Note: the picture you see above is not representative of an actual pickleball set or bundle.
Pickleball is one of the best sports to play with family and friends. It’s social, easy to set up and extremely fun. There’s nothing quite like playing a fun family game of pickleball in the evening time. That’s how the game got started after all!
But the big question here is how exactly do you get started? What should you buy? Luckily for us, there are plenty of pickleball sets and bundles to choose. I’m going to help you pick the right ones for your situation.
The differences between a set and a bundle
The first item to discuss here is about the differences between sets and bundles. The differences between these two packages will help you decide what you should get.
A pickleball set is a fully loaded package of pickleball equipment that will get four players started immediately. It’s the ultimate solution, and it has everything you need. Here are some items that manufacturers include in their highest quality pickleball sets:
- Net and carrying bag
- 4 paddles
- Some pickleballs
- Line tape
- Rulebook (has court dimensions inside)
- A bag for the paddles and balls
Everything you see above is all the things you need to get your temporary pickleball court set up.
It’s like your own swiss army pickleball set. Regarding price, pickleball sets are typically priced based on the quality of the paddle above anything else. The paddles can range from well-known paddles that are standard in the industry to low quality wooden paddles that hardly anyone uses anymore. Regardless, I’ll help you pick out the best ones for you.
But what about the bundles?
Pickleball bundles are sometimes just called “paddle bundles.” It’s pretty simple. Pickleball bundles are sets of paddles that don’t include the net and line tape. Here’s what you’ll typically get in a bundle:
- 2-4 paddles
- 2-4 pickleballs
- Maybe a small bag
As you can imagine, paddle bundles are far less expensive than full pickleball sets. The most expensive item, the net, is taken out of the package. This makes paddle bundles much better for people who don’t need a net in the first place.
Should you get a pickleball set?
Before you buy a pickleball set, it’s essential to have your priorities fixed in your mind. Why are you buying a pickleball set? Here are some common reasons or requirements:
- You have a family of at least four, and you think it would be a fun sport to learn.
- You have family/friend gatherings often and want to spread the game.
- You’re hosting a pickleball night at a venue and need the equipment for multiple players.
- You want to play pickleball at home, and not at a venue.
- You’ve got at least 27’ x 51’ feet available to tape out your court.
If you’re in one of these situations, then a pickleball set is definitely up your alley.
Best pickleball sets to buy
If you need a net and want all the extras that come with it, then you’ll want to go for a pickleball set instead of a bundle. Here are the best pickleball sets to buy.
Note: sometimes online retailers will have sales on these sets. Make sure you check multiple sites before purchasing. The recommendations below are based on quality, not price.
#1 Rally NX Graphite Deluxe Set (Check out prices here)
This is one of the highest quality pickleball sets on the market at the time of this writing (Fall 2017). If money is not an issue for you, then this is the best set to get. Here’s what it comes with:
- Four Rally NX Graphite pickleball paddles
- Four pickleballs
- 3.0 pickleball net system
- Net tote bag
- Paddle bag
- Line tape
There’s quite a bit that comes with this set.
First, let’s talk about the net system. This is one of the best in pickleball and is a standard net that the USAPA uses for officially sanctioned tournaments. You can’t go wrong with this.
The net is very easy to set up, and with the included line tape you can make yourself a professional looking temporary court in no time. This is assuming that you have the room for a full court.
The Rally NX Graphite paddles are polymer core paddles with a graphite face. If you’re not familiar with pickleball lingo, this combination of materials is very standard in the sport and will work well for you.
My friend Carol uses this paddle and loves it. She started out with it as her beginner paddle, and she hasn’t looked back. Beginners will often buy new paddles as they outgrow their novice paddles. But you may never have to replace the Rally NX Graphite paddles that you get in this set.
If you have young children who are going to be enjoying pickleball with you, then these paddles will work OK with them. Kids who are six years old and younger may have a tough time using them because they are about 8oz in weight, but kids older than that should be able to use them just fine.
The great thing about buying a pickleball set is all of the extra goodies that come with it. I’ve drawn out temporary pickleball courts with chalk on multiple occasions. They weren’t serious games, so it worked for us.
But with the line tape that you get with this set, you can draw out a full court just like you see them at recreational centers or churches. That’s pretty cool. As you can imagine, you will need enough room to be able to tape a full court. Like I said earlier it’s best if you have around 27’ x 51’ of space available. This is the minimum. The more room, the better.
The duffel bag that comes with this set is also really nice. Here’s a picture of mine:
It’s great. It holds 7-9 paddles and can easily hold a pair of shoes. I typically fit about seven paddles in there, a water bottle and some other stuff like grip tape and my personal belongings. If you get a set like this, you’ll be able to fit all of the items you get plus much more.
The net bag you get with the net system is standard across the board. If you almost always get a bag with your net purchase.
#2 Club Composite Pickleball Set (Check out the prices here)
The Club Composite set is a fantastic option for families or recreational centers that need an affordable option, but without caring too much about paddle quality. This set includes:
- Four Selkirk Club paddles
- Four pickleballs
- PickleNet system
- Net bag
- Duffel bag
The net in this set is very similar to the Rally NX package. I own this one, and it’s excellent. It’s very similar to the 3.0 pickleball net that I talked about above.
