The Best Pickleball Paddle – for you

What is the best Pickleball Paddle for you? It used to be so easy. There was only one choice and that was made of wood – yes good old fashioned wood. Here, take this wood paddle and go out there and hit a plastic ball over the net and have a good time! Well haven’t things changed since the good old days of the invention of this game they call pickleball!

Now, thanks to growth in the sport, technology and material availability and not to forget marketing, we are spoilt for choice. So much so that it can be downright confusing as to what is the best pickleball paddle, for you.

Taking out one of the biggest influences on our purchasing decision however, MARKETING (hype), and looking at it in a logical frame of mind, it gets down to 7 main considerations.

1)      Where is your pickleball game is right now?
2)      Were you want your game to go?
3)      Personal preferences
4)      Body mechanic limitations – what’s this about?
5)      Weight too however is important
6)      Manufacturing excellence
7)      And of course price

The Best Pickleball Paddle

Let’s break the 7 main considerations down and look at them one-by-one.

1)      Where is your pickleball game is right now Are you a beginner, are you serious about this game? Is pickleball just a social outlet for you with a game or two thrown-in between golf and coffee with cake?

Yes this is a point by point justification to identifying the best pickleball paddle for you. With so many options on the purchasing shelf by default means that there is a demand for each and every one of them and all based on different but common situations and requirements (and a little bit of hype).

 2)      Were you want your game to go

What do you want the game of Pickleball to become in your life? Yes to the converted this has real meaning and is where the tongue-in-cheek t-shirts of – “I’m a Pickleball Widow” and “Pickleball, breakfast, lunch and dinner – the days complete” come from.

It means you’re now hooked – you love the game even if you are not a 5.0 – who cares, you love the game and now you can’t imagine life without pickleball. And if you are not as serious as your T-Shirt suggests, your intent is to be involved with pickleball on a regular basis.
NOTE: Player ratings go from 1.0 (a real beginner) through to 5.0 (a real pro)!

1)      Personal preferences

Personal preferences is just that. What do you consider as the Best Pickleball Paddle? We have players in our club for instance that still prefer to play with a wooden paddle despite many composite club paddles available. We have others that want a branded paddle only and others that are hell bent on exacting weights or maybe more legitimately handle sizes.

2)      Body mechanic limitations – what’s this about?

Handle sizes however are more of a body mechanic limitation. While we might be able to play with a small handle paddle, a handle that is too big (around/diameter)) to hold properly will obviously be limiting to say the least.

While there is no definitive rule or test when it comes to the correct grip size; remember you can always thicken up a grip with a new grip-over, but you can never decrease the grip size – well not without a lot of surgery to the handle.

One rafferties rules way to the correct grip size is in relation to a height measurement – being:

  • Height...........Grip Size
  • Under 5'2".......4 inch grip
  • 5'3" to 5'8".....4 1/4 inch grip
  • 5'9" & taller...4 1/2 inch grip

The best way however is to simply try out the grip size. Hold the paddle, swing it and even better play some points with it. Go with what feels best will always be your best grip size.

Body mechanics is also about agility (and ability) in so much as to say, how able are you to use any give paddle? Just because you own the fastest car in the race doesn't translate to you winning the race. Just because you own the best and biggest horse doesn't mean you can ride it - need anymore be said here and at the end of the day this is your call. 

5)      Weight too however is important particularly if you have a limiting factor such as arthritis for example or you simply like the way a light weight paddle feels to swing. For some they say the light weight enables them to react more quickly at the net for example – it also enables them to play longer and enjoy another game maybe. Again, go with what feels best will always be your best paddle weight.

6)      Manufacturing excellence is absolutely legitimate and could be justified and argued about as to what is the Best Pickleball Paddle with regards to design, material it is made of, weight, colour, grip, ping, pop, or resonance (whatever each and every one of those terms mean to you) among a growing number of paddle advances being made on a regular basis.

7)      And of course price – Price for most people is a ‘very’ considered factor. What do I get for my money and how much do I actually want to pay for a paddle that I consider to be the best pickleball paddle for me?

When shopping for a paddle you can glean a lot of information from facts and figures and the preamble or advertising of a paddle from the manufacturer. Another good source of recommendation for paddle purchase for many purchasers are of course testimonials of those that have used the paddle.

We all place different values on the 7 key factors (and likely others to a greater or lesser degree) which in the end really leaves it all up to you. I would recommend playing with the paddle before you purchase if you get the opportunity obviously but sometimes this is not possible and sometimes you will simply have to make the best buying decision you can given the information you have in consideration of the mentioned 7 key factors. I will say from personal experience however, that when you buy a quality paddle you seemingly develop and learn to love that paddle very quickly.

But hang on, what about the best paddle for a common game element of hitting spin? Is there one?

We all want to know the best pickleball paddle for spin or the best paddle for this or for that but there are limitations and sometimes it is not all about the paddle. Learn more at the: Best pickleball paddle for spin – think past the paddle 

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