Every year I release my favorite list of paddles that you should look out for throughout the year. Well, the time has come to do it again! I’ve compiled a list of some of the best pickleball paddles that you should keep your eyes on throughout 2019.
I’ll be explaining these paddles in detail from an objective standpoint, not just what I personally like. I have played many, many games with the vast majority of the paddles on this list, but I’ll try to keep the subjective opinions down to a minimum. Also, to be clear and transparent, there are some links below that lead you to Amazon where I earn a small percentage if you buy a paddle.
So, what are the best pickleball paddles available? Let’s get into it!
- Average weight: 7.2– 7.6 oz (lightweight) 7.7 – 8.3 oz (midweight)
- Paddle length: 15 ¾”
- Paddle width: 8 ¼”
- Grip circumference: 4 ⅜” (perforated grip) or 4 ⅛” (thin grip)
- Handle length: 5 ½” (Response) or 5” (Spectrum
So I mentioned that I wouldn’t go into subjective opinion, but I just can’t help myself. The Prince Response Pro is the paddle I’ve been using since mid-2018 and will be my paddle of choice (most likely) for the next two years. It’s my baby. I’m serious about that. I make sure it’s safe wherever it is and sometimes I get the urge to tuck it into bed at night.
Jokes aside (maybe), the Prince Response Pro or Spectrum Pro paddles are amazing. They are the absolute best paddles I have ever played with and I’m shocked that they’re not as popular as others.
What makes them so different than any other paddle I’ve ever played with is the shape. And before we get into it, yes, it does make a huge difference.
The rounded shape of the Response/Spectrum gives the paddle more forgiveness, especially at the net. Rather than having tight corners like most paddles, the sweet spot on the Response/Spectrum is rounded out and smoother. It creates more area for the ball and it shows in its performance.
There is a difference between the Response and Spectrum pickleball paddles, but it’s minimal.
Simply put, the Response and Spectrum are the same height, but the Spectrum has a shorter handle. Since it has a shorter handle, it also has a longer paddle face as you can see below.
If you’re comfortable using shorter handles, then the Spectrum is the best one to go for.
The Prince Response or Spectrum is great for people who want less miss hits at the net. The expanded sweetspot helps to make your dink volleys more accurate giving you confidence at the kitchen line!
- Average weight: 7.6 oz
- Paddle length: 15 ⅞”
- Paddle width: 8”
- Grip Circumference: 4 ¼”
- Handle length: 5 ¼”
The Paddletek Tempest Wave made my list last year and for good reason. It’s one of the greatest paddles ever made. I put it up there with the Selkirk AMPED Epic, which is a hard bar to surpass.
The Tempest Wave is enormously popular for a few reasons:
- The sweet spot is extremely “soft” and forgiving due to the graphite face.
- Smashes and punch volleys feel powerful and visceral.
This paddle gives you the best of all worlds. It’s great at the net, great from the baseline and anywhere in between. It’s easy to soften up shots and bang for the winner as well. It just feels amazing.
Even though the Pro version of the Tempest Wave is technically better, it’s not that much better than its predecessor. Therefore, I cannot recommend buying a brand new Tempest Wave Pro if you’re already pleased with your “regular” version. I would only buy one if your current paddle is beaten up or just needs replacing in general.
The Paddletek Tempest Wave is great for people who want all the control in the world without sacrificing much in terms of power.
- Average weight: ~8.1oz (Midweight) 7.3 – 7.7oz
- Paddle length: 15 3/4″
- Paddle width: 8″
- Grip circumference: 4 1/4″
- Handle length: 5 1/4″
Out of all the paddles that I recommend to beginners who want the best paddle without any considerations for price, this is the one that I show them. This paddle “flies off the shelves” so to speak. I don’t sell paddles, but whenever I recommend this to someone, they typically buy it the next day.
Makes sense to me!
This paddle came out in late 2017, but it’s still relevant even to this day.
Selkirk took a chance with this one. They decided to do something that no other manufacturer was doing at the time.
They made the paddle core much thicker than what was usually seen. It was shocking and surprising, but it worked.
Because of the thick core, which is standard these days, you get loads of softness and control. The paddle is “spongy” you could say. It seems to absorb the impact of the ball better which gives you more control over your finesse game.
This is great for people who have trouble popping up the ball.
Selkirk offers two types of AMPED Epic paddles based on weight. One is midweight and the other is lightweight. For most people, the lightweight version is going to work just fine. I know it may seem like you’ll get less power with a lighter paddle, but it’s not that bad!