The main items to talk about in this set are the paddles. Selkirk is one of the best pickleball paddle manufacturers in the world. They make some of the highest quality paddles. In fact, some would argue that they make the highest quality paddles. Considering that, I bet it was hard for them to make a cheap paddle. And that’s exactly what the Club paddle is.
Selkirk has a cheap, beginner-friendly paddle already called the NEO, but they wanted to go even more basic. The Club is a paddle that has been stripped down to its basics. They didn’t even include any face art besides a sticker. Considering this, the Club is a terrific beginner-friend paddle that’s affordable.
The other great thing about the Club is that it’s a great paddle for young children. The paddle only weighs around 7.2oz which will be very easy for them to use. If you want to get your kids a great start in pickleball without breaking your wallet, this is a great set to purchase.
#3 Diller Pickleball Set (Check out prices here)
This is the absolute cheapest pickleball set that I could find. But it’s also one of the lowest quality sets. The reason why I have it here is if you need the absolute most affordable option. Here’s what you get:
- Four wooden paddles
- Four pickleballs
- Net system
- Net bag
It’s important to note that you don’t get the duffel bag or line tape in this set, but that’s not a huge deal. This set is designed to be as affordable as possible. Look, if you’re looking to get a great start to pickleball, you should avoid this set. This is not a great option for those who want to play pickleball. But if you’re trying to outfit a pickleball night at a recreational center or a church, then this is a great option to make sure that everyone has a basic paddle at the least.
The wooden paddles that come with this set are some of the best when it comes to wooden paddles. But believe me, hardly anyone uses wooden paddles anymore. I know one person that uses one. It’s amazing. But again, this set is not for quality, but for affordability.
Also, wooden paddles are terrible for kids. They are heavy and bulky. If you ever watch a kid try to swing a wooden paddle, they will look like some medieval knight wielding a greatsword. It’s hilarious, but it wears their little bodies out. They may want to quit playing, and that could leave a bad mark on their mind about pickleball.
Taking care of your stuff
Taking good care of your pickleball equipment is important. I know it’s a pain to take down your pickleball net when you’ve had a long day on the court, but it’s never a good idea to leave your net up overnight. Leaving it out so the elements can chew away at it will reduce the lifespan of your equipment.
Best paddle bundles to buy
If you already have a net, then there’s no need to buy a full pickleball set. The best option for you, in this case, is to buy a paddle bundle instead. This will allow you to get started in pickleball whether you own a net already or if you want to play at a recreational center or elsewhere.
If you have a net but need to draw out the court lines then you can just use chalk instead. And if you don’t have room to draw out a full court, you can just do half court if you don’t mind playing pickleball improperly that is.
Paddle bundles come with either 2 or 4 paddles. Some of them even come with balls. As usual, there are high and low-quality paddles bundles to consider.
#1 Selkirk NEO bundle (Check out prices here)
In my view, this is the best paddle bundle to get, especially if you’re a beginner. This bundle includes 2 Selkirk NEO paddles and four pickleballs.
This package is great for a spousal team or 2 siblings. Like I said earlier, Selkirk is one of the best paddle manufacturers and the NEO doesn’t shy away from quality. Obviously, it’s not their highest quality paddle, but if you’re a beginner it won’t matter. They also have an option for four paddles instead of just 2.
#2 Rally Tyro 2 Paddle Bundle (Check out prices here)
If you want to go a bit cheaper, then the Rally Tyro 2 is right up your alley. These paddles are decently well made and are a great way to get started in pickleball without having to use wooden paddles. I’ve seen people use these before and they looked comfortable enough playing with them.
The unique thing about these paddles is that they are affordable but also very lightweight. Most people can use them just fine. But if you’re strong and fit, this won’t be the best paddle for you. If that’s you, look at the Selkirk NEO bundle instead.
Similar to the Club pickleball set that I talked about above, these paddles are perfect for young kids. If you’re looking to get a four paddle bundle for your family, then this is one of the best options for you. You and your spouse may want to upgrade at a later date if you decide to stick with pickleball, but your kids will love them.
#3 Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle Bundle (Check out prices here)
Some beginners aren’t sure about how long they’ll stick around in the pickleball world. That’s understandable. If you need a paddle bundle but are worried about wasting money, then the Amazin’ Aces bundle could be a great fit for you. These paddles are not high quality, but they will give you a great taste of pickleball. If you like it, then you can easily upgrade to something better without having spent too much money on the original.
This set also includes four smalls and a small bag to carry them in! Altogether, it’s a pretty fantastic deal. You get two paddles, four balls and a bag for a low price. Trust me though, if you end up loving pickleball you will be upgrading from these paddles very quickly. If you think you’ll be playing pickleball for a long time, check out the Selkirk NEO bundle instead.
Wrapping up the set
I hope that this guide to pickleball sets was helpful. Again, whether you buy a set or a bundle is entirely dependent on if you need a net or not. Purchase according to what your pickleball net needs are! Have you ever purchased a bundle before? Let me know what your experience was in the comments!