Pickleball Gear

Best pro pickleball paddles in 2024 - top 5 picks

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Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Jan 4, 2024

The best pro pickleball paddles: the JOOLA Perseus, the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta, and the JOOLA Scorpeus

There are a ton of high-quality pickleball paddles on the market in 2024, catering to every type of player. You'll often see "best paddle" lists for beginners and intermediates, so I wanted to make one featuring the paddles used by professional players—those at level 5.0 and up.

After testing plenty of pro pickleball paddles in the last year, I managed to choose my top 5. I have personally play-tested all of these paddles, so you can trust that you're getting my honest opinion. Check out my best pro paddle choices:

Best pro paddles at a glance

Best overall

Photo of the JOOLA Perseus pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

1. JOOLA Perseus

The JOOLA Perseus is a control paddle built for pros, with plenty of power and spin. It replaced the Hyperion as the new paddle of world #1 Ben Johns.

Read my full review

Best for power

Photo of the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

2. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta

An absolute cannon with great spin, the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta is for high-level players who play aggressively.
Use code ADV-PICKLEHEADS for a free gift card

Best for control

Photo of the JOOLA Scorpeus CFS 16 pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

3. JOOLA Scorpeus

The Scorpeus is for those who like to play a strong control game. It's the paddle of Collin Johns, one of the top defensive players in pickleball.

Best for spin

Photo of the Selkirk Luxx Control Air Invikta pickleball paddle

Our Rating:

4. Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta

Don't be fooled by the name—this unique control paddle generates high levels of spin. It's ideal for high-level players who need spin with their touch game.
Use code ADV-PICKLEHEADS for a free gift card

Also great

Photo of the Paddletek Bantam ALW-C pickleball paddle (front and back)

Our Rating:

5. Paddletek Bantam ALW-C

The Paddletek Bantam ALW-C is a carbon fiber update to Anna Leigh Waters' old signature paddle, the Paddletek Bantam TS-5. It brings a lot more spin to your game.

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 pro 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.

Take Paddle Fitting Quiz

The best pro pickleball paddles in 2024

That's the list. Now let's take a look at why I chose them as my favorites.

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

Best overall

1. JOOLA Perseus

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A high-level all-court paddle from the elite JOOLA brand
8/10

Power

10/10

Control

8/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want to compete in tournaments:

    this was built for world #1 Ben Johns, so there's it's made for top-tier players.

  • You prioritize your touch game:

    you can play a super-advanced control game with the Perseus.

  • You also need power and spin:

    the Perseus doesn't compromise, with solid levels of both to round out your game.

Pass if:

  • You want a pure power paddle:

    you'll prefer the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta instead.

  • You play with big spin:

    the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta on this list is my favorite pro spin paddle.

  • You want something more forgiving:

    the JOOLA Scorpeus has a larger sweet spot.

Pickleball Central

Pickleball Central

Paddle weight

8.0 oz

Paddle length

16.5"

Paddle width

7.5"

Handle length

5.5"

This is my top all-court paddle of the best pickleball paddles in 2024, as well as my favorite advanced control paddle. When I had to pick my best pro paddle of the year, I found that nothing offered me a more rounded game for tournament play than the JOOLA Perseus.
Who it's for
While some advancing intermediates might be able to tame this paddle, I think its unforgiving feel makes it more suitable to high-level players. It was built for the world's #1 Ben Johns, after all.
It's a pro paddle, and particularly suited to those pros who want to play an all-court game.
Features
As an update to the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion, the Perseus has an upgraded unibody, thermoformed design. JOOLA also changed the surface material to a different type of carbon, but I find the spin less impressive than the Hyperion.
JOOLA's characteristic foam edge walls and comfy grip are here. They managed to knock a full 0.4 oz off the weight too.
Design and feel
I always liked the Ben Johns signature on the Hyperion. The Perseus looks really similar with slight color updates. It's a slick, professional-looking paddle.
Many people (including myself) had complaints about the feel of the Hyperion, so I'm pleased to see the Perseus fixes some of those issues. During my testing sessions, it felt lighter and more maneuverable, making me faster at the kitchen line.
The 8 oz base weight also gives pro players lots of room to customize with lead tape.
Performance
The Perseus maintains the same excellent control as the Hyperion. My drops, blocks, resets, and dinks all feel on point. I feel like I could play a high-level touch game against advanced power players.
I do find the spin and power slightly reduced, but definitely more than enough, and the sweet spot is small.
Value for money
While this is a truly elite paddle, I'd only recommend it to those willing to spend $250. If you're not, check out the Legacy Pro, Vatic Pro Flash, or the Bread & Butter Filth.
If you are willing to fork out the cash, the Perseus is a top paddle that will last you a lot longer than most paddles on the market.
star icon
My verdict
This is my favorite pro paddle. It's built for professionals and endorsed by Ben Johns. It doesn't worry about things like enhancing its sweet spot but focuses on optimal control with spin and power behind it. I do think you'll need to customize with lead tape to optimize performance.

