Best Pickleball Paddle Reviews – Buying Guide 2017

Pickleball is a racquetball sport which had its beginnings in the 1960's. The rules and terms of play is a combination and modification of the rules of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It originally started as a children's game but became popular sports among the adults as well.

Yes, You Have to Be Skillful But...

Like all racquetball sports, playing the sport successfully does not only depend on the skill of the players themselves but also that of his ability to take advantage of the features of using his equipment, in this case, the pickleball paddle. And in pickleball, choosing the best pickleball paddle is one big decision a player has to reckon with.

Best Pickleball Paddle 2017 Comparison Table

Product Name

Weight (Oz)

Material

Price

Our Rating

Rally Graphite Pickleball Paddle

7.6 - 8.4

Graphite

$$

Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

7.8 - 8.2

Graphite

$$$

Pro-Lite Sports Aero-D Graphite Pickleball Paddle

6.0 - 7.0

Graphite

$

Gamma Premium Pickleball Paddle

8.2 – 8.8

Fiberglass Composite

$$

PickleBall Paddle, Balls & Bag from "COSMIC"

8.3

Graphite

$$

What are the things that you might want to check on when deciding on buying a pickleball paddle?

You may consider checking on the following before deciding which paddle to choose.

  • Price: Pickleball paddles may come in wood, composite (fiberglass) or graphite. Wood pickleball paddles are the least expensive but are the hardest to control because their core is made of hard plywood. They also lack the”popping” sound produced by either composite or graphite paddles so even for a beginner, it should be a toss up between a composite or a graphite.
  • Weight: The weight of the paddle should be seriously considered as there are trade-offs with the use of either the heavy or light paddle. Although a heavier paddle helps you drive the ball, it gives you lesser control. If you use a light paddle, on the other hand, you have more control of the ball but you double the effort to drive the ball to where you want it to go.
  • Grip Size: It is also very important that you get the correct grip circumference on your paddle as an oversized grip could result in slips and cause injury to your elbows. Thus, when choosing between two paddles, it would be best to select the smaller size grip first.

With the proliferation of pickleball paddles, (and the humongous material on pickleball paddle reviews) it could be quite overwhelming especially for a neophyte to decide which particular paddle to buy initially. The following pickleball paddle reviews will hopefully guide you through the features one has to consider in picking the best pickleball paddle in terms of performance, durability, and ease of use.


Rally Graphite Pickleball Paddle

This pickleball paddle is made of graphite face with Nomex Core so that you would not have to worry about denting. This paddle has the following features and benefits:

  • Wide paddle face (length 15 ¾”, width 8 1/8”) which provides for a bigger sweet spot, minimizes edge guard hits and minimizes mishits;
  • Weight 7.5-8.0 oz
  • Winn Dry Grip (4 ¼ is in between the small and large grip). Its perforated cushion grip by minimizes slipping maximizing both power and control on the paddle;
  • Nomex Honeycombed core. Graphite in itself is a bit heavy. But because of the Nomex honeycombed core, the paddle's weight is greatly decreased without sacrificing the strength of the paddle. (7.6 oz. for the standard version and 8.4 oz. for the power version)
  • 1/8” overlapping edge guard: low profile so that shots are not that bad when the ball hits edge but good enough to protect paddle from ground hits.

Pros

  • Wide paddle face so that paddle is more forgiving.
  • Preferred by most players as the features have addressed most issues of pickleball players: lesser mishits, bigger sweet spots, sturdy edge guards for ground hits.

Cons

  • Since the face is big, efforts by the player to hit the ball at the middle of the paddle may not be as pronounced as when a player is using a smaller faced paddle.

Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

This pickleball paddle made of graphite is a bit heavier at a maximum of 8.2 oz. The face is a bit rough making it less forgiving but advance players find that this gives them greater control of the ball.

  • Medium-weight 7.8 - 8.2-ounce paddle weight
  • Wide paddle face (at least ½ inch bigger than other standard pickleball paddles) that provides a bigger sweet spot.
  • The graphite face and the Nomex core coupled with the added weight of the paddle give the player superior feel of the ball.
  • Those who owned a Z5 say that the surface is slightly textured which gives them more control of the ball.

Pros

  • The additional weight of the paddle enables the players to get more control of the ball.
  • The slightly rough face of the paddle provides more traction and control of the ball.

