The 16 Best Pickleball Paddles, According to Guys Who Love the Game

The 16 Best Pickleball Paddles, According to Guys Who Love the Game

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Best Pickleball Paddle Under $100

Onix Graphite Z5

Editor’s Choice

Graphite Z5

Best Pickleball Paddle Under $100

Onix Graphite Z5

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Pros
  • Under $100
  • USA Pickleball Approved
  • Improved grip adds for better control
  • Large sweet spot that delivers solid power
Cons
  • Takes a second to get used to

If you watch any professional pickleball events on TV, it’s likely you’ll notice Onix as a paddle in a few pros’ hands. The brand has a wide array of paddles to choose from, but the Graphite Z5 is a trusted pick that’s big on ball control and clean returns.

In terms of construction, you get the best qualities of graphite paddle for a price point under $100, which is not super common. Graphite is a favorite for many pros due to the material’s strong design and lightweight feel, making it easy to control each shot and finesse where you want your ball to go.

The Z5 also has a sizable sweet spot thanks to a Nomex honeycomb core (an inner material design that makes the paddle more balanced and helps ensures there are no dead spots), as well as a 8.3″ x 15.5″ paddle measurement that ensures you have a generous surface area.

Final thoughts: You’ve put in the hours, now it’s time to start hanging with the big dogs at the local court.

    Grip Circumference 4.25″
    Width 8.3″
    Length 15.5″
    Weight 7.5-8.2 oz

    Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners

    Pickleball Central Rally Tyro 2

    Rally Tyro 2

    Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners

    Pickleball Central Rally Tyro 2

    Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
    Pros
    • Wallet-friendly
    • Super lightweight
    • Honeycomb composite design
    • Good for buying in bulk (schools, camps)
    Cons
    • Will likely want to upgrade again down the line

    Pickleball Central makes several quality in-house products. The Rally Tryo 2 is a wallet-friendly composite paddle with a polymer core. Its best feature is its weight, clocking in at a lofty 6.9-7.2 ounces. This is a good beginner paddle for those getting into the game, especially when you consider the price point is only $45.

    The downside to this paddle is the weight and construction won’t give you as much power as you might like (especially if you start playing more competitively). The Rally Tyro 2 also isn’t the most stylish paddle around. But if you’re looking for a paddle that can hang for recreational play and some intermediate play then this is a solid choice.

    Final thoughts: You want to see what all the pickleball buzz is about and need a well-built paddle to learn the game.

      Weight 7.5-8.0 oz
      Length 15.67″
      Width 7.8″
      Grip Circumference 4.25″

      Best Pickleball Paddle for Everyday Play

      Wilson Echo

      Best Tested

      Echo

      Best Pickleball Paddle for Everyday Play

      Wilson Echo

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Honeycomb core that dampens vibrations
      • Balanced and easy to control
      • Great minimalist design
      • Solid price point
      • Large surface area
      Cons
      • Sells out fast. Wait time for restocks.

      In terms of how much value you get for the price point, the Wilson Echo takes the cake. The Echo has a PO3 fiberglass composite makeup to ensure a lightweight, durable feel, and inside it has a PolyCore-X honeycomb core to dampen vibrations and hit a controlled shot on every stroke.

      The Echo also has a ton of surface area (8″ x 16″ is our favorite dimension for players) and a unique surface texture that allows the player to add some wicked spin to the ball. The Echo is a paddle that’s made to last and will quickly become your favorite sidekick if you’re out on the courts playing multiple times a week with friends.

      Final thoughts: You’re a casual yet competitive player who enjoys breaking a sweat out on the court with friends and family.

      Weight 7.7-8.1 oz
      Length 16″
      Width 8″
      Grip Circumference 4.125″
      Head Size 70.5 sq. in.

