Pickleball Gear

Where to get used pickleball paddles - tips for the budget-conscious picklehead

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Sep 20, 2022

An image of three pickleball paddles

Out of the 36.5 million people who played pickleball between August 2021 and August 2022, many will have only picked up a pickleball paddle a handful of times.

If you’re one of the casual players more interested in having fun than competing, you probably don’t want to spend big bucks on one of the best pickleball paddles in the game.

The good news? You can buy used pickleball paddles! It can sometimes be hard to find used paddles, though. Below, we’ll tell you where to look, what to look for, and how to ensure you’re getting the best second-hand paddles for the lowest cost.

Graphic showing the top five places to buy used pickleball paddles

Top 5 picks for used pickleball paddles

Unless you have a friend to lend you one or want to shell out full price for something you’ve never done before, buying a used paddle is the way to go. If you’re patient and look for the right one, there are great deals to be had on some of the best-performing paddles available.

Local tennis shop

A image of a tennis racket and a tennis ball

The first place you should look is at your local tennis or pro shop. Not only can you find some of the best deals, but you’ll also be supporting a small business and introducing yourself to the community.

While tennis and pickleball are very different sports, their player base often overlaps and interacts daily.

Pros

  • Support local businesses
  • Can find great deals
  • Community involvement

Cons

  • Can have a limited selection
  • Hard to find matching or family sets

Local marketplaces

An image displaying the craigslist and eBay logos

If you want to find the best deal possible, keep your eye on the online marketplaces that serve your area. eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace (or Kijiji for our friends to the north) are all great places to look for used pickleball paddles. And, if you’re patient enough, you might even get one for almost nothing!

The trick is to have a brand in mind, and search for that keyword regularly. If you try to sift through classifieds every day, you’ll probably get fed up pretty quickly. But firing “Onix pickleball” or “Selkirk paddle” into the search bar will let you know if anything has become available.

Pros

  • Best possible bargains
  • Reducing potential waste

Cons

  • Limited selection
  • May require some patience

Pickleball central

An image displaying the pickleballcentral.com logo

If you've been frustrated with your local search and just need something now, Pickleball Central is a great place to shop. At any time, they have dozens if not hundreds of paddles available. There’s also a review system to explain exactly what you’re getting.

The only downside is that you likely won’t get quite the same price discount, since the site has to make money somehow. Also, you won’t get to hold the paddle in your hand before buying.

While this is a trusted marketplace that shouldn’t lead you astray, most of these paddles are final sales. So, you’re taking on at least a little bit of risk.

Pros

  • Trusted brand
  • Review system
  • Wide selection

Cons

  • Final sale
  • Smaller discount

JustPaddles

An image displaying the JustPaddles logo

Another top online seller of used pickleball paddles is JustPaddles, a company based out of Kansas City. They, too, have a nice selection that often ranges from beginner to competitive pickleball paddles.

They offer free same-day shipping, meaning your purchase will be on its way to you just hours after you place the order.

The best part? They offer a 30-day risk-free guarantee, which allows you to play with them and send them back if they aren’t up to snuff. No one wants to be stuck with a $180 paddle that doesn’t work like it's supposed to.

Pros

  • Review system
  • Free shipping
  • 30-day returns

Cons

  • Can be pricey
  • Selection can be limited at times

Sideline swap

An image displaying the SidelineSwap logo

One of the more interesting marketplaces that have emerged over the last few years is Sideline Swap, which deals mostly in pro-stock sporting equipment. This means pieces that were meant for or shortly used by professional athletes, are now available for purchase.

You might think pickleball would have a hard time finding a footing in a place like that. But there are usually several deals to be found. It often has a better discount than some other more recognizable pickleball paddle dealers, even if the selection is a bit more limited.

Remember that the site is just a middleman in the transaction, meaning you will need to negotiate the deal and find a trusted seller (Play It Again Sports often sells here!). They do have a comprehensive refund policy, however, if the item arrives not as described.

Pros

  • High-performance items
  • Available as an app

Cons

  • Limited selection
  • Added shipping costs

How to choose the best used pickleball paddles to buy

A graphic showing the key decision factors that go into choosing a used pickleball paddle

Okay, so you know where to go – but if you’re a beginner, how will you know which one to buy? To the untrained eye, they might all look similar. Before jumping into a purchase, here are some factors to consider:

Condition

The first thing you want to do is inspect the condition of the paddle. If there are any cracks, chips, or dents, move on – these can all affect performance and your pickleball paddle grip. Also, make sure to check the grip – it shouldn’t be too worn down and should still provide good traction.

Quality

If you have the opportunity to try out the paddle before buying it, take advantage of that! If not, do some research on the make and model. Some paddle brands are better than others. So, try to find something from a company with a good reputation.

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

Materials

The material of the paddle can also affect your performance. Graphite is a popular choice because it’s lightweight and has good power transfer. However, it’s also more expensive. If you’re on a budget, look for paddles made of composite materials like fiberglass or aluminum.

Performance

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to take them out for a test drive! If possible, try to find a place where you can play a few games and get a feel for how the paddle works. Is it comfortable to hold? Does it have good power transfer? How does it feel when hitting the ball?

Remember that even a beginner will naturally lean toward a certain play style. Test out the paddle or look up its performance.

  • Power: The amount of force you can put behind the ball.
  • Control: How accurately you can place the ball.
  • Spin: Ability to make the ball rotate in the air, making it harder for your opponent to return it.

Remember, the wand picks the wizard! Certain paddles will fit your game better than others, even if they come at a lower price point.

USA Pickleball compliant

If you’re going to join a league or play in a tournament, you've to make sure that your paddle is USA Pickleball-compliant. That way, you won't have to worry about upgrading when you get to that big match!

Price

The great thing about used pickleball paddles is that you can find some amazing deals! You don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on something you’re not sure you’ll like or that might not perform as well as you hoped.

If you take your time and search out a perfect bargain, you might be able to get it at a fraction of its retail cost. Normally though, for a good paddle that has seen a bit of use, you’re looking at a drop of about 20-30 percent from its original value. If it’s more than that, make sure you’re checking to see if there are any structural issues.

Let's take a look at some current examples and see what kind of discount you can get:

A graphic showing how much you can save if you buy a used pickleball paddle
  • You can find some great deals!
  • You don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on something you’re not sure you’ll like.
  • You can test out different paddles and find the one that suits your play style the best.

Bottom line

So, there you have it – our top tips for where to find used pickleball paddles without breaking the bank. Remember to check your local stores and inspect them thoroughly before purchasing. Don’t be afraid to haggle a little bit to get the best price possible!

Do you have a paddle for sale? Any experiences playing with used equipment? Share your stories in the comments below!

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About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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