Recommended Pickleball Paddles

The great thing about shopping for pickleball paddles is that there are so many to choose from. But the bad thing about shopping for pickleball paddles is that there are so many to choose from! I’ve got great news for you though. I’m here to help you out by showing you the best pickleball paddles on the market.

In my local pickleball community, I’m known as “the paddle guy”. I guess I’ve deserved that title since I have multiple bags filled with paddles. It’s common for random people to come up to me and ask me questions about paddles. But this time, I’ll be doing that for you!

On this page, I’m going to share with you my current top picks that I recommend based on what kind of player you are. I will be updating this list on a consistent basis, so check back every month or two for updates. Keep in mind that I won’t be going into detail about pickleball paddles in general. This is just a “best of the best” resource for you.

Keep in mind that I’ve set some affiliate links up that send you over to Amazon. If you purchase anything I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It’s just a way to help support the site. But don’t worry, I don’t take sponsorships (I’ll let you know if I do) so my advice to you remains unbiased.


Note: All paddle weights listed below are averages. Paddle weights can vary slightly.

One more note: click here to get my list of the best paddles for the current year.

Updated: 08/07/18

Barrett’s #1 all-around best paddle

Selkirk AMPED/Lightweight AMPED Epic (Check prices)


  • Core: X5 polymer
  • Face: FiberFlex fiberglass
  • Average weight: ~8.1 oz (Lightweight: ~7.4 oz)
  • Paddle length: 15.75″
  • Paddle width: 8″
  • Grip circumference: 4.25″
  • Grip type: Selkirk ComfortGrip
  • Handle length: 5.25″
  • USAPA approved

Selkirk is one of the best pickleball paddle manufacturers in the world. They make some of the most unique paddles that always blow my mind when I play with them. The Selkirk AMPED Epic is no different.

There are four different paddle shapes in the AMPED series. These are the S2, the Epic, the Omni and the Maxima. Each is very different from each other and play to different strengths. The one I recommend in general is the Epic. You can read the original review of the Epic here. Or you can read my Lightweight version review of it here.

As you can see by now, there are two different versions of this paddle. You have the original AMPED Epic and the Lightweight version of it. There is no difference between these two versions besides the weight. But believe me, the difference in weight is extraordinary.

Some strengths of this paddle are:

  1. Because of the extra thick core, shots from this paddle are extremely soft
  2. Even with the softness, you still get plenty of power
  3. Wicked spin

If you’re a former tennis player, this would be a great paddle for you. The long (5.25″) handle will allow you to use that famed 2-handed backhand shot. But here’s some more great news for tennis players. This paddle gives you a crazy amount of spin. The Selkirk AMPED Epic uses a fiberglass face which is known to apply a ton of spin to the ball. If you like backspin shots or topspin forehand shots, this will be a great option for you.

Most people I show this paddle to fall in love with it right after they played with it. They will typically buy it later that night or the next morning. People love it, to say the least. It’s one of the most popular paddles out there.

This is a great all-around paddle for players who don’t mind spending a bit extra.  If you decide to pick up this paddle, make sure you select the right version!


Paddletek Tempest Wave (Check prices here)


  • Core: polymer
  • Face: graphite
  • Average weight: 7.6 oz
  • Paddle length: 15 ⅞”
  • Paddle width: 8”
  • Grip Circumference: 4 ¼”
  • Grip type: black Gamma perforated ribbed
  • Handle length: 5 ¼”
  • USAPA approved

The Paddletek Tempest Wave is a masterpiece. It’s about as traditional as a paddle can get and that’s a good thing. The 8” wide core is made of polypropylene (polymer) and is covered by a sleek sheet of graphite. The polymer gives you a midweight paddle with plenty of control and “umph” while the graphite face makes the paddle lightweight without sacrificing power. Here are some great things about this paddle:

  1. Has the best sweet spot out of any paddle I’ve ever tried.
  2. Has a beautiful balance of power and control.
  3. Hard shots with this paddle feel incredibly solid and powerful.

The Paddletek Tempest Wave is one of the best paddles currently being offered in the pickleball world. There are very few weaknesses to this paddle. It’s durable, powerful but control oriented. This is one of those “can’t go wrong” paddles. I highly recommend this paddle to anyone at any skill level.

Furthermore, the sweet spot on the Tempest Wave is something to behold. Out of all the paddles I’ve tried, the Tempest Wave has the juiciest and biggest sweet spot of them all. Every strike with this paddle feels tactile, precise and powerful. It’s an amazing feeling. I imagine I’ll be using this paddle for a very long time and that’s the case for most people who use this paddle. You can read a more detailed review that I wrote here.

Like I said earlier, this is the best of the best regardless of skill level. You can’t go wrong, but there’s no need for me to go on about it. You will just have to see for yourself.

Best paddles for beginners

I know it sounds strange, but I don’t think there’s any such thing as a beginner-only paddle. Anyone can use any type of paddle and be great with it. It’s more about paddles that you should avoid over paddles that you should play with. Let me give you a quick list of things to avoid.