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      Best Pickleball Paddle for Advanced Players

      JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion Pro

      Ben Johns Hyperion Pro

      Best Pickleball Paddle for Advanced Players

      JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion Pro

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Large surface area
      • Special foam edge for added stability
      • Carbon-textured surface for spinning

      If there’s one name you should know about in professional pickleball it’s Ben Johns—the 23-year-old has won 51 championships on the PPA Tour in singles, doubles, and mixed competitions in his career. John’s official JOOLA paddle is loaded with a Carbon-Flex5 textured surface, a reactive polypropylene honeycomb core, and a specialized foam edge wall for added stability.

      “I was a tennis player and initially didn’t think pickleball was intense enough for me. I was wrong. I now play up to 10-12 hours a week, with games sometimes three hours or more, and I go to this paddle every time,” says Bahram Akradi, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Life Time. Life Time is currently the largest provider of pickleball courts in the country with nearly 450 courts right now.

      Final thoughts: If you want to have the best of the best, this is the upgrade to make.

      Weight 8.4 oz
      Length 18″
      Width 10″
      Grip Circumference 4.25″

      Best Pickleball Paddle to Buy in Sets

      Nettie The Ashbury

      Best Seller

      The Ashbury

      Best Pickleball Paddle to Buy in Sets

      Nettie The Ashbury

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • One-of-a-kind designs
      • Easy to control
      • Great balance
      Cons
      • USA Pickleball approval still in process

      Nettie is a pickleball paddle and gear brand that was born during the Pandemic. The brand’s founder and CEO, Catherine Baxter, sought to create premium pickleball products with colorful, retro-inspired designs.

      For example, this groovy paddle takes inspiration from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco and features a polymer honeycomb core and a carbon fiber face. And while the other Nettie paddle designs have different patterns, the overall aesthetic matches, which makes them a fun buy in a duo or bundle set.

      Final thoughts: A brand that began during the Pandemic, these paddles have fun IFKYK designs that look great in twos.

      Weight 7.8-8.2 oz
      Length 15.5″
      Width 8″
      Grip Circumference 4.25″

      Most Stylish Pickleball Paddle

      Recess Pickleball Moab

      Moab

      Most Stylish Pickleball Paddle

      Recess Pickleball Moab

      Pros
      • Beautiful design
      • Comes with leather handle and carrying case
      • USA Pickleball approved
      Cons
      • Popular designs sell out fast

      Recess is another pickleball gear company making high-quality paddles with great design. Several of their paddles are approved for USA Pickleball tournaments, including the Moab, and are made with a 0.53″ thick honeycomb interior. We also like the fact the paddle is wrapped in authentic leather and comes with a nice canvas carrying case.

      Final thoughts: There are no better brand making court-worthy paddles with so many different ways of expression.

      Weight 7.5-8.0 oz
      Length 15.67″
      Grip Circumference 4.25″
      Width 7.8″

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      Most Underrated Pickleball Paddle

      Bison Paddles Graphite Pickleball Paddle

      Graphite Pickleball Paddle

      Most Underrated Pickleball Paddle

      Bison Paddles Graphite Pickleball Paddle

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Can be purchased with own carrying bag
      • Under $70
      • Unique and stylish designs
      • Good sweet spot and anti-slip grip
      Cons
      • Not ideal if you’re looking for a high competitive play paddle (best for beginner to intermediate level)
      • Raised edge support can lead to some errant shot returns

      A small brand that makes USA Pickleball-approved paddles, Bison Paddles incorporates a polymer honeycomb core with a textured graphite face to make tournament-ready smackers. These paddles are durable, have epic designs, and can be purchased with their own special bag.

      What makes Bison Paddles stand out to us the most is the price point. You get a carbon structured paddle with edge support and a a textured face that helps you add spin to the ball, all for under $60. Heck, you even get a carrying case with with your purchase. You get a whole lot of value in this paddle.

      Final thoughts: This is a paddle that checks all boxes, without breaking the bank.

