Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the USA, with nearly 10% of the population (36 million) playing the racquet sport. Unlike other sports, pickleball players don’t need an arsenal of equipment, but every player needs a good pickleball paddle. And choosing the best pickleball paddle for you can be difficult.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or just getting started, one thing is clear: the choice of your pickleball paddle can significantly impact your game. In this article, we will break down 10 of the best pickleball paddles on the market, from budget-friendly beginner options to premium professional-level ones! Let’s get straight to it!
BEST PICKLEBALL PADDLES
- Selkirk Vanguard: Best Overall
- Joola Essentials: Best Value
- Helium Pickleball Paddle For Kids: Best for Kids
- Nuipipo 4-Person Graphite Set: Best Bundle
- Franklin Sports Maxgrit: Best Sweet Spot
- Prolite Bolt Paddle: Best For Beginners
- Ronbus R1.16: Best for Intermediate Players
- Joola Ben Johns Perseus: Best for Advanced Players
- Nettie Pedleton: Best Flashy Paddle
- Outwest Sport Paddle: Best Unique Design
1. SELKIRK S2 VANGUARD (BEST OVERALL PADDLE)
The Vanguard pickleball paddle by Selkirk was a top seller, but the S2 Vanguard is a new and improved version of this popular model. The Selkirk S2 Vanguard is one of the best pickleball paddles out there, and it can be yours for a fair price. The paddle is made of carbon fiber, and the lightweight model is incredibly light, feeling almost weightless in your hand. This pickleball paddle has a durable and textured surface, perfect for spinning the ball. This paddle has stellar control and grip, making it a perfect choice for pickleball players of all levels. At just under $100, this is definitely one of our top picks for the best pickleball paddles on the market.
As an added bonus, the Selkirk S2 Vanguard is 100% made in the USA! So, by purchasing one of these products, you are supporting the local economy.
2. JOOLA ESSENTIALS (BEST VALUE PICKLEBALL PADDLE)
Joola is a HUGE name in table tennis and pickleball. Their products are high quality and expertly engineered for results. If you are on a budget, we highly recommend the Joola Essentials paddle. This is one of the best value pickleball paddles, as you get a high-quality piece of equipment for just over $50 – what a steal!
This product is made of fiberglass, which, while still an excellent material for pickleball paddles, is less powerful than carbon fiber. Would we recommend this pickleball paddle to professionals? Probably not. But, it is the best option for beginner or intermediate pickleball players on a budget.
3. HELIUM PICKLEBALL PADDLE FOR KIDS (BEST FOR KIDS)
If your child wants to start playing pickleball, you’ll need to get them a kids-sized paddle. This is because a standard adult size will be too large for your kid, especially if they are under 12. The Helium Kids Pickleball Paddle is one of the best options for younger players. It is lightweight and smaller than standard pickleball paddles, and it is surprisingly good quality! This is the best pickleball paddle for kids who are just starting out in the sport. Additionally, this paddle has a fun design that your child will love!
4. NUIPOPO 4-PERSON PICKLEBALL SET (BEST BUNDLE)
If you want to get the whole family involved in pickleball or want to host games at your home, your best bet is to get a bundle that includes multiple pickleball paddles and balls. The Nuipopo 4-person pickleball set is affordable and good quality. If you are looking for a decent set of pickleball paddles, this is the option for you. These Nipopos are made of carbon graphite, which is a lightweight material used in pickleball paddles. Graphite is a slightly less durable material than carbon fiber, but it is much more affordable. Overall, the Nuipopo is an excellent choice if you are seeking a low-cost set of paddles.
5. FRANKLIN SPORTS SIGNATURE SERIES MAXGRIT (BEST SWEET SPOT)
You can immediately feel the quality when you pick up the Franklin Sports Signature Series Maxgrit. The surface of the paddle has extra grit to allow you to spin the ball more and deliver a more powerful swing. This paddle is also slightly longer than other paddles, so the sweet spot is larger. This product comes in 2 different sizes: 13mm width and 16mm width. Generally, thicker paddles give you more control but less power.
This is one of the more affordable options on our best pickleball paddles list, but it is still a great choice for beginner, intermediate, or even advanced players. The one downside with the Maxgrit is that the grip tape tends to fall apart quicker than other products.