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Best for power

2. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta

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A pro-level paddle designed for hard hitters
10/10

Power

7/10

Control

10/10

Spin

6/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You play with power and spin:

    this is for bangers who like lots of spin.

  • You want a fast paddle:

    the "air dynamic throat" is no marketing gimmick—this paddle is fast.

  • You want the best tech:

    Selkirk Labs is known for its R&D, so a lot of work went into this paddle.

Pass if:

  • Control is important to you:

    try this paddle's touch-focused cousin, the LUXX Control Air Invikta.

  • You want a raw carbon fiber paddle:

    the VANGUARD is made from a blend of fiberglass and carbon fiber.

  • You want a forgiving paddle:

    the JOOLA Scorpeus on this list is a pro paddle with more forgiveness.

Selkirk

Selkirk

Use code ADV-PICKLEHEADS for a free gift card

Paddle weight

7.7-8.1 oz

Paddle length

16 ½"

Paddle width

7 ⅜"

Handle length

5 ¼"

There are some excellent hard hitters around this year, like the awesome Bread & Butter Filth. However, when it comes to advanced power play, I still think the VANGUARD excels.
This paddle focuses purely on power and spin. Advanced players won't mind its lack of control and forgiveness—it does exactly what it's made for, and is a ton of fun to play with.
Who it's for
This is definitely one for high-level bangers. It's a livewire, loaded up with pop and spin. Control players will prefer the JOOLA Perseus, but hard hitters will get a lot out of this paddle from Selkirk.
Features
The first thing you'll notice about this paddle is the "air dynamic" open throat. I was happy to find that this feature actually works. This paddle is aerodynamic, which I find helps me to play fast with plenty of extra swing speed for more spin and power.
The paddle face is gritty, which is great for spin, but I'm not sure how long the grit will hold up.
Watch me test the paddle's speed:

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Design and feel
The design is unique to Selkirk, making these "Air" paddles really stand out. While it's not a pure raw carbon fiber paddle, the materials from Selkirk Labs are high quality and the paddle itself feels premium in your hands. It's lightweight for a power paddle.
Performance
The Power Air Invikta is hands down one of the most powerful paddles I've played with. The aerodynamics help a lot on drives. I can hit hard third-shot drives that routinely set up easy fifth-shot drops. The gritty face gives me high levels of spin too.
Forgiveness and control are lacking, so I'd recommend looking elsewhere if you want a more complete game. Otherwise, if you're looking for a pure power paddle, this is where I'd start.
Value for money
$250 is a lot, but many high-level players are looking in that price range anyway. If you want a paddle that focuses mainly on power and spin, it's worth it for you. As I said, if you need more control or forgiveness, try the Perseus or Scorpeus instead.
star icon
My verdict
The Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta manages to keep the top spots on my lists despite tough competition from new brands. I have yet to find a paddle that can beat its combination of power and spin. Aggressive advanced players will love how this one plays.

Today’s best deals

Selkirk logo
Use code ADV-PICKLEHEADS for a free gift card
Best for control

3. JOOLA Scorpeus

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An advanced paddle that's strong on defense
7/10

Power

10/10

Control

8/10

Spin

8.5/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're a defensive doubles player:

    if you play like Collin Johns, you'll like this paddle on blocks and resets.

  • Control is key to your game:

    the Scorpeus is one of 2024's best control paddles for me, with a larger sweet spot than the Perseus.