      Weight 8.0 oz
      Length 15.75 inches
      Width 4.75 inches

      Best Pickleball Paddle for Serious Beginners

      PCKL Premium Pickleball Paddle – Power Series

      Premium Pickleball Paddle - Power Series

      Best Pickleball Paddle for Serious Beginners

      PCKL Premium Pickleball Paddle – Power Series

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Corded grip that helps prevent slipping out of hand
      • Rough graphite face allows for putting spin on the ball
      • Solid control
      • Under $100
      Cons
      • Competitive players will want to look elsewhere (beginner to intermediate skill level)

      A newcomer to the sport, PCKL is making performance-driven, USA Pickleball-approved paddles with quality materials and clean design. We like the Power Series, as its large sweet spot and rough-grit graphite face allow for boosted, well-controlled returns. If you’re looking to jump right in and start playing, either by yourself or with friends and family members, then this is an excellent starter paddle that will set you up right as you learn the ins and outs of the game.

      What’s special about this paddle is it’s impressively light (7.5 oz), yet it still delivers enough juice to dial up a line drive when you need. It’s difficult to make a paddle with this kind of configuration, which is why it’s $100, but in terms of what you’re getting the Premium Power Series could easily exist well north of $100+ based on the design.

      Final thoughts: If you want to get your first paddle right and not have to buy one for at least 1-2 years, then this is the one.

      Weight 7.5 oz
      Length 16″
      Width 8″

      Best Pickleball Paddle Under $75

      HEAD Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle

      Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle

      Best Pickleball Paddle Under $75

      HEAD Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle

      Pros
      • Comfortable ergonomic handle
      • Trusted level of control and power
      • Excellent value for the price point
      • Longer handle that mimics a tennis racket feel
      Cons
      • Worth upgrading higher if power is a priority for your paddle.

      HEAD’s Radical Elite paddle is another wallet-friendly pick for those still venturing into the sport. For under $65, you get a honeycomb core, a fiberglass finish, and a wide surface area to smack the ball. You also get a comfortable foam handle with a length similar to that of a tennis racket. This is an awesome deal from one of the longstanding brands in the sport.

      Final thoughts: Intermediate players who don’t want to break the bank on a paddle will fall in love with the Radical Elite.

      Weight 8.1 oz
      Width 9″
      Grip Circumference 4.16″
      Length 16″

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      Best High Performance Pickleball Paddle

      Selkirk Labs Project 002

      Project 002

      Best High Performance Pickleball Paddle

      Selkirk Labs Project 002

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Special airflow vent for increased swing speed and lighter weight
      • High power delivery
      • Comes with special carrying bag
      • Coated with ProSpin+ surface for easy spin opportunities

      A premium price, we know, but Project 002 is the latest and greatest performance model to come from Selkirk. Only serious players should consider this paddle.

      “I love the Selkirk Project 002 because it has the best spin & power combination on the market. It really allows my shots to have more bang for the buck without over-swinging,” says David Dutrieuille, a 5.0-rated traveling player and coach and the National Pickleball Director for Life Time.

      Final Thoughts: The Ferrari of pickleball paddles. Need we say more?

      Weight 8.1-8.4 oz
      Length 16.5”
      Width 7.375”
      Grip Circumference 4.25”

      Best New Release Pickleball Paddle

      Babolat Mnstr Power Pickleball Paddle, Graphite

      #1 New Release

      Mnstr Power Pickleball Paddle, Graphite

      Best New Release Pickleball Paddle

      Babolat Mnstr Power Pickleball Paddle, Graphite

      Pros
      • SMAC Aerospace tech in paddle to filter out vibrations
      • Large sweet spot
      • Will deliver sharp, powerful returns
      Cons
      • Brand new release, so will have to wait to see how the paddle holds up over time.

      Legacy tennis brand Babolat has finally ventured into the game of pickleball, and after taking a look at their latest paddle offerings it’s safe to say they’re going to make a splash in the game. Our favorite is MNSTR Power. It’s made with graphite, which creates a lightweight feel and more precise control on your return. But what’s really special about this paddle is it has a layer of SWC Pure Feel, powered by SMAC, a type of material used in aerospace technology that helps filter vibrations, thus ensuring a clean feel on every shot.

