to learn more about different pickleball paddles, read reviews, and browse some of the best pickleball paddles for sale online then shop for the best pickleball paddles from some of the best pickleball paddle companies. In summary, each type of pickleball paddle core and face material offers its own set of pros and cons, and the best pickleball paddle can vary greatly depending on the kind of player you are and what type of ball control you prefer.

Choosing the Right PickleBall Paddle