Pickleballhop’s Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Paddle

Playing Tennis

Playing Tennis

Hundreds of different paddles are available from twenty to thirty popular paddle brands. In addition, all paddle companies tout their paddles as the perfect combination of power and control in their marketing materials. There is no way to tell how each paddle differs from another.

You can get a better understanding of each paddle by reading this guide and understanding the marketing jargon behind each. Due to the in-depth nature of this guide, I have separated it into two parts. In part 1, we show a few simple tables explaining the effects of paddle characteristics on paddle performance. We discuss the paddle selection process in detail in part 2 and what factors are important to consider.

Classifications of paddles

You should know the general paddle classifications before diving into the dirty details. A control paddle, an all-court paddle, and a power paddle are all types of paddles. Choosing a best graphite pickleball paddle based on the style you want can be as simple as knowing what category you need. Each paddle we sell is classified in pickleballhop so that you can narrow down your search. You can find the paddle you need in our paddle store by using our intuitive filters.

Pickleball Hop Quick Guide in Parts


  • Control VS Power
  • Size of the Sweet Spot (Forgiveness)
  • Generating Spin


Pickleball Paddles: How to Choose the Right One

In my nearly two years of reviewing paddles, pickleballhop discovered five things to consider when choosing a paddle.

  1. The core
  2. The facing/surface material
  3. The shape
  4. The weight
  5. The handle length

Power, control, forgiveness, and spin of the paddle are influenced by each of these elements. I’ll explain what each element does so you understand how it affects the paddle’s performance. Taking a closer look at the core will be the first step.

Core Material


Most brands use polymer as their core material. Most paddles have polymer cores, I would guess. The word polymer, poly, polypropylene, and similar terms are often used by brands. Essentially, it is just a very hard plastic material.

The most popular core material is polymer because of its durability, quietness, and power-to-weight balance.

It is important to note that not all poly cores are created equal. Paddles with poly cores cost $30 and paddles with poly cores cost $200. High-quality polymer is used in more expensive paddles, resulting in a more consistent feel over the entire surface.

When the core material is described, you will also see details about the density of the core, in addition to the quality of the polymer. More honeycomb cells are packed into a paddle with a higher density core. As a result, the paddle feels harder, firmer, and has more power than a paddle with a bigger cell size. You can assume they are using the standard larger honeycomb cells unless a brand specifies they are using a higher density core.

Brands can’t do much to differentiate themselves from others other than the density and quality of their core products.

Polymer Exceptions

The Gearbox brand uses a polymer core exclusively. Carbon fiber is the only material used in their paddles. Their paddles are the only ones that don’t use polymer religiously, as you can see in my review here.

It is possible to find aluminum cores on Amazon, but it is rare and not commonly used by major paddle brands. I would stay away from anything with an aluminum core. In a short period of time, they dent and wear out.

Core Thickness

An important factor in a paddle’s performance is its core thickness.

Paddles with thicker cores are typically 16 mm thick. In addition to softening the feel of the paddle, thicker core paddles provide more control. Furthermore, they help stabilize the paddle so that off-center shots do not cause it to wobble. It is most popular to use 16 mm cores because they are the most player-friendly. I would recommend a 16 mm core if you are a beginner. In addition to Ben Johns, the best players in the world often prefer that thickness as well.

With thinner cores, where the paddle measures between 10 mm and 14 mm thick, you get more power and pop, but you lose some feel and control. If you hit an off-center shot, you will receive more feedback because they are not as stable as thicker cores.

It is generally true that the softness and control of the core increase as the thickness increases. A thin core, on the other hand, makes the paddle feel harder off the face and increases its power.

What is the impact of the core and its thickness on the choice of paddle?

More than the facing of the paddle, the paddle core and thickness determine its performance. Researching a paddle should take into account these components.

Thinner polymer core paddles are best suited to aggressive players who like to attack the ball.

The thicker 16mm polymer core paddles will give you more control over power.

Polymer core paddles with a thickness of 14 mm are ideal if you want something in the middle.

Which paddle should I choose based on my weight?

It is easier to maneuver a lighter paddle when you are at the net, and this can be a big advantage when you engage in fast exchanges with your opponent. Lighter paddles require harder swings for more power, so you need to swing harder.

Because heavier paddles have more weight behind the ball, you don’t have to swing as hard to produce power. You get more time to prepare when you make shorter swings when dinking, as it reduces your room for error.

When you hit the ball closer to the edge of the paddle, it doesn’t wobble as much as with lighter paddles. As a result, consistency is increased and errors are reduced.

It’s common for players to add lead tape to their paddle’s edge guards, so if your paddle is lighter than you would like, you can always add lead tape.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball paddles come in a variety of materials and thicknesses, faces, shapes, weights, and handle lengths to help you determine which one works best for you.

You can find the right paddle for you by understanding the materials and designs described in this article.

In addition to watching and reading reviews, it’s beneficial to learn more about the paddle you’re interested in. Find out which paddle is best for your game by checking out my paddle reviews on pickleballhop