I’ve tested and compared the best graphite pickleball paddle to help you pick the right one.
I’ve found the Engage Pursuit MX 6.0 Graphite to be the best choice overall.
It is potent, made of premium carbon fiber, and is extremely affordable.
If for whatever reason you dislike Engage, there are still 9 other outstanding graphite paddles you can choose from.
I’ll explain to you how I chose these paddles in the last part of the article.
But now let’s take a look at the best graphite pickleball paddles.
Best Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Pursuit MX 6.0 Graphite
The Pursuit MX 6.0 Graphite paddle is a powerhouse of a paddle that lets you unleash your full potential on the court. This paddle has a lot of power and pop, making it easy to hit fast and deep shots.
It features a textured graphite face that gives you amazing spin and control over the ball. And, it has a thick polymer core that provides a large sweet spot and shock absorption. It also has a long handle that offers more reach and a racquet-like balance.
It has a consistent and predictable feel, making it easy to adjust and develop a good touch with the paddle.
But some people may some time to get used to the extra power the paddle offers, especially for soft shots from the midcourt and baseline.
Overall, the Pursuit MX 6.0 Graphite paddle is an excellent choice for players who want to take their game to the next level with a power-driven paddle.
HEAD Radical Tour Pickleball Paddle
Why we love it: The HEAD Radical Tour is a pickleball paddle that can do it all. Whether you want to hit powerful drives or delicate drop shots, this paddle has you covered. It features an ergonomic handle that has a comfortable grip system. The handle has a tapered shape that fits the hand well and allows for easy maneuverability. The grip is made of EVA material that absorbs moisture and provides a soft and cushioned feel. The paddle is part of the Radical series of paddles from HEAD, which are designed to provide optimal performance and durability. If you are looking for a paddle that can deliver both power and precision, you may want to consider the HEAD Radical Tour.
Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle
The Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle has been around for a long time, and it’s still one of the most popular ones among pickleball players. Why? Because it’s awesome!
The Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle is not too heavy and not too light. It’s just right for hitting the ball with power and control. It also has a big sweet spot, so you don’t have to worry about missing or mishitting the ball. The paddle feels smooth and responsive, thanks to its graphite face and nomex honeycomb core.
This paddle is especially good for players who like to play with touch and finesse. You can use this paddle for different kinds of shots, like dinks, lobs, and drives.
The biggest complaint about this paddle is it can be quite loud when you hit the ball, which might annoy some people or places. This is because the paddle is a nomex core, which is quite rare these days.
But overall, the Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle is a reliable and reputable choice that has many fans and happy customers.
SLK NEO 2.0 by Selkirk
If you are new to pickleball and looking for a good paddle that won’t break the bank, you might want to check out the SLK NEO 2.0 by Selkirk. This paddle has a cool graphite face with a special texture that helps you hit the ball better and more accurately. It also has a soft core that makes it feel nice and smooth when you play. And the best part is, it’s super light and easy to handle, so you won’t get tired or sore from swinging it.
Of course, given its price, this paddle doesn’t have the best performance. It’s not very powerful or spinny compared to some of the other paddles out there. But hey, you can’t have everything, right?
The SLK NEO 2.0 by Selkirk is one of the best deals you can find for a beginner paddle. You should definitely give it a try if you’re just getting into pickleball.
Price: $79.99 for a full set
JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 Graphite Paddle
The Joola Hyperion CAS 16 is a pickleball paddle that combines graphite and carbon abrasion surfaces for a poppy feel. It has a responsive core that absorbs the ball well and allows for pace control. The paddle’s surface has a sandpaper-like texture that can generate spin, but it also wears out quickly. The CAS 16 is a control paddle that has a decent sweet spot, but it’s not as forgiving as its sibling, the CFS 16. The paddle doesn’t offer the same connected feel or power, but it feels lighter and is easier to maneuver than the CFS 16.
Prokennex Ovation Flight
Prokennex Ovation Flight Pickleball Paddle is a one-of-a-kind.
It has an oval shape which makes the sweet spot huge. The weird shape creates a more consistent ball contact and reduces the chances of mishitting the ball.
