The Best Pickleball Paddles of 2023
Whether you're a novice or an expert player, choosing the right pickleball paddle can make a big difference in your performance and enjoyment of the sport.
This guide outlines the features to consider and reviews the top pickleball paddles on the market to help you find your perfect match.
After testing over 20 paddles across various price points, material types, and designs, our top picks are:
Top Pick: Vatic Pro V7
Vatic Pro v7
The best combination of power, control, and value for money.
This thermoformed carbon fiber paddle offers one of the best combinations of power, control, and value for money. The injected foam edge results in an expansive sweet spot that delivers lots of spin and pop when making powerful shots. Vatic uses co-injected Toray carbon fibers and an aerospace-grade honeycomb core for lightweight durability and precise feel. While advanced players will appreciate the power and maneuverability, the generous sweet spot makes it an accessible paddle for all skill levels.
Runner Up: Legacy Pro
Well-balanced power and control.
The Legacy Pro features thermoforming technology and a T800 carbon fiber face for max spin. The 5.25 inch handle and 16 mm core provide well-balanced power and control. The full perimeter foam edge extends the sweet spot, while the honeycomb core keeps the paddle lightweight and responsive.
Best Budget Pick: Ronbus R1
Advanced spin and feel at an impressive value.
The R1 features a traditional rectangular shape and raw carbon face for advanced spin and feel. The thicker 16mm core makes this Ronbus ideal for developing touch and control. The edge guard protects the carbon from damage while providing a consistent response across the entire hitting surface. The multi-density handle and 5.5 inch grip make this paddle easy to maneuver at the net. While not as powerful as thermoformed paddles, the R1 offers impressive value for precision and finesse.
While carbon fiber paddles with innovative thermoforming technology offer the latest in power and spin, their premium price tags aren't necessary for most players. Our recommended picks aim to provide the best balance of performance, feel, control, and value within different budget ranges.
We tested paddles using a range of objective criteria and measurements:
Power: We tested each paddle's ability to produce power and drive the ball deep into the court. We recorded speed gun readings on serves and groundstrokes.
Control: We assessed how easily each paddle allowed for controlled placement and the ability to produce different spins and shots. We rated paddles on their likelihood of producing unforced errors.
Sweet Spot: We measured the area of each paddle where the ball produced the optimum power, control, and response. Sweet spot size was determined subjectively based on feel and objectively by marking hits.
Durability: We inspected paddles for build quality, checked for loose edges or delamination, and noted manufacturers' warranty policies.
Beyond specs and performance, choosing the right paddle depends on:
Skill Level: Beginners benefit most from thicker cores for added control while advanced players value power and manoeuvrability.
Playing Style: More offensive players want power while touch players prioritize control and finesse.
Budget: Don't spend more than needed - our budget and runner-up options offer excellent value.
Materials: Carbon fiber paddles provide more spin while fiberglass offers more value and feel.
In the end, trust your instincts and take the time to demo paddles before committing. But with the right information and thorough testing, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect paddle for your game.
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