Shopping
Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Pickleball Paddles To Dominate the Game in 2024

Best Pickleball Paddles
iStock

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Updated April 9, 2024

Pickleball, the innovative sport that any age can play, continues to grow in popularity across the United States. (Much to the chagrin of tennis players looking to use their local tennis court.) It’s been growing steadily ever since its humble origins in 1965, and as long as you have a pair of comfortable tennis shoes, plastic pickleball, aforementioned court, and a paddle, you can get in the game, too. With a huge range of pickleball equipment brands on the market offering their own unique models in a variety of sizes, shapes, and playstyles, newcomers may not know how to find the best paddle to suit their needs on the court. After personally taking up plenty of paddles and icing our pickleball elbows afterward, we can safely point brand-new and longtime pickleball players alike towards our top picks, as well as what to look for when selecting a new paddle.

Our Top Pickleball Paddle Picks

Best affordable pickleball paddle: Franklin Titus Pickleball Paddle

Franklin Titus Pickleball Paddle

Unfortunately, many sports can be quite the investment to get into, but if you’d like to try pickleball for the first time or lure a friend to play with you, these inexpensive, yet solid pickleball paddles are worth the price of admission. Paddles are rarely made of aluminum, but despite the fairly weighty design, these metal paddles are remarkably sturdy and are well-suited for players to enjoy smashing power shots over the net. We were particularly impressed at how comfortable its padded EVA plastic grip was for the low price, which helps to offset the feel of swinging a heavier paddle. Sure, these are a far cry from professional-grade paddles, but this bulkier model is a rock-solid way to see if pickleball is for you, without putting too large of an investment into the sport.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Aluminum
  • Surface materials: Aluminum
  • Shape: Wide, rounded
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Handle length: 6 Inches
  • Grip circumference: 4.25 inches

Pros:

  • Comfortable grip
  • Especially durable design
  • Comfortable grip
  • Optimized for power shots

Cons:

  • A relatively heavy paddle
Best affordable
Franklin Titus Pickleball Paddle, Green

Franklin Titus Pickleball Paddle, Green

Best pickleball paddles for beginners: JOOLA Journey Pickleball Paddle

JOOLA Journey Pickleball Paddle

There are many reasons why fresh-faced pickleball players should consider a Joola Journey as their first paddle: There’s the cozy, tactile feel of its standard grip, the way it sports a balanced design for reliable power plays and ball control, its reinforced edges to ensure that despite accidental taps, their first paddle will last a while, as well as how its lightweight feel makes it easier to practice for longer. The Journey is available in a rainbow of eye-catching colors, has a cozy smaller grip that big kids and beginners will feel comfortable with, and a wide sweet spot that comes in handy when you’re learning how to reliably return basic shots. The Journey is a rock-solid pick for anyone lacing their tennis shoes and hitting the court for the first time, and it’s versatile enough to last long after they become comfortable with the game.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Polymer core
  • Surface materials: Fiberglass
  • Shape: Wide, rounded
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Handle length: 15.8 Inches
  • Grip circumference: 4 inches

Pros:

  • Balanced performance
  • Durable construction with reinforced edges
  • A lightweight “Jack-of-All-Trades” design well-suited for beginners and mid-level players

Cons:

  • Experienced players will want a textured paddle surface that offers more spin
best for beginners
JOOLA Journey Santa Fe Pickleball Paddle, Yellow

JOOLA Journey Santa Fe Pickleball Paddle, Yellow

Best pickleball paddles for intermediate players: Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle

Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle

Mid-Level pickleball players who enjoy having fun, yet are still learning what their signature style is, should pick up one of these all-around great paddles. Featuring a comfortable textured standard grip, a rugged velvety face texture that provides plenty of spin, and a reliable balance of power and ball control, the maneuverable Paddletek Bantam EX-L is a versatile pick to play with until you feel the need for a more specialized paddle. In addition, the EX-L features a large sweet spot, a durable design made to last, and is available in several vibrant colors.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Polymer composite
  • Surface materials: Polycarbonate
  • Shape: Wide, rounded
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Handle length: 5 inches
  • Grip circumference: 4.25 inches

Pros:

  • High end, balanced performance
  • Rugged construction
  • Velvet surface texture provides reliable spin

Cons:

  • More advanced players might like a specialized paddle instead
Best for intermediate players
Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle

Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle

Best pickleball paddles for advanced players: Vulcan V910 16mm Pickleball Paddle

Vulcan V910 16mm Pickleball Paddle

We got our hands on the orange variant of the four Vulcan V910 16mm pickleball paddles, but after plenty of time on the court, we recommend high-level players check out all four options to see which version best suits their play style. In general, though, the ultra-rugged carbon fiber surface feels extremely sturdy despite its lightweight design, it sports a rather generous sweet spot, and a premium shock-adsorbing core that lets us play harder for longer without feeling it later. The orange variant we played with excelled at power shots due to its aerodynamic oval shape, allowing for swift, yet consistently forceful shots, with a surprisingly precise level of control and spin for what feels like a power-focused design. Experienced players will definitely appreciate the variety of specialized pickleball paddles in the V900 series.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: ZEP9 polypropylene
  • Surface material: Quattro-carbon surface system
  • Shape: Oval
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Handle length: 4.5 inches
  • Grip circumference: 4.25 inches

Pros:

  • Thick core allows for impressively accurate shots
  • Comfortable textured grip
  • Best for players who utilize a soft touch

Cons:

  • Not for players who prefer power shots
Best for advanced players
Vulcan V910 Pickleball Paddle

Vulcan V910 Pickleball Paddle

Best pickleball paddles for spin: Vulcan V570FRP Pickleball Paddle

Vulcan V570FRP Pickleball Paddle

If you’re a longtime pickleball player searching for a paddle to provide the most reliable spin you can get, the Vulcan V570FRP is a must-try. This snow white pickleball paddle stands apart from other spin-focused designs due to its unique raw fiberglass face, a highly textured surface that translates to consistent spin when you need it the most. In addition to its superior traction, it has a longer handle for extra reach, a particularly large sweet spot, and a solid balance of power and control for creating the curves, drop, and angles you want to serve up.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Polypropylene
  • Surface materials: Fiberglass
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Weight: 7.6 ounces
  • Handle length: 5.5 inches
  • Grip circumference: 4.25 inches

Pros:

  • Unique “TNT” textured surface promotes an impressive amount of spin
  • Excels at power shots with high level of control
  • Longer handle for extra reach

Cons:

  • Best reserved for intermediate and advanced players
Best for spin
Vulcan V570FRP Pickleball Paddle, Black

Vulcan V570FRP Pickleball Paddle, Black

Best pickleball paddle for power: Vanguard Power Air Invikta

Vanguard Power Air Invikta

Although its steep price tag will prevent it from getting in the hands of every power pickleball player, the Invikta is worth every cent for dependably smashing the ball with precision and finesse. At eight ounces, it may seem lightweight for a power paddle, however this carbon fiber model’s edgeless design and innovative throat opening allows it to slice through the air with extra force, for added force per shot without the heft of a thicker paddle holding you back. The Invikta is also notable for its premium elongated grip, longer sweet spot, durable feel, and textured face for serving up forceful and consistent angles and curves at a moment’s notice. If you’re a power player who isn’t a fan of thicker and heavier paddles, this one’s for you.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Polymer
  • Surface materials: Fiberglass and carbon fiber
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Handle length: 5.25 inches
  • Grip circumference: 4.25 inches

Pros:

  • Designed for aggressive power shots and maximum spin
  • Aerodynamic design slices through the air for speedier shots
  • Extremely durable

Cons:

  • This is a particularly pricey pickleball paddle
Best for power
Selkirk Sport Power Air Invikta Pickleball Paddle, Black/White

Selkirk Sport Power Air Invikta Pickleball Paddle, Black/White

Best pickleball paddle for control: Gearbox CX11E Control Orange

Gearbox CX11E Control Orange

Advanced players looking for a pickleball paddle to send the ball with laser-guided missile precision will want to check out this blazing orange model. Its edgeless frame and fairly light and thin design allow it to cut through the air for speedier play, while the CX11E Control Orange’s unique textured surface makes putting as much or as little spin on your returns as you want a snap. In addition to being noticeably quieter than most pickleball paddles, and sporting a sizable sweet spot, its face feels “grippier” as well, allowing control-type players to arc, angle, and drop the ball and outplay their opponents.

