Pickleball Gear

Best pickleball paddles under $100 in 2024 - top 5 picks

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Published on: Dec 20, 2023

Best pickleball paddles under $100: the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, the Paddletek Bantam TS-5, and the Six Zero Sapphire

With so many competing brands producing amazing paddles right now, there's more choice than ever before. Personally, I've never seen better options at the $100 price point. From all-court gems to spin wizards, the paddles I've listed here give some of the most expensive offerings a run for their money.

Read on for my top 5 paddles for under $100 and see the incredible value available right now.

Best paddles under $100 at a glance

Best overall

Photo of the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

1. Vatic Pro PRISM Flash

The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash doesn't feel like a $100 paddle. An amazing control paddle with tons of spin, it's a truly top performer.
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Read my deep dive

Best for beginners

Photo of the Paddletek Bantam TS-5 pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

2. Paddletek Bantam TS-5

Light and forgiving, the Paddletek Bantam TS-5 will help any beginner get ahead in the game. It's also the old go-to of world #1 Anna Leigh Waters.
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Best for power

Photo of the Six Zero Sapphire pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

3. Six Zero Sapphire

Six Zero is known for its DBD Control, which rivals the best premium paddles. Their thermoformed Sapphire is easily the hardest-hitting paddle at this price point.
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Best for control

Photo of the Vatic Pro PRISM V7 pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

4. Vatic Pro PRISM V7

The Vatic Pro PRISM V7 is a really solid, stable and plush control paddle. It has good spin and decent power to boost your all-court game too.
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Best for spin

Photo of the Bison Summit pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

5. Bison Summit

Retailing at $100, the Bison Summit is a top choice for spin lovers. Ideal for Intermediates who want to add spin to their game without spending a fortune.

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 paddles under $100 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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Best paddles under $100 in 2024

That's the list. Now let's dive into why I chose them as my favorites this year.

Best overall

1. Vatic Pro PRISM Flash

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The best value in all of pickleball right now
8/10

Power

10/10

Control

9/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want an all-court paddle:

    the PRISM Flash is a top control paddle, with plenty of spin and decent power too.

  • Control is your priority:

    I scored this 10/10 for control as it excels on dinks, drops, and resets.

  • You don't need a fancy brand name:

    if you don't care about big names like JOOLA or Selkirk, this plays just as good.

Pass if:

  • You want a really powerful paddle:

    this is more of a control paddle, so check out the Six Zero Sapphire instead for more power.

  • You're new to the game:

    you'll prefer a true beginner-friendly paddle like the Paddletek Bantam TS-5.

  • You prefer thermoformed paddles:

    this paddle has a great thermoformed version, the Vatic Pro Flash.

Vatic Pro

Vatic Pro

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Paddle Weight

7.7-7.9 oz (14 mm paddle) / 7.9-8.2 oz (16 mm paddle)

Paddle Length

16 ⅓"

Paddle Width

7 ⅔"

Handle Length

5 ⅓"

Grip Circumference

4 ⅛"

Paddle Face Material

Raw Toray T700 carbon fiber

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

14 mm or 16 mm (0.55" or 0.63")