6. PROLITE BOLT PADDLE (BEST FOR BEGINNERS)
Many pickleball paddles look similar, but there is actually a difference between beginner and advanced paddles. The best beginner pickleball paddles will be in the middle of the road in terms of weight and generally have average dimensions. Also, since beginners are just getting into the sport, they don’t typically want to spend the big bucks on a paddle. The Prolite Bold Paddle ticks all these boxes and is among the best pickleball paddles for beginners. If you haven’t quite figured out your pickleball playing style yet or learned how to deliver difficult spins, there is no need to invest in a fancy paddle. The Prolite Bolt is simple, quality, affordable, and feels great to swing!
7. RONBUS R1.16 (BEST FOR INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS)
Once you have been playing pickleball for a bit, you will start to develop a playing style and learn how to spike and spin the ball. Intermediate players generally want a higher-quality paddle with a textured surface and more control. The Rnbus R1.16 has a slightly longer handle and a 16mm core, giving players a lot of control over the paddle. While it is a relatively thick paddle, it does have a good amount of power due to the carbon fiber face that is shock-absorbent. This paddle has a premium feel and performs similarly to high-end Joola paddles, but it costs significantly less. This makes it one of the best paddle choices for intermediate pickleball players.
8. JOOLA BEN JOHNS PERSEUS (BEST PRO-LEVEL PICKLEBALL PADDLE)
Now for the premium option. If you are a serious player, you’ll need a high-quality paddle as your companion. Joola makes some of the best pickleball paddles on the market, and the Ben Johns Perseus stands out. The Perseus paddle is one of the signature paddles used by Ben Johns, the world’s top men’s pickleball player. After partnering with Joola in 2022, the Perseus and the Hyperion quickly became some of the most popular pickleball paddles for top-level players. The Perseus delivers extremely fast swings and comes in 14mm and 16mm thickness. The 14mm model, in particular, is one of the hardest-hitting pickleball paddles out there. The paddle has a slightly elongated face that also extends its sweet spot.
The obvious downside of the Ben Johns Perseus is the price. Only committed players with enough funds are going to be willing to shell out a quarter grand for a paddle. With that said, those who do want this top-level paddle will not be disappointed!
9. NETTIE PENDLETON (BEST FLASHY PADDLE)
Are you after a pickleball paddle that looks good and plays well? The Nettlie Pendleton is a brightly colored paddle that scores high in aesthetics without sacrificing its useability. This carbon fiber racquet feels great in hand and looks even better! If you want to break out a paddle that will impress your friends and draw attention, a Nettie is an awesome option. The Pendleton is our favorite design, but you can choose between 4 flashy styles, all of which are bright and classy. At $80, the Nettie pickleball paddle is also relatively affordable, considering its top-notch craftsmanship.
10. OUTWEST SPORT PADDLE (MOST UNIQUE DESIGN)
Another pickleball paddle that stands out for its design is the Outwest Sport Paddle. This paddle has a wildwest-themed print with cacti, mountains, and a setting sun. Outwest Sport is a relatively new company that produces a unique paddle design that also performs extremely well. The paddle is made of carbon graphite, a more affordable material than carbon fiber. The grip feels extremely comfortable—a standout feature of the Outwest Sport Pickleball paddle. Combine the overall quality of this product with the unique aesthetic, and this is definitely one of the coolest pickleball paddles out there!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD PICKLEBALL PADDLE?
It is important to know what makes a “good” pickleball racquet when you are in the market for a new one. In general, the features of the pickleball paddle that affect its quality the most are the weight, material used, size and feel of the grip, and the cost of the paddle.
The weight of your pickleball paddle plays a bigger role than you might think. If the pickleball paddle is too light, it may be more difficult to control, and if it is too heavy, it won’t have as much power. Generally, more lightweight paddles are best for advanced pickleball players, and beginners prefer heavier options.
Most pickleball paddles are made of graphite, carbon fiber, fiberglass, or wood. Carbon fiber paddles are generally considered the best quality because they play extremely well and are more durable than other options. Graphite and fiberglass are mid-tier materials, and wood is the most budget option. Carbon fiber pickleball paddles are the best because of their durability, larger “sweet spot,” and stiffness.
The grip of your pickleball paddle is another extremely essential part to pay attention to. After all, this is where your body makes contact with the paddle and the part of the paddle that you will use to control your movements. The texture of the grip, length of the handle, and circumference all play pivotal roles in the quality of the paddle.
Your budget and your skill level will help determine how much money you are willing to spend on a pickleball paddle. Generally, a paddle that costs more will be better, but there are some low-cost options that are super high quality too, even for more advanced players. Budget pickleball paddles will cost between $20 and $50, mid-budget options are between $50 and $150, and premium paddles cost $150 to $300.
Looking to learn the rules of pickleball? Check out our complete guide to pickleball.