When it comes to owning the court, it’s not just about having mad skills or a killer serve.
The secret sauce to acing your game is having a trusty sidekick, the right paddle, in your grip.
But with so many out there, choosing the best pickleball paddle can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack – a big, noisy, pickleball-shaped haystack.
Having volleyed, dinked, and smashed my way through more games than I can count, I’ve got the lowdown on the paddles that’ll take your game from ‘meh’ to ‘mighty’.
We’re diving into the world of pickleball paddles — the cream of the crop that’ll make you feel like a superstar on the court.
By the time we’re done, you’ll have the 411 on the best pickleball paddles that’ll have you serving up victories like a pro.
Ready to level up your game?
- Overall Top Pick: JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS Pickleball Paddle
- Best Starter Set: SLK Neo 2.0 by Selkirk Pickleball Paddles
- Best for Intermediate Level Players: Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pickleball Paddle
- Best All-Court Paddle: Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle
- Best Cheap Pickleball Paddle: PCKL Launch Series Premium Pickleball Paddle
How We Chose the Best Pickleball Paddles
As you may know, there are many different brands and types of pickleball paddles on the market. That’s why it’s essential to find the paddles that are ideal for any type of player at any skill level.
With that in mind, we prioritized evaluating products that have a reputation of consumer satisfaction.
While we did give preference to popular brands and models, we also looked beyond popular national brands as we extensively researched dozens of products when selecting the picks for this article.
Reviewed: Best Pickleball Paddles For The Money
I’ve gathered my top picks for the best pickleball paddles out there.
Check them out below and get ready to up your game on the court.
I highly recommend the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS Pickleball Paddle for its incredible spin, power, and control.
- BEN JOHNS SIGNATURE PICKLEBALL PADDLE: JOOLA collaborated closely with the world's #1 player to design his new pickleball paddle. The result is a racket that gives aggressive, offensive players every technological advantage over their opponents. Grip Type: Ridge
- CARBON FRICTION SURFACE (CFS) IS THE NEXT BEST THING FOR SPIN: JOOLA's CFS technology utilizes a more advanced, durable, longer lasting Carbon-Flex5 textured surface, harnessing raw power while providing maximum spin.
- HYPERFOAM EDGE WALL: Specialized foam injected into the perimeter of the paddle adding weight and stability, increasing the sweet spot for consistent edge to edge performance. Carbon-forged handle provides maximum flex for additional power & comfort.
- REACTIVE POLYPROPYLENE HONEYCOMB CORE ADDS CONSISTENCY: Specially tuned for the high-level player to maximize the consistency of the bounce and feel necessary for every shot, with reduced vibration.
- Excellent spin and control with Carbon Friction Surface
- Enhanced sweet spot with HyperFoam Edge Wall
- Comfortable and powerful carbon-forged handle
- Expensive compared to other paddles
- Carbon texture surface might require some adaptation time
- Lengthier handle might not suit all players
After playing with the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS Pickleball Paddle, I noticed a significant improvement in my spin and control, thanks to the Carbon Friction Surface.
This cutting-edge surface texture really grips the ball and allows for maximum spin, which was a game-changer for me.
The enhanced sweet spot provided by the HyperFoam Edge Wall technology made a noticeable difference in the paddle’s consistency across the entire surface.
I felt more confident striking the ball near the edges without sacrificing power or control.
Additionally, the carbon-forged handle maximized the flex, providing me with both power and comfort during intense games.
However, the price might be a bit steep for some players, especially those who are new to pickleball or don’t play frequently.
Also the Carbon Friction Surface may require some getting used to, and the lengthier handle might not suit all players.
The Takeaway: the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS Pickleball Paddle is a fantastic investment for serious players looking to up their game with superior spin, control, and power. Despite a few minor drawbacks, I believe this paddle is worth every penny for those committed to improving their pickleball skills.
The Paddletek Tempest Wave II should be your go-to choice for excellent control, touch, and performance on the pickleball court.
- ONTROL AND TOUCH - The Tempest Wave II offers you incredible control for strategic short games. The textured graphite surface makes it easy to place the ball exactly where you want it.
- UNMATCHED CONTROL - The Tempest series prioritizes precision and speed, making this paddle an ideal choice for strategic players. The textured graphite surface makes it easy to place the ball exactly where you want, and the graphite in the Tempest PolyCore dampens vibrations.
- BIG WINS INCOMING - This professional pickleball paddle delivers the power and performance you need to win at the highest levels of play. Features a large, consistent sweet spot that adds finesse to every shot while the balanced weight increases speed and maneuverability.
- TEMPEST POLYCORE - This professional pickleball paddle features a textured graphite surface that dampens vibrations and reduces weight while still providing enough power for a put-away shot.
- PERFORMANCE GRIP - This durable paddle is equipped with our ultra cushion high track performance grip and has ⅛” edged shock guard. Grip circumference: 4 1/4”. Grip length: 5 1/4”. Total length: 15 7/8”. Width: 8”. Weight: 7.4 - 7.8oz.
