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7 Best Pickleball Paddles: Your Buyer’s Guide

best pickleball paddles

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Though Pickleball has been around since the ’60s, it has only recently become the breakout sport it is today. And now that Pickleball leagues are popping up just about everywhere, this casual racket sport just got a little more competitive. That’s why we hit the court to test out some of the most popular Pickleball paddles in order to find out which ones will truly step your game up.

What Are the Best Pickleball Paddles in 2022?

prolite supernova pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Quiet, grippy surface
  • Large sweet spot
  • Great power
Price: $169.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
paddletek tempest pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great control and touch
  • Reduced vibration
  • Large sweet spot
Price: $129.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
selkirk amped pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Long handle
  • Large sweet spot
  • Good ball control
Price: $149.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
prince response pro pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Long handle
  • Large sweet spot
  • Good ball control
Price: $128.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
prokennex pro pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Good ball control
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Thin replaceable edge guard
Price: $189.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
head extreme pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Long reach
  • Great balance
  • Good ball control
Price: $144.45 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
onix graphite pickleball paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Large sweet spot
  • Generates lots of power
  • Good ball control
Price: $89.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Prolite Supernova Pro BDS Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Quiet, grippy surface
    • Large sweet spot
    • Great power
    Cons:
    • Fewer weight and grip options
    • Thick edge guard
    • High price tag

    I would be remiss to talk about the best Pickleball paddles without mentioning my personal favorite: the Prolite Supernova Pro Black Diamond Series. There are a number of respectable paddle designs in the Prolite repertoire but the Supernova Pro BDS stands out for its large and forgiving sweet spot.

    You don’t need to have perfect positioning to unleash the potential of this paddle, making it a great choice for Pickleballers of all skill levels. The standard thickness of its polymer core provides a great balance between power, spin, and touch. This makes it a great paddle for playing from the kitchen and the baseline (plus everywhere in between).

    The Supernova Pro BDS has a braided woven carbon fiber face that grabs the ball exceptionally well despite its smooth and glossy appearance. You can apply a pro-level spin with very little wrist movement. It is surprisingly quiet too so you can feel the pop without telegraphing the velocity of your drives. There is plenty of paddle face to play off of too but be aware that the paddle does have a raised edge guard which not everyone likes.

    The handle is nice and long at 5 1/4 inches, which can improve your reach on the court. The SofTac 3-2 Cushion Grip is quite comfy as well. But with no thin grip or light weight options, I can’t promise this paddle will be a game-changer for everyone. That said, it sure was for me.

    Paddle Facing: Braided Woven Carbon Fiber
    Paddle Core: 13 mm Top Grade Polymer Honeycomb
    Paddle dimensions: 15 9/16 x 8 1/8 inches
    Weight: 7.9 – 8.3 oz.
    Grip: SofTac 3-2 Cushion Grip
    Handle Circumference: 4 1/8 inches
    Handle Length: 5 1/4 inches

  2. 2. Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Great control and touch
    • Reduced vibration despite it slight weight
    • Large sweet spot
    Cons:
    • Not low-noise friendly
    • Less powerful than composite paddles
    • Thick edge guard

    If you are after a paddle to bring control and consistency to your game, then the Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pickleball Paddle is a great upgrade that will easily outperform any entry-level setup. It is comfortable in the hand and has a nice sweet spot that is easy to hit.

    The Tempest Wave II’s graphite surface is one of its main draws. The textured face is ideal for reactive play as well as getting that satisfying pop from a well-connected hit. Graphite faces are on the noisier end of the spectrum, though, which should be noted if you play in a green zone. And though it will rarely affect your shots, this paddle does have a small raised edge guard. I feel obligated to mention this because some players really dislike them.

    The Graphite Polymer Composite Honeycomb core feels nice throughout all the different shots and it does a good job of controlling vibration when you are defending. This core won’t deliver as much power as heavier paddles but it will deliver unmatched control and touch, making it great for soft slices and lifts. Plus, it’s easy to add power back to your game once muscle memory takes over the minute details like angle control and wrist inflection.

