The PROLITE Stealth GS1 pickleball paddle aims to give a blend of control, power, and spin that's ideal for lower-level intermediate players. With a promise like that, I was keen to test it out for myself to see how it held up.
Stick with us as we break down the Stealth GS1, shedding light on its performance, value, and how it stacks up in the competitive market.
Our verdict4.5The PROLITE Stealth GS1 might just be the hidden gem in the pickleball paddle market. I found it to be highly versatile as an all-court paddle, erring on the side of control. While it may not fulfill every demand of more advanced players in terms of spin and power, it's a lower-intermediate player's dream. If you found the Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 a bit on the heavy side or were hesitating at the $250 price tag on new JOOLA models, you'll find the PROLITE Stealth GS1 to be fantastic value for money.
Buy or pass?
You're an intermediate player.
Intermediates will enjoy this paddle's balance of power and control.
You prefer a gentler feel.
Its softer touch contrasts with the harsher, raw carbon fiber paddles.
You love a big sweet spot.
Its widebody design makes for a big sweet spot and minimizes mishits.
You're an advanced player.
If elite power and spin are non-negotiable for you, this paddle will fall short for you.
Grip size and comfort are a must.
Sweatiness and slipperiness could be an issue if you play in warmer conditions.
You can spend $50 more.
With more budget, you can get the elite performance of a CRBN-2X, which has the same widebody shape.
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I didn't have many expectations of this paddle going into my test. I knew of PROLITE for their beginner paddles, but I'd never played with their performance paddles before.
When I first held the PROLITE Stealth GS1 paddle, I could tell it was high quality. While it doesn't quite have the ultra-premium feel of brands like JOOLA or Selkirk, it's definitely one of the best paddles I've played with in 2023.
What I liked about the Stealth GS1 is its playability. It has that raw carbon fiber texture that really grabs the ball, creating spin and precision on those technical shots.
It's more than just a good-looking paddle. It has the performance to back it up, especially with its widebody design and expanded sweet spot. It's great for consistent dink rallies and powerful drive putaways when required, and has a satisfying pop, giving confidence to my game.
This isn't your average mass-produced paddle. It's a product of PROLITE, a family-owned business based in Wisconsin. With many paddles now produced overseas, PROLITE still manufacturers here in the U.S.
What stands out about the Stealth GS1 is the precision-engineered GS Technology. It's crafted with Toray T700 raw carbon fiber, which provides the elite spin and power we all come to expect from carbon fiber paddles.
I was surprised by the 14 mm core. I usually expect a paddle like this to play poppy and powerful, but the Stealth GS1 maintained excellent control considering.
Whether you're a new player who wants to start out with the right gear, or an intermediate player looking for a versatile all-court paddle, the Stealth GS1 is a really solid choice.
Excellent balance of power and ball control, suited for all-court play
Softer touch compared to many aggressive, raw carbon fiber paddles
Large sweet spot due to the widebody design, resulting in fewer mishits and a satisfying pop on many shots
Doesn't offer the elite power and spin of some other carbon fiber paddles
The grip lacks in comfort and can get sweaty in warm conditions
Not as solid or stable as elite paddles like the Hyperion—especially at the net against hard drives
With a long history dating back to 1984, PROLITE has been designing paddles for a long time. The Stealth GS1 is their latest offering, developed to push boundaries for intermediate players.
This paddle combines several features that PROLITE believes enhance performance, control, and comfort. Let's dive into the three most prominent features that I found during my play sessions.
Gritty Toray T700 raw carbon fiber face
As you'd expect from a carbon fiber paddle, the Stealth GS1 performs at a high level. Its raw carbon fiber face not only adds a significant boost to performance, but also allows for excellent power and spin.
The gritty texture of the Toray T700 material gives the paddle that extra grip, which helped me to put spin on the ball and control my powerful shots effectively.
14 mm power polycore
The use of a 14 mm power polycore in this paddle surprised me. I usually opt for a 16 mm core, as generally I find 14 mm too poppy and power-oriented for me. I like the stability and control of 16 mm cores. But this paddle had excellent control for a 14 mm core—even better than some 16 mm paddles I've used lately.
