Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., and with more people discovering it every day, the demand for pickleball paddles is increasing. Manufacturers are meeting the demand by unveiling more equipment options. While this means there's a pickleball paddle for every player, it can make knowing how to choose a pickleball paddle a challenge.
But don't worry. In this post, we'll explain how to choose pickleball paddles to make shopping easy. Read on and you'll be able to make an informed decision about which paddle is right for you.
What Materials Are Pickleball Paddles Made From?
When discussing what materials pickleball paddles are made from, you need to consider its two key parts: the core and the face. Both should factor into your decision when you're choosing a pickleball paddle.
Most pickleball paddles have a polymer core. This material generally provides good power generation and touch. Among polymer core pickleball paddles, density levels vary. Generally, higher-density cores feature smaller honeycomb cells that increase power. The thickness of cores varies. A standard thickness is around 14 to 15 mm. Thinner cores can produce more power while thicker ones boost control over the ball.
Some pickleball paddles have cores made from other materials, such as carbon fiber or aluminum. Carbon fiber can be a good substitute for polymer, but aluminum can dent easily and may not hold up as well as other core materials.
When it comes to the surface or face material, there is more variation among paddles. Options include:
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass was once the most common face material. Its stiffness can increase the power behind shots. However, most fiberglass paddles have a smaller sweet spot, making them less forgiving.
- Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber has overtaken fiberglass as the most popular face material. It generally offers a better touch than fiberglass but reduces power transfer. Typically, a carbon fiber face will have a generous sweet spot.
- Graphite: A specialty carbon fiber, graphite is stiffer, providing a power boost while offering a feel almost as good as other carbon fiber surface materials.
- Hybrids: Hybrid faces combine fiberglass and another material like graphite or carbon fiber. The benefits and features of these paddles vary based on the amount of each material.
What Material Is Right for Me?
When it comes to how to choose pickleball paddle materials, think about your needs. Are you a seasoned player who wants to take your game to the next level? If so, a fiberglass face may be the way to go due to its high degree of energy transfer that enhances power. For beginners who are just mastering the proper form, a carbon fiber face may be a better option because it provides better control and more forgiving play.
Do Pickleball Paddles Come In Different Shapes and Sizes?
Pickleball paddles come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Here are some of the ways that they differ.
When it comes to paddle shape, you have three main options to choose from:
- Elongated: An elongated paddle measures around 16.5". Its extended length increases power and spin.
- Short: A short paddle is around 15.5". Its smaller size raises the overall level of control and lowers spin.
- Standard: A standard pickleball paddle is around 16". This size offers a balance between power and control.
The handle length also impacts performance on the court. There are three categories:
- Long: A long-handle pickleball paddle is 5.25" or longer. The increased reach provides more power and spin.
- Short: A short-handle pickleball paddle is around 4.5". With your hand closer to the paddle face, this type of paddle will give you more control and less spin.
- Standard: A standard pickleball handle measures about 5". It will produce average spin and balanced performance.
You may sometimes see handle length referred to as grip length.
The weight of pickleball ball paddles also affects performance. There are three main classifications:
- Lightweight: Paddles that weigh 7 to 7.6 oz. are usually considered lightweight. Because they feel light in your hand, they are generally easier to maneuver, so you can move more quickly and dexterously on the court. On the downside, you need a more forceful swing to generate power.
- Heavyweight: Heavyweight paddles typically weigh 8.2 oz. or more. With their extra weight, these paddles transfer more energy to the ball naturally, giving you a more powerful swing. However, they are more difficult to maneuver.
- Midweight: Midweight paddles fall between 7.6 to 8.2 oz. These paddles provide more balanced play with more power generation than lightweight paddles and easier handling than heavyweights.
How to Choose the Features of Your Paddle
As with selecting materials, choosing features for your paddle is all about matching your strengths and weaknesses. If you wish to maximize power, heavier, elongated paddles with long handles are likely the best option. To play more precisely, consider lighter, shorter paddles with smaller handles. Standard midweight paddles can strike a compromise for those concerned about power and control.
Check Out Our Devereux Pickleball Paddle
If you're looking for your first pickleball paddle, check out ours. It is USAPA-approved, so you can use it in official tournaments. Here's a look at its specifications:
- Aramid honeycomb core: A high-density core that enhances performance
- Carbon fiber textured surface: A durable material that gives an exceptional feel
- 7.4 oz. weight: Makes the paddle easy to maneuver
- 15.5" x 7.9" by 0.55" dimensions: A shorter paddle that gives beginners more control
- 5.2" grip length: Slightly boosts power without sacrificing too much control