The 9 Best Pickleball Paddles Of 2023 For More Power & Control On The Court
- Best for advanced players: JOOLA Swift
- Best for beginners: Selkirk SLK Latitude
- Best professional paddle under $100: ONIX Z5
- Best for control:JOOLA Vision
- Best for intermediate players: Paddletek Pro Tempest Wave II
- Best lightweight: Head Extreme Tour Lite
- Best heavy: Paddletek Bantam Pro
- Best graphite: Engage Encore EX 6.0
- Best fiberglass: Gamma Sports Neutron 2.0
Looking for a refreshing way to add more movement to your life? It's a great time to hop on the pickleball bandwagon. The sport has loads of proven benefits1, both physical and mental—and the best pickleball paddles will make your newfound hobby more achievable, whether you're just starting out or you're already a pro.
Research shows that picking up a sport like pickleball is great for heart health, improved balance, mental health2, and depression3, and experts tout the activity as a great way to make friends as an adult. Emerging data also proves that grip strength is an important indicator of health, specifically tied to longevity4 and protection against mental illness. Beyond all of the health benefits of the sport, people of all ages are suddenly obsessed with pickleball, reporting that playing feels more like a social activity than a workout. But much like any sweat session, the right gear will set you up for success.
We used research, reviews, and insight from a holistic sports chiropractor to round up the best pickleball paddles that you can invest in to improve (or start) your game. Who knows, you may have just found your new favorite way to work out or get your steps in.
What is pickleball?
Think of pickleball as tennis' more extroverted cousin. You'll play on a smaller court (read: less distance to run), with a rotation of players. We think pickleball makes a great first date or double date, too, as the game is played in either singles or double pairs.
Pickleball has recently become the fastest-growing sport in America, but it's not new at all. Pickleball was invented during the summer of 1965 by a group of friends on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Legend says the bunch named their game after one family's dog, Pickles.
Holistic chiropractor and pickleball enthusiast Sarah Sponaugle says, "There are several great health benefits of pickleball. You have the cardiovascular benefits from getting your heart rate up. You get outside and get some vitamin D when playing outside, and in addition to the great physical benefits you have wonderful social benefits from making and spending time with friends."
As far as equipment goes, the ball itself looks a bit like a plastic Wiffle ball, and the paddles resemble oversized Ping-Pong paddles. The goal of the game is to hit the ball back and forth over a net until one player misses. Each game goes to 11 points, but you must win by two. You can get the full rundown of official pickleball rules here.
Our picks for the best pickleball paddles of 2023:
Best for advanced players: JOOLA Swift
- Reactive core to lessen vibration
- Superior control
- USAPA approved for tournament play
- White handle shows dirt easily
Materials:Carbon fiberPolymer core
Handle length:5.5 inches
This carbon fiber pickleball racket offers maximum control with high grit and spin. The main difference between the Swift and the Vision model we’ve also included on our list is that this one uses the brand’s “Swift technology,” with upgraded materials to create a lighter, faster swinging paddle. This results in faster hand speed and stronger shots. Even better? Its anti-slip grip offers ultimate handling and shock absorption. The paddle is loved for its durability, lightweightness, and shot consistency.
While, yes, it’s the most expensive option on our list, this paddle has earned high ratings on Amazon and gets a lot of love from advanced players. An IPTPA certified pickleball instructor writes, “This is a great paddle for those who value spin, control and a large sweet spot. It’s in the mid-weight range, although it feels slightly lighter due to the balance. A longer handle than most, this paddle can help with a two-handed backhand as well as providing more reach. JOOLA carbon surface paddles are among the highest spin paddles currently available. I performed the bounce test to show this paddle to be medium spring and hardness.” This reviewer also calls out unique features like the foam injection around the perimeter which improves stability. Negative reviews call out the white handle, which can show dirt easily—this could be solved by wrapping it with tape.
Best for beginners: Selkirk SLK Latitude
- Large sweet spot
- Two colorways to choose from
- USAPA approved
- Not as durable as others
Handle length:5.25 inches
If you’re a pickleball beginner, a lightweight and affordable paddle from a reputable brand like Selkirk is an excellent starting point. This particular paddle has a large sweet spot and ultra-cushioned grip that brings you comfort with consistency and control. Plus, an edge guard helps you keep the ball in play so you can rally confidently in your newfound element. The design is lightweight, meaning your arms won’t tire as easily—but it won’t punch up your power swings like other durable options might.
