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Last updated: March 21, 2021
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Pickleball is a fun and addictive game which allows people of all skill levels to compete and socialize with family and friends while burning off calories. If you are a beginner at this game, you need something special and quality to start with to shorten the learning curve and advance your skills to the next level.
After researching several models on the market and comparing individual features, customer feedback and reviews from experts, we narrowed down to six of the top-rated products. They include Gamma New 2.0 Pickleball Paddle which was our Editor’s Choice for the best pickleball paddle for beginners because it provides the right balance between feel and control and ticks all the boxes when it comes to speed and accuracy.
Among the features we considered during our research are the surface and core materials, weight, surface width, and grip size. The type of material used for the playing surface will impart the power, spin and speed of your shots whereas the core material and the paddle weight will help you to establish the best model that will suit your individual playing style in terms of control, power, maneuverability, and accuracy. As a novice player, a wider width makes the best pickleball paddle for beginners because it maximizes the sweet spot and the playing surface. Finally, getting the right grip size for your paddle will ensure comfortable play. As well as a comprehensive buying guide which expounds the key parameters you should factor in prior to your purchase, our article also features a comparison table and in-depth reviews of each product, including the pros and cons.
Our Editor’s Choice is this 8-ounce paddle which features a durable edge guard and construction blend of graphite and fiberglass composite in the playing surface so you can benefit from the strengths of the two materials. Fiberglass generates fantastic spins while graphite makes the surface more responsive to the ball.
In addition to the new textured surface, Gamma Fusion 2.0 Pickleball Paddle has also replaced the aluminum honeycomb core in the previous version with aramid honeycomb.
The cushioned grip, with a circumference of 4 inches, is also ribbed and perforated to provide a steady and sweat-resistant grip and avoid slippage.
This paddle has been approved by USAPA for sanctioned tournament play and customers recommend it as the best paddle for pickleball beginners with great spin, good control and moderate power. It is an ideal choice for players who prefer faster gameplay with more control over the spin as opposed to powerful shots which require less follow through with their swing. Owners also note that the thin and light design allows for unparalleled maneuverability and response time and the removal of the bevel extends the playing surface and increases the size of sweet spot to improve your chances of hitting the ball.
Unfortunately, this paddle does not come with a cover or any other accessories.
This is one product that will alleviate your worry as far as parts coming apart or defacement is concerned. The best rated model features a unibody design that connects the core and the paddle face permanently as well as a low profile EdgeSentry edge guard which both protects the playing surface from chipping or cracking and simultaneously decreases the head weight to improve balance and offer you more control over the shots. Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle has also been upgraded with a thicker X5 polypropylene polymer material in the core that enhances durability and increases the size of the sweet spot for increased response. This reduces effort on your part while increasing accuracy.
The face is made of FiberFlex fiberglass. Fiberglass models utilize foam and epoxy resin to make rigid products that are fast and light in weight to reduce soreness during extended play. Due to the nature of the length, weight and the construction material, these pickleball paddles are easy to wield and yield faster spins which suits novices and racquet players who are transitioning into this game.
The manufacturer recommends it for beginners and intermediate players. With weight ranging from 7.3 to 7.7 ounces, width of 8 inches and a grip size of 4.25 inches, you can rely on this model which has been tested and approved by USAPA to nurture your pickleball skills. Customers like the extended reach range, tight control and the thicker core which is great at absorbing and deflecting powerful shots. They also like the limited lifetime warranty. However, it does not come with a cover for storage.
What makes this model one of the best graphite pickleball paddle for beginners is not just its craftsmanship and performance, but also the multiple goodies that are included. Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Set comes with two graphite paddles, four balls, one mesh bag for improved portability and storage, and “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Pickleball” free e-book with rules and tips to get you started in the game right away.
It features graphite on the playing surface and polypropylene honeycomb in the core.
