Best Paddle Types for Pickleball

two pickleball paddles and a ball

Has Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America, caught your attention recently? Are you feeling overwhelmed by how many choices there are regarding paddles? Well, I’m here to tell you what the best paddle types for Pickleball are and how to pick them. The best kind of paddle is subjective. There are hundreds of paddle types that are all geared toward different play styles. It is hard to pick the best paddle due to personal bias. So, instead of telling you the best paddle, here’s how to decide the best one for you!

Paddle Type

Most pickleball paddles fall into three shape categories: standard, oversized head, and elongated. There are specific dimensions that paddles have to stay within to be legal for play. These are width, length, surface, etc. The shape categories each push these limits to the extreme in their desired direction. Normal-shaped paddles like an ONIX Z5 create a nice, even feel with the sacrifice of any specific advantage.

On the other hand, oversized head paddles offer a larger sweet-spot area that makes hitting the ball back with gusto a possibility most of the time. Finally, elongated paddles like the Selkirk Invicta have a more extended handle and paddle face at the expense of some width. The shape of pickleball paddles can dictate how you play the game to some point, and you want something that will suit how you approach the ball.

Paddle Surface

The surface is what many people notice first when they’re looking for the best paddle types for Pickleball. The surface of your paddle can affect how you play with the ball. Certain characters have more grip allowing more spin and touch, while others focus more on power and have a very smooth finish. Paddles like the ONIX Evoke Premier have a minimal coating on their face to soften the ball’s impact while still giving control and spin. Choosing whether you want to go in on spin, possession, or power should dictate how you choose your paddle regarding the surface.

Paddle Core

Pickleball paddles are made with honeycomb-like composite cores that change the sound and feel of hitting the ball. The main ones are aluminum, Nomex, and polymer. The difference between the types of cores is mainly in how hard they hit the ball. Being the densest, Nomex is a lot like throwing a ball at a brick wall and seeing how fast it bounces back. It’s light and powerful, but you sacrifice a lot of control when using a paddle with this core. Aluminum is the next hardest on this list and is generally very light and easy to play with. The main downside to the paddles is that they are very loud and can cause some complaints if you’re playing in a residential area. Finally, we have the polymer core. This core is usually the most expensive option but gives you the best of both worlds. It’s light, durable, and solid, so it offers a great combo of control; and power.

The best paddle types for Pickleball are whatever you decide is best for you. Other things to consider include weight, visual aesthetics, edge guards, price, etc. However, these are all less important than the traits listed above. Play with a friend’s paddle and get a feel for what you like before you buy one. 

The best paddle types for pickleball are really whatever you decide is the best paddle for you. There are other things I didn’t go into such as weight, visual aesthetics, edge guards, price, and so on. Play with a friend’s paddle and get a feel for what you like before you buy one. 

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