Sweet Spot

Medium

This is hands down the best pickleball paddle under $100 I've ever played with. I'm surprised it doesn't cost at least $150. Made from raw carbon fiber, it's loaded up with spin, good power, and excellent control. No other budget paddle currently comes close in my opinion.
Who it's for
The PRISM Flash suits anyone who wants an all-court paddle that puts control first. Intermediates will love it—as will advanced players who prioritize their touch game. It has great spin and enough power to let you play aggressively.
Features
This is a really durable paddle, which is what you'd expect from a Toray T700 carbon fiber paddle. It's got a unibody design, meaning the body of the paddle extends down into the handle. It even has the same foam-injected walls you see on premium paddles from JOOLA and CRBN.
I should mention that this is not a thermoformed paddle. It's a plush paddle made for players who don't want the stiffer feel of a thermoformed paddle.
Design and feel
While its look is pretty standard, the important thing is how it feels. Straight out of the box, this paddle felt much more expensive. On the court, it held up over many high-level sessions and I'd honestly consider packing it for a tournament.
Performance
I'll start with the negatives. This paddle has some head heaviness, which I find surprising given its fairly light weight. The other issue is the sweet spot. It's inconsistent compared to most high-end paddles, which has resulted in slightly more mishits.
If you can get over those two things, you've got yourself one of the best control paddles on the market. I can hit dinks, drops, and volleys with really good accuracy. It's super soft and plush, which really helps my touch game.
The spin is impressive too. I get the same hard topspin, backspin, and sidespin I do with elite raw carbon fiber paddles. Finally, while the power isn't huge, it's enough for me to play the hard and fast game I like.
Value for money
This is not only the best paddle under $100—it's the best-value pickleball paddle in my opinion. It plays on a par with the Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control ($180) and the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power ($250) for a fraction of the cost.
To learn more, check out my full Vatic Pro PRISM Flash pickleball paddle review.
star icon
My verdict
If you want one of the best control paddles ever made without breaking the bank, this is a great one to consider. For just $100, you get the best value in all of pickleball right now. If you're a rising intermediate or an advanced player who focuses on their touch game, make sure to check this one out.

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Best for beginners

2. Paddletek Bantam TS-5

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A paddle for newcomers, endorsed by Anna Leigh Waters
6/10

Power

8/10

Control

6/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're tired of poor-quality beginner paddles:

    the Bantam is made from quality materials for better durability and performance.

  • You want a forgiving paddle:

    this has a large sweet spot, so mishits are rare.

  • You want a lightweight control paddle:

    super maneuverable at 7-7.5 oz, with excellent control for your touch game.

Pass if:

  • You've graduated to the intermediate level:

    this is an excellent beginner paddle, but intermediates might prefer a more advanced paddle like the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.

  • You're a power player:

    you'll find this paddle lacking, so I'd recommend the Six Zero Sapphire instead.

  • You want a lot of spin:

    try my favorite budget spin paddle, the Bison Summit.

Pickleball Central

Pickleball Central

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Paddle Weight

7-7.5 oz

Paddle Length

15 ⅝"

Paddle Width

7 ¾"

Handle Length

5"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Fiberglass

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb core

Core Thickness

12.7 mm (½")

Sweet Spot

Large

The Paddletek Bantam TS-5 is not only the best beginner paddle under $100—it's also my favorite beginner paddle in 2023 at any price point. It's got the best combination of control and forgiveness to help new players get a feel for the game. It's really user-friendly and is the best-built beginner paddle I've come across so far.
Who it's for
With it being endorsed by world #1 Anna Leigh Waters, I wondered if it would suit all types of players. Having tested it now, I'd say it's strictly a beginner paddle. ALW must use a customized, advanced version because this doesn't have enough power or spin to win high-level matches.
Features
While the Bantam isn't a thermoformed or carbon fiber paddle, it's still made with long-lasting materials. Paddletek is one of the most respected brands in the game, so you know you're getting a solid paddle here. What's great is the widebody shape, giving you a large sweet spot for extra forgiveness.
Design and feel
The Bantam TS-5 doesn't feel as unique as the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, but it feels great compared to most cheaper paddles. It's lightweight yet really solid, and comfy in the hands. Newcomers will love how this plays.
Performance
I get great accuracy on this paddle. It's not as advanced in its touch game as the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash but drops and dinks work well. My drives and serves also hardly ever miss. The ball just wants to go in with this paddle, which is so crucial for beginners. Forgiveness is where it most excels.
Beginners will be super confident playing with this because the large sweet spot means mishits are rare. I actually found it hard to hit a single mishit across multiple testing sessions. I just wish it had more power and spin, but beginners won't worry too much about this.
Value for money
Some players might be put off by the $100 price tag, especially with much cheaper beginner paddles available like the SLK NEO 2.0 and PCKL Launch Series. However, the Paddletek Bantam TS-5 performs at a higher level than any other I've tested so far.
If you want the best control and forgiveness a beginner paddle has to offer, this is it. The TS-5 will help you grow in confidence until you're ready for a step-up intermediate paddle.
To learn more, check out my full Paddletek Bantam TS-5 pickleball paddle review.
star icon
My verdict
Ever since getting my hands on the Paddletek Bantam TS-5, I've been recommending it to beginners. No other beginner-friendly paddle I played with in 2023 is as forgiving or user-friendly. I barely ever mishit, so I can see this giving you the confidence you need to keep advancing your game.

