Pickleball Gear

Best pickleball paddles 2024

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Mar 22, 2024

The best pickleball paddles: the Six Zero DBD Control, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, and the Bread & Butter Filth

Looking to improve your game with one of the best pickleball paddles? The wrong paddle won't just affect your play, it can cost you games. Finding a blend of power, control, and spin that suits your playstyle is key to advancing your level.

I've tested over 85 pickleball paddles and put the best ones into this guide to help you pick the right one for you. Whether you're just learning how to play pickleball or you're already a picklehead, check out my top picks for the best pickleball paddles in 2024:

Best pickleball paddles at a glance

Best overall

A photo of the Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

1. Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control

This is the highest-scoring paddle in my tests so far. For the price, it offers unbeatable value over the top-shelf paddles from JOOLA and Selkirk.
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Read my deep dive

Best budget

Photo of the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

2. Vatic Pro PRISM Flash

The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash is an exceptional control paddle that rivals top carbon fiber paddles. It's the best paddle ever offered under $100.
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Best all-court

Photo of the Bread & Butter Filth pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

3. Bread & Butter Filth

The only 5-star paddle on this list besides my best overall. This is a fun, aggressive, all-court paddle with awesome spin and a surprising amount of control.
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Best for advanced

Photo of the CRBN-3X Power Series pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

4. CRBN-3X Power Series

One of my favorite paddles of all time, the CRBN-3X brings a ton of spin and power for those who like to play aggressively. It's ideal for advanced players.
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Best for power

Photo of the Gearbox Pro Power pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

5. Gearbox Pro Power

The Gearbox Pro Power is one of the most-hyped paddles of 2024. It generates power unlike any paddle I've ever played with.

Best for control

Photo of the Selkirk Luxx Control Air Invikta pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

6. Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta

The Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta is a unique control paddle for intermediate and advanced players. It gets awesome spin and good power and has tons of personality.
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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 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.

Let's take a deeper look at each of the best pickleball paddles on my list.

Best overall

1. Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control

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An uncompromising paddle that delivers on power, control, spin, and even price
9/10

Power

9/10

Control

10/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want the perfect blend:

    this paddle delivers on everything across power, control, and spin. I gave it near-perfect marks in each.

  • You're a power player:

    I was able to hit really aggressive serves, drives, and putaways with this paddle.

  • You don't want to spend more than $200:

    I was surprised to see this paddle played better than the JOOLA Perseus despite costing much less.

Pass if:

  • You can't handle pop:

    balls can launch off the paddle face, making drops and dinks challenging, especially for lower-level players.

  • You don't need power:

    this is a powerful paddle, so try the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta if you want a pure control paddle.

  • You want maximum reach:

    the hybrid design gives you slightly less reach than an elongated paddle, so check out the Bread & Butter Filth—the only other 5-star paddle on this list.

Six Zero

Six Zero

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Paddle Weight

8.1 oz

Paddle Length

16 ⅓"

Paddle Width

7 ½-7 ⅔"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ⅛"

Paddle Face Material

Toray 700K raw carbon

Core Material

Polymer honeycomb

Core Thickness

14 mm/0.55" or 16 mm/0.63" (I tested the 16 mm version)

Sweet Spot

Large

The Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control (DBD) is the best overall paddle in 2024 because it has the best blend of power, control and spin of any paddle I tested.
Almost all new paddles claim to offer this perfect blend of power, spin, and control. However, having tested dozens of paddles, it's rare to find one that genuinely blends the three without sacrificing somewhere.
The DBD is that rare paddle that actually succeeds. I was super impressed in my play testing. Whether it was hard drives, heavy spin, or accurate volleys, this paddle elevated my game. That's why I picked it as the best overall paddle of 2024.
The Bread & Butter Filth, another of my favorite paddles, made a strong case for #1. However, in the end, I picked the DBD for its larger sweet spot and touch more control.
Who it suits
If you're an intermediate level or higher (pickleball skill rating of 3.5-5.0), or just want a premium paddle without the $250 price tag, the DBD is an unparalleled choice.
If you're a beginner, you'll find it hard to master—it's just a bit stiff and poppy and you'll find it harder to control touch shots. I'd recommend the PCKL Launch Series instead.
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Features
This paddle has a raw carbon fiber face that generates an impressive level of spin—upward of 2,000 RPMs (i.e. how many times the ball rotates per minute; above 1,600 is considered high), which is why I scored it 10 out of 10.
This means you can load up a bunch of topspin on the ball and hit harder shots since the spin will dip the ball back toward the court. The face will also last longer than paddles with sprayed-on grit, like the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta.
Like many of the top paddles in 2024, the DBD is thermoformed. While this added power, it also gave it some unwanted stiffness. If you haven't played with thermoformed paddles before, just know they take some getting used to.
Watch my initial thoughts on the DBD:

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The DBD has foam injected into the walls—a technology that Six Zero calls their "carbon fusion edge tech". While this is fairly common in newer paddles, I found this gives the DBD more stability and a larger sweet spot than most raw carbon fiber paddles I've tested.
With so many premium paddles offering variations on the same technology, the enhanced sweet spot and extra power are what set this paddle apart for me.
Design and feel
You can tell a lot of research and development went into making this paddle—it feels premium out of the box, and looks absolutely stunning with a pink cherry blossom design. I also found it more user-friendly than most other thermoformed paddles I tested.
Performance
It's hard to find fault with the DBD's performance. It generates a ton of spin and power, yet has a very forgiving sweet spot that other thermoformed paddles struggle to offer. I can hit the kind of resets (defensive touch shots) that have my opponents thinking: "Wait… what just happened?"
You'll get more forgiveness from the DBD than with the Bread & Butter Filth, and almost as much power. I think any intermediate who plays an aggressive game (like me) is going to love this paddle straight out of the box.
Be aware that this paddle does pop. Balls fly off the paddle, which many players will like. However, if you struggle with popping up drops and dinks, the DBD might not be for you. Instead, I'd recommend a control-oriented paddle, like the Selkirk LUXX or Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.
Value for money
The fact this paddle is only $180 is really surprising. Even if it cost upwards of $250—like the Gearbox Pro Power or the Selkirk LUXX—I would have picked it as the best overall paddle of 2024.
It's a full $50 cheaper than other top picks on this list, like the CRBN-3X and the Diadem Edge 18k. So, not only is it the best paddle overall, it's easily one of the best values out there. I'd say it's worth every penny, and I can't see very many people being unhappy with it.
To learn more, check out my full Six Zero DBD Control review.
star icon
My verdict
This is one of the few paddles I've tested that truly does it all—huge power, plenty of spin, and yet also forgiving when you need it to be. With so many paddles launched this year, it was a really hard decision but this is my top paddle of 2024. If you're a rising intermediate who likes to play a strong game, I highly recommend this paddle, even over the ever-popular JOOLA Perseus.