- Incredible control and touch for strategic plays
- Textured graphite surface for precise ball placement
- Well-balanced weight for speed and maneuverability
- Might not be suitable for players seeking maximum power
- Grip could be uncomfortable for those with larger hands
- Slightly more expensive than other options
I recently had the chance to try out the Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pickleball Paddle, and I must say, it definitely lived up to the hype.
The control and touch offered by this paddle are unmatched, allowing me to precisely place the ball where I wanted it during short games.
The textured graphite surface not only provides a pleasant feel but also helps with accuracy and reduces vibrations.
What I also appreciate about this paddle is its balanced weight. It’s neither too light nor too heavy, making it perfect for quick movements and maneuverability on the court.
This has especially helped me during intense games where swift reactions are necessary.
However, the Tempest Wave II might not be ideal for players who prioritize power over control.
While it does have enough power for put-away shots, it’s primarily designed for precision and touch, which some might find limiting.
Additionally, the grip size and circumference may not be comfortable for those with larger hands.
The Takeaway: the Paddletek Tempest Wave II Pickleball Paddle is a fantastic option for players who want to improve their strategic game and have better control on the court. With its many impressive features and consistent performance, I believe it’s worth the slightly higher price tag compared to its competitors.
The SLK 2.0 by Selkirk Pickleball Paddles are a fantastic option for players seeking a balanced and comfortable experience.
- MULTILAYER FACE TECHNOLOGY - Created by the pioneers of today’s Pickleball paddle technology, SLK by Selkirk combines the latest developments in paddle technology with comfort, balance, and affordability. SLK Neo features a multilayer face that combines the power of Graphite with the control of Fiberglass. This revolutionary technology has been trusted and developed by the pros to help elevate your game for both indoor and outdoor performance.
- SX3 HONEYCOMB CORE - Designed using exclusive honeycomb core technology. SLK Pickleball paddles yield a large sweet spot for constant speed while absorbing the hit and softening the feel.
- LIGHTWEIGHT PICKLEBALL PADDLES - Only 7.5OZ for each paddle, these pickleball racquets are beautifully balanced between lightweight paddles and medium weight paddles. Perfect for the next generation of Pickleball players.
- ULTRA CUSHION GRIP - Combined with 4.25" grip circumference and 5.25" length. SLK Pickleball paddles use Ultra-Comfort Grip material, designed for the highest level of comfort – absorbing both perspiration and impacts as they travel from the paddle face to the hand, allowing you to play without fatigue after long gameplay intervals.
- SLK PADDLE SET - Get the ultimate starter pickleball set! The SLK Neo paddles incorporate the same research and pedigree that go into all Selkirk paddles, but at a more affordable price. This pickle ball racquet set of 2 contains both Red and Blue SLK Neo pickle ball paddles, 4 indoor and outdoor pickleball balls and a rigid carry bag to protect your paddles, when you’re on the go.
- Multilayer face technology for power and control
- SX3 honeycomb core provides a large sweet spot
- Lightweight design at only 7.5OZ per paddle
- Zipper on the included bag is low quality
- Balls included in the set might not be durable
- Grip material can become slippery with perspiration
I recently had the opportunity to try out the SLK Neo 2.0 by Selkirk Pickleball Paddles and they didn’t disappoint as a good option for beginners.
The first thing I noticed was the comfortable feel of the paddle in my hand, thanks to the ultra-cushion grip material.
This grip was designed to absorb both perspiration and impacts, and it allowed me to play for extended periods without any discomfort.
The multilayer face technology, combining graphite with fiberglass, offers a great combination of power and control.
If you’re only a somewhat experienced player, you’ll be able to tell the difference in the performance as compared to other paddles you’ve used in the past.
The power of the graphite combined with the control of the fiberglass makes for a great game experience.
The SX3 honeycomb core technology ensures a large sweet spot, which makes it easier for you to control shots and maintain consistent speed throughout the game.
Being a lightweight paddle at only 7.5OZ, it provided the perfect balance between power and agility, making it ideal for players of all skill levels.
However, there were a few drawbacks I encountered while using the SLK by Selkirk paddles.
The zipper on the included carry bag felt low quality and had separated at the top after only a few uses.
The balls that were included in the set were also not very durable.
I managed to split one at the seam after just a few games.
Additionally, the grip material became slippery when my hands started to sweat, affecting my control during intense play.
The Takeaway: the SLK Neo 2.0 set by Selkirk Pickleball Paddles are a solid choice for beginner pickleball players looking for quality and comfort, but be prepared to invest in a better carry bag and additional balls.
The Onix Graphite Z5 is a solid investment for both beginner and advanced players seeking impressive touch and control.
- Graphite Carbon Fiber Face with Rough Texture Surface
- Cushion Comfort Grip
- Nomex Honeycomb Core for Touch, Control, and Power
- Outstanding ball control
- Large sweet spot
- Comfortable tennis-style handle
- Handle may be too thin for some players
- Limited color options
- Slightly higher price point
After playing around with the Onix Graphite Z5, I couldn’t help but appreciate its fantastic touch and feel on the ball.