      Final thoughts: Babolat fans will find comfort in knowing its pickleball paddles are held to the same high standards as its tennis rackets.

      Weight 8.1 oz
      Length 16.1″
      Width 7.8″

      The Pickleball Paddle with the best sweet spot

      Wilson Juice Carbon

      Juice Carbon

      The Pickleball Paddle with the best sweet spot

      Wilson Juice Carbon

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Woven carbon fiber helps dampen vibration
      • Power delivery that surprises opponents when connecting with sweet spot
      • Super easy to control
      Cons
      • Sells out fast. Wait time for restocks.

      Similar to the Echo in many ways, the Wilson Juice’s main difference is its strategically woven carbon fiber face that delivers more power in your shots. The best part about the Juice is it’s only a $20 upgrade from the Echo, so if you’re looking to move into more competitive play this is a good paddle to veer towards.

      “As a relative newcomer to pickleball, I find the Juice to have the perfect marriage of power and control. Within my first hour of play I started feeling especially confident in getting backspin on my returns,” says Rad Lopez, a Peloton instructor.

      Final Thoughts: For those who like to find the sweet spot and let the paddle tech do the rest.

      Weight 8.2-8.6 oz”
      Length 15.25″
      Width 8.25″
      Grip Circumference 4.125″

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      Best Elongated Pickleball Paddle

      Selkirk Sport Amped Invikta

      Amped Invikta

      Best Elongated Pickleball Paddle

      Selkirk Sport Amped Invikta

      Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
      Pros
      • Large surface area
      • Tennis players will like the long paddle design
      • FiberFlex facing for excellent spin opportunities
      Cons
      • Stock sells out fast
      • Can feel a bit heavy for some players

      If you’re looking for another competition-level option, Selkirk makes so top-notch paddles that are loaded with some of the best materials around. With the Invikta you get serious specs like a Polypropylene X5 Core, FiberFlex facing, and a massive sweet spot that delivers big shots.

      Final Thoughts: For competitive pickleball players who have played tennis and like an elongated paddle design.

        Weight 7.8-8.4 oz
        Length 17.56″
        Width 7.4″
        Grip Circumference 4.25″

        Best Pickleball Paddle for Dinking and Touch Shots

        Diadem Sports Warrior Edge Pickleball Paddle

        Warrior Edge Pickleball Paddle

        Best Pickleball Paddle for Dinking and Touch Shots

        Diadem Sports Warrior Edge Pickleball Paddle

        Pros
        • Deceptively great at dinking thanks to soft build
        • Large surface area
        • Comfortable handle thats easy to control

        Dinking and touch shots (also known as drop shots) are one of the best moves you can make in pickleball. The Warrior Edge from Diadem features an etched carbon face and a soft material build so you can lightly tap or slash at the ball and put it right over the edge of the net. It’s expensive, but if you’re a serious player that wants a level of deception in your paddle, then this is a worthy choice. Go off, touch shot master.

        Final Thoughts: If you liken your shots to chess moves, then the Warrior Edge will help deliver calculated returns like a pro.

        Weight 7.8-8.2 oz
        Length 18.66″
        Grip Circumference 4.16″
        Width 9.37″

        Best Pickleball Paddle with steady power delivery

        Gamma 2.0 Atomic Pickleball Paddle

        2.0 Atomic Pickleball Paddle

        Best Pickleball Paddle with steady power delivery

        Gamma 2.0 Atomic Pickleball Paddle

        Pros
        • Great price point
        • Design allows for line drive serves and returns
        • Plays best to natural power players
        Cons
        • Not the best at dinking or touch shots

        Gamma makes a ton of quality pickleball paddles, and thanks to a few key pro players signing they succeeding at creating higher brand awareness in the game. If you’re someone who has a natural power, then the 2.0 Atomic will help ensure steady line drives across the court thanks to its middleweight feel and aramid honeycomb core. The only downside to this paddle is it’s not ideal if you like to touch shot or dink. This is a power play here, folks.

