When selecting a pickleball paddle, weight matters probably more than anything. Which weight has better control–heavier paddles or lighter weight paddles? If you are a player who values control and quicker reaction times, you want a lighter paddle. If you have a strong hit, you will want a heavier paddle weight. The ideal weight of a pickleball paddle depends on the strengths and needs of the player and the game.
A lighter paddle provides you with more control but less drive than a heavy paddle. These are great options for increased ball control, dink shots, and maneuverability. What players find they really love about a lighter weight is less strain and fatigue in their arms.
Lightweight pickleball paddles are generally considered to be 7.5 ounces and below. Midweight paddles are 7.5-8.4 ounces, and heavy paddles weigh above 8.3 ounces. There are 20-30 popular brands on the market that in total offer hundreds of different paddles from which you can choose. In this article, we look at some of the features that you should evaluate when selecting the right paddle for you, as well as several of the best lighter-weight pickleball paddles you may want to consider.
What to Look For in a Pickleball Paddle
First, what should you look for when shopping for a pickleball paddle? Much of what you should look at in terms of the features is relative to what you want to achieve when you play and have to do with the head surface. Do you want more control as opposed to powerful shots? A short head that is thick and made of carbon fiber will give you more control. Do you want forgiveness with a large sweet spot? If so, then perhaps you want a bigger head made of carbon fiber; if not, then you want a smaller head that is possibly made of fiberglass. Do you want to generate more spin on your shots? If so, then you want a head shape that is elongated, thicker, and made from carbon fiber. Conversely, a shorter, thinner head made from fiberglass will give you less spin.
In addition to the head surface, other features that are important to consider when making your decision on a paddle weight include the grip and the core composition.
The grip circumference, as well as the cushioned grip, is important in the pickleball game. There are several ways you can select a grip size that is best for you. First, you can base it on your height. If your height is below 5’3″, a small grip with a 4″ circumference is recommended. If your height is 5’3″ to 5’8″, a medium grip with a 4.25″ circumference is suggested. And if you are taller than 5’8″, a large grip size of 4.5″ is preferred.
You can also use your finger length to determine the best pickleball grip size. Measure from the tip of the ring finger on your paddle hand to the middle crease of your palm. That measurement is the best pickleball grip size for you. For example, if you measure 4″ then that is the best size of grip for you.
If you are in between sizes, go with the smaller size and add an overgrip to arrive at the ideal fit. Generally, an overgrip increases the size by 1/16″.
The core material is an important factor in selecting a lightweight paddle, or any weight paddle, for that matter. The paddle’s core can come in four different materials: wood, polymer, Nomex, and aluminum.
Ninety-five percent of paddles use a polymer core. Brands call it polymer, poly, or polypropylene. Basically, this material is hard plastic. Polymer is durable and provides a good balance of power and touch, which makes it the most popular core material. Polymer cores differ in quality. The less expensive paddles with a poly core have a lower quality of polymer while the more expensive paddles use a higher quality polymer that doesn’t break down as easily and provides a more consistent feel across the face.
Wood paddle cores are generally the best option for beginners. A wood paddle core is the least expensive option, but it is the heaviest.
A Nomex paddle core is a DuPont Nomex paper-coated honeycomb core with a heat-resistant resin coat on top. The Nomex has a lot of pop but has a stiffer feel than wood and polymer cores.
An aluminum paddle core is made from an aluminum honeycomb core. It is a strong, lightweight core and has a lot of power.
Is a Lighter Pickleball Paddle Better?
So, is a lighter pickleball paddle better than a heavier paddle? Again, it depends on your objective as a player. If you are a beginner, a lighter-weight paddle is a great choice. However, if a paddle is too light, you may overexert yourself and cause injury. On the other hand, a heavy paddle might be too heavy for you and can contribute to an injury. A medium-weight paddle may be just right.
Selecting a Paddle Weight
Here are some considerations when choosing a paddle weight.
Heavyweight Pickleball Paddles: (8.5oz+)
Many players, especially more advanced players, go with a heavier paddle. These players are experienced and want more power in their shots. This paddle generates more force and is great for a deeper baseline and return of serves.
Middleweight Pickleball Paddles: (7.5-8.4oz)
A medium-weight pickleball paddle between 7.5-8.4 ounces is safest for most novice players. If you aren’t an experienced player, you should try different weights to get a feel for them. It really depends on how you feel–what feels comfortable–when using the paddle.
Lightweight Pickleball Paddles (7.4oz and Below)
Lighter weight paddles offer more control over movements, making them great for players who are new to the sport. Lightweight paddles give you the opportunity to sharpen your skills and help you work on your swing and develop your stance. You can respond more quickly, and hit more dink and drop shots with a lightweight paddle.
Our Favorite Five Lightweight Pickleball Paddles
There are many very good lightweight paddles on the market. You may be asking, what are the best pickleball paddles? That is a difficult answer, as we have covered earlier. Of all the paddles on the market, of which there are multitudes, we do have some favorites that we carry.
Babolat MNSTR Touch Pickleball Paddle
This paddle offers the most power and spin with the largest sweet spot of any lightweight paddle.
HEAD Extreme Lite Pickleball Paddle
This paddle has a lighter weight and a unique Diamond Shape for more control. It incorporates a comfortable grip and a hitting surface of fiberglass that gives increased power.
HEAD Extreme Tour Lite Pickleball Paddle
This paddle is the lightest weight paddle of the Extreme Tour paddles with a unique Diamond Shape for maximum control on each shot. The reduced head weight allows for a faster swing speed that gives you more control time.
Pro Kennex Ovation Flight Pickleball Paddle
This paddle is built for quickness and reflex enhancement with a shock-absorbing system that delivers in touch, feel, and kitchen play.
Wilson Tour Pro Pickleball Paddle
This paddle is the lightest, most maneuverable paddle in the game. You will never experience arm fatigue. It is engineered for durability and ease of movement for faster play.
Shop North State’s Store For All Your Pickleball Paddles And Accessories
North State Resurfacing is your one-stop shop for everything pickleball! If you are looking for a pickleball paddle, regardless of the weight, shop our great selection of all types and sizes. At North State Resurfacing, we have the paddle you are looking for whether it’s speed, control, or comfort. Call us at (919) 365-7500 or reach out to us online for more information on the paddles and other accessories we carry, as well as the different types of services we provide.