How To Choose The Best Pickleball Paddle For You

No matter if you are looking for your first pickleball paddle or are ready to replace your old paddle, there are a lot of things you should be considering.

Since, there are hundreds of pickleball paddles on the market, it can be confusing knowing which paddle you should be going for. 

How To Choose The Best Pickleball Paddle For You

When it comes to choosing a pickleball paddle, you need to think about the size, weight, shape and what it is made from. We have decided to make everything a lot easier for you and created this simple guide.

In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about how to pick the best pickleball paddle for you. 

Core Material

The most frequent core material utilized by brands is polymer. Brands may refer to it as  poly, polymer, or polypropylene. Essentially, the substance is merely a very tough plastic.

Polymer is the most common core material since it is strong, quiet, and provides a nice combination of power and touch. Poly cores come in a variety of quality levels.

The more expensive paddles employ a higher grade polymer that lasts longer and provides a more even feel across the face.

While polymer is popular, aluminum, Nomex, and carbon fire cores can also be found. An aluminum core creates a lightweight paddle that is easy to move.

However, they don’t offer you the same power compared to other types of core. 

Finally, there are carbon fiber and Nomex cores, which players love for their precision and power. Although, there is no denying that these paddles are very loud each time you make contact with the ball. 

Thickness Of The Core

The performance of a paddle is greatly influenced by the core’s thickness. 

A thicker core typically has a thickness of 16 mm. Paddles with thicker cores are considered to feel softer and have better control. Moreover, they aid in balancing the paddle during off-center shots.

The most popular and user-friendly core size is considered 16 mm.

Paddles with a thinner core, which can range in thickness from 10 to 14 mm, are considered to have more force at the price of some control.

They will provide you with greater feedback when you strike an off-center shot and are less stable than a thicker core. 

The general guideline is that as the core thickens, so does its softness and control. While the thinner the core gets, the more power you achieve, but you have less stability. 

Surface Material

The surface or paddle face will be constructed of either fiberglass, graphite or carbon fiber. The surface material has a huge impact on the sweet spot size and affects the control and power of the paddle. 


Fiberglass is considered extremely powerful. Fiberglass acts like a trampoline, which absorbs the momentum from the ball, then pushes it straight back.

In contrast to graphite and carbon fiber, the material’s limited stiffness will reduce your sweet spot size.


Graphite is known for generating power just as strong as a carbon fiber face. In addition to having a better feel compared to a fiberglass face.

It is a lightweight material, which responds quickly and offers you plenty of control over the ball. 

Carbon Fiber

Due to the material’s stiffness, the ball’s impact energy is dispersed across the entire face and into the handle. This increases the sweet spot on your paddle, but it also limits the power produced as less energy is given back to the ball.

Which One Is Right For You?

Combining elements of control and power is important. You should think about the type of facing used alongside the core’s thickness. 

If you’re looking for a powerful paddle, look for a thinner poly core and a fiberglass face. However, you ought to seek for a thicker poly core and a graphite or carbon fiber face if you desire a controllable paddle.

Paddle Shape

The size of your sweet spot, power, and mobility will vary depending on the form of the paddle.

The paddle’s length is limited to 17 inches, but the overall length and width, including any butt caps and edge guards, is limited to 24 inches. 

  • Elongated – Elongated shapes have smaller sweet spots and are less responsive. Yet it will give you more spin, power, and reach.
  • Wide-body – This design sacrifices reach and power in exchange for the largest sweet spot.
  • Classic – The classic shape is a mixture between a wide-body and elongated shape. It provides you with a balanced mixture of spin, power, and forgiveness. 
How To Choose The Best Pickleball Paddle For You (1)

Handle Length

The handle’s length can range from 4.5 to 6 inches. Each inch you add reduces the surface area of the paddle face, since the paddle’s total length plus width cannot be more than 24 inches.

More power and spin may be produced the longer the handle is. While, more force and spin are produced by longer paddles.

Some players like to use two hands on the paddle, while others prefer to just use one hand. If you always use two hands, you’ll need a handle length of at least 5.25 inches.

If you never use two hands, a regular handle length of 5 inches should be sufficient.


Paddles vary between 7 and 8.5 ounces. Everything between 7 and 7.6 oz is considered lightweight, 7.6 and 8.2 oz is mid-weight, and paddles over 8.2 oz are heavyweight.

When it comes to fast exchanges close to the net, a lightweight paddle is easier to handle. The downsides of lightweight paddles is that you require more effort in your swing, in order to produce more power.

It takes less effort to produce power when handling heavier paddles. However, many people find it difficult to play for extended periods of time with a heavy paddle.

Edge Guard

A piece of fabric that encircles the paddle is known as an edge guard.

An edge guard’s benefit is that it helps to protect your paddle. A paddle guard, however, can obstruct your game.  Some pickleball players favor edgeless paddles (see also: Are Edgeless Pickleball Paddles Better?)over edge guards. 

Without edge guards, paddles feature a flat surface that offers the largest playing area without the chance of a ball being missed. Continuous usage, however, can cause chips and dents on your paddle, if you don’t have an edge guard.


Choosing the best pickleball paddle for you, consists of many things. The surface material, core, shape, weight, and handle all link with one another.

Thus, you need to be really clear on what you want to gain from your paddle. Your playing style can have a huge effect on the type of paddle you need as well. 

Power, control and stability are the three main factors that will affect the type of paddle you choose. Every element of your paddle needs to be considered, as every element will influence how you use and play with the paddle. 

We hope this guide has been helpful. Now you have a better understanding on how you can choose the best pickleball paddle for you. 

Michael Walter
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