This paddle has Prokennex’s Kinetic System Technology. This is a cool feature that uses tiny balls that move inside the paddle’s frame and create a powerful energy transfer when you hit the ball. This makes the paddle feel smooth and easy on your arm and also makes your shots stronger and more accurate. The Kinetic System Technology can prevent and heal tennis elbow.
Niupipo Explorer pro graphite pickleball paddle
If you are looking for an affordable paddle without sacrificing quality, you might want to check out the Niupipo Explorer Pro. This paddle has a graphite carbon fiber face with a textured surface that gives you more spin and accuracy. It’s all-rounded and balanced, featuring a large sweet spot and medium weight. The best thing about this paddle is its price. You wouldn’t expect a paddle with this quality to be below $100. The Niupipo Explorer Pro is one of the best Niupipo paddles, along with the Voyager Pro, which has a similar construction but an elongated shape.
GAMMA 505 pickleball paddle
The Gamma 505 is an elongated paddle with a textured graphite face that gives you more power and stability. It has an extended handle that allows you to use two-handed backhands and increase your reach and leverage. It has some drawbacks in terms of spin and forgiveness. Overall, the Gamma 505 is a power paddle that offers a consistent hitting feel.
SLK Latitude 2.0 by Selkirk
The SLK Latitude Pickleball Paddle is not just another paddle is a high-tier beginner paddle that has a reasonable price It has a good feel and control over the ball, thanks to its graphite face and polymer core. It is easy to use, thanks to its lightweight and comfortable grip. And it looks amazing, with its vibrant colors and stunning design.
It is smooth, responsive, and consistent. It helps me hit accurate shots and add spin when I need it. It is also durable and well-protected, with its low-profile edge guard. It is a pleasure to play with this paddle.
If you are looking for a new pickleball paddle that will make you happy and satisfied, you want to check out the SLK Latitude Pickleball Paddle
Amazin’ Aces Signature Set
If you are looking for an entry-level pickleball paddle set that includes everything you need to start playing, you may want to consider the Amazin’ Aces Signature Set.
This set comes with two USAPA-approved paddles, four outdoor pickleballs, two paddle covers, and one carry bag.
The paddles have a graphite face and a polymer honeycomb core that offer a balance of power and control, as well as durability and responsiveness. The paddles are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to maneuver.
The balls are durable and visible, making them suitable for outdoor play. The covers and bag provided are convenient and protective, allowing you to store and transport your paddles safely.
The set is worth the money, as it offers high-quality equipment at an affordable price.
Graphite Paddles: Pros and Cons
Graphite paddles are popular among many competitive players because they have some advantages over other types of paddles. Here are some of the pros and cons of graphite paddles:
- Graphite paddles are lightweight, which means they are easy to maneuver and reduce fatigue and wrist strain.
- Graphite paddles are responsive and provide a good feel and touch for the ball. You can easily vary the strength and direction of your shots with a graphite paddle, and achieve more finesse and accuracy.
- Graphite paddles are durable, which means they can withstand repeated use and impact without losing shape or performance. Graphite is a strong material that does not crack or warp easily.
- They are capable of generating more spin on the ball thanks to their rough surface.
- Graphite paddles are usually priced higher than other types of paddles, such as wood, plastic, or composite.
- Lack of power compared to other materials
- Graphite paddles are stiff. They can transfer more vibration and shock to your arm and elbow. This can cause discomfort or injury if you have sensitive joints or muscles, or if you play for long periods of time.
Graphite Pickleball Paddle Buying Guide
If you decide to buy a graphite pickleball paddle, there are some factors that you need to consider before making your purchase.
Read my How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle article.
Here are some of the most important ones:
We usually group pickleball paddles into three categories according to their weights:
- Lightweight: below 7.2 oz
- Midweight: 7.2 – 8.4 oz
- Heavyweight: over 8.4 oz
Generally, lighter paddles are easier to maneuver and swing, while heavier paddles are more stable and powerful.
The weight of a paddle depends on the thickness and density of the core material, as well as the size and shape of the face. Most graphite paddles fall into the medium weight range of 7.2 to 8.4 ounces.
The lightweight gives graphite paddles excellent control and agility. But if you want to maximize shot power, consider heavier paddles that are made of different materials.