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Best for power

3. Six Zero Sapphire

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A powerful thermoformed paddle at an excellent price

Buy if:

  • You want a powerful paddle:

    this thermoformed paddle packs a serious punch for a bargain paddle.

  • You want a power paddle that's also light:

    this is really fast and maneuverable compared to many power paddles.

  • You like an elongated paddle:

    you'll get extra reach with this 16 ½" paddle.

Pass if:

  • You need more spin in your game:

    this has good spin, but the Bison Summit has more for the same price.

  • You're a complete beginner:

    this is probably too powerful for you, so try the beginner-friendly Paddletek Bantam TS-5 instead.

  • You play at an advanced level:

    I'd recommend the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash for high-level players who want a budget paddle.

Selkirk

Selkirk

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Paddle Weight

7.9-8 oz

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ⅗"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

700K Toray carbon

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

13 mm (½")

Sweet Spot

Large

Until recently, you could only really get beginner paddles for under $100. Now we're seeing amazing control paddles like the Vatic Pro PRISM V7 and solid spin paddles like the Bison Summit at this price point. If you want power, the Six Zero Sapphire is definitely one to check out.
Who it's for
I think rising beginners will like this paddle, as well as new intermediates who are ready to add power to their game. It's lightweight and has good spin and control. It's also got an intermediate-friendly price at $99.
Features
It's great to see more affordable paddles like the Sapphire using high-tech materials like Toray T700 carbon fiber. This makes the paddle more stable and durable over time.
The only thing here that might not be so long-lasting is the gritty epoxy coating on the paddle face. While this gives it a nice spin, I'm not convinced that it will hold up over time. Only time will tell.
Design and feel
I like how the Sapphire looks—sleek and modern, with a burst of bright blue. The "Parti" version really stands out too. It also feels like a way more expensive paddle. To me, it's like a more affordable version of the Six Zero DBD Control, which is the best pickleball paddle of 2023 in my opinion.
Performance
The Six Zero Sapphire is the best power paddle under $100 I've played with. My serves are deep and fast. Control and spin are enough to allow me to play a well-rounded game.
One drawback is that it doesn't feel as plush as my overall pick for this list, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash. It's a bit stiffer, being a thermoformed paddle. This might make it less appealing to some intermediates, and especially beginners.
Value for money
If you want a bargain power paddle, you can't beat this on value for money. It's a thermoformed paddle with serious pop, backed with plenty of control and spin—and it's just $99.
To learn more, check out my full Six Zero Sapphire pickleball paddle review.
star icon
My verdict
The Six Zero Sapphire is a welcome addition for any power player who doesn't want to spend a fortune on a paddle. It also suits beginners and intermediates who are just starting to add power to their game. It's like a budget version of the DBD Control, my overall favorite paddle in 2023.

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Best for control

4. Vatic Pro PRISM V7

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Another top-quality, affordable control paddle from Vatic Pro
8/10

Power

10/10

Control

9/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want a top-quality control paddle:

    this has really good control for such a cheap paddle.

  • You like to play with spin:

    I'm surprised by the amount of spin I can generate with this.

  • You want a paddle that will last:

    with a unibody design and anti-abrasion edge guard, this is going to last a lot longer than most budget paddles.

