You can’t play pickleball without a pickleball paddle. However, not all paddles are created equal. Paddles can have a large impact on your body and your style of playing, so you have to pick an ideal paddle in order to have a more enjoyable playing experience. If you’ve been in the market for a pickleball paddle and you’re torn between buying a graphite paddle or a composite model, we suggest you stick around as we’re going to help you pick the right paddle for you.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Paddle
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we first have to look at a few factors that should be taken into consideration before deciding which pickleball paddle you’re going to go for. These are general factors that apply to all types of pickleball paddles, not just graphite and composite models.
Weight of the Pickleball Paddle
Weight is arguably the most critical factor to keep in mind when buying a new paddle because it plays a major role in your performance and how the paddle will feel in your hands. A wide range of paddle weights is available on the market, from 6-ounce models to 14-ounce models.
Lightweight pickleball paddles weigh under 7.3 ounces, mid-weight paddles can weight from 7.3 to 8.4 ounces, and heavy pickleball paddles will be the one weighing 8.5 ounces or more. Again, the weight of a pickleball paddle can affect how you control the ball and how it feels to swing it.
Generally, a heavier pickleball paddle will allow you to drive the ball much easier, but that comes at the expense of control as they’ll allow for less control than a lighter paddle. In order to get the best of both worlds, we’d recommend you buy a paddle that falls somewhere in between so that you get adequate control and still be able to drive the ball with ease.
If you’re a pickleball player who has suffered from physical injuries before, we’d strongly suggest that you stick to lighter paddles because they’re easier to handle. Heavier pickleball paddles can cause fatigue if you play with them for a long time, so try to switch between weights, especially if you’re not in great shape.
Grip Size of the Pickleball Paddle
There’s nothing worse than playing with a pickleball paddle that has too large of a grip perimeter for your hands. Your hands may slip when hitting the ball if you’re playing with a paddle that has a grip that’s too large for your hands, which can easily cause some elbow injuries over time.
On the other hand, it’s actually recommended to start with paddles that feature smaller grip size because they allow for greater action. You can move up from there until you’ve found the proper grip size for you. Smaller grips also allow for powerful serves, better spin, and more control over the ball, so it makes sense to start your pickleball journey with a small-grip pickleball paddle.
If you measure at under 5’2″, you should go for a 4″ grip. If you measure anywhere between 5’3″ and 5’8″, a 4 1/8″ to 4 1/4″Grip should be ideal for you. Lastly, if you’re 5’9″ or taller, a 4 1/2″ grip should be your best bet.
Power Paddles and Control Paddles
When choosing between pickleball paddles, you have to choose between power and control. It’s important to know whether you want to drive the ball with more power or would you prefer to get better control of your shots. We’re not saying that you can’t have both, but one usually overrides the other.
Depending on your playing style, a lighter paddle with a smaller grip can give better control over the ball but your shots will lack power. Heavier paddles with larger grips, on the other hand, tend to give more power than their counterparts but don’t allow for much shot control and accuracy.
Ideally, you want to keep things right in between so that you can achieve a great balance of both power and precision. However, you don’t have to stick to a certain criteria, your playing style and your physique can dictate your choice of paddles, so there isn’t really any wrong answers here.
Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Graphite paddles are the most expensive out there. They’re very lightweight and much easier to control than composite models. Most graphite paddles weigh between 6 to 9 ounces and they’re constructed with aluminum, polymer, or Nomex honeycomb cores. A graphite paddle will have a graphite face on both of its sides, which is very thin but super strong.
Graphite paddles are used by professionals and competitive players due to their ability to make great shots with superb accuracy. The only problem with graphite models is that they’re not very affordable and it’s very hard to find a budget-friendly graphite paddle. We’d strongly recommend graphite models for people who take this sport seriously and want to achieve more.
Composite Pickleball Paddles
Composite paddles are gaining more and more momentum every day due to their affordability, in comparison to their graphite counterparts. These models tend to have carbon fiber or fiberglass surfaces and are constructed with composite cores that can consist of many different things like aluminum, polymer, or even Nomex sometimes.
Composite paddles allow for great spins, thanks to their textured surface. Further, these models are also lightweight and allow for great control and shot precision. Luckily, you can easily get an awesome, high-performing composite paddle that suits your budget. We’d strongly recommend those types of paddles for casual players who just want to enjoy a good game.
All materials used in the construction of pickleball paddles have their positives and negative. It all really boils down to your needs and play style. You may also want to check out paddles that are made of wood as they’re very common and you may find them better for you. Remember to keep the above-mentioned factors in mind before heading out to buy a new paddle so that you can get the best bang for your buck.
The materials used in the construction of pickleball paddles all have their positives and negatives. It all really boils down to different playing styles and budgets. You should also check out pickleball paddles made of wood as they’re very common and you may find one that’s great for you. Remember to keep the above-mentioned factors in mind so that you can get the best bang for your buck.