Some customers found this paddle heavy at 8.2 ounces and a bit loud when it makes contact with the ball although the noise is not as irritating as the ping produces by other paddles. Otherwise, they like the hand-stitched and ergonomic contoured grip of 4.5 inches which fits snugly in your hand, the large sweet spot which is located on the same place as the Company’s logo at the center of the paddle, and the durable construction of the paddle and balls. Buyers have stepped on them and dropped them on concrete floors and driveways without damaging them. They are also impressed by the customer service because the staff quickly solve any issues and incorporate customer feedback when upgrading their products.
It does not meet USAPA specifications but it is an ideal choice with an affordable price tag for beginners and intermediate players who prefer power in their shots over the maneuverability of lighter paddles.
This budget-friendly paddle is a suitable option for both beginners and competitive players because it is approved for tournaments. The new design incorporates a responsive playing surface made of graphite and a composite soft core constructed with aluminum honeycomb.
To protect the paddle and increase its lifespan, Refresh Sports Pickleball Paddle features an edge guard and reinforcement around the neck-guard to fortify it. The thin edge guard protects the playing surface without reducing its size to minimize mishits.
Other notable features include the non-slip, sweat-resistant grip, with a circumference of four inches, which prevents blisters and soreness. The grip design, coupled with the light paddle weight of seven ounces, makes this model ideal for players with arthritis and tennis elbow.
The Refresh has another version of this model which features polyurethane construction instead of aluminum honeycomb in the core. Polyurethane paddles are softer than wood and heavier than honeycomb products.
You will find our paddle is superior in If you are looking for a tournament-approved paddle with nice texture on the surface, light weight and a comfortable and sturdy grip for hours of fun and competitive playing sessions, then this paddle would suit you.
The soft core has not been a favorite with some buyers because you will need to use more effort to generate more powerful shots. Others have also reported scraped finish and dinged edges after a few playing sessions.
Our Budget Pick has been upgraded with a broader face which increases the size of the playing surfaces to improve your scoring chances and a slim-trim edge guard that enlarges the sweet spot for greater speed and precision.
A11N Premium Pickleball Paddle features a graphite playing surface and a core made of polymer honeycomb.
The grip has a length and circumference of 4.92 and 4.25 inches respectively to accommodate a wider range of players. Additionally, it sports a cushion which absorbs sweat and provides a comfortable grip to avoid exertion of hyposthenia muscles.
This paddle comes at a low cost without compromising on power, control and maneuverability. Among the features that customers like are the slight texture on the face that adds spin to shots, the neoprene protective case included in the package, and the lightweight design and comfortable grip which make this paddle suitable for beginners, including handicap players and people with small hands. The light weight and the design of this paddle make it a great choice for novices whose style of play inclines towards control and maneuverability over power. You can purchase this model in a set which comes with two paddles, two outdoor balls, two indoor balls, a cover, a pickleball overgrip and a drawstring bag.
A couple of customers have reported breakage of the paddle handle after.
A pickleball set is advantageous because it comes with everything you need to start playing. This is one of the benefits you can enjoy when you purchase Sports Adventure Pickleball Paddle Set which includes two pickleball paddles, four 40-holes balls, and two neoprene paddle covers, making it the best paddle for pickleball beginners who are looking for a starter kit at an affordable price.
It features a maneuverable weight ranging from 7.9 to 8.3 ounces and a grip with a length of 5.25 inches and a circumference of 4.25 inches. The perforated grip absorbs sweat to prevent the paddle from slipping.
The surface is made of graphite while the core has been upgraded with larger polymer honeycomb cells to add power.
Buyers appreciate the covers with zippers which protect the paddle from chips, dings and scratches while in storage and ease portability when moving the pickleball set. They also praise the feel, comfort, and control of this paddle as well as the customer care for promptly providing free replacement in the event of damage and offering discounted prices for subsequent purchases.
Although this model has an edge guard made of a seamless plastic strip, some customers noticed chipping of the black finish after playing for a few days. Owners have also suggested replacing the smooth playing surface with a textured one for a more controlled spin.
What we liked:
Complete pickleball set
Upgraded core for power
Comfortable perforated grip
Fantastic customer support
What could be better:
Things to Consider
This buying guide focuses on the most important features to consider before buying the best paddle for pickleball beginners that will grow your skills and last through several playing sessions. We also explain the rules of this fun and increasingly popular game.
Features to consider while choosing a pickleball paddle for beginners
The following are the most fundamental features that will play key roles in the overall quality of your pickleball game.
The playing surface is a key aspect that will impact the quality of your pickleball game. A surface that is responsive and texturized provides sufficient friction that enhances your spin and gives you more control over the ball.
Wood was used to make the first paddle ever and it continues to be the preferred choice for power players because of its heavy weight.
Other materials commonly found on the surface of majority of the models are graphite and fiberglass which have their individual strengths and drawbacks. Graphite is lightweight and it makes a smooth surface which increases response time whereas the texture of fiberglass grips the ball to produce excellent spins and more controlled shots. The Gamma Fusion 2.0 Pickleball Paddle incorporates a hybrid of graphite and fiberglass composite in its playing surface to maximize the benefits of the two materials while minimizing their respective weaknesses.
Some entry-level models feature a polymer surface because it is affordable, lightweight and durable.
Composite is one of the pricier options for playing surfaces but it provides good value for money by utilizing a variety of materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, UV-resistant vinyl and polymer for optimal performance.
The next important feature you should consider before buying the best pickleball paddle for beginners is the core material. The core influences the strength, responsiveness, feel, and weight of your paddle.
Polymer, Nomex and aluminum are the materials that are mostly used in core construction.
Aluminum such as the one featured in the Refresh Sports Pickleball Paddle comes in honeycomb designs. It is soft and sturdy but light enough to give you more control and make the paddle easy to maneuver. However, it is more prone to dents.
Nomex comes in small honeycomb shapes which have been hardened with polymer resin to make a durable and strong core which is more resistant to damage. It lighter than aluminum, flexible and it offers the best speed and control among the three materials. However, Nomex paddles are the noisiest because they produce a loud “pop” sound.
Paddles made of polymer like polypropylene are the softest and quietest in the market. They are lightweight, resilient and durable, and the soft and flexible foam material has a cushioning effect which absorbs powerful shots from your opponent and generates the right amount of bounce.
As you may have noticed, small honeycombs result in harder cores while large honeycombs such as the ones used to make polypropylene pickleball paddles produce a softer, cushioned core.
Pickleball paddles come in varied weight ranging from 6 to 14 ounces to accommodate a broader range of playing styles and individual preferences as well as health conditions such as arthritis and tennis elbow.
The best pickleball paddles for beginners are lightweight and mid-weight because they have a high swing speed and precision and their maneuverability makes it easier to control the ball. They also allow you to play for several hours without getting fatigued or incurring elbow and shoulder injuries from inexperienced swings.
Experienced players and novices whose playing style favors power and deflection over control would be most suited by heavyweight paddles that require less effort to generate hard and deep shots.
When shopping for the best pickleball paddles for beginners, you will notice that there are more models with a surface width of 8 inches and a length of 15 to 16 inches than paddles which feature a width and length of 5 and 19 inches respectively. Smaller hitting surfaces make for quicker returns while a wider body offers a bigger sweet spot.
Broader paddles are popular because they provide a wider hitting area and a larger sweet spot which generates more powerful and precise shots with minimal effort. This makes them suitable for beginners and players who fancy more control of the ball and dink shots.
On the other hand, paddles with narrow width are advantageous for extended reach in tournaments and high-intensity games.
The official regulation size for paddles approved by USAPA is a maximum of 24 inches. This size is calculated by multiplying the length by the overall width which factors in the surface, the edge guard and the butt cap.
Grip length and circumference
The best paddle for pickleball beginners should feel like an extension of your hand. To find the right model that will comfortably fit in your hand without slipping or straining your wrist, you will need to confirm both the length and circumference of the grip prior to purchasing your intended paddle.
Wrist action improves spin, control and power of your shots. Longer grips offer greater reach and ease pressure off your wrist, elbow and shoulders whereas short grips are better at ball control and accurate shots.
The grip circumference typically ranges from 4 inches to 4.5 inches. Manufacturers indicate grip sizes in their products, based on different heights; 4 inches for players who are up to 5’2″ tall; 4.125 to 4.25 inches for players with a height of 5’3″ to 5’8″; and a grip size of 4.5 inches for 5’9″ or taller pickleball players.
If you are still unsure of the grip size that can match your hand and playing style, consider a smaller grip which you can later pad with an overgrip. An overgrip is a soft and padded fabric-like tape that you wrap around the grip to expand the circumference for a snug and comfortable fit. It also cushions you against vibrations and absorbs sweat to avoid slippage.
While researching online reviews of the warranty and performance of your prospective paddles, also check out feedback on customer care and other aftersales services. The Sports Adventure Pickleball Paddle Set and the Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Set have earned glowing reviews by buyers for being the best graphite pickleball paddles for beginners with exceptional customer support.
Accessories included: The Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Set tops our list when it comes to accessories. Its package includes two graphite paddles, four balls, one mesh bag for improved portability and storage, and “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Pickleball” free e-book with rules and tips to get you started in the game right away. Another great choice that comes with multiple goodies is the A11N Premium Pickleball Paddle which can also be purchased in a set of two paddles, two outdoor balls, two indoor balls, a cover, a pickleball overgrip, and a drawstring bag.
Certifications: The best paddles for pickleball beginners have been tested and approved by USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), the national governing body which promulgates official rules, sponsors and sanctions tournaments and ranks players. The Gamma Fusion 2.0 Pickleball Paddle and the Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle boast of this approval which makes them ideal paddles for both beginners and competitive players.
How to play pickleball?
Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with paddles and a ball that is similar but smaller than Wiffle Ball.
Pickleball is played in singles or doubles.
The game begins after a coin toss to decide which side serves first.
The ball is served diagonally with the paddle below the waist.
The ball should be served diagonally with an underhand swing, with the paddle below the waist and both your feet behind the back line.
The serve should clear the net and the no-volley zone and land in the receiver’s playing area.
The receiver should let the ball bounce once before returning it.
You score points if your opponent hits the ball out of bounds, fails to return it or volleys it in the marked non-volley zone within 7 feet of the net.
The game is won when one side reaches a score of 11 with a 2-point lead.
The weight varies from one model to another because it is determined by the dimensions and construction material of the specific paddle. Pickleball paddles are available in lightweight, mid-weight and heavy weight to accommodate different playing styles and personal preferences and players with elbow injuries or arthritis.
Lightweight paddles are better for beginners who are nurturing their skills because they are easy to maneuver and control and they generate and increase spin. They also allow you to practice for several hours without risking fatigue or soreness. All the products we have reviewed are lightweight, with the maximum weight being 8.3 ounces for the Sports Adventure Pickleball Paddle Set.
Fiberglass models such as the Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle utilize foam and epoxy resin to make rigid products which are water-resistant. Other models utilize a protective coating that is resistant to water and rust.
Wrapping It Up
The Gamma Fusion 2.0 Pickleball Paddle features a hybrid construction of graphite and fiberglass composite to improve responsiveness of the playing surface and to generate and increase spins with tricky trajectories that will confuse your opponent. The USAPA-approved paddle also comes with a cushioned and perforated grip with a circumference of four inches to suit small hands and wick sweat to avoid slippage.
The Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle is one of the best paddles for pickleball beginners and intermediate players who enjoy lighter models for more control and faster gameplay. It is approved by USAPA and recommended by customers who like the thick core’s ability to absorb and deflect powerful shots. The limited lifetime warranty is the icing on the cake.
The Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Set comes with two graphite paddles, four balls, one mesh bag for improved portability and storage, and “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Pickleball” free e-book with gaming rules and tips, providing the best graphite pickleball paddle for beginners.