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The 2023-2024 Pickleball Paddle of the YEAR Is...? (Top Three Picks)

The top three pickleball paddle brands of 2023-2024 based on their influence of the overall pickleball scene: Volair, JOOLA, and ProKennex. Read on to see which paddles...

[2024 UPDATE: If you would like to check out our complete review of the new JOOLA Gen 3 paddle line, CLICK HERE]

pickleball paddle best of 2023/2024

Many new paddles have entered the pickleball scene in 2023.

The sport is rapidly evolving, and the paddle market is changing by the day.

A few select brands have carved out a major niche in the market, and are incredibly popular. Some brands have changed the way we approach paddles, whether they come at a superb value, or are made out of innovative materials.

With dozens of paddle brands and hundreds of approved paddle models, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. But we have evaluated almost every paddle readily available to the public, and we are going to share our top three releases of 2023 (into 2024) below.

[For quick picks, view all deals on new paddle releases on Pickleball Central and Amazon]

Pickleball Paddle Ranking Criteria

How we arrived at our top three picks for 2023-2024:

We consulted dozens of 5.0+ players, as well as talked with industry leaders who are in tune with consumer feedback. We also took into account metrics, such as spin rate for example.

[Related: View the official new ball of the PPA pro tour in 2024]

Ultimately, the notion of a "perfect paddle" is subjective and varies player to player. But we have landed on three paddles that have changed the game immensely, and stand above the rest based on weighing the below criteria.

Hype: How much buzz and anticipation surrounded their releases.

Playability: The paddle's spin, power, and control, shape, and other innovative qualities.

Hearsay: What the public seems to be saying about the paddle's quality.

Eye Test: How many paddles we are seeing in the hands of both rec players and pros.

Technology: How the paddles compare to previous versions, based on construction.

Value: How much the price is compared to the value and/or lifespan.

[View all deals on new paddle releases and deals on Pickleball Central and Amazon]

Top Pickleball Paddle Picks in 2023

Volair Mach 1

The Volair Mach 1 pickleball paddle, developed with insights from co-founder and pro player Julian "Andiamo!" Arnold, is a versatile paddle designed for total control and dominance in a pickleball match, especially up at the kitchen. Key features:

Textured Carbon Fiber Face: The 11" by 7.5" T700 Raw Carbon Fiber face provides a textured hitting surface, allowing you to impart some of the most spin of any paddle.

Thickness Options: The paddle comes in two thicknesses: 14mm (0.55") for extra power and 16mm (0.63") for a bit more control.

Multi-Grip Handle: The 5.5" handle accommodates different grips, including two-handed backhands for powerful drives and rips.

Leverage for Power: The 16.5" overall length of the Mach 1 adds leverage and torque, resulting in increased swing weight and power when taking full swings.

Weight Variations: Choose between a maneuverable 7.5 oz. for the 14mm version and a slightly heavier but still light 7.9 oz. for the 16mm.

Polypropylene Honeycomb Core: Both thicknesses feature a honeycomb build that dampens vibrations, reduces sound, and enhances injury prevention.

Edge Guard and Performance Grip: The paddle includes a secure edge guard for durability and a cushion performance grip that wicks away sweat during intense matches.

The Volair Mach 1 Carbon Fiber Paddle is known for its control-oriented build, superb spin capabilities, and a textured surface with bi-directional, cross-weave tech.

volair mach pickleball paddle

ProKennex Black Ace LG (White)

The Kinetic Black Ace LG pickleball paddle by ProKennex, designed in collaboration with Daniel de la Rosa, the world's #1 ranked racquetball player, offers a combo of power and precision with a long handle and beautifully sharp aesthetics. Key features:

Long Handle and Extended Length: With a super-extended 5.87" handle and an overall length of 16.4", the Black Ace LG provides massive leverage for swinging shots and accommodates two-handed backhands easily.

Toray Carbon Fiber Face: The elongated 10.5" by 7.3" Carbon Fiber hitting surface offers impressive stiffness and texture, enabling players to apply spin with ease on all shots.

Powerful Core: The 11mm (0.43") thin polypropylene honeycomb core is razor thin and easy to wield at the kitchen in the air. It also delivers the most power of any paddle we've ever seen, and is perfect for players who want to pop and zip the ball effortlessly.

Kinetic Technology: ProKennex's patented Kinetic technology reduces impact vibrations by 43%, helping to prevent arm and joint injuries. An additional system in the handle serves as a last-pass filtration system. All of this leads to arm injury prevention.

Air-O-Guard System: This interchangeable edge guard system protects the paddle's edges without adding cumbersome weight, which increases the lifespan of this paddle.

Lightweight: Weighing 7.9 ounces statically, the paddle enables quick reloads and higher swing speeds. You will be able to whip this paddle around in the air easier than any other.

The ProKennex Kinetic Black Ace LG paddle is an ideal choice for players who want elite reach and power. Its innovative design provides a powerful yet comfortable play experience. A collaboration with Daniel de la Rosa adds to its credibility and performance.

prokennex white paddle ace

JOOLA Perseus

The JOOLA Perseus CFS 14 pickleball paddle, adorned with the name of the world's #1 pickleball player, Ben Johns, is a paddle that lives up to the buzz. Key features:

Improved Design: It's an upgraded version of the JOOLA Hyperion paddle, with a squared-off head and lighter weight for enhanced hand speed.

