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10 Best Pickleball Paddles for All Levels of Play, From Beginner to Advanced

America's fastest growing sport deserves some gear reviews.

best pickleball paddles
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Heads up; Pickleball is taking the country by storm. According the the Sports and Fitness Industry Association the number of people playing pickleball is estimated to be around 4.8 million, which is double the number from five years ago. What this data also tells us is pickleball is now officially the fastest growing sport in America.

Those familiar with the game might remember playing it way back in gym class or at a summer camp—the game is no spring chicken, pickleball was invented in 1965. And as far as the gear goes, the tech has stayed relatively the same for decades until the last several years. Now you can buy special pickleball paddles and balls, all while playing at one of the newest pickleball courts that are popping up all over the country.

Which brings us to the most important piece of gear in a pickleball player's bag, the paddle. These days brands are coming out of the woodwork to reveal their best pickleball paddle projects. Some of these companies have been quietly developing the best pickleball paddles for years while others have set up shop to appeal to a group of players they feel that have not yet been represented in the market. But buyers need beware, as fakes and crummy knock-offs are aplenty. If you want to enjoy pickleball to its full potential, you're going to want to invest in a paddle you can at least get a good wack on the ball every time you volley (read on to the bottom of this article if you want to know more on what to look for in a paddle).

Read more: Best Tennis Rackets

To save you some precious time, we did the research on the best pickleball paddles ourselves. Now the only hard part is deciding on the type of paddle that fits you best for all your future matches!

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Best Overall
Echo Pickleball Paddle
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  • Honeycomb core that dampens vibrations
  • Balanced and easy to control
  • Great minimalist design
  • Solid price point

In terms of how much tech you get for the value of the paddle, the Wilson Echo takes the cake. The Echo has a PO3 fiberglass composite make up to ensure lightweight, durable feel, and inside it has a PolyCore-X honeycomb core to dampen vibrations and hit a controlled shot on every stroke. The paddle also has a classic shaped design with a surface that allows the player to add some wicked spin on the ball.

  • Weight: 7.7-8.1 oz
  • Length: 16"
  • Width: 8"
  • Head size: 70.5 sq. in.
  • Grip circumference: 4.125"
Best for Beginners
Rally Tyro 2
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Pickleball Central

  • Wallet-friendly
  • Super lightweight

  • Low power

Pickleball Central makes several quality in-house products. The Rally Tryo 2 is a wallet-friendly composite paddle with a polymer core. It's best feature is its weight, clocking in at a lofty 6.9-7.2 ounces. This is a good starter paddle for those getting into the game.

  • Weight: 7.5-8.0 oz
  • Length: 15.67"
  • Width: 7.8"
  • Grip circumference: 4.25"
Most Stylish
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  • Beautiful design
  • Comes with leather handle and carrying case
  • PPA approved

Recess is another pickleball gear company making high quality paddles with great design. Several of their paddles are approved for USA Pickleball tournaments, including the Clarksville, and are made with a 0.53" thick honeycomb interior. We also like the fact the paddle is wrapped with authentic leather and comes with a nice canvas carrying case.

  • Weight: 7.5-8.0 oz
  • Length: 15.67"
  • Width: 7.8"
  • Grip circumference: 4.25"
Best New Brand
The Ashbury
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  • Cool retro designs
  • Great balance
  • Easy to control

Nettie is a pickleball paddle and gear brand that was born during the Pandemic. Nettie's founder and CEO, Catherine Baxter, sought to create premium pickleball products with colorful, retro-inspired designs. The Ashbury's design takes inspiration from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco and features a polymer honeycomb core and a carbon fiber face.

  • Weight: 7.8-8.0 oz
  • Grip circumference: 4.25"
Best for Competition
Ben Johns Hyperion Pro
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  • Large surface area
  • Special foam edge for added stability
  • Carbon-textured surface for spinning

  • Expensive

If there's one name you should know about in professional pickleball it's Ben Johns—the 23-year old has won 51 championships on the PPA Tour in singles, doubles, and mixed competitions in his career. His official JOOLA paddle is loaded with a Carbon-Flex5 textured surface, a reactive polypropylene honeycomb core, and a specialized foam edge wall for added stability. The paddle is expensive, we know, but this is a Ben Johns paddle we're talking about here.