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Best budget

2. Vatic Pro PRISM Flash

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A low-priced paddle to rival the most elite raw carbon fiber paddles
8/10

Power

10/10

Control

9/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • Your budget is $100:

    this is a real raw carbon fiber paddle to rival the Six Zero DBD for $80 less.

  • You want more control in your game:

    I scored this 10/10 for control and found I could hit drops with ease.

  • You don't need a big name brand:

    you'll be surprised how well this paddle plays against others from JOOLA, Selkirk, and Paddletek.

Pass if:

  • You're an advanced player:

    while this is a surprisingly high-performing paddle, it's just off the level of the CRBN-3X or DBD.

  • You're a brand new player:

    you might find the sweet spot too inconsistent. Try the PCKL Launch Series instead.

  • You like thermoformed paddles:

    if you want more power, try this paddle's thermoformed cousin, 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

The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash is simply the best budget paddle ever offered.
I heard that this paddle could rival some of the best in the game, but for $100, I thought there must be a catch. While the sweet spot can be inconsistent, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash otherwise plays like an over $200 paddle.
Like lots of elite paddles, it's made from raw carbon fiber. It has excellent spin and enough power to let you swing hard and play an advanced, aggressive game.
It's by far the best paddle under $100 I've ever played with—nothing else even comes close. It's also one of the best control paddles I've ever played with.
Who it suits
This paddle works for almost anyone, whether you're a beginner or advanced tournament player. It's built for any player looking to advance their game without spending a fortune.
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The only advancing players who might not go for this are those who love power first. Instead, I'd recommend the next paddle on this list, the Bread & Butter Filth.
Features
Vatic Pro built this paddle face with the same material (Toray T700 carbon fiber) you find in expensive thermoformed paddles like the Bread & Butter Filth and the CRBN-3X. This will bring lots of spin to your game.
You also get the same type of foam edge walls and unibody design that CRBN paddles are known for. That's all to say that this paddle, while not thermoformed, has a lot of the same tech as $200-$250 paddles.
Watch my first thoughts on the PRISM Flash:

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Design and feel
It looks like a ton of other paddles, but that's not what matters. When I opened it, I felt like I'd unwrapped a high-end paddle. It felt so good and stable in my hands during multiple testing sessions that I'd happily pack this even for a tournament.
Performance
This is one of my favorite ever control paddles. My 3rd shot drops were on point, my serves and drives were super accurate, and I could last in long dink exchanges. I was surprised by the amount of spin I could get too.
My topspin serves, drives, backspin, and sidespin all played as well as they do with an elite raw carbon paddle. The heaviness of the paddle helped with its power. I was able to hit hard topspin serves that almost never went out.
The only drawback is the sweet spot. It's not as consistent as the more expensive paddles I've been comparing it to. I had to really focus on hitting the ball dead center. Anywhere off center and I had mishits.
That said, the hybrid shape helped to offset some of this downside, making the paddle overall decently forgiving.
Value for money
This is probably the best value ever offered in pickleball. For just $100, you get a high-performance paddle with control, spin, and power that honestly rivals the $250 Selkirk LUXX.
To learn more, check out my Vatic Pro PRISM Flash review.
star icon
My verdict
The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash is not only my favorite budget paddle, but it's one of my favorite paddles of 2024 overall. It excels in control and is backed up by great spin, forgiveness, and decent power too. If you want a top paddle without spending a fortune, this is a great option to consider. For $100, it's one of the best bargains I've ever seen.

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Best all-court

3. Bread & Butter Filth

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My top all-court pick for its blend of power, control, spin, and forgiveness
10/10

Power

8/10

Control

10/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want strong performance across everything:

    power, spin, control, and forgiveness all shine here.

  • You like power in a paddle:

    if you like to hit hard with lots of spin, you're going to have a lot of fun with this paddle.

  • You want a top paddle under $200:

    this offers excellent value at $165.

Pass if:

  • You can't handle pop:

    you might give your opponents easy pop ups, especially in the beginning.

  • You want a pure control paddle:

    control is surprisingly good here, but it's not 10/10 like the Selkirk LUXX.

  • You're a beginner:

    the PCKL Launch Series has more forgiveness, so that will suit you better.

Bread & Butter

Bread & Butter

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Paddle Weight

8 oz

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ⅜"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

T700 raw carbon fiber

Core Material

Polypropylene

Core Thickness

16 mm (0.63")

Sweet Spot

Medium

If you want a paddle that does it all (power, control, spin), this is my pick for you—especially if you like to hit hard. This paddle's all-court performance means you can easily move from aggressive play with drives to a touch game with drops and dinks.
The Bread & Butter Filth is known as a power paddle, but it's more well-rounded than all other power paddles I've tested to date.
On power, it's up there with the Gearbox Pro Power, but the Filth actually gave me more control and forgiveness as well. While the Gearbox is a better pick for pure power players, I think the Filth better suits the average player thanks to its all-court attributes. It's also a whopping $110 cheaper.
Who it suits
The Filth is popular with bangers (players who like to hit hard and with lots of spin). Sure enough, both power and spin are 10/10 for me. However, it also works as an all-court paddle, with enough control to round out your game. This makes it a great intermediate choice.
Just note that it plays wilder and livelier than more control-oriented paddles like the Selkirk LUXX and the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash. While I personally love this, it won't suit everyone.
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Features
This is a thermoformed paddle and it certainly plays like one with lots of power. It has the raw T700 carbon fiber face that we all know helps to generate good spin.
The unibody design and foam injected in the walls and handle give some added stability. This is common tech now that will give you more power and extend your sweet spot.
Watch my first thoughts on the Bread & Butter Filth:

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Design and feel
I'm a huge fan of the design. The psychedelic face and the tan grip I chose really make this paddle stand out on the court—especially if you order the hot pink model.
It doesn't feel as soft and plush as the Six Zero DBD, but it is less stiff than most thermoformed paddles. It stays comfortable throughout my playing sessions but I do find the grip a bit more slippery than I'd like.
Performance
Bread & Butter claim their paddles are designed in outer space. Unfortunately, in my first session, I was almost hitting shots into outer space. I stuck with it, though. By my third or fourth game, I got used to the pop and started loving how hard-hitting it was.
The spin is great, and the control is surprisingly good too. I can hit drops, resets (defensive touch shots), and dinks with ease. I'm having so much fun playing with the Bread & Butter Filth.
Value for money
I compare this paddle to one of my all-time favorites, the CRBN-3X, which retails around $230. The CRBN-3X is my top choice for advanced players.
The Bread & Butter Filth plays very similarly but costs $165, making it a solid all-court alternative, especially for intermediates.
To learn more, check out my Bread & Butter Filth review.
star icon
My verdict
The Bread & Butter Filth is one of the most fun paddles I've ever played with. It just has so much spin, power, and personality but with plenty of control to balance it out too. I started using it as my everyday paddle, and it's the only paddle other than the Six Zero DBD that I'm giving 5 stars. At $165, it's one of the best buys of 2024.

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Best for advanced

4. CRBN-3X Power Series

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One of the best-performing all-court paddles, and my top pick for advanced players
9/10

Power

8/10

Control

10/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're ready to upgrade from an intermediate paddle:

    this is a true all-court paddle for advanced players.

  • You play with lots of spin:

    I'm scoring this 10/10 for spin—I can get lots of spin on just about any shot.

  • You want a hybrid paddle:

    this is a great middle ground if you can't decide between a square or an elongated paddle.

Pass if:

  • You're looking for an intermediate paddle:

    the Pickleball Apes Pro Line Energy S is my top pick for you.

  • You don't want to spend over $200:

    this paddle is worth the price, but try the B&B Filth if you want something in the $150-180 range.

  • You want a softer paddle:

    this paddle feels a bit stiffer than the Six Zero DBD.

CRBN

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Paddle Weight

7.8 oz (14 mm paddle) / 8.1 oz (16 mm paddle)

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ¼"

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

The CRBN-3X is my favorite advanced paddle of 2024 because it's an outstanding all-court paddle with big power, big spin, and control to balance it out.
It was hard to choose between the CRBN-3X and the DBD as my top paddle of 2024. These two are always in my pickleball bag and I play with both almost every single week.
Just like the DBD, the CRBN-3X manages to offer all three: tons of power, spin, and control. The DBD edges it out slightly with a softer feel and a bigger sweet spot. However, if you want more stability and less pop, I think you'll find the CRBN-3X to be an excellent alternative.
Who it suits
This paddle will suit many intermediate players, but you have to be ready to start playing a more aggressive game. Since it's packed with power and spin, advanced players with a skill level of 4.0 and above will get the most out of it.
The 3X is definitely worth trying out—especially if you're torn between the elongated 1X and square-shaped 2X.
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Features
The carbon fiber face on the original CRBN Control Series had a reputation for great spin, and that's still true with the 3X.
CRBN added a foam injection around the walls and into the handle, along with a unibody design for extra stability. This will give you more stability and a larger, more consistent sweet spot.
Design and feel
This feels solid and premium—a well-built paddle. It has the same black carbon fiber design we're seeing everywhere, but I like the slick and modern look.
It felt great in my hands from the get-go—heavy enough to generate power but light enough to keep me ahead in fast kitchen exchanges.
Performance
I love this paddle for spin. I get tons on my serves, and I can hit the kind of hard topspin drives that look like they're sailing long, but drop right on the line. It has lots of power too—right up there with the B&B Filth and the DBD.
Like with most thermoformed paddles, control is slightly compromised here for power. Don't get me wrong: it had enough for me, and good forgiveness and consistency.
It plays really well up at the kitchen in dink exchanges, but I find it easy to hit drop shots too high—especially if I put too much swing on my shot.
If you're an advanced player who wants more of a control paddle, check out the Selkirk LUXX below.
Value for money
For advanced players who play a fast game, this paddle is absolutely worth the $230 price tag. While the DBD is around $50 cheaper, that paddle isn't for everyone. So, if you want something a bit more advanced, the 3X is worth the premium.
If you're on a budget, the B&B Filth and the DBD are great cheaper alternatives.
To learn more, check out my CRBN-3X Power Series review.
star icon
My verdict
It's hard to find fault with the CRBN-3X. It hits hard, spins like crazy, and has enough control to play an all-around game. I play with this paddle every single week and recommend it to most advanced players I meet—some rising intermediates too. While there are top paddles available for less, like the Filth and DBD, this paddle is one of the best investments you can make in your game.

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Best for power

5. Gearbox Pro Power

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I've never seen a paddle with power like this
10/10

Power

7.5/10

Control

10/10

Spin

7/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're a power player:

    I've never seen power like this. The ball flies off the face differently than other power paddles.

  • Spin is a big part of your game:

    I scored this 10/10 for spin too.

  • You're ready to invest in a paddle:

    this is in the top tier when it comes to price, currently selling for around $275.

Pass if:

  • You're a beginner:

    check out the PCKL Launch Series, my top choice for starters.

  • You need a more forgiving paddle:

    many early intermediates will struggle with this. Check out the Pro Line Energy S instead.

  • You're on a budget:

    the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash offers amazing value at $100.

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

If power is the most important part of your game, I recommend giving the Gearbox Pro Power a look.
Honestly, I've never hit a pickleball with this kind of power. The ball accelerates really fast off the face, which lets me put away shots and power up drives like no other paddle I've tested so far.
It's next level, giving me more power than I could ever need. That said, there are tradeoffs as I'll discuss shortly.
My previous power pick, the Bread & Butter Filth, stays in my top 10. Since it offers better control than the Pro Power, I made it my top all-court paddle instead.
Who it suits
As you might expect, this one is for bangers (players who like to hit with a lot of power and spin). I think the paddle's pop and unforgiveness will be too much to handle for beginners and most lower-level intermediates. What you gain in power you sacrifice in control and forgiveness.
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Features
Gearbox paddles are always built differently, with a unique SST core. You either love or hate how they feel, but you have to admit they come with interesting features.
The Pro Power has some innovative new technology called "Quiet Tech Sound". This makes the paddle a lot quieter, and I can confirm it actually works. Then there's the "Power Matrix" tech, which is what gives this paddle its power boost.
Design and feel
Gearbox paddles look great, and this sleek offering is no different. The Pro Power is an elongated paddle, and I appreciate the reach it gives me when I'm defending lobs at the net.
The paddle feels premium, which you'd expect given the price point. I also like how light and maneuverable it is, yet powerful at the same time. That said, I think you'll need to add lead tape to expand the sweet spot, which will slow it down a bit.
Watch my initial thoughts on the Gearbox Pro Power:

