Pickleball is an enjoyable sport that combines key elements of the popular games of lawn tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. The versatile sport can be played both indoors and outdoors. Playing the sport requires specific gear and pickleball paddle is one of the key gears. If you are new to the sport and looking for suggestions on the best pickleball paddles for beginners, read on!
Pickleball Paddles are available aplenty in the market today but buying decision needs careful evaluation. You might still find a few cheaper versions of paddles made up of plastic and wood; the sport is best played with composite paddles and face material as polymers, fiberglass, graphite, and at times aluminum. Selection is huge, to say the least!
With the rising popularity of the sport, the paddles now come in a variety of materials and with varying designs, weight ranges, and shapes. While assortments are enormous, finding the right pickleball paddle isn’t always an easy task. There are dozens of brands to choose from, offering paddles with many variants.
One effective but time-consuming way to choose a paddle apt for you is by trying it out physically to see for yourself on how the paddle feels on the hands and how comfortable is it to swing.
Alternately, to help save time and effort, we have reviewed pickleball paddles best suited for beginners. Here are our top choices that will help beginners to play like pro.
Best Pickleball Paddles for beginners: Our Top 10 Picks
1. Selkirk sport 20P XL epic pickleball paddle
The Selkirk 20P sport epic is a sleek paddle that comes with an enjoyable bold design. Ideal for beginners in terms of specs and moderately priced, the Selkirk 20P is one of our top recommended picks for beginners.
The paddle weighs in the range of 7.4-7.6 making it a middle-weight paddle. The moderate weight gives the beginner level players control as well an extra power behind shots. On the flip side, the power is not up to the mark for professional players, while beginners are sure to enjoy the product.
Sport 20P XL Epic comes with longest paddle length of the group at 15-3/4”, way longer than most paddles available in the market today. When the paddle length combines with the 8” width, there is a good room available to hit the ball. The Selkirk 20P XL epic paddle is made of a polymer honeycomb core with a composite surface, making it ideal for players who would like a quieter hit. With the polymer being the softest core, it will provide you with better control.
Selkirk as a manufacturer did a stellar job with the design of the 20P sport epic. The paddle comes in bright, bold colors for a trendy, stylish look. Buy the paddle, if you want to add a little more flair and a splash of style to your game, along with great functionality, of course. Available in a vivid range of colors, the paddle is manufactured in Idaho, USA.
If you pick this paddle, you are going to get a great design, a quieter paddle (when compared to it’s aluminum counterparts), a decent price, and, comes with a large surface area. What more can one ask for, a little bit of weight reduction, perhaps!
- Lightweight and durable
- Screen printed surface
- Pro-lite Gamma grip
- USAPA tested and approved
- Not as vibrant as pictured
- Variability of velocity
- Power not up to the mark for professionals
2. ARD HF100
The HF100 is the ARD’s flagship paddle for beginners and intermediate players. Relatively a newer brand, the ARD has brought many good innovations to the pickleball paddle’s design. Interestingly, the ARD claims to have spent almost three years designing, testing and tweaking their propriety “throat” design. Right now, ARD is the only company that makes paddles leveraging a separate piece (the throat) to connect the paddle face to the handle/grip, thanks to the proprietary design they built in-house.
Proprietary “throat” design element gives players greater stability and control across the paddle face and sweet spot. Own an ARD is you would like a great consistency and vibration control while you play.
Inside the HF100 fiberglass, the paddle is a best in class honeycomb polypropylene core. The HF100 provides beginner players better ball grip and accuracy than other options that ARD has including the graphite core, the GF200. Weighting between 8.2-8.4 ounce, its weight is definitely on the higher side. ARD HF100 is easy to play with, providing excellent control and power. The paddle is budget friendly and a great choice for beginners.
