Your pickleball paddle is an investment. Learn how to take care of it properly so that you can keep playing your best game for as long as possible (and with no unnecessary expenses).

Taking Care of Your Pickleball Paddle

It’s an exciting day for you. Your local delivery service has left a package at your front door. And it’s from TennisRacquets.com. It has to be your new pickleball paddle and you are ready to take it out for a test spin. Whether this is your first paddle or the latest in a long line of new paddles for you, the objective is to go out, have fun, and yes, to win (not that you are competitive or anything).

You then discover this paddle is the best thing for your game since, well, the invention of pickleball. So you want to take care of it so it has a long and winning life for you.

Pickleball paddle maintenance is not that tough. Here is how you do that.

How Long Should a Pickleball Paddle Last?

Just to be clear, there will be wear and tear. No matter how carefully you coddle your paddle, the surface will wear out, the grip will cease to help you hold the paddle, and the edge will get scraped, dented and abused.

In addition, with the incredible efforts of manufacturers, the technology of paddles is going through rapid improvements so you will want to upgrade every couple of years anyway even if you only play pickleball periodically.

A well maintained new paddle for an average user will hold up for 1 to 5 years. Pros, heavy hitters and daily players should make changes at the shorter end of that range.

The graphics on the paddle face will wear out but that is not necessarily a sign of the paddle’s end of useful life. It simply means you get to play a lot and that is a good thing.

Some people ask: can a pickleball paddle go bad? Yes! Polymer cores can get brittle. Surfaces will wear out with play.

On-Court Care for Your Paddle

Some of these may seem self-explanatory, but there are some simple, common-sense practices you can adopt during the game to not put undue stress on your paddle.

  • Rule #1, #2, and #3-10 is simply this: don’t throw, drop, kick, fling, or beat your pickleball paddle on the court. Using a paddle as a frisbee will not improve the score or your pickleball game and ruin the paddle face and tear up the grip.

  • These things, with all their amazing materials and assembly, are simply not made to take abuse. They are certainly not fragile but they are also not built like a tennis racquet that can take some punishment. (Note: that does not give you permission to go all John McEnroe on the tennis court.)

  • Anyway, pickleball is a social game where tantrums are not encouraged or welcome. The care of your paddle is more important than you venting emotions.

  • Don’t use your paddle to roll the ball to your partner or to the competition. Whenever you scrape the edge on the court you shorten its life. When the edge guard wears out, the days for that paddle are numbered.

  • Don’t use the paddle to pick up balls for yourself. Again, you will gradually kill off the edge guard that is a thin layer of protection for the edge.

Is an Edge Guard Important?

Some paddles have specially reinforced edge guard and some paddles do not. Low end, wood pickleball paddles, for instance do not have edge guards and will wear out quickly.

If your pickleball game involves stretching for the low ball, your pickleball paddle may benefit from a strong edge guard. The wear and tear on the edge may result in earlier than normal replacement for a pickleball paddle.

Off-Court Care for Your Paddle

Once off the court, take the time to give your paddle the care it deserves with proper cleaning, grip maintenance, and storage.

Cleaning your paddle

  • Using a bit of window cleaner or non-abrasive liquid dishwasher soap on the face is a good idea to keep sweat, dirt and grime from messing up the face. Dry it immediately with a paper or soft cloth towel. Do not submerge the paddle. Ever. If water gets into the carefully engineered core, it will impact weight, the sweet spot, and eventually ruin it.

Grip Maintenance

  • No matter how much money you spend on a paddle, grips can and will wear out as you play and sweat. It will become slick and stop absorbing any moisture. Wiping it off after or even during play will help some, but the cost to replace a grip is minimal and worth it a couple of times a year.

Storage

  • Even the most die hard player puts their paddle away sometimes. (Note: if you are keeping it in your nightstand while you sleep, you have issues.)

  • Consider buying a dedicated bag to hold it. A bag just for pickleball paddles just makes sense. An overly large tennis bag may not be the right thing as they might hold too much other stuff scraping up against the face. Use a cover designed to fit that paddle.

Extreme Temperatures

  • Try to avoid excessive heat or cold. This is especially true with less expensive all-wood paddles that can and will warp. No matter how careful the maintenance, playing pickleball with wood paddles with a wood grip will require a new paddle more often.

  • Extreme temperatures can affect the pliability of any core and damage the face regardless of how expensive the paddle is. Don't forget extreme temperatures can build up in a sunny car or a winter trunk if you store your equipment in your vehicle.

All good things must come to an end. So when it comes time to replace your favorite paddle, turn to TennisRacquets.com for the latest, greatest paddles. Big selection. Helpful staff. Accessories. Of course, if you do find that perfect paddle, you may want to buy a back-up just in case your pet Fido thinks it's a chew toy.