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Performance
This is probably the most powerful paddle I've ever played with. Whenever I see an opening, I'm able to put the ball away with hard drives. Spin is really good too, and I can swing hard on my serves with the added control from the spin.
However, if you need more control or struggle with mishits, I think you'll get frustrated with the Pro Power. You can easily sail the ball long, even on routine volleys at the kitchen.
This paddle is also prone to twisting in your hand because of its low twist weight (5.02). The sweet spot is small too, so expect frustrating mishits until you adjust to the paddle or optimize with lead tape.
If you need a powerful paddle that's got better all-court abilities, check out the Bread & Butter Filth.
Value for money
Gearbox isn't messing around with their pricing. For $275, you have to be ready to invest. This paddle won't be for everyone, or honestly all that many players. However, if you're a power player, or you already love the Gearbox feel, you'll get your money's worth for sure.
star icon
My verdict
This is my favorite paddle for power players right now. If you set up points with hard drives and deep serves, this paddle is worth a look. Just be prepared for a small sweet spot, which might require lead tape to optimize. Players who need more control and forgiveness should shop around instead.

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Best for control

6. Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta

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A hot new control paddle from Selkirk, endorsed by pro player Jack Sock
8/10

Power

9/10

Control

9/10

Spin

8.5/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want power and spin too:

    this paddle has more spin and power than most control paddles I've reviewed.

  • You're an advancing player:

    this has all the tools for rising players who need a complete paddle.

  • You're ready to invest in your game:

    at $250, this is in the highest price range, but worth the premium.

Pass if:

  • You're a complete beginner:

    you'll prefer the forgiveness of my top beginner pick, the PCKL Launch Series.

  • You're a new intermediate:

    you'll get more out of the Pro Line Energy S if you're buying a step-up paddle.

  • You have a $100 budget:

    luckily for you, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash on this list scores 10 out of 10 on control.

Selkirk

Selkirk

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Paddle Weight

7.8-8.1 oz

Paddle Length

16.45"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5.35"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Carbon fiber

Core Material

Thikset honeycomb

Core Thickness

20 mm (0.78")

Sweet Spot

Medium-large

This is a paddle that will make your drops and dinks (arguably the most important shots in pickleball) a lot easier. A "control" paddle used to mean soft and lacking in power, but not so much with the LUXX.
The LUXX is my favorite control paddle in 2024 (so far). It's great for rising intermediates to advanced players (3.5 and above) who want a control paddle that also delivers big spin and decent power. That means you can hit accurate drops and dinks but speed the ball up when you need to.
Jack Sock, a former tennis top 10 and recent pickleball convert, plays with this paddle. He made a big splash in the PPA Tour in 2023, taking home the mixed doubles title with Anna Leigh Waters at the North Carolina Open.
The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash also has 10/10 control and costs just $100, great if you're looking for a top budget paddle.
Who it suits
The better you are, the more you'll get out of this paddle. It will probably be too challenging for beginners or early intermediates (3.5 and below). If you're more focused on your touch game than playing aggressively, the LUXX will fit you well (though it has more power than I expected).
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Features
The first thing you'll notice with Selkirk Air paddles is the open-throat design. This "Air Dynamic Throat" isn't just a gimmick—it really does boost the paddle's swing speed.
The LUXX Control model also stands out for having a 20 mm core. I thought this would make the paddle too soft for my liking, like the 19 mm Diadem Warrior V2. So, I was surprised to find that the LUXX has quite a bit of pop.
Selkirk being Selkirk, you'll notice lots of unique terms in their specs. The "Florek" carbon fiber is one of those. This works like other good carbon fiber surfaces, creating as much power and spin as the more common T700 carbon.
I do worry that the face will degrade over time, though, since the grit is painted on rather than being a built-in texture.
Watch my first thoughts on the Selkirk LUXX:

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Design and feel
Like with the Selkirk VANGUARD, I dig the signature look that Selkirk Air paddles have. I especially like the light blue LUXX I ordered—it's the model Jack Sock plays with.
I've come to expect a premium feel from Selkirk, and the LUXX doesn't disappoint. It feels great right out of the box and comes with a premium grip. On the courts, it's light and fast. I rocked this on many 2-hour sessions.
Performance
This was built as a control paddle, and control is where it excels. The thick 20 mm core takes pace off the ball to help you reset off challenging hard shots. This makes it a great paddle when you're facing off against bangers at the 3.5 level or higher.
This paddle boosts my topspin third-shot drops and complements my touch game on technical shots and routine stuff too.
I have to admit, though, lower-level players will find it less consistent on control than one like the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash. That's why I recommend this one mostly if you're an experienced player.
Spin is right up there with control. I play with a lot of topspin and I feel right at home. I can rip drives and passing shots to make up for a slight lack of power.
Power is more than I expected from a 20 mm paddle, though. When I want to turn up the aggression, I can. I just have to swing hard. That combo of spin and control means I can hit hard drives like I can with my favorite power paddles like the CRBN-3X and B&B Filth.
Last but not least, the LUXX is very forgiving for a performance paddle. It has a generous sweet spot and its softness makes its Power Air cousin feel like a 2x4.
Value for money
The LUXX is built for experienced players, and you need to be willing to spend $250. If you want a high-performance paddle that's strong on control and spin, plays really fast, and has enough power too, this is well worth it in my opinion.
If you're on a stricter budget but you still want great control and spin, check out the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash on this list. It's my favorite paddle under $100.
To learn more, check out my Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta review.
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My verdict
I've never played with a paddle like the LUXX before. It's fast, great for your control game, and has top levels of spin. It's a 20 mm cushioned paddle that also has a fair amount of pop. Selkirk once again put a lot of work into their paddle and have come out with something really competitive for control players who take their game seriously.

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Best for spin

7. Diadem Edge 18k

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A paddle that generates the most consistent spin I've seen
7.5/10

Power

9/10

Control

10/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You play with big spin:

    I'm really impressed by the spin on this paddle—it's so consistent and like nothing I've ever played with.

