Pickleball Gear

Gearbox Pro Power - pickleball paddle review

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Mar 3, 2024

The Gearbox Pro Power Elongated pickleball paddle on a blue background

Big news—the Gearbox Pro Power is in. This is probably the most-hyped paddle to start off 2024. I've waited three months for it and, to be honest, it's been a long time since I was this excited about doing a paddle review.

Check out my full Gearbox Pro Power review below to see how it holds up.

My verdict4.5star iconThe Gearbox Pro Power lives up to the hype. I've never seen a paddle that can generate power like this, and some players are even calling for it to be banned. It does have downsides, though. It's expensive and has a small sweet spot. However, if you can adjust to the big pop, I'd call this a worthy investment.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You love power and spin:

    10/10 for both power and spin, making this a great offensive paddle.

  • You like to have good reach:

    this paddle really shines when defending lobs at the kitchen.

  • You're used to the Gearbox feel:

    the $275 price tag is high, so it helps if you're familiar with Gearbox paddles.

Pass if:

  • You want a forgiving paddle:

    the Vatic Pro Flash is a super-forgiving paddle that I highly recommend, especially for intermediate players.

  • Control is really important for you:

    the Selkirk LUXX Control Air is my top control paddle of 2024.

  • You want a cheaper alternative:

    the Bread & Butter Filth and the Six Zero DBD Control are great power paddles under $200.

Paddle Weight

8 oz

Paddle Length

16.5"

Paddle Width

7.37"

Handle Length

5.5"

Grip Circumference

4"

Paddle Face Material

Toray T700 raw carbon fiber

Core Material

Toray T700 carbon fiber

Core Thickness

14 mm (0.55")

Sweet Spot

Small

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Review summary

The Gearbox Pro Power delivers crazy power and spin, but it won't be for everyone. Let's take a look at its strengths and weaknesses:

Starting with the obvious—power is HUGE. People are calling it a game-changer and I have to agree. The power is just unlike anything I've seen before. It's different from the consistent, solid power you get from a heavy paddle like the Franklin FS Tour Dynasty.

This paddle's power accelerates from the face. The ball simply flies off it. It's borderline dangerous to hit a drive right at someone in the kitchen!

Spin is 10/10 too, just like the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power. They always nail their surface grip and they have a new type here they call "TXR". It works great on the court.

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I can hit big drives and serves with the topspin needed to control them. I've had some hard topspin lobs that I thought had no chance of going in, only to see them dip right on the line.

Another thing I like is the elongated shape. It's not too unusual, at 16.5" x 7.5" size. However, since the power and spin are so good, that extra reach is deadly at the kitchen. I feel more comfortable defending lobs with this paddle than any other I've played with.

Now, there are some drawbacks. With an excess of power and spin comes a lack of forgiveness and control. The sweet spot is frustratingly small here, too. If you don't hit dead center, you won't get to unlock this paddle's awesome power.

What's worse is that, if you hit anywhere near the edges, you're going to mishit. Many of my volleys go right into the net. I've struggled most on blocks against hard drives where it's hard to line up dead center.

Since the pop is so strong, it's naturally hard to control shots. On swinging volleys, especially in hand battles, it's easy to sail a routine shot long. I will say, though, I was surprised by how good it is on drops. This is probably because it's light and the topspin helps.

Brandon Mackie holding the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle

Stability is another issue. The low twist weight of 5.16 means this paddle is prone to twisting in your hand at the kitchen. I think it needs lead tape to improve its stability and expand the sweet spot, which many rec players won't want to bother with.

Lastly, let's talk about the looks. This is a cool, sleek paddle that looks great—just what I've come to expect from Gearbox. It's premium and unique, so I can't help feeling good when I'm holding it. That said, it does have a sky-high price of $275 to match its looks.

I've never played with a paddle like this one before, so it's been a fun experience. While it generates a ton of power, it's also lightweight, so I'm not tiring myself out too quickly.

However, for me personally, I probably need something a bit more stable, controlled, and forgiving. I still prefer the Bread & Butter Filth as a power paddle that can give you all-court performance.

Pros:

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  • Strong on deep topspin serves

  • Spin is right up there with the best

  • Premium, unique design and feel to match the price point

Cons:

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  • With so much power, it's easy to sail volleys long

  • Needs lead tape to improve stability and expand sweet spot

  • Easy to mishit

Features

Gearbox paddles always feel unique. Some people love them. Honestly, I didn't used to be into them, but with each new release, I'm slowly becoming more of a fan.

It's always exciting to see what kind of tech Gearbox use. Let's take a look at what's in the Pro Power:

Quiet tech sound

Let's start with the newest innovation—the "Quiet Tech Sound" technology. This is a big trend we've been seeing more of recently, designed to counter noise complaints.