        Final Thoughts: If you have natural power in your playing abilities, then the 2.0 Atomic will play to your strengths.

        Weight 8 oz
        Length 15.59″
        Grip Circumference 4″
        Width 9″

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        Best Pickleball Paddle for Two-Handed Backhands

        ACE Pickleball Spade

        Spade

        Best Pickleball Paddle for Two-Handed Backhands

        ACE Pickleball Spade

        Pros
        • Great for tennis converts
        • Elongated handle makes it easy to deliver two-handed backhand
        • Carbon fiber layer allows for easy spin shot opportunities
        • Lightweight

        Designed with a polymer honeycomb core for elite shot consistency and outfitted with a T700 raw texture carbon fiber layer for premium spin opportunities, the ACE Spade paddle is a top-tier pick for competitive players. What’s also special about this paddle is it was designed for those used to playing tennis. ACE designed their paddle to be long and went with an elongated handle for more control, and yes, for playing a classic two-handed backhand.

        Final thoughts: If you’re a former tennis player with a wicked two-handed backhand, then the Spade will allow you to use that move in pickleball too.

        Weight 7.5-7.8 oz
        Length 16.5″
        Grip Circumference 4.33″
        Width 7.5″

        How We Selected

        best pickleball paddles

        Courtesy of Retailer

        For the past 12 months, we consulted with Men’s Health‘s editors and writers on the top pickleball paddles. Experts, including our gear and commerce editor, John Thompson, tested a wide range of of pickleball paddles and evaluated their performance, durability, and design. We also considered price point, as some pickleball paddles provide a better overall value than others.

          What to Consider When Buying a Pickleball Paddle

          best pickleball paddles

          When buying a pickleball paddle, the first thing you want to look at is weight, dimension, and material. Then you can start breaking down your paddle into whether you want to prioritize power or control, as well as determine your grip circumference.

          WEIGHT

          The average weight for a paddle is going to be around 8 oz and fluctuate above and below that number. Painting with broad brush strokes, anything at 9 oz is usually too heavy and anything under 7 is usually too light.

          “For weight, somewhere in between 7.5-8.3oz is a good range,” says Johns.

          DIMENSION

          Dimensions can be tricky but the basic configuration most new players will want to use is called a “wide body paddle” according to Carl Schmits, Managing Director of Equipment Standards & Facilities Development for the USA Pickleball Association. “This configuration is easiest to maneuver and is also good for a controlled, more defensive style of play.

          Paddles that are close to 8″ wide and 16″ long fall within the wide body category.” Schmits continues, “Players that have well-developed stroke mechanics from other sports may be most comfortable with paddles having a longer shape (between 16″ and a maximum of 17″) and some with a longer handle will better facilitate two-handed backhands, an increasingly common grip used very successfully by tennis converts.”

          MATERIAL

          Carbon fiber and fiberglass composites are the two most common materials used in high-quality paddles, as they been shown to help players deliver speed and spin on the ball. A good pickleball paddle should also have zero dead spots, meaning when you make a quality hit on the ball it doesn’t randomly underperform and fall flat, so nearly all materials used in the paddle’s construction take this into consider. “When it comes to the material I like to look for a polypropylene core with a fiberglass or carbon fiber face,” says Johns.

          A good pickleball paddle is usually thick, as brands can use the space to add their own technology to limit the odds of there being any dead spots. One popular interior makeup is a polypropylene core (also called honeycomb core design) which is a type of interior webbing that’s made into a honeycomb shape to ensure the paddle is evenly balanced.

          Last to examine is the type of surface used on the paddle. Some paddles will have their own textured surface, thus making it easier to put spin on the ball. A few surface materials used for textured surfaces include carbon fiber and graphite.

          POWER VS. CONTROL

          Similar to how you might shop for a driver in golf, your pickleball paddle is going to have a formula of power and control that works for you. A power paddle will have a tight sweet spot and deliver a shot with more pop, while a control paddle has a larger sweet spot that’s softer but allows for more consistent returns.

