There are hundreds of different paddles to select from in the world of pickleball. We understand what it’s like to spend hours searching for the ideal pickleball paddle. We are self-proclaimed pickleball paddle nerds, so take my word for it. We are attempting to collect as many paddles as possible. We have spent a significant amount of time attempting to find out how to select a pickleball paddle for you. Today, we’ll tell you all you need to know about selecting the best paddle for you.
It does not have to be tough to select a paddle. Choosing a pickleball paddle may appear to be a difficult process at first look. Breaking things down into smaller sections makes it much easier.
Keep in mind that, while we’ll explain our approach below, you’re not required to follow it exactly. Do whatever you want. So be it if you choose to use a paddle that is 5 oz heavier than what you should be using.
Before we get started, we’ll assume you’re seeking to purchase a standard-sized pickleball paddle. If you’re new to pickleball or don’t have a lot of experience, the normal size of 7 3/4′′ – 8′′ broad is a good place to start. The following concepts will still apply if you wish to utilize a longboard paddle.
Four Important Considerations When Selecting A Paddle
So, let’s get started. When choosing a pickleball paddle, there are three key aspects to consider:
Without my explaining how essential each item is concerning the others, the list above is rather deceptive. The weight of your paddle trumps all other considerations when selecting a paddle (pun intended). Don’t get me wrong: picking the appropriate core and handle size for you is crucial, but it pales in comparison to the weight.
The heaviness of the paddle should be the most significant consideration for selecting a paddle, according to the majority of the best pickleball specialists. Pickleball paddles range from 6 to 14 ounces in a variety of weights and diameters. Most paddles with weights of more than nine ounces consist of wood. A lighter paddle with the same material must reach a quicker swing speed to deliver the same power as a heavier paddle with a slower paddling rate. The lighter paddle always gives you a faster response time as you fly in the kitchen area. Although the difference in weight cannot seem substantial.
The weight of the paddle is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a pickleball paddle. This is because it is one of pickleball’s few physical requirements. It’s the same as saying, “You have to be this tall to ride the rollercoaster.” It is possible that using a paddle that is too light or too heavy for you can cause issues.
But how can you tell whether a paddle is too light or too dense?
When you use a paddle that is too light for you, a variety of issues will arise. The first symptom is that you may begin missing shots that you normally do not miss. I’m not talking about tough shots being missed. Even on serves, we mean whiffing. These are the types of whiffs that make everyone chuckle, but they’re also a clear indication that your paddle is a little fluffy.
Because you’re swinging quicker than normal when you use a paddle that’s too light for your strength, you could miss shots. You will completely miss the ball if you swing too early in baseball. It’s amusing, but it’s not good for your win/loss record.
Your shots aren’t as powerful as they may be if you use a light paddle. When you’re using a light paddle, you could think, “That shot should have been harder than that.” If you notice your shots are less powerful than usual or feel you are hitting them harder, you may be using a light paddle. You might be passing up a lot of possibilities. When it comes to power, remember that paddle weight is everything.
I’ll go into more depth later, but using an aluminum core paddle can help greatly with this. Simply said, metal does not have the same strength as Nomex or polymer.
It’s easy to tell whether a paddle is too light for you, but it’s a little more difficult to determine if it’s too heavy. However, there are a few specific indicators to watch for.
The most serious consequence of employing a heavy paddle is that you may get wrist and arm strain. After a day playing pickleball, you could find yourself massaging your wrists or perhaps your arm. It might just be the paddle if these symptoms aren’t usual for you.
If your symptoms are worsening or your elbow is causing you to discomfort regularly, you should visit a doctor. That might be a symptom of the dreaded tennis elbow.
Another indicator that you’re using a heavy paddle is that your overhead smashes are coming from behind the baseline. Overhead smashes are a lot of fun to play. They’re much more enjoyable when you’re using a strong, heavy paddle. However, if the paddle is too heavy, you may knock them off of the court rather than at the opponent’s feet.
This occurs because you are unable to generate enough wrist motion to tilt the paddle downward. The swing you make will be a little slower than normal since the paddle is too heavy for you.
Because of the extra time, the overhead smash can now be aimed upward rather than downward. You’ll notice a significant improvement in the consistency of your overhead smashes if you use a lighter paddle.
True, the heavier the paddle, the stronger your shots. This, however, is only partially accurate. If the paddle becomes so heavy that you can’t wield it correctly, the amount of force you can extract from it becomes worthless.
The second aspect to consider isn’t as essential as weight, but it still has to be decided.
Which one do you prefer: Nomex, metal, or polymer? Let me make it extremely simple for you.
Polymer, A polymer paddle will, for the most part, be the best option for you. There are several situations when a Nomex or aluminum paddle would be ideal.
