When it comes to the game of pickleball, your paddle matters more than you might think. If you’re new to the sport, our quick guide to the best pickleball paddles for beginners can help you pick out the best one for you, and make all the difference in your gameplay.
Beginner Pickleball Paddle Basics
When it comes to pickleball paddles for beginners, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions first.
What is better for a surface for beginner pickleball paddles? Graphite or composite?
There are a few different materials available to choose from for the surface of your pickleball paddle. While there are wooden paddles and polycarbonate pickleball paddles, the most popular materials for the paddle face are graphite or composite. The one that’s right for you will depend on the kind of player you are.
Graphite paddles, as you may have guessed, are made of graphite. This option gives you a lighter option with more durability and power. These are popular picks among professional pickleball players, thanks to their agility. They do tend to be more expensive, though, and there are a lot of options on the market that can be overwhelming to beginner pickleball players.
Composite paddles are made of a combination of materials, which may include graphite. They tend to be heavier paddles, but that helps many beginners put more power behind their serves. Many players report more control and consistency with these paddles and prefer the textured surface. They come in a wide variety of weights so you can pick the one that feels best to you starting out. Plus, they are often less expensive than graphite paddles.
When it comes to pickleball paddles for beginners, composite wins out over graphite because they offer a good “middle ground”.
Is it important to have an edge guard on a pickleball paddle?
An edge guard on pickleball paddles wraps around the surface to protect it from chipping and other damage. But do you need one as a beginner?
When you are first learning the game of pickleball, you may appreciate that extra protection if your pickleball paddle hits the ground. However, keep in mind that an edge guard does create a small lip around the paddle face which may mess with the ball control.
Are heavier paddles better than lighter paddles?
There are no specific rules about the paddle weight in pickleball, which means it’s up to you whether you want to play with heavy paddles or a lightweight pickleball paddle. Your choice may still have an effect on the way you play, though.
Lightweight Pickleball Paddle For Beginners (7.5 oz)
The lighter the pickleball paddle, the more speed it has. However, you do sacrifice some power for those quick reflexes.
Midweight Pickleball Paddle For Beginners (7.5 oz – 8.4 oz)
Midweight paddles for beginners are often recommended, as they give players a good reference point as they adapt to the game. Once you’ve played with a midweight paddle, you can work your way up to deciding if you might need a lighter paddle or a heavier one.
Heavy Paddles For Beginners (>8.5 oz)
Heavier pickleball paddles for beginners will mean getting used to less speed, but more power. Professional players usually prefer a heavier paddle because of this, but those who are not used to the game may find them more challenging. They can even lead to injury or elbow strain if the paddle weight is too heavy.
Getting The Best Pickleball Paddles For Beginners: Things To Consider
When looking into the best pickleball paddles for beginners, there are a few other factors to consider.
If you’re picking out a beginner pickleball paddle, you’ll want to keep the paddle core in mind. The material used for the core can affect the paddle weight, and therefore your game play.
There are four different core materials to choose from.
- Polymer core: This is a honeycomb core, also known as a polypropylene core thanks to its composition. Overall, this is the most popular.
- Wood core: The wood paddle core is the most commonly recommended for beginner pickleball players. They are the least expensive, and the heaviest.
- Nomex core: These cores are made up of a DuPont Nomex paper-coated honeycomb core. They offer a lot of pop when they make contact with the ball, and tend to be very rigid.
- Aluminum: Made up of an aluminum honeycomb core, these are strong, light, and powerful.
When looking for the best pickleball paddles for beginners, wooden paddles are a good start.
There are three different sizes of pickleball paddles for beginners to choose from:
- Standard paddles: This paddle is 16 inches long by 8 inches wide, commonly used in beginner pickleball paddles because they are standard, and offer more control and stability.
- Oversized paddles: These are longer than the standard 16-inch paddle, which adds length for increased reach. That increased reach may come at the cost of some control, which makes it an unpopular pick for a beginner pickleball paddle
- Elongated paddles: These have a longer handle, but a shorter paddle. This means they tend to be favored among more experienced players who have two-handed backhands.
A pickleball paddle may be lightweight, midweight, or heavy. Midweight paddles for beginners are the most popular. This is because lighter paddles offer quicker speed, and heavier paddles offer more power, both of which can make it hard for a beginner to gain control.
When considering pickleball paddles, beginners can choose from a few different surface materials. Those include:
- Graphite pickleball paddles: Popular among professional players, graphite creates a lightweight paddle that is more durable.
- Wooden pickleball paddles: Many encourage beginners to opt for a pickleball paddle made of wood. These are among the easiest to find and the most inexpensive.
- Composite pickleball paddles: These are made of a combination of materials, and are often less expensive, making them a viable option among paddles for beginners.
- Polycarbonate pickleball paddles: Made from a synthetic resin, these are much like the graphite choices, but they are an even more lightweight pickleball paddle option.
Usually, a pickleball paddle with a wooden or composite surface is the best bet for a beginner.
Grip length and circumference
The grip length and circumference noh have to feel comfortable and natural to you in order to allow for your best playing. A smaller grip is best for a more controlled spin and more ball control in general. A larger grip, on the other hand, is easier on your wrist and elbow and might allow more stability in your swings.
Your height can give you an idea of what your grip size should be. Use the following guidelines as a starting point:
- People under 5’2″: 4″ grip
- People between 5’3” to 5’8”: 4 ⅛ “ to 4 1⁄4” grip
- People 5’9” or taller: 4 1⁄2” or larger
Our Top Overall Pickleball Paddles For Beginners
Now that you know the basics, here’s our guide to finding the best pickleball paddles for beginners.
The Best Pickleball Paddle For The Beginner Who Wants To Grow Into Their Paddle
Head Radical Tour Pickleball Paddle (Grey/Orange)
If you’re looking for a pickleball paddle that will serve you through every stage of your gameplay journey, the Head Radical Tour Pickleball Paddle (Grey/Orange) is our pick.
With a graphite surface, Comfort Grip System, and extended power core, this is a great paddle that will give you control and weight when first starting out, and make your swings more powerful and controlled as you learn.
Add an edge guard to keep your investment safe when on the court.
The Best Pickleball Paddle For The Beginner Player On A Budget
Wilson Profile Pickleball Paddle (Blue/Black)
For the casual beginner, or one who isn’t quite ready to take the plunge on a more expensive paddle, the Wilson Profile Pickleball Paddle (Blue/Black) is a great starter paddle.
Among the light paddles available, this is one of the best, slicing through the air with impressive agility. Plus the paddle weight prevents any arm fatigue that might impact those new to the game.
There is no edge guard, keeping the surface flat for easier aim.
The Best Pickleball Paddle For The Beginner Who Is Okay Paying A Bit More For Quality
Gamma RZR Premium Poly Core Pickleball Paddle
If you’re looking for a quality paddle and don’t mind spending a bit more to get it, look no further than the Gamma RZR Premium Poly Core Pickleball Paddle (Green/Yellow). This midweight paddle has a textured graphite face, GAMMA Honeycomb Cushion grip, 4.25-inch grip length, and 4.25-inch grip size. The Gamma RZR promises a powerful pop and better control to improve your gameplay.
Shop North State For All Of Your Pickleball Equipment Needs
For the best pickleball paddles around, you cn turn to North State. Our extensive catolog of pickleball equipment will keep you playing your best on the court whether you’re a beginner or a pro. Shop our inventory of the best beginner pickleball paddles now.