Are you new to the sports and looking for your first paddle?

I’ve seen beginners wasting money on a fancy paddle that doesn’t fit them.

It’s frustrating.

I have reviewed many pickleball paddles and I want to use the experience to help you avoid picking up the wrong paddle.

In this article, I’ve included my top 9 picks.

My current top recommendation for beginners is the SLK Evo Hybrid 2.0 by Selkirk.

It is durable, versatile, and fun to play with.

But I know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all paddle.

So, I’m going to give you some tips on how to select the right paddle as a beginner in the later part of the article.

Let’s get started.

The 9 best pickleball paddles for beginners

In this section, I’ll review the best pickleball paddles for beginners that I’ve chosen based on their quality, performance, features, and customer feedback.

Here are the 9 best pickleball paddles for beginners:

SLK Evo Hybrid 2.0 by Selkirk – Best Overall

If you are looking for a medium-price paddle that is durable and has decent quality, you definitely want to check out the SLK Evo Hybrid 2.0 by Selkirk. 

This paddle has a hybrid construction that combines a polymer core with a fiberglass face, which is solid and durable.

This is an all-rounded paddle that allows you to do everything you want it to do, including powerful shots, finessed spins, and unbreakable defense. 

The paddle is also USAPA-approved and comes with a 1-year warranty from Selkirk, so you can be sure you are getting a quality product.

Who Should Buy It

  • Players who want a balanced paddle that can deliver both power and control
  • Players who are willing to invest in a long-lasting paddle

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who are on a tight budget or looking for a cheaper option

Pros

  • All-rounded that offers excellent power and control
  • Durable
  • Large sweet spot and smooth edge guard

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other starters’ paddles

Price

The SLK Evo Hybrid 2.0 by Selkirk costs $100. You can buy it from Selkirk’s official website or Amazon.

JOOLA Essentials Pickleball Paddles – Best for Budget

If you are new to pickleball and want to try it out without spending too much money, you want to consider the JOOLA Essentials Pickleball Paddle. 

It has a large sweet spot that gives you a loud pop that is satisfying to some but annoying to others, because of the honeycomb polypropylene core. 

The paddles are weighted 8.2 oz which feels lightweight and fits easily in your hand, which makes it easy to handle and maneuver.

The paddles come in a set of two, along with four balls, so you can start playing right away.

Who Should Buy It

  • Players who are new to pickleball and want to try it out without spending too much money
  • Players who want to get two paddles and four balls in one package

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who want more advanced features or materials in their paddles
  • Players who have large hands

Pros

  • Great value for the price
  • Large sweet spot
  • Medium grip size and standard paddle size
  • Comes with two paddles and four balls

Cons

  • Not very durable or resistant to wear and tear
  • Short grip length

Price

The JOOLA Essentials Pickleball Paddles cost $59.

You can buy the set of two paddles, two balls, and a paddle bag on Amazon for $120.

Vatic Pro PRISM Flash – Best for spin and touch

The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash is a less popular choice but has been gaining a lot of attention for its fair price and high performance. 

It features a raw carbon fiber face with a textured surface, giving it a crisp feel and excellent spin potential. 

It is a control paddle, with balanced power and spin. 

The paddle is USAPA-approved.

Who Should Buy It

  • Players who want a control paddle
  • Players who love to generate spin and touch on their shots
  • Players who have smaller hands or like to use more wrist action

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who look for pure power paddle

Pros

  • Raw carbon fiber face with textured surface for spin and touch
  • Premium polymer core injected with foam for softness and responsiveness
  • All-rounded

Cons

  • Not very powerful compared to other paddles
  • Prone to scratches and dust

Price

The Vatic Pro PRISM Flash costs around $99, which is a bargain for its features and performance. You can buy it from Vatic’s official website or Amazon.

SLK Latitude 2.0 Selkirk – Best for comfort and balance

The SLK Latitude 2.0 Selkirk is a paddle that offers comfort and balance for beginner and intermediate players. It features a graphite face that provides control without sacrificing power. The paddle also has a polypropylene core that is engineered for powerful performance, while the SLK Ultra-Comfort grip is stable, comfortable, and nonslip. The paddle has a standard paddle size (15.65 x 8.25 inches) and shape, making it versatile and easy to use. The paddle comes in various colors and designs, so you can choose your favorite one.

Who Should Buy It

  • Players who want a comfortable and balanced paddle that can handle any shot
  • Players who value control over power or spin
  • Players who like to customize their paddle’s appearance

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who want more advanced features or materials in their paddles
  • Players who prefer more power or spin in their paddles

Pros

  • Graphite face that provides control without sacrificing power
  • Polypropylene core that is engineered for powerful performance
  • SLK Ultra-Comfort grip that is stable, comfortable, and nonslip
  • Standard paddle size and shape that are versatile and easy to use
  • Various colors and designs to choose from

Cons

  • Not very advanced or innovative compared to other paddles
  • Not very spin-friendly or forgiving compared to other paddles

Price

The SLK Latitude 2.0 Selkirk costs $70. You can buy it from Selkirk’s official website.

