Playing pickleball requires pickleball equipment, obviously, however, if you want to up your game and play a bit more seriously, then you want something perfect. Of course, we are talking about paddles.
Nothing quite beats the perfect pickleball paddle. However, the right paddle for you is not super easy to find.
One of the best brands for a good pickleball paddle is Gearbox, and in recent years they came out with a new paddle type which we decided to take a deeper look into.
We delved into everything there is to know about the CX14 paddles, had a play around, and today we will tell you all you need to know, so if you buy these paddles, you know exactly what you’re getting!
Gearbox is well known for their awesome tech that uses carbon fiber to make edgeless, thin paddles, totally removing polymer from the equation.
The edgeless paddles they make have a unique, but solid feeling that is unlike the very common polymer core paddles we see today.
You will either love or hate the feel of their paddles.
However, the new CX14 paddles totally change this, they managed to somehow make a paddle using carbon fiber technology that plays like, and feels like a thick polymer core paddle!
It plays more like a paddle with a polymer core than any other paddles they’ve made before. In this new series, there are two paddles, the 8.0H, and 8.0E, we are looking into both of these.
Both the CX14 8.0E and the CX14 8.0H were made with the all-carbon fiber design typical of Gearbox, however, they have different shapes. The 8.0E is longer but the 8.0H has a wider but shorter body.
They play quite similarly, and the choice between them is more down to the preferred shape.
Both have a soft feel to them, they feel more like thick polymer core paddles than the GX5 and GX6 paddles. We see them as control paddles as they allow you to feel the ball off the face much better with them than a polymer core paddle.
They also have a lighter feel than polymer core paddles but are not so dense. You control the pace and placement of your shots better too.
Both also only weigh 8.0oz, which helps with their control but does take some power away from your serves, overheads, and drives.
While they do not have a lot of power, the ball will jump off the face fast to help with counters. These are forgiving and unique. Mishits on the sides will turn the paddle a lot, but the paddle still won’t die, so you are sure to make up your defensive power.
Stats Of The 8.0E & 8.0H
Based on what we know overall of these paddles we would give the control and feel of these paddles a solid 92% out of 100%.
Power is probably the weakest area for these paddles, as they do not hit so hard. However, they are control paddles. So, we would rate their power at 79%
They do add a good amount of spin, so we would rate the spin at 84%. They are similarly forgiving as well, we rate this at 85%.
Do note, the 8.0E is a little more powerful than the 8.0H, while the 8.0H is a bit more forgiving.
If you are interested in the actual size and specifications of the paddle, we have that information for you as well.
|Length x Width (8.0E)||16 ⅝” 7.⅜”|
|Length x Width (8.0H)||15 ⅞” x 8”|
|Length of handle||5 ⅝”|
|Face material||Carbon Fiber material|
These paddles are full of Gearbox technology as you would expect. If you have ever used paddles by Gearbox before, you should have a vague idea of what to expect. No one else makes paddles as they do.
Interestingly, both of these paddles are made exactly the same way, with the only real difference being their shape. But, let’s talk about this properly for those who are unfamiliar with Gearbox.
Design: What Did They Keep The Same?
Gearbox uses a technology that they refer to as SST Core, which is basically a core made with carbon fiber tubes instead of polymer honeycomb sheets.
These cubes are vertically aligned and molded into the edge and the facing, which is why they have no need for an edge guard.
This helps the paddle be more durable, as carbon fiber breaks down a lot slower than polymer does. With a polymer core paddle, you would need a new paddle every 6–12 months if you played 2–5 times per week. However, these paddles will last years!
Unidirectional carbon fiber was used with older molded paddles but the CX14 series uses a carbon fiber weave. This touch is meant to help increase the forgiveness and spin, and even add more consistency across the paddle face.
They are definitely more consistent and forgiving, but you will need to tell us if you think it adds spin.
Both CX14s also have 14 mm thickness, which is a 3 mm increase from their previous models. This is part of why these paddles have a softer play.
Since they’re both 8.0 oz as well, it’s surprising how light they feel, this does mean there is likely more weight in the handle, though.
Design: What Did They Change?
The only actual difference is their shape. The 8.0E is longer with a long handle, which gives you more reach. Alternatively the 8.0H is wider and shorter, but its handle is still long at 5.5 inches.
Having a longer handle gives you extra power and leverage, and it gives some room for two-handed shots. The reason that the wide body with a long handle is so important is because of how rare it is to see!
Attacking With The CX14s
Carbon fiber is known to add extra control, and being so light it kept the paddle from having more power, however, its thin core let it maintain a fairly standard power rating. It ensures the player is effective when hitting the net.
The paddle is not naturally great at generating speed, but if you can create the speed then the paddle can keep up with you.
Its lightweight makes it fast in your hand, allowing you to be faster with hand battles, but it may lose stability when the ball speeds up.
Both have a decent spin also but know that carbon fiber weaved faces will usually get a better spin over time as the fibers fray, so spin will get better over time.
Defending With The CX14s
The paddles have a soft feel and connection which helps to enhance the consistency of the soft game, you can tell how your shot is going to go based on how the paddle feels.
The touch you get around the net, defensive dinks and blocks are easier and the control with offensive dinks is much better.
It is much more forgiving with dinks and slow balls, however, if the ball speeds up it can lose some stability.
What Do Other Players Think?
Let’s take a quick look at what other players think of the CX14 series!
- Lazlo: “I first played with the CX14E for two weeks, and was blown away by how much I loved it.”
- Riley: “I prefer the longer version [8.0E]. I found it had solid control and feel, it was really quick and light in my hands.”
- Ron S: “Good for placement & accuracy, but lacking in power.”
- W. Peden: “I have used this paddle for six weeks. I like the feel of the ball coming off of this paddle. The grip has a nice shape and is easier to hold. The large sweet spot and great balance have helped me dramatically improve my serves and drop shots.”
- Great for control.
- Carbon fiber durability.
- Long handle.
- Helps dinks.
- Not great for non-power players.
- Doesn’t have as much power behind it.
- Can lose stability when the ball speeds up.
Who Is This Paddle Best For?
These paddles are most loved for their durability and feel. Those who have had polymer core paddles that have broken down in 6 months may find these to be a good option.
These paddles are also great for power players who want to increase their accuracy. However, if you are not a power player you may want to try a different paddle unless you want to try and up your power play yourself.
The CX14 series is an awesome development from Gearbox, however, it is not for everyone.
Players who do not have a great deal of natural power play in them may find these paddles too soft, but for those who are power players, the CX14 series can add a whole new level of accuracy to your power game.