If you have tons of upper body strength, then you may want to go for the midweight version. This will give you more weight behind your swings which will makes your shots effortless and will give you more power on the winners.
- Average weight: 7.9 oz (Standard) 7.5 – 7.8 oz
- Paddle length: 16″
- Paddle width: 8″
- Grip circumference: 4 1/4″
- Handle length: 5″
Engage has been a huge player in the pickleball paddle world for many years now. Although they lack in visual design, they easily make up for it by providing some of the highest quality paddles around.
The Engage Poach Advantage is no exception to this. It’s another one of these enormously popular paddles. I know 5.0 players who use this paddle, but also know 3.0 players who use it as well. This is especially the case for tennis players.
The aspect that defines this paddle is its top-heavy nature. It’s very top-heavy, and thus makes your swings effortless since all the weight is centered around where the ball is hitting. As long as you trust your swing, this makes getting the ball over the net effortless.
The heavier the paddle is, the more you can let the paddle do the work. That defines the Engage Poach Advantage.
But when the times comes around to crush the ball, this paddle has you covered. It has an enormous amount of power behind it. If you can swing this thing quickly, you will get results!
If you’re a previous tennis player or someone who loves top-heavy paddles, this is the paddle for you.
If you want to see this paddle in action, check out my review on YouTube.
- Average weight: ~8.0
- Paddle length: 15 3/8″
- Paddle width: 7 5/8″
- Grip circumference: 4″
- Handle length: 4 7/8″
Recently, ProKennex has exploded onto the pickleball scene. And rightfully so. Their first paddle has been a huge success and has seen play at high levels from multiple professional players.
You can’t see it from the picture above, but the ProKennex Kinetic is actually an edgeguard free paddle. This means that there is no plastic wrapping around the edge of the paddle like you see in most others.
One of the reasons why they had to go this route is because the paddle is very thin. In terms of most paddles on the market, the ProKennex Kinetic is one of the most thin paddles around, which goes against the current grain.
A lot of manufacturers are going with the thick cores, but ProKennex said no. Even with the thin core, the paddle still feels great and you still get plenty of control and finesse.
Hard shots are great because of how thin the paddle. You can really feel the explosiveness and the impact in your hand. If you’re not a fan of the spongy paddles, this will be a great one for you!
Keep in mind that if you do get this paddle, the edges of the paddle will start to fray, but this does not mean that your paddle is breaking down. It’s normal!
- Average weight: 8.0 oz
- Paddle length: 15 ½”
- Paddle width: 8”
- Grip circumference: 4.375”
- Handle length: 5″
As of early 2019, the Onix Outbreak is the new kid on the block.
It features a kind of paddle face that has never been seen before. It’s called TexTreme and it intrigues me. If you look closely at the image above, you’ll see that the paddle has a checkerboard look. These are interwoven bands of carbon fiber graphite called TexTreme. It’s made by a company in Sweden and Onix is the first manufacturer to use it on a paddle.
But does the technology actually make a difference?
Yes, yes it does.
Due to the carbon fiber/graphite face, the Onix Outbreak is the most spongy and soft paddle I’ve ever played with. It’s incredible.
But that doesn’t mean that you sacrifice power. You don’t. It just means that your dinks feel more like hitting a ball of butter rather than a ball of plastic.
The only minor gripe I have about this paddle is the handle. It has very well-defined edges that you can feel in your hand. The edges of the handle is almost “sharp” so to speak. When I showed this to my pickleball friends, some liked it and some didn’t. However, everyone loved the paddle in general.
- 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″
- Handle length: 5.25″
I wanted to make sure that I included an elongated paddle in this year’s list. I know that there are quite a few power players out there. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you!
The Selkirk Invikta is the product of Tyson McGuffin. At the time of this writing, Tyson is the #1 singles player in the world, and his paddle helped him get to that point.
The Selkirk Invikta is basically a control-oriented version of a power paddle. It’s not quite as powerful as the Maxima (which is more slender), but not quite as wide as an AMPED Epic. It’s right in the middle putting the Invikta in a class of its own.
The greatest thing about this paddle is the amount of whip you can get. Unlike most elongated paddles, the Invikta sports a long handle. This means that you can get a firm grip on the paddle, but also choke up to where your hand is closer to the center of gravity.
This creates more whip and power with your shots because you can swing the paddle faster.
If you’re looking for an elongated paddle that has plenty of room for your hand, but doesn’t sacrifice power over accuracy, then the Invikta is right up your alley.
If you have any other questions about paddles, please let me know. I’m here to serve you in any way that I can.
If you want a guide on how to pick a paddle, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Head on over here for the full guide!
Thanks for reading!