  • You want something lightweight and stable:

    this is quick at the kitchen and super stable too.

Pass if:

  • You're a power player:

    you'll want something with more oomph, like the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta.

  • You love to play with spin:

    spin could be better here, so check out the Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta.

  • You prefer a heavy paddle:

    either add lead tape to the Scorpeus or check out the JOOLA Hyperion (8.4 oz).

Paddle weight

7.8 oz (14 mm paddle); 8 oz (16 mm paddle)

Paddle length

16"

Paddle width

8"

Handle length

5 ¼"

Of all the pro paddles I've tested in the last year, two from JOOLA had 10/10 control: the Perseus and the Scorpeus. I'm picking the Scorpeus as the best control paddle because it just really excels at control and defense, while the Perseus has better all-court attributes.
Who it's for
If you're a high-level player who prioritizes your touch game (and especially if you play doubles), you'll get a lot out of this paddle. It's very soft for a thermoformed paddle, so will suit anyone who plays like Collin Johns, arguably the top defensive player in the world.
Features
Available in both 14 mm and 16 mm versions, the Scorpeus is a strong, unibody paddle that will last a long time. Its hyperfoam edge walls give it a lot of stability and a decent sweet spot. It's thermoformed but soft. The textured carbon surface gives you just enough spin in your game.
Design and feel
The Scorpeus has the same sleek design as other JOOLA paddles but with Collin Johns' signature on it rather than his brother Ben's. It has the same premium feel we've come to expect from JOOLA. Its light weight makes it much more maneuverable than the head-heavy Hyperion.
Performance
One of the most noticeable differences between this and the Perseus is that the Scorpeus has a larger sweet spot, which makes it more forgiving. The Scorpeus also has a softer feel, which really helps me to take pace off the ball.
Whenever I play against hard hitters, I love how good this paddle is on blocks and resets under pressure. Drops and dinks work too for a complete control game. Spin and power are adequate, but if you're an aggressive player like me, you'll find them lacking.
Value for money
At $250, this is right up there with the most expensive paddles. The only reason it justifies the cost is because it's a JOOLA paddle. You know it's made well and you can confidently pack it for a tournament.
If you're a defense-focused player, it's worth it for you. If you're not, you'll find plenty of other paddles to suit your game.
star icon
My verdict
If the JOOLA Perseus is a top all-court paddle, the Scorpeus is its control and defense-focused cousin. It's an ideal paddle for anyone who (like Collin Johns) plays a defensive doubles game. It also suits high-level players who want a soft, thermoformed paddle to boost their touch game.

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Best for spin

4. Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta

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A premium control paddle loaded up with spin
8/10

Power

9/10

Control

9/10

Spin

8.5/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want both spin and control:

    the LUXX is built for control but has equally impressive levels of spin.

  • You like aerodynamic paddles:

    the open throat design really works and makes this paddle super fast.

  • You want a forgiving paddle:

    the 20 mm thick core makes this very forgiving for a pro paddle.

Pass if:

  • You're a banger:

    you'll prefer the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta, my top pick for hard-hitters.

  • You want maximum control:

    while this is a premium control paddle, the JOOLA Scorpeus is still better for my touch game.

  • You don't prioritize spin:

    the Perseus is a great all-court paddle that might suit you better.

Selkirk

Selkirk

Use code ADV-PICKLEHEADS for a free gift card

Paddle weight

7.8-8.1 oz

Paddle length

16.45"

Paddle width

7 ½"

Handle length

5.35"

