Identifying an ideal pickleball paddle that suits your gameplay can be daunting. With pickleball’s continuous rise to fame in the United States, more and more brands are launching new products utilizing the latest pickleball paddle technology innovations. The challenge of choosing the right paddle for you is now more complex than ever before.
To ease these challenges for you, we have come up with this ultimate guide that reviews the Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Men. We examine all the various factors to consider, including affordability, user reviews, ball control, paddle weight, core material, and grip size while choosing a paddle. We made sure the guide is as detailed and comprehensive as possible to help you have an easier time settling on your next pickleball paddle.
Table of Contents
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
|PROKENNEX Kinetic Ovation Speed II
|PROKENNEX Pro Speed II Pickleball Paddle
|Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle
|ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle
|Gamma Compass NeuCore Pickleball Paddle
How to Choose Your Next Pickleball Paddle for Men
Before you settle on a pickleball paddle to buy, this guide should help you tune out the noise by only focusing on key information and thus easing the selection process.
To find the perfect paddle for you, the paddle you are considering should have the following qualities;
- Have a comfortable weight for you to play with
- The grip size should fit your hand
- The build and the shape of the paddle should match your style of play
In addition, the cost of the paddle should not exceed your current budget as the prices of paddles vary, ranging from the low-priced $10 wooden paddles to the top pro paddles going for $150. Below, we explain how you are able to determine your ideal weight, the right grip size, and style. Therefore we strongly suggest reading this article all the way through to make sure you have gathered the necessary information to make a sound decision about your next paddle purchase.
You can find the best paddles based on meeting a certain specific criteria such as;
- Top Beginner Pickleball Paddles
- Budget-friendly Pickleball Paddles – under $30
- Top Spin Pickleball Paddles
- Best Pickleball Paddles of 2021 – the overall best criteria to use if your budget does not constrict you. Pro-level paddles are included!
In the last section, you will find newly introduced pickleball paddles that have just hit the shelves, making it a great place to begin your search if you are someone who’s into the latest sporting equipment trends.
If you are still confused and would like some extra options, we researched all available paddles for you. We then came up with the Top 5 pickleball paddles according to your preferred budget, type, playing style, and other considerations.
Thanks to the fast-growing popularity of the pickleball sport in the United States and the increase in new players of the game, there has been a surge in new manufacturers of pickleball equipment, online stores, and retail shops. The rising demand for the sport has also led to many leading sports retailers exhibiting paddle selections in their aisle.
This recent pickleball craze has been incredible for players since they now have many new pickleball gear options. They, however, now have to tackle the challenge of choosing from a wide plethora of options which can be overwhelming. The materials and technologies used are also constantly changing, making it even more tricky for the average person to keep up. For this reason, we took the challenge upon ourselves to provide you with an extensive and informative guide to point you in the right direction in no time.
If you already have some experience playing pickleball, you might be familiar with the game’s history and the simplicity of the pioneer paddles, which were just plywood pieces cut using bandsaws in garages.
With the new materials and tech being introduced, new pickleball players are confronted with every kind of paddle with differing price points and styles, usually before they even play their first pickleball game. This leads to questions that a newbie might find confusing to answer: What’s the right grip size, weight, core material (polymer, wood, aluminum, Nomex), and paddle face material (fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite)?
To avoid boring you with unnecessary details on all the pickleball paddles currently available on the market, this guide is tailored to provide you with an overview of how various paddles are designed and the effect of the paddle face texture and material on how the ball plays off your paddle.
We also assist you in narrowing down the options provided by your style of play and budget, whether to upgrade your current paddle or just get started with the game.
Factors to be considered
The vast majority of buyers prioritize the price point when making purchase decisions. Though we understand you might need to remain within your personal budget, the cost alone does not provide you with a comprehensive answer because, in the case of paddles, it is determined by a combination of many factors, which does not necessarily imply that a cheaper or a more expensive model will also be more fitting for your gameplay.
The general consensus among most pickleball pros is that the weight should be the main priority as you choose a pickleball paddle. Paddles vary in weight ranging from about 6 ounces for light-weight paddles to 14 ounces for heavy paddles. Though a couple of ounces might not seem like a lot of difference, it can have a significant impact on your gameplay.
