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Ever since the pickleball sport was invented, the traditional paddles are based on the wood core. That’s the game’s heritage. Many people still love to play with wooden pickleball paddles for many reasons including their high strength, good pop, and affordability. There are some polymer and aluminum-based rackets too which are cost-effective however the number is quite lower.
Today I am going to discuss some of the top choices for affordable entry pickleball paddles. But being cheap does not automatically low quality! What it means is, there are compromises!. Some features may be sacrificed but do you even need them?
Last update on 2023-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If you’re an entry-level player, trust me, throwing away $150 on a premium quality polymer racket only to find out you don’t even like this sport, is a waste. Let’s explore some good quality, entry-level pickleball paddles that you can get for cheap.
Product In-depth Guide:
The Rally Meister Wooden has an alternating 7-ply grain wood and added safety wrist straps attached to its handle. The grip is quite comfortable and soft. It meets USAPA specifications, so you’re safe with starting out with this racket. The paddle has an average weight of around 10 ounces.
It is 15.5 inches long and 7 inches wide. It has a handle length of 5.5 inches and its perforated cushion grip on it has a circumference of 4.25 inches. Lastly, it comes with a one year warranty from the company. Moreover, it’s clearly quite affordable for most people as it retails for less than a round of coffee!
- Light weight (for wood)
- Safety wrist strap
- Large sweet spot
- Heavier than more expensive paddles
- Smaller than similar paddles used in pickleball
Why buy it?
The features you get are quite premium and something that is sure to boost your overall experience! The downside related to weight is going to be a relentless hindrance when it comes to wooden paddles, as wood simply weighs more. However, taking this to the court wouldn’t embarrass you at all and that’s what counts for starters.
Just because Amazin Aces are new to the pickleball market, doesn’t mean they don’t have amazing aces up their sleeves to win the hearts of every pickleball beginner. It is made from durable 7-ply maple wood to reduce weight and increase the sweet spot of the wood.
It’s embedded with safety strap on the handle which has a high-quality polyurethane grip & a quite standard yet elegant design on both its sides. Its dimensions are 15.5 inches of length and 7 inches of width with a grip circumference of around 4.25 inches.
Oh and, it has a pretty neat packaging which includes an e-book that got you covered as a beginner. What else do you need? For a very reasonable budget you get more than one racket and some balls, stored in a meshed bag, to play with too!
- Multiple racquets & balls
- Safety wrist strap
- Free carrying case
- Great customer service
- Varnish needs improvement
- Fragile handle straps (after a year of sustained use)
Why buy it?
Their reviews speak for themselves. And at the price point, the whole “set” is available, it’s a steal. Furthermore, as a small business, they care a lot about their customers and will bend over backwards to back you happy.
Upstreet wants to promote pickleball through their quality rackets that are very affordable yet stylish enough to also show up on the court.
Upstreet rackets come in a wide variety of colors, styles and surface designs. They have high-quality plywood based on 7 layers and a high-grade cushion grip, to absorb sweat, provide grip and most importantly comfort for long durations.
- Best deal for multiple paddles
- Comfortable grips
- Free carrying case
- Sized a bit smaller than typical paddles
- String on grip is uncomfortable for some
Why buy it?
These rackets are built to last and for a beginner, you’ll need a consistent racket for less than a year, yet more than 2-3 months to actually improve and upgrade to your next premium polymer racket. These rackets come with a guarantee that each pickleball paddle will be in its absolute condition upon delivery.
Moreover, it shall remain free of any defects for a year. Such durability is what really differentiates them from their competition. It’s an option to consider if you can afford it and are okay with the clasp tech grip and size.
This Westop Pickleball Paddle is designed with beginner level play and handling in mind. It’s powerful and has that “pop” sound to it! A premium upgrade for a higher cost is also available for extra comfort and control in the handle.
They’re 8 inches wide, 16 inches long and have a 5-inch grip circumference. This racket is perfect for kids and adults, alike. The set certainly appeals to a family with around two to four wooden paddles with ample balls and a quality carrying bag.
- Most comfortable paddle
- USAPA certified standard size
- Free carrying case & balls
- Heavier than normal
- Not great at net
Why buy it?
Buy Westop Sports wooden if you’re a recreational pickleball player. It’s a premium set, made for utmost comfort with a great package and high standard build quality and grip. It’s a bit more costly than the other rackets on the list, however; this is not a bad bang for your buck. So it deserves a good try!
The white colored Pickle Pro Composite paddle is made from heavy-duty high-grade aluminum composite. It’s quite affordable, durable and controls based due to Aluminum core. It has a premium quality cushion universal grip size and an embedded edge guard, to prevent its edges from getting chipped away.
The dimensions of this paddle are 8.5 inches by 15.5 inches, with a weight of around 9 ounces. Its grip circumference and handle lengths are around 4.25 inches and 4.75 inches respectively. It produces a reasonable amount of sound(i.e. it “dinks”!) and is USAPA approved.
- Lightweight (lighter than wood)
- Premium comfortable grip
- Embedded edge guard
- USAPA approved
- It dinks!
- Bad for maneuverability
- Shorter so affects reach with paddle
Why buy it?
The Aluminum core has its advantages and disadvantages over the wooden core. It’s very clear that the priority is subjective and depends on your play style. We included aluminum as these rackets provide superior control than wood and can still come nearly as cheap!
