If you’re just about to pick up a paddle for this fun sport, you’ll want to make sure that you buy the right one. There are so many options online, on websites like Amazon such that it can get overwhelming.
We’ve here to guide you on the best pickleball paddles for beginners in 2018. We’ll look at the latest releases, compare features, prices, pros, and cons, and dish up our verdict for you. But first – A brief overview of the paddle.
- List of 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners 2018:-
- Are there rules about paddles that you should know?
- Things to Look for in your First Pickleball Paddle
- Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners 2018
List of 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners 2018:-
|Paddles for Beginners (Models)||Weight:||Price|
|#1 Rally Graphite Paddle||7.1-8.0 ounces||Check Price|
|#2 Pro-Lite Supernova||7.7 - 8.3 ounces||Check Price|
|#3 Gamma Phaser 2.0||7.9 ounces||Check Price|
|#4 Pro-Lite Blaster||7.0 - 8.0 ounces||Check Price|
|#5 Paddletek Ranger||6.5 to 6.9 ounces||Check Price|
- Top 3 Best Graphite Pickleball Paddles
- Top 3 Best Edgeless Pickleball Paddles
- Top 6 Best Pickleball Paddles for Spin
Are there rules about paddles that you should know?
Pickleball is and should be, about having fun. It’s a game that anyone can play, teens against their grandpa, five-year-olds with their parents. Courts are smaller than tennis courts and balls are soft and non-threatening. As long as you know the basic rules of the game, you don’t have to be too fussy about what the rulebooks say about rules for playing in a tournament.
But even when you’re playing in your yard or with family and friends, it’s more fun if everyone gets an even chance at winning. This means making sure that the paddles don’t distract your opponent, for example, or that no one has the advantage of a textured paddle, which lets them hit tough shots against someone who’s just learning to play. The International Federation of Pickleball rule book will guide you about fair play, but we’ll get you started.
The paddle surface should be smooth
The paddle surface cannot textures, dents, holes, and anything that can add extra spin to the ball. It also shouldn’t have a reflective surface that could distract your opponent – or opponents if you’re playing doubles. The surface can be painted as long as the paint is not textured or reflective.
The paddle should be of a certain size
The size of the paddle including the edge guard and the butt cap cannot be wide than 24 inches. The length of the paddle must be within 17 inches, though there is no cap on how thick or heavy it can be. When you buy your first paddle, you may want to get a classic pickleball shape. The classic shape is 7 ¾ to 8 inches long and between 15 ½ and 15 ¾ inches wide.
You can mark your paddle with a decal
You may want to mark your paddle with your favorite decal or put your initials on it. Make sure that the decal is not textured or reflective. In competitive pickleball, the only changes allowed are grip changes, adding decals or edge guards.
Is there a difference in indoor and outdoor equipment?
Pickleball generally uses different types of balls for indoor and outdoor play. The ball that is usually used for indoor play has larger holes than the one used for outdoor play. But all Pickleball paddles can be used both indoors and outdoors. Only the playing style changes. But the material of the paddle can affect the speed of the game. For example, a paddle with a composite surface is better for harder play, usually outdoors. But hard, fast play indoors could lead to injuries.
Things to Look for in your First Pickleball Paddle
How durable is your paddle?
Earlier, pickleball paddles were made of wood. These days, surfaces are made of composite materials, graphite, or fiberglass. The cores of the paddle could be aluminum, polymer or Nomex. A graphite surface is preferable to many pickleball players because it can give them a lot of control. Graphite paddles are generally little lighter than composite paddles. But they are quite expensive. It is not advisable to put all your money on your first paddle thinking it’s going to last you. However, as a beginner, a balance must be struck between cost and durability.
Unlike an expert, you’re likely to hit the ground with your paddle oftener than you think. You may drop it often, and store it improperly. All these factors will wear out the life of your paddle. We will recommend paddles that aren’t too expensive, but not cheap toys either.
How right is the feel?
Feel is a combination of the grip and the weight. It is important to choose a grip that is non-slippery. Perforated grips are particularly welcome for their breathability, and cushioning is welcome. Combined with the weight, the grip should give you nice control over the ball, which is an indication of the ‘feel’ of the paddle.