Range of pickleball paddle weight
- Heavy paddles – 8.5 ounces and above
- Mid-weight paddles – 7.3 ounces to 8.4 ounces
- Light-weight paddles – below 7.3 ounces
The weight of the paddle will determine the ‘feel’ of your paddle in your hand and the action type you will achieve as you play on the court with it. Generally, the paddle weight is a personal preference that hugely hinges on your play style and levels of fitness. A relatively light-weight paddle might not seem heavy initially, but swinging it and playing with it for an extended period of time eventually makes the weight noticeable on the elbow, wrist, and shoulder. The additional ounces of the heavier paddles will begin wearing you out if you have previous injuries or conditions such as tennis elbow or are suffering from arthritis.
Lightweight paddles vs. heavy pickleball paddles
|Better ball control
|Reduced effort to hard-hit the ball
|Reduced stress on shoulder/elbow
|Easier hitting the ball deep
|Injury stress, more so elbows
|Stronger swing required
|Reduced control and slower swing
|Harder to hit hard or achieve long shots
|More fatigue when playing for a period of extended time
Control vs. Power
A heavy paddle can be an easy means of increasing your shot power. Therefore, choose a slightly heavier paddle if you are a pickleball player and looking to enhance your drive force. On the flip side, if you desire to improve your touch and ball control (accurate aim and keenly positioned dink shots), go for a light paddle.
You should ask yourself what weaknesses and strengths you have as a pickleball player and also determine the type of player you are (control vs. power). But what if you are not aware of what kind of player you are? If you are a novice looking to get your first paddle, it will be a challenge for you to predict the particular pickleball style you will develop.
You might need to play for a while or make a couple of sets before establishing your style of play, and in this case, the best thing to do would be starting out with mid-range paddles weighing between 7.3 and 8.4 ounces.
As a conclusion on the weight topic of the pickleball paddle, it is an extremely important factor to consider, and therefore you should choose wisely. Pick a mid-weight paddle if you have experienced elbow injuries or have recurring tennis elbow. Go heavy if your goal is extra power and lighter if you want more control. If you are unsure where exactly you fit between the two, know that you definitely can’t go wrong with a mid-weight paddle.
Do you have a wrist, shoulder, or elbow injury? Or do you particularly suffer from “Pickleball Tennis Elbow?” If so, you should pass on heavy paddles because the additional weight will strain you. Nonetheless, by choosing the lightest paddle possible to potentially prevent pain, you are not making the smartest choice game-wise, as you will need to exert more force to increase the power of your shot. Mid-weight pickleball paddles provide you with an excellent balance of both, and they quite literally hit the sweet spot.
A player who uses a very light paddle on the pickleball court is at a greater risk of worsening an existing tennis elbow or developing it as a result. On the other hand, heavier paddles will get your shot across with minimal force. Considering these factors, our recommendation is to go for a mid-range graphite paddle or a composite paddle if you are a pickleball player experiencing tennis elbow.
Tennis players’ tips
Suppose you previously used to play tennis and wish to transition to pickleball. In that case, you are probably accustomed to the greater weight of tennis rackets, and thus handling paddles on the heavier side of the spectrum should not be a challenge. However, putting significant wrist action into the shots makes it probably better for you to use light to mid-range weight paddles. These will allow for added control and finesse.
As you choose a pickleball paddle, pay attention to “tennis style” grips, shaped to imitate the handle of tennis racquets. Various brand-new lengthened grips might appeal to most tennis players as they have a similar feel to the conventional tennis racket.
Determine your grip size upon deciding on the right paddle weight for you. It is vital to go for a pickleball paddle with a suitable grip circumference that matches the size of your hand. It may sound relatively easy, but you should choose a grip that fits your hand the best. Playing with paddles with the wrong grip size is similar to participating in a race in shoes that are too tight.
A reduced grip size will allow more wrist action and make it easy to apply spin to the ball while improving control. You can also achieve added serve power by increasing the wrist movement.
