With the explosion of Pickleball, it's likely that you have a few questions. The paddles are definitely not tennis racquets! Let us demystify this fun new sport.

Paddle Basics

Who makes the best paddle?

With the explosive growth in the sport there are companies who specialize in pickleball equipment that are competing with the large sporting goods brands. The smaller companies have the advantage of laser focus on one sport. Big companies have the advantage of larger research and innovation budgets and economies of scale. There is no one dominant manufacturer in pickleball.

What is a sweet spot and how do I hit it?

All paddles have a sweet spot at the center. But some are built to have a larger spot for you to hit with enough playing experience.

Does the shape of the paddle matter?

It can. While the majority of paddles are 15.5 to 15.75 inches long, there are some that are slightly longer and narrower. They have the advantage of allowing the player to reach some tougher shots. However, they do have smaller sweet spots as a result.

How long do paddles last?

A paddle that is well-taken care of should last about three years. But surfaces will get worn and paddles with aluminum cores are subject to denting and pitting. In addition, manufacturers are continuously improving their technology making older paddles obsolete. Professionals will replace their paddles at least annually.

Should I have one paddle for indoors play and one for outdoors?

It is something to consider. Playing outside brings wind into the game. Some players will want heavier paddles for outside to generate more power compensating for the wind.

What’s the difference between graphite and carbon fiber surfaces?

While both are made up of carbon molecules, a different process is used to produce each. Carbon fiber has the longest durability but is the most expensive generally speaking.

Does the color of the paddle matter?

If it matters to you, it matters! In terms of construction, no. There are some players who believe a surface with the same color as the balls will help disguise the type of shot being hit giving that player an advantage.

Are there paddles made just for men or just for women?

No. All paddles are made for either women or men.

Finding a Paddle for Your Needs

What's a good paddle for the novice player?

A good paddle is one that feels good to you. However, novices should strongly consider lighter weight (7.3 oz & under) models first.

I need more power! What paddles will give me more power on my shots?

Generally speaking, the heavier the paddle, the greater the power. Heavy paddles are usually considered to be those that weigh 8.5 ounces or more. A fiberglass surface is considered the biggest power generator.

Are there paddles made for people like me who have elbow or arm issues?

Sure. Look for paddles with polymer cores. They are considered to be the softest and should help absorb vibrations

Are there paddles that are quieter than others?

There sure are. Paddles with polymer cores are usually quieter due to the softness. Some companies make paddles where the description will tell you they are especially quiet.

As a former tennis player, I am used to hitting a two handed backhand. Is there a paddle for me?

Absolutely. You will want to find a paddle with a longer than usual handle/grip. Look for handles at least 5 inches long and preferably a bit longer.

Are there lists of paddles approved for tournaments?

If you want to play in a tournament sanctioned by the USAPA, you may only play with a paddle on their approved list. Hundreds of paddles are approved. If you are playing in a non-sanctioned tournament, like a club championship, you may or may not have an approved list. Be sure to check.

Can a paddle help me control my shots?

Yes. You will want a lighter or a mid-weight paddle under 7.5 oz. with a carbon fiber surface.

Where can I go to get more detailed information about pickleball paddles?

Check out our Buying Guide for Pickleball Paddles or contact us. Our staff wants to help you have fun with pickleball!

Paddle Cost

Shouldn’t I just buy the cheapest paddle?

While your budget can be one consideration, it is more important to get the right weight and the right sized grip than anything else. Quality paddles will pay off for you in the long run.

I’m having a pickleball party for my friends that don’t have their own equipment. Is there a way for me to avoid buying higher priced paddles for people who might not ever play again?

Yes. There are very low cost bundles of solid wood paddles that come with balls. While you might not want to repeatedly play with these paddles, they are ok for a party.

Grip Information

How do I figure out the right grip size?

The same way you figure out a tennis grip size. See our guide for details. Your index finger on your off hand should fit comfortably between the heel of your hand and the tips of your fingers grasping the paddle.

What if my hand is in between sizes?

Buy the smaller size and build up the grip with an overgrip or grip tape. You may want to see our guide on Increasing Grip Size.

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