Here is the continuation of the section for the 9 best pickleball paddles for beginners:

PCKL Launch Series – Best for forgiveness

The PCKL Launch Series is a paddle that is explicitly designed for beginners.

This paddle has a huge sweet spot, thanks to its wide body and fiberglass face.

The wide-body shape makes it easy to hit the ball,  which means that you won’t miss as much.
It also has a polypropylene honeycomb core that gives your shots more consistency and a bigger sweet spot. You’ll love the bounce and the feel of this paddle.

This means you’ll have more fun and less frustration as a beginner, and you’ll get better faster as you can keep the ball going longer. 

The paddle is light and quick, so you can move it around and reach more balls. I was amazed by how responsive this paddle was from my first dink, and I could hit hard with a solid feel.

These paddles won’t give you as much spin as some of the fancier pickleball paddles out there, but that’s not a big deal for most beginners. 

What will impress you is how good the paddle feels in your hand, how many shots you can pull off, and how long you can rally.

Who Should Buy It

  • Beginners who want a paddle with a large paddle face
  • Players who love the bright green color of the PCKL paddle
  • Players who have larger hands or like to use more arm action

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who want more power or spin in their paddle

Pros

  • Large sweet spot
  • Very forgiving
  • Light and agile

Cons

  • Slightly less power and spins compared to other paddles

Price

The PCKL Launch Series costs around $65. You can buy it from PCKL’s official website or Amazon.

Vulcan V530 Heavyweight Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle – Best for Power

If you want a powerful yet not too hard-to-control paddle, you should check out the Vulcan V530 Power Pickleball Paddle.

The carbon fiber surface makes it solid. A polypropylene core reduces its vibration and adds more punch.

You can smash the ball hard and fast with this paddle and open up holes in your opponent’s defense.

It weighs about 8.5 oz and has a big grip size that feels comfy and cushy in your hand. 

With the Vulcan V530 Power Pickleball Paddle, other players will know what hit them, but they won’t be able to keep up with you.

Who Should Buy It

  • Players who want a powerful and durable paddle that can withstand heavy use
  • Players who prefer a heavier paddle that can generate more momentum

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who prefer a lighter or softer paddle that can offer more control or touch
  • Players who want more spin or forgiveness in their paddle

Pros

  • Carbon fiber face that is stiff and strong for power and durability
  • Dense and heavy for momentum and stability

Cons

  • Heavy compared to other paddles (8.4 oz)
  • Not very spin-friendly or forgiving compared to other paddles

Price

The Vulcan V530 Heavyweight Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle costs $100. You can buy it from Vulcan’s official website or Amazon.

PaddletekPhoenix G6 Composite Paddle – Best for control and consistency

The Phoenix G6 Composite paddle from Paddletek is perfect for recreational players.

It has a smooth, polycarbonate face that feels like velvet and gives you a better grip on the ball. 

The core of the paddle is made of honeycomb-shaped plastic with an extra layer of graphite. This makes the paddle more stable, and quiet and reduces the vibrations that can mess up your shots.

It is great for playing fast and close in the kitchen, as well as hitting hard and deep from the baseline. You can play those tricky short shots and drinks with confidence because the paddle gives you more control and feedback. 

The handle is reinforced to protect your hand from shock and impact, and the grip is soft and cushioned to make it more comfortable.

Who Should Buy It

  • Players who want a stable control-oriented paddle to improve their accuracy and placement
  • Players who like to play with finesse and strategy

Who Should Avoid It

  • Players who prefer a more textured or spin-friendly paddle
  • Players who want more power or forgiveness in their paddle

Pros

  • Smooth surface for control and feel
  • Responsive and quiet
  • Easy to control and forgiving

Cons

  • Not very spin-friendly compared to other paddles

Price

The PaddletekPhoenix G6 Composite Paddle costs $69. You can buy it from Paddletek’s official website or Amazon.

How to pick the best pickleball paddles for beginners

Choosing the first paddle is the hardest because you don’t know what exactly to look for. 

To help you make a better decision, I’ve made a comprehensive guide on How to Select a Pickleball Paddle.

Here’s a simplified version of the article:

Weight

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. 

Most of the paddles I recommend for beginners are light or midweight because they’re easier to use and have a better balance between power and control.

For more details on the differences between lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight paddles, check out my Pickleball Paddle Weight Guide.

Grip Size

The grip is the part of the paddle that you hold with your hand.

