BREAKDOWN OF KEY PICKLEBALL PADDLE FEATURES
Pickleball paddles are made of wood, composite, or graphite. Each material has its pros and cons.
Wood: Wood is inexpensive. It offers adequate performance and durability. Because it’s the heaviest material, however, it isn’t a desirable option for all players.
Composite: A composite pickleball paddle is lighter than wood and offers a textured surface. This is important once you move up from the beginner ranks and want a paddle that gives you greater ball control. A composite paddle costs more than a wood paddle.
Graphite: High-end paddles are made of graphite (also known as carbon fiber). This material gives you the lightest weight with the most power. The higher price range of this paddle makes it a better option for the serious player.
For competition, USA Pickleball states that the size of a pickleball paddle (including the handle) cannot exceed 24 inches, while the paddle cannot exceed 17 inches. There are no restrictions when it comes to the paddle’s thickness. The average paddle is 8 inches wide by 15 inches long. However, if you prefer, you can get an elongated paddle. This might not be a desirable option if you have larger hands because it means the handle will be shorter.
Edged vs. edgeless
The edge guards on a pickleball paddle help protect it from damage that may occur from swiping it across the ground during gameplay. A player may opt to sacrifice this protection to get an edgeless paddle. These models maximize the playing surface and give the player a larger sweet spot at the expense of having a paddle that’s more vulnerable to damage.
The ideal weight of a pickleball paddle is a preference. With a lighter paddle, a player needs to swing harder to get a powerful shot, but they have more control. Conversely, a heavier paddle gives a player less control but more power.