The medium-weight graphite face and nomex core blend just right, providing that perfect balance between power and speed.
It really made a noticeable difference in my gameplay.
The widebody shape and large sweet spot on the Z5 make it ideal for players of all skill levels.
In my experience, it has absolutely improved my accuracy, allowing for some fancy shots and great volleys.
And the flared wood handle, reminiscent of a table tennis racket, makes for a comfortable grip during extended play.
Although the Graphite Z5 performance is impressive, there were a couple of minor drawbacks.
The handle, while comfortable, is a bit on the thin side, so players with larger hands might need to add an extra wrap for a better grip.
Additionally, while the blue color looks nice, it would’ve been great to have a wider variety of color options to choose from, especially at this price point.
The Takeaway: the Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle has been a game-changer for me. Despite its slightly higher price and limited color options, the paddle’s outstanding control and touch make it worth considering for players looking to level up their game on the court.
The PCKL Launch Series Pickleball Paddle combines power, control, and feel, making it a solid choice for competitive-casual players.
- PCKL LAUNCH SERIES DESIGNED FOR ALL-AROUND CONSISTENCY - this wide-body pickleball paddle blends power, control and feel into one versatile paddle
- FIBERGLASS FACE WITH MASSIVE SWEET-SPOT - for added forgiveness and reduced mishits with a Polypropylene Honeycomb Core that delivers consistency and a generous sweet-spot
- COMFORT GRIP - to provide maximum cushion and shock absorption for enhanced feel
- EYE-CATCHING DESIGN - made to show off at all outdoor and indoor pickleball events
- USA PICKLEBALL APPROVED - with a paddle length of 16 inches, a width of 8 inches, and a weight of 7.5oz.
- Widebody design for added forgiveness and reduced mishits
- Fiberglass face with a large sweet-spot and consistent polypropylene honeycomb core
- Comfort Grip ensures maximum cushioning and shock absorption
- May not suit advanced players looking for more specialized features
- Relatively new on the market, lacking an extensive history of user feedback
- Only available in one color option
I recently got my hands on the PCKL Launch Series Pickleball Paddle, and I must say, it’s been quite impressive for such a low price.
As a competitive-casual player myself, I instantly appreciated the wide body design, which has made my game a lot more forgiving.
I’ve noticed I’m making fewer mishits compared to other cheap paddles, which has been a game-changer for me.
The paddle’s fiberglass face and polypropylene honeycomb core have also been a major plus.
The sweet-spot on this paddle is huge, giving me the extra confidence I need on the court.
It’s been a breeze to hit accurately whether I’m at the baseline or kitchen line.
Moreover, I love the way the Comfort Grip feels in my hand; the cushioning and shock absorption make every swing feel incredibly smooth.
While the PCKL Launch Series paddle has treated me well so far, it may not be for everyone, especially advanced players looking for more specialized features.
Additionally, since it is relatively new to the market, there isn’t an extensive history of user feedback to rely on.
And if you’re hoping for multiple color options, the paddle is currently only available in one shade of green.
The Takeaway: I’ve had a positive experience with the PCKL Launch Series Pickleball Paddle. It delivers the right mix of power, control, and feel for competitive-casual players like myself. Just be aware of its limitations if you’re a more advanced player or if you prefer a paddle with a history of proven performance and multiple color options.
What To Consider Before Buying A Pickleball Paddle
When I’m shopping for the best pickleball paddle, there are a few key features I look for to make sure I’m getting a top-quality product.
Here’s my advice on finding the perfect paddle for you.
First, consider the weight of the paddle.
Typically, pickleball paddles weigh between 6 to 14 ounces.
I prefer lighter paddles because they offer better maneuverability and quick response, while heavier paddles generate more power.
It’s all about finding the right balance for your play style.
Paddle Surface Material
Next, let’s talk about the paddle’s material.
There are three main materials to choose from: wood, composite, and graphite.
Personally, I’d recommend composite or graphite paddles as they provide better performance and durability.
Keep in mind, though, that these high-quality materials also come with a higher price tag.
Another important feature to pay attention to is the grip size.
You want a paddle with a grip that fits comfortably in your hand.
A too-small grip might compromise accuracy, while a too-large grip can cause strain on your wrist.
Grip circumferences typically range from 4 to 4 3/4 inches.
To find the right grip size, you can measure your hand from the tip of your ring finger to the bottom lateral crease of your palm.
When it comes to the core of the paddle, there are three popular options: aluminum, polymer, and Nomex.
I’d recommend looking into polymer or aluminum cores, as they tend to provide the right blend of control, power, and durability.
Polymer cores are known for their quietness, which might be beneficial if you play in noise-sensitive areas.
An edge guard is a feature that protects the paddle’s perimeter from damage.
While it can add a bit more weight to the paddle, I think it’s totally worth it for the increased durability it provides.