It becomes crucial for a pro player to pick a composite paddle with less power and added control. If you desire to stay at the back of the court and aim for optimum speed with little effort, then more powerful paddles might be required. Go for a paddle that has a greater force if playing singles.
Increased size of the grip will be instrumental in improving the stability of your stroke while also easing your wrist strain and strain on your shoulder joints and elbows. Here, the caution is that you are at risk of elbow strain by using a paddle handle that is extremely big for your hand. This can cause joint pain and/or tennis elbow, even more so after you play for extended periods of time.
An important part in choosing a paddle is establishing the right grip size. Therefore, ensure that you measure the size of your grip and pick a corresponding pickleball paddle. Suppose you have watched or played racket sports like tennis. In that case, you are probably familiar with grip wrapping with tape or “overgrip” to modify the circumference, making it a better match for the size of your hands and personal inclination.
If you get a deluxe paddle, they will typically come with premium grips (from manufacturers like Pro-lite or Gamma). This enhances the levels of comfort and also soaks up sweat. Nonetheless, if a paddle comes with a mediocre grip or one that gets worn out after using it for over some time, you can consider having the stock grip replaced with a brand-new superior grip.
Among the most neglected pickleball, paddle accessories is its grip. Incorporating an additional overgrip layer to your current grip or replacing your current paddle grip can aid in making it match your size perfectly for a comfortable fit in your hand. The correct grip size is crucial if you are to find the proper paddle.
Measuring of the grip size
An important consideration to bear in mind is that the addition of an overgrip can always increase the size. However, there is no means of decreasing the grip size. Therefore if you are unsure, purchase a grip size that is a step-down. You can then add tape or overgrip to fit your grip size.
Many paddles are available with standard grips between four and four-and-a-half inches. An easy and quick means of deciding on the right grip size depends on your height. Please bear in mind that this method is not as precise as the hand measurement technique.
Easy method To determine Grip Size using Height
|Between 5’3″ and 5’8″
|Between 4 1/8″ and 4 1/4″ Grip
|5’9″ and taller
|4 1/2″ Grip
You can go through the list of recommended light paddles with small grips for those with reduced hand sizes and require a grip smaller than 4″. Most of these paddles are for adults despite the reduced size though a kids’ paddle can also be found. A more reliable means of measurement can be seen below:
Ring Finger Measurement
You can measure the size of your grip with a ruler to establish the right paddle grip size for you. Measure the distance from your ring fingertip down the middle crease of your palm. Your palm typically has three creases.
Hold the paddle using your normal and natural grip to gauge whether you have the correct grip size. Then slide the index finger of your opposite hand between the heel of your grip hand and your fingers. It should be possible for you to easily fit the finger without needing to move your fingers.
If there is some extra space between your fingers and the heel and the index finger cannot touch the grip, it is too big. If you require the fingers to move to have the index finger fit in the gap, then the grip is too small. If you are deciding between these two sizes, go for the one smaller in size.
Wood: Cheapest and heaviest
Graphite: usually the most pricey option but offers powerful and light court performance
Composite: a bargain between graphite and wood paddle. It is available in a wide range of weights and price points and is quickly rising in popularity because the paddle face texture is instrumental in imparting spin on your shots. Higher-priced composites are also available.
Wood Pickleball Paddles
The wood option is still viable, mainly if you are a beginner pickleball player looking to make a minimum investment on your first paddle. However, you should be okay with using a heavy paddle.
It is essential that you remember that the earliest pickleball paddles were made of wood. Therefore, these are definitely usable, and the modern wood version has undergone significant improvements compared to its early predecessors. Such improvements include the incorporation of grips and safety straps as a means of preventing the paddle from slipping from your hands as you swing.
If you have plans of buying pickleball equipment in bulk, say for schools, summer camps, or community centers, wood paddles would be a decent choice. These kinds of sporting programs are usually associated with paddles being used heavily. The wood can take quite a beating and therefore should be an excellent choice since it is both affordable and durable.
