When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more here.

What’s The Best Material For A Pickleball Paddle?

Playing with the right pickleball paddle is essential if you wanna perform well on the court.

The paddle’s material massively impacts a player’s game, affecting their control, power, and overall performance.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand the different materials pickleball paddles are made from and their advantages and disadvantages.

Knowing this means you can choose the best one for your playing style and preferences.

There are really three primary materials used to make pickleball paddles: wood, composite, and graphite.

Wood paddles are the cheapest and heaviest, making them an excellent option for beginners or recreational players.

Graphite paddles are the most expensive and lightweight, providing excellent control and maneuverability, making them the preferred choice for professional players.

And composite paddles are a middle ground between wood and graphite, offering a balance between power and control. 

Choosing the best material for a pickleball paddle can be challenging, since it depends on various factors such as playing style, budget, and personal preferences.

So, let us help you make an informed decision and improve your game on the court.

Materials for Pickleball Paddles

Let’s take a closer look the most common materials used for pickleball paddles so that you’re more informed on the differences.

man holding pickleball paddle

Wooden Paddles

Wooden paddles were the original type of pickleball paddle and are still used today.

They are typically made of hardwood and are heavier than other materials, which can make them more difficult to maneuver.

They are also less durable than other materials, as they can crack or warp over time.

However, wooden paddles are a good option for beginners or those on a budget, as they are typically less expensive than other materials.

Composite Paddles

Composite paddles are made up of a combination of different materials, like fiberglass and carbon fiber.

They are a popular choice among pickleball players because they are lightweight, durable, and provide good control over the ball.

Best Carbon Fiber Paddle
JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
  • Carbon Abrasion Surface with High Grit & Spin
  • Sure-Grip Elongated Handle
  • 16mm Pickle Ball Paddle with Polypropylene Honeycomb Core
  • USAPA Approved 2022 Ben Johns Paddle
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/07/2023 09:08 pm GMT

Composite paddles are also less expensive than graphite paddles, which makes them a good option for intermediate-level players.

Graphite Paddles

Graphite paddles are made of a carbon fiber material that is lightweight and strong.

They are a popular choice among advanced pickleball players because they provide excellent control and power.

Best Graphite Paddle
ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle
  • Graphite Carbon Fiber Face with Rough Texture Surface
  • Cushion Comfort Grip
  • Nomex Honeycomb Core for Touch, Control, and Power
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/07/2023 08:48 pm GMT

Graphite paddles are also more expensive than other materials, which makes them a good option for serious players who are willing to invest in their equipment.

Pickleball Paddle Core Materials

You should also note that the core of a pickleball paddle will be a different material that what you see on the face of the paddle.

  • Polymer is the most common type of pickleball paddle core. 
  • Nomex, a polymer-based core, is also relatively common that gives you a crazy amount of power on the court.
  • Aluminum cores also exist, but aren’t that common, and should honestly be avoided whenever possible cause you won’t get much power here.
pickleball paddle with balls
image: OvertAnalyzer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Polymer Core Paddles

Polymer core paddles are made of a unique material that is lightweight, durable, and shock-absorbent.

They are a good option for players who prefer a softer feel when hitting the ball. 

Aluminum Core Paddles

Aluminum core paddles are made of a honeycomb-like structure that is lightweight and strong.

They are a good option for players who prefer a paddle with a larger sweet spot, as the aluminum core provides a larger hitting surface. 

Graphite vs. Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles

Both of these materials have their own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to understand the differences between them before picking one type of paddle over the other.

It’s also worth pointing out that technically fiberglass is a type of composite.

So, one of the main differences between graphite and fiberglass paddles is weight.

Graphite paddles tend to be lighter, weighing around 7.5 ounces on average, while fiberglass paddles are heavier, weighing around 14 ounces.

Weight is important because it can affect a player’s swing and control, as well as their overall comfort during play.

Another difference is cost.