- Decently priced
- Excellent ball grip
- Great design
- Basic, no frills
- New paddle design from a comparatively newer brand
- Short warranty
- Weight is on the higher side
3. The Onix Graphite Zen V2
In 2017, the Onix Graphite Zen series introduced the Zen V2 or “version 2.” While the original Zen is still available in the market today, version 2, while a tad more expensive is worth a try. V2 steals the show and features on our recommendations list for its lightweight. The Zen V2 is one of the lightest paddles in the market today. The featherweight paddle weighs only a 6.6 to 6.9 oz, allowing you to play longer without developing fatigue.
Along with being a super light paddle, the V2 comes with a unique combination of power, control and touch incorporating the solid aluminum core underlying. While paddle cores comprise a variety of materials, the ones with Aluminum are known for their balance between feel, control, and stellar performances. The sound of the paddle is essential for a lot of pickleball players, and the aluminum core is known not to be so quiet, however, despite being aluminum, this paddle is quieter than a lot of its competitors. Zen comes in favorable designs and is available in many bright colors if you like flashy paddles. The paddle comes with a Chinese symbol that means “power.” If you are like flashy and bold, this could be the perfect paddle for you. Onix manufactures the paddles in the USA, unlike a few others who produce elsewhere and shipped later.
With an over-sized face, that has a greater with for better an extra-large sweet spot; beginners have plenty of space to get their act right. However, what players admire the most about is the grip.
Onix has incorporated tennis like grip, that is perfect for those with larger hands, a show stopper beyond doubts.
On the flip side, some players report issues with denting within short periods of usage. Now, this can be disappointing, as you shell out quite a bit to buy this one.
- Available in many colors
- Touch Control
- “Green Zone” approved
- Power may seem on the lower side to heavy hitters
- Prominent graphic on paddle face may not appeal to a few
4. Onyx graphite Z5
Onix Pickleball has been around for almost 15 years now, and the company has a record of producing one of the best equipment. Made from great underlying materials and brilliant technologies the products are a delight to play. The company continually keeps innovating and is a brand loved by many players.
Onix Z5 is neither too heavy, nor too light. The mid-weight paddle boasts of having a honeycomb Nomex core and graphite as a material of the paddle’s, designed to give an extra-large sweet spot. The paddle design embarks a wide body shape and weighs from 7.5 to 8.2 Oz making this the perfect choice for both the beginners and seasoned players alike. The paddle comes with a small grip size and provides players with both excellent control and good power. The graphite Z5 also offers a full shaped paddle body, rounding out at 8.125 inches. Terrific design of the Z5 paddle provides even novice pickleball players play with panache.
- Beginner-friendly widebody shape
- Extra weight gives an extra boost of power
- Good pop off the face
- Decently priced
- Some players might find it too heavy
- Not good at spin
5. Selkirk Sport NEO Composite Pickleball Paddle
This versatile paddle from a well-known brand is a great one to pick for beginner level players looking to maximize their game without spending big.
Per Selkirk, they developed the paddle keeping in mind the needs of someone who is just starting but realizes that necessary starter wood paddles are not the best choice and won’t take him/her far in the sport. The company empathized with the beginner and knew that the player would not want to invest in the premium high-priced pickleball paddles. The company says that they felt that beginners were not able to enjoy the sport to the fullest with limited options in the market and hence to the beginner’s delight NEO was born.
Neo paddle is built for power using the company’s patented PowerCore™ technology. The same patented core is so good that it is used in most of the high-end paddles sold by the brand. With neo selling at quite an affordable price point, it is one of the most exceptional choices available to beginner players.
The NEO composite paddle, like most of the other variants offered by the brand, is manufactured in Hayden, Idaho. While many products are available in the market today, some produced in China also, so keep a watchful eye, if this matters to you.
The brand’s products come with a one-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
One of the features that gives a significant competitive advantage to Neo is a grip with size on the lower side. Needless to say, this suits many beginners well giving them greater control.
