Your Ultimate Guide to Pickleball Paddles: Recommendations for Every Budget

Your Ultimate Guide to Pickleball Paddles: Recommendations for Every Budget

Ultimately, the best paddle for you will depend on your personal preferences and playing style. If possible, try out a few different paddles before making a purchase to find the one that feels the most comfortable and natural for you.

If you're on a budget, there are still plenty of great pickleball paddle options available. Here are some low budget choices:

  1. Niupipo Pickleball Paddle: This paddle is another affordable option for beginners. It has both graphite face and fiberglass face options and a polymer core, giving it a good balance of power and control.

  2. Rally Tyro 2 Pro: This paddle is a great option for beginners on a budget. It has a polymer core and a graphite face, making it lightweight and easy to handle. It's also very affordable compared to some of the higher-end paddles.
  3. XS XSPAK Graphite Pickleball Paddle: This paddle is a great value for the price. It has a graphite face and a honeycomb polymer core, which makes it lightweight and easy to maneuver.
  4. Amazin' Aces Pickleball Paddle Set: If you're just starting out and don't want to spend a lot of money on a paddle, this set is a great option. It comes with two wooden paddles and four pickleballs, giving you everything you need to get started playing.

Remember that while these paddles are more budget-friendly, they may not have all the features of a more expensive paddle. However, they are still great options for beginners who are just starting to learn the game.

If you have a medium budget for a pickleball paddle, you can get a high-quality paddle with great performance features. Here are some medium budget paddles that you may want to consider:

  1. AMA Sport: This paddle is a great option for intermediate players who want a paddle that can grow with them as their skills improve. It has a polymer core and a carbon fiber face, giving it a good balance of power and control. 

  2. Head Radical Pro: This paddle has a fiberglass face and a polypropylene core, making it very lightweight and easy to maneuver. It also has a large sweet spot, which makes it easier to hit the ball.
  3. Engage Poach Advantage: This paddle is designed for players who want more control over their shots. It has a polymer core and a fiberglass face, making it very lightweight and easy to handle.
  4. Onix Summit C1: This paddle is a great choice for players who want a balance of power and control. It has a carbon fiber face and a polymer core, giving it good ball control while still providing plenty of power.

Keep in mind that these paddles may have different shapes, weights, and other characteristics that can affect your play. You may want to try out different models before making a decision, especially if you have a particular playing style or preferences.

Personally, I prefer ProXR’s Zane Navratil Carbon 14 T700 Ultra-Raw Carbon Fiber paddle. It has amazing spin with more than sufficient power for drives yet versatile enough for dinks and resets. The Shock Foam really pays dividends over the long-term and helps to minimize miss-hit balls and reduces vibration. Lastly, the 6-inch elongated handle helps for 2 hand maneuverability with comfort.

My wife prefers ProXR’s Beth Bellamy Diamond Series 14 mm premium fiberglass paddle. It has amazing power and the ball pops off the surface - sending me to hustle around the court in response. Unlike other fiberglass paddles that are often very smooth - this paddle has amazing and usable grit that allows for spins to come easily. 

Lastly, if you are looking for a control pickleball paddle, here is a summary Pickleball Studio Christopher Olson’s article on Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Control 2022 that I greatly enjoyed reading. :

  1. Selkirk Vanguard Invicta 2.0: “No matter what shape you pick, you will still get a great control oriented paddle. The Vanguard 2.0 line feels very plush, and because of their 16mm thickness, they are great at absorbing pace, which is great for resetting the ball back into the kitchen. Selkirk paddles also come with a limited lifetime warranty, and the paddles are built very well. I would say of the companies with edge guards; I probably hear the least complaints about Selkirks. I've also seen them honor their lifetime warranty time and time again.”
  2. Electrum Model E: “The Electrum Model E is one of my all-time favorite paddles. It's a 16mm elongated paddle with a raw carbon fiber surface. It has exceptional control while also imparting massive amounts of spin on the ball. Electrum was one of the first in the sport to introduce this surface, and now, almost all of the top companies have made a paddle with a similar raw carbon fiber surface because it has proven to be one of the best for generating spin.

In my experience playing with this paddle, I found that putting the ball anywhere on the court felt easy because it is a softer paddle, and you can generate a lot of spin to hit more extreme angles than you might be able to on other paddles. The sweet spot also felt very consistent and solid. It's hard to go wrong with the Model E because it's just a well-rounded great paddle.”

  1. Gruvn 16E: “I also want to give an honorable mention to the GRUVN 16E. They are a newer company, but I briefly playtested the 16E, and it is very similar to the Model E. I haven't gotten to sit down and do extensive testing with both, but I have hit them side by side for a few play sessions, and they are very similar. So if the Model E is just out of budget, the GRUVN 16E is a fantastic cheaper option.”
  1. Joola Radius: “Similar to the Electrum Model E, this paddle features what Joola calls their Carbon Grip Surface, which is very similar to Electrum's raw carbon fiber. This means you can generate fantastic spin with it, and in my testing, it achieved 1576 RPM which is very good.

The Radius is an incredibly light paddle weighing, on average 7.6oz. A lot of that weight is also shifted into the handle, which makes it feel even lighter than other paddles in a similar weight range. Because of all of these factors, the Radius is VERY soft. It's incredible for blocks because it absorbs so much energy, but when it comes time to attack at the net, it can be hard to generate good pace. Lead tape can definitely help with this issue.”

  1. CRBN CX14E : “One of the first benefits is the amazing spin that you get with their hyper bite spin technology. The first generation of the CX14 paddle was completely smooth to the touch. Gearbox believes you don't need added texture to get great spin. When I first heard this, I thought they were crazy. I immediately believed hyper bite was a gimmick like many other marketing terms companies make up.So as you can see, the hyper bite technology is not a gimmick. 

Now, Gearbox has quietly released new versions of their CX line with additional grit on the face. Unfortunately, I have not gotten to test the new CX14s, but I can only imagine that the extra grit allows for even higher spin potential. So props to Gearbox for making that adjustment.

The CX14 line of paddles are some of the softest on the market. When I first reviewed them, that was one of the reasons I didn't like it. Now that I've experimented with lead tape a lot more, I think adding lead tape could really change how it plays and probably enhance its performance a lot. The paddle absorbs a ridiculous amount of energy. Even while dinking I felt like I had to swing just a little harder than I usually do to get the ball back over.”

With such a range of paddles on the market, it is important to not get too bogged down by finding the perfect paddle. Instead, I would encourage for you to try out a variety of paddles with different attributes to personally experience if it is suitable for you. And remember, that as your skill level increases, your requirement from your paddle may also change so be flexible to shop around when the need arises. 

Personally however, I want to invest in a quality paddle that I know I can work upwards to extracting more and more out of it over time - much like a sports car. Happy shopping! 


Written by Sang Chanyaputhipong 
Co-Founder of Pickleball Equipment & Gear Thailand

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