You shouldn’t be wondering if someone asks you which one is the best Pickleball paddle for beginners or you ask someone. This stage comes in everyone’s life, at least once, who directly or indirectly involved with Pickleball game.
If you’ve just started thinking about pickleball or you’re in your first few weeks of playing, chances are you don’t have your own paddle. Maybe you’re using a borrowed paddle from a friend or a free one from a local rec center.
But the simple fact is, you’re hooked to the game and you want a paddle of your own so you can spend each day advancing your skills.
I put this guide together to explain the most important considerations to make when shopping for a beginner pickleball paddle—and at the most convenient price.
I’ve also reviewed 3 of the best pickleball paddles for beginners. The first two are graphite paddles perfect for starters, while the third is among the best composite pickleball paddles any beginner could play with—
And thankfully, none of these will drain your bank account. If you’re looking for cheap pickleball paddles that are reliable and perform well, these are the paddles to go with.
You may also interested in-
In a Hurry?
If you’re in a hurry, you may take a look at our paddles specification table, I also put a buying guide for beginners and in depth paddles review.
Champion Graphite Paddle: Vintage Style
Solid Nomex Core
4.0 & 4.25 inches
Upstreet Graphite Paddle: Honeycomb Composite Core
Polypropylene Honeycomb Composite Core
Rally Tyro 2 Paddle: Aerospace Composite
Polypropylene Honeycomb Composite Core
How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle for Beginners: Buying Guide
Having spent years as a trainer and player of pickleball, nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing the excited faces of beginners after trying out a paddle I recommended to them.
Most beginners who have passed through my hands don’t care whether they win or lose: all they want is to play well, and that is only possible with the perfect paddle for their playing style and skill level.
Unfortunately, other potential pickleball champs get frustrated along the way, and the primary reason is playing with paddles that don’t fit them at all. I see it like playing hockey using a golf club—it doesn’t just work out!
Fortunately, I can show you how to choose pickleball paddles so you won’t make the same mistake many of your peers have made.
You must have questions already? Which paddle type suits me? Which material (wood/graphite/composite) is best for me? But don’t worry, since I will shed more light on the answers to all these questions and much more.
Let’s get started already!
Deciding Factors when Choosing The Best Beginner’s Pickleball Paddle
In pickleball, it’s sometimes difficult to delegate a specific paddle to beginners and others to advanced players. Most paddles can equally serve beginners, advanced players, and even pros. However, some models are definitely a no-go for beginners. So, let’s focus on the beginner paddles for today. Here are the features to look for in a pickleball paddle if you’re a beginner:
I intentionally excluded wooden paddles from this guide for an simple reason: heavy weight.
Weight is the number one consideration when choosing a paddle for beginners.
A heavy paddle offers great power but less control, and as a beginner, control should be your primary consideration. You want a paddle that you can use to guide the ball easily to your opponent’s half of the court. You don’t want to be hitting over the fence every time you make contact.
I always recommend light and mid-weight ranges, which can only be provided by graphite and composite paddles. A pickleball paddle that weighs between 7 and 8.5 ounces is a perfect choice to begin with.
It’s important to choose a grip that comfortably fits your hand. I have listed standard grip sizes to help you pick the right one, but if you’re in doubt, always choose the next smallest size and not the other way around. The quick way to find the right grip takes into consideration your height, which can be easily measured if you don’t know it off-hand. Here are the estimated correct sizes for different heights:
- Under 5′ 2″ – 4 inches (small)
- 5′ 3″ to 5′ 8″– 4 1/4 inches (medium)
- 5′ 9″ & taller – 4 1/2 inches (large)
I’ve done my best to pick the highest quality pickleball paddles on the lower end of the price spectrum. From these, you should be able find a great paddle between $30 and $70 that will serve you for several years to come.
When I began playing pickleball over a decade ago, only wooden paddles could fall in the $30–70 price range.
However, the game has grown, and many paddle manufacturers have found ways to develop and produce affordable graphite and composite paddles that are now available on the market.
These materials provide lightweight paddles that are easy to maneuver and control the ball with. They also provide a hard surface that provides the desired power to propel the pickleball with minimal effort. That’s all you need as you develop your skills in this game.
That said, let’s now look at my top 3 pickleball paddles for beginners, based on performance and price:
Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners Review:
The Vintage Champion Graphite paddle from Pickleball Inc. (the original pickleball paddle creator) is a highly responsive paddle that has gained popularity over recent years.
It features a solid Nomex core and a tough surface that offers a great touch and pop on every hit.
Beginners will love this paddle due to its wide surface, which provides a huge sweet spot every time you make a hit. You’ll still be able to make quick actions at the net since it’s highly lightweight and minimally bulky. This is an all-around paddle that you can grow into an advanced or even a pro player with.
