6 Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners in 2022

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US, with many people comparing it to a mesh of tennis, badminton, and table tennis all in one. And I have to say, I can see the comparison, given I regularly play all three sports.

As a result of this quick expansion, the pickleball player base grew to 4.8 million players in the US alone. And of these 4.8 million players, 3.5 million were defined as casual players.

So if you’re looking for pickleball paddles for beginners, you’ll find plenty of options. But figuring out which pickleball paddle you should get is fairly difficult. There are hundreds of models to choose from, with a lot of confusing terminologies thrown around.

To save you the trouble of hours of research, we’ve broken down the best pickleball paddles for beginners and what features you should look out for. Alternatively, you can skip straight to the reviews below.

Read More: Best Pickleball Paddles for Women

Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners — Lightweight

PickleballCentral Rally Tyro 2

best pickleball paddles for beginners

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Features

Surface: Fiberglass

Core: Polypropylene

Shape: Wide-body

Grip dimensions: 4”

Weight: 6.8-7.2 oz

Included: 1x paddle

Edge guard: Yes

Warranty: 1 year

Cost: $$$

Pros

  • Long warranty period
  • High control
  • Fast
  • Quiet
  • Satisfaction guaranteed

Cons

  • Not USAPA approved
  • Plain appearance

The Tyro 2 from PickleballCentral is the lightest paddle on this list, making it a good choice for slower players or perhaps those carrying injuries. It’s also one of the more eye-catching paddles, and not in the usual sense. It sports a plain white face which is highly irregular — most racket faces have either dark or very busy designs. While this is personally not to my taste, you might like it if you’re more of a minimal kind of person.

The racket face is made of fiberglass and is lightly textured, so you’ll be able to produce a degree of spin but nothing exceptional. As for the core, it is 1/2″ thick and made of the ever-popular polypropylene. As such, it has a fairly soft feel and is quite quiet even for harder hits.

We rate the 1-year warranty that comes with the Tyro 2 and also the attitude of PickleballCentral. They guarantee satisfaction, so if you pick up this paddle and are not fully satisfied, you can give them a ring, and they will ensure you are well looked after. Therefore we see no issuing endorsing the Tyro 2. It is one of the best beginner pickleball paddles, especially so in the lightweight paddle category.

Onix Stryker 4

best pickleball paddles for beginners

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Features

Surface: Graphite

Core: Polypropylene

Shape: Oversized

Grip dimensions: 4 1/2”

Weight: 6.8-7.4 oz

Included: 1x paddle

Edge guard: Yes

Warranty: 1 year

Cost: $$$$

Pros

  • Very attractive design
  • Long warranty period
  • High control
  • Quiet

Cons

  • A little pricey

The Onix Stryker 4 is the most expensive pickleball paddle to feature on our list, this is in part due to its graphite face, which helps to keep it so light. The core is made of polypropylene for a nice soft touch and the oversized shape gives the racket a large sweet spot which beginners will love.

The attractive design may also have caught your eye. If we had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘badass.’ The textured ombre effect from grey to black, coupled with the bold text, is a real stunner, certainly one of the nicest-looking rackets we’ve seen thus far.

To be honest, our only real complaint is that the Stryker 4 is a little on the expensive side. It is by no means overpriced, but many beginners will likely choose a more cost-effective option.

Best Beginner Pickleball Paddles — Midweight

Uteeqe Pickleball Paddle Set

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Features

Surface: Graphite

Core: Polypropylene

Shape: Wide-body

Grip dimensions: 4 ¼”

Weight: 7.8 oz

Included: 2x paddles

Edge guard: Yes

Warranty: 1 year

Cost: $$$

Pros

  • 5 stars on Amazon
  • Long warranty period
  • Textured surface
  • High control
  • Fast
  • Unique stitched grip
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Unclear if balls and cover are included

First up for the midweight category, we have the Uteeqe pickleball paddles set. It includes two graphite paddles with a polypropylene honeycomb core. This means they aren’t too heavy, have high control, and are not that loud. This set also has a full 5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, making it a very safe buy.

The rackets featured a unique stitched grip that is durable and highly effective at absorbing sweat while playing.

Our main issue with these pickleball paddles is how unclear the listing is. The title suggests buyers receive 4 balls and a case with their purchase. However, a disclaimer on one of the product photos, and the comments left by buyers suggest that it may not include these items. This is a simple issue to rectify, so it’s disappointing that the seller has not addressed it.

However, we don’t feel that this should phase you. The rackets themselves are the highest quality on this list, and included pickleballs are almost always low quality — you’ll have to purchase decent balls separately. So with all aspects considered, we still find the Uteeqe paddles to be the best pickleball paddles for beginners in 2022.

Niupipo Pickleball Paddle Set

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Features

Surface: Graphite/carbon fiber

Core: Polypropylene

Shape: Wide-body

Grip dimensions: 4 ¼”

Weight: 8 oz

Included: 2x paddles, 4x indoor pickleballs, 1x carry case

Edge guard: Yes

Warranty: 1-year warranty

Cost: $$$

Pros

  • Long warranty period
  • High control
  • Fast
  • Quiet

Cons

  • No outdoor balls

The Niupipo rackets are midweight paddles that combine the popular graphite racket face with a polypropylene honeycomb core. This means they are very similar in structure to our favorite rackets: the Uteeqe Pickleball Paddle Set. They are almost identically priced too. So naturally, they are some of the best pickleball paddles for beginners.

You can expect fairly fast rackets with a decent amount of control. They are also not very loud when you strike the ball, which is a benefit if you play in a residential area.

