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The Pickleball Experts Interactive Guide to Choosing a Pickleball Paddle

We've got everything we need to give you a list of recommended paddles. Click on the link below to jump straight to your recommendations. On the next page, you'll have the option to filter the results even more based on many attributes of the paddles. Check out the descriptions below to understand more about your options and determine if each factor is important for you. On the next page, check out the list of filters along the left.

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If you’re working with a specific budget, price is a great way to narrow down your choices. While the phrase “you get what you pay for” is true to a certain degree with pickleball paddles, there are some great paddles coming out at beginner prices that break the rule. We offer 4 different price categories on the next page that can help you pick the right paddle.

Core Material

There are 3 main options for core material: polymer, nomex and aluminum. Each has it’s own unique properties that affect how they will play.

Polymer Core

The polymer core is the newest option on the market. It is laid out in a honeycomb pattern like all core options, but it is made of a plastic blend. Polymer is the softest core option and therefore also the quietest, which is what makes it popular among communities with noise restrictions. The softness of polymer also means that the ball spends a lot of time on the paddle, giving you excellent control over shot placement.

Nomex Core

Nomex was the first lightweight core put into pickleball paddles. It is basically cardboard laid out in a honeycomb pattern and dipped in resin to make it more sturdy and rigid. Nomex is the heaviest core option, which also makes it the loudest and most powerful. Paddles with this core tend to have the most “pop”.

Aluminum Core

Aluminum cores are made of aluminum laid out in a honeycomb pattern like the other options. These cores are slightly lighter than Nomex, meaning they are generally a bit quieter. It also causes the ball to stay on the paddle longer and provides more control and touch. Aluminum core paddles have a reputation for being the best for the finesse game.

Face Material


Paddles with a fiberglass face tend to weigh slightly more than graphite paddles. Because of the additional weight, they also tend to have a bit more power.


Graphite paddles tend to weigh slightly less than fiberglass and generally have slightly less power. They also tend to have more finesse and control than fiberglass paddles. Graphite is perceived as a higher-end material than fiberglass, but no one has scientifically looked at the difference between face materials so it is generally a matter of personal preference.


Paddles come in all sorts of shapes thanks to innovations by the paddle manufacturers. For beginners, we recommend staying with the classic standard paddle shape, rounded paddles or widebody paddles that will provide plenty of surface area and will be more forgiving of mishits. Only advanced players who have found their style and learned more about their preferences should look into shapes like narrow blade paddles or teardrop paddles.

The newer, narrow blade shaped paddles are made for advanced players who are able to consistently hit the ball in the middle of their paddle and are looking for an edge in their game. Teardrop paddles are less extreme and are meant to provide a more powerful sweet spot in your paddle.


The color of your paddle is largely a matter of preference and taste. The only thing to consider is that a paddle that is the same color as the ball you’re playing with can provide an advantage because your opponents won’t be able to see the ball as it comes off your paddle.

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