  • Weight: 8.4 oz
  • Length: 18"
  • Width: 10"
  • Grip circumference: 4.25
Amped Pickleball Paddle
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Selkirk Sport

If you're looking for another competition-level opiton, Selkirk makes so top-notch paddles that are loaded with some of the best materials around. With the Invikta you get serious specs like a Polypropylene X5 Core, FiberFlex facing, and a massive sweet spot that delivers big shots.

  • Weight: 7.8-8.4 oz
  • Length: 17.56"
  • Width: 7.4"
  • Grip circumference: 4.25"
Juice Carbon
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Similar to the Echo in many ways, the Wilson Juice's main different is its strategically woven carbon fiber face that delivers more power in your shots. The best part about the Juice is it's only a $20 upgrade from the Echo, so if you're looking to move into more competitive play this is a good paddle to veer towards.

  • Weight: 8.2-8.6 ozd
  • Length: 15.25"
  • Width: 8.25"
  • Grip circumference: 4.125"
Graphite Z5
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If you watch any PPA Tour events it's likely you'll notice Onix as a paddle in a few pros hands. While they have tons of rackets the Graphite Z5 is a solid pick thanks to it's wide body, which means better chances of getting to those tricky drop shots.

  • Weight: 7.5-8.2 oz
  • Length: 15.5"
  • Width: 8.3"
  • Grip circumference: 4.25"
Radical Elite
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HEAD's Radical Elite paddle is another wallet friendly pick for those still venturing into the sport. For under $60, you get a honeycomb core, a fiberglass finish, and a cushioned grip.

  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  • Length: 16.93"
  • Width: 12.13"
  • Grip circumference: 4.25"

What to Look for In A Pickleball Paddle

best pickleball paddles

Similar to a quality tennis racket or badminton racket, a pickleball paddle should be made from materials that help dampen the vibration of the ball while also providing flex to return the ball back in a more controlled manner.

Carbon fiber and fiberglass composites are a couple of common materials in high quality paddles, as they help players deliver speed and spin on the ball. A good pickleball paddle should also have zero dead spots—meaning when you make a quality hit on the ball it doesn't randomly underperform and fall flat. This is why good pickleball paddles are thick, because brands can place tech inside the paddle to avoid the chance of dead spots. One popular interior makeup is a honeycomb design, which is a type of interior webbing that's made into a honey comb shape to ensure the racket is evenly balanced.

Lastly, a pickleball paddle should be lightweight and have good grip. If you can think about how many different types of tennis rackets there are for players, there's a similar landscape with pickleball paddles. Some paddles are made for control and balance, while others are for power. There are paddles with different shapes of surface area and there are also different surface materials for easy spinning the ball.

The jumping off point though is knowing where to start with a pickleball paddle. Then from there, you can personalize more to your style of play.

What About a Wood Pickleball Paddle?

best pickleball paddle

First, let us be clear there's nothing wrong with getting a wood paddle.

While a wood paddle was the original pickleball paddle design back when it was invented in the 1960's, technology has since advanced. Today's paddles make it easier to return the ball and ultimately are more fun to play with.

Think about it this way; if it's easier to spin the ball, deliver more power, and guarantee better control of the ball, doesn't that make the game more fun?

For us, making the jump up to any of the pickleball paddles above is well worth the investment. Plus, when you factor in how long these high quality paddles last you end up saving money over time!

How We Selected

best pickleball paddles
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For the past six months, we consulted with Men's Health's editors and writers on the top pickleball paddles. Experts, including our Gear and Commerce Editor, John Thompson, put a number pickleball paddles to the test and evaluated their performance, durability, and weight. We also considered top-reviewed pickleball paddles that had high customer ratings on e-commerce websites we trust.

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