          For a power paddle, look for something tighter and more compact in all areas of the design.”Paddles that have thinner cores, like a 13mm-14mm, have longer configuration, and typically made with fiberglass faces will return more power, although hitting the ball with heat is as much a result of an efficient kinetic chain than anything,” says Schmits.

          If you want a paddle with more control, a design with maneuverable dimensions and a carbon fiber face (as opposed to a fiberglass face, which is harder) is recommended. “I’d look for at least 8” of width on the paddle head and for a thicker core that’s 16mm+ or 5/8”+,” says Johns.

          GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE

          When we asked our team of experts about grip circumference, they all agreed it was certainly just as important as it is in tennis. They also noted there are fewer options when it comes to shopping for specific grip sizes (most brands use a standard 4.25″ size). What you will find is most pickleball paddle grips will vary from just under 4″ and no bigger than 5.5″.

          John Crowley Sr., the Sr. Category Merchandising Manager of Paddles at Pickleball Central, recommends starting with a smaller grip first (when picking between two paddles) and then adding an overgrip if needed. “Very few manufacturers offer different grip sizes and materials, so customizing with an overgrip wrap is the best way to build up the grip to a comfortable size,” added Schmits.

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          How Much Should You Spend on a Pickleball Paddle?

          best pickleball paddles

          Just like shopping for running shoes, you can find pickleball paddles at all types of different prices. Generally speaking, expect to pay anywhere from $40-$100 for a beginner to intermediate level paddle. If you’re looking for an advanced paddle, any paddle we recommend above that’s $100+ is a worthy choice.

          If you’re going to play more than two times a month, Johns says it’s time to invest in a serious paddle, “The right time to upgrade your paddle is usually when you find yourself wanting to improve your skills as a player as opposed to just playing for fun every now and then.”

          Crowley Sr. also gave us tips on how to go about investing in a paddle. “When you go shopping have a budget in mind (the best value to price is no object). How much do you plan to play? What is your sports background and if you know, what style of player are you – power player, control player or all court?” he says.

          If you think you have to splurge on a competitive paddle, think again. “I say shoot for the $75 to $100 range for your first paddle if you want to play competitively,” says Laura Gainor, USA Pickleball’s Director of Media Relations. “And if you’re planning to sign up for your first tournament, make sure your paddle is USA Pickleball approved (most brands advertise if they’re approved or not). You don’t want to get to the paddle check during your first match and need to find a new paddle that you haven’t been practicing with.”

          Is Fiberglass or Graphite Better for Pickleball Paddles?

          commerce breaker

          Like mentioned earlier, fiberglass and graphite paddles have characteristics about them that can play to your natural strengths on the court. “You are trying to find the recipe that works best for you,” says Crowley Sr.

          CHARACTERISTICS OF FIBERGLASS AND GRAPHITE

          In general, fiberglass pickleball paddles have more power but less control than a graphite paddle. This is mainly due to the fact fiberglass weights more. Graphite, on the other hand, is lighter and stronger due to the thinly layered construction of the material. Graphite paddles are often associated with better control, resulting in a better ability to place each return where you want it.

          PRICE POINT OF FIBERGLASS AND GRAPHITE

          Fiberglass paddles are more wallet-friendly, and have been gaining in popularity due to their quality performance while staying at a good price point. Graphite paddles are more expensive, and are often seen being used more by professionals.

          One other paddle material to consider is composite. For example, you might find a composite design that incorporates carbon fiber and fiberglass in hopes to bring equal parts control and power. Composite paddles are usually high quality and exist at graphite-level prices (or higher), but it’s important to make sure the paddle is USA Pickleball approved if you ever want to play competitively.

          Headshot of John Thompson

          John Thompson

          Gear and Commerce Editor

          John Thompson is the Gear and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where he covers fashion, grooming, gear, and technology. He was previously the Style & Gear Editor at BroBible.com, and a commerce writer for TheManual.com. His interests include shopping for rare vintage clothes and following his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. 

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