This beginner’s pickleball paddle has over 400 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 out of 5 star average rating. One novice pickler writes, “I’m really happy with this paddle. I’m a beginner at pickleball and the instructor commented on how good the quality was for being graphite.” It’s worth noting that some reviewers dislike how loud the paddle is during power hits.
Best professional paddle under $100: ONIX Z5
- Reputable brand
- 8 colors to choose from
- USAPA/USA pickleball approved
- Handle may require tape to be comfortable
Handle length:5 inches
ONIX is a leading brand for pickleball paddles, and this is its most popular paddle. With a wide body and a spectacular touch, it’s suitable for all levels of experience, including professional tournament players. The Z5 paddle is lightweight and adds speed, pop, and agility to your game. Unlike other paddles, this one mimics the handle shape of a tennis racket for extra comfort, and provides great spin and control with an edge guard.
With over 3,000 Amazon ratings, this paddle has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating overall. One reviewer writes, “This is my favorite paddle to use. I love the graphite face, which gives me great ball control and power. It's improved my game quite a lot and I recommend this to others.” A few customers have complained about the handle breaking, all noting that the brand’s customer service attempted to make things right with a warranty and replacement.
Best for control: JOOLA Vision
- Two face sizes to choose from
- Incredible grip technology
- Plastic honeycomb core reduces vibration
- Some reviewers say it loses power with use
Handle length:5.5 inches
This mid-weight professional model is USAPA-approved for competition. It’s available in two sizes and features textured carbon grip surface technology for maximum spin and control, with a curved design that creates less drag and increases swing speed. We’d be remiss not to mention the plastic honeycomb core which absorbs the ball's impact to reduce vibration, lessening arm fatigue and allowing the ball to spring out. For the higher investment (compared to some other options), you get a durable paddle that maintains its shape over time with no frequent replacements necessary.
Picklers absolutely love this paddle, and it’s earned a 4.6 out of 5 star overall rating on Amazon. Not only is it designed for professional use, it’s built to stand the test of time. One reviewer writes, “Unreal spin and control. So good it doesn't seem fair. I've gone from playing with a beg/mid level paddle to this one and honestly, it's like playing a different game.”
Some reviewers feel that the paddle loses some of its dramatic oomph with daily use. To be on the safe side, you can qualify for warranty coverage by buying from JOOLA directly and registering your purchase.
Best for intermediate players: Paddletek Pro Tempest Wave II
- Great for precision accuracy
- Large sweet spot
- 5 colorways to choose from
Materials:Graphite polymer composite
Handle length:5.25 inches
Paddletek’s Pro model is everything a good pickleball paddle should be: easy to control, well-cushioned-yet-grippy, and durable. It’s expensive, yes, but you’re investing in a high-quality pickleball paddle made with textured graphite that’s designed to last through years of play. This paddle has an accuracy-enhancing design, and thanks to its large sweet spot, you’ll get a nice “pop” sound upon contact. Bonus: this paddle comes in five sporty, stylish colors that will spark joy every time you play a round.
With an overall rating of 4.6 out of five stars on Amazon across 550 reviews, this paddle receives a lot of praise. One reviewer writes, “I’ve been playing pickleball for about 8 years now and this is the best paddle I've ever owned. I would highly recommend this paddle for anyone serious about playing pickleball.” The only downside seems to be that it costs more than some other models.
Best lightweight: Head Extreme Tour Lite
- Noticeably lightweight feel
- Sweat-absorbing grip
- Small sweet spot
Handle length:5 inches
Grip circumference:4.4 inches
This lightweight pickleball paddle has a longer handle that’s offset by a narrow face. The paddle’s face is made from textured graphite for better ball control, with a sweat-absorbing grip to prevent slipping. Reviewers back this feature, noting that the handle remains grippy even with sweaty hands.
With a 4.6 out of 5 star average rating on Amazon on almost 400 reviews, this pickleball paddle is loved for its lightweight power. One reviewer writes, “After playing pickleball for two years, I advanced to this paddle and what a relief! My lateral epicondylitis is almost resolved. Just the difference in weight of the paddle has made a difference in my pain.” Another adds, “I love this paddle. It’s lightweight but still has the power of a heavier paddle. I’m hitting better shots with the extended length.”
Best heavy: Paddletek Bantam Pro
- 2 grip size options
- Large sweet spot
- 5 color options
- Shorter handle is uncomfortable for some
Handle length:4.7 inches
Ready to crush some power shots? Heavier pickleball paddles offer more power, which is something you’ll appreciate if you want to put some extra “oomph” behind your swing. This pick brings an edged rim for shock absorption, with a textured polycarbonate face to help with topspin. Note, while it has a sweat-absorbing, cushioned handle, the paddle is shorter in length than the others on our list (something to keep in mind if you prefer a longer handle).