    There may not be anything unique or special about this paddle’s shape or construction, but hey, you don’t become the standard shape without being universally well-liked. Plus, the fact that it sticks out in a crowded space really underscores just how great it feels to use this paddle.

    Paddle Facing: Textured Graphite
    Paddle Core: Graphite Polymer Composite Honeycomb
    Paddle dimensions: 15 7/8 x 8 inches
    Weight: 7.4-7.8 ounces
    Grip: Ultra Cushion High Tack Performance Grip
    Handle Circumference: 4 1/4 inches
    Handle Length: 5 1/4 inches

  3. 3. Selkirk Amped Invikta Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Long handle improves reach
    • Large sweet spot
    • Good ball control
    Cons:
    • Smaller paddle face
    • Soft face means less pop
    • Thick head dampens power

    The Selkirk Amped Invikta Pickleball Paddle is a popular paddle of choice among pros because of its thick paddle core and its long handle, both of which help you control the full court. Pickleball pros like Steve Deakin and Tyson McGuffin prefer this shape for the reach and power it offers, and you may as well.

    The blade-like shape of the Invikta has a nice, large sweet spot and plenty of reach for overhead smashes and forehand drives. And the longer handle allows you to whip this paddle for some real power, which is backed by the thick Polypropylene X5 Core.

    A longer handle can be a double-edged sword, though, as angle control becomes a bigger factor when the top of your paddle is farther away. This can make backhand shots a little trickier for those who struggle with this already challenging shot.

    The Invikta sports a FiberFlex Fiberglass facing, which is durable and offers great ball control. But while you can get plenty of spin out of fiberglass, you won’t quite get that explosive pop that you would from a graphite face. This can take some adjustment if you are used to a graphite face.

    That said, the amount of both control and power that you get from the Selkirk Amped Invikta can almost feel like cheating once you get used to it. It is one of the best pickleball paddles out there for pros and amateurs alike.

    Paddle Facing: FiberFlex Fiberglass
    Paddle Core: Polypropylene X5 Core
    Paddle dimensions: 16 1/2 x 7 1/8 inches
    Weight: 7.3– 7.7 ounces (lightweight) 7.9 – 8.3 ounces (midweight)
    Grip: Selkirk ComfortGrip
    Handle Circumference: 4 1/4 inches
    Handle Length: 5 1/4 inches

  4. 4. Prince Response Pro Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Long handle improves reach
    • Large sweet spot
    • Good ball control
    Cons:
    • Soft face means less pop
    • Thick head dampens power
    • Long handles require more angle control

    Those with a tennis background will likely recognize Prince as one of the most dominant names in racket sports. As such, you can expect great things from the Prince Response Pro Pickleball Paddle and you won’t be disappointed.

    The Response Pro has a wide face with a slim edge guard, offering a ton of usable space and a large sweet spot. The thick polymer core offers a lot of control for your swing and can help dampen vibration when defending against a heavy hitter. It doesn’t generate quite as much power as a thinner paddle might but you can easily make up for that with your swing.

    The textured fiberglass surface is great for topspin volleys or other technical shots, though the softer material lacks the pop of a graphite face. Whether you prefer one face material over the other ultimately comes down to personal preference.

    Speaking of personal preference, the ergonomics of this paddle vary based on whether you opt for the light weight or standard weight model. The same goes for the standard or thin grip options. The one metric that is consistent between all versions of the Response Pro is the 5.5-inch handle length. This long handle is great if you like to make two-handed backhand shots. Just ask Simone Jardim, since that is her signature shot and this is her signature paddle. Just make sure it’s not more paddle than you bargained for.

    All in all, there is little to dislike about the Prince Response Pro, and in the right hands, it can really take your game to the next level.

    Paddle Facing: Fiberglass with Textured UV Coating
    Paddle Core: Polypropylene Honeycomb
    Paddle dimensions: 15 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches
    Weight: 7.2-7.7 ounces (light weight), 7.8-8.3 ounces (standard weight)
    Grip: 4 3/8 inches (standard) 4 1/8 inches (thin)
    Handle Circumference: 4 3/8 inches (standard), 4 1/8 inches (thin)
    Handle Length: 5 1/2 inches

  5. 5. Prokennex Pro Flight Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Good ball control
    • Lightweight and maneuverable
    • Thin replaceable edge guard
    Cons:
    • Limited reach
    • High price tag
    • Limited grip sizes

    It is easy to get frazzled by the high price tag and confusing proprietary material names when looking at Prokennex paddles like the Pro Flight Pickleball Paddle, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is one of the best Pickleball paddles out there.

    It combines a lightweight design with a hard paddle face to deliver great maneuverability without sacrificing too much power. The end result is a well-rounded paddle that plays light but hits heavy. The Cloud Core Poly Cell core is on the thinner side, though, so it doesn’t soften vibration quite as well as other paddles. But that goes both ways. That means you can transfer almost all the energy from your swing right into the ball. All the same, it is still stable enough to easily aim dinks over the net.

    The spin control is one of the biggest strengths of the Pro Flight paddle, as the Carbon Diamond Frost is great for gripping the ball on contact. The paddle is quite forgiving too, so you don’t have to connect every shot to the sweet spot to see results. One thing we really like about this paddle is that it has an ultra-sleek replaceable edge guard that only covers the top part of the paddle. After all, that’s the only part that really needs protection. The end result is that you have a huge play area on this paddle, even though the actual reach is a little on the shorter side.

    That lack of reach is the only real downside of this paddle (unless you also count the price tag). Otherwise, it is a great way to add consistency to your game.

    Paddle Facing: Carbon Diamond Frost
    Paddle Core: Cloud Core Poly Cell
    Paddle dimensions: 15.43 x 7.6 inches
    Weight: 7.3-7.6 ounces
    Grip: ProKennex Comfort Cushion
    Handle Circumference: 4 inches
    Handle Length: 4 7/8 inches

  6. 6. Head Extreme Tour Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Long reach
    • Great balance
    • Good ball control
    Cons:
    • Not low-noise friendly
    • Smaller sweet spot
    • Lacking in power

    The first thing you’ll notice when you compare the Head Extreme Tour Pickleball Paddle to other options in its price range is its light weight and its unique diamond shape. Together these two factors work to bring more control and touch to each shot you make with the Extreme Tour.

    Surprisingly, a lot of what I like about this paddle comes down to that unique shape. It doesn’t have the same gigantic sweet spots as a wide-body paddle might but it makes up for that with great balance and reach. This paddle feels less top-heavy than more squarish paddles, which is great for making micro-adjustments on the angle of your shots. It’s also on the longer side at 16 inches.

    But because the polymer honeycomb core is thinner than that of Prince Response Pro or the Selkirk Amped Invikta, it won’t pack the same power as these paddles. All the same, it offers noticeably more control, especially when you factor in the grippiness of the graphite carbon composite facing. The face has nice pop too and you get nice, loud feedback from a well-placed shot. I hope your court doesn’t have noise restrictions.

    Is it the right paddle for everyone? Obviously not. But the Head Extreme Tour undoubtedly deserves a spot among the best Pickleball paddles today.

    Paddle Facing: Graphite carbon composite
    Paddle Core: Polymer honeycomb
    Paddle dimensions: 16 x 7 7/8 inches
    Weight: 7.6 ounces
    Grip: Comfort Ergo Grip
    Handle Circumference: 4 1/8 inches
    Handle Length: 5 inches

  7. 7. Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

    Pros:
    • Large sweet spot
    • Generates lots of power
    • Good ball control
    Cons:
    • Not low-noise friendly
    • Thick edge guard
    • Less reach

    The Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle is a wide-bodied paddle that combines a generous sweet spot with great ball control. You won’t get the same reach that you might from a blade-style paddle but you will have an easy time making quick groundstrokes in the kitchen. This classic shape is versatile and simple to use so you can focus on your game instead of your gear.

    The paddle has a nomex honeycomb core, which generates a lot of power and stability without adding too much weight. As far as weight goes, this paddle is right in the middle of the pack, which means it will work well for the average player.

    The face is made from graphite, which is a classic choice for delivering that satisfying pop when you make a well-connected drive. It also delivers great ball control, which is great for players who like to make their shots bounce in tricky ways.

