You’re on your way to a thrilling journey in pickleball. Read this guide to the best pickleball paddles for beginners to understand the best options for your game and why we chose them!
- 1 Overwhelming Pickleball Paddle Options
- 2 Pickleball Paddle Weight
- 3 Pickleball Paddle Grip & Grip Sizing
- 4 Pickleball Paddle Materials
- 5 Pickleball Paddle Cores
- 6 Pickleball Paddle Shapes
- 7 Pickleball Paddles Price
- 8 Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Beginners
- 9 Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners: Final Thoughts
|Top Pick|| Gamma Fusion 2.0||Beginners to Experienced Players||8.0 oz||Check Price|
| Selkirk Prime Epic||Beginners to Advanced Players||7.3–7.7 oz||Check Price|
| Amazing Aces Pickleball Set||Beginners to Advanced Players||8.3oz||Check Price|
| Head Radical Elite||Beginners to Intermediates||8.1 oz||Check Price|
| Rally Tyro 2 Pro Paddle||Beginners to Advanced Players||7.7 – 8.0 oz||Check Price|
Overwhelming Pickleball Paddle Options
Pickleball is amongst the fastest growing sports in the United States. With over million new players each year, manufacturers are fiercely competing against each other to provide the best pickleball paddles to beginners
Such are the options in the market that if you’re a first-time buyer you’ll instantly get overwhelmed. Why? There are hundreds if not thousands of paddles available in the market and each one of them unique in a certain way. The task of choosing the right one is mind-boggling.
To get to the root of this subject, lets look at the aspects you need to consider before buying a pickleball paddle as a beginner. It includes:
Once we’re through these points, you’ll have a much clear idea as to which paddle you should spend those bucks on. Keep reading because we’ll share our Top 5 pickleball paddles for beginners list right after we cover the aforementioned topics.
Pickleball Paddle Weight
There’s so much more to judging a pickleball paddle then just by its price. The weight of a pickleball paddle is one of the most important aspects among beginner pickleball paddles for new players to understand.
As it stands, a pickleball paddle can either be lightweight, midweight or heavyweight. Each of these paddles can weigh anywhere between 6oz to 14oz.
Generally, they weigh between 7.3oz to 8.5oz as per the USAPA regulation. Here’s a weight guide for a better understanding:
|Pickleball Paddle Size||Weight|
|Lightweight Paddle||Under 7.3oz|
|Heavyweight Paddle||8.05oz and above|
A few ounces might not look like a major difference-maker, however, when you’re holding the paddle for a certain period, the weight factor starts to make a difference. And with every passing second, each extra ounce turns into instant regret.
You have to choose a weight which feels right for you and at the same time makes you feel comfortable and confident.
A Choice Between Power and Control
You must feel the paddle and not just hold it. For instance, if you choose a heavy paddle, you’ll be able to hit power shots with ease, however, as the game progress, the weight of the paddle will wear you down.
On the contrary, if you choose a light paddle, you’ll achieve greater control. However, you’ll have to generate more energy to hit power shots. So, which paddle weight should you opt for?
Here’s a comprehensive table to help you decide:
|Weight||Under 7.3oz||7.4-8.4oz||8.05oz and above|
|Stress on Hand||Least||Slightly More||Most|
|Swing Speed||Most||Slightly Less||Least|
|Injury Risk (Tennis Elbow)||Least||Slightly More||Most|
As a beginner, it’s ideal to start with a midweight paddle and then switch once you’ve figured your style of play. After playing a good number of sets, you’ll understand your playing style which will allow you to choose the perfect paddle.
Pickleball Paddle Grip & Grip Sizing
Once you have weight figured out, it’s time to move on to the grips. The importance of choosing a correct grip can be effectively compared to choosing the right shoe size. If you pick either a loose or too tight a shoe, the outcome won’t be satisfactory. The same thing goes with pickleball paddle grip.
You want to choose a paddle which fits perfectly in your hand. However, some players prefer smaller grips whereas others prefer larger ones. What’s the difference?
Image Credits: Picky Pickleball
- A smaller grip provides you with better control and helps you achieve good spin on the ball through increased wrist movement. It also adds extra power when you serve.
- A larger grip provides you with better stability thereby reducing the strain on elbow, wrist, and shoulders.
An overgrip as seen is most of the racquet sports is the addition of grips until they perfectly fit into your hands. Thus, you can increase or decrease the circumference of the grip by adding or removing the layers to suit your hands.
The majority of the flagship pickleball paddles offer a premium grip. This grip is directed towards comfort and ease.
On the contrary, entry-level paddles do not feature a premium grip and can be uncomfortable to begin with.
You can go on and replace the stock grip with a customized grip or a new premium grip as per what suits you the best.
In the end, you want to find the correct grip size so you don’t suffer from any discomfort. If you have trouble finding your grip size, you can measure your grip by referring to the table below:
|Pickleball Paddle Grip Finder|
|Your Height||Grip Size|
|5’3” – 5’8”||4 1/8” – 4 1/4” Grip|
|> 5’9”||4 ½” Grip|
Having understood the grips, let us move towards the paddle materials.