The typical weight of this paddle is between 7.7 and 7.9 oz, making it a handy option for beginners, providing perfect balance control and power. The paddle’s face is flashy for its category and comes with loud vinyl graphics if you are a fan of it. But, the choice of color is limited to Red and Blue, only.
The paddle is sure to be an incredible hit with beginners. Moreover, this versatile paddle is approved by the USAPA for tournament play hence can be a good option for a beginner level players who are hopeful of participating in tournaments.
- Great power
- USAPA approved, hence tournaments ready
- Tad more expensive
- A limited number of color choices.
6. Amazin’ Aces Graphite Pickleball Paddle
Amazin’ Aces Graphite Pickleball Paddle is a tad heavier than the others on our recommended list for you, weighing 9.2 oz compared to many others in the range of 7 and 7.5 Ounces. While the wright makes this a bit heavier, the power it delivers is tremendous. The enhancement of power combined with the soft touch core, make this an excellent all-around paddle for a beginner or intermediate players.
Featuring a polymer core known to be the softest and quietest on the market (compared to an aluminum core that is typically noisier). Can be played in tournaments with since it is USAPA approved.
- Decently priced
- Ultimate strength which virtually eliminates denting and dinging
- Honeycomb core is lightweight yet strong
- Perfect combination of control and power without getting users to develop fatigue
- Superior-quality grip
- Rubber batting around the paddle seems to be coming loose
7. Rally Tyro 2 Composite Paddle
This Pickleball Paddle is a great pocket-friendly option for a beginner level player. The paddle comes with a great design and for high impact, but at a much lower price point considering that the composite paddles do not come cheap. It features on our list, since, the paddle’s quality of the materials is similar to what you would see in expensive variants.
Weighing at a slightly under 7 ounces, the paddle is one of the lightest on our recommendations list for you, beginners.
The paddles pristine white face and black colored grip and is undoubtedly elegant, and a great choice, for a pickleball player looking not to have a preference for flashy pickleball paddles.
However, due to slight texture variation on the paddle face not aligned to USPA recommendations’ so, is not approved by USAPA. Avoid investing in this paddle if you would like to participate in tournaments, look at something like the Selkirk Sports NEO Paddle and or of the others we have recommended that are USAPA approved. Regulations apart, we have recommended this since the paddle is a decent pick in the beginner’s category.
Rally Paddles is a well-known brand in the market today.
- One of the lightest weighting under 7 Oz.
- Stellar composite core
- Not approved for USAPA tournament play.
- Not too flashy, someone might not like the simple look
8. Pro-Lite Sports Classic Composite Pickleball Paddle
Another excellent option for beginners, especially ones who like tennis. This pickleball paddle is designed keeping in mind former tennis players, who are just picking up pickleball but are seasoned tennis players. The design is such that the paddle has a slightly longer racket-like handle has a great appeal to players migrating from tennis to pickleball as the paddle feel a lot like the tennis racket. The handle measures 6 inches, which is, one of the longest available in the market.
The classic stays true to its name and is on our list because of its core that comprises a high-quality Nomex honeycomb while fiberglass includes the material on the face of this paddle.
The paddle comes with a relatively smaller 4-inch grip only, so wrap them well to get the desired fit, and enjoy the sport. The composite paddle is manufactured in the USA by Pro-Lite Sports.
The Pro-Lite classic paddle comes in a variety of colors and looks quite flashy with its bold graphic, sure to please ones looking for flashy paddles.
- Great, feel at home feel for tennis players. Since tennis is a popular sport, many of you beginners who were hooked to tennis might love this paddle.
- Versatile mid-weight and great dimensions
- The small grip may not suit large hands
9. ProLite Rockstar Pickleball Paddle
The Rockstar from ProLite brand features core made up of polymer, one of the new aged materials. Polymer cores are lighter and quieter than many other materials. The composition of the core makes this paddle strong and durable, featuring it all the way to our beginner’s choice list. The Rockstar paddle weighs 7.4 and 7.8 Ounces making it a mid-range lightweight paddle.