    All in all, the Onix Z5 is slightly better for the power hitter than the control player but it is still a well-rounded paddle on whole. If you want to be able to hit your sweet spot shots as consistently as possible without sacrificing that oomph, definitely consider this choice.

    Paddle Facing: Graphite
    Paddle Core: Nomex
    Paddle dimensions: 15 1/2 x 8 1/8 inches
    Weight: 7.5-8.2 ounces
    Grip: Cushion Comfort Grip
    Handle Circumference: 4 1/4 inches
    Handle Length: 5 inches

How Do You Pick the Right Pickleball Paddle?

It's not unreasonable to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of solid Pickleball paddles available. After all, NPR called Pickleball the fastest growing sport in the world and paddle manufacturers know it.

So in lieu of there being one absolute best paddle for everyone (there's not), how is one to pick the right Pickleball paddle?

The best way to find the right Pickleball paddle is to consider your needs as a player based on the playstyle you prefer. Do you like to control the game from the kitchen or set up monster smashes from the baseline? Do you play indoors or outdoors? Do you run the whole court in singles or do you like to camp the net in doubles?

There are paddles that are better or worse for many of these situations, plus there are all-rounders for the player with a diverse skill set. Once you have an idea of your personal playstyle, we can talk about the paddles themselves.

What is the Difference Between Pickleball Paddles?

There are lots of factors to consider when shopping for a Pickleball paddle, and it can be overwhelming to parse them all if it's your first time shopping for your own paddle. Below I will list the basic specs you might find for any given paddle and what it might mean for your game.

Paddle Facing

The surface material of the paddle is responsible for manipulating several factors of your shot, like grip, control, and pop. Fiberglass offers more power at the cost of control. Carbon fiber offers more control and less power. Graphite offers a fair mix of both. Wood is more of an entry-level option and lacks in all categories.

Paddle Core

The core (or interior) material of the paddle is another factor in generating power and control. It also absorbs impact, which is important for maintaining a consistent feel across a variety of shots. Most of the paddles we reviewed have a polymer or nomex core, both of which have comparable performance. You'll occasionally find aluminum core paddles floating around too though.

Paddle dimensions

Because the USAPA regulates that the combined length and width of any paddle cannot exceed 24 inches, you will see very little variation in Pickleball paddle dimensions. (See the USAPA rulebook for more details). That said, there are a few different paddle shapes you might come across.

The wide body shape has the largest sweet spot but the least reach. The blade shape has a smaller sweet spot but a faster swing and a longer reach. The standard shape strikes a balance between the two and is the most popular option.

Handle Circumference/Length

Hand circumference and length are all about finding a comfortable fit for your hand size. The easiest way to find what fits best is to get your hands on some paddles of different lengths and circumferences and try them out.

Failing that, you can do the ruler test. Straighten out your fingers and measure from the bottom lateral crease of your palm to the tip of your ring finger. The length should fall somewhere between 4 and 5 inches, thus giving you a better idea of what handle length you want.

Weight

The weight of your paddle will arguably have the biggest impact on your game out of all of these different metrics. Lighter paddles have increased maneuverability and control at the cost of power. Heavier paddles are the inverse. Because this is such an important preference, many Pickleball paddles have different weight options. So let's talk about this in a little more detail.

What is the Best Weight For a Pickleball Paddle?

Considering that almost all of the best pickleball paddle designs come in different weights, the answer to this question clearly depends on personal preference. That's why finding your preferred weight is just as important as finding your preferred paddle style.

Pickleball paddles can weigh between 6 and 14 ounces but the sweet spot for most players is somewhere between 7.2 and 8.5 ounces. If you want a full understanding of the nuances weight can offer, we recommend this write-up from Pickleball Galaxy. Otherwise, we have you covered on the basics.

Simply put, a lighter paddle offers more control and is better suited for pulling off technical drop shots and tricky dinks. They also work better for indoor play where wind isn't a factor.

Conversely, a heavier paddle can deliver more power, which is key for sneaking speedy shots past your opponents. Heavier paddles do come at the cost of finesse, but this is easy to compensate for at the higher level of play so they are preferred by pros.

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