Reactive Honeycomb Core: The 14mm (0.55") "Reactive" honeycomb core, hyperfoam-injected edge wall, and thermoformed construction offer precision and impressive rebound, adding pop to your shots. These features bolster the sweet spot size a ton.

Lighterweight: At 7.8 ounces, it is one of the lightest "power" paddles in pickleball history.

Extended Handle: The extended 5.5" handle allows for high swing torque, ideal for putting away big drives and smashes. It's also ideal for two-handed shots.

Carbon Friction Surface: The elongated 11" by 7.5" Carbon Friction surface enhances control by making the ball linger on the face, AKA dwell time, allowing for top spin properties.

Charged Carbon Surface Technology: This innovation strengthens the paddle, providing a crisp feel with a greater energy return, resulting in a more responsive and powerful swing.

Durable Construction: Fully encased in carbon fiber, this paddle offers extreme stability, ensuring it can withstand aggressive play and maintain consistency over its lifespan.

Feel-Tec Pure Grip: The latest in grip technology offers a tacky handle while efficiently absorbing sweat from your palms, even without the need of an overgrip.

In partnership with the world's #1 pickleball player, JOOLA has created a paddle that offers aggressive players a huge advantage, powerful yet controllable. It's the choice of champions and is officially endorsed by Ben Johns. Check out the steady JOOLA Scorpeus paddle too.

joola perseus ben johns paddle

Top Paddles of 2023 FAQ

Which paddle is the best fit for my play style?

The top paddles we've highlighted above offer the best power and spin in the industry.

For power hitters, look at the Perseus or Black Ace first. If you prefer control and spin, consider the Volair Mach as it has a renowned spin rate.

If budget is a factor, consider that the Volair Mach is about half the price of the other two.

Are these paddles good for beginners and advanced players?

Yes, the top-rated paddles of 2023 we've featured can cater to the entire range of players, from total beginners to aspiring pros. Anyone can 'feel' the benefits.

Beginners might benefit from extra forgiveness and control, while advanced players may appreciate paddles designed for more aggressive play.

The Perseus is probably the most high-risk and high-reward paddle. The Black Ace LG is great for a player of any level who wants effortless power and pop. It's also perhaps the most durable. The Volair is the safest option for any beginning or intermediate player.

All are presently on sale on Amazon.

Do these pickleball paddles have customizable features?

The Black Ace LG is one size for all. It does not vary in core width or handle size.

The Perseus and Volair Mach can be bought in either a 14mm or 16mm core width.

Go for the wider if you want a softer feel for more control, and go for the thinner core if you want more spring and backboard feel for more pop.

What are the advantages of using a top-rated paddle?

While budget-friendly paddles have merits and are great for beginning the sport, the top-rated paddles will offer superior materials and advanced tech for optimal gameplay.

Investing in a top-rated paddle will have a noticeable difference the more you play. The Black Ace and the Perseus especially will bring offense elements to an intermediate player's game.

The Volair meanwhile will be great for any player, but a newer player may find it easier to control and thus might be a better fit learning the game. Still, even pro players such as Julian Arnold and Kyle Yates will use the Volair Mach in the PPA and MLP.

Is there any paddle that is ideal for intermediate players?

Yes, among the top picks for 2023, there are paddles specifically made to enhance spin and control. The Volair Mach is renowned for its spin and control.

The other two are not known for spin, but of course have great spin regardless. They are known for power, and you will feel effortless offense with them, at a mild expense of control.

Consider the Mach if you are newer, and the Black Ace or Perseus if more advanced.

Are these paddles endorsed by pro pickleball players?

Yes, the top-rated paddles for 2023 are use by professional pickleball players, such as Ben Johns with the Perseus.

These partnerships signify that paddles like the Mach 1, Black Ace LG, and Perseus have been fine-tuned to meet the needs of serious players and have features that enhance play.

Are there any great deals or discounts online for these paddles?

These paddles are not often available at in-person stores! You typically will buy them online.

To compare top brands, check out these paddles at Pickleball Central or Amazon today.

To get the best value, especially at PC, keep an eye out for promotions, discounts, and bundle deals that may be available.

PC also offers an industry-leading return policy where you get 30 days to make a decision and a possible return with very few questions asked.

joola perseus paddle pro 2024

Closing Thoughts

2023 brought a bevy of new pickleball paddles onto the scene. Some were bad, some were good, and some like the above three were industry-defining.

Give the Mach 1, Black Ace LG, and Perseus a serious look.

Whether you are an aspiring 5.0 or a casual weekend player, having a top-notch paddle can help you play your best and just feels nice to have on court. Given the longevity and playability of the above paddles, consider one as a gift and investment into your passion.

You may play a lot better, or just a bit better. Either way, it's a win in 2023 as an avid and serious pickleball player. Ditch the old, aging paddle, and swing with the best!

[View all deals on new paddle releases and deals on Pickleball Central and Amazon]

Related Guides

Other useful articles we have previously released pertaining to the paddle market.

The first two review other newly released paddles in 2023, the third is a buyer's guide based on budget level, and the last article lists comparable JOOLA budget alternatives.

Shop new release paddle deals on Pickleball Central and Amazon.

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. It does not affect the price at all. PaddlePal is completely viewer-supported and we will not present a product unless we have researched the market to provide accurate, informed recommendations.


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