So you’re eager to dive into the world of pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the US, that has captured the hearts of all ages, celebrities, and even your friends. But what’s the key to getting started? It’s simple: a pickleball paddle. Therefore, discover the best pickleball paddles for beginners, carefully researched by us to get you playing in no time!
So if you’re into racket sports like tennis or badminton, or if you’re into golf and other sports but new to pickleball, we’ve got some great paddles for you! Or if you’re completely new to sports and just want to give this fantastic sport a try, we’ve got some good options for you too.
As beginners in the sport, we prioritize budget and flexibility when selecting a pickleball paddle. So we aim to keep the budget under/around $100, considering options suitable for beginners to advanced and experienced players.
What To Look For in The Best Pickleball Paddles For Beginners?
- Lightweight (6.5-7.5 ounces): These paddles are easier to maneuver and can be better for those with joint issues. However, they may require more effort to generate power.
- Medium weight (7.5-8.5 ounces): A good balance of power and control, often recommended for beginners.
- Heavyweight (8.5+ ounces): These provide more power but can be harder on the arm and less maneuverable.
Surface Area & Shape
- A larger surface area means a bigger sweet spot, which is forgiving for beginners who might not hit the ball dead center every time.
- Some paddles have an elongated shape, offering extended reach, but these might be less balanced for newcomers.
- Graphite: Offers a good balance of lightweight and strength, and it’s responsive, making it popular among players of all levels.
- Composite: These paddles can be made of various materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber, and aluminum. They come in a wide range of prices and can be tailored to specific playstyles.
- Polypropylene (Honeycomb): This is lightweight and offers a soft feel, making it easier to control the ball.
- Nomex Honeycomb: Harder and louder, this core offers more power.
- Aluminum Honeycomb: Falls in between, offering a balance of control and power.
Grip Size & Texture
- The grip should be comfortable and fit well in your hand. A too-large grip can lead to arm fatigue, while a too-small grip can reduce wrist stability.
- Some paddles have cushioned, sweat-resistant, or perforated grips which can be more comfortable and offer better hold.
- Protects the edges of the paddle. For beginners, an edge guard can be beneficial as it protects the paddle from ground hits.
Price & Durability
- While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, consider investing a bit more for a paddle that’s durable and offers a better playing experience.
- As a beginner, you don’t need to buy the most expensive paddle on the market. Many paddles offer excellent value for their cost.
Best Pickleball Paddles For Beginners
1) Onix Graphite Z5 (Best Overall)
- Superb Balance: The Onix Graphite Z5 offers an outstanding balance of power and speed, making it an ideal choice for beginners.
- Graphite Face: The graphite face provides excellent responsiveness and control, improving your ability to place shots accurately.
- Widebody Shape: Its widebody shape offers a large sweet spot, making it forgiving for beginners.
- Comfortable Grip: The cushion grip and the small grip size make it comfortable to hold, and its medium weight is a good balance between power and speed.
- Price: The Onix Graphite Z5 is a bit more expensive than other beginner paddles, but its performance and durability justify the cost.
2) PCKL Launch Series (Best For Tennis Players)
- Good Value: Well-known Pickleball brand, and this paddle offers excellent value for its cost, making it an ideal choice for beginners on a budget.
- Durable Fiberglass Face: Made with a fiberglass face, this paddle is highly durable and can withstand intense gameplay.
- Lightweight & Comfortable Grip: With a lightweight and comfortable sticky-ish grip, the PCKL Launch Series is great for beginners who want a good balance of power and control.
- Good All-Around Paddle: Makes a nice “pop” off the paddle, has nice spin capabilities, and solid power. The length and power make this one of the best pickleball paddles for beginners who used to play tennis.
- Less Spin: A smooth face with no grit makes spin a little more difficult for some.
3) JOOLA Essentials Pickleball Paddle (Best Value)
- Budget-Friendly: The JOOLA Essentials paddle is an affordable option from one of the best brands in Pickleball.
- Polypropylene Core: Its polypropylene core provides a soft feel and good power, a great combination for beginners learning the game.
- Larger Sweet Spot: Lightweight, forgiving touch, and great design!
- Edge Guard: For better durability especially for beginners
- Sure Grip Technology: It has an anti-slip ridge grip that reduces moisture from the handle for a comfortable and non-slippery grip
- Available in a Pickleball Set (Optional): 2 paddles, Pickleball sling bag, and pickleball balls
4) Monarch Dragon Slayer Pickleball Paddle (Best at DSG)
- Great Design: Its unique dragon scale design makes it stand out on the court.
- Lightweight and Balanced Paddle: For easy movement around the court and it has a good balance of power and finesse shots. Also, grip on the paddle surface for a decent spin on the ball.
- Good Value and Many Color Options: Provides good value for its cost and making different color options, making it a solid choice for beginners.
- Solid Ratings: Good reviews for a standard all-around paddle.
- Can only be purchased at Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Too Light: For those tennis players, the paddle might be too lightweight.
5) Selkirk Evo Hybrid 2.0 Max (Good For Tennis Players)
- Versatile Performance: The Selkirk Evo Hybrid 2.0 is an all-around performer, offering a good balance of power, control, and maneuverability. This versatility makes it a great option for beginners who also play tennis.
- Textured Surface: For increased spin consistency and ball control.
- Comfortable Grip: Its cushioned comfort grip ensures that players can hold and maneuver the paddle with ease, reducing strain on the hand and wrist.
- Large Sweet Spot: The design offers a large sweet spot with a thicker core, increasing the chances of a successful and more powerful hit. Thus making the game more enjoyable for beginners.
- Higher Price Range: Although it offers excellent performance, the Selkirk Evo Hybrid 2.0 falls in a slightly higher price range compared to other beginner-friendly options.