While the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta narrowly beats the LUXX for spin, that one is better for power players. So, the next best thing is the LUXX. It gets you the same wicked spin as spin-heavy paddles like the Legacy Pro, which surprised me as it's a 20 mm control paddle.
Who it's for
This is for any advanced player who likes spin. It will especially suit those who skew more towards control over power. If you like spin on top of your touch game, you'll get a lot out of this paddle. However, more aggressive power players will prefer the VANGUARD.
Features
I dig the "air dynamic" open throat on this series of Selkirk paddles. It's a rare marketing gimmick that actually works in my opinion. It makes these paddles aerodynamic.
The other standout feature here is the LUXX's 20 mm thick core, which really helps to take pace off the ball without sacrificing too much pop.
One possible downside is that the grit is sprayed onto the face. From my experience, this usually means it won't last as long as paddles with a built-in textured surface. Only time will tell.
Design and feel
I'm also a fan of the Selkirk Air paddles aesthetically—they look like no other thanks to the air throat design. In my hands, the LUXX feels very high-end, with one of the comfiest and most premium grips I've ever held.
Performance
I scored this highly on spin because it rips topspin. My drives and passing shots are scary good. That said, beware on serves because the ball can sail long sometimes.
Control is the other area where this paddle excels. My topspin third-shot drops, usually the hardest type of shot, are relatively easy to hit. Power, while not a 9 or 10, kicks in whenever I need it to.
Last but not least, you'll find a better sweet spot here than on most pro paddles thanks to the soft feel from the 20 mm core.
Value for money
This is designed for high-level players and comes with a price tag to match ($250). If you like Selkirk's paddles or you want to see what the aerodynamics are all about, I'd recommend giving this one a try—so long as you're the type of player to put control over power.
star icon
My verdict
If you're an advanced player who likes spin, I think the Selkirk Air range is your best option. If you want power, go with the VANGUARD. However, if you like to have a lot of control, then the LUXX will serve you well.

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Also great

5. Paddletek Bantam ALW-C

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The new paddle of choice for world #1, Anna Leigh Waters
7/10

Power

9/10

Control

8/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're an Anna Leigh Waters fan:

    you'll love the ALW logo and the chance to play like the world #1.

  • You want an upgrade to the TS-5:

    the carbon fiber face gives this way more spin, and you get more power and control too.

  • You want great control:

    the ALW-C doesn't sacrifice on touch or forgiveness.

Pass if:

  • You prefer heavier paddles:

    this is a light paddle at 7.5–7.8 oz, so check out the Gearbox CX14E Ultimate Power.

  • You want a powerful paddle:

    the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta will suit you better.

  • You like two-handed shots:

    this has a 5" handle length, so try the Perseus instead (5 ½").

Paddle weight

7.5-7.8 oz

Paddle length

15 ⅝"

Paddle width

7 ¾"

Handle length

5"

I couldn't make a pro paddles list without mentioning the sensational Anna Leigh Waters. She recently upgraded to this paddle from the Paddletek Bantam TS-5. The ALW-C adds way more spin while keeping the excellent forgiveness of the original.
It goes up a touch on control and power too. While the JOOLA Perseus tops this list thanks to a better all-round performance, the Bantam ALW-C deserves an honorable mention for sure.
Who it's for
This is for players who need control and forgiveness, but want the awesome spin that a carbon fiber paddle brings.
It's an ideal upgrade to the Bantam TS-5. It's great for ALW fans and players who love fast, lightweight paddles. Despite its marketing, it won't appeal to anyone looking for power in my opinion.
Features
You'll notice the unique core thicknesses for this paddle: 12.7 mm and 14.3 mm. Another interesting feature is that Paddletek is using raw carbon fiber for the first time. This is an upgrade from the fiberglass of the TS-5.
The type of carbon is PT-700 which is something I haven't seen before. It's essentially Toray carbon with an extra epoxy coating. It feels super gritty to the touch and grabs the ball really well.
People will either love or hate the light weight here (7.5-7.8 oz). There's also no foam injection or thermoforming in this paddle.
Design and feel
The design differs from the TS-5 with a more minimalist face design. Fans of Anna Leigh Waters will like the cool ALW logo, available in several different color options.
Lots of people complain that the grip feels cheap and uncomfortable, and I have to agree. Slap an overgrip on this one the first chance you get. On the courts, it has a light weight with no drag. I like this as it makes me very quick in hand battles, but it will be too light for some players.
The ALW-C has the shortest handle of any paddle on this list (5"), so I'd avoid it if two-handed backhands are a big part of your game.
Performance
The new carbon fiber face grips the ball and helps me get good spin with minimal effort. The large paddle surface and light weight boost my touch game. There's a lot of forgiveness with this paddle.
While I like the speed I get from the light weight, it does mean there's a compromise on power. I have to swing really hard to get any, which tires me out quicker than I'd like. If you need pop and drive, look elsewhere.
Value for money
At $230, this paddle is the same price as the CRBN-3X Power Series. However, it's not thermoformed and there's no foam injection, so it's not quite as premium as its competitors.
This is a steep price increase from the $100 Bantam TS-5. For that reason, I think it's only worth its price tag if you're a big ALW fan, you really love light paddles, or you don't want a thermoformed paddle.
star icon
My verdict
I still think the JOOLA Perseus has the best all-court attributes for high-level players. However, the Paddletek Bantam ALW-C has a lot going for it. Despite some drawbacks (a lack of power mainly), it will appeal to those who want a softer pro-level paddle.