The large sweet spot, accompanied by light weight makes this powerful and an excellent choice for the beginner or an intermediate player. ProLite uses its trademark QuadCore™ polymer core in the paddle. The company boasts of its core as the strongest, quietest, lightest and most durable.
The stellar core along with a fiberglass hitting surface and ProLite’s MicroEdge™ protective edge guard make the Pro-Lite Rockstar a durable product.
ProLite is a well-known pickleball brand in the market with significantly durable products. Moreover, the brand offers a limited lifetime warranty which is liking icing on the cake.
Rockstar ’s handle has a length of 5.5 inches, which is on the higher side and small grip size that comes with much-celebrated ProElite’s “No-Slip Thin Grip” for a firm grip, a feature that beginner players need badly.
The RockStar is USAPA tested and approved for tournament play, it’s also rated “Green-Zone” approved for quiet communities.
The Rockstar paddle features excellent designs and colors. Designs come in two colors i.e. Fuchsia Punch and Stormy Sunset. While the color options are not many, the ones offered look chic. ProLite Sports paddles are made in the USA.
- Polymer Core of the paddle is highly durable
- USAPA and Green Zone Approved
- The paddle’s face might look old fashioned to some
- All around paddle but power and control are not extraordinary
- Not too many color options
10. Onix Graphite Stryker Pickleball Paddle
This in-expensive Graphite Stryker from Onix is one of the most basic versions from the brand, that is otherwise very well known. The paddle combines a honeycomb core along with a graphite face. The paddle offers substantial power and speed control, which are two things that professional and beginners adorn alike. A bit oversized, the paddle is light and weighs between 7.0-7.3 ounces. A major pro of lightweight is that you can maneuver easily without developing fatigue.
Being lightweight, the paddle provides significant advantages of free and full swing movement while playing. The oversized face of the paddle provides a wide sweet spot and a larger hitting surface that increases the chances of gaining more hits, again a big plus, especially for the beginners.
You get the speed with these paddles owing to its honeycomb core and graphite surface in combination with its lightweight design and a comfortable molded grip on the handle.
However, on the flip side, this paddle could get a little difficult to manage for some players because of its oversized shape. While we recommend this for beginners, heavy hitter and professional might not appreciate this as much.
One of the significant advances if you plan to buy the Onix Graphite Stryker is that it is pocket-friendly. For the price, the lightweight design, comfortable grip, and large sweet spot is a steal. The paddle offers considerable speed control and wide-angled swings.
- Extremely lightweight
- Great design and built
- Offers apt power for beginners
- Comfortable easy to handle grip
- Oversized offering a large sweet spot
- Not suitable for long intense matches
- Not the best choice for heavy-hitting purposes
- May not be as durable, or for prolonged use
We have put an ultimate guide to explain the most critical considerations to ponder on when shopping for a beginner pickleball paddle, and at a price you like.
Factors that must be considered
Weight should undoubtedly be the number one considering when choosing a paddle for yourself, especially if you are a beginner. While you might get a huge variety of wooden paddles at a competitive price, don’t get lured away. It is just too heavy for a beginner to handle.
A heavy paddle typically offers greater power but many times at the expense of less control. As a beginner, who is just starting, control should be your key consideration. Look around for a pickleball paddle that that help you easily guide the ball longer distances.
We heavily recommend light and mid-weight ranges at best to all our beginner players. Composite core and graphite core are lightweight and could be ideal for you. A pickleball paddle that weighs around 7 to 8 ounces can be the perfect choice for champions in the making.
Pickleball paddle’s grip should comfortably fit in your hand, irrespective of you being a pro or just beginning the sport. We have listed standard grip sizes to help you pick the right one, read the dimensions carefully before you decide. When in doubt, pick a size smaller rather than the bigger. Smaller grip, give you greater control, exactly what you need to perfect the sport.