The grip size of a paddle is measured by the circumference of the handle, and it can vary from 4 to 5.

You want a grip that fits your hand size and feels comfortable.

If you have no idea what your grip size is, check out this article.

Just so you know, this is not a magical perfect number. You should also try a paddle with a slightly smaller or bigger grip size later to see which one you like better.

Handle Length

The handle length is also called the grip length. It can vary from 4 to 6 inches.

Longer handles offer more reach, leverage, and power.

But, there are tradeoffs. Longer handle paddles have smaller paddle faces and sweet spots because USAPA regulates that the combined length and weight of a paddle cannot exceed 24 inches.

As it has a longer handle, the paddle will be narrower. 

Unless you like to use both hands for backhand or have big hands, you should use a handle with a medium handle length. 

For most people, a paddle with a handle length between 4.5 and 5.5 inches is good to go.

Material

Materials used in paddle construction Pickleball paddles are made from different materials.

They have a core which is the inner layer that provides the strength of the paddle and a surface frame that surrounds it. 

The surface material is usually made from fiberglass, carbon fiber, or graphite.

On the other side, the core of a paddle is the inner layer that provides the structure and strength of the paddle, and it can be made from different materials, such as polymer, aluminum, or nomex.

Polymer cores are the most popular and widely used cores in pickleball paddles, and they are also less noisy. 

For beginners, there are differences between different material construction they don’t matter that much now. 

But if you want to know about the details, you can check out my Pickleball Paddle Guide article or the FAQ below. 

Core Thickness

The thickness of the paddle’s core ranges from 11 mm to 20 mm.

11 mm – 14 mm pickleball paddles are classified as thinner core paddles, while 15 mm – 20 mm paddles are considered thicker core paddles.

Thick-core paddles favor control over power by offering a softer feel, larger sweet spot, and more stability, while thinner-core paddles offer a more responsive feel, lightweight, and more agility.

For a more detailed comparison, check out my article about pickleball paddle core thickness.

Price

The price of a paddle is determined by the quality and features of the materials and design of the paddle. 

In my opinion, beginners don’t need a super expensive paddle, because it’s likely that you will change your paddle after you play for a while. (I mean, it is not necessary but I can’t control myself to keep switching to the latest and nicer-looking paddle.)

If you’re into pickleball and know that you will keep playing for a while, then invest some money into buying a paddle that is durable and can be used at the intermediate level. 

A paddle around $100 would be good. 

If you just want to try out the sport, then you can just go for the cheapest but decent paddles on this list like the Joola Essential or SLK Latitude. 

Durability

You don’t want a paddle that will fall apart after a few months of practice.

Some paddles are made with cheap materials or poor craftsmanship, and they can break easily. All the paddles I suggest are durable and well-made, but you should always check the reviews for any complaints about quality.

One more thing, a paddle can be more durable if you take care of it properly.

If you want to make your pickleball paddle last longer, check out my How to Care For Pickleball Paddle article.

Conclusion

I hope that this article has helped you find your ideal pickleball paddle.

If you’re still hesitating and want more information, check out my Full Pickleball Paddle Guide.

FAQs

Does the price of a pickleball paddle matter?

Yes, the price of a pickleball paddle does matter. More expensive paddles generally have better quality and durability. But it’s not the only thing that matters. You should also think about other things, like weight, grip size, handle length, surface material, core, durability, size, and performance.

What is the difference between fiberglass and graphite pickleball paddles?

Here are some of the main differences between fiberglass and graphite pickleball paddles:
1. Fiberglass paddles have more power and pop than fiberglass paddles
2. Graphite paddles are harder and stiffer than fiberglass paddles. This means that graphite paddles give a more solid feel when you’re hitting the ball. 
3. Fiberglass paddles are usually more durable than graphite paddles. 

How do beginner and advanced pickleball paddles differ from each other?

Here are some of the main differences between beginner and advanced pickleball paddles:
1. Advanced pickleball paddles cost more than beginner pickleball paddles. For example, advanced pickleball paddles might cost from $100-$200, while beginner pickleball paddles might cost from $20-$100. 
2. Advanced pickleball paddles usually have more complex features and high-quality materials than beginner pickleball paddles, like larger sweet spots, more durable cores, or more cushioned grips.
3. Advanced paddles are more customizable. Players can choose the weight, grip size, and handle length that fits them the most. 

How does a pickleball paddle affect your game?

A paddle that fits your playing style will drastically boost your performance, and vice versa. 
For example, a lighter paddle lets you swing faster and easier than a heavier paddle, but it also makes you less stable and powerful. A longer-handle pickleball paddle length gives you more reach and leverage than a shorter-handle pickleball paddle but is also less forgiving and has a smaller sweet spot.

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