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many manufacturers producing their polymer cores, each of which is somewhat different. The common thread that runs through all of them is a fantastic all-around blend of light, control, and power.
I don’t advocate wooden paddles unless you’re looking for a paddle to knock about lightly. Because of its low cost, wood used to be a more feasible alternative, but as other paddle cores improve and the cost of other fantastic paddles decreases, wood cores are becoming outdated.
Nomex is one of the first honeycomb-style paddle cores that are still in use today. These paddles are often tougher, thinner, and have incredible power, but lack control and finesse. Controlling the amount of power created by this core typically requires an exceptionally competent player. The Onix Z5 and various GAMMA paddles are arguably the most popular Nomex paddles today.
Aluminum is all control if Nomex is all power. This core is typically lighthearted, with a strong emphasis on the control game. Regrettably, this entails a significant loss of power. I typically don’t advocate these paddles since they aren’t as well-rounded as polymer, carbon fiber, or even Nomex, but they may be quite useful for persons with severe joint discomfort or children who aren’t strong enough to use a different paddle.
When choosing a pickleball paddle, the last thing to consider is the handle.
Although it is not as essential as the other parts, there may be a few mistakes committed here.
The bulk of paddle handles are between 4 and 5 inches in length. The 4” paddles should be used by those with smaller or larger hands. Tennis players or guys with large hands can benefit from the 5″ paddles. The long handle is the way to go if you’re a tennis player with a two-handed backhand. However, grip circumference must also be taken into account.
Pickleball grip diameter is usually around 4.25”. This size is appropriate for the vast majority of people.
However, if you have a large hand, you might wish to go up to 4.5” or even larger. Being between 4” and 4.25” in height should enough for ladies.
Keep in mind that this should be the last item of your attention when selecting a paddle. When it comes to grip sizes, most manufacturers provide a variety of alternatives, so you should be covered.
Also, while purchasing a paddle, don’t be concerned about the grip tape. If you don’t like it, you can easily alter it afterward. I’ll be releasing a comprehensive tutorial on the subject soon.
After you’ve decided on the weight and core material, you may concentrate on the facing. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me when it comes to picking paddles, but it can help a paddle perform better in areas that are more relevant to your game. Fiberglass (composite), Graphite, and Carbon Fiber are the most common facing materials, and while each has advantages and disadvantages, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Facing is a little more subjective, and it’s often a matter of personal choice. I’ll provide my basic thoughts on the many sorts of facings.
Fiberglass (composite) is one of the most widely used forms of facing, and with good reason. It’s quite dependable, and you can hit almost any shot with it. Because it is typically tougher and more lasting, I believe it provides the most powerful of all the facings.
Graphite is another popular paddle face that may be seen on many of today’s paddles. It usually gives up some power in exchange for better control, but the coupling with the core inside is crucial. With some of my graphite paddles, I felt like I had better control, and I appreciate what the facing brings to the table.
Carbon fiber is one of the newest-facing materials, and because of its lightweight and durability, various major paddle manufacturers are developing carbon fiber versions. Although it has a strong face and excellent control, some feel it lacks the power of a fiberglass (composite) paddle. Another thing to keep in mind is that carbon fiber paddles are often more expensive than other materials, so keep that in mind while shopping for paddles.
If you’re searching for a lightweight paddle, there are several excellent alternatives available. The Paddletek Phoenix LTE is my favorite light paddle. Even at only 7.2 ounces, this paddle is incredible. It’s fun to play, and it’s light. Because the grip circle is a little smaller than normal, this is an excellent choice for ladies.
In pickleball, the usual weight range is approximately 7.6 oz. The Paddletek Tempest Wave is one of the most popular pickleball paddles in the world. For good cause, this paddle is renowned. The Paddletek Element is another excellent alternative. It’s another excellent all-around paddle that’s particularly well suited to tennis players.
If you want a paddle that has a lot of power and strength, you’ll want to go with a heavier paddle.
To the rescue, Selkirk!
They’ve created some excellent paddles for aggressive players. I’ve played with a couple of them, including the amazing AMPED Epic and the 30P XL Enrique Ruiz. These paddles are on the heavier half of the weight spectrum, weighing about 8 oz. They will, believe me, offer you enough power to stun your opponents. However, you must have the strength to put them to good use.
The most important thing to remember from this article is that you need a paddle that is comfortable for you and your playing style. To be honest, there are a lot of fantastic paddles out there that will do the job, but if you want to pick one that is appropriate for you and your game, these are the three major factors to consider: weight, core, and facing. Every paddle maker should be able to supply you with all of this information, so keep an eye out for it in their Technical Specifications!