Cons

  • It is also because of the weight, on the other hand, that extra effort in the shots result in elbow injuries as players try to control the volley of the ball towards the other side of the court.
  • Players with big hands are handicapped considering the handles are not as long thus limiting wrist movement.

Pro-Lite Sports Aero-D Graphite Pickleball Paddle

If it is a lightweight graphite paddle you are looking for, then this could be a choice for you. It is aerodynamically designed for less resistance resulting in greater control.

  • ​Weight: 6.0 to 7.0 oz.
  • Small paddle face at length of 15 3/4” and width of 7 7/8”.
  • Contoured handle for all grip variations. Most customers who bought this paddle are awed by the great grip this handle gives.
  • Tapered end cap so that there are fewer slippages.
  • The grip is 4 1/8” so that it can easily be handled even by players with small hands.
  • The extra length of the handle (5 3/4”) provides more flexibility resulting in a comfortable play.

Pros

  • Small paddle face gives the player that extra challenge to hit the ball at the center or suffer the consequences of edge hits. This is a good trainer paddle as the player always has to target middle hit to enjoy a good play.
  • The handle is a bit longer and tapered adding flexibility to the wrist and giving greater grip on the paddle.

Cons

  • The paddle is light weight, so ball control becomes a challenge.

Gamma Premium Pickleball Paddle

The heavy weight of this paddle gives extra hitting power with each shot. This fiberglass composite paddle is covered with a decal in a grid-like pattern of small circles underneath which is the Nomex Honey Comb Core with Live Periphery TM all around it which practically eliminates dead spots.

  • Fiberglass Composite with Aramid Honeycomb Core.
  • Weight 8.2 – 8.8 oz.
  • Bumper guard is flush fit so that there are no protruding edges that could result to mishits;
  • Grip circumference is 4 1/8” wrapped in Gamma PB Contour Grip to prevent slips;
  • The 5 1/8” handle is connected to the paddle with the use of Gamma's Unibody Handle TM Technology so that wobbles on the connection are prevented resulting to longer paddle life.
  • Paddle length is 15.6” and width is 8 1/4”; the bigger face provides a bigger sweet spot in addition to the flushed sides that minimizes mishits.

Pros

  • The paddle is slightly heavier than its graphite counterpart so that the player is able to wield power with each shot.
  • Its long handle at 5 1/8” provides more wrist flexibility to the player.

Cons

  • The player is able to do power shots due to the heavier weight of the paddle but this may tire the player early on in the game.

PickleBall Paddle, Balls & Bag from "COSMIC"

This graphite made pickleball paddle falls on the heavy side considering this is made of graphite. This weight is what gives the paddle the power to volley the ball across the net.

  • Weight 8.25 oz.
  • The product is relatively new so that aside from the introductory discounted price, the paddles comes with freebies like pickle balls and a sports bag. Buyers, however, were not happy about quality of freebies included;
  • Grip circumference is 4 ” and is adjusted only by using a tacky 'grip” tape; because of this, the user cannot expect to have prolonged life for the handle most especially if the user has a bigger grip and adjustment is made only by adding the grip tape.
  • Maybe a good beginner's racquet but advanced players may get dents on their paddle due to strong hits; definitely not for advanced players.
  • Handle is 4.5” long so may not be comfortable for players with big hands;
  • Rim edging is plastic and came off even with very little use.

Pros

  • The paddle is relatively less expensive considering its graphite face.
  • The purchase comes with a pickleball paddle, extra pickleballs, and a sports bag.

Cons

  • Quality of equipment is such that dents appear on the paddle face
  • Rim edge is made of plastic and comes off even just within a few uses.

Some Final Thoughts...

Now that we have given you the features and benefits of the pickleball paddles that have been mostly bought in the market, we can say without a doubt that the Rally Graphite Pickleball Paddle has the upper hand when it comes to the best pickleball paddle. As the top 5 paddles fall either with the composite face or graphite, the price would actually not be an issue as the four of the five (except for the Cosmic) fall within the same price range.

That leaves us with looking at the weight and the grip. As to the weight, the Rally Graphite also has the upper hand as it is not too heavy to tax the players' elbows nor too light to lose control of the pickleball. The Rally's grip is also more superior to that of the other 4 as it takes into consideration absorption of sweat though its perforated cushion grip which is important when talking about slippages.

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