The Vintage Champion paddle comes with an overlay surface that is digitally printed to enhance the look and remain bright for several years without fading. The characteristic grip of this paddle with both small and medium sizes makes it suitable for a wide range of player sizes. It’s the highest priced paddle on my guide, but the performance it offers is top-notch.
Here are some features that make the Pickleball Champion Graphite Paddle stand out from the competing paddles in the same price category:
- The graphite surfacing coupled with an aramid honeycomb core enhances ball control, power, and feel.
- The true XL head shape, 2 grip sizes, and sturdy suberized edge guard make it safe and comfortable to hold.
- Made in the USA, which guarantees quality workmanship and durability.
- Lightweight (weighing only 7.9 ounces) making it highly responsive, powerful, and maneuverable.
- USAPA approved, so you can use it for tournament play.
- You can choose between an Ultra Cushion Contour grip to enhance grip and reduce fatigue, or a Thin-Tac grip to enhance paddle feel.
- Superb ball control.
- USAPA approved.
- Highly responsive.
- Fairly smooth surface
Upstreet Graphite paddle has earned a reputation among serious and recreational pickleball players owing to its micro-dry smooth grip.
The stitched rib grip thread comes with effective perforations that allow moisture absorption, while the thick foam backing provides the required softness.
It’s a great paddle for any beginner, but it performs equally well for advanced players.
The features that make the Upstreet Graphite Pickleball Paddle one of the best pickleball paddles for spin within its price category include:
- Micro-dry smooth, sweat-absorbent, perforated, and cushioned grip enhances comfort during play.
- Standard edge Guard for extra protection.
- The polypropylene (PP) honeycomb core is made with a unique cell structure with 3 orientations as opposed to the 2 orientations that is common with other honeycombs. This provides optimum mechanical performance.
- The polymer honeycomb composite gives a “crisp” feel as you strike the ball. Since the core is highly consistent, players can feel the hitting impact, which is great when applying various shots (volleys, dinks, and cross-court lobs).
- Comes with a complimentary neoprene paddle cover.
- The lightweight offers optimum control and power.
Great customer service and quality workmanship accompany Upstreet paddles. Each of Upstreet’s graphite pickleball paddles is thoroughly inspected to ensure that what reaches the client has no surface weak spots—at least they claim so. And sincerely speaking, I have yet to receive a substandard paddle from them.
- Comes with Neoprene Paddle Cover.
- Optimum control.
- Large sweet spot.
- Reduced vibrations.
- Not an approved paddle for USAPA tournaments.
The Rally Tyro2 was the creation of a group of world-class, highly rated coaches and players aiming to produce easy-to-play, high-performance paddles for optimum game performance.
After years of research and development, they were the first brand to come up with this aerospace composite honeycomb technology at such an amazing price.
The paddle is designed with the beginners in mind, helping players of every skill level—from rookies to pro players—advance their game every step of the way. It’s highly durable and is built to withstand the rigors of intense use.
However, the Rally Tyro 2 Pickleball Paddle is a cheaper alternative to wooden or plastic paddles, so you shouldn’t expose it too frequently to beatings with multiple players; otherwise, it may leave you prematurely.
Here is why the Rally Tyro 2 Pickleball Paddle is for players looking to begin or improve their pickleball game:
- Value priced—this is a high-performance alternative to cheap plastic, wood, or other entry level paddles.
- Hand crafted using aerospace composite materials that are typically only used on more costly paddles.
- Medium tack overgrip material enhances grip, ball feel, and control.
- Accommodates both advanced and intermediate players, allowing continued use as your skills advance.
- Lightweight (only weighs 7 oz), hence better control and faster reaction times.
- Full-sized face offers a wider sweet spot.
- Durable edge guard for more protection, hence more durable.
- Great for beginners.
- Affordable and value priced.
- Wide sweet spot.
- Can easily dent when used heavily.
- Honeycomb surface not tough enough for regular use.
Now that you know what to look for in a pickleball paddle for beginners, remember that very cheap wooden or plastic paddles may not give you the same level of control and feel as these composite and graphite compatriots.
But if you’re just after getting the ball over the pickleball net, you could start off with any kind of paddle. However, I’m guessing you want to consistently improve your game with every shot, and that demands a better-quality paddle.
But which paddle is the Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners?
It isn’t easy to announce the winner among the three choices I have reviewed here, but depending on how often you play your game, the Pickleball Champion Graphite Paddle carries the day for rigorous play.
I hope these reviews have pointed you to the pickleball paddle that suits your skill level, and I hope you’ll get out on the court with your very own paddle some day soon!
Did you find this article useful? Please let me know what else you’d like to know in the comment section, and I will gladly help you out and will write about it in future updates.