Included with the set are 4x indoor balls and a carry case. If you plan on playing outdoors, we recommend purchasing some outdoor pickleballs.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners — Heavyweight

Franklin Sports Jet Pickleball Paddle

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Features

Surface: Aluminum

Core: Aluminum

Shape: Wide-body

Grip dimensions: 4 ¼”

Weight: 10.7-11 oz

Included: 1x paddle

Edge guard: Yes

Warranty: 90 days

Cost: $

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Fast
  • Fairly quiet

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Basic

The Franklin Sports Jet paddle is a great choice for beginners on a budget — it is one of the cheapest on this list. Made almost entirely from aluminum, we wouldn’t be surprised if you expected it to be lightweight. However, this is far from the case. At 10.7 – 11 oz it’s certainly on the heavy side. This makes it a great pickleball paddle for beginners who lack power when they are near the baseline. Of course, this extra power it has over many of the other rackets means it falls behind in terms of precision.

WIn SPORTS Pickleball paddle Set

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Features

Surface: Wood

Core: Wood

Shape: Wide-body

Grip dimensions: 4 ¼”

Weight: 9-10 oz

Included: 2x paddles, 4x pickleballs, 1x mesh bag

Edge guard: No

Warranty: Unknown

Cost: $

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Great value for money
  • Fast

Cons

  • Conflicting grip circumference
  • Not very durable

This two-set of pickleball paddles is another good choice if you are wanting to try out pickleball without investing a lot of money. The paddles are both made from 7-ply wood therefore, they are quite fast.

These heavier paddles vary in weight between 9-10 oz, so there isn’t a lot of quality control — this helps keep the cost low. Unfortunately, it does seem they are not particularly durable relative to the other paddles. So you may want to spend more to purchase a paddle that you can be certain will last.

Like the Uteeqe Pickleball Paddle Set, this listing also contains inconsistent information. They cite the handle circumference as 4 ¼” in two places. However, one of the photos states 3.93”. We can only assume the latter is inaccurate, as it does seem very thin for a handle. In any case, they are good pickleball paddles but fall fairly short of the best pickleball paddles on offer. They are best for buyers with a limited budget.

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Buyer’s Guide

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Price

The prices of pickleball paddles vary from around $10 to $200. And while it can be tempting to purchase a more expensive model (in the hopes of higher quality), it makes sense to purchase a fairly cheap beginner pickleball paddle.

As a beginner, you lack the skill to effectively use more advanced paddles. And who knows, you may grow bored of the sport after a while, leaving you more out of pocket. We recommend spending around $30-$60 for a great starter paddle. You can help bring down your cost per paddle by purchasing a pickleball paddle set.

Weight

Besides price, pickleball paddle weight is the next most important property you should consider — it will significantly affect how you play. Paddles are split into 3 categories: light, average, and heavy. Heavier paddles offer the most power, so you don’t need to put as much force into your strokes. They can, however, be quite hard to control.

Lighter paddles are the exact opposite. They provide the most control, but lack power, instead requiring more force on your part to play strokes. Midweight paddles offer the best of both worlds, so if you are undecided as a pickleball beginner, perhaps consider going for a midweight option.

Pickleball Paddle Size Weight
Light <7.3 oz
Average 7.3 – 8.4 oz
Heavy >8.4 oz

Paddle Surface

There are three main types of pickleball paddle materials regarding racket faces. The first and oldest of the three is wood. Wooden paddles are the most basic and are often cheap but fairly heavy. Pickleball has moved on a lot since the introduction of wood so it’s rarely the best pick. However, it is still suitable for beginners, it just feels a little unrefined.

Next up is composite, one of the most popular paddle types for beginners. Composite paddles include a variety of materials, namely fiberglass. They are characterized as a feeling like a mix between wood and graphite. Their price is usually around average, and they have good power. Many also tend to be on the heavier side. However, these traits depend entirely on each composite paddle’s materials. 

The final type is graphite pickleball paddles. This is the most popular alongside composite. Graphite is the most expensive of the three types and is lightweight with high ball control. It often feels the best to play with and rewards a great touch. As such, it is very popular with advanced players. That being said, the price of graphite paddles is coming down, and newer pickleball players are starting to pick them up.

Paddle Core

Aluminum

As for paddle cores, there are three options. The first type is aluminum, and it is becoming increasingly rare. Its core forms a honeycomb shape and is very lightweight. Players who favor control will like this type but note that you sacrifice power, so you need good arm speed to effectively use it.

Nomex

Next up is Nomex, which has a very particular feel to it. This core type starts as a soft cardboard-like material shaped in a honeycomb arrangement, but it becomes rock-hard after being dipped in resin. Unsurprisingly, paddles with Nomex cores feel rock hard and produce a loud cracking side when you strike the ball. This can be a bit of a nuisance if you are in a quiet area, so be aware of this fact. Nomex excels in the speed department, so if you want the best pickleball paddle for speed this is the core you should select. However, as beginners lack control and technique, it is generally not a core we recommend.

Polymer

Lastly, we have polymer (polypropylene) cores. They are the newest addition to the pickleball world and seem to have taken over. Almost all new paddles we see are made of polymer and it’s easy to understand why. For most people, polymer is simply the best choice. First and foremost, it is the quietest kind of core, this means you can play almost anywhere without irritating anyone. It also has a rather soft feeling to it and offers more control. The only area it lacks somewhat is pace, but it is by no means slow. In fact, when paired with fiberglass, which it often is, it’s pretty quick! We tend to find that the best pickleball rackets for beginners mostly feature polymer cores.

Core Thickness

Pickleball paddles range in thicknesses from 11 mm to 16 mm+. