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Best cheap pickleball paddles in 2024 - top 5 compared

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Mar 8, 2024

The best cheap pickleball paddles: the PCKL Launch Series, JOOLA Essentials, and Oneshot Juniorshot Series

There are many reasons you could be looking for a cheap pickleball paddle. You might be a new player still getting a feel for the game. You might be shopping for a kid's paddle. Maybe you're just on a budget.

Luckily for you, there are some excellent cheap paddles (which I categorize generally as $60 or under) on the market nowadays. However, it can be hard to distinguish them from the lower-quality brands that flood Amazon.

So, I'm here to help. These are my top five cheap pickleball paddles in 2024.

Best cheap pickleball paddles at a glance

Best overall

Photo of the PCKL Launch Series pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

1. PCKL Launch Series

The PCKL Launch Series continues to rank highly on my lists. It's a sturdy, well-built, and forgiving beginner paddle from one of the top brands in the game.
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Read my deep dive

Runner-up

Photo of the JOOLA Essentials Pickleball Paddles

Our Rating:

2. JOOLA Essentials

The JOOLA Essentials is an affordable paddle from a brand normally associated with the top pros. This all-rounder will set beginners up to win lots of games.

Best set

Photo of the SLK NEO 2.0 pickleball paddle set, with a carry bag and four balls

Our Rating:

3. SLK NEO 2.0

The SLK NEO 2.0 beginner set is a cut above its competitors. For $80, you get two high-performance paddles from top brand Selkirk, a carry bag, and four balls.

Best for kids

Photo of the Oneshot Juniorshot Series pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

4. Oneshot Juniorshot Series

The Oneshot Juniorshot Series is a small, lightweight pickleball paddle for kids. With fun designs and high-quality materials, it's a great first paddle.
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Also great

Photo of the GoSports GS1 pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

5. GoSports GS1

The GoSports GS1 plays way better than its $25 price tag suggests. This lightweight control paddle helps beginners advance quickly.

Which paddle is best for you?

Before buying a paddle, it’s important to make sure it fits your game. That’s why I created a 30-second quiz that recommends the best paddles for your play style and budget.

Give it a try and see if any of these top paddles make the list:

Find the perfect paddle

Find the perfect paddle

I’ve personally tested over 80 paddles. Take the quiz to see which ones fit your game best.

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The best cheap pickleball paddles in 2024

Why should you trust Pickleheads? I spend hours testing every product I recommend. Only the cream of the crop makes it onto my lists, so you can be sure you're buying the best. Learn more about how I test and review products.

Have a read of my honest reviews below:

Best overall

1. PCKL Launch Series

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The best-performing affordable paddle on the market
6/10

Power

7/10

Control

6/10

Spin

10/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want the best paddle under $60:

    this offers the best performance that I've seen from a budget paddle.

  • You want a top beginner paddle:

    this will help you improve fast and gain confidence early on thanks to its extra-large sweet spot.

  • You'd like a paddle that stands out:

    whether you choose the neon green or white, this paddle is eye-catching on the courts.

Pass if:

  • You want to play with spin:

    the next paddle on this list, the JOOLA Essentials, gets better spin.

  • You want a super lightweight paddle:

    you'll prefer the GoSports GS1 on this list, which weighs just 7 oz.

  • You're shopping for a kid:

    the Oneshot Juniorshot Series is my top youth paddle.

PCKL

PCKL

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Paddle Weight

7.9 oz

Paddle Length

16"

Paddle Width

8"

Handle Length

5"

Grip Circumference

4.25"

Paddle Face Material

Fiberglass composite

Core Material

Polypropylene honeycomb core

Core Thickness

14 mm (0.55")

Sweet Spot

Extra large

If you want a quality paddle that doesn't look or play "cheap", this is my pick for you.
The PCKL Launch Series has been one of my favorite beginner pickleball paddles for a long time and I'm yet to see a better paddle at the $50 price point. It's a solid all-round performer with a huge sweet spot.
Who it suits
I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a high-performance beginner paddle from a trusted brand. It's a great gift for anyone who's taking up pickleball because it outperforms all other cheap paddles and it looks cool as well.
Features
The 8" widebody design gives you a large playing surface on the paddle face. That's what gives it such a generous sweet spot. The face is made of fiberglass, so it's got decent pop to go with control and forgiveness.
Just note: while the face has some texture, it's not much. You won't get a lot of spin off this paddle. Most beginners won't mind this, though.
Design and feel
I really like the look of the neon green version that I tested. It should give beginners a little bolt of confidence when they take this out on the courts.
One of the reasons I consistently recommend this paddle is that it has great feel for the price. Good weighting, aerodynamics, and durability make it a really solid paddle. Thanks to the premium grip, it's also comfortable over long sessions.
Performance
The paddle shape gives you an extra-large sweet spot right to the edges, which means mishits are rare. This will give you more confidence and satisfaction as you learn how to play.
The paddle feels light yet sturdy, so you get quick reactions at the kitchen and good responsiveness. This sets it apart from other cheap paddles because it feels like more expensive. There's enough pop off this lively face to excite newcomers about the potential of power shots.
What I like about this paddle is that, since control is good, you can try more advanced shots like the third-shot drop. Most budget paddles will fail big time in this department.
Value for money
This is a bargain at $60. I can't see many beginners being disappointed with this purchase. I know many players who started their pickleball journeys with the PCKL Launch and have gone on to play at a high level.
star icon
My verdict
The PCKL Launch Series gives beginners the confidence to start advancing their game. It's one of the most forgiving paddles I've ever played with. It's solid, well-built, and long-lasting too. Despite many new competitors, it's still my favorite budget paddle.

Today’s best deals

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Runner-up

2. JOOLA Essentials

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A budget all-court paddle from an elite brand
6/10

Power

7/10

Control

7/10

Spin

7/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want a premium budget paddle:

    this is made with way more advanced tech than most $60 paddles.

  • You want a paddle from a top brand:

    JOOLA is known as one of the best paddle makers, working with top pros like Ben Johns.

  • You want an all-court beginner paddle:

    control, spin, and power are closely matched here.

Pass if:

  • You want a lightweight paddle:

    at 8.2 oz, this is quite head-heavy for a beginner paddle so check out the GoSports GS1 below.

  • You want a full set:

    the next on this list, the SLK Neo 2.0, comes with two paddles, four balls, and a carry bag.

  • You like forgiving paddles:

    check out my number 1 choice above, the super-forgiving PCKL Launch Series.

Paddle Weight

8.2 oz

Paddle Length

15.5"

Paddle Width

7.9"

Handle Length

4.75"

Grip Circumference

4"

Paddle Face Material

Multi-layered fiberglass

Core Material

Response honeycomb polymer

Core Thickness

12 mm

Edge Guard

Enhanced edge guard

Sweet Spot

Large

If you want a cheap entry paddle that has some of the same tech as the GOAT Ben Johns' paddle, give this one a look.
The PCKL Launch Series is still number one for me because of how forgiving it is. However, the JOOLA Essentials is a great all-court paddle in this price range. It has much better spin than the PCKL and is reliable across the board.
Who it suits
This will suit beginners who want to play with a paddle from one of the top brands in the game. If you dream of playing like the Johns brothers someday, this is the one to get you started. It has some pro-level features at a budget price.
It also suits any beginner who wants a balanced paddle that doesn't skew heavily in any one direction but offers good power, spin, control, and forgiveness. Finally, it's great for beginners who want to start adding spin to their game.
Features
The multi-layered fiberglass face (combined with the 12 mm core) gives this paddle a little extra pop. The edge guard is really strong and will protect this paddle over time. You also get JOOLA's Sure-Grip handle, which reduces slipping and vibrations.
One thing to note is that the 4" grip circumference is thin, and you might require an overgrip. The 4.75" handle length is also slightly on the shorter side, but plenty of players like this.
Design and feel
There's something special about stepping out on the courts as a beginner with a JOOLA paddle. This alone kicks your confidence up a notch.
The Essentials definitely doesn't look cheap. It would almost look at home alongside JOOLA's famous $200 or more pro pickleball paddles, like the JOOLA Perseus and JOOLA Scorpeus. On the court, it has a nice feel and responsiveness, though it is quite heavy for a beginner paddle.
Performance
The Essentials offers a nice blend of power and control. I get the same slight pop mixed with control on my touch shots that I get with the PCKL Launch. However, the Essentials can generate spin, which most $60 paddles won't can't.
I've managed to hit topspin, side spin, and backspin with this, all of which will help beginners start to experiment. Sure, there are better paddles for spin out there, but you won't find them at this price.
While this paddle doesn't have the same forgiveness as the PCKL Launch Series, it's still got a nice sweet spot and enough forgiveness to match its other attributes.
Like a lot of JOOLA paddles, this plays kind of head-heavy. Players who like to be super fast at the kitchen might prefer the PCKL Launch.
Value for money
Like the PCKL Launch, this is another bargain at $60. You'll get a great all-round performance and the confidence that comes with sporting a JOOLA paddle.
star icon
My verdict
I highly recommend the JOOLA Essentials for any newcomer who wants to add spin to their game or get a feel for a heavier elite paddle. This is an all-court performer with good power, control, spin, and forgiveness.

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Best set

3. SLK NEO 2.0

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Two premium beginner paddles, a bag, and four balls from a top pickleball brand
6/10

Power

7/10

Control

6/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You've got someone to play with:

    with two paddles, four balls, and a carry bag, you and your partner can hit the courts right away.

  • You want a set from a big brand:

    Selkirk paddles have a strong reputation for their advanced tech and high performance.

  • You want a great beginner paddle:

    the NEO 2.0 is hands down one of the best paddles for beginners I've played with.

Pass if:

  • You don't need a set:

    check out the first paddle on this list, the PCKL Launch Series, my overall favorite cheap paddle.

  • You're looking to add spin to your game:

    the JOOLA Essentials can generate more spin than this.

  • You want a youth paddle:

    also on this list, the Oneshot Juniorshot is my favorite kids' paddle.

Paddle Weight

7.5 oz

Paddle Length

15.6"

Paddle Width

7.8"

Handle Length

5.25"

Grip Circumference

4.25"

Paddle Face Material

Blend of fiberglass and graphite

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

13 mm

Sweet Spot

Large

Carry Bag

Durable SLK carry bag

Balls

Four indoor/outdoor balls

If you've been burned by cheap paddle sets before, this is my pick for you. This is easily one of the best pickleball sets on the market in 2024.
Many beginner sets are more about the package than the quality of the actual paddle. They're intended to set you up as a newcomer to the sport. Selkirk does it differently, though. They created a paddle that actually performs and then made a great set with it.
I've yet to play with another paddle set that matches the quality, design, and value for money of the SLK NEO 2.0.
Please note: while this set is $80, I included it on this list because you get two paddles and the extras for that price.
Who it suits
This is a beginner offering that will suit players who don't want to waste time with a lower-performing Amazon set. If you already have a budget set that you're not happy with, give this one a look. Anyone wanting to hit the ground running in pickleball will get a lot out of this set.
Features
The multi-layered fiberglass and graphite face adds some spin to your game, while the 13 mm core gives you a bit of pop too. This makes it livelier than most beginner-set paddles I've tested. There's also a solid edge guard for durability, so I'm confident these will be long-lasting.
Design and feel
I play with the neon green version of this paddle, so it reminds me of the PCKL Launch Series. I think it's a cool, vibrant design that makes the SLK NEO 2.0 look premium. The green option comes with a purple paddle, or you can buy the set with one blue and one red paddle.
This is a sturdy paddle and I don't feel many shocks or vibrations. The grip is surprisingly high quality—it stays comfy in my hands and doesn't get slippery even in 100ºF weather.
Performance
The first thing you'll probably notice when playing with this paddle is how light it feels. Beginners will like this. I'm able to play fast at the kitchen with how maneuverable this paddle is.
Forgiveness is the SLK NEO's strongest quality—it's not far off the 10/10 PCKL Launch Series. Thanks to the large sweet spot and wide face, I can keep my mishits to a minimum.
I also get a satisfying pop from this 13 mm core. The "SpinFlex" face has some texture too. This means you get more power and spin than with most cheap beginner paddles. I was shocked (and happy) to finally find a cheap paddle that could generate spin.
Value for money
I don't think you can go wrong here. If you're shopping for a set, the $79.99 you drop on this will go a long way.
The fact that you get two paddles from leading brand Selkirk for this price is awesome. They give a much more advanced performance than most beginner-set paddles—especially in the spin department.
star icon
My verdict
These are right up there with the best-performing cheap paddles I've ever tested. They have enough power, control, and spin to win you games early on in your pickleball journey. Throw in a Selkirk paddle bag and four pickleballs and you've got a set on your hands that will be hard to beat for its quality and value.

