How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle for Beginners

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Choosing a pickleball paddle for beginners to the game can be a bit overwhelming. When you start playing pickleball you grab any paddle, jump on a court and have fun.  But the more you play, you will think, “This generic paddle isn’t very good”. And if you are playing pickleball consistently, it could be time to find that perfect pickleball paddle for beginners. But where do you begin?

Read on to discover the three considerations when choosing a pickleball paddle for beginners. Please feel free to jump ahead with these quick links! Pickle On!

What Decides My Pickleball Paddle Price?

The price of your pickleball paddle is decided by the following three factors:

  • Weight
  • Grip Size
  • Material

Selecting a Pickleball paddle can be overwhelming because of how many there are out there.  It’s great to understand the three factors when choosing a pickleball paddle because ultimately, they help decide the price of the paddle.  Let’s take a look.

What Weight Pickleball Paddle Should I Use?

Weight is an important factor when choosing a pickleball paddle.  The main thing to consider when choosing the right paddle weight is:

  • A lighter paddle will be easier to maneuver and give you more control but less power to drive. 
  • A heavy paddle will give you less control but more power to drive. 

As a beginner, a medium-weight paddle between 7.3 to 8.4 ounces (207 to 238 grams) is probably the best place to start and you can work up in weight or down in weight from there.

Ideally, the paddle should feel like an extension of your arm.  That is why the paddle should “feel” right when you pick it up.  Will the paddle feel good when holding it for an entire game?  How does it feel when swinging with it?

Pickleball paddle weight ranges from 6 to 14 ounces (170 to 396 grams).  The main trade-off between these weights is power vs control.  A lighter paddle will be easier to maneuver, give you more control but less power to drive.  While a heavy paddle will give you less control but more power to drive. 

The weight of the paddle can also be important depending on the players body, and existing injuries, such as neck issue, elbow or wrist pains and strains.  A heavier paddle can cause existing injuries to flare up and could potentially cause elbow strain and fatigue in your arm if you are a beginner.

How to Choose the Right Pickleball Paddle Grip Size

The paddle should fit snugly in your hand.  It’s important to choose a grip that feels good when playing.  A paddle with a large grip may slip from your hand or cause injury while playing.  A smaller grip can give you more flexibility and control. 

Most players will be able to identify what feels best for them.  But when that option isn’t available, the best way to find your grip size is by height.  This is not an exact science but it works pretty well for most people. 

  • If you are under 5’2″: you need a 4″ grip.
  • If you are 5’3″ to 5’8″: use a 4 ¼” grip.
  • And 5′ 9″ or taller: use a 4 ½” grip

As a beginner, you may not have a preference of grip size.  Try a variety of paddles and see what feels best.  Starting with a smaller grip is a safe option because if you want to make it a little bigger, you can always add more tape and make it larger.

How to Choose the Right Pickleball Paddle Materials

As pickleball paddle technology continues to evolve, the materials used for the paddles and paddle faces expand.  The materials used for the paddle faces can impact power, durability and spin amongst other things. 

Generally, the newer paddles will be more expensive and aimed at advanced players that want that extra edge.  While beginners probably don’t need to outlay that much money to get started and enjoy the game. 

Here is a brief explanation on the difference between the paddle materials. 

Aluminium Material

Aluminium faced paddles are seen as beginner paddles.  They are inexpensive and a great way to get started playing pickleball.

Composite Material

Composite-faced paddles are one of the most common and popular paddles available. Composite paddles are made of two or more materials, typically with fiberglass.  These are great for all players at all levels, as it is an average-weighted, high-durability paddle that can produce power and is also great for spin players.

Graphite Material

Graphite-faced paddles have a lightweight feel that helps with touch and control.  They are very popular and offer a soft feel, ideal for control players.

Carbon Fiber Material

Caron Fiber paddles are the latest addition to paddle materials.  Carbon Fiber has a weight to strength ratio stronger than steel.  These are ideal for power players that want a highly durable paddle.  These will give you the maximum power potential. 

Hybrid Materials

Hybrid paddles combine various materials to create a unique, “hybrid” paddle. Manufacturers can manipulate the materials, such as carbon fiber, composite and graphite to enhance specific characteristics to develop and customize a unique paddle.  They can enhance the paddle’s power, spin, touch or control.

The Simplest Way to Choose a Pickleball Paddle for Beginners

Pickleball paddle weight, size and material are important factors to consider.  But there is a simpler way. As a beginner, those technicalities can be overwhelming.  Ultimately, choosing a pickleball paddle could come down to these three factors:

  • Price:  What is your budget as a new pickleball player?  Selecting a budget, and finding a pickleball paddle under that amount is a simple way to get started.
  • Colour: With a budget in mind, is there a color or design you like?  Does any paddle look really cool?  This may help seal the deal with your budget in mind.
  • Brand: Is there a brand you love or hate?  Or are you willing to spend a little more, because you know a brand or trust a specific brand.  This could also be a consideration for your pickleball paddle.

If your new paddle looks cool, feels good and gets nods of approval at the local pickleball court, that is a WIN even before you play a game. Then you’ll probably need to buy some matching shoes to complete your pickleball outfit. And maybe you will upgrade your paddle… it’s a slippery slope but it’s all in the name of pickleball!

If you have the basics down, take a look at the Top 3 Beginners Pickleball Paddles as recommended by the Aussie Pickleball Bros. All great buys if you want to start playing on the cheap.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball paddle technology keeps evolving as the sport continues to grow.  It’s great to know the difference in the materials of the paddles, but like most purchases, like when you buy a pair of shoes, a jacket, or even a car, you don’t worry about the materials too much.  But you do look at the colour, the price and brand. 

Look at what is available, buy within your budget and have fun.  If you continue to love the sport, you can always upgrade as you get more serious. 

Pickle On!

The Aussie Pickleball Bros.

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