Curious how often your pickleball paddle can and should last? Read on to learn more about the expected lifespan of a paddle, and how to decide when to replace it.
Lots of pickleball players take their paddle for granted. It's always in the bag waiting, ready to go. Sometimes we forget how long we've even owned it.
But pickleball paddles do break down over time, even if it is not visible.
They develop dead spots where the inner core has eroded or a tiny piece has broken off. So too can the surface grit wear down and be less effective for spin.
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Even as a frequent pickleball player, you may not give much thought to your paddle's health.
But a good paddle can make all the difference in your game. That's why it's important to know when it's time to get a new one. Let's take a closer look at how often you should replace your paddle, how to decide when it's time, and what to look for when finding a new one.
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What is the lifespan of a pickleball paddle?
On average, a paddle may last in good quality between 6-12 months for a frequent player, depending on how well you take care of it. They can last for 18-24 months in perfect cases.
Your paddle's lifespan will vary by luck and conditions, depending on the quality of the materials too. Cheap paddles will break quicker.
Consider replacing your paddle once or twice a year.
This is just a general rule of thumb.
The reason for this is that paddles do wear out, over time. They become warped, dented, or lose their grip, affecting the quality of your shots.
Sometimes they get delaminated at the edges. Sometimes the edge-guard cracks. Sometimes there's a honeycomb piece that comes loose on the inside. Not great!
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A pickleball paddle wears down over time!
This can cause subtle changes in your play that you might not even realize are happening.
For example, you might find that your shots are a little less accurate, or that you're losing power on your serve. You're not getting worse...your paddle is just old!
If you play daily, consider a new paddle every half-year. If you play a few times a week, then annually. Every month, try hitting with other paddles to see if yours feels dead by comparison.
Keep up with the latest paddle technology.
Pickleball equipment is constantly evolving, and new paddles are always being released with new and improved features. Photo above: A newer Gearbox paddle model!
Sometimes the same paddle will be improved quite a bit by the manufacturer.
By replacing your paddle once a year, you can access new technologies and improve your game. Brands often come out with new versions of paddle models with slight upgrades.
Why not make use of them, rather than stick with an outdated version?
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How often should YOU replace your paddle?
It really depends on how often you play.
If you're a recreational player who only plays a couple of hours a week, you might be able to get away with a new paddle every 18-24 months.
Especially if you don't hit hard or slam your paddle on the ground, and generally take good care of it in your bag and elsewhere too.
If you're a more avid player who plays several hours a week, you should plan on replacing your paddle every 6-12 months. Err on the side of more frequent, and just have another backup paddle or a paddle you can loan to a friend.
For those who play frequently, plan to get a new paddle every six months, not because it's an emergency, but because it's good for your overall game. It's an investment.
High-quality pickleball paddles last longer.
You should look for a paddle that is well-constructed and made from high-quality materials.
Some of the $200+ paddles may evoke some sticker shock, but paddle brands such as Gearbox will simply last you longer, due to superior craftsmanship and materials.
The alternative is to buy cheap paddles ad infinitum when they break once a month. Investing in a quality paddle will ensure that it lasts longer AND performs better. Photo below: A very new paddle model by Selkirk that will last you a long time!
Pickleball Paddle Replacement FAQ
What can you do to protect your paddle for longer?
It is inevitable to clank paddles with your partner or scrape your paddle on the ground during a game, but by taking these minor precautions you can extend your paddle's lifetime.
In what ways do paddles tend to break?
Most common, the face/surface will be compromised, either chipping a hole in it or coming loose from the core. Paddles can also snap at the throat/neck, or have a honeycomb piece come loose on the inside (rendering your paddle like a maraca!).
Can you get a refund on paddles that break quickly?
Most companies will send you a new paddle if you write their customer service and explain to them that your paddle broke through no fault of your own (didn't throw it on the ground) within a few months or so. Paddles do break, but they should last six months easily.
Do some paddle brands last longer before breaking?
Honeycomb paddles break the quickest. This is pretty much an industry standard.
Paddles with non-honeycomb cores like Gearbox and ProKennex have shown some evidence that they last longer because the core with different materials.
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Replace your pickleball paddle periodically!
It's worth it! For an activity you care deeply about and take part in many times per week, it's a necessary part of maintaining your game and staying competitive.
Replace your paddle every half-year or year if you play frequently. You can make sure your paddle is always performing well. You will have a full sweet spot, spin factor, and can take advantage of the latest tech.
It's always good to have a backup paddle or two, anyways. View the latest paddle deals on Pickleball Central today.
If you've been putting off finding a new paddle, you may be overdue. Now is the time to upgrade your game and start playing with the best equipment!
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