This paddle boasts an overall rating 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon. One reviewer says it has “a grip and weight that’s perfect.” Another writes, “This is my third Paddletek paddle now and it doesn’t disappoint. I bought the TS-5 pro for the light weight and control, but I wanted to graduate to a heavier paddle. I didn’t know if I could get the control with a heavier paddle, but the only thing different seems to be the weight. This is a great paddle!”
Best graphite: Engage Encore EX 6.0
- Quiet upon impact
- Advanced high-grade technology and design
- Super responsive
- Thicker design may not work for some
Materials:Polymer coreGraphiteProprietary fiberTEK
Handle length:5 inches
With a highly-textured skin, responsive face, and 0.5-inch thick core, this graphite pickleball paddle helps improve control and precision. The paddle has a dimensioning technology that makes it easy to add topspin to the ball, and is a good pick for intermediate and advanced players looking to level up their game. The design is thicker, but it retains a large sweet spot in the center. There’s also an option for an oversized handle.
Amazon picklers have given this paddle a 4.5 out of five-star overall rating for its great level of control, comfortable handle, and accuracy. One writes, “This paddle is a total game-changer. It’s powerful with a textured surface allowing me to put topspin much like tennis or ping pong.”
Best fiberglass: Gamma Sports Neutron 2.0
- Graphite hitting surface
- Durable design
- Some reviewers believe its best for beginners or intermediate players
Handle length:5 inches
Grip size:4 inches
This graphite and fiberglass paddle is lightweight and offers game-changing speed. The aramid honeycomb core is perfect for blending power and control, and benefits beginners and advanced players alike (plus, it complies with USAPA specifications). The cushioned grip absorbs sweat so you can handle your paddle with confidence. Gamma notes that this pickleball paddle is great for both indoor and outdoor use, providing great bounce on all types of court surfaces.
With over 1,200 ratings, this paddle has an overall rating of 4.5 out of five, with call outs that it’s lightweight, durable, and a good value for the money. One person writes, “It's a high quality paddle and couldn't fault any part of it. The grip on the face is perfect so it does everything it's supposed to do.” While Gamma markets this paddle for all experience levels, one reviewer says, “Ok for a beginner, but after maybe a half a dozen sessions, and using other people’s paddles, I am ready for an upgrade.” If you’re an experienced pickler, you may consider a more professional-grade option.
Comparing the best pickleball paddles:
|JOOLA Swift||From 190||Carbon fiber / polymer core||5.5 in||7.9 oz|
|Selkirk SLK Latitude||$60||Graphite / polymer core||5.25 in||6.9 oz|
|ONIX Z5||$90||Carbon fiber / graphite||5 in||7.5 oz|
|JOOLA Vision||$170||Carbon grip / polymer||5.5 in||7.8 oz|
|Paddletek Pro Tempest Wave II||From $130||Graphite / polymer composite||5.25 in||7.6 oz|
|Head Extreme Tour Lite||From $150||Carbon / graphite||5 in||7.6 oz|
|Paddletek Bantam Pro||$150||Carbon fiber||4.7 in||8.3 oz|
|Engage Encore EX 6.0||$160||Gaphite / polymer core / proprietary fiberTEK||5 in||8 oz|
|Gamma Sports Neutron 2.0||$99||Graphite / fiberglass||5 in||7.04 oz|
- Reviews: We read hundreds of reviews for these pickleball paddles to ensure that our picks are loved by all levels of experience.
- Durability: We looked for paddles made from high-quality materials that will withstand the biggest power shots, day in and day out.
- Price: The best pickleball paddles can get relatively expensive. We included picks that fit a wide range of price points so everyone can find their perfect paddle.
- Quality: We did the research on the most reputable brands and paid extra attention to those made with higher-quality materials. Additionally, all of these picks are approved for tournament use by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).
How much should you spend on a pickleball paddle?
The best pickleball paddle could make or break your performance on the court, and the price typically depends on the material used to make the paddle. You'll find fiberglass, carbon fiber, and graphite paddles as the best on the market. Choosing between the slew of options comes down to personal preference, desired weight, and experience level. "The more expensive paddles are going to be made of more resilient and lighter material. This may help one be able to play longer each time and get more life out of the paddle itself," Sponaugle says.