If you’re a beginner, avoid the following:

  • Nomex core paddles. Read my article on paddle cores to learn more.
  • Aluminum core paddles, unless you need the weight reduction. Click the link above to learn more about aluminum paddles.
  • Wooden paddles, unless you need the absolute cheapest option available.
  • Long-board or “blade” paddles. These are the ones that are long and narrow instead of wide.

Any type of paddle that isn’t like the above should work perfectly fine for you. Don’t worry, even when you cut out all of those options there’s still plenty available for you. The only other important criteria that you need to watch out for is paddle weight. Getting a paddle that is too lightweight will reduce your power and make you miss the ball a lot. But a paddle that is too heavy for you can give you arm fatigue or exasperate conditions like tennis elbow. Most people are comfortable using paddles that are anywhere between 7.3 – 7.8 oz.

Barrett’s #1 beginner paddle pick

Below are two of my favorite beginner-friendly paddle recommendations.

Paddletek Phoenix LTE (Check prices)


  • Core: polymer
  • Face: composite
  • Average weight: ~7.1 oz
  • Paddle length: 15 ¾”
  • Paddle width: 7 ¾”
  • Grip circumference: 4 ¼”
  • Grip type: Gamma perforated ribbed
  • Handle length: 4 ½”
  • USAPA approved

The Paddletek Phoenix LTE is a lightweight, precise and inexpensive option for seniors, beginners and everyone in between. What the paddle lacks in power, it makes up in terms of control, finesse, and precision. This is a soft player’s paddle. The Phoenix LTE is for players who want to out-maneuver, out-strategize and wear out their opponents. There are very few paddles that will get you the kind of cross-court dinks the Phoenix LTE will give you.

But as I said earlier, you lose a lot of power considering the paddle’s feathery weight. 7.1 oz is definitely on the lightweight end and that’s OK. This paddle just wasn’t designed for power. The reason why I consider this a great beginner paddle is for two reasons:

  1. It’s cheaper than most high-quality paddles.
  2. It’s a great paddle for learning about the core principles of pickleball, instead of just destroying the ball all the time.

Like I said above, this paddle allows for touch and finesse. Well, that’s what pickleball is all about. So this paddle helps to teach new players about these important parts of the game, not just slamming and driving the ball. If you or someone else is looking to get started, the Phoenix LTE will give you a roaring start. I wrote a review awhile back on this paddle which you can read here.

Runner-up: Selkirk NEO (Check prices)


  • Core: polymer
  • Face: composite
  • Average weight: ~7.8 oz
  • Paddle length: 15 1/2”
  • Paddle width: 7 5/8″
  • Grip circumference: 4”
  • Grip type: Gamma (flat and thin)
  • Handle length: 4 7/8″
  • USAPA approved

There is another great beginner paddle that’s been on my radar for a long time. The Selkirk NEO is a great option for beginners who are stronger and a bit more aggressive on the court. This paddle is a polymer core with a composite face, but oddly enough it feels like a graphite face. This means that you’ll get a great “pop” or “attack” feeling when striking the ball. It has all of the typical qualities that any basic pickleball paddle can give you. But it doesn’t excel in any area either.

Unlike the Phoenix LTE, it’s unlikely that you will play with this paddle if you become an advanced pickleball player. If you’re looking to get something that will last you much longer in terms of how the paddle will compliment your skill, then I would look at the next section.

Best “bang for your buck” paddles

You don’t have to buy the most expensive paddle to be successful in pickleball. Sometimes, a cheap paddle can give you all you need to play pickleball well. I consider these paddles to be great for beginners as well, but they’re also more likely to last into your advanced pickleball days.

Paddletek Phoenix LTE (Check prices)

The Paddletek Phoenix LTE has made the list yet again! Pickleball paddles can be fickle. The Phoenix LTE is no different. Just for context, at the time of this writing, I’m a fit and strong 31-year-old man. I’m saying this not to flex my non-existent 6-pack, but to say that most guys my age don’t use paddles this light. Remember, the Phoenix LTE is ~7.1 oz. Guys like me should be playing with paddles that are at least 7.7 oz, but for some reason, my mind keeps wandering back to this paddle. I love playing with it. Sometimes I will switch to this paddle if I’m playing against tougher opponents due to it giving me more finesse and control.

It’s a cheap paddle and it lacks power, but it offers so much in terms of value. If you’re able to ignore your “power game” then you can get tremendous value from it. Like I said above, this paddle is all about finesse and control. Of course, you can smack the ball pretty well, but that’s not what it’s for.

Also, due to its weight, you can snap and whip the ball very easily. It’s extremely fast, responsive and quick. This makes table tennis style backhand snaps extremely effective.

All around, this paddle is just great for the money. If you want a cheaper option than some of the Selkirk paddles or even the Tempest Wave, then this could be a great one for you.