The Diller Pickleball Paddle is manufactured by the famous inventors of pickleball itself! It is built from 7-plywood grain wood. The paddle has a high-quality cushion grip with safety wrist straps at the end of the handle, to secure the racket firmly to the hands of the nervous beginners.
It weighs approximately 10 ounces. Its handle has a length of 5.5 inches and the grip circumference of standard 4.25 inches. The racket itself is 15.5 inches long and 7 inches wide. It has excellent value for beginners and is quite popular around.
- Most popular paddle for beginners
- Designed & created by pickleball inventors
- Comfortable to play with
- Not great at spin shots
Why buy it?
The Diller Pickleball Paddle is great for beginners who’re just getting in the game. It’s balanced enough to carry them through the first months/year of playing pickleball and most players will grow out of it within the first year. There is no cheaper way to get started playing pickleball than with this Diller Pickleball Paddle.
The Kanga Pickleball paddle is a high-quality racket which weighs around 10 ounces. Its weight is well distributed throughout the paddle and handle. The racket has a very unique design on the face with vibrant colors. The embedded wood is maple and the handle has a perforated high-end black cushion grip.
- Very durable
- Good “pop”
- Great for couples to play together
- Bad packaging
Why buy it?
This racket is not a natural wood finish. It has a printed face model. If that’s your thing, then it has many other features that stand on par with the features of the other rackets on this list. However, I definitely recommend that you remove the packaging carefully!
Things to Consider Before You Buy:
Without a doubt, the first thing you notice when you hold a pickleball paddle is its weight . Cheap wooden rackets weigh somewhere from 9 ounces to 14 ounces. The average general paddle is around 8 ounces. So when it comes to these wooden pickleball paddles, it’s obvious they all lie above average. This is why I recommend you should always aim for a lighter weight when it comes to wood.
The advantages of lighter wood less bone pain, more maneuverability, tighter angle shots, and increased ball control. However, the drawbacks include reduced power and increased swing to hit long shots.
These drawbacks don’t apply to wood generally as even the lightest wooden rackets have good enough power due to their weight.
Aim for a lower weight for quick reactions, and greater plow through for slight capability for a spin.
Paddle dimensions are of two types. The standard pickleball comes with average length and width dimensions while the narrow paddles have a larger length. When it comes to wooden paddles, the narrow aspects have certain advantages. You get added reach, better aerodynamics, extra speed, and better maneuverability.
The circumference of the grip lies within 4 inches to 4.5 inches generally. The best grip size can be attained in various ways. Here I’ll discuss one common way. Place your index finger between the fingertips and palm end of the gripping hand. If it fits, this is the right grip for you.
Edge guard adds a little weight and increases the lifetime of your paddle. Edge guards can be necessary when you swing and hit the edge of your pickleball paddle on the ground, the net, or even another person! In some cases, the paddle can crack or deform due to the impact.
For these cheap paddles, an edge guard really isn’t necessary!
But when you move on up in your pickleball career and look for more expensive pickleball paddles, look for edge guards to be included.
The price of the paddle should be weighed around the features it delivers.
For beginners, go with something cheap and easy. That’s why we made this list!
However if you are interested in more expensive options, you generally want to know more about your playing style first. Do you prefer fast paddles so you can attack with speed? Or do you prefer power and smashing the ball?
These choices will help you determine which pickleball paddle to buy.
Use the cheap paddles first to figure this out and then move on up to a better paddle!
Ideal Customers for Cheap Pickleball Paddles
Public Pickleball Courts:
These are places where pickleball isn’t played professional, yet is there for the splendor, recreational purposes or simply because they can afford it. The players in public courts play casually and therefore cheap wooden paddles are a good choice due to their strength and affordability.
If you’re inquisitive about this sport and want to give it a try, these good quality and inexpensive pickleball paddles are the way to go. You can experiment with full ease and you don’t have to worry about properly handling these paddles as they’re generally tougher than say graphite ones.
Needless to say, there are a lot of high-standard good players who visit resorts. However, their main motive isn’t to play competitively but to have a good time. These pickleball paddles do that without being hard on your pocket.
Every day, pickleball keep on getting more and more exposure and popularity. This perfect balance between Table-Tennis and Lawn-Tennis is a perfect sports activity for summer camps. Young students are rarely professional enough hand the point of summer camp is to get them involved in activities. This is where these pickleball paddles’ strength battle their unpredictable tantrums and rough use. And if they break, you can buy another as it is way cheaper than polymer paddles.
If you’re an enthusiast pickleball player like me, you probably chant about pickleball to every other friend you meet and would love to have a game or two with them. These paddles work best as a backup to have a good time with your family and friends when there’s a chance.
It’s important to make a smart decision about buying pickleball paddles based on your level. These paddles are generally recommended for recreational and amateur players or players who want to experiment whether they grow to the game or not.
Cheap doesn’t mean bad quality. However, most cheap rackets aren’t good enough to bring on the court. Therefore, we hope you were able to take away this list of important features that you should look for and some popular names that’ll help you land on a good starting pickleball paddle without breaking the bank.
Don’t forget, getting some more features, especially durability related for a couple extra dollars is never out of question and would benefit you in the long run. Good luck to your first sweet victory with these affordable bad boys!