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Best for kids

4. Oneshot Juniorshot Series

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A thoughtfully designed intro paddle just for kids
5/10

Power

6/10

Control

4/10

Spin

7/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want a paddle designed specifically for kids:

    these have short handles for short hands, low weights, and cool kid-friendly designs.

  • You don't want to spend a fortune:

    at $45, this offers great value for its performance.

  • You're shopping for any age under 12:

    the Juniorshot comes in two sizes: toddler (under 8s) and kids (under 12s).

Pass if:

  • You're a grown-up:

    if you're buying for an adult, skip this and go straight to the GoSports GS1.

  • You want a paddle for teenagers:

    players over the age of 12 are probably ready for a beginner paddle like the PCKL Launch Series.

  • You want a paddle set:

    the SLK NEO 2.0 comes with two paddles, four balls, and a carry bag.

Oneshot Pickleball

Oneshot Pickleball

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Pickleball Central

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Paddle Weight

5.3 oz (toddler) / 6 oz (kids)

Paddle Length

12.4" (toddler) / 14.8" (kids)

Paddle Width

6.9" (toddler) / 7.4" (kids)

Handle Length

3.5" (toddler) / 3.9" (kids)

Grip Circumference

3.5" (toddler) / 4" (kids)

Paddle Face Material

Fiberglass

Core Material

Polypropylene honeycomb

Core Thickness

10 mm (0.39")

Sweet Spot

Large

If you're getting your kids into pickleball (great idea!), this is my pick for you. Plenty of the leading brands are coming out with great youth pickleball paddles, so choosing my favorite budget paddle for kids wasn't easy.
In the end, I had to go with Oneshot. I like how they offer two sizes here: under 12s and under 8s. They don't just have older kids in mind but are designing paddles even for toddlers. Besides that, they're solid, well-performing paddles with designs that your kids will love.
Who it suits
You can buy the toddler paddle for under 8-year-olds (I've even heard of 2-year-olds using it) or the bigger kids size for players aged 8-12. The small grip sizes and paddle weights are adapted to these age groups.
Features
You can see the thought that went into the Juniorshot Series in their features.
The toddler size has an average 5.3 oz weight with a 3.5" grip circumference. The kids' size (under 12s) has an average 6 oz weight with a 4" grip circumference. The short paddle lengths also make these paddles friendly for kids.
The Juniorshot has a strong fiberglass face and polypropylene honeycomb core that adds crucial pop for young learners. I expect this paddle to hold up well over time, too.
Design and feel
I really like how Oneshot leaned into the kid-friendly designs, making these even more exciting for young players. You can get a Jurassic paddle with a dinosaur print or the "classic" which has a chalkboard style. There are also ocean and space options. All of them look great.
In my hands, this feels a lot sturdier than most cheap kids' paddles. It's still nice and light and the dimensions are adapted to kids.
Performance
The Juniorshot has a satisfying pop for a kids' paddle. I know young players will like this and get excited about the game.
There's no spin here, which is good because you don't want to overwhelm learners. However, control and forgiveness are decent considering these have much smaller playing surfaces than adult-sized paddles.
The consistency is solid and more than enough to give youth players confidence to start playing full matches. The light weight makes the Juniorshot a fast paddle, while the short handles are perfect for small hands.
Value for money
This is more expensive than a $20 paddle you'll pick up on Amazon. However, if you want your kid to make the most of learning their new sport, you won't regret spending $45 on the Juniorshot.
It's such a fun and well-performing paddle that I can see kids having more success pursuing pickleball with a paddle like this than with a cheaper one that isn't great on the courts.
star icon
My verdict
If you're looking for a kids' paddle in the $40-50 range, you can't go wrong with the Juniorshot Series from Oneshot. They have sizes for toddlers and kids, offering cool prints and better performance than most budget youth paddles.

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Also great

5. GoSports GS1

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This cheap entry-level paddle is a real bargain
6/10

Power

7/10

Control

5/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want a real bargain:

    for just $25, you get a beginner paddle that actually performs on the courts.

  • You'd like a lightweight paddle:

    the GoSports GS1 flies through the air, weighing just 7 oz.

  • You want a forgiving control paddle:

    mishits are rare thanks to this paddle's wide 8" face and generous sweet spot.

Pass if:

  • You're willing to spend more:

    if you have a $50-60 budget, I'd recommend the top paddle on this list, the PCKL Launch Series.

  • You prefer heavier paddles:

    the JOOLA Essentials on this list weighs a heftier 8.2 oz.