  • You put control over power:

    this is an all-court paddle that skews in favor of control.

  • You can spend $230:

    if you have the budget, you won't find a paddle with better spin than this one.

Pass if:

  • You're a power player:

    the Gearbox Pro Power, also on this list, is my top power paddle in 2024.

  • You like to play fast:

    I found this slow in hand battles, so maybe try the Six Zero DBD, my standout paddle of 2024.

  • You want something cheaper:

    the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash is my favorite budget paddle at $100.

Diadem

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Paddle Weight

8 oz

Paddle Length

16 ⅖"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ⅓"

Grip Circumference

4 ⅛"

Paddle Face Material

3D 18k carbon fiber

Core Material

Honeycomb polymer core

Core Thickness

16 mm (0.63")

Sweet Spot

Large

The Diadem Edge 18k is my new top spin paddle for 2024 because it generates bigger and more consistent spin than any paddle I've ever played with.
Their new "triaxial weave 18k carbon fiber" tech might just change the game. Not only is spin a touch higher than on the Six Zero DBD, B&B Filth, and CRBN-3X, but it's more consistent too.
The way the paddle grips the balls means you can swing harder and control balls better, leading to more accurate serves, drives, and even drops.
Who it suits
If you're intermediate level or higher and like to play with a lot of spin, the Edge 18k is for you. Especially if you come from tennis (like me), you're really going to like how this one plays.
That said, this is 16 mm and non-thermoformed, so you have to be OK with a paddle that's not built for power. It plays all-court, but I'd say it skews towards control.
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Features
The standout feature here is the 18k carbon fiber face. Diadem uses a new woven 3D pattern that aims to get consistent spin no matter what angle you hit the ball at. It really works, creating spin unlike any I've seen before. It has a solid edge guard for durability too.
Check out my initial thoughts on the Diadem Edge 18k:

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Design and feel
The boxy design on the paddle face is no gimmick. This is the 3D pattern I mentioned above, and it has a rough texture that gets you such good spin. I think this is a cool-looking paddle that stands out from others thanks to its red edge guard.
It has an intermediate-friendly 8 oz weight, though it feels heavier in the hands than I expected. It doesn't have the stiff feel of a thermoformed paddle.
Performance
Right off the bat, I'm able to hit probably the best spin I've ever hit. I didn't think you could get better than the T700 carbon fiber faces that are so popular, but the Diadem Edge is a step up.
I really like hitting topspin with the 18k. I'm able to get lower down on the ball and hit tennis-style topspin consistently. In fact, I feel like I could just play tennis out there and still win games. I would give this paddle 11 out of 10 for spin if I could.
Control is good too, almost up there with the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta. The large sweet spot also makes it a forgiving paddle.
I should mention that this is not built to be a power paddle. If you need more pop, I'd recommend checking out the Gearbox Pro Power or the Bread & Butter Filth instead.
Value for money
If you're on a more limited budget, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash gets great spin and costs $100. However, if you have $230 to spend and you want the best spin paddle that money can buy, the Diadem Edge 18k really is unique. I'd say it's 100% worth the price.
To learn more, check out my full Diadem Edge 18k review.
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My verdict
The Diadem Edge 18k is no marketing gimmick—this paddle's unique tech really does generate higher (and more consistent) spin than any paddle I've tested. You can play a tennis-style game and win with the amount of topspin you can generate. If spin is a big part of your game, I highly recommend the 18k.

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Best for beginners

8. PCKL Launch Series

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All-round performance for beginners at just $60
6/10

Power

7/10

Control

5/10

Spin

10/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're new to the game:

    this is the best beginner paddle I've used, with a classic widebody design and a large sweet spot.

  • You're on a budget:

    just $10-20 more than many beginner options on Amazon, this paddle offers great value for money.

  • You want a good-looking paddle:

    this paddle has two eye-catching designs in neon green and white.

Pass if:

  • You love to play with spin:

    there's not much texture on the face. Try the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash if you want an affordable paddle with lots of spin.

  • You're moving up to intermediate level:

    check out the Pickleball Apes Pro Line Energy S.

  • You're an advanced player:

    this is a beginner-level paddle, so I'd recommend the CRBN-3X instead.

PCKL

PCKL

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Paddle Weight

7.9 oz

Paddle Length

16"

Paddle Width

8"

Handle Length

5"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Fiberglass composite

Core Material

Polypropylene honeycomb core

Core Thickness

14 mm (0.55")

Sweet Spot

Extra large

The PCKL Launch Series is my top beginner paddle in 2024 because of its user-friendly feel and forgiveness.
The widebody face gives it a large sweet spot, which means you'll have fewer frustrating mishits as a beginner player. Fewer mishits help you play more confidently, and grow into a step-up paddle like the Pro Line Energy S.
My favorite part of this paddle is the price. New players likely won't want to spend hundreds on a paddle until they're sure they'll be playing consistently. At $69, it's only $10-20 more than cheap options on Amazon, and I think you get much higher performance for that small premium.
Who it suits
The PCKL Launch Series is a beginner paddle, and I like that it doesn't pretend to be anything else. If you're new to pickleball, you'll find this paddle user-friendly and responsive from the start.
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It has a satisfying pop, which helps you connect with the ball and get a feel for the game. It's extremely forgiving with a large sweet spot, which will help you to avoid frustrating mishits. This makes it easier for you to develop your game, swing with confidence, and ultimately win more points.
Features
The widebody design is crucial here. It gives the PCKL Launch its huge sweet spot and makes it so forgiving. The fiberglass surface provides excellent pop and control which will satisfy beginners. However, the surface does result in a lack of spin.
Watch my initial review of the PCKL Launch Series:

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Design and feel
I played with the neon green paddle and really dug its vibe. While looks don't always matter, a lot of beginners want to step out on the court feeling confident. I definitely did with this paddle.
It has great feel—a lot more than I expected from a paddle at this price. The weight and balance make it feel strong and sturdy while remaining responsive. Beginners will love how comfy it is in the hand.
Performance
In my testing, I found this paddle surprisingly responsive from my first warm-up dink. While the spin was lacking, the paddle was forgiving, could generate plenty of power, and had solid control. This means you can try more advanced touch shots like the 3rd shot drop while having enough power to use drive shots in your game.
The Launch Series performed well to the edge, providing consistent results even on off-center hits. For beginners especially, this will reduce the worry of mishits and ensure solid contact with every swing.
Value for money
Priced around $65, the PCKL Launch Series is a solid and forgiving paddle that punches well above its weight. If you're a beginner on a budget, this paddle will definitely help to improve your game.
To learn more, check out my PCKL Launch Series review.
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My verdict
The PCKL Launch Series is a refreshing alternative to budget options commonly used by beginners, like the Niupipo Graphite paddle. I find this to be an extremely forgiving paddle with its widebody design and large sweet spot. Overall, it's a nice-looking paddle that performs well—especially for the price.

