Pickleball, combines the best of tennis, badminton, and table tennis - but you knew that already, right? When we made the switch from paddle to pickle, we picked up some cheap 'bats' from Amazon. They've been fine. But as our game has improved, so has the quest for a better paddle. Does it matter if it has graphite edging, graphite coating or graphite injections? Frankly, we're still not sure, but we do know that for every player, there's a paddle that'll help you up your game.

We zoomed in on some of the best-known brands and highlighted some of their curious qualities. There are a bunch of different price points to help find the best balance between performance and budget. We've also organized recommendations for different skill levels and playing styles. You're going to want to pull up a chair to read on, this one goes on for a while! And if you've got this far but still wondering what the sport is all about, check out our beginner's guide to pickleball first.

The Power Players: A Lineup of the Top Pickleball Paddle Brands

If you've shown the slightest bit of interest in pickleball anywhere on the internet, your feed is probably jammed with adverts for paddles. But what makes one better than another? How do you choose? Specially when there are so many - both known brands and never-heard-of-you-until-it-appeared-on-instagram brands. For anyone not playing on the pro tour it can be a bit overwhelming.

That's why we went back to basics and picked five brands we know to help demystify the whole process. The knowledge you get below can be applied to almost any paddle you're looking at. If you're a beginner don't bother spending more than $60. If you're looking to up your game, you can do it for under $100 and if you're dinks are hitting the mark every time you hit the court, spend more than $150 to carve out a new edge. First up, the brands most people have heard of.

Selkirk Sport

Founded by two brothers passionate about innovation, Selkirk Sport has quickly become a household name in pickleball. Its paddles are known for their durability, power, and precision, thanks to their proprietary materials and advanced manufacturing techniques (or so they say).


Paddletek has been a leader since its inception in 2010. Thanks to its patented honeycomb core technology and exceptional craftsmanship, its pickleball paddles are recognized for their unique blend of power, control, and touch, thanks to its patented honeycomb core technology and exceptional craftsmanship. Did we mentioned the patented honeycomb core technology and exceptional craftsmanship?


Onix prides itself on creating products that cater to a wide range of player styles and preferences. Onix pickleball paddles are known for their innovative paddle designs and top-notch materials. They deliver exceptional balance and responsiveness, making them popular among pickleball devotees. Already we've only looked at three brands and we have different options for durability, power, precision, control, touch, balance and responsiveness.


With a rich history in racquet sports, Gamma has successfully adapted its expertise to pickleball. Its pickleball paddles feature cutting-edge technology, such as the textured graphite face and unique edge guard design, which provide players with enhanced control and durability.

Engage Pickleball

Engage Pickleball is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of paddle technology and design. Its pickleball paddles are engineered for optimal performance, focusing on power, spin, and feel. The brand's commitment to innovation has made it a favorite among Monday-nighters and pro players alike. Spin and feel are new. Worth trying one to see if you can really feel the difference.

As you explore these and other top pickleball paddle brands, remember the unique features and innovations that set them apart. In the next section, we'll dive deeper into these standout qualities to help you determine which brand best fits your individual needs and playing style. And don't for get to read our advice on choosing the best pickleball bag.

Standout Qualities: Diving into the Unique Features of Each Brand

Pickleball paddles are pretty simple and aside from the 90s graphics, it can be hard to tell one from another from the outside. But there are distinctive features and innovations that set each brand apart. From carbon surfaces to graphite injections, honeycombs, graphite faces, fusion core tech and thicker cores, every paddle promises to improve your spin, drive and dink in its own special way. But remember, there are four key aspects of a paddle to think about:

  1. The grip: Also known as the handle, getting this right is the first step. Make sure it feels comfortable in your hand
  2. The face: The bit where the ball makes contact. Different materials here will suit different styles of play - whether you're soft (think dinks and drop shots), a banger (struggling to make the transition from paddle) or simply a bit aggressive (probably used to play tennis and most games think you still do)
  3. The core: The bit you can't see, the meat to the face's bread in your paddle sandwich. Different core materials - polymer, aluminum and sometimes wood - have a role to play in suiting your playing style
  4. The edge: Has little impact on your game but plenty on the longevity and durability of your paddle.


Here are some of the many other features to look out for when selecting your next paddle.