In addition, kids playing pickleball in PE for 45 minutes will probably experience lower sensitivity to the weight of the paddle than senior players frequently playing sport. Wood paddles also offer a great solution when you expect visitors like grandkids coming in. It is a simple means of having a couple of extra paddles available for friends or rookies who wish to give pickleball a try.
The recommendation is that you forego the wood paddle and settle for a graphite or mid-range composite paddle for any other person not mentioned. The cost has reduced over the recent years, meaning you can now find them at budget-friendly prices.
Composite Pickleball Paddles
Composite core goes into constructing these paddles, with carbon fiber or fiberglass going into the construction of the hitting surface. The paddle core is designed from either rigid nylon (Nomex), aluminum, or polymer. There are some advantages and disadvantages to every type of paddle core.
There is also a significant increase in the popularity of composite pickleball paddles, mainly attributed to their textured surfaces that make it easy to spin the ball.
Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Most of these have a weight ranging between six and nine ounces. Additionally, graphite pickleball paddles are designed with a core (aluminum, polymer, or Nomex) resembling composite paddles. They have a graphite face on either paddle side, which distinguishes this pickleball paddle type.
The graphite layer is thin, typically only a couple of millimeters thick. They are also strong and light, making such paddles rank among the best-selling pickleball paddles.
Competitive players appreciate the fast action off the face of the graphite.
The fundamental variation between the three popular composite core types:
Such a paddle has a lighter-weight aluminum core. The internal honeycomb aluminum structures make the paddles stronger while also being sufficiently light to provide superb control and action. The aluminum core is ideal if you are a “control” player and willing to trade off some power and drive for added maneuverability and finesse. Aluminum is also softer, making the paddles have a “touch.” It is also quiet but not as much as polymer.
Nomex Honeycomb Core
Namex has a wide variety of tech applications, and over recent years, it has been applied in the creation of long-lasting pickleball paddles. The process begins with a material similar to cardboard subsequently dipped in resin to come up with a durable material that may be used in the construction of paddles by organizing it into a honeycomb pattern.
Nomex was the earliest material used in making composite paddles and continues to be the pickleball industry leader. Consequently, many professional players still opt for a Nomex core paddle. Such paddles are among the loudest and hardest and offer the renowned “popping” sound usually heard around pickleball courts. If you want to boost the power and speed of your shots, this might be just the choice for you. Nomex cores are also an excellent option for singles play that requires an additional power boost and a quick play style.
Polymer (Poly) Core
A polymer core paddle is designed from a plastic mixture. Though it is seen as the most recent core technology available on the pickleball scene today, it is also among the most famous. It is considered among the quietest paddles in the market. This can be an integral part of your decision to buy if you stay in a gated community, sharing recreation facilities and gym spaces, and where the noise from pickleball may be considered a disturbance to the serenity of the spaces.
Aside from being the quietest among the three types of cores, the paddles are also soft. Though it is still within you to make powerful shots with good polymer cores, this core is able to dampen your shot, meaning they are a better option if you are a control player.
As more pickleball courts continue opening up, more so those in gated communities, the factor of pickleball noise is developing into a more significant issue and leads to conflict between players and non-pickleball-playing residents. Some courts and neighborhoods have gone ahead to establish lists of approved paddles and go to the extent of banning players from using certain pickleball paddle models.
An increasing number of pickleball clubs, gated communities, and over 55 retirement centers are enforcing pickleball noise restrictions. As we have discussed the issue of pickleball noises, it has become a heated debate in some regions, even escalating into lawsuits.
If noise might be an issue where you are setting up to play pickleball, the safest option would be getting polymer paddles. Nonetheless, some centers have outlined paddles lists that are Approved (Green Zone) or Banned (Red Zone) according to the noise levels produced by every paddle. Therefore, if you live near such a center, only getting a polymer core might be insufficient.
Though it might not be an official certification or rating system, private clubs can establish good paddles as per their classifications. Clubs currently use a popular list in circulation on the internet as a standard of qualifying “quiet paddles.” a number of paddle manufacturers have begun marking their paddles with “Green Zone” approved seals.
If you reside in such communities or your neighbors are close enough to be annoyed by the noise, look for an approved “Green Zone” quiet paddle that has undergone testing and is confirmed to be less noisy.
Edgeless Pickleball Paddles
The term “edgeless” implies that there is no protective guard that usually emerges slightly around pickleball paddles. The purpose of the guard is to protect the paddle edge from chipping due to banging or dropping the paddle on hard surfaces. Some professional players opt to use edgeless pickleball paddles as they maximize the paddle face’s playing surface.
Though these paddles usually have a thin tape surrounding the paddle edge to protect the paddles without affecting the paddle face, it is sometimes not sufficient to shield it from impact. Therefore, such types of paddles are more prone to nicking and chipping along the edges.
The most popular classic-shaped pickleball paddle is the “wide-body” that measures about 8 inches by 15¾ inches.
Many manufacturers of pickleball paddles are now designing oversized paddles by increasing the length of its face and reducing the handle length. Consequently, the average length of the paddle is maintained the same and within rules.
Elongated Pickleball Paddle
There is a brand-new paddle classification currently on the market with paddles like the “Encore Blade” that trades off face width to accommodate an increased length of the pickleball up to 17 inches.
Top 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Men
Our keen and incisive research into pickleball paddles has led us to compile the following list of the best among all sampled models.
1. Pro Kennex Ovation Speed – Top Performance
This Kinetic Ovation Speed Pickleball Paddle is an outstanding paddle having vibration-reduction properties, touch-sensitivity, and responsive properties. The corner-less design and oval shape of the paddle reduce the probability of a mishit, thereby optimizing the margin of fun. A distinctive chamber full of tungsten helps the paddle absorb energy and saves you from shock during impact.
- Comfortable grip thanks to its cushioning
- It has a 7-layer branded coating
- Has a specially manufactured soft skin with the spin-grab characteristic
- Unmatched arm protection from the kinetic technology
- Made from Polymer with excellent impact resistance
- Great vibration dampening feature
- Ball striking does not hurt the arm
- Has ball spinning ability
- The edge-less and oval design makes it ideal for pro players
- A more robust edge guard producing reduced chipping
- The users did not find any defects
2. Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle – Best Value
This paddle is the earliest available pickleball paddle created particularly to avoid damaging the elbow and arm of a player. The modern design has chambers filled with tungsten at the core that help reduce vibration.
- It weighs approximately between 7.7 ounces and 8.0 ounces
- Has a 4 inches grip circumference and 4 7/8 inches length
- The paddle width and length are 7.6 and 15.4 inches, respectively
- Has Kinetic System Tech to reduce vibration and energy transfer
- It reduces the probability of elbow and arm injury
- Shock distribution and vibration reduction capability
- Facilitates playing for extended periods
- Quite comfortable in pickleball courts
- It enables you to make strong hits with fantastic grip
- Extra speed and touch
- Nicks very easily
3. Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddles – (Best For Control)
Selkirk Amped Paddle is an excellent pickleball paddle. If you seek control, spin, and power, the paddle for you is the Selkirk Amped. The paddle offers tremendous versatility with its widened surface. This facilitates you with an ideal place to make good hits. Among the most outstanding features of this paddle is its FiberFlex face providing you with extra time to pick your stroke.
- FiberFlex face provides an extended impact zone
- The ball is forced to bounce off the paddle
- The gameplay is quiet
- Aesthetic and colorful design of the paddle
- Has an average weight of approximately 7.5 ounces
- The weight ranges between 7.4 and 7.9 ounces
- Has a length of roughly 15 5/8 inches
- Grip circumference of about 4 ¼ inches
- Grip length of about 4 ½ inches
- Available in two ranges of weight for various players
- Medium weight offers greater power, with light-weight increasing the hand speed
- Provides greater control, spin, and power
- The ball impact is quieter
- Excellent feel and grip
- Probability of resulting in elbow and arm pains
4. ONIX Graphite Z5 Graphite Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle with Cushion Comfort Grip – (Best Graphite Pickleball Paddle)
This pickleball paddle is the most widespread provided by ONIX. It is among the premium options if you would like a graphite paddle. In comparison to other pickleball paddles, you will realize it has many additional features.