If you're investing in a pickleball paddle to make your game more accurate and comfortable, you can expect to spend between $40 and $200. Sponaugle adds, "If you are just beginning to play, you could spend less than $100 to get started. This will give you plenty of options to choose from and help you discover what paddle to upgrade to next. Once you find a paddle that works for you, stick with it and play. The real benefits come from being out on the court!"
Types of pickleball paddle materials
Like other paddle or racket sports, pickleball involves volleying, lobbing, blocking shots, driving, and serving the ball. The hard texture of the paddle against the pickleball (a plastic ball with holes) makes every move much quicker than with tennis—and the different materials of the paddles have strengths and weaknesses. Here's a breakdown of the materials and how to choose between them:
Fiberglass: Sometimes called composite, fiberglass pickleball paddles offer the most power but are surprisingly lightweight. This material acts like a trampoline for the ball, with a smaller sweet spot than carbon fiber or graphite paddles. Choose a fiberglass pickleball paddle for the most power.
Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber is known for having a softer feel than fiberglass and is more durable than graphite. These pickleball paddles tend to have a larger sweet spot but a little less power. Choose a carbon fiber pickleball paddle for greater control and shot precision.
Graphite: A graphite pickleball paddle is one of the lightest and thinnest surface materials you'll find. It's a rigid and stiff material that will give you moderate power. Choose a graphite pickleball paddle for better handling and a lightweight feel.
How to choose a pickleball paddle
When choosing the best pickleball paddle for you, Sponaugle suggests considering certain factors, such as your experience level and the type of paddle you're looking for. "The 'best' pickleball paddle all really depends on your personal preference, skill level, game strategy, and budget," she says. "However, most paddles are produced in the mid-weight range, which most individuals feel best handling. For most people, especially those just getting started, I recommend a mid/standard-weight paddle that falls within their budget."
There are many paddle designs, such as curved paddle heads, lightweight, heavyweight, fiberglass, graphite—and our list below runs the gamut. Sponaugle recommends choosing the one that feels best in your grip. "Graphite versus fiberglass paddles are going to be your personal preference. Both are acceptable for great play, they just have different price points."
Cushion is always important, and beginners will appreciate absorbent grips that prevent slipping. Plus, depending on your level of experience, you'll want an enhanced design that allows for ultimate ball control. Lastly, a high-quality paddle will give you durability to last for many games.
What does "USAPA Approved" mean?
The USA Pickleball Association is the national governing body for the sport in the US. They're responsible for upholding the official rules of pickleball and oversee national tournaments and rankings. As a result, the organization also evaluates equipment to uphold specific standards for tournament play. This may or may not be important to you, depending on how serious you're hoping to get with the sport!
If you are interested in competing in a tournament, you'll want to ensure that your paddle and balls are approved by the USA Pickleball Association. All of the paddles on our list meet their criteria, but if you already have a paddle you can also double check its standings using their database.
How pickleball can support your longevity
A quick look around the pickleball court will tell you: the sport is a hit with people of all ages. And while yes, it's certainly fun to play, pickleball also provides a handful of other brain-and-body benefits.
As we mentioned at the top of this article, getting involved in an activity like pickleball can help support your cardiovascular health, mental health, and even create some new friendships later in life. In fact, one 2022 study on older adults5 concluded that leisure activities like racquet sports were associated with lower mortality rates. The lesson? While it may seem like it's all fun and games, getting out and staying active with others can actually have a massive impact on your health and longevity.
Is graphite or fiberglass better for pickleball?
According to Sponaugle, this is based on personal preference. Both are acceptable, but come at different price points, each with its own pros and cons. For great handling and feel, consider graphite. For more power, consider fiberglass.
Do expensive pickleball paddles make a difference?
Our expert says yes: More expensive paddles are often made of more resilient, lighter material. This may help you play longer each time and get more life out of the paddle itself.
Is graphite or wood better for pickleball paddles?
According to reviewers, wooden paddles can be hard to control. Many say you will have an easier time controlling the ball with a graphite pickleball paddle.
Is a heavier or lighter pickleball paddle better?
Sponaugle explains that this is up to the player's preference and should be based on experience level and style of play. "Most paddles are produced in the mid-weight range, which most individuals feel best handling especially when first starting to play," she explains.
Pickleball has become a popular form of movement for people of all ages. With the best pickleball paddle, you'll be ready to hit the court in confidence, regardless of your experience level. Next, check out our roundup of the most stylish activewear to get outfitted for your next match.