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How to choose the best pickleball pro paddle

I've written before about choosing a pickleball paddle, but this time I want to write tips specifically directed at high-level players and those looking to become a professional pickleball player.

Here are some ways you can pick your paddle:

  • Test paddles by attending demo days, renting them, or using the trial periods that some companies offer.
  • Get expert advice by talking to a pro or a coach.
  • Read reviews. There are tons of review sites like Pickleheads, and you can read customer reviews online too.
  • Buy a paddle that suits your playing style (power, control, or all-court).
  • Decide what you like in a paddle. Many pro players know what type of grip size and design they prefer, so make sure to read the paddle specs before purchasing.
Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Ben Johns Perseus pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the JOOLA Ben Johns Perseus pickleball paddle

Extending the lifespan of your pro pickleball paddle

Looking after your paddle is especially important if you have a pro paddle. They tend to cost more, and you'll need your paddle to be in top shape if you end up competing.

Here are some maintenance tips on protecting your paddle so it continues to deliver the high standard you need:

Cleaning and storage

Never use cleaning products on the paddle face. After every match, simply clean it with a damp cloth using water only. Wipe away dirt from the face and edge guard.

For storage, make sure your paddle is not kept in temperatures that are too hot or too cold. You can even buy a paddle cover and/or a pickleball bag so it's not exposed to direct sunlight.

Protecting the paddle face

Buying a paddle cover is the best way to protect your paddle face. Plus, if you need extra protection at the edges, you can buy extra edge guards to apply for more reinforcement.

Replacing grips

When your grip starts to wear down, you can easily replace it. Do this as often as needed to preserve the life of your paddle.

  1. Remove the tape at the top of your grip, by the paddle neck.
  2. Unwind the grip.
  3. Look for the tapered end of your new grip. If it's tapered, this end goes at the bottom of your handle.
  4. Remove the adhesive sticker from your new grip.
  5. Starting from the bottom of your handle, stick the grip adhesive on the tapered side to a bevel at the bottom of your handle.
  6. Start to wrap the grip, keeping it as taut as possible.
  7. When you've wrapped the whole handle, cut any extra grip with scissors.
  8. Apply the tape provided with your new grip at the top of your handle to finish the job.

Checking for damage

Regularly check your paddle face and edges for damage like cracks, dents, tears, and wearing down of the surface. These may seem insignificant at first, but they can snowball into major issues that affect your game.

Check the handle and neck to make sure they aren't flexing or near snapping. The last thing you want is your paddle breaking during a big match.

The sound of your paddle can also tell you if there's any damage. If there are any odd hollow sounds from specific points on your paddle, there may be some internal damage affecting your performance.

Bottom line

Everyone's game is different. That's why I picked five pro paddles to suit different types of players. Even if you don't agree with my top choice this year, I hope you can find the right paddle for you on my list.

I chose the JOOLA Perseus as my top pro paddle in 2024 because it just gives me the most impressive all-round game. It's one of the best control paddles ever made, and it backs that up with solid levels of power, spin, forgiveness, and weighting.

Here's a recap of my top five paddles for professional players:

  1. JOOLA Ben Johns Perseus - Best overall
  2. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta - Best for power
  3. JOOLA Collin Johns Scorpeus - Best for control
  4. Selkirk LUXX Control Air Invikta - Best for spin
  5. Paddletek Bantam ALW-C - Also great

Whichever one you choose, I hope it takes your game to the next level. Maybe I'll see you winning matches at tournaments in 2024!

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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