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Best intermediate

9. Pickleball Apes Pro Line Energy S

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A high-performance paddle for intermediates made with Kevlar®
8.5/10

Power

9.5/10

Control

9.5/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're ready for a step-up paddle:

    this will introduce power and spin to your game while keeping lots of control and forgiveness.

  • You don't need a big brand name:

    newcomer Pickleball Apes is not yet a household name, and this paddle offers great value at $152.99.

  • You came from tennis:

    the big spin and great control give this paddle a feel that you'll love if coming from tennis.

Pass if:

  • You're a beginner:

    the PCKL Launch Series is my top choice for you.

  • You want more power:

    the Gearbox Pro Power and the B&B Filth are more powerful than this.

  • You need a soft paddle:

    you can still pop up balls with this, so check out the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash for the most plush feel.

Pickleball Apes

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Paddle Weight

8-8.4 oz

Paddle Length

16 ⅖"

Paddle Width

7 ⅗"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

Paddle Face Material

Kevlar & Toray T700 carbon fiber

Core Material

Narrow-cell honeycomb poly core

Core Thickness

16.5 mm (0.65")

Sweet Spot

Large

If you're an intermediate and don't want to choose between a power or control paddle, you'll want something all-court—and this is my pick for you.
Its blend of power, control, and spin was second only to the Bread & Butter Filth and Six Zero DBD when scoring all-court paddles. However, since this paddle is softer and easier to control, I chose it as my favorite paddle for intermediates in 2024 over those two.
Lastly, I really like that this paddle is made with Kevlar®, making it durable and stable. I find Kevlar softens the edges of raw carbon and helps you play a more well-rounded game. It's a top all-round performer.
Who it suits
I can see this boosting the game of any intermediate, and I wouldn't be surprised if it stays with you all the way to the advanced level. At $152.99, it's got a nice intermediate-friendly price too.
I also recommend it if you've tried raw carbon fiber paddles but found they had too much pop or you didn't like the stiff feel. The Kevlar® in this paddle helps it play soft and plush, which is a nice boost to my touch game.
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Features
New US brand Pickleball Apes is doing something different with their unique paddles. The most interesting feature here is the Kevlar®-Toray T700 carbon fiber blend in the paddle face. It will be interesting to see if this starts to rival more popular pure carbon fiber paddles.
Design and feel
I'm a big fan of the hybrid shape. It's just shy of a classic elongated paddle but has a curved "hybrid" top that makes it more aerodynamic.
I also like the design of the face. The red tint sets it apart from pure carbon paddles, signaling that it's different with the Kevlar® built in. The ape logo is cool too.
It feels great in the hands. They nailed the weighting—it has solid power, but isn't head-heavy. It's maneuverable on the court. The grip is good too, noticeably better than most other paddles.
Watch my first thoughts here:

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Performance
Control and spin are this paddle's best attributes. The sweet spot is large too, making this a forgiving paddle. Overall, it has top all-court attributes.
I feel really in control and able to use big topspin with confidence. The Energy S feels very natural to me—I can swing hard with plenty of spin and few mishits.
This paddle excels on resets (defensive shots back into the kitchen), but you can play a strong offensive game too with the spin and power. That said, I do have to swing hard to get the kind of power I like. So, power players might prefer the Gearbox Pro Power or B&B Filth.
Value for money
I'm shocked this paddle doesn't cost over $200. It currently retails for $170, but with our discounts, it goes down to $138. This is a really good price considering the unique technology and all-court performance you'll get out of this paddle.
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My verdict
The Pro Line Energy S is my new favorite paddle for intermediates in 2024. The Kevlar® is no gimmick—it complements the raw carbon and gives this paddle a near-perfect blend of power, control, spin, and forgiveness. If you haven't taken to thermoformed raw carbon paddles, this one offers a great alternative.

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Best set

10. SLK NEO 2.0

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A trusty paddle set from the Selkirk name, with great performance for its price tag
6/10

Power

7/10

Control

6/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're new to pickleball:

    this set is ideal for beginners, giving you everything you need to start playing with a friend.

  • You want a top-quality set:

    with many low-quality beginner sets out there, Selkirk delivered on their quality promise here.

  • You're on a budget:

    $80 is a fair price for two quality paddles, a pickleball bag, and four balls.

Pass if:

  • You're past beginner level:

    these paddles lacked in the power, spin, and control that intermediate and advanced players need.

  • You don't need a full set:

    if you only need one paddle, check out the PCKL Launch Series, my top beginner paddle.

  • You want a heavier paddle:

    at 7.5 oz, this is lightweight. Try the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash for a heavier paddle that's still affordable.

Paddle Weight

7.5 oz

Paddle Length

15 ⅔"

Paddle Width

7 ⅘"

Handle Length

5 ¼"

Grip Circumference

4 ¼"

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

The SLK NEO 2.0 is the best set of 2024 because you get two beginner paddles that actually perform, even in more competitive play.
I was surprised that I could actually generate spin and decent power with these paddles, something I've never experienced with a beginner set before. Its forgiveness levels are right up there with the best premium paddles too, which is why it's my pick for the best set.
For a budget price, you get two top-quality paddles from one of pickleball's most respected brands.
Who it suits
If you're a beginner, this set will really help you find your feet on the court. It's lightweight and easy to swing. Plus, it's very forgiving, so you won't have many mishits compared to a lot of other paddles.
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If you want something higher quality than most cheap options on Amazon, you won't do better than SLK at this price.
Features
The paddle face is made from graphite and fiberglass, multi-layered to give extra pop. The honeycomb polymer core is designed to add sturdiness and reduce vibrations, and it definitely felt solid in my play testing.
The edge guard looks well-built, so I'm confident it can protect the paddle against most dings and knocks. This is a lot more tech than I've seen in beginner sets before, especially compared to most budget brands on Amazon.
Watch my first thoughts on the SLK NEO 2.0:

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Design and feel
For a budget paddle, this looks sleek, futuristic, and premium. It comes in two neon color options: one blue and one red paddle, or one green and one purple paddle.
I loved the grip on this paddle as it felt comfy even after long sessions. I found the paddle quick in the hands, which helped during fast kitchen exchanges.
Performance
While this doesn't offer the spin and power of elite paddles, it has more than enough for a beginner-level paddle. This is down to the design quality and its "SpinFlex" textured face. Most importantly for beginners, Selkirk built in a large sweet spot, so you don't need to worry too much about mishits while you learn how to play.
Value for money
If you want to start playing straight away, this is my top pick for you. For $80, you get two paddles made by a top pickleball brand. I'm yet to find a better starter kit for learners.
To learn more, check out my SLK NEO 2.0 review.
star icon
My verdict
This paddle performed better than any budget set I've ever tested so far. I was able to generate spin and play real competitive games against even intermediate players. If you're just getting into pickleball but don't want to waste time with low-quality products, this set from Selkirk is a safe bet.

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How I picked the best pickleball paddles

There's a lot to consider when choosing the best pickleball paddle. I reached out to the following pickleball experts to get their insights into what sets apart the top paddles:

When putting this list together, I considered every aspect of the paddles, from their weight and durability to how much control they give players, and, most importantly, cost.

I personally played with and tested every paddle on this list to make sure it was worthy of a place.

Alongside my own hands-on testing, I trawled through 100s of reviews across paddles on Pickleball Central and Amazon to learn what people loved and hated. I also compared the pricing to give you the greatest deals.

What do the professionals say?

I asked the following pickleball experts for their thoughts on the best pickleball paddles:

Wayne Dollard

Wayne Dollard from Levelup Pickleball

What do you look for in a pickleball paddle?

"When demoing a paddle, I start at the non-volley line and cooperatively hit dinks and reset volleys with my partner. If the paddle controls the ball well, I will then test the spin by hitting roll volleys and baseline drops.

"If the paddle spins well, I go back to the baseline and hit hard serves and drives to feel the power. It is only if all of these things click together that I will recommend the paddle to my Levelup Pickleball Camp students."

Jackie Cheung

Jackie Cheung and Beth Kaufman from Pickleball Chicks
Jackie Cheung and Beth Kaufman from Pickleball Chicks

What do you look for in a pickleball paddle?

"Control, power, and durability are the three things that I look for in a paddle. I want to make sure I have good control of where the ball goes but also enough pop and power to give my shots a bit of an edge.

"And of course, something that can keep up with the wear and tear of playing frequently."

What would you say is your all-time favorite pickleball paddle and why?

Jackie listed these as some of her favorite paddles so far in 2024:

What paddle would you recommend to beginners and why?

"I am partial to Gearbox—a paddle that is a bit harder to get used to since they are built differently—but plays great once you put in the time to learn it.

Laurel Heilman

What do you look for in a pickleball paddle?

"I look for a paddle that has a good balance between power and control. Enough touch for the soft NVZ play, while having enough power to keep opponents deep or putting the ball away.

"I prefer a 5" handle length as I like to use two hands on the backhand side. The latest carbon materials that a lot of companies are making paddles with have changed the game!"

What paddle would you recommend to beginners and why?

"All of my beginner students ask me this. At first, something on the inexpensive side (Amazon, etc) is fine to start out with. Stay away from wooden paddles as they are too heavy and unnecessary with all of the options that are out there.

"With over 2,000 paddles, no paddle is perfect for everybody [...]. It just has to be perfect for you and your game. Generally, most players will want to buy the second tier before too long ($80-$130), but don’t buy any paddle at this price point before you try them out first.

"Find a paddle that aligns with your game, and that you love!"

How to choose a pickleball paddle

Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Ben Johns Perseus pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Ben Johns Perseus pickleball paddle

Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player?

Are you playing your first-ever pickleball game or are you an advanced player with years of experience? These are important questions to ask when buying a pickleball paddle.

If you're a beginner, you will usually want paddles with a healthy mix of control and power, but with lots of forgiveness. This means a large sweet spot (central striking area), and a paddle that can hit well even if you don't catch the ball just right.

Beginner players take a class on how to play pickleball

If you're advanced, you'll want more performance—better power, more control, and a superior feel. You'll likely find yourself in competitive games, and shouldn't be afraid to pay up for a premium paddle.

However, this performance often comes at the expense of forgiveness, as is the case with paddles like the Selkirk Power Air Invikta. While it's a great paddle for advanced players, it's not an ideal choice for beginners.

Quick tip! If you're looking to rise through the ranks, there are a couple of ways to do it. For starters, a pickleball ball machine is an ideal training companion to help target weak areas in your game. Combine this with regular pickleball drills and you'll start to see huge improvements.

What type of shots do I prefer?

If strategic shots like dinks and lobs make up your game, you'll want a paddle built for control. You'll value paddle forgiveness and feel. And will give up a little on power.

But if you're all about smashes and passing shots, you may opt for a paddle design for power.

Do I value power or control?

Do you dink endlessly, or prefer waiting for your opponent to hit a shot with just too much loft? Do you look at pickleball like a chess match, looking to hit a strategic shot every time?

If so, you're likely a control player. And you'll value a paddle with great touch and feel, even at the expense of power.

But maybe your game is all about rocketing a passing shot by your opponents while they're at the net?

Player hits a lob during a pickleball game

Many ex-tennis players have this game—and it means you're likely a power player.

You'll want a paddle with a large sweet spot, a responsive face, and designed for power. You'll also opt for a paddle on the heavier side, which will give you more "oomph" on every two-handed backhand. A paddle like the CRBN-3X Power Series could be good for you.

What if you want it all? Fortunately, advancements in paddle technologies mean that many paddles now offer both control AND power. Paddles like the JOOLA Perseus are popular with pros and advanced players who need it all when playing.

Do I play indoors, outdoors, or both?

Are certain pickleball paddles better for indoor vs outdoor? In short, yes.

When playing outdoors you are exposed to the elements. Wind, rain, elevation—all can result in less control.

Players engaging in a game of doubles pickleball

So, when playing outdoors, you may opt for a control paddle like the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta.

Some of the best pickleball balls are designed specifically for indoor use. These are easier to control and typically give a slower-paced game, so you may want a paddle with more power if you play indoors a lot.

Do I value price over premium quality?