Specifications:

  • Price: $170
  • Core materials: Carbon fiber
  • Surface materials: Carbon fiber
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Handle length: 4.75 inches
  • Grip circumference: 3.15 inches

Pros:

  • Huge sweet spot and noticeably more spin than the average pickleball paddle
  • Aerodynamic design effortlessly slashes through the air
  • You’ll notice and appreciate the extra reach this paddle brings to your game

Cons:

  • Not the best pickleball paddle for power shots
Best for control
Gearbox GX5 Control Pickleball Paddle

Gearbox GX5 Control Pickleball Paddle

Best pickleball paddle for kids: JOOLA Megalodon Junior paddle

JOOLA Megalodon Junior paddle

Since there aren’t many pickleball paddles made for kids that are both rugged and affordable, this cool, shark-themed model easily stood out from the pack. The megalodon paddle features a lightweight design with a shorter grip that makes it far easier to hold and swing than adult-sized paddles, with the added benefits of an extra-large sweet spot that makes learning how to serve and return the ball more engaging and fun for newcomers. Joola’s kid-sized pickleball paddle features a balanced design that is equally suited to power shots and ball control, but we got a surprising amount of spin on our shots via its fiberglass textured face. Bigger kids may feel more comfortable playing with a featherweight adult-sized paddle, but this is an excellent paddle to introduce younger players to the sport.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Polymer core
  • Surface materials: Carbon drive
  • Shape: Wide, rounded
  • Weight: 7.9 ounces
  • Handle length: 4.75 inches
  • Grip circumference: 4 inches

Pros:

  • Large hitting area for easier returns
  • Designed for accurate shots
  • Cool megalodon shark design

Cons:

  • Its smaller grip may be too small for big kids
Best for kids
JOOLA Megalodon Junior Pickleball Paddle

JOOLA Megalodon Junior Pickleball Paddle

Best pickleball paddle for women: Niupipo Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles

Niupipo Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles

Not only is this kit an excellent deal, since it includes two pickleball paddles, a carrying bag, two rolls of grip tape, and four balls, these USAPA (USA Pickleball) approved paddles are comfortable, optimized for a bit of extra power in each shot, and are available in a large range of vibrant and fun designs. Great for beginners and intermediate players, Niupipo paddles are sturdy, on the lighter side, and function well as a generalist paddle that provides reliable spin and control due to its textured fiberglass face. You may be skeptical of these paddles because of their low price point, but the durability and performance makes them well-worth a try for newcomers.

Specifications:

  • Core materials: Polypropylene
  • Surface materials: Fiberglass
  • Shape: Wide, rounded
  • Weight: 7.6 ounces
  • Handle Length: 4.92 inches
  • Grip circumference: 4.25 inches

Pros:

  • Lightweight, yet durable
  • Well-balanced paddle for all skill levels
  • Huge variety of color options available

Cons:

  • Longtime players may prefer a more specialized paddle
Best for women
niupipo Pickleball Paddles Pickleball Paddle Set of 2 Fiberglass Surface Polypropylene Honeycomb Core Cushion Grip Lightweight Pickleball Portable Carry Bag Blue

niupipo Pickleball Paddles Pickleball Paddle Set of 2 Fiberglass Surface Polypropylene Honeycomb Core Cushion Grip Lightweight Pickleball Portable Carry Bag Blue

How do you choose the right pickleball paddle for your play style or skill level?

There are a few key factors to consider to narrow down the search for the best pickleball paddle for your unique gameplay needs:

Grip

Although the standard grip size of four to five inches will comfortably fit most pickleball players, those with larger or smaller hands may need a paddle grip to match. This is surprisingly important, as your grip directly affects not just your comfort, but the ball control and overall accuracy of your gameplay.

Weight

A paddle’s weight directly affects your gameplay; heavyweight paddles of ten ounces and above are well-suited for power shots, while lightweight models of seven ounces or less are made for speedier play and additional control. Beginners will appreciate midweight paddles, as they offer a reliable balance between power and control, and advanced pickleball players may lean towards a heavier or lighter paddle to better suit their playstyle.

Shape

A paddle’s shape impacts the size of its “sweet spot,” or the area of its face optimized for hitting the ball, as well as its reach. Most paddles utilize a square shape with rounded edges, offering a large sweet spot that beginners will appreciate. Rectangular paddles may have a slightly smaller sweet spot, but the extended reach is worth it for some players.

Experienced players may prefer an oval or teardrop shaped paddle, and although they have a much smaller sweet spot, these accurate players will appreciate the lighter feel, additional reach, and extra spin these advanced models provide.

How we selected the best pickleball paddles

A combination of extensive research of pickleball equipment manufacturers of all sizes, personal experience with the sport, and plenty of on-court testing led us to pick the best pickleball paddles available today. We considered a range of aspects to grade each paddle we got our hands on, including comfort, performance, and the quality of its face, grip, and overall design.

What types of pickleball paddles are available?

