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How to Pick the Perfect Pickleball Paddle for Your Game

With our commitment to growing the game of Pickleball within our communites and beyond, we have developed a short simple guide on how to choose a Pickleball Paddle; which, would best suit your needs, when playing the game of Pickleball. However, this guide is not all inclusive, just a starting point to get you started playing Pickleball, until you become an expert player then there is a different level of equipment you may need to play at the profesional level and money competitions.

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 and 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 weight, grip, budget, and materials used.

There are a plathra of paddles on the web in the price rage from $15 for a wood paddle to $200+ for a composite paddle. However, just because the paddle is in the $200+ price range does not mean that it is a better paddle for you than the $49+ price range paddle. All paddles have similar manufacturing processes made with the same composites as any other paddles on the market. We believe that premium pickleball paddles shouldn’t break the bank or cost a fortune.

Pickleball paddles are made out of three main materials: wood, composites and graphite.

Wood paddles are the heaviest paddles, and they are also the least expensive. New players or players who are unsure of investing in equipment may be tempted to purchase a wood paddle. This is fine; however, keep the weight issue in mind, they are for a family recreational environment, school yards, picnics, BBQ’s, Reunions, etc. Not for pickleball court play. They are just too heavy to swing and have fun at the courts.

Composite paddles, the carbon fiber composities and glass fiber composities are a happy medium. They are in the mid-range of price, yet they come in a variety of weights and sizes.

Graphite paddles3K Twill, 18K and Carbon Cloth Paddles are the most expensive since they have a denser core, giving you power and control in a light weight paddle.

Do Graphite Paddles Really Offer the Best Quality?

Graphite pickleball paddles are the weapon of choice for many competitive players. Players believe they allow for more control and finesse during games. It’s important to remember that graphite only makes up the paddle’s face, while the interior or core material will vary between styles. Graphite 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 in a more intuitive way. The reactive nature of these paddles makes them feel like a true extension of self!

Graphite paddles also help prevent fatigue and wrist strain as a lighter alternative to composite pickleball paddles. Most graphite paddles fit into the “sweet spot” medium weight range of 7.3 – 8.4 oz, while composite paddles usually fall toward the higher end of that spectrum, at times even passing 9 oz. Graphite paddle faces are highly rigid, making them perfect as a hitting surface, yet they can be brittle due to the short carbon fibers that make up the material. This is why paddle edge guards are so important. If you’re considering an edgeless paddle to reduce mishits, be careful not to hit the ground to avoid chipping.

Additionally, players may want to store their paddle in a cover to help preserve the smoothness of the face. Keep your equipment in a dry and cool location to help ensure it stays in good condition for years to come. The balance of speed and touch in a graphite paddle is something that should be experienced at least once by every player. 

All pickleball pros choose a pickleball paddle based on three things more than anything else:

1. How it Feels

2. How it Feels

3. How it Feels

Then the number one aspect of how elite pickleball players select their paddles is based on how it feels in their hand during play for deep baseline serves, soft dinks and topspin putaway shots.
The best way to choose a pickleball paddle is to try it out and play with it first.  It sounds like an oversimplification, but how a paddle feels in your hand takes precedence over things like paddle weight, material or length. Redwoods Pickleball has a 30-DAY PADDLE TEST Progam, giving you time to see how a paddle feels during play and how it fits your game. Or you can visit one of our Demo Days at your local recreation centers or tennis courts in your area. Also, you can give us a call at 707-601-7466 to schedule a Demo Day for your league, players, schools or local goverments fitness education programs.

However, whether this is your first paddle or you are a seasoned player, there few aspect to take into considerstion when choosing which paddle to buy for your game besides feel:

The other consideration for choosing a paddle is weight. This depends on the strength you have in your arms, forearms and wrists. The heavier the paddle, more power is required to “drive” the ball thereby more stress is distributed throughout your arm and wrist. The more likley hood of tennis elbow, cramps or wrist injury due to requiring more energy to swing through the ball and obsorbing more energy at impact. Graphite paddles would be a great option for power and control in a lightweight paddle because of the tighter (dense) weave of the graphite fiber.

In fact, you can put weight in the same category as “feel.” How does the paddle feel when you pick it up? How does it feel when you have been holding it through an entire game? How does it feel when you swing it?

Pickleball paddles range anywhere from 6 ounces to 14 ounces, and the weight will affect power and control. A lighter paddle gives you more control but less drive. Conversely, a heavier paddle gives you less control but more power and drive. Perhaps, most importantly, a heavier paddle can cause elbow strain and fatigue and stress in your arm. Hence, the graphite paddles gives you power and control in a lightweight paddle.

Of course if you are young then a heavier paddle might be a consideration for more power but still prone to tennis elbow, wrist injury and arm fatique and stress. We reccommed a 7.5oz to 8.0oz paddle weight for the beginner to expert player is sufficient. It gives you more power and control during play lessing the chance for injury and fatique.

You may want to start with a composite paddle that is not too heavy until you build up more strength such as our Paddle Sets. However, it is a bit of a Catch-22: Less arm strength means you will need more help driving the ball with any real power. Therefore, consider selecting a mid-weight carbon fiber paddle between 7.5 ounces to 8.5 ounces such as our Premium Pro Carbon Fiber, Graphite Face Lightweight Paddle.

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 hit the ball with force, which can inflame an injury or cause more pain. The graphite paddles give you this power to weight ratio in a lightweight paddle.

If you are a player over 50 then we would recommend a 7.0 to 8.0oz paddle. The lightest paddles are the Glass Fiber paddles which are the go to paddles for those 50 and over. Redwoods Pickleball carry’s both the high grade Carbon Fiber and Glass Fiber Paddles.

There are high end paddles which gives players a combination of control, power, finesse, lightweight and look and feels awesome in their hands. These are the Graphite 3k Twill, 18k Twill (currently out of stock) and Graphite 3K Carbon Cloth Fiber paddles which have a tighter weave on the playing surface with a larger sweet spot, power and easy of control. These are also carried by Redwoods Pickleball. Try them out and see difference between the carbon fiber, glass fiber and the 3k, 18k and the carbon cloth fiber paddles. You will be pleasantly surprised how your game improves.

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 of the “sliping” from your hand thereby creating off center shots going out of bounds. On the other hand, if the grip is too small, the opposite result where you loose control of the power of the shot or dink. The best solution for both is to choose an average size paddle such as a 4.5in grip. This size grip fits the average player, builds grip strength in children; allows the average player to get a comfortable firm grip. For the large hand players who pefer a large grip then the best way is to increase the grip size with Grip Wraps. Allowing you to get a perfect grip for your game.

If you have any questions or concern in regards to our Pickleball Paddles please give us a call and we would be clad to talk to about the game we love that is taking the US by storm in regards to your equipment needs. See you on the courts on our Demo Days.