If you are just starting out with Pickleball, knowing what gear to buy - and how much to pay for it - can be overwhelming. We'll help you navigate it all so you can get right to playing!

Pickleball Gear - The Essentials for Getting Started

Whenever someone is starting out in a new sport or activity there can be confusion about what equipment is important. It is important to buy the right gear so as to have the best experience possible from the very beginning.

Also, buying quality may help you avoid injuries sometimes caused by using the wrong stuff. Check out our list of essential pickleball equipment followed by other important equipment.

3 Essential Items for all Players

(Plus 1 more if you really get serious about hitting the pickleball court.)

#1 - Choosing the Right Pickleball Paddle

The single most important item to purchase is a good quality pickleball paddle. Be sure to see our Pickleball Paddle Buyers Guide for extensive detail on what to look for.

To some people, price is sometimes viewed as the only factor to consider with pickleball equipment like pickleball paddles. Price can be a factor, but price should not be the only factor.

It is actually far more important to get pickleball paddles that are the right weight and has the right characteristics you need to be successful. A weight difference of a couple of ounces can be huge. Besides, pickleball paddles sometimes are on sale reducing the price for top pickleball equipment.

There are many exceptional manufacturers. Reading the product descriptions carefully will help you pick out the perfect paddle. Having the opportunity to try paddles owned by friends will give you an idea of what works best for you.

How Pickleball Paddles are Made

Other than cheap, wood paddles (wood is not recommended for anything other than parties and general fun,) paddles are sophisticated enough to meet the needs of all kinds of pickleball players.

Some players prefer a graphite paddle and others want composite (fiberglass.) The material on the face of the paddle can make a huge difference. Graphite and composite are the most common with carbon fiber another choice for a paddle.

Paddle Core Material

Several different materials including aluminum are used to form the honeycomb interior. Keeping them lightweight is key but different core materials will have different results when playing..

Indoor and Outdoor

Some players use different paddles for indoors or outdoors. Since indoor pickleball balls are different from outdoor balls, some players use different paddles accordingly but this is not required especially when you get started.

Paddle Grips

If you are a tennis player with a two handed backhand just starting out in pickleball, you may want to consider a paddle with a longer grip/handle. A regular sized grip may not be what you need to hit those backhands with the pace you are used to generating.


The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) maintains a list of approved paddles you can purchase.

#2 - Pickleball Balls

Note, they are not the same as wiffle balls used in backyard games! The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) sets the rules for all balls.

Indoor or Outdoor

Pickleball balls themselves are either indoor pickleballs or outdoor pickleballs. They are labeled as such with outdoor balls having smaller holes. The size of holes does impact shots in a significant way.

Because they are plastic, they do break especially when playing outdoors. Therefore, just like any sport, all players should have several on hand at all times.

#3 - Shoes

Your shoes should be appropriate for racquet sports. Pickleball requires quick movements - especially moving from side to side even though the pickleball court is only 20 feet wide. They also must have the ability to grip the court regardless of the surface.

Therefore, running shoes which are built for going straight ahead, perhaps for long distances, are not ideal.

Basketball shoes are built for jumping and landing among other skills. In pickleball, while you may jump from time to time, some of the support and ankle constraints may inhibit your pickleball play.

Pickleball shoes are specifically designed for this activity. However, good tennis or other racquet sports shoes will suffice when you get started on the court.

Bonus Pickleball Equipment Item: A Portable Pickleball Net

A net is an important item if your local park doesn’t have one. Portable pickleball nets with poles are available.

Having your own pickleball net means you can take your game to any place with pavement. Hard core pickleball players will play anywhere they can find a game!

Note that a pickleball net is specifically designed to comply with the standards established by the sport. A court only requires a measuring tape, some duct tape and a bit of time to lay the court out.

Tennis nets are too high in the middle and on the ends to be of any use. To play pickleball with a tennis net would require lowering it across the entire net with 36 inches at the sideline and 34 inches in the center. This is possible for some pickleball courts - it is just not optimal.

Other Important Equipment

The three items plus one above are the only items that are absolutely necessary to begin playing. However, there is additional equipment that can make your pickleball experience much more enjoyable. These include:

  • A bag to haul your stuff. Having a good quality pickleball bag is advisable to keep your paddle from getting damaged. Certainly it is there to carry your other accessories and water bottles too.

  • Replacement grips are items you will need eventually. The grips on a new paddle will wear out making them slippery from sweat. You might also choose to modify your grip with an overgrip to give it the perfect size for your hand. Refer to our guide for finding the right grip size.

  • Wristbands are a good idea too. Exercise will generate perspiration which can make the grip slippery. Keeping the paddle firmly in your hand will help you with control, spin, and power.

  • When playing outdoors ,sunglasses are very important. In addition to deflecting harmful rays, maintaining visibility of the ball is the key to successful play.

The whole idea behind getting involved with pickleball is to have fun and to get some exercise. TennisRacquets.com is your one stop shop for everything you will need to play pickleball. See our Learning Center for all kinds of helpful advice. Contact us with questions! We want you to be the best player you can be.

Ready to begin your Pickleball journey?
A paddle is the perfect place to start!