Cutting-edge materials and groundbreaking construction methods

  1. Selkirk Sport: Selkirk's proprietary X4 polypropylene core and FiberFlex fiberglass surface provide unparalleled power and control. Their AMPED series utilizes a thicker core for improved stability and a larger sweet spot, making it a popular choice among players of all skill levels.
  2. Paddletek: Paddletek's ProPolyCore technology features a unique honeycomb structure that dampens vibrations and enhances the feel of each shot. Their Tempest series combines a graphite playing surface with a specialized polymer core for exceptional touch and control.
  3. Onix: Onix paddles are known for their Fusion Core technology, which combines a polypropylene base with a Nomex insert for optimal power and control. The brand's Z5 Graphite paddle boasts a widebody shape and a graphite face for improved maneuverability and touch.
  4. Gamma: Gamma's textured graphite face allows for enhanced spin and control, while their Flush-Fit Bumper edge guard design reduces the risk of mis-hits and increases paddle longevity. The Sensa Poly Core technology offers a softer feel and a larger sweet spot for improved shot accuracy.
  5. Engage Pickleball: Engage's proprietary ControlPro polymer core and cutting-edge paddle skin technology deliver impressive power, spin, and feel. Their Elite Pro series is designed for maximum performance and features a specialized texture for improved ball grip and spin.

Proprietary technologies that elevate gameplay

  1. Selkirk Sport: Selkirk's patented VANGUARD Geo Grip enhances paddle traction for improved grip and reduced slippage during play.
  2. Paddletek: Paddletek's Smart Response Technology ensures consistent performance across the entire playing surface, resulting in a more predictable response with every shot.
  3. Onix: Onix's signature Widebody Paddle Shape offers an increased sweet spot and allows for better ball contact and control.
  4. Gamma: Gamma's Live Periphery Frame helps eliminate dead spots and increase paddle durability by reinforcing the paddle edges.
  5. Engage Pickleball: Engage's Vortex Barrier Edge Technology uses a composite injected into the outer cells for improved weight distribution and a reduction in vibration.

Unconventional design elements and eye-catching aesthetics

  1. Selkirk Sport: Selkirk's bold color choices and dynamic graphics make their paddles stand out on the court.
  2. Paddletek: Paddletek pickleball paddle have innovative shapes and vibrant color options cater to various player preferences.
  3. Onix: Onix's sleek pickleball paddle designs and modern aesthetic appeal to players looking for a paddle that performs well and looks great.
  4. Gamma: Gamma's elegant and streamlined pickleball paddle designs showcase the brand's attention to detail and commitment to quality.
  5. Engage Pickleball: Engage's artistic pickleball paddle graphics and striking color combinations make a statement on the court and reflect the brand's commitment to innovation.

Understanding each brand’s unique features and innovations will help you determine which pickleball paddle aligns best with your needs and playing style. The following section will examine price points and value for money, providing the tools to find the perfect balance between performance and budget.

Balancing Performance and Price: Finding Your Pickleball Paddle's Sweet Spot

While performance is a crucial factor in choosing the right pickleball paddle, paying attention to the importance of balancing cost with your desired features is essential. In this section, we'll compare price points across the top brands and models, helping you find the ideal paddle that fits your budget and playing preferences.


A comprehensive comparison of costs across brands and models

  1. Selkirk Sport: Selkirk offers a wide range of pickleball paddles with prices that cater to different budgets. Their entry-level paddles start around $50, while high-end models, such as the AMPED and VANGUARD series, can range from $100 to over $250.
  2. Paddletek: Paddletek's pricing is relatively competitive, with beginner pickleball paddles starting around $60 and advanced paddles like the Tempest Wave Pro and the Bantam EX-L Pro ranging between $130 and $170.
  3. Onix: Onix presents a variety of price points, with affordable options like the Recruit Starter Set at around $40 and premium pickleball paddles like the Evoke Premier and the Z5 Graphite priced between $100 and $150.
  4. Gamma: Gamma offers a diverse selection of pickleball paddles for various budgets. Their entry-level options start at around $60, while advanced paddles like the Mirage and the Needle can cost between $110 and $140. Performance models include the 505, Hellbender and Compass, starting from $150.
  5. Engage Pickleball: Engage pickleball paddles cater to a wide range of budgets, with beginner-friendly models starting at around $50 and high-performance paddles like the Elite Pro and the Poach Advantage ranging from $130 to $170. The high-end Pursuit series starts at about $200.