Weight is one of the critical considerations to make on your first paddle purchase. Within the constraints of the typical paddle dimensions approved by the USAPA, paddles come in a variety of weights and sizes. This can be confusing for the beginner, and we clarify weights below.
Lightweight paddles typically weigh between 6.5 to 7 ounces. Medium weight paddles weigh 7 to 8 ounces. Heavyweight paddles weigh over 8 ounces, often going up to 14 ounces. The heavier the paddle, the more power it can lead to hits.
For beginners, we recommend a paddle that’s not too heavy, nor too light.
How much does it cost?
Aluminum core paddles with non-graphite surfaces or wooden paddles are available for less than $50, which may seem attractive to many beginners in Pickleball. Price is important, but cheap is not necessarily good. In fact, more often than not, a cheap paddle will not be durable. It will not be able to withstand rough use and ground hits.
At the same time, you don’t want your first paddle to be your only paddle. When you grow into the game, you’ll find out you have certain preferences and may want to upgrade your paddle. As we have mentioned before, the key to buying the first paddle is to find a nice balance between price and other considerations.
Should you get light or heavyweight?
Some paddles are designed to give you greater control. The lightweight paddles are great for maneuvering, especially when you’re close to the net during quick volleys. But if the paddle is too light you’ll feel more impact on your elbow and arm.
Heavier paddles let you make harder shots and slams, but they may need all your strength.
You will have to try out your paddle and decide on what suits you best. If you have played tennis before, you may be more comfortable with a heavier paddle. On the other hand, table tennis players may prefer a light or medium-weight paddle. No one can make a weight decision for you.
But here is some advice: if the paddle is too light, it can be hard for a newbie to hit the ball. We recommend some nice medium-weight to heavy paddles for beginners.
How to find the right grip size?
When buying your paddle, look for a grip size that fits your hand. Follow this rule of thumb for grip size versus height:
- If you’re under 5’2”, choose a grip size of 4 inches
- If you’re between 5’3” and 5’8”, go for a 4 ¼ inch grip
- If you’re over 5’9”, choose a 4 ½ inch grip
Now, let’s move on to the reviews. Most of the paddles on the list below have been released or upgraded in 2018, so they are the newest paddles in the market.
Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners 2018
The Rally Graphite Pickleball paddle is one of the more expensive paddles on this list, and it’s also one of the most enduringly popular ones for beginners, for indoor and outdoor play. The Rally paddle weighs between 7 and 8 ounces, the larger version making it suitable for intermediate players who want more power.
The paddle has a graphite face with a honeycomb Nomex core that offers a significant improvement over easy-to-dent aluminum cores. The two-ply graphite face double strengthens the face and justifies the price point.
The cushioned grip measures 4 3/4 inches in length and has a circumference of 4 1/4 inches, which makes it a reasonable size for most players. It is additionally perforated to keep the grip dry during play. The low profile 1/8-inch edge guard adds to the paddle’s robustness and protects the paddle from the beginners’ inevitable ground hits.
The large 8 1/8 inch hitting surface offers a large sweet spot for satisfying play. Overall, the Rally Graphite paddle is an excellent choice for beginners who are serious about their game.
The Pro-Lite Supernova is a new release that was first shown to the public at the US Open 2017 and garnered a lot of attention. Not only is the Supernova an offering in the line of the Black Diamond paddles of which the first was the Titan, it was custom-designed by a pro pickleball player.
The Supernova is a long-handled paddle designed according to the specifications requested by Simone Jardim, the National Champion and winner of the Triple Crown at the 2017 US Open. The model stands out for its long handle, which allows ease of play for players like Jardim who prefer two-handed backhands. This makes the Supernova the right kind of paddle for tennis players who are beginners to pickleball.
It also carries an ideal weight that tennis players will find comfortable to adapt to, weighing between 7.7 and 8.3 ounces. It has a thin, flat non-slip grip with a medium circumference of 4 1/8 inches, which makes it comfortable to hold. Unlike some paddles where the grip design extends onto the surface of the paddle, the Supernova grip stops at the neck of the paddle and doesn’t interfere with the weight distribution and balance.
The paddle has been designed with a polymer core and a graphite face that makes the paddle durable and powerful. The polymer core is honeycombed and designed to keep play soundless in noise-restricted communities and quiet zones. The edge guard is also noteworthy for its low profile, ultra-thin design. Overall, for tennis players and beginners who are willing to spend a little over $100 for their first paddle, the Pro-Lite Supernova is a highly recommended pickleball paddle to help transition into the sport.
