Why Are Pickleball Paddles So Expensive?

Do you ever wonder why are pickleball paddles so expensive?

And when you empty your wallet for the latest and greatest paddle, will it make a difference? Why exactly is that paddle so expensive and will it improve your game? And are expensive paddles worth it?

In this article, we’ll lay it all out on the (kitchen) table. We’ll explain the reasons why pickleball paddles are so expensive and the value of a good paddle. And we’ll offer some inexpensive options for the next paddle you buy.

Pickleball is a classic racket sports mash-up. It combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis with a touch of wiffleball. It is also a new sport that people don’t understand until they play it. Then they get it and love playing it.

When new Pickleball players decide to take the plunge and buy their own paddle, they may get a shock at the price. How can something slightly larger than a table tennis paddle cost so much?

Well, pickleball paddles can be expensive due to a combination of factors. Let’s take a look at these factors and answer the question, why are pickleball paddles expensive?

Let’s start with the paddle materials.

How Materials Make Pickleball Paddles Expensive

The material of a pickleball paddle is the biggest factor in the cost of a paddle. High-quality paddles use premium materials. And these materials can be lightweight with performance-enhancing characteristics. Let’s take a look at the various paddles and the materials used.

Wooden PaddleThe cheapest paddle available for absolute beginners, made with durable 5-ply wood.
Key Benefit: Great for kids and games at home. And very affordable.
Hybrid PaddlesMade with blended materials to create a “hybrid” approach to a paddle. It uses Materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, composite and graphite. Hybrid paddles can combine materials to build a “Super Paddle’ with various features.
Key Benefit: Hybrid paddles are perfect for all players and are capable of power, spin and control.
Composite PaddleMade of two or more materials, typically with fiberglass. These are the most popular paddles available and suit most players. They provide power and durability and they have a spin-friendly feel.
Key Benefit: Ideal for Power or Spin players of all levels.
Graphite Paddles:Lightweight and provides a soft touch and enhanced control while playing. These paddles are extremely popular.
Key Benefit: Lightweight paddle for control players
Carbon Fiber:Carbon FIber is the newest face material, it is extremely durable and can generate power. Carbon Fiber paddles have a large sweet spot.
Key Benefit: Durable paddle for power players

The material used in a pickleball paddle has a huge impact on the performance of the paddle. There is a dynamic range of paddles available to suit every type of player. Power players may choose a Carbon Fiber paddle to capitalize on their big-hitting ability. While kitchen players could favor a graphite paddle for those soft-touch dinks.

More experienced players looking to level up their game will find value in a premium paddle. As they are more likely to benefit from the newer paddle types available to improve their game.

And speaking of improvements, let’s take a look at Research and Design and the impact on pickleball paddle prices.

How Research and Design Can Make a Pickleball Paddle Expensive

Manufacturers are investing in research and development to provide innovative pickleball paddle technology. Millions of dollars are being used to drive innovation. This includes driving innovation in new materials, ergonomic designs, and paddle customizations.

Without this investment, the humble wooden paddle would be used by all players. But the pickleball gold rush is on. And there is an opportunity for paddle manufacturers to develop unique and advanced products.

Let’s take a look at the latest innovations to hit the pickleball court.

  • Enhanced sweet spots: The Sweet spot is the perfect place on your paddle that will give you the most consistent, powerful shot. Newer paddles have an “enhanced sweet spot”. This means a better, more consistent shot with more efficiency. Which increases the likelihood of producing a killer shot. Sounds amazing!
  • Vibration dampening systems: Pickleball noise is a new phenomenon reported widely and often in the news. The latest pickleball paddles are designed to dampen the impact when taking a shot. This is an important innovation to combat alleged pickleball noise pollution.
  • Specialized Surface textures. The latest paddle technology can make the ball spin faster with more power. Compared to a standard paddle, textured surface paddles are great for trick shots.

The research and development of pickleball paddles are producing some fantastic results. Continuous product innovation is a never-ending loop. And the innovation is customer focused. Pickleball players want these features and are willing to pay for them.

Now let’s take a look at how supply and demand can make pickleball paddles more expensive,

How Supply and Demand Can Make Pickleball Paddles Expensive

The popularity of Pickleball is exploding in the United States. And as Pickleball evolves into a global sport, the world will need more pickleball paddles. This could impact the paddle supply and make pickleball paddles more expensive.

The limited supply of paddles worldwide may not be enough to fulfill the demand across the world. This is where “supply and demand” can increase the cost of a paddle.

When global demand is greater than a US-centered supply, prices will rise. This is due to the scarcity of the product. Only when the Supply is greater than demand, then the prices will drop again.

Supply chains can also impact the price of pickleball paddles. Distribution channels are not all equal, and some online stores may be able to buy a bulk supply at a reduced cost. And sell their inventory at a reduced rate, while other stores do not have that ability.