Paddletek Element (Check prices)


  • Core: polymer
  • Face: polymer vinyl
  • Average weight: ~7.6 oz
  • Paddle length: 15 5/8”
  • Paddle width: 7 3/4″
  • Grip circumference: 4 1/8”
  • Grip type: Gamma perforated ribbed
  • Handle length: 5″
  • USAPA approved

The Paddletek Element is another great all-around paddle. I don’t consider it to be as good as the Tempest Wave, but it’s still great.

The face of the Element is what makes it truly unique. What I know is that the polymer vinyl face has a high amount of roughness. Basically, this gives the ball more spin. This is why the Paddletek Element is so popular among tennis players. They love those forehand spin shots and this paddle will give you plenty of that. Tennis players can also expect to use 2 hands for their backhand shots as well since the 5″ handle gives you plenty of room to do so.

Having said all that, the sweet spot on the element isn’t the best. Strikes with this paddle don’t feel as solid as more expensive paddles. I’ve been spoiled with the amazing sweet spot of the Tempest Wave for most of my pickleball days, so keep that in mind. But if it doesn’t bother you, then it won’t be a big deal.

Barrett’s #1 power paddle pick

Selkirk AMPED Invikta (Check prices)


  • Core: X5 polymer
  • Face: FiberFlex fiberglass
  • Average weight: 7.3– 7.7 oz (lightweight) 7.9 – 8.3 oz (midweight)
  • Paddle length: 16.5″
  • Paddle width: 7.375″
  • Grip circumference: 4.25″
  • Grip type: Selkirk ComfortGrip
  • Handle length: 5.25″
  • USAPA approved

The Selkirk Invikta is the creation of national champion Tyson McGuffin. I’ve played with this paddle multiple times and it’s amazing. You can read more about it here, but this paddle is basically a power-oriented version of an elongated paddle. So you get the reach that is traditional with elongated paddles, but you also get the power because of the longer handle. This is what makes this paddle so extraordinary.

It feels like an aggressive paddle because of the skinnier profile and the long handle, but it also feels forgiving. The width of this paddle is only 2/3″ off from most traditional paddles which are typically around 8″ wide. This means that you’re only losing 1/3″ on each side. Believe me, it makes a difference, but that’s not too bad for an elongated paddle.

Make no mistake, this is a power paddle for sure. You can really whip this paddle which makes it great for third shot drives, body shots at the net, passing shots and of course overhead smashes. But just because you can play aggressively with it that doesn’t mean that it lacks a net game. You can expect the same kind of finesse and softness that you would get with other paddles thanks to the X5 core. This polymer core gives you a very soft feeling, especially with indoor balls.

This paddle is primarily aimed at advanced players who have a full pickleball skill set that includes pulling out the aggressive and opportunistic shots every now and then.


Selkirk 30p XL Epic Enrique Ruiz (Check prices)


  • Core: polymer
  • Face: graphite
  • Average paddle weight: ~7.8oz
  • Paddle length: 15 3/4″
  • Paddle width: 8″
  • Grip circumference: 4 1/4″
  • Grip type: Gamma perforated cushion
  • Handle length: 5 1/4″
  • USAPA approved

Important note: this paddle has been discontinued and is no longer in production. If you want a paddle like this, check out the Paddletek Tempest Wave instead.

If you don’t like “blade” or elongated paddles then this is the 2nd best option for you.

Let me give you a little bit of backstory about this paddle before I get into the details. Awhile back, Selkirk released the 30p XL Epic. It was a great paddle that took the pickleball world by storm, but a certain professional player by the name of Enrique Ruiz wanted more. So Selkirk added more weight to the paddle and it became the “Enrique Ruiz” version. That’s the paddle you see above. It’s a monster of a paddle. It’s great at the net, but it’s especially great for driving and smashing the ball. That’s pretty much what it’s designed for.

Having said that, the paddle is heavier than most. Don’t be fooled by the midweight 7.8 oz above. This paddle is quite “top heavy” meaning that a lot of the weight is focused towards the end of the paddle. This makes the paddle seem heavier than usual, but it will increase your power significantly. That’s one of the main reasons why I consider the 30P XL Epic Enrique Ruiz to be a power paddle.

Onix Z5 Graphite (Check prices)

If you’ve been playing pickleball for awhile, then you’ve probably seen the Onix Z5 Graphite hanging around. It’s an unmistakable classic that is so popular because it’s widely available in retail stores. A lot of beginner pickleball players will drive by and pick this one up to start playing with. I never recommend this paddle for a beginner, but I do recommend it for players who want to play a power game. You can read a deeper review of this paddle here.

The nomex core inside this paddle will deliver an enormous amount of power. Unfortunately, that same nomex core makes it harder to control how fast the ball bounces off the face. This can lead to disaster. But again, if you’re playing a power game then your goal is to never get to that point.

The Onix Z5 Graphite can also be great for former ping-pong players. Striking a pickleball with this paddle feel extremely tactile and powerful. This is similar to how hard ping pong paddles feel. A paddle like this would make your transition into pickleball a bit easier.