Pass if:

  • You want something really aerodynamic:

    you might prefer the Vatic Pro Flash, which has a lighter swing weight.

  • You need more power in your game:

    try the Six Zero Sapphire, the best for power under $100.

  • You want a big sweet spot:

    the square-shaped Paddletek Bantam TS-5 might be better for you.

Vatic Pro

Vatic Pro

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Paddle Weight

8.1-8.5 oz

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ⅓"

Grip Circumference

4 ⅛"

Paddle Face Material

Raw Toray T700 carbon fiber

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

16 mm (0.63")

Sweet Spot

Large

This plays like the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash in many ways, but with a touch more power. The PRISM V7 is still one of the best control paddles out there, and tied with the Flash for the best value in pickleball.
Who it's for
Like the PRISM Flash, this paddle suits any intermediate who wants a control-first, all-court paddle. More advanced players who put their touch game first will like it too. I can even see some beginners taking to it, as it's control-oriented and has a good-sized sweet spot.
Features
The PRISM Series is designed for players who don't want a thermoformed paddle. They do have unibody designs, meaning they're very long lasting. Foam is injected into the walls to give you more control and a larger sweet spot.
The Toray T700 raw carbon fiber used in the face is top-quality tech and gives you excellent spin. The PRISM V7 is the elongated version of this series.
Design and feel
The PRISM V7 is a little more eye-catching than the PRISM Flash with its vibrant purple writing, though it's not the most exciting-looking paddle.
Personally, though, I care much more about how a paddle feels, and this one has a premium, plush feel. I could easily be convinced I'm playing with a $200 paddle.
Performance
The PRISM V7 has some small but noticeable differences to the PRISM Flash. Firstly, the paddle is heavier, which gives it more power. This will appeal to players who find the PRISM Flash too soft.
Secondly, this is an elongated paddle, so you get more reach. Lastly, the elongated design unfortunately gives it a slightly smaller sweet spot.
Besides that, the PRISM V7 has similarly top levels of control which really helps my control game. My resets and dinks are incredible with this. You can load up plenty of spin off the carbon fiber face too.
Finally, there's enough power behind the heavy swing weight to help my all-round game. That said, this head heaviness can be a bit of a drag sometimes.
Value for money
I'm putting this up there with the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash as one of the best value paddles ever offered to pickleball players. For the low price of $100, you're getting a control paddle that competes with the best offerings from JOOLA and Gearbox, which retail around $250.
To learn more, check out my full Vatic Pro PRISM V7 pickleball paddle review.
star icon
My verdict
If you're looking for a budget control paddle to rival the best, the Vatic Pro PRISM V7 is incredible value for money. It has similar control, forgiveness, and power to the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power—while being $150 cheaper.

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Best for spin

5. Bison Summit

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A raw carbon fiber paddle with good spin for just $100
7/10

Power

7/10

Control

7/10

Spin

7/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're coming from tennis:

    quick and good on spin, this paddle suits former tennis players.

  • You're an intermediate:

    the Bison Summit is lightweight and loaded up with spin to help intermediates win more games.

  • You want a long-lasting paddle:

    this is built to last with Toray T700 raw carbon fiber.

Pass if:

  • You don't want an elongated paddle:

    if you want a shorter paddle with great spin, try the hybrid Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.

  • You're a hard hitter:

    if you want a pure power paddle, check out the Six Zero Sapphire.

  • You want a control paddle:

    the Vatic Pro PRISM V7 is my top control paddle under $100.