A durable paddle will resist wear and tear, impact damage, and weather conditions. Graphite paddles are generally strong and durable.
With that said, it depends on many factors such as the construction, materials, and how well you take care of it.
Some paddles are made with cheap materials or poor construction, and they can break easily. All the paddles on our list are durable and well-made, but you should always check the customer reviews for any complaints about quality.
You want a paddle that has a strong edge guard, a protective cover, and a warranty from the manufacturer.
And if you want to make your pickleball paddle last longer, check out my How to Care For Pickleball Paddle article.
Grip size and comfort
The grip size affects how comfortable and secure you feel when holding the paddle and how much wrist action you can use.
The smaller the grip size, the more wrist action you can use to generate spin and angle. The larger the grip size, the more stability you have to prevent twisting or slipping.
The shape of the paddle affects the size of the sweet spot, which is the area where the ball makes optimal contact with the paddle.
A larger sweet spot will give you more consistency and forgiveness for your shots. The standard shape for pickleball paddles is rectangular, but there are also oval, elongated, widebody, and other shapes available.
Core thickness affects the stiffness and deflection of the paddle, which in turn affects the power and control of your shots. A thicker core will make the paddle stiffer and more powerful, while a thinner core will make the paddle more flexible and more controllable.
The price of a paddle depends on the quality and features of the materials, design, and construction. Graphite paddles are usually more expensive than other types of paddles, but they also offer more benefits and value.
The material and construction of the paddles determine the noise they produce.
Graphite and carbon fiber are the quietest materials. On top of that, a thick core will really minimize the noise level.
Read my quiet pickleball paddles article.
What Style Of Pickleball Player Are You?
If you like to hit deep and top spins shots and enjoy hitting bangers more than soft dinks, you’re probably a power player.
Power players like to hit the ball hard and fast and rely on their strength and speed to win points. Power players usually prefer heavier paddles that can generate more force and momentum, and have larger sweet spots that can accommodate their aggressive swings.
Control players are those who like to hit the ball softly and accurately and rely on their touch and placement to win points. Control players usually prefer lighter paddles that can allow them to maneuver and adjust their shots easily.
Balanced players are the “whatever it takes to win” type of guys”. They use their versatility and adaptability to win points. Balanced players usually prefer all-rounded paddles that can offer them a good balance of stability and maneuverability.
What is the difference between carbon fiber and graphite pickleball paddles?
Carbon fiber and graphite pickleball paddles are sometimes used interchangeably. Carbon fiber and graphite are both forms of carbon.
But, carbon fiber paddles generally have a higher quality compared to graphite paddles. While they are both lightweight and rigid, carbon fiber paddles are more powerful.
Graphite on the other hand is the more cost-effective option.
To learn more about the different paddle materials, check out my Best Pickleball Paddle Material article.
To recap, Engage Pursuit MX 6.0 Graphite is my top recommendation which works well for players of all levels.
And if you prefer a more affordable option, the SLK NEO 2.0 is an excellent option.
Is graphite better than composite?
Graphite is not necessarily better than composite. Graphite paddles have very distinct features. They are light and stiff. Meanwhile, composite paddles’ performance varies vastly depending on the construction material.
Is there a difference between graphite and fiberglass pickleball paddles?
Yes, there is a difference between graphite and fiberglass pickleball paddles. Graphite paddles have a thin layer of graphite or carbon fiber on the surface, while fiberglass paddles have a thin layer of fiberglass or glass fiber on the surface. Graphite paddles are stiffer, lighter, more responsive, and more durable than fiberglass paddles. Fiberglass paddles are softer, heavier, and more powerful.
What is the difference between the Z5 and the Z5 mod series?
The Z5 is one of the most popular graphite pickleball paddles on the market. It has a rectangular shape with a large sweet spot that provides power and consistency. It weighs between 7.5 to 8.2 ounces with a 4-inch grip size that fits most players. It has a cushioned grip that provides comfort and sweat absorption.
The Z5 mod series is an updated version of the Z5 that features some improvements in design and performance. It has an oval shape with a smaller sweet spot that provides more control and precision. It weighs between 7.8 to 8.4 ounces with a 4-1/4-inch grip size that fits larger hands better. It has a perforated grip that provides breathability and moisture management.