Pickleball Gear

CRBN-1X Power Series - pickleball paddle review

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Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Aug 5, 2023

The CRBN-1X Power Series pickleball paddle on a blue background

CRBN are back with their new Power Series. I tried out the elongated version, the 1X, and am happy to share my honest opinion below. Keep reading to see if it's an improvement on the original CRBN-1, and if it's worth its high price tag.

My verdict5.0star iconThe CRBN Power Series is currently our top pick for intermediate players who like to play a power and spin game. While there are many raw carbon competitors out there now, like Vatic Pro, Six Zero, and Legacy, CRBN paddles remain some of the best you can buy that are worth their premium. The 1X is the elongated model, and while it plays heavier and less forgiving than the 3X and CRBN-2X Power Series, our testing found it packed the most power. If you're a rising intermediate player looking to play a more advanced game, I highly recommend this paddle.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You're an aggressive player.

    Offensive players will love the power and pop of this paddle.

  • You love spin.

    I gave this paddle a 10/10 for spin.

  • You're an advancing intermediate.

    A great choice for intermediate players who want to start playing a more advanced, offensive game.

Pass if:

  • You prefer control over power.

    This is more of a power paddle, so try the original CRBN or JOOLA Hyperion to focus on your soft game.

  • You're a beginner.

    This paddle will likely have too much pop for you.

  • You're on a budget.

    The CRBN-1X is one of the priciest paddles on the market.

Paddle Weight

7.8–8.1 oz

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Carbon fiber

Core Material

Honeycomb polypropylene core

Core Thickness

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

Sweet Spot

Large

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Review summary

I've seen the 1X referred to as an 'all-court paddle', but I can't say I agree. CRBN have been clear that the originals were their Control Series and that this is their Power Series. I think they play as advertised, and on that basis, these are highly impressive paddles.

I really enjoyed playing with the 2X (the square version). This paddle, the 1X, is the elongated version, and I found it a bit less forgiving and head heavy. That said, the 1X's power is quite impressive—even more powerful than the 2X.

For these reasons, I'd recommend the 2X to beginners and early intermediates over this model (or the 3X—a hybrid of the two).

Photo of the CRBN-1X Power Series pickleball paddle placed on a court

The power can be a little bit too much, however. It's easier to sail a serve or drive with the 1X than the 2X. I had to take a little swing off, or really engage the spin to keep play as controlled as with the 2X.

It was also a little bit poppier than I'd have liked. Some of my dinks, drops, and even drives were popping up more than I wanted.

The spin is where this paddle shines. Like the 2X, I gave this paddle top marks for spin. Being the spin junkie that I am, I really enjoyed playing with it.

Pros:

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  • Spin is this paddle's best asset—you can get great spin on just about any shot

  • Loads more power than the original CRBN Control Series

  • Extra reach makes this great at the net, playing singles, or defending the lob

Cons:

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  • A bit head heavy—I felt a bit slower to counter and return than I did with the 2X

  • Can be too poppy—it takes some getting used to, so expect some fliers in the beginning

  • Not as soft or plush as the CRBN Control Series or JOOLA Hyperion

Features

This is CRBN's first release since the controversy last year when they were removed from USA Pickleball's approved list. So, it's safe to say there's a lot of interest in this new Power Series.

These paddles are not meant to replace the Control Series, but rather to meet the demand for a power-focused paddle. This means they're really aimed toward intermediate-advanced players.

Let's take a look at some of the features and how they differ from the original.

Carbon fiber face

The carbon fiber face on the original CRBN paddler is what made it famous. It was designed to generate a ton of spin, so it's great to see it reappear here.

My testing found this feature is still #1. This paddle generates amazing spin and dip on hard topspin shots. Like the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16, the CRBN-1X has a directional surface that should last over many sessions thanks to the fact it's not simply sprayed onto the face.

Foam-injected edge walls

This technology was key in the JOOLA Hyperion, and CRBN are now using it too—but they've gone a step further. While the Hyperion only uses foam injection around the perimeter of the paddle head, the CRBN Power Series paddles use it around the edges and down into the handle.

This feature adds stability to the whole paddle, so you feel less shock and vibrations compared to the original Control Series. It also boosts the sweet spot and adds more shot consistency.

Unibody tech

This new technology is creating a buzz in the pickleball world. Until now, most paddles were built with a separate head and neck that were then fused together. The 'unibody' design means carbon fiber runs through the face and into the handle, acting as a seal.

This means no more weak joint at the throat. The idea is that the 1X shouldn't break or flex easily, which was a big complaint of the JOOLA Hyperion.

Brandon Mackie shows off the design of the CRBN-1X Power Series pickleball paddle

While I could definitely feel more stability, power, and spin, the unibody design also leads to a stiffer feel on shots. That said, it wasn't as stiff as I expected and, in my opinion, the increased stability outweighed any extra stiffness.