Pickleball paddles are most easily categorized by their materials and shape, and there are many combinations of these available to accommodate fresh-faced beginners and seasoned pros, who may prefer models designed for extra ball spin or power shots.

Materials

Most paddles are composed of fiberglass, graphite, carbon fiber, polymers, aluminum, or even wood. Each material has its own perks and drawbacks, such as additional ball control at the expense of power shots, or a heavier paddle for power shorts that is a bit slower to swing through the air.

Shapes

Paddles are generally made in four core shapes: Square, rectangle, oval, and teardrop. Square and rectangle paddles sport a large and forgiving “sweet spot” for easily hitting the ball back, making them a top option for beginners, while alternative paddle shapes are geared towards advanced players who are happy to trade a smaller target zone for a much more aerodynamic design for faster gameplay.

How to take care of pickleball paddles and extend their lifespan

Although heated gameplay and time will naturally wear down your pickleball paddles, there are a few key tips to keep them on the court in tip-top shape for as long as possible:

  • Only play pickleball with your paddles. It may be tempting to play with tennis balls, but your favorite paddle was explicitly designed for use with pickleballs, and playing with anything else will do more damage than you may expect.
  • Care for your grip. Your grip will naturally get sticky and grimy from your sweat over time, so take a few moments to wipe down a paddle’s handle with a towel after you play to keep its handle feeling fresh and comfortable for longer. If the grip becomes uncomfortable or too gross to fix, a fresh application of grip tape may solve the problem.
  • No taps. Avoid accidentally tapping your paddles against the ground, the net, and your equipment, as this will shorten its lifespan and worsen its performance over time.
  • Store your pickleball paddles properly. Always place your paddles in a cover when you’re done playing, and place them in a temperature-controlled area of your home. Keeping a paddle in your car or in a shed will expose it to extreme heat and cold, which will deteriorate and warp its surface and core.

Which pickleball paddles do the pros use?

There are many premium pickleball paddle manufacturers on the market, including Joola, Niupipo, Paddletek, and Vulcan. Joola is a particularly popular brand, as pickleball champion Ben Johns personally uses a Joola Perseus CFS 16 paddle, and top-10 player Collin Johns plays with a Joola Scorpeus CFS 16.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the ideal weight and size of a pickleball paddle?

There is no set perfect weight and size of a pickleball paddle, because every player has their own preferences, style, and level of experience that help to determine the best paddle for their personal needs. With that said, lightweight pickleball paddles weigh six or seven ounces, while heavier models weigh in at ten ounces and up. Generally speaking, lightweight paddles provide more control and speedier play, while heavier options trade that finesse for reliable power shots. We recommend that beginners start with a mid-range pickleball paddle of seven to nine ounces, to learn whether they’d eventually prefer a lighter or heavier paddle in the future.

When it comes to shapes, pickleball paddles tend to be shaped in a rounded square, longer rectangle, oval, or a teardrop design. Each shape affects the size and location of the “sweet spot,” or the optimal part of the paddle to strike the ball; square and rectangular paddles have bigger sweet spots, making them a top pick for beginners, while oval and teardrop paddles ops for a lighter and more maneuverable overall design.

In a nutshell, it’s best to start with a midweight square or rectangular model, going from there once you learn your preferred playstyle in the future.

What are the differences between graphite, composite, and wood pickleball paddles?

Graphite: These paddles sport a slim layer of graphite lining their paddle surfaces, and are some of the lightest options available. Graphite pickleball paddles are best known for speedy play and a higher level of control, at the cost of power and spin.

Composite: These paddles are composed of multiple materials, but most often carbon fiber, a polymer, or fiberglass. Composite paddles tend to provide more spin and power, but a bit less control and speed than their graphite counterparts.

Wood: Although wooden pickleball paddles tend to be affordable, rugged, and are usually optimized for power shots, these thick and heavy models aren’t known for their comfort, speed, and overall control.

How to properly grip and hold a pickleball paddle?

The easiest and most reliable grip is to hold the handle as though you were shaking another player’s hand; simply place the grip across your hand with your thumb on one side and your four fingers curled around on the other side. Close your hand around the grip and keep the natural “Y” shape at the top of the grip that forms between your thumb and index finger pointed inward towards your body. This hold is most commonly known as the “continental grip.”

How long do pickleball paddles last?

The average pickleball paddle may last anywhere from one to five years, depending on its construction and how often and how hard you play. If you notice a different sound coming from the paddle when you hit the ball, broken parts of the paddle, or a drop in performance, it’s probably time to replace your paddle with a new one.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

1.1113.3493+1.63.40