How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle – Factors to Consider and Recommendations

The paddle you use is one of the most crucial elements that can affect your performance and excitement of pickleball. The paddle is your primary tool for striking the ball, controlling its direction and speed, and producing spin and power. Choosing the right pickleball paddle for your style, taste, and budget can make or break your game.

But how to choose a pickleball paddle? There are several choices on the market, each with its own set of features, materials, sizes, types, weights, and costs. How do you determine which is the best fit for you?

How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle

In this article, I will provide my own insights and expertise on how to select a pickleball paddle. I’ll go over the primary aspects to consider and some tips and techniques to help you choose your perfect paddle.

Factors to Consider For Choosing A Pickleball Paddle

When choosing a pickleball paddle, there are several factors to consider, such as:

  • Pickleball Paddle core materials
  • Pickleball Paddle core thickness
  • Pickleball Paddle surface materials
  • Pickleball Pickleball Paddle Grip Size
  • Pickleball Paddle weight
  • Pickleball Paddle Color and Design

Because these aspects are interconnected and impact one another, you have to consider them all at once to determine the optimum combination for your requirements and tastes. I will go over each element in further detail and offer some advice on how to pick the best option for you.

1. Pickleball Paddle Core Materials

Pickleball Paddle Core Materials
Pickleball Paddle Core Materials

The core material is the inside layer of the paddle that influences its stiffness, strength, and responsiveness. Wood, polymer, and composite are the three basic types of core materials.

  • Wood
Wood pickleball paddles
Wood pickleball paddles

is the original and least expensive pickleball paddle core material. Wood paddles are extremely robust and hefty, which provides greater power. Wood paddles are perfect for freshmen who want to try pickleball without investing too much money, as well as leisure players who aren’t concerned with performance. I began playing pickleball with a wooden paddle, which I still have as a keepsake.

  • Polymer
Polymer pickleball paddles

is the most common and advanced core material for pickleball paddles. Polymer paddles are lightweight, soft, and silent since they are constructed of plastic or resin. Polymer paddles are incredibly sensitive and forgiving, offering more control and a broader sweet spot.

  • Composite
Composite pickleball paddle
Composite pickleball paddle

is the most sophisticated and pricey pickleball paddle core material. Composite paddles are manufactured from a mix of materials such as aluminum, carbon, or nomex, and are rigid, robust, and quick. Composite paddles are extremely strong and reliable, resulting in increased speed and spin.

  • Nomex
Nomex Pickleball paddles
Nomex Pickleball paddles

is the original and most traditional core material for pickleball paddles. It is also incredibly sensitive and stiff, which means less vibration and greater feedback. It is constructed of synthetic fiber that has been resin-impregnated and molded into a honeycomb structure. Nomex cores are strong, robust, and long-lasting, making them suitable for advanced and aggressive players looking for a paddle with maximum power and speed.

  • Aluminum
Aluminum Pickleball paddles
Aluminum Pickleball paddles

is the least common and most costly pickleball paddle core material. It is composed of metal and has a honeycomb construction. Aluminum cores are solid, light, and durable, making them suitable for intermediate and pro paddlers with power and control. Aluminum cores also have a mild and metallic tone, which can be pleasant to certain players while being irritating to others.

2. Pickleball Paddle Core Thickness

 Pickleball Paddle Core Thickness
Pickleball Paddle Core Thickness

Another factor I consider when playing pickleball is the core thickness of the paddle. The core is the layer between the paddle’s two sides, and it is often constructed of a lightweight material like as wood, foam, or polymer. The core thickness can range from 11mm to 16mm or more, and each option has its own pros and cons.

A single core (14mm or less) provides greater power and speed, but less control and feel. When I want to be strong and hit hard, I use it. while a thicker (16mm) core provides greater control and feel, but less power and speed. I use it when I want to drop the ball from any place on the court and play a more defensive style. I pick the core thickness that is appropriate for my playing style and preferences. I always test the paddle before purchasing it to ensure that it is comfortable and balanced in my palm.

3. Pickleball Paddle Surface Materials

Pickleball Paddle Surface Materials
Pickleball Paddle Surface Materials

The paddle’s face is the outer layer that comes into touch with the ball. It has an impact on the paddle’s feel, spin, and deflection. Paddle face materials are classified into four types: fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite, and composite. Here’s a quick rundown of each:D

  • Fiberglass
Fiberglass Pickleball paddles
Fiberglass pickleball paddles

The most prevalent and widely used face material for pickleball paddles is fiberglass. It is constructed of woven glass fibers that are resin-bonded. Fibreglass faces are flexible, textured, and long-lasting, making them excellent for players with a good combination of power and control while also generating more spin and grip on the ball. Many players enjoy the soft and silky feel that fiberglass faces provide.

  • Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber Pickleball paddles
Carbon Fiber pickleball paddles

Carbon fiber is the most costly and high-end pickleball paddle face material. It is constructed of woven carbon fibers that are resin-bonded. Carbon fiber faces are rigid, smooth, and lightweight, making them excellent for players looking for a paddle that can provide maximum power and speed while also reducing ball deflection and bounce.

  • Graphite
Graphite Pickleball paddles
Graphite pickleball paddles

Graphite is the most conventional and original face material for pickleball rackets. It is constructed from carbon fibers that have been crushed and heated into thin strips. Carbon fiber faces are strong, smooth, and lightweight, but graphite faces are somewhat less powerful and more responsive. Graphite faces are ideal for players who desire a paddle with a good combination of power and control, as well as better feedback and feel.

  • Composite
Composite Pickleball paddles
Composite pickleball paddles

Composite is the modern and advanced face material for pickleball paddles. Its construction involves the blending and layering of several materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite, and polymer. Composite faces are adaptable, textured, and durable, making them excellent for players looking for a paddle with a number of features and benefits that they can also customize to their satisfaction.

4. Pickleball Paddle Grip Size

Pickleball Paddle Grip Size
Pickleball Paddle Grip Size

Choosing a suitable paddle grip size is essential for your pickleball playing. As a seasoned player, I’ve learned that grip size influences how comfortable, controlling, and quick you are on the court. A poor grip might cause you to drop your paddle, injure your wrist, or slow down your swing. That is why I always measure my grip size before purchasing a new paddle. There are various methods for doing this, but I like the ruler test. It is simple and effective.

All you need is a ruler and your dominant hand. Place your hand flat on a table, palm up, and align the bottom of the ruler with the lowest fold of your palm. Measure the length from that fold to the end of your ring finger. This yields a value between 4 – 5 inches, which corresponds to the US grip size. For example, my hand is 4.25 inches long, therefore I use a grip size of 4.25 inches. This fits my hand well and allows me to play with ease and confidence.

5. Pickleball Paddle weight

 Pickleball Paddle weight
Pickleball Paddle weight

Paddle weight is an important consideration for pickleball players. The weight of the paddle influences both the technical and physical aspects of pickleball, such as control, power, speed, agility, and longevity. According to my playing style and preferences, lightweight paddles (less than 7.3 ounces) are excellent for control and speed, but they need more power and might cause elbow pain.

Mid-weight paddles (7.3 to 8.3 ounces) are well-balanced and suited for the majority of players. They provide less stress and weight, making them easier on the arm. Heavy weight paddles (weighing more than 8.3 ounces) are perfect for power and depth, but they are more difficult to control and swing. Because it matches my style and condition, I normally use a mid-weight paddle. I believe it is important to try out different paddle weights in order to find the best one for you.

6. Pickleball Paddle Color and Design

Pickleball Paddle Color and Design
Pickleball Paddle Color and Design

The color and style of a pickleball paddle aren’t just for looks. They also have an effect on gameplay and rules. I also make smart decisions while choosing one. Major League Pickleball also has restrictions regarding paddle colors as well. USA Pickleball is also working with paddle manufacturers to develop color guidelines.

I use colors that contrast with the ball, such as blue, red, or black. This is fair and secure, and it reflects my personality. The paddle’s design influences the ball’s power, control, and spin. I select a paddle that is perfect for my skill level and style. Most of the time, I use a balanced and textured paddle. I also explore various paddles to see how they affect my technique.

How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle: My Recommendations

How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle

Now that you know the important factors to consider when purchasing a pickleball paddle, you may be wondering which paddle is perfect for you. Obviously, the answer is determined by your personal tastes, skill level, and budget. However, based on my personal experience and observation, I can propose some of the best pickleball paddle recommendations that I have used or seen. The Selkirk Amped S2 is a high-performance, high-quality paddle that I highly suggest. The Amazin’ Aces Signature for a basic and strong paddle. Gamma Needle for a quick and responsive paddle. And the Engage Encore Pro for a strong and stable paddle. These are some of the greatest pickleball paddles on the market, and I endorse them. I hope you find the one that works for you.


I hope this article, has given you a better understanding of how to choose a pickleball paddle that fits your style, preferences, and budget. Keep in mind that the perfect pickleball paddle is one that makes you happy and confident on the court. So, don’t be scared of trying out several paddles until you find the one that feels perfect for you.


What makes a good pickleball paddle?

A good pickleball paddle is one that fits your skill level, playing style, and strength. It should have an optimal grip size, a long-lasting material, and a balanced weight. Additionally, a good paddle should help you in obtaining the ideal balance between spin, control, and power.

What to look for in a pickleball paddle?

If you choose the appropriate pickleball paddle, it might help you improve your game. The paddle’s weight, surface composition, and grip size are a few key features to look for pickleball paddle. These elements influence the power, control, and comfort of your shots.

What is the best grip size for a pickleball paddle?

The optimum pickleball paddle grip size is one that fits your hand smoothly and securely. A tiny grip size might induce wrist strain and damage, while a high grip size can limit your control and accuracy.

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