It actually works! In my very first testing session, my partner noted how quiet my paddle sounded. This kind of tech will be popular with a lot of players, especially those who play in noise-restricted communities.

SST core

This is not your typical honeycomb core. Gearbox's signature patented core tech is called their "solid span technology" or SST.

This gives Gearbox paddles their unique feel. You'll either love it or you won't.

Power Matrix technology

This is where the power comes from. It's all about magnifying the energy transfer that occurs from when you swing your paddle to when it makes contact with the ball.

I can confirm that this definitely boosts power. It's crazy powerful and borderline dangerous!

Performance

10/10

Power

7.5/10

Control

10/10

Spin

7/10

Forgiveness

8/10

Weighting

8.5/10

Grip

9/10

Durability

9/10

Aerodynamics

Power: 10/10

The Gearbox Pro Power has more power than you could ever need. It might be the most powerful paddle ever made, going up a notch even from the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta and the ProKennex Black Ace, two of my favorite paddles for power.

In my testing sessions, I've managed to hit absolute laser drives that unhinge lower-level opponents and put pressure on higher-level players.

Whenever I get an opening, I can put away the ball consistently. I can quickly end the point, provided I don't sail the ball long. More on that later.

Control: 7.5/10

Control is better here than on many of my favorite power paddles, like the Selkirk and ProKennex I mentioned earlier. The paddle feels light, and you can engage a bunch of topspin to help with touch shots. I like how it plays on my topspin drops, too.

However, there's a ton of pop to work with. It's all too easy to sail balls long. I have to adjust my swing speed and only engage power when I need it, like when I have a clear opening. Otherwise, I make too many errors to win games.

I feel this most on swinging volleys at the kitchen. With less court space to work with, it's easy to sail a volley or a routine overhead putaway long. That is frustrating.

Spin: 10/10

Like other Gearbox paddles I've played with in the past, the Pro Power can generate really great spin. I'd put it right up there with top spin paddles like the Diadem Edge 18k and ProXR Zane Standard.

I remember one topspin lob I gave up on, thinking it was going out, when it came right down on the line!

Like with the previous CX14E Ultimate Power, I love serving with this paddle. The spin tames the power here, allowing me to swing hard and hit deep serves that are difficult for my opponent to return.

Forgiveness: 7/10

I always find the sweet spot on Gearbox models hit or miss—I wasn't a fan of it on the Gearbox CX14E. On the Pro Power, it's easily the worst attribute.

If you hit outside of the sweet spot, it's very easy to mishit. I feel this most when I'm at the kitchen blocking hard drives—they can too easily go right into the net.

The low twist weight doesn't help either. It makes for an unstable paddle that I feel needs lead tape to optimize its performance.

Weighting: 8/10

Weighting is a double-edged sword here. On one hand, it's great because this is a light paddle that somehow hits crazy hard.

On the other hand, it really needs some lead tape on it. So, I have to dock two points for the hassle.

Grip: 8.5/10

There's nothing standout or special about the grip, but it's good and premium—as you'd hope for the price.

Brandon Mackie holding the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle

Durability: 9/10

This high-quality carbon paddle is built to last. I'm docking one point because, while it has an edge guard, it's thin and I already have a couple of dings on mine.

Aerodynamics: 9/10

Elongated paddles aren't known for having great aerodynamics but this one feels light—especially given the fairly high 121 swing weight. This could be down to it being a thin paddle, but I suspect Gearbox engineered some aerodynamics into it.

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 Gearbox Pro Power 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.

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Pricing

At $275, this is as pricey as paddles come, breaking even the $250 mark set by the likes of the JOOLA Scorpeus and the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta. So, is it worth it?

Value for money

This is a unique paddle. It's maybe the most powerful ever made, and there's nothing else that currently has this tech. From that standpoint, I think the high price can be justified, but only if this paddle works for you. I think you need to:

  • Love the feel of Gearbox paddles
  • Be a power player
  • Have enough experience with your control game to handle the pop
  • Customize with lead tape

That might sound like a lot, but there are plenty of players who fit that profile. They will almost certainly be more advanced players. Intermediates who want power should try the Bread & Butter Filth for $165 ($140 after discount), a much better all-around performer.

Brandon Mackie holding the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle

Bottom line

Be ready for a lengthy adjustment period with the Pro Power. If you're not familiar with the unique Gearbox feel, I highly recommend trying this paddle before buying.

If you're a big power player, though, I think you'll get a lot out of this paddle as it's probably the most powerful ever made.

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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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