The core design gives this paddle a generous sweet spot, ensuring fewer mishits and a reliable pop on every shot.
When it came to grip, this paddle didn't perform as I'd hoped. The Stealth GS1 features a diamond grip that's supposed to manage sweat and improve comfort.
In practice, though, I found it lacking. Even in mild conditions, the grip became quite sweaty and felt a little uncomfortable.
While this is a downside, it might be manageable with overgrips—something to keep in mind when considering this paddle.
The Stealth GS1 might not be a power paddle, but it's still capable of delivering an aggressive game when the need arises. It held up in serves and drives, allowing me to hit hard, fast, and deep when I needed to.
Its performance at the net was also impressive. The heaviness gave me the confidence to take on volleys and overheads, sending them deep into my opponent's territory and keeping the advantage on my side.
The Stealth GS1 is a control paddle more than anything. My 3rd-shot drops were precise and consistent, landing exactly where I wanted them. The paddle's pop is present without hurting my game, a feature that helped me keep the ball low and in control during high-pressure moments.
I found myself playing a patient game with this paddle, setting up aggressive plays and provoking my opponent into making a mistake.
The T700 Toray carbon face lived up to my expectations when it came to generating spin. It provided great spin that was on par with many raw carbon fiber paddles at this price point.
The ability to put a late dip on serves and drives allowed me to bring the ball into play even when my opponents thought the ball was going out. The paddle also generated side and backspin as I expected.
The Stealth GS1's generous sweet spot makes it one of the most forgiving raw carbon paddles I've tested. The paddle's broad surface area and aero channel edge really reduce your chance of mishits, making it ideal for players of all skill levels.
The Stealth GS1 feels much lighter in the hands than the listed weight (8.1–8.4 oz). That said, it still packs enough heft to give your game the necessary power when needed.
The grip was a real disappointment and easily the part I liked least about this paddle. It had an unusual feel to it, and the sweat management wasn't great either.
This surprised me—especially since I was testing it in the cooler climate of California. If you're using this paddle in warmer conditions, I'd recommend adding an overgrip.
The quality of the materials (especially the carbon fiber) gives me confidence in the paddle's durability.
The durability and build quality remind me of the CRBN-2X Power Series. The edge guard is a nice addition that helps protect against accidental damage, which should enhance the paddle's longevity.
While the Stealth GS1 doesn't seem to have any specific aerodynamic features, it still manages to feel light and speedy in play.
The widebody face might create a bit of drag, but this doesn't detract from the overall performance. In fact, the extra paddle surface might be an advantage for players looking to maximize their shot-making ability.
The Stealth GS1 is currently available on Amazon for $165, which is fairly average for raw carbon fiber paddles. You can find many quality paddles at this price point, like the Legacy Pro, Six Zero Double Black Diamond, and Vatic Pro V7.
Value for money
All things considered, I think the Stealth GS1 is worth its price tag. For $165, you're getting a high-performance pickleball paddle that will let you play an advanced yet controlled game.
It's an investment, yes, but one that'll pay off. If you're a beginner or intermediate-level player, it won't hold back your growth in the game.
If you're looking for a more premium paddle, consider stretching your budget a little further for top-tier options like the Engage Pursuit EX 6.0 graphite paddle—currently our top pick for control.
However, for most intermediate players seeking an upgrade, the Stealth GS1 is a solid choice. It balances performance, control, and affordability, making it a strong contender for the top choice in its price range.
The PROLITE Stealth GS1 paddle gives a pretty impressive blend of control, power, and spin that's great for lower-intermediate pickleball players looking to level up their game. It's no beast when it comes to power or spin, but it sure does hold its own and gives a good sense of control.
That said, it's not perfect. I definitely found the grip to be a bit of a disappointment—especially if you're in warm conditions—so, expect some sweat and slippiness. There's always the overgrip option, but it's something to keep in mind.
Compared to premium carbon paddles like the CRBN-2X, the Stealth GS1 might fall short. However, considering its much lower price, it's a really decent contender and offers similar performance.
If you're an intermediate player wanting to step up your game, the PROLITE Stealth GS1 paddle is worth a shot. It won't cost you an arm and a leg, and it offers quite a bit of value. Why not give it a try and see how it stacks up against the competition?
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