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Awesome Pickleball Paddles for New Players

If you are a newer player beginning your pickleball journey, one of the most important decisions is choosing your first "real" paddle. Read on to learn how to pick.

Your paddle will have a significant impact on your game, affecting everything from control and power, and ultimately helping to shape your technique.

It may not be best to buy the priciest paddle on the market to begin though. Let's look at the notion of a "starter paddle" and why it might be your best option right now.

Should you buy a "starter paddle"?

Probably yes, if you're within your first full year of playing and still learning the game.

Then you can refine your game and hone in on what you really seek in a future paddle. We will showcase recommended "starter" paddles (under $100) for newer players, below.

For quick hitters, shop the best starter paddles on Amazon right now. View the latest paddle deals on Pickleball Central today too.

Qualities to consider in a starter paddle:

Paddle Weight

Heavier paddles offer more power and are suitable for players who want to hit hard.

However, heavier paddles may be difficult to maneuver and control for players who are new to the feel of the game and whose hand speed aren't dialed in just yet.

On the other hand, lighter paddles are easier to wield and perhaps have better touch, but they may lack pop.

As a beginner, you may want to consider a lighter to medium weight paddle to help you get comfortable with the game and develop your technique.

[Read: Men's and Women's Pickleball Style Guide 2023]

Grip Size

The grip size of your paddle is essential. A grip that is too small or too large can be uncomfortable and affect your swings.

Most pickleball paddles have a grip size ranging from 4 inches to 4.5 inches in circumference. Choose a paddle with a grip size that feels comfortable for your hand size.

There's no one right answer. But the game is progressing towards longer handles.

Shape and Material

Most paddles have a shape that is either wide or narrow.

Wide paddles have a larger sweet spot, making them more forgiving for new players.

Narrow paddles, on the other hand, are more suitable for players who want upside such as reach and power.

The material of a paddle also vary. Paddles made of wood or composite materials are generally more affordable, while those made of graphite or carbon fiber offer better power and control but can be more expensive.

You can probably bypass the wood! For now, consider a wider, squarer paddle.


While it is tempting to choose the cheapest option available, you should consider investing in a quality paddle that will last some time.

You may not need the most expensive paddle on the market, but you should look for a paddle that offers good quality and value for money.

You may want to avoid paddles under $75 if you plan to play regularly. If you are able to commit $100-150, your ensuing paddle will be able to last you quite some time, at least a year or two. And in that time you can consider your next "forever" paddle.

Brand and Design

Some brands have a reputation for high-quality paddles that are suitable for beginning players, while others are more focused on making paddles for advanced players.

You are also welcome to choose based on aesthetics, nothing wrong with that!

While design isn't everything, it surely is worth considering. You want a paddle that looks and feels good. Try to stay near 16x8 inch face shape as well as roughly 8 oz weight, but other than that you should feel welcome to find any paddle that suits your personality.

Top Starter Pickleball Paddles Under $100:

Onix Z5: Classic, powerful, popular.

onix pickleball paddle

Vulcan V510: Durable, versatile, innovative.

vulcan pickleball paddle

Gamma Dart: Responsive, maneuverable, lightweight.

gamma pickleball paddle

Paddletek Bantam: Effortless, compact, responsive.

paddletek pickleball paddle

Babolat RNGD: Sturdy, poppy, dynamic.

babolat pickleball paddle

Gamma Mirage: Soft, forgiving, consistent.

gamma pickleball paddle

Head Radical: Balanced, comfortable, reliable.

head pickleball paddle

A starter paddle will let you learn the game.

You can develop as a player with any of the above paddles. They will not unduly influence your game in any direction, but will be reliable and sturdy. And with any of the above ones, it will not break the bank!

Weight, grip, shape, material, brand and design will all form as preferences over time!

Ultimately as a newer player, you just want a paddle that feels comfortable in hand, is solid quality and value for the money, and is suitable for extended use. All of the above can be that.

With the right paddle, you can improve your game, have fun, and enjoy the pickleball journey! Then you can splash for a high-end paddle and take on the pros.

View the latest paddle deals on Pickleball Central today.

Related Paddle Guides:

View current paddle deals today on Pickleball Central or 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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