Identifying top-value options for players at every skill level

  1. Beginner players: Selkirk's SLK Latitude Graphite and Paddletek's Phoenix G6 are excellent value-for-money options that balance control and power.
  2. Intermediate players: The Onix Z5 Graphite and the Gamma Neutron 5.0 offer a harmonious blend of performance and affordability, making them ideal choices for intermediate players.
  3. Advanced players: The Engage Pursuit Ultra EX 6.0 and the Paddletek Tempest Reign Pro provide exceptional value for those seeking top-notch performance without breaking the bank.


Savvy shopping: tips for discovering sales and snagging discounts

  1. Stay updated on brand websites and social media accounts for announcements on pickleball paddle sales and promotions.
  2. Join pickleball forums, Facebook groups, and mailing lists to stay informed about discounts and deals from various retailers.
  3. Consider buying gently used pickleball paddles from trusted sellers for substantial savings without sacrificing quality.


By understanding the price points and value offerings of the top pickleball paddle brands, you can select the ideal paddle that suits your budget and playing needs. In the next section, we'll offer tailored recommendations for different skill levels and playing styles to help you make the most informed decision possible.

The Perfect Partner: Pickleball Paddle Recommendations Tailored to Skill Levels and Playing Styles

Selecting the right pickleball paddle goes beyond merely choosing a reputable brand. It's crucial to consider your skill level and playing style to ensure you find the most suitable match. In this section, we'll provide tailored paddle recommendations for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players, as well as customization options for those seeking a genuinely personalized playing experience.


Ideal pickleball paddles for beginners: prioritizing control and comfort

  1. Selkirk Latitude Graphite: Offers a larger sweet spot and a forgiving surface, making it easier for beginners to achieve consistent shots.
  2. Paddletek Phoenix G6: Provides excellent control and a comfortable grip, allowing new players to build confidence on the court.
  3. Onix Recruit V4: Features a lightweight design and a widebody shape for improved maneuverability and ball contact.


Best picks for intermediate players: achieving harmony between power and finesse

  1. Onix Z5 Graphite: Combines a widebody shape and graphite face for enhanced control and touch, making it a popular choice among intermediate players.
  2. Gamma Neutron 5.0: Offers a lightweight design and a textured graphite face for an improved spin, allowing intermediate players to refine their skills and advance their game.
  3. Paddletek Tempest Wave: Features a graphite playing surface and a specialized polymer core for a blend of power, control, and touch that suits intermediate players well.


Top choices for advanced players: pushing the limits of performance and durability

  1. Selkirk AMPED Epic: Boasts a thicker core and FiberFlex fiberglass surface for increased power, control, and stability, ideal for advanced players seeking top-tier performance.
  2. Engage Elite Pro Maverick: Offers an extended reach and a specialized texture for improved ball grip and spin, making it a favorite among advanced and professional players.
  3. Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pro: Combines a thicker core with a high-grade polymer honeycomb structure for exceptional power and finesse, perfect for competitive play.


Customization options for creating your dream pickleball paddle

Many top brands, such as Selkirk Sport, Paddletek, and Engage Pickleball, offer customization options that tailor your pickleball paddle's appearance, grip size, and weight to match your preferences. Exploring these customization options can help you create the perfect pickleball paddle that enhances your performance and reflects your unique playing style and personality (and no, it won't make you more interesting).


Considering your skill level, playing style, and personal preferences, you'll be well-equipped to find your ideal pickleball paddle partner. Armed with these recommendations and insights, you're one step closer to transforming your pickleball journey and reaching new heights on the court.

Unleash Your Pickleball Paddle Power and Transform Your Pickleball Journey

Embarking on the quest to find the perfect pickleball paddle is an exciting and essential part of your pickleball journey. By exploring the top brands and understanding their unique features, innovations, and price points, you're better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your skill level, playing style, and budget.

Our tailored recommendations for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players, as well as customization options, will help you uncover your ultimate paddle ally. With the ideal pickleball paddle, you can elevate your game, hone your skills, and impress your friends. And if you really want to know more, read our history of pickleball paddles: a historical perspective.


We've only scratched the surface when it comes to selecting paddles, but we hope you found this useful. Let us know if you didn't and we'll do what we can to make it better. If you did find it useful, tell your friends.


The one paddle we didn't mention is the Wilson that appears in the photo by Brendan Sapp from Unsplash. Oh well, sorry, Wilson.