Graphite paddles are generally more expensive than fiberglass paddles, with prices ranging from $65 to $200 for high-quality paddles.

Fiberglass paddles, on the other hand, are more affordable, with prices starting at around $50.

When it comes to performance, both graphite and fiberglass paddles have their own strengths.

Graphite paddles are known for their durability and power, making them a popular choice for players who like to hit hard.

They also tend to have a more rigid feel, which can provide better control and precision.

On the other hand, fiberglass paddles are known for their flexibility and touch, making them a popular choice for players who prefer finesse and spin.

They also tend to have a softer feel, which can be more comfortable for players who play for extended periods.

Players who prioritize power and durability may prefer graphite paddles, while those who prioritize finesse and touch may prefer fiberglass paddles.

It’s also worth noting that some paddles may combine both materials, offering the benefits of each in one paddle.

Graphite vs Composite Pickleball Paddles

Graphite pickleball paddles are lightweight and offer exceptional control for dinking and soft play.

They are also usually more durable than composite paddles.

However, they are more expensive and don’t offer as much power as composite paddles.

On the other hand, composite pickleball paddles are heavier but have a textured surface that helps in spinning.

They are made of various materials, including wood, plastic, and fiberglass.

Composite paddles tend to be more expensive than graphite paddles, but that higher cost is worth it cause they’re more durable and tend to have a more prominent sweet spot.

Graphite paddles weigh around 7.5 ounces, making them lighter than composite paddles.

Lighter paddles are ideal if you want to control your grip and shot, making graphite paddles more and more common every day.

Fiberglass vs Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles

Fiberglass paddles are known for their flexibility, which can provide more rebound as the ball hits the paddle surface.

This results in greater energy return to the ball, resulting in a more powerful response.

Fiberglass isn’t as stiff as carbon fiber and graphite, which means that it acts as a kinda of trampoline because it essentially takes all that energy from the ball and then just transfers it right back when you whack it.

On the other hand, carbon fiber pickleball paddles are much stronger and lighter than fiberglass.

They have a grainy textured surface that enhances control and gives room for a lot more spin.

Carbon fiber is more responsive, but it is also more expensive than fiberglass.

Players who prefer a more powerful response may lean towards fiberglass, while those who prioritize control and spin may prefer carbon fiber.

Factors to Consider

In addition to the type of material, there are a few other things for you to take under consideration here.


One of the most important things to think about when choosing a pickleball paddle is weight.

Lighter paddles are easier to maneuver and can help reduce fatigue during long games.

However, heavier paddles can provide more power and stability.

It’s important to find a weight that feels comfortable for the player’s individual needs and preferences.


The grip of a pickleball paddle is another important factor to consider.

A good grip can help prevent the paddle from slipping out of the player’s hand during gameplay.

The grip should also feel comfortable and provide enough cushioning to absorb shock and reduce fatigue.

pickleball balls on paddle


The durability of a pickleball paddle is also an important consideration.

Paddles made from materials like graphite and carbon fiber tend to be more durable and can withstand heavy use. However, they can also be more expensive.

Paddles made from wood or composite materials may be less expensive, but they may not last as long.

Power and Control

Choosing a paddle with the right combination of power and control is important for players of all skill levels.

Paddles made from materials like graphite and carbon fiber tend to offer more control, while paddles made from wood or composite materials may offer more power.

Players should consider their individual playing style and needs when choosing a paddle.


Some pickleball paddles can be noisy when they come into contact with the ball.

This can be distracting to other players and may violate certain rules and regulations.

Players should choose a paddle that is quiet and does not produce excessive noise during gameplay.

What Type Of Material To Choose

Not sure which type of material to go with? We’ve got some recommendations based on your playing style.

  • For control: a graphite or carbon fiber paddle with a polymer core
  • For power: a fiberglass paddle with a Nomex core
  • For most lightweight: a graphite or carbon fiber paddle with an aluminum core

Follow these recommendations and you’ll end up loving your new paddle.