If you're new to pickleball, paying $150 or more for a paddle can seem like a steep investment.

What if you don't like the sport? Fortunately, you can find a great paddle at almost any price point. Many top brands like Selkirk have begun making quality paddles at entry-level prices.

Features to consider when buying a paddle

Player showing off the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta pickleball paddle

Paddle size

The standard pickleball paddle size is 16 inches long by 8 inches wide.

Official pickleball rules allow a maximum of 24 total inches, by adding the length and width (for example if you had a 17-inch long paddle, it could only be 7 inches wide).

Size impacts a paddle's performance. Elongated paddles are longer and thinner. They offer more power, spin, and reach, but less control.

Shorter paddles with wide faces offer a big sweet spot, making them more popular with beginners.

Paddle weight

Weight is one of the most important factors when buying a pickleball paddle. It impacts your power, control, and feel—and even injury proneness.

Most pickleball paddles are between 6 ounces and 14 ounces. Here's how paddles are categorized by weight:

  • Lightweight: Under 7.2 ounces
  • Mid-weight: 7.3 to 8.4 ounces
  • Heavyweight: Over 8.5 ounces

Lightweight paddles

Lightweight paddles are for control players who like dinks and drop shots and want to feel their paddle.

Pros

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  • Good control

  • Ideal for dinks and drop shots

Cons

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  • Lacking power

  • High vibration can aggravate injuries like tennis elbow

Mid-weight paddles

Mid-weight paddles are best for players looking for a mix of control and power.

Pros

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  • Good combination of power and control

  • The best option for injury prevention

Cons

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  • Lacking high power of heavyweight paddles

  • Lacking superior touch of lightweight paddles

Heavyweight paddles

Heavyweight paddles are best for power pickleball players. Your shot power is a function of acceleration (how fast you swing) and mass (how heavy your paddle is).

For players with a slower swing speed, heavy paddles are great for delivering extra power.

Pros

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  • Best for generating power

  • Help players overcome a slow swing speed

Cons

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  • Less touch than lighter-weight paddles

  • Extra weight can strain and aggravate the shoulder

Heavy paddles can cause fatigue from the extra effort to swing them.

Grip size

Brandon Mackie demonstrating paddle grip with the JOOLA Perseus pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie demonstrating paddle grip with the JOOLA Perseus pickleball paddle

Most pickleball paddle grip sizes are between 4 and 5 inches. It's very important to select a paddle grip that is comfortable for your hand size. When choosing between two paddles, choose the smaller grip then add an overgrip as needed.

Durability

You want a pickleball paddle that will last—especially if you're investing $100 or more.

Paddles manufactured poorly, or made with cheap ingredients can fall apart—sometimes in a matter of months.

Be sure to read reviews for any mention of paddles falling apart shortly after purchase. Fortunately, all the paddles on this list scored high for durability.

Sound

Pickleball can be a noisy game. Just see this article about how pickleball noise caused community backlash. Fortunately, paddle technology can control how much noise a paddle makes when striking the ball.

In general, quieter paddles are superior to noisier paddles. Extra cushion in the core helps dampen the sound.

Also, watch out for paddles with a Nomex core as those are the loudest.

Edge guard

The edge guard protects the edge of your paddle from chip damage. Look for a quality medium-sized edge guard to protect your paddle. And watch out for larger edge guards as they can add undesirable weight to your paddle.

A larger edge guard may reduce the overall surface area you can work with—reducing your sweet spot.

Color

Pickleball paddles aren't all about function, style counts too.

While most pickleball paddles are black with pops of primary colors—like red, yellow, and blue—there are many paddles with fun designs and colors.

Price

Pickleball paddles range from $20 to over $200, and it's important to know your budget ahead of research. Are you a casual beginner? Or an advanced player?

Like most things, you get what you pay for with pickleball paddles. That said, there are some exceptional value paddles like the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.

Paddle materials

Pickleball paddles are made of a range of materials—and each can have a big impact on the paddle's performance.

Polymer

Polymer paddles are made from a special durable and flexible plastic material. They're lightweight, durable, and offer a good mix of power and control in their performance.

Because of this, polymer paddles are a top choice for beginners. And they're some of the most affordable paddles on the market.

Wood

The first pickleball paddles were made from wood. But compared to newer materials like polymer and graphite, wooden paddles don't deliver performance and maneuverability. Because of this, you won't find many wood paddles these days.

Graphite

Graphite paddles are the top choice for players looking for advanced performance. They're lightweight and responsive—offering superior touch and control. If you like dinking, you'll like the feel of a graphite face paddle.

Graphite paddle face pros and cons

Composite

Composite pickleball paddles are made from a mixture of materials like carbon fiber, fiberglass, vinyl, and resins.

They're typically heavier and offer superior power to players. Composite paddles tend to be higher priced and are geared toward advanced players looking for premium options.

Paddle core materials

"Core" is what makes up the interior of your paddle—the part between each side of the surface. The core is typically shaped like a "honeycomb" and impacts everything from the paddle's power to its feel off the ball. A thicker core offers more control and stability.

Nomex core

Nomex was the original core material for pickleball paddles and is still widely used today. It's lightweight, durable, and affordable.

But compared to other materials, it lacks a cushioning effect—making it louder and less responsive than newer core materials.

Aluminum core

The aluminum core makes a heavier paddle—and one geared towards power and heavy-hitting.

Polypropylene core

Polypropylene is the material of choice for pickleball paddles these days. It's lightweight, flexible, and cushioning—all properties that give it a superior feel and ball control.

Bottom line

No matter your level, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to pickleball equipment.

After rigorous testing, I gave the top spot on this list to the Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control. Despite a ton of competing paddles in 2024, nothing could beat its perfect blend of power, control, and performance.

Here's a recap of my top 5 paddle picks:

  1. Six Zero DBD Control: Best pickleball paddle overall
  2. Vatic Pro PRISM Flash: Best paddle under $100
  3. Bread & Butter Filth: Best paddle for power
  4. CRBN-3X Power Series: Runner-up paddle
  5. Gearbox Pro Power: Best for power

Find the right mix of power, control, spin, and forgiveness, in your paddle and you'll quickly see improvements in your game.

Recent updates

My newest update is in and the Six Zero DBD Control has kept its top spot as my favorite overall paddle in 2024. I've introduced a couple of new paddles, including the Gearbox Pro Power and the Pickleball Apes Pro Line Energy S.

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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