The easiest way to find the right grip takes into consideration your height, but please remember its only indicative.
- Under 5′ 2″ – 4 inches (small)
- 5′ 3″ to 5′ 8″– 4 1/4 inches (medium)
- Over 5′ 9″ – 4 1/2 inches (large)
The grip in addition to fitting your wrist right should be comfortable for elongated practice sessions.
A smaller paddle grip typically allows for better wrist movement, making it easier to put a spin on the ball and improves control. Natural wrist movement, especially for the one who is just picking pace can add a lot of ease to each serve.
While a larger grip helps increase your stroke stability and additionally ease the strain on wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. However, a larger grip can lead to injuries if one is not careful and playa for extended periods.
A key to an apt selection is finding out the perfect grip size to ensure the grip size if neither too big nor too small.
If you invest in buying a good brand like the Gamma or Pro-lite, the paddle typically comes with a premium grip for comfort and absorbs sweat. However, if you like a paddle but are unsure of the quality of its grip or the brand’s grip has worn out over time consider replacing it with a new premium grip. Some players like to add an extra layer of grip through extensions to the paddle’s existing grip while others completely replace the existing paddle grip that helps match the ideal size to get the optimal fit for their hand.
We understand that if you are starting out, you may not want to shell out big at the moment. We have reviewed the paddles for beginners that are great yet not overly expensive.
Good news is there are many good paddles from great brands to fit the bill. Currently, decent brands sell pickleball paddles starting $50 to over $150. While we reviewed, we did not consider overtly expensive or very cheap options because neither are suited for beginners serious about the game.
Today there are plenty of affordable options, way higher compared to other sports like golf. Pickleball paddles range from below $15 for the least expensive wood paddles to $150+ for the top of the line graphite and composite paddles. While the total investment in pickleball equipment is pretty, don’t get lured with really cheap paddles like the wooden ones.
Frequency of Play
If you’re shopping for pickleball paddles for leisure or occasional play, typically purchasing a high-performance paddle that is meant for a competitive pursuit may not be the most appropriate choice.
A mid-range paddle with decent performance can serve beginners needs well. Conversely, if you hope to participate in regular matchups or tournaments, buy a robust balanced paddle can help you play as hard and as long as you like. Even if you plan to play casually with friends, decent paddle pulls you towards the game.
Pickleball as a sport is gaining popularity, and great news for your beginners is that unlike yesteryears the options available are plenty. A decade back, in the budget range, the choice available was a wooden paddle, but no more.
Today, one can find paddles comprising the below four materials:
Plastic – Cheap and a lightweight paddle, the paddle is mostly used in schools and falls in the mid-range weight category.
Wood – Second cheapest and a heavy type of paddle. Wood was a popular choice (and the only cheaper one, around a decade back).
Wooden paddles are mostly used by bigger players who are on a budget. The biggest con of these is their heavyweight, not recommended for beginners.
Composite – This new aged material is durable and lightweight. Composite paddles are a popular choice today and mostly used by pickleball enthusiasts who prefer high quality and comfortable material. Again, a mid-range weight wise on an average, but many lighter variants are available too.
Graphite/Carbon Fiber –Great material and this is what most high-end pickleball paddles comprise. Light and the strongest of all materials, the graphite paddles are mostly used by those who would like the best equipment, at any cost. High-quality premium paddles are made of graphite. The game is gaining popularity, and many paddle manufacturers are focusing on designing innovative affordable paddles. Many great brands sell numerous options for graphite and composite paddles. These lightweight paddles are ideal for beginners since they help beginner easily maneuver and control the ball.
The power provided by these may not be best in class but is definitely above average. These provide a hard surface helping get the desired power without great effort, assisting beginners to develop exceptional skills in the game.
