The Six Zero Sapphire is a budget offering from one of the most exciting new brands on the scene. The Six Zero DBD Control is my favorite pickleball paddle of 2023, so I was really excited to see what this brand can offer for $99.
Read my Six Zero Sapphire review below to see if this paddle really does give great value for money.
My verdict4.0Six Zero's Double Black Diamond Control might get all the attention, but their Sapphire paddle is a great budget option. This hits hard and is the only thermoformed paddle I know of under $100. If you want power in your game and don't want to spend a lot of money, this is a great one to consider.
Buy or pass?
You're looking for an affordable power paddle:
this is the most powerful pickleball paddle under $100 I've played with so far.
You need a step-up paddle:
this suits rising beginners and early intermediates who want some power.
You want a budget thermoformed paddle:
the Sapphire is the only $100 paddle with thermoforming that I'm aware of.
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If you read my reviews, you'll know I'm a huge fan of Six Zero. Their Double Black Diamond Control was my top pick in my list of the best paddles in 2023. The Sapphire is their budget offering, so I had high hopes going in.
What I find interesting about this paddle is that it's thermoformed and costs less than $100. It's the only paddle with thermoforming I've come across at this price point.
It certainly plays like a thermoformed paddle. It has good pop and a lot of power for a cheap paddle. It's also the best power paddle I've played with so far under $100. I could hit deep serves, hard drives, and overhead putaways just like I could with $200 or higher paddles.
You'll also get that stiff, thermoformed feel, which might challenge some players. Its 13 mm thickness also means plenty of pop. There were times when I'd pop up a routine short drop or send a serve or drive flying. So you can expect an adjustment period.
Watch my initial thoughts on the Six Zero Sapphire:
One thing that surprised me is how good the control is. Six Zero claims this paddle has a great balance of power and control. I was skeptical though, since it's a 13 mm thermoformed paddle made with lower-quality materials.
However, I was able to land drop after drop on my third shot and play a well-rounded game.
The spin is good, but not great. I had hoped for a bit more from the T700 raw carbon fiber face. Hard shots with my CRBN-3X paddle usually dip right on the line. With the Sapphire though, they sail long because I can't get enough spin on the ball.
This paddle also feels unstable at times, especially when defending hard drives at the kitchen. This is probably due to the thin core and lack of foam injection in the walls. The $100 Vatic Pro PRISM Flash has foam injection tech and feels a lot more stable.
The Sapphire isn't very forgiving either. The sweet spot is decent, but again, this is probably down to the lack of foam and the elongated shape. I had more mishits than I do with more premium paddles.
The important thing to remember is that this is a budget power paddle. Judging it on that alone, it's an excellent buy. It's ideal for players who want a powerful paddle that doesn't cost $250, like the Selkirk Power Air Invikta.
I'm a big fan of how crisp and modern the design is. I played with the black and blue paddle, and I really like how it looks on the courts. They also have a super funky-looking "Parti" face design that's definitely worth checking out.
In the hands, it feels way more premium than I expected for the price. The grip is comfortable and holds up really well. Plus, the 8.0 oz weight makes it light and maneuverable. I've played for 3-hour testing sessions with no issues whatsoever.
Surprising control for a 13 mm thermoformed paddle
Great value for money
Feels premium for the price
Spin is good but not great
Pop can send some routine shots flying
Not very stable
Six Zero is an exciting Australian brand that make thermoformed paddles at much lower prices than elite brands. I really enjoyed testing the Sapphire, so let's talk about what it's made of:
Carbon fiber face
It's awesome to see another cheap paddle made with carbon fiber. The PRISM V7 and PRISM Flash from Vatic Pro, as well as the Bison Summit, also offer this.
The Sapphire's surface is made of Japanese 700K Toray carbon, but Six Zero added a "new-to-market" epoxy layer that makes it extra gritty. This is meant to make it last longer without wearing off.
I had hoped that all of this would lead to great spin, but sadly not. While the spin level is decent enough, it's way off that of $200 or higher paddles and even the $100 Vatic Pro PRISM Flash.
I've never seen a thermoformed paddle under $100 before now. It's a real surprise to see this tech, which was so exclusive when it first appeared, now used in a budget paddle.
The Sapphire definitely plays like a thermoformed paddle. It's stiff but powerful, but I like that it has decent control to back it too.
Elongated shape and handle
At 16 ½" long and 7 ½" wide, the Sapphire has a standard elongated shape. I did feel like the shape slowed the paddle down a little though, and made the sweet spot a bit smaller.
The handle is slightly more elongated than usual at 5 ⅗". This allows you to play with two-handed backhands if you like.
I first tested the Sapphire over a 3-hour session with 4.0 and higher players and honestly forgot I was playing with a budget paddle. I like to play aggressively, and it suited my game surprisingly well.
I got really solid pop and power, and I was able to hit hard drives and serves. A word of warning, though: you'll have more flyers than you would with a more well-rounded paddle like the CRBN-1X Power Series. That means it'll take beginners and intermediates a bit of time to adjust.
This paddle is engineered for pop and power. It's a thermoformed design with a 13 mm core thickness, so I wasn't expecting too much in this area.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised—control is pretty good here. I could hit topspin third-shot drops one after another with relative ease. Those are often the hardest shots to hit in the whole game.
Spin is good, but not great. While you can hit plenty of topspin, backspin, or sidespin, you just won't get the levels of spin a paddle like the Legacy Pro has. Even the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, which costs the same as the Sapphire, has much better spin (I gave it a 9/10 in my review).
The sweet spot is decent but only medium-sized. I had quite a few mishits, which I attribute to the elongated shape and lack of foam injected at the walls.
The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash was much better on forgiveness and sweet spot.
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I really like the weighting on this one. At 8 oz, it's light in the hands. I'm able to swing fast and hit hard.
The grip is also very impressive for a $99 paddle, so well done to Six Zero here. It's comfortable and feels like it belongs on a premium paddle.
You can tell the build and materials here are beyond that of a standard $99 paddle. That said, it's clear the materials are cheaper than in the Six Zero DBD Control and JOOLA Perseus, so I have a feeling the Sapphire won't hold up quite as well over time.
The light weight helps me get a good swing speed, but the elongated shape does drag it a bit. If it weren't for this, I would have scored it a 9 or 10 for aerodynamics. Still, 8/10 isn't bad by any means.
Is this paddle right for you?
Before buying a paddle, it's important to make sure it fits your game. That's why I created a 30-second quiz that recommends the best paddles for your play style and budget.
Give it a try and see if the Six Zero Sapphire makes the list:
Find the perfect paddle
I've personally tested over 80 paddles. Take the quiz to see which ones fit your game best.
The Six Zero Sapphire currently retails for $99. This puts it on par with the Bison Summit, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, and the Paddletek Bantam TS-5. Each of those paddles has its own strengths. So, what does the Sapphire offer in terms of value?
Value for money
I think this is really good value at $99. Six Zero is one of my favorite brands in pickleball, both for design and quality. You can tell a lot went into their budget offering.
I still think the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash is the best paddle under $100, though. It has better tech and performs better across the board, though it is more of a control paddle. If you're after power, and your budget is capped at $100, the Six Zero Sapphire is definitely one to consider.
The Six Zero Sapphire is a top choice for an advancing beginner or early intermediate who wants a great power paddle under $100. It's the only thermoformed paddle I've seen at this price.
If you can spend over $150, skip this paddle and go straight to the Six Zero DBD Control ($180) or Bread & Butter Filth ($165). However, if you're looking for an affordable option, this is an excellent choice.
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