With our commitment to growing the game of Pickleball within our communities and beyond. We have developed a short simple guide on how to choose the best Pickleball Paddle that, would best suit your game. However, this guide is not all-inclusive, just a starting point to get you started playing Pickleball. As you become more proficient, your equipment will also change. As you improve there is a different level of equipment you may need to get the best out of your game.

Your pickleball paddle is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your entire game. It can have a pretty big impact on how well you play, how your body feels after a game, and how much you enjoy the game. The more popular pickleball becomes, the more paddles there are to choose from.

So how can you know which paddle is right for you?

The price tag will not always dictate the quality of the paddle, so be wary of being drawn in simply by brand names, exciting graphics, or appealing names. Focus instead on the materials used, grip, and weight.

There are a plethora of paddles on the web in the price range from $15 for a wood paddle to $250+ for composite/hybrid, raw carbon, and 3K paddles. However, just because the paddle is in the $250+ price range does not mean it is better for you than the $49+ price range paddle. All paddles have similar manufacturing processes than any other paddles on the market. Some are made with inferior materials, such as composites or hybrid, while others use high-grade T700 raw carbon fiber and T700 3K Twill. 

Pickleball paddles: Composites/hybrid, Raw Carbon, 3K Twill.

Composite or Hybrid paddles are produced using a combination of materials, such as glass fiber and carbon fiber. And have the lowest manufacturing cost and can vary from low, mid-range to high-range paddles. These are good starting paddles.  However, due to the inertia of the ball hitting the composite or hybrid fiber paddle surface, the fiber has a tendency to separate more quickly. As the fibers separate, the sweet spot starts to degrade and weaken in a short amount of time, depending on playtime, compared to the paddles which have 100% of the material used, such as raw carbon or 3K Twill paddles. That’s when players wonder why they have to put a little more energy into getting the ball over the net compared to when the paddle was new. These last about 3 to 6 months with constant play. 

(Just as a footnote, all paddles sweet pot degrades over a period of time. Some last a little longer than others depending on the materials used.)

Glass fiber paddles, you are getting into the higher quality paddles with these paddles. They have 100% of the materials used. The glass fiber paddle is a lightweight paddle in this class. A good paddle to start playing with, besides the composite/hybrid paddles. With its lightweight, it helps reduce arm and elbow strain, depending on the thickness. Maintains the sweet spot a little longer than the composite/hybrid paddles. They usually, last 1 to 3 years depending on play. The glass fiber paddles are ideal for those who have minimal upper body or arm strength.  We would recommend buying an elongated glass fiber paddle with a thickness core of 16mm or thicker.  This is an ideal paddle for those with minimal upper body strength, allowing them to generate increased power with little effort.  Many ladies are using these paddles to better their game.

There are high-end paddles that give players a combination of control, power, finesse, lightweight, and look and feel awesome in their hands. These are the T700 Raw Carbon or T700 3k Twill paddles which have a tighter weave on the playing surface with a larger sweet spot, with thicker cores, for more power, and ease of control with an intuitive “feel” of striking the ball.

T700+ is a higher-grade carbon fiber than the low-grade carbon fibers used in paddles today. The “T” stands for Toray. A Japanese company that manufactures these higher-end carbon fibers. They are aerospace-grade raw carbon fibers that are used on the space shuttle and airframe fabrics. They come in T700, T800, T1000, and T1200 strand strength.  These fibers give you a lot more compact power, control, feel, and spin in a lightweight paddle. The raw carbon fiber strands do not separate as quickly as they do in the composite or hybrid fiber paddles. T700+ carbon fiber is used in aviation, industrial fields, architecture, and sporting and recreational goods, such as pickleball paddles.

T700 Raw Carbon Fiber Paddles: The Toray 700+ (T700+), Raw carbon, and 3K Twill, 12K/18K/21/, are in the higher end of paddles. These have a denser basket weave core and use 100% of the material. These give you a lot more power and control with minimum effort in a lightweight paddle. With 100% of the material used compared to combination or hybrid material, the raw carbon fiber maintains its core sweet spot a lot longer, due to the denseness of the high-end raw carbon fibers used. 

T700 3K Twill Carbon Fiber consists of thousands of continuous individual carbon filaments, held together and protected by an organic coating. 3K means there are 3000 filaments in a 3K paddle and they consist exclusively of carbon fiber (no composites.) 3K carbon fiber is light and takes a lot longer for the fiber to break down and stretch to failure compared to composite and hybrid fiber paddles.

Do T700 Raw Carbon and T700 3K Paddles Offer the Best Quality?

T700+ Raw Carbon and T700+ 3K pickleball paddles are the weapons of choice for informed pickleball players. These lightweight paddles allow for more power, control, and finesse, with increased spin with the friction surfaces and feel during play. With a thicker interior core that will vary between styles, these paddles provide a useful “touch” sensation, meaning players can easily “feel, the ball connecting with their paddle. Allowing them to vary the strength of their hits more intuitively. The reactive nature of these paddles, allows players to play better with confidence. The T700 Raw Carbon, 3K+ Twill paddles also help minimize fatigue and wrist and elbow strain, compared to a lighter alternative to composite or hybrid pickleball paddles which require a little more energy to “drive” the ball.

The balance of speed, control, and touch in a T700 raw carbon and T700 3K fiber paddle is something that should be experienced at least once by every player. 

Grip Size

Besides Feel, Weight there is the grip size of the paddle. If the grip is too big for your hand then you will have a tendency for the grip to “slip” from your hand thereby creating off-center shots, a lot more miss hits.

The best solution for both is to choose an average-sized paddle such as a 4.5 in grip. This size grip fits the average player, builds grip strength in children; allows the average player to get a comfortable firm grip, and helps relieve pain from RA. For the large-hand players who prefer a large grip the best way is to increase the grip size using Grip Wraps. Allowing you to get the best grip on your paddle.

The best way to choose a pickleball paddle is to try it out

It sounds like an oversimplification, but how a paddle feels in your hand takes precedence over things like price, paddle weight, material, and length and design, etc. Redwoods Pickleball has a 30-day Paddle Test Progam, allowing you time to see how a paddle feels during play and how it fits your game. Or you can visit one of their Demo Days at your local recreation centers or tennis courts in your area. Also, for local demos, you can call Redwoods Pickleball at 707-601-7466 to schedule a Demo Day for your league, players, schools, or local government fitness education programs.

Play Your Best With The Equipment You Have.

If Pickleball is a new sport to you, then the composite/hybrid or our glass fiber paddles would be a good option. Those experienced players who are looking to upgrade should consider paddles that have 100% of the material used with a thicker core of 16mm or 20mm, such as our T700 Raw Carbon Fiber or T700 3K Twill paddles.

You may still be tempted to go to a lightweight composite paddle, but consider this: The lighter the paddle, the more energy and swing you will need to strike the ball with force, which can inflame an injury or cause more pain. Our Premium Raw Carbon and 3K Twill paddles give you this high-power-to-weight ratio in a lighter paddle.

If you are a player over 50 who is just starting out then we would recommend combination/hybrid or Glass Fiber paddles, elongated 7.5″ with a thicker 16mm core should be a go-to paddle for those just starting out. Or buy a cheap Amazon paddle so you can work on your hand-eye coordination, then upgrade to a higher-end paddle.

We hope that this guide has helped you. As stated earlier, this is not an all-inclusive guide, but a starting point to help you make more informed decisions on your selection of paddles for your game.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to Paddles, you can give Joshua Bardez a call at 707 601 7466 and he would be happy to talk to you about your equipment needs or to arrange a demo day for your organization.