  • You want a youth paddle:

    I highly recommend the Oneshot Juniorshot Series for young players.

Paddle Weight

7 oz

Paddle Length

15.75"

Paddle Width

8"

Handle Length

4.25"

Grip Circumference

4.25"

Paddle Face Material

Textured fiberglass

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

13 mm (0.51")

Sweet Spot

Large

If you're only just starting out in pickleball and not ready to invest in the game yet, you can't go wrong with the GoSports GS1.
My top two choices, the PCKL Launch Series and the JOOLA Essentials, are both $60. So, I really like the GoSports GS1 for players on a more limited budget. For only $25, it offers a surprising amount of forgiveness, control, and speed.
Who it suits
This is an entry-level paddle for newcomers to pickleball. It's a great choice if you don't want to spend upwards of $50, but still want a paddle that performs well. This plays way better than most budget Amazon paddles.
Features
The 13 mm honeycomb core gives you decent pop so you can generate some power. The fiberglass face is textured to add a little spin to your game, though not as much as the JOOLA Essentials.
The 8" wide paddle face gives you a lot of room to hit the ball. The short 4.25" handle gets beginners used to the feel of a pickleball paddle before they start trying two-handed shots. The 7 oz weight makes this a really lightweight and maneuverable paddle.
Design and feel
With its no-frills look, this is a standard black paddle that won't win any design awards. That said, I like that this paddle is more focused on giving you a better performance for your buck than most of its rivals. In the hands, it feels fast, with a comfy grip for the price point.
Performance
The first thing I noticed on the courts was how quick this paddle plays. It means you can react quickly and start learning defensive shots. Pickleball is a fast game if you didn't know that already!
The wide face makes this a forgiving paddle, and mishits are few and far between for me. Both the speed and forgiveness make this a great control paddle for beginners.
I'm also able to generate a little power and spin thanks to the light weight, thin core, and textured face. So, I'm confident beginners will get enough performance to start learning a more rounded game too.
Value for money
You can't really get better value if you're shopping in the $20-30 price range. This paddle outperforms any other I've played with at this budget.
star icon
My verdict
The GoSports GS1 is a well-designed budget paddle. Aimed at beginners, it offers all the attributes you'll need to start advancing your game: a large sweet spot, light weight, and lots of control. All of this for just $25.

Today’s best deal

My criteria for choosing the best budget pickleball paddle

I always like to offer variety in my paddle lists, and that's what I've done here in my list of cheap paddles. There are so many budget options, so it can be overwhelming when trying to choose a pickleball paddle.

Brandon Mackie holding the PCKL Launch Series pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the PCKL Launch Series pickleball paddle

Here's what I looked for when deciding how to choose the best cheap pickleball paddles of 2024:

  • Price: $60 was the limit of my price range here. The only exception I made was for the SLK NEO 2.0, which currently costs $80. Since this is a set and includes two paddles, I felt it was OK to include it. Each paddle technically costs you less than $40.
  • Value for money: value is very important. The fact that my top two choices (the PCKL Launch Series and JOOLA Essentials) are also the most expensive at $60 shows that sometimes you get what you pay for. It's not always that simple, though. For example, the GoSports GS1 is only $25 but gets a mention for still being great value.
  • Features: after reading a paddle's features, I see from my testing if they actually make a difference on the court. I try to differentiate between marketing claims and actual performance. For example, if a paddle has a textured face, does it actually generate good spin?
  • Design and feel: if a paddle looks cool, I'll mention it, but the feel of a paddle is more important for me. With youth paddles, though, I do think design is more important because it helps make pickleball more fun for young learners.
  • Performance: as always, how the paddle actually plays is the most important factor. I put each paddle on this list through its paces on the court, and you will always get my honest opinion. I cover power, control, spin, and forgiveness. However, the grip, durability, weighting, and aerodynamics also influence my overall verdict.

Bottom line

You can find great deals on cheap pickleball paddles if you know where to look. I hope I've helped you decide on one that suits your needs, whether you're looking for a top-quality set, the best budget kids' paddle, or the best overall bargain paddle.

Here's a recap of my five favorite cheap pickleball paddles in 2024:

  1. PCKL Launch Series – Best overall
  2. JOOLA Essentials - Runner-up
  3. SLK NEO 2.0 - Best set
  4. Oneshot Juniorshot Series - Best for kids
  5. GoSports GS1 - Also great

FAQs

About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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