Paddle Weight

7.8 oz

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ⅛"

Paddle Face Material

Toray T700 raw carbon fiber

Core Material

Honeycomb polymer core

Core Thickness

14 mm (0.55")

Sweet Spot

Medium

Not many paddles under $100 have good spin, so I was pleasantly surprised when I first tested the Bison Sumit. This paddle's secret is its raw carbon fiber face, which is known to generate spin. So, for just $99.99, you can get a solid spin paddle.
Who it's for
I think this one is best suited to beginners or intermediates who want more spin but don't want to spend upwards of $150 for a paddle like the Legacy Pro.
Features
Since the paddle face is made from textured Toray T700 raw carbon fiber, you get good spin. It also means the face isn't prone to wear and tear like others that have grit sprayed on.
For those who like to hit two-handed backhands, you'll find the elongated shape really helpful. It also gives you extra reach at the net.
Design and feel
You can certainly pick out a Bison paddle from the crowd. Rather than stick to a standard black face, they make some pretty interesting designs from their textured grit. The Summit features a mountain range, and while it's not my personal favorite, it's certainly unique.
In the hands, the grip feels comfortable and premium. The paddle is very light at 7.8 oz. This is great for players who like to be super quick in kitchen exchanges. However, I do wish it had more heft and power, and I think some other players will agree.
While this is a solidly built paddle, it's not a unibody or thermoformed one. That does make me wonder how it will hold up over time.
Performance
The Bison Summit plays exactly as you'd want a 14 mm paddle to play: with a really satisfying pop. The ball flies off the face. Combined with the light swing speed, good spin, and control, you can play an aggressive game with this paddle.
Value for money
I think this is excellent value for money. So far, I haven't played with any paddles under $100 that offer better spin. It's leagues above beginner paddles in terms of overall build and quality too.
To learn more, check out my full Bison Summit pickleball paddle review.
star icon
My verdict
The Bison Summit is a top choice for any beginner or intermediate looking to add spin to their game. It also has enough pop to help you start to play aggressively. While it isn't as well-rounded as more elite options, it's serious value for money at just $100.

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My criteria for choosing the best pickleball paddle under $100

In making this list, I didn't just rely on my own reviews of the many paddles I tested this year. I also read tons of reviews from Pickleball Central and Amazon. I tried to figure out what people are looking for most in a budget paddle before scoring them on these criteria:

  • Features: are there any features that make a cheaper paddle stand out? If a paddle that costs less than $100 is using high-end tech that's something to shout about (e.g. unibody design, raw carbon fiber face, foam edge walls, a textured surface, or a premium grip). These all help the paddle paddle to perform better and last longer.
  • Design and feel: while I do consider how a paddle looks, it's not as important to me as the feel. Along with the materials used in the build, I can tell if a paddle plays well from how it feels in my hands. A stable, premium, plush feel in a budget paddle is a sign that something extra was put into its construction.
  • Performance: this is the most important category and is based on my own multiple testing sessions with each paddle. I score each paddle on power, control, spin, and forgiveness. I also consider weighting, aerodynamics, and grip in my overall verdict.
  • Value for money: I always say value for money is very important, but it's especially important in this list. Not all paddles are equal and there are plenty of cheaper paddles that are poorly made. You don't want to spend $100 on a paddle that doesn't hold up on the court. I break down each paddle's value in my reviews so you can make an informed decision before buying.
Brandon Mackie holding the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash pickleball paddle

Bottom line

It's an exciting time to be a pickleball player. A couple of years ago, the vast majority of budget paddles were budget quality. If you wanted anything that played at a higher level, you had to fork out a lot of money.

Now, we're seeing some of the revolutionary tech used in expensive brands being used in cheaper paddles. Lots of new brands are appearing with affordable paddles that play at a really high standard.

You can now buy a variety of paddles around the $100 price mark that will boost your game. You can easily keep advancing your level without having to spend $200 every year on a new paddle.

Here's a recap of my top 5 pickleball paddles for under $100:

  1. Vatic Pro PRISM Flash - Best overall
  2. Paddletek Bantam TS-5 - Best for beginners
  3. Six Zero Sapphire - Best for power
  4. Vatic Pro PRISM V7 - Best for control
  5. Bison Summit - Best for spin

Read the reviews above to help you decide on which one best suits your game.

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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