Performance

9/10

Power

8/10

Control

10/10

Spin

8.5/10

Forgiveness

8/10

Weighting

8/10

Grip

9/10

Durability

7/10

Aerodynamics

Power: 9/10

The CRBN-1X is excellent if you like to play aggressively. The paddle face has great pop, with the ball just flying off it. I felt super confident hitting hard 3rd shot drives and deep, aggressive serves—especially with hard topspin.

The drive with this paddle let me play a great offensive game, putting my opponent on the back foot, so it really suited how I play.

Control: 8/10

Some people have complained about the lack of control compared to the CRBN-1, but I actually found the control really good. I wouldn't say it's quite an all-court paddle like the JOOLA Hyperion, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it played up at the kitchen in dink exchanges.

Sure, it's a little poppy at times, which means beginner players might struggle, but I found that the control was more than enough to complement my power game.

Spin: 10/10

The original CRBN paddle was known for its crazy spin. So, I was delighted to learn that the 1X gets even more spin—even more than the Hyperion, too. In my opinion, this paddle is the spin king. I was getting tons of spin off the face.

I love to hit the kind of shots where the ball spins and drops just in when your opponent thinks it's going out, so in that sense, this paddle really elevated my game.

I was able to execute another favorite shot of mine over and over again with this paddle: a low and hard 3rd shot drive with tons of spin between my two opponents.

Forgiveness: 8.5/10

In my review of the square-shaped CRBN-2X, I gave it a 9/10 for forgiveness. The 1X had a slightly smaller sweet spot, and I'm going down a half point.

The sweet spot felt large, extending out almost to the edges and throat with fewer dead zones than I'd expected. Coupled with the awesome spin and great control, this really complemented my power game well.

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Weighting: 8/10

This paddle did skew a tad head-heavy, even more than the Hyperion. It felt heavier than the 2X, despite being the same weight. I did feel it slowed my game down at times, though I felt like the heaviness did result in more power.

That said, this is definitely still a light enough paddle to keep you agile on the courts.

Grip: 8/10

I don't have much to say about the grip. It's fairly standard, so not super noticeable. You might want to put an overgrip on it for more comfort, but it's definitely strong and good quality.

At 5 ½", the longer handle is ideal if you like to hit two-handed backhands. The 2X doesn't have enough handle to support a two-hander.

Durability: 9/10

This feels like a premium carbon-built paddle that will last. The unibody design is already becoming standard for elite paddles, so the 1X is right up there in terms of stability. The edge guard helps to protect the frame too. I have a feeling this paddle will stand the test of time.

Aerodynamics: 7/10

The 1X unfortunately doesn't have any special aerodynamic features to offset its heaviness. I felt it dragging at times, slowing down my swing speed. If you want a speedier paddle, I'd recommend the Power Air Invikta from Selkirk or the Kinetic Ovation from ProKennex.

Is this paddle right 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 the CRBN-1X Power Series makes 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.

Take Paddle Fitting Quiz

Pricing

Currently priced at $230, this is an expensive paddle, which might put it out of reach for some people. Unless you really want the extra reach and handle space, I'd go for the 2X or 3X.

However, if you're looking for more power and spin to step up to a more advanced game, I do think the CRBN-1X's price is worth it.

Value for money

For players wanting to play more offense, or aggressive players looking to elevate their game, this is a top paddle. It's really well-built for high performance. The materials used are top-notch and it will last a long time.

If you were a fan of the JOOLA Hyperion CFS 16, but found it too heavy, this is a great option for you. If you like power paddles but want one that has more control, you'll likely love the 1X.

However, if you're a beginner or casual player, you should probably look elsewhere. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives, like the Vatic Pro. This paddle has great spin and power but is 40% cheaper than the 1X.

Professional use

Who uses the CRBN-1X Power Series?

Vivienne David, who won the Singles Gold at the 2019 World Pickleball Championships, uses the 16 mm CRBN-1X. As does Alex Neumann, who reached the semifinals in his first PPA Tour in 2022.

Thomas Wilson and Christa Gecheva both play with the 14 mm CRBN-1X.

Bottom line

I really like the new CRBN Power Series. I've said before that the 2X is currently my top pick for intermediates who love power and spin. The 1X is great too, but I do prefer the 2X and the 3X personally.

The 1X just feels a bit heavier on the head compared to the other two, so it felt slower in the hands. However, if you like elongated paddles, you might prefer this one as it's got more reach.

That said, when compared to another favorite paddle of mine—the Selkirk Power Air Invikta—I found the CRBN-1X more forgiving and stable, with less pop and more touch.

The CRBN-1X Power Series pickleball paddle placed against a pickleball net

Overall, it felt like a more consistent paddle, offering just enough control to tame that power and spin. But if you like to play a softer touch game, try the Gearbox CX14e Ultimate Series instead.

Some people might be put off by the price tag. But if you're an intermediate-advanced player who loves power and spin, it's well worth the price. This is an elite paddle on the same level as the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion.

If this sounds appealing to you, give it a go and see if it improves your game.

Today's best deals

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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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