How to choose pickleball paddles?
After you've been playing pickleball for a while, you may want to upgrade to a new racquet. So how do you start your search? Your Instagram is flooded with ads from brands you want to try but don't know how to narrow down. Also, why are pickleball paddles $200?
There will never be a perfect guide to exactly what rackets you should buy—you just have to try them out and make your choice. Next, follow us to choose a Pickleball Paddle that suits you!
There are 7 fundamental traits that make up a paddle: thickness, center material, manage length, paddle shape, weight, floor material, and fee and warranty. USAP guidelines state that the combined length and width of the blade must not exceed 24 inches, and the blade length must not exceed 17 inches. That's why there are trade-offs between different features.
The thickness of the paddles is usually between 11mm and 16mm. The thinner the paddle, the louder the "snap" you will get out of the water. The thicker the racquet, the more energy it can absorb from the ball. If the pickleball paddles had a thickness of 13mm and 16mm, the 13mm would be "power" and the 16mm would be "control". The general brand of pulp has only one thickness.
You have 3 types of main cores: Wood Core, Nomex and Polycore. Ignore the timber paddles a number of us performed in excessive school, Nomex changed into the primary composite center utilized in pickleball paddles. The (not)famous Onix Z5 uses Nomex, which is what gives it its infamous power and pop sound. The power you get from Nomex paddles comes at the expense of 'touch' or 'control'. Most pros are playing some kind of multicore racquet. Polyplastic (PP) is a honeycomb of plastic sandwiched between layers of some "proprietary" material. Brands like Prokennex and Gearbox have created a proprietary core material that is different from other brands, so hitting the ball with them feels very unique.
Handle length and shape
Depending on your grip and racquet sporting background, you may prefer different handle lengths and shapes. If your hobby originates from ping pong and uses a ping pong grip like a grip, you probably don't need the long handle because you'll choke on the racket. If you like a two-handed backhand, the standard handles under 5" long won't be enough, so look for something over 5.25". Also, some handles have more rounded edges, while others have a more traditional octagonal tennis grip shape. Be careful, some manufacturers have round handles but put an octagonal stock on the handle, so looks can be deceiving.
A subcategory of handles is handle size. Grips that are too small can tire your hands, and you'll often end up gripping the racquet too tightly, which can create bounce and lead to tennis elbow. If it's too big, you'll lose mobility and require extra effort. There are a few ways to determine which grip size you should be using, but always go with the smaller side.
Extended and Standard
The paddle can weigh anywhere between 7.2 ounces to 8.3 ounces. When you order a new paddle, there is usually a 0.3 oz range. Obviously, the lighter the paddle, the more maneuverable it is and the less power you get. You'll see some videos of pros taking a standard paddle and then adding weighted tape (lead or tungsten) to different areas of the paddle. The increased weight in the throat provides more stability without sacrificing hand speed. More weight on the tip provides more power. Some pros even increase their racquets into the 10-ounce range, but be aware of the stress the extra weight puts on your wrists and hands.
The surface determines how much spin the paddle can generate. USAPA uses friction measurement devices to ensure a racquet is below a certain coefficient of friction, but Pickleball Paddles manufacturers are always coming up with new ways to push their surfaces against the edge. A racquet like Ben John's Signature racquet is essentially spray on sandpaper, which is why the grit will eventually wear down. More and more manufacturers are now using graphite pickleball paddle or carbon fiber as the surface so that friction is built in. Our friend Chris Olson at Pickleball Studio did a lot of work testing the spin on a few different paddles. For the data, it's a spreadsheet of all the RPMs he gets from each paddle.
Layers of carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic will be pressed onto the poly core.