Pickleball Paddle Materials
Pickleball paddles are generally made out of one of three materials – Wood, Graphite or Composite. Similar to the earliest tennis racquets, the earliest pickleball paddles were made of wood. However, in recent times, graphite and composite materials have gained prominence.
Wooden paddles are the heaviest and cheapest paddles whereas Graphite paddles are the lightest and the most expensive paddles. Composite? It’s right in between.
It has its own fan base thanks to the face texture which makes graphite paddles one of the best pickleball paddles for spin. Which paddle material should you begin with?
For beginners on a low-budget, wood is a viable option. Though heavy, it’s among the cheapest pickleball paddles and not to forget, it’s the basis of earliest pickleball paddles.
These are definitely usable and the newer versions of these paddles are much more effective with grips and improved safety straps to prevent them from slipping from your hands.
Graphite is great to begin with if you have a decent budget. Expect to spend around $40 to $60 for a high quality graphite pickleball paddle for beginners.
Weighing between 6 to 9 oz, Graphite paddles generally come with a Nomex, Polymer and Aluminum core.
However, as opposed to Composite paddles, graphite is thinner than a composite paddle and still stronger. Many competitive players prefer Graphite paddles.
These paddles are made of a composite core with a carbon fiber or fiberglass hitting surface. Its core is either rigid nylon (Nomex), aluminum or polymer.
These are growing in popularity due to their textured surface which adds quality spin to the ball.
Pickleball Paddle Cores
An ideal option for players who prefer control over other aspects of the game. Paddles with aluminum core are light in weight yet offer great action and control.
Owing to their internal honeycomb aluminum design, players are able to control their shots with great effect. Furthermore, these paddles create less noise than the Nomex paddles.
Nomex Honeycomb Core
Durability is the name of the game with Nomex Honeycomb Core. This core technology in composite pickleball paddles quickly went on to clinch the top spot in the pickleball market.
Its surging popularity can be accredited to the hard surface and the popping sound it makes once the ball connects with your paddle. However, it’s the durability that makes this core technology stand apart.
Blended with plastic, a polymer core technology is great for players who prefer an explosive style of play comprising of speed and power. Not just that, paddles with polymer core are the quietest paddles in the market. Especially when you’re in a tight-knit community, shared gym or recreational center, you may want to keep the noise level down.
Pickleball Paddle Shapes
Though the traditional paddle shape possessed a squarish feel with a larger sweet spot, the current range of paddles tells a different story. The growing sport of pickleball doesn’t lack any options when it comes to creative paddle shapes. Manufacturers are making the most out of every inch as they tweak the size and shape of the paddle to meet the needs of a larger demographic.
As per USAPA’s official guidelines, the length multiplied by the widest width should not surpass the 24 inches mark (including the butt cap and the edge guard). Keeping this in mind, manufacturers tweak the paddle either horizontally or vertically to offer variety based upon the playing style.
Due to this, there are paddles with many shapes being made available in the market. These include Edgeless Paddles, Wide Body Paddles, Oversized Paddles, and Elongated Paddles. Let’s study each of these shapes briefly:
Can be easily compared to the bezel-less technology in mobile phones. Edgeless paddles are without the edge guard which is used to add protection to the paddle. Advanced players prefer edgeless paddles as it provides them with the increased playing surface.
These paddles are thin and offer more room for shots maneuverability. However, these are extremely susceptible to nicks and chips on the edge.
This type of pickleball paddle is not recommended for beginners!
Wide Body Paddles
Majority of the paddles that you see come with classic wide-body design. Similar to that of a table tennis paddle. An average wide-body pickleball paddle is 8” wide and 153/4” long.
This is the most popular paddle shape and is still relevant in today’s pickleball market. With well-balanced width and length, you get a bigger sweet spot with a considerable reach.
While complying with the official size, many paddle manufacturers are shortening the handle length whilst increasing the face of the paddle. As a result, you’d see a slightly larger paddle with shorter grip.
This has an even bigger sweet spot thanks to its face and offers better maneuverability as compared to the wide-body paddles for beginners.
Talk about redesigning and redefining shapes, these paddles with Encore Blades have cut short the width to emphasize on the length. For this reason, an elongated paddle usually features 17” as opposed to 15 3/4”.
This is to enable players to achieve more reach and add flair to their shots. This paddle design is certainly not for beginners as these have narrow sweet spots and are not a great option for players just starting to learn pickleball.
Pickleball Paddles Price
Hey, Julian, I don’t know about SIZE but PRICE matters to me!. And that’s completely fair! Especially, when you’re trying out a new sport or jumping ships from another sport, you don’t want to spend a crazy amount of money on equipment without first seeing if you ever like the sport!
At times, you may want to spend a little bit initially and later upgrade your way to the top. However, at the same time, choosing an extremely poor-quality product can end your career aspirations during the early days.