The Gamma Phaser 2.0 is yet another new paddle that was showcased at the US Open 2017, and it has been designed for pickleball players with varying levels of experience. The graphite surface offers a smooth but slightly textured sweet spot while the honeycomb polyamide core lends power and control. The core material, Aramid, is an invention of the aerospace and military industry, which puts a stamp of durability on the paddle. But Gamma offers buyers a warranty of one year from the date of purchase.
Phase 2.0 is a little on the heavier side, with an average weight of 7.9 ounces. This may suit some athletic beginners who prefer power to maneuverability, though the paddle by no means lacks the support you need for spins.
Overall, this pickleball paddle is an excellent paddle for beginners and those who are looking to improve their performance and upgrade their paddle.
This paddle has a smaller grip than most, which means that the grip may need to be customized for those who prefer to play two-handed backhands. It also features a wide 8 1/2 inch paddle surface.
The Pro-Lite Blaster is not entirely new in the market. It is a 2017 upgrade on the existing Blaster Graphite paddles, which have already proven to offer excellent performances in competition. The upgraded paddle falls on the lighter side of medium-weight paddles, weighing 6.7 to 7.3 ounces. This makes it a good paddle for beginners though even pros enjoy using it on the court.
The new Blaster has a thin black 4-inch grip from Gamma Grip that may not be the right size for some players. But this is a small issue since the grip can always be customized and regripped with a cushion grip as the player learns her preferences. We also particularly love the edge guard that every beginner should look for in their paddle for added protection.
This upgraded paddle is not cheap. But for their money, players get a fantastic graphite surface overlaid with carbon fiber. The overlay gives the hitting surface an extra-smooth finish, allowing the ball to pop off the paddle much faster. A thin screen print on the overlay provides a slight texture that helps with spin and control. The screen print also gives the black paddle a unique, modern appearance that makes it a well-balanced, high-performing and aesthetic choice for many players.
The Pro-Lite Blaster draws its power from a high-performing honeycombed Nomex core. The core ensures that the player won’t need a lot of strength in their arm to boost performance when they play.
It also has a nice extra-wide surface, which makes it particularly suitable for beginners. Beginners are likely to make fewer mishits with an oversized paddle like this one. Competitive players love the Pro-Lite Blaster and there’s the endorsement from Gigi LeMaster, 2015 Women’s National Champion, to prove it.
The Paddletek Ranger is the first paddle made for children less than 12 years, and it was revealed at the 2017 US Open. The Ranger is a lightweight paddle weighing between 6.5 and 6.9 ounces, in which the lightness comes from the poly core. The core is honeycombed to make it soft and reasonably powerful at the same time, for little ones to be able to control the ball better.
The new paddle has been designed with a comfortable and long grip that makes it particularly suitable for young players who like to use both their hands. The slim profile has a large sweet spot, offering a wide hitting area and lowering the rate of mis-hits. The large area is critical in keeping children interested in the sport and motivated to keep playing.
Unlike most Paddletek Paddles that come with lifetime warranty, the Ranger is protected by a one-year warranty that is reasonable given that the paddle is fitted with Paddletek’s excellent poly core.
Overall, when it comes to buying a beginner’s paddle for children below twelve years, the Paddletek Ranger is one of the newest additions to consider. The model is available in four bright colors of the vinyl laminate to appeal to younger players.
Must Check:- Top 6 Best Pickleball Paddles for Spin 2018
Buying your first paddle is a critical decision to make if you want to have a smooth entry into the pickleball world. With so many varieties, price points, colors, and specifications available, the choice may not seem easy. We recommend staying away from cheap paddles that may be popular on sites like Amazon but may not help in your enjoyment of the game. They can only lead to a quick loss of interest, especially among young players.
If possible, it can help to try out some paddles at a Pickleball court near you, before you make a purchase. Readers who have tried any of the paddles on this list and have opinions to share with other beginners are welcome to share their views below. Any recommendations are also welcome.
Are there any new budget but best pickleball paddles that you have found to be well balanced in terms of weight, feel and price point?
Let us know below and keep the conversation going.