An artist is only as good as his tools – and if you want to be a pro at pickleball, you need to be using the right kind of paddle!
There are many things to consider when purchasing your own pickleball paddle but one of the things often overlooked is the materials.
At first thought, you may think that the materials of your pickleball paddle won’t make that much of a difference to your performance – but that’s not true.
The materials of your pickleball paddle have a significant influence on how well you perform so it’s vital you find the best material possible – but what is it?
Two of the most popular materials used for pickleball paddles are wood and graphite.
In the article below, we will be comparing the two so you can discover which material is best for you and what type of paddle you should be using in pickleball. Check it out!
How Materials Impact Your Pickleball Performance
There are lots of reasons why you should carefully consider the materials used to make your pickleball paddle.
Each one will have its own pros and cons, and these can have a huge impact on your pickleball performance.
The most obvious factor is weight. A pickleball match can last well over an hour and during this time, your body will begin to tire, and that pickleball paddle will start to feel heavier and heavier.
Because of this, a lot of pickleball players want a pickleball paddle that is lightweight and easy to use even towards the end of a tiring match.
On the other hand, thickness is another important factor to consider.
This is because a thick pickleball paddle can help you make more precise hits while a thin paddle gives you more power in your hits for faster ball speeds.
Whether or not you should get a thick or thin pickleball paddle depends on your style of play – but choosing the right material for your paddle can help you tailor your style of play even more.
The power of your hits is also impacted by the material used for the face of your pickleball paddle.
Some materials are more powerful than others, while others feel more comfortable due to the lack of reverberation with each hit.
Finally, there’s the material of your grip.
Although this part of the paddle clearly won’t be made of wood or graphite (as it’s always made of some kind of clothlike material), it’s still another important material to consider as some materials are easier to grip.
Wood Vs Graphite In Pickleball Paddles
Now, let’s move on to comparing how wood and graphite work as materials in pickleball paddles(see also: Selkirk SLK Latitude Graphite Widebody Paddle Review).
Here, we will be taking a look at all the important factors you should be considering when buying your own paddle.
This includes the aforementioned weight and thickness but also factors like cost, durability, and more.
First, let’s look at which material is heavier.
Weight has a huge impact on how comfortable you are using your pickleball paddle. Some pickleball players struggle to use heavier paddles, especially later on in a match when they are tired and losing strength.
On the other hand, some bulkier players can handle the weight of a heavier paddle with no problem and love the precision that comes with it.
Wood is the heaviest material out of the two, which is why a lot of pro-pickleball players upgrade to lighter materials like graphite later on.
The lightness of graphite makes the paddle easier to swing for more powerful shots and easier for players to handle even after a long match.
Normally, a thicker paddle allows for better precision when hitting the ball while its weight may slow you down and cause you to lose power.
Thinner paddles on the other hand are better for strength as they are easier to swing.
However, graphite paddles don’t require players to swap power for precision.
They are great for allowing players to hit the ball hard without losing control of the ball, so pro players can still play with their usual finesse.
Wooden paddles don’t have this kind of sophistication.
Sure, they can provide a powerful hit if you swing them hard enough – but as we mentioned earlier, wooden paddles can feel pretty heavy later on in a match and this weight can impact the strength of your hits.
With graphite paddles, you still have complete control over your aim and the strength of your hits, allowing you to play with different tactics and techniques even when you start to tire out.
The last thing any pickleball player needs is a broken or damaged paddle but unfortunately, the more you play, the more you wear out your paddle.
It can be expensive to constantly replace your pickleball paddle and this is why durability is such an important factor to consider when purchasing your paddle.
Between wood and graphite, graphite is the more durable material. It’s stronger so it can withstand more powerful hits and last a lot longer than a wooden paddle.
Over time, a wooden paddle can split, break, and splitter – while a graphite paddle takes a lot longer before it starts to wear out and lose its touch.
No pickleball paddle is entirely indestructible, but it’s clear that a graphite paddle is a lot sturdier and more durable than a wooden one.
The reason why wood is such a popular material used to make pickleball paddles is that it is so affordable.
It costs less for a manufacturer to make a pickleball paddle out of wood than other materials like graphite, which is why wooden pickleball paddles are sold at a lower price than graphite pickleball paddles.
This lower cost means that people on a low budget can still pick up their own paddle and give this sport a try.
It also makes sense for a lot of people to opt for the most affordable type of pickleball paddle.
If pickleball is only a light hobby for you or a new sport you are just trying out (and you’re not sure if you will stick around long-term), then going for the most affordable pickleball paddle stops you from wasting tons of dollars.
Wooden pickleball paddles are also the go-to type of paddle for community centers, schools, and pickleball groups that provide paddles to their players.
They need to buy a lot of paddles in bulk and so, they are obviously going to go for the most affordable option!
So, if you are tight for cash or you are a beginner just trying out pickleball for fun, the more affordable wooden paddles may be your best option.
If you stick around and want to invest more time and effort into playing pickleball, then you can upgrade to a more costly graphite paddle if you desire.
Wood Vs Graphite: Which Is Best For You
After comparing these two materials, it’s clear that graphite paddles are superior in performance and durability to wooden paddles.
However, graphite paddles are way more expensive (seriously, a lot more expensive) and this puts them way out of the reasonable price range for a lot of casual players.
So, consider your budget, and how much you want to invest in pickleball in terms of play, time, and effort, and make your choice!