Pickleball is amongst the fastest growing sports in Australia. If you are new to the game, you’re on your way to a thrilling journey in Pickleball. Read this guide to understand the best paddle options for your game. When shopping for your Pickleball Paddle, these are our three most important factors for you to consider.
Buying a pickleball paddle
There are a myriad of brands selling Pickleball Paddles, Selkirk, TMPR, HEAD, WILSON, Franklin, Engage, Pro Kennex, ONIX to name just a few. Each of these brands offer an array of different Pickleball Paddle models. It can become very confusing when it comes time to choose a paddle right for you. To simplify the buying process and to help you find the best paddle, our top three considerations are:
- Grip Size; and
- Paddle Shape.
Most pickleball experts agree that weight should be the top overall priority in choosing a pickleball paddle. Paddles range in weight from approximately 6 ounces (lightweight paddles) to 14 ounces (heavy paddles). N.B. why ounces and not grams? Pickleball originated in the States and many paddles are made in the USA, therefore weight classifications are expressed in ounces.
Pickleball Paddle Weight Ranges
- Lightweight Paddles under 7.3oz
- Midweight Paddles 7.3-8.4oz
- Heavy Paddles 8.5oz and over
Paddle weight will determine the “feel” of the paddle when you have it in your hand and the type of action you will get when you play with it on the court. In general, the weight of the paddle is a personal preference that mostly depends on your fitness level and style of play.
Always remember that something relatively lightweight will not seem heavy at first but when you play and swing hundreds of times it may become noticeable on your wrist, shoulder and elbow. Those extra ounces on the heavier paddle weight will start to wear on you, especially if you have injuries like tennis elbow or suffer from arthritis.
Lightweight vs Heavy Pickleball paddles
Increased ball control
Less effort to hit the ball harder
Less stress on elbow/shoulder
Easier to hit the ball deep
Stress on injuries, especially elbows
Stronger swing needed
Less control, lower swing
Harder to hit long/hard shots
Increases fatigue if playing for a long time
Heavy paddles are an easy way to increase the power of your shots, so if you’ve been playing pickleball and are looking to increase the force of your drive, go for a slightly heavier paddle. An example of a heavy paddle is the TMPR Tantrum GXT.
On the other hand, if you are looking to improve ball control and touch (precise aim and carefully placed dink shots) choose a lighter paddle. One thing to ask yourself is what are your strengths and weaknesses as a pickleball player and also what kind of player are you (power vs control). An example of a popular lightweight paddle is the Engage Elite Pro.
If you are a beginner buying your first paddle, it’s going to be hard for you to predict what particular style of pickleball you’ll play. You really need to play for quite a few sets before you establish a style of play so it’s probably best to start with a mid-weight paddle (7.3-8.4oz).
If you have any elbow injuries or recurring tennis elbow, go with a mid-weight paddle. If you want extra power go heavy. If you are a control player, go lighter. If in doubt- go for a mid-weight paddle,
If you are a former tennis player transitioning to pickleball, you’ll be used to the heavier weight of a tennis racquet and therefore you should be able to handle a paddle on the heavy side of the spectrum.
If you put a lot of wrist action into your shots you’d probably be better off with a light to medium weight paddle which allows for more finesse and control.
Watch out for our future blogs discussing grip size and shape and build.