And Non-US stores don’t have many options outside of Amazon, as most US stores will not ship internationally. Or they will for a great premium. This will reduce the paddles available for international players. But it will also make most paddles more expensive because of geographic location.

Supply and Demand constraints are not a real concern for US-based pickleball players. However, as the sport explodes globally, it could make paddles more expensive for all players in due course.

Now let’s take a look at how Branding and Marketing can make pickleball paddles more expensive.

How Branding and Marketing Can Make Pickleball Paddles Expensive

Branding and marketing are key factors that can make a pickleball paddle expensive. An established, well-known brand can capitalize on its brand name and popularity. That brand can advertise and market its latest paddles and paddle technology. It might even have a player endorsement attached with a special, signature paddle. And these factors all contribute to the cost of a paddle.

Ultimately, the paddles from the biggest brands, with the latest features are the most expensive.

But it’s important to remember that pickleball is still a new sport. And building a brand within the sport is crucial for paddle makers.

Activities such as partnering with professional players, sponsoring tournaments and investing in marketing initiatives are important to establish brand recognition.

A great example of brand recognition is Ben Johns, the World’s #1 ranked pickleball player.

Ben Johns is considered by some as “the Michael Jordan of Pickleball”. His latest paddle, the JOOLA Hyperion CFS Graphite demands top dollar. It comes with next-generation tech that was co-designed by Ben Johns.

Joola was a little-known table tennis brand. Now its brand recognition has exploded amongst pickleball players. And Ben Johns as their ambassador has been amazing for the company. He has elevated the brand amongst pickleball players who are clamoring to buy his latest paddle. It is super expensive, but longtime pickleball players can see the value in the paddle.

OK, we’re not all pickleball diehards. But how does a casual player navigate the expensive pickleball paddles for a sport they sort of like? Let’s look at some inexpensive options.

Less Expensive Pickleball Paddle Options

Pickleball paddles are expensive. That is why it’s important to buy a paddle that is relative to your skill level and the time you spend playing the game. And it should factor in how much you love the game.

A beginner that sort of likes pickleball and will play once a month doesn’t need a top-of-the-range paddle. An intermediate player with basic skills might not need the latest Ben Johns paddle for his weekly hit out.

Looking at these player types as an example, there are great, inexpensive paddle options. Let’s take a look.

  • Option 1 – Borrow a Paddle: It’s not unusual for pickleball courts to supply paddles to play with. If that is the case, there is no need to worry about buying a paddle. Unless the paddle is terrible or is holding back your game. Use the free paddle forever.
  • Option 2 – Wooden Paddles: These can be picked up from Amazon for less than $40 for a family 4-pack with balls. That is literally, less than $10 a paddle. They won’t be ergonomic or have an enhanced sweet spot, but they will be fun.
  • Option 3 – High Value-Starter Set: Get a taste of the Joola Ben Johns Pickleball paddle, via the Ben Johns starter set. For $80 USD, you can get 2 paddles and 4 balls. Making the paddles less than $40 USD each and fantastic value for your first step into the big leagues.

If you are still after other options, I recommend visiting the Pickleball Paddle Coach. Justpaddles.com has a fantastic page that will help you find the perfect paddle in your price range. Along with paddle type and favorite color. It’s the best.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, the Aussie Pickleball Bros will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Are Expensive Paddles Worth It?

After reading about why paddles are expensive, you are probably wondering are expensive paddles worth it? And the simple answer is… it depends.

For a new pickleball player, the trade-off between price and quality can be difficult to navigate. A pickleball paddle will look like a glorified table tennis paddle. There is no doubt that it will seem expensive to new starters in the sport. And most likely, not worth it.

Experienced players will have a better feel for the expensive paddles. With more games played and more experience with other paddles, they will have a paddle preference. And experienced players will notice subtle improvements in the latest paddle technology and appreciate them.

Expensive paddles are worth it if the pickleball player finds value in that paddle. Regardless of their definition of expensive. And if that paddle improves a player’s game, that expensive paddle makes the investment 100% worth it.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball paddles are so expensive because they use the latest materials with enhanced paddle technology and player-designed paddles by the world’s biggest brands.

Other factors can impact the price of pickleball paddles, such as supply and demand economic forces. Along with research and development, which contribute to better paddles and increased costs.

Although pickleball paddles are expensive, they don’t stop new players from picking up the game. The popularity of pickleball is exploding around the World. And there are budget-friendly options to play. And regardless of the paddle used, expensive or not, pickleball is always fun.

And that’s all from the Aussie Pickleball Bros. Let us know what you thought of the post, or feel free to drop a line and say hi.

Pickle On.

The Aussie Pickleball Bros.

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