Leading brands are investing significant money and time creating newer shapes helping beginners better their game, well within regulations. While regulations have set a few guidelines, the paddles come in many shapes, depending on brands:
Wide Body Paddles
The classically shaped pickleball paddle is a “wide body” that is 8 inches in width and 15¾ inches in length.
Some leading pickleball brands now offer designs that create an oversized paddle by addition of length to the paddle face and shortening the length of the handle, because they have to follow the regulatory guidelines of the total length.
Elongated Pickleball Paddle
This pickleball paddle class includes paddles like the “Encore Blade” that reduce face width to increase the pickleball paddle lengths. Ideal for a specialty paddle for a professional player looking for added reach. Most pickleball brands have come out with their own elongated pickleball paddle variants. Beginners, we recommend opting for either a wide or classic shaped paddle.
USAPA (and other) Approvals
Even as a beginner, if you want to play in sanctioned tournaments, you’ll need to have an approved gear. While more expensive paddles are almost always approved, some may not be. Invest in a paddle with approval, if you plan to play in tournaments.
Power and Control Factors
Regardless of you being new to the sport or a being a seasoned player, power and control are essential for great performance. A beginner would like the paddle to offer sufficient power to send the ball as fast as you would want it to and enough control to throw it where you want to.
Experts say that the weight of your paddle influences power and control, the materials the core is composed of, can influence power and control too. A blend of core and surface materials, grip, and overall paddle weight affect how effective each swing would be. And as a beginner, one might want to have more control rather than power, so be careful of what you choose.
While some players are picky about the graphics and color of the paddle, so are not concerned. Choice of color and graphics on the surface of the paddle is all about personal preference.
Pickleball balls come in vivid colors of the white, blue, orange and yellow and in bright colors like pink and blue, choose what you like the enjoy the game.
Within some gated communities, the pickleball courts and clubs are gaining ground, while this is good news for players, some communities put restrictions on pickleball noise. If noise can be a potential challenge in the area who play, play careful considerations to the material of the core. Avoid aluminum and consider buying a polymer paddle to play safe. We have recommended some paddles that are easy on the ears, do hear us out there.
Pickleball is an addictive sport, but like most sports, it requires endeavor, professional’s skill, precision, and gear. The sport has in recent times, grown to become one of the most popular sports in the United States, and its fan following is increasing by the day. The sport is enjoyed by people across age groups and of varying fitness levels. Thousands of people getting inclined towards this fun sport.
Like most sports, pickleball has its specific equipment. Playing with the right equipment is essential if you want to do well on the court. One of the most significant equipment of the sport is a high-quality pickleball paddle. If as a beginner you choose the right paddle, you could greatly improve your results on the court and add to the overall enjoyment of the game.
Unfortunately, choosing a pickleball paddle apt for you can be tricky, especially if you are new to the sport. With the increased popularity if the sport, dozens of paddle manufacturers have mushroomed offering hundreds of pickleball paddles. It is quite easy to get spoiled for choice.
The guide we have built for you beginners will simplify the process of selecting a pickleball paddle by explaining the critical considerations when choosing a paddle. We have shared details of the top ten paddles we recommend for entry level players with different playing preferences.
Choosing a new pickleball can quickly leave you baffled, as you are likely to come across way too many options, with many new technologies coming up every single day and innovations that manufacturers are bringing. Hope with what we have shared you; you make the wisest choice for yourself. So, through our work we have brought to you’re a few thumb rules to create a beginners’ task easier. Choose a medium weight pickleball paddle, or a lightweight one, but don’t go for heavy weighted ones, a weight of around 7.5 Ounces or lower should be good. If you can afford, do not settle for cheap paddles, like the ones available below 20 USD. Avoid wooden paddles and select a lower priced variant from top brands made of composite or graphite. Select a grip size that’s apt for your hands; it can make or break your game.
Remember, that the most expensive paddle may not be the best paddle for you. Chose the one that suits you best. Select the colors, and fancy graphics if you like, after all, enjoying the sport is essential.