- Light to Medium Weight: Some beginners might find this paddle slightly heavy, which could affect their swing speed and control.
6) HEAD Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle (Best Reviewed)
- Composite Hitting Surface: Features a composite hitting surface that offers a good balance of power and control, with a little bit of texture on the face it allow for decent spin.
- Ergonomic Handle: It comes with an ergonomic foam handle that is comfortable to grip and has an enhanced feel.
- Forgiving: Larger sweet spot with a decent “pop” off the paddle
- Affordable: Paddle offers good value for its price.
- Heavier Weight: Some beginners may find the weight to be a bit heavy.
- Some users want more grip on surface for better spin
7) Panel Sound Pickleball Paddle Set (Most Affordable)
- Budget-Friendly: The Panel Sound Paddle Set is the most cost-effective option on this list. And it comes with towels, balls, 2 paddles, and a bag.
- Composite Surface and Grip: The paddles have a composite surface that offers a decent control. And a cushioned handle that is comfortable to grip.
- 1st Time or Beginner Players: Perfect for playing for the 1st time or just playing recreationally a few times a year.
- Not For Competitive Play: While a great value, this paddle set is not designed for competitive play. The quality and durability may not stand up to rigorous, ongoing use.
8) SLK New Set 2.0 Pickleball Set (Best Starter Pack)
- Complete Package: The SLK New Set 2.0 Pickleball Set includes everything a beginner needs to start playing. It comes with 2 paddles, 4 balls, and a carrying bag.
- Great Pickleball Brand: Selkirk makes some of the most premium pickleball paddles on the market, including some played by professionals.
- Lightweight and Comfortable Grip: The lightweight paddle features an ergonomic grip with a graphite face for increased spin and control.
- Great Value: With all the included equipment, this set provides excellent value for beginners just starting out in pickleball who still want a high-quality pickleball product.
- Not Suitable for Advanced Players: While perfect for beginners, this Pickleball paddle might not have the advanced features that more experienced players are looking for.
- And the set doesn’t include high-quality bag and balls for the liking of advanced players
9) Franklin Pilot Pickleball Paddle (Good For Badminton Players)
- MaxGrit Fiberglass Surface: Increasing traction on the pickleball for ultimate spin and finesse shots.
- Durable Construction: Constructed with top-quality materials which ensures durability and prolonged use.
- Lightweight & Comfortable Handle: Non-slip and cushioned comfortable grip.
- Good For Badminton Players: Lightweight, standard-size paddle, and a little thinner for quick wrist action and fast responses.
10) Paddletek Phoenix Pickleball Paddle
- High-Quality Materials: The Paddletek Phoenix G6 is made with premium graphite and a honeycomb composite core for durability and consistent play.
- Balanced Weight: The paddle offers a balanced weight that provides a perfect blend of power and control.
- Excellent Grip: It features a ultra-cushion, high tack, sweat-absorbent grip for comfort during long games.
- Suitable for All Skill Levels: Its versatile design makes it a great choice for both beginners and intermediate players.
- Durability: Some users experienced durability and wear and tear problems with the paddle.
11) Gamma Micron Pickleball Paddle (Good For Older Players)
- Versatile Performance: Offers good control and a larger sweet spot
- Textured Surface: The paddle’s textured graphite face enhances the player’s ability to spin the ball, thereby improving control.
- Lightweight & Retro Design: Built lightweight which allows for easy maneuverability and the paddle looks good with its retro design.
- Well-known Brand: Gamma is known for producing high-quality, durable pickleball paddles.
- Lack of Power: Not as much power as other paddles on this list
12) Brooklyn Pickleball Co (Most Stylish)
- Stylish Design: The paddle stands out for its unique and stylish design, making it a hit at any pickleball game.
- Good Value: Price point is great for a pickleball paddle that does its job and looks good.
- Color Options: Four (4) cool-looking color options
- Durability Concerns: Maybe a paddle that’s more fashion than function.
Thin Vs Thick Pickleball Paddles
Thin Pickleball Paddles
- Typical Thickness: Approximately 10mm to 13mm (or about 1.0cm to 1.3cm).
- Characteristics: Thin paddles are usually more lightweight and can offer quick maneuverability. They are sometimes favored for their “touch” or the player’s ability to feel the ball upon impact, which can assist in control and placement. They also allow for quick wrist action and fast responses, especially during net play or volleys.
Thick Pickleball Paddles
- Typical Thickness: Ranging from 13mm to 16mm or more (or about 1.3cm to 1.6cm+). Some of the newer designs, especially those with specialized cores for power and control, might push these boundaries.
- Characteristics: Thick paddles are often associated with added power due to their increased mass. They might also have the advantage of being more durable and producing a quieter sound upon ball impact.
Long Vs Short Pickleball Paddles
- Typical Dimensions: These paddles generally have a length ranging from 15 to 16 inches.
- Advantages: Short paddles often have a wider face, which can provide a larger hitting surface or “sweet spot”. This makes them excellent for control and maneuverability, especially during net play.
- Disadvantages: Less power and they might lack the extended reach that some players desire, especially when trying to retrieve balls that are farther away.
Long Paddles (often referred to as “elongated” or “blade” paddles)
- Typical Dimensions: These paddles have lengths that can range from 16 to 17 inches or more.
- Advantages: Their primary advantage is the extended reach they offer, which can be beneficial during serves, returns, and defensive plays. The longer design can also contribute to increased power due to the leverage it offers.
- Disadvantages: The elongated shape often results in a narrower width, which can reduce the size of the sweet spot. This can make the paddle less forgiving for off-center hits and might require more precise ball striking. They might also be less maneuverable during quick net exchanges.