Living on the edge? This is an in-depth guide on edge guards: Function, maintenance, and a discussion on edgeless pickleball paddles. Also, an FAQ and edge guards myths.
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Table of Contents
If you’re a player who has heard talk about paddle edge guards and find it all a bit confusing, read on. We will clear up all edge guard questions in this detailed guide.
Why do pickleball paddles have edge guards?
In terms of manufacturing, an edge guard is added to a pickleball paddle as part of shaping and molding processes. The guard is made separately and adhered to a paddle's edge.
Without an edge guard, you'd be able to see into the core of most paddles. The edge guard keeps the core intact and if it comes loose, often the paddle will gradually fall apart.
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Functions of an Edge Guard:
The edge guard protects the side of the paddle from damage and holds the core materials in place. Players can hit the edge of the paddle against the court or other hard surfaces and internal pieces could chip or come loose. Without edge guards, paddles get scraped.
The edge guard adds an extra layer of durability to the paddle. The guard is made of a hard material that can withstand wear and tear, often plastic, sometimes foam. This means the paddle can last longer and withstand more frequent use without replacement.
The edge guard can also add to the aesthetic appeal of the paddle. Manufacturers can choose different colors and materials to match the design of the paddle, giving it a more finished and polished look.
Paddle Edge Guard Protection
The easiest, best way to protect a pickleball paddle's edge guard is to apply tape.
The tape will need to be replaced every few weeks, as it will scrape off or peel over time. But tape is a smart way to protect your paddle at a very small inconvenience.
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Best pickleball Edge Guard Tapes:
JOOLA is a top manufacturer of pickleball gear, and their edge tape is another great option for protecting your paddle's edge. It's 15mm wide, so if you play with a 16mm width paddle it will be just slightly too narrow to wrap around the edges, which is still fine.
Gamma is another major player in pickleball, and their edge tape is designed just for paddles. This tape is certain to protect your paddle from damage. It's half an inch wide and you get 36 feet of tape in one roll.
Regular electrical tape is also perfectly sufficient protect the edge of your paddle. While it is obviously not designed specifically for pickleball, its flexibility and durability are perfect for the purpose. Bonus: Use white for a super fresh look.
While we're at it, here's our favorite overgrip tape (and it's not even close).
What Are Edgeless Paddles?
Edgeless pickleball paddles have become quite common in recent years, as manufacturers have introduced new paddle designs that eliminate the need for a traditional edge guard.
Since they can now make paddles as one piece to begin with, often with different core materials, there is no need for an external edge guard to hold the honeycomb together.
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Edgeless Paddle Benefits:
Larger Sweet Spot
Edgeless paddles tend to have a larger sweet spot than paddles with an edge guard. You have more flat area to hit the ball, making it easier to hit pure shots on a responsive surface.
Edgeless paddles have a more uniformly balanced surface than paddles with an edge guard. This can lead to better command and make it easier to achieve spin and touch.
Edgeless paddles are often more durable than paddles with an edge guard. They do not get compromised as quickly, whereas traditional paddles often come loose and weaken.
A paddle with an edge guard relies on it to keep both side surfaces stuck to the core.
Pickleball Paddle Edge Guard FAQ
What are some downsides to edge guards?
They can crack or break themselves, and if you hit the ball near the edge guard, then your shot will often go astray because the surface is not flat.
Errant shots are a minimal downside. The bigger downside is the edge guard itself can be compromised, and replacing them is not always possible.
Basically, more maintenance. Just another thing that can break.
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Can you replace a broken edge guard?
Most often, no. Some paddle companies have experimented with disposable rubber edge guards, but that has not really taken off as an industry standard.
That is why it's so crucial to put tape over your edge guard, since once it is cracked or peeling, it is not very convenient to replace one.
Can you repair a broken edge guard?
You can try something like Gorilla Glue as an emergency stopgap option to keep your edge guard intact, but you will have to keep applying it frequently.
There are no good ways to repair a broken edge guard, so focus on prevention.
If you bought on Pickleball Central, they have an industry-leading 30 day return policy.
Do you put protection tape over weight tape?
Assuming you know how much weight you'd like to add to your paddle, and do not plan to experiment by changing the weight total frequently, then yes.
Put the weight tape first and then the protection tape over it. Protection tape can be replaced easily, and the weight tape can remain each time.
Doesn't an "edgeless" paddle still have an edge guard?
Yes, in theory it does. It's just not a separate piece.
Edgeless just means it does not have an extra apparatus added onto the edge. Of course the paddle still has an edge.
Edgeless paddles are typically just one piece altogether. The edge is part of that.
If you're ready to play now, here's a FREE guide on aggressive pickleball (attack strategy).
The edge guard of a pickleball paddle protects a paddle and holds it together. There are ways to keep your edge guard intact for longer, namely tape.
Edgeless pickleball paddles are becoming wildly popular in recent years. Some top players are convinced it has a larger sweet spot and are more efficient with weight and shape.
Edge guard or edgeless paddles can both work for a player. Try out both and see what you prefer. Either way, use protection tape around the edge to save your paddle from damage!
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