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Choosing a Paddle


Three Things to Consider When Selecting a Pickleball Paddle:

1) Paddle Prices
Good composite pickleball paddles start at $50.  There are three categories of paddles - wood prices range from $13-$36, composite from $45-$100 and graphite from $60- $90.  

Note on wood paddles - Wood paddles are the least expensive, however they are extremely heavy with a solid plywood core. They don’t provide the wonderful Pickleball POP that players love.  After playing with the wood paddles and testing out other players' composite paddles, customers will place a second order for a composite or graphite paddle.  If you're new to Pickleball and looking for your first paddle, go for a composite or graphite right away.  Composite has a little more pop while the graphite is a little softer and gives a little better touch to your shots.

2) Paddle Weight Range 
Weight is the most important factor when choosing a paddle.  Pickleball paddles can range from 6 to 14 ounces.  Most composite or graphite paddles weigh from 7 to 9 ounces.  Weight influences how a paddle feels when you pick it up and swing it on the court.  For someone without pre-existing injuries, your choice of paddle weight is entirely up to your personal fitness level and comfort.  A heavier paddle will help you to drive the ball, and to control the ball when it contacts the paddle.  However, be aware that the heaviness of the paddle also accelerates fatigue in your arm, and can strain your elbow. Conversely, a paddle that is too light may not provide enough drive and may reduce ball control.  

3) Paddle Grip Size 
It is important to play with a paddle that has the correct grip circumference for your hand. Playing with a paddle grip that is too big may cause the paddle to slip in your hand and can lead to elbow problems. For this reason if you are trying to decide between two sizes, try the smaller size first.   

Smaller grips allow for more wrist action, which aids in putting spin on the ball and enhances control. This wrist action also produces powerful serves, and facilitates quick hand changes for those players that switch hands during play.  A larger grip will provide more stability, and be easier on your arm, so you can see that it is important to find the "just right" size for your hand. Competitive Pickleball players often customize their paddle grips using an over-grip to re-wrap their paddle exactly to fit their personal preference. 

Almost all paddle grip sizes are between 4 to 4½ inches in circumference. Unlike tennis, Pickleball grips are not broken down into specific 1/8 inch increments. At PickleballCentral.com we have evaluated each line of paddles and distinguished the grip sizes by the ¼ inch. The most common grip sizes are 4 , 4 ¼ and 4½ inch circumference.

Three Ways to Determine Hand Size
Don't know your hand size? Three Ways to Determine Hand Size

1) Height test
This informal test is supposed to work for both men and women. It's simple and works for the people we've tested. Remember, if in doubt, go with a smaller grip.
Height...........Grip Size
Under 5'2".......4 inch grip
5'3" to 5'8".....4 1/4 inch grip
5'9" & taller...4 1/2 inch grip

2) Ring Finger test
Hold your dominant palm up. Notice your palm has three major creases. Take a ruler and measure from the middle crease of your palm, up to the tip of your ring finger.  This measurement should reflect the perfect grip size for you. If you are unsure between two sizes, choose the smaller size. Read our article, “Why Grip Size Matters”, on our website, to learn more about the effects of an ill-fitting paddle. 

3) Printable grip-sizer chart
Wilson has a printable grip-sizer that you can print out and use to measure your hand.  Click on the link below: 
(Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print out.) 

How to Check the Fit of your Pickleball Paddle
To verify the fit of your paddle, or when trying several paddles, use the following method to verify sizing. If you are unsure between two sizes, choose the smaller size. Here's why. 

Grip a paddle with your normal grip and see if you can slide the index finger of your other hand between your fingertips and the heel of your hand gripping the paddle. Your finger should fit snugly between the two without your having to move your fingers. 

If you must shift your fingers farther away from the heel of the hand to get your index finger in between the two, the grip might be too small. 

If you have space between your index finger and your fingers or heel of your hand, the grip might be too large.
A note added by Bill Smith:
In the end, the selection of a paddle is an art, not a science; it is a matter of personal choice.  Essentially, select a paddle that you’ve had the opportunity to try out, and choose one that “feels good” to you.