Thus, it’s quintessential that you strike a balance. How? By understanding the price range.
|Price Range of Pickleball Paddles|
|$15-30||Low-quality paddles with higher weight||AFFORDABLE but not great paddles|
|$30-45||Substandard quality with higher weight||Good option for Beginners|
|$46-80||Decent quality with balanced weight & grip||BEST Option for Beginners|
|$81-$120||Great quality with balanced weight & grip|
|$121-$160||Premium quality with best features & comfort|
*Note these prices may vary based upon the brand to brand. Some brands might offer premium quality between the price range of $90-120 whereas some might offer decent quality between the same price range.
Having breezed past the technical part of this guide, let us move towards the part you’ve been waiting for. The best pickleball paddles available in the market for beginners.
We chose this list not just on quality but also on its price, practicality, and application. With that said, here’s our list:
Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Beginners
We’ll start off this list with the best quality pickleball paddle for beginners. We’ve already covered an in-depth guide about Gamma Pickleball paddles and through that, we realized that this brand offers nothing short of exceptional products catering to the needs of the players. The Gamma Fusion 2.0 is as good as it gets for a beginner’s paddle. It features an aluminum honeycomb core which offers great balance along with power.
Made of fiberglass composite face, you can easily control the tempo of the match through its well-designed playing surface. Boasting a large sweet spot, the Gamma Fusion 2.0 appeals to all levels but is perfect for beginners. You can even add your own grip to stock handle to suit your size. At an affordable price, this paddle is simply worth taking a plunge on thanks to its classic design and strong build.
|Skill Level||Beginners to Intermediate|
|Paddle Length||15 5/8″|
|Grip Style||Cushioned, Perforated & Ribbed|
Perhaps the most pocket-friendly option from Selkirk yet the most expensive pickleball paddle for beginners, the Prime Epic makes it to the list because of its overall efficiency. As a beginner, this acts as a premium paddle you need to hone your skills. Featuring an X4 Core, the Prime Epic offers similar balance and control as the AMPed models but without the premium features.
With its 7.3-7.8oz weight, it falls in the lightweight paddle category. It’s ideal for beginners with long hands. Overall, the Prime Epic allows you to react faster on returns regardless of how hard a hit is coming your way.
|Skill Level||Beginners to Intermediate|
|Paddle Length||15 3/4 in|
|Grip Design||Perforated Cushion|
|Core||X4 Polymer Honeycomb|
One of the newest pickleball paddle manufacturers in the game, Amazing Aces started its Pro Series in 2017. The aluminum composite edgeless paddle featuring a fiberglass and graphite face has been selling like hotcakes. Banking on the success of the original series, the manufacturer launched Cambria and Emerald paddles.
This paddle is certainly designed for beginners and those who love to play in groups (wooden set available for groups at an extremely affordable price). It offers sets comprising of 2-4 pickleball paddles, 4 pickleballs, and 1 carry bag, much like an entire kit to help you and your group get started with pickleball.
By no means is it near Gamma paddle, but it offers a complete value for money due to its pricing. It’s ideal if you’re a part of community center, YMCAs or an athletic club. These durable paddles offer power and durability. Moreover, they offer a good amount of comfort with cushioned grip and wrist strap. It’s simply the perfect package you can begin your pickleball journey with.
|Paddle Length||15 7/8″|
Certainly, one of my favorite picks. This paddle certainly had to feature on the list of best pickleball paddles for beginners. If you’re a tennis enthusiast, you’d need no introduction to Head. What you should know is that they have seamlessly launched themselves into the pickleball market and have achieved success on this side of the world as well. Head’s Radical Elite is an affordable paddle among one of the best from all of Head pickleball paddles
Its sturdy build with economic grip is certainly something you’d vouch for. Not only is it well-designed, but it looks visually stunning. It’s large hitting surface measuring 16” long and 8” wide provides an amazing sweet spot for new players. Longer paddle allows better serving for beginners and also allows longer rallies to begin with. Though it doesn’t include the “Extreme Spin” technology, it’s still one of the finest pickleball paddles under the sub $60 range.
|Grip Style||Cushioned& Perforated|
The Rally Tyro has been in the market for sometime now. However, it recently got an upgrade with the launch of its 2.0 version. It’s amongst the finest and the most expensive paddle for beginners because it offers a great blend of control and power.
Though slightly on the heavier end as compared to its predecessor, it offers more power when following through the shots. As for weight, it falls in the midweight category and thus is perfect for beginners.
Players who are just starting off and want to perfect their serve and hitting the ball deep towards the opponent’s baseline, this is surely a go-to-option for them. An exciting element in the paddle is the “pop” creating due to its Nomex core which makes up for its less weight. Another advantage is a larger sweet spot with thicker polymer core which allows better shot execution when starting out.
|Grip Style||Cushioned& Perforated|
Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners: Final Thoughts
If you’ve made it thus far, I’m sure you’d be driving home with some valuable points. As a beginner, it’s really important to understand your style before you spend a lot. Thus, use affordable paddles to understand your style and once you do, you can keep upgrading. If you’re brand conscious, you can start with Head or Gamma, however, if you’re extremely tight on budget, then you can check out the other two options – The Amazing Aces paddle kit is excellent for group sessions.