- It provides a great touch paddle for enhanced ball control
- Graphite, paper honeycomb, and Nomex face
- Has 4 ¼ inches of grip size
- Provides a fantastic balance of power and speed
- It is suitable for players of all levels
- Available in various color ranges
- It offers a quiet performance
- Exceptional ball control
- Easy movement and light-weight
- The grip is comfortable
- Extended durability due to its graphite surface
- The shots are not very powerful
5. Gamma NeuCore Pickleball Paddle with Honeycomb Grip – (Best for Intermediate Players)
The Gamma Compass graphite paddle provides a handy and extended reach with a premium quality polymer core. The NeuCore tech mainly uses more giant cells and 25% thicker cores for the paddles to feel soft over the impact but continue to offer power when required.
The graphite textured surface matches USAPA recommendations but has a greater probability of enhancing the ball spin. In spite of its length, the paddle has exceptional balance capable of controlling shots from different angles. The paddle has a length of 16 5/8 inches and weighs approximately 7 ¾ ounces.
- Has a 25% larger and thicker cell core
- It has a feel of greater effectiveness and is soft to increase control as you play
- Power control of your shots
- It provides a quieter play thanks to the giant cells
- Has a prominent GAMMA Honeycomb Cushion Grip
- Assembled from technology approved by USAPA
- It provides greater power and an improved ball reach
- The spins produced are sharper
- Sweet spot offers excellent control
- The additional length offers an advantage, especially for wide balls
- Extraordinary production of powerful shots
- It provides added spin for pros
- It might be rather expensive for some people
Question: Which pickleball paddle is the best?
Answer: The option of the best pickleball paddles varies according to your particular style of play. As a result of the spin-grab feature, 7-layer coating, grip cushioning, spinning capability, arm protection, and vibration-reduction quality, the Pro Kennex Ovation Speed Pickleball Paddles rises above the competition.
Question: How should I settle on a paddle from the various options?
Answer: An ideal means of choosing a pickleball paddle is giving it a try hands-on. Enquire from other pickleball players about the paddles they prefer and ask to test them. Trying out various grip sizes and weights puts you in a better position as you decide on your purchase of a paddle. If a light paddle feels balanced and reasonable to your hand, you can go ahead to try playing with it in a court. However, if you lack a variety of pickleball paddles to try out, you can make an informed decision by reading this guide.
Question: I am about to get a paddle for the first time. What is your advice?
Answer: The first paddle you buy needs to be a classic pickleball paddle. Such paddles have faces of about 7 ¾ to 8 inches and lengths of between 15 ½ and 15 ¾ inches.
Question: Is there any difference between graphite and fiberglass paddles?
Answer: Paddles made out of fiberglass usually have a greater weight than the graphite ones. A fiberglass paddle is believed to have more reliability, as graphite paddles are taken to have greater control. Both the paddles are strong and light.
Question: How should I choose a power paddle?
Answer: Go for a heavy-weight paddle if your desire is enhanced power in the paddle. With the increased weight, you will get the extra power you need.
Question: Why is it that the majority of composite paddles have an overlapping edge guard?
Answer: You will realize that there are edge guards around the edges of many composite paddles. The purpose of this edge guard is to maintain the paddle’s integrity while also acting as a covering of the open honeycomb interior. There is an increased risk of the paddle de-laminating without the overlapping guards and possibly being damaged. If your paddle de-laminates, its face will pull up from the honeycomb interior, ruining your paddle.
Every pickleball paddle we have listed in this guide would generally be an excellent choice. However, only you can have the final say as to which paddle works best for you. Finding the most efficient paddle will depend on your style of play, along with other personal preferences. A specific paddle might work better in certain scenarios compared to other paddles.
All the highlighted paddles are outstanding, and one of them might be just the perfect fit for you! According to the player type of your own, you can choose a paddle with more power or enhanced control capabilities. Paddle hunting should be a smooth ride for you if you go for an option that fits your style of play based on the information found in this article. Make the smart move and invest in the right paddle to achieve greater success, efficiency, and experience even more enjoyment in the pickleball court!