I am a beginner pickleball player and as such I am trying to figure out how to choose the best pickleball paddle for beginners.
The best pickleball paddle for beginners checklist
Cost vs Price of Pickleball Paddles for Beginners
Buying a pickleball paddle for beginners can be tricky. You never know how much you are actually going to play.
I know I hate to spend money on a new hobby if I am just going to run out of time in the next couple weeks. Plus, nobody needs more clutter in the garage or storage closet.
The question about cost vs price is an interesting one. When I was in WalMart looking at pickleball paddles I knew that the $18 paddle wasn’t going to last too long. The grip would likely need to be changed in a couple months. I might want a better quality material once the wood started breaking down. Changing the grips, replacing the paddle in a couple months, would drive up the cost.
One of my favorite stories from Zig Ziglar was his account of buying a bicycle for his son. To paraphrase, he bought a cheapter one and had to replace the chain and the seat, and had several other minor repairs. The bike only lasted a short time, so when he had to replace it he purchased a better quality bike that had a higher price, but lower overall cost. Video Link
Choosing the Best Weight for a Beginner’s Pickleball Paddle
The weight of a racket can influence how quickly a pickleball beginner will fatigue. It could also contribute to developing overuse injuries like Pickleball Elbow Pain, carpal tunnel, or rotator cuff tendinopathy.
Pickleball Paddle Weight Classifications
|Light Weight||7.2 ounces or less|
|Middle Weight||7.3 to 8.4 ounces|
|Heavy Weight||8.5 ounces or more|
For beginners a lighter paddle may reduce the risk of developing overuse injuries and may allow for a more enjoyable game.
A heavier paddle will allow for more speed when hitting the ball, but a beginner pickleball player should be working on accuracy over speed and learning proper technique.
I would recommend light weight for most women and middle weight for most men who are starting to learn pickleball for the first time.
What is the Best Grip for a Beginner’s Pickleball Paddle?
While I was in WalMart I was able to test several grip types. The softer, spongier grips felt more comfortable in my hand, but they will wear out sooner and need replacing.
The least expensive wooden paddle has a hard grip and felt like it would last longer, but get slippery on hot days. A pickleball glove might help improve the grip on a hard wooden handle.
I prefer a contoured handle or ergonomic handle over a standard oval handle.
Does the Pickleball Paddle Material Matter for New Picklers?
Wood, composite, carbon fiber, etc. These terms might mean more to me when I am competing in high level pickleball tournaments, but for now, as a pickleball newbie, I don’t really care what the paddle is made of.
If I lived in a wet environment and planned to play on rainy days I may want to avoid the cheaper, wooden paddles. But aside from that, for a beginner, the materals just don’t matter.
Does the Return Policy Matter when Buying a Pickleball Paddle?
If you haven’t noticed yet, I am extremely practical in my advice. I am not into flashy things. Just because something is more expensive doesn’t make it more valuable in my mind.
Since I won’t ultimately know if I like the paddle until after I have used it, the most important item on this list is the return policy.
I mentioned in the video above, I always feel guilty returning items to Amazon because I have seen so many YouTube videos showing how Amazon returns end up in the landfills.
I chose to buy this paddle at WalMart because I knew I could easily return it and there was a chance it would go back on the shelf or be sold as a discount if I couldn’t use it.
Either Amazon or WalMart have very liberal return policies, but beware of some of the other pickleball equipment supply companies online. They might not be so understanding.
Onix Recruit Pickleball Starter Set
This is the same brand as the pickleball paddle I purchased from WalMart, but this is a two paddle set with two pickleballs.
Recruit by ONIX Pickleball V2 Paddle
This is the actual pickleball paddle I purchased at WalMart.
Tourna Strike Outdoor Pickleballs (6 Pack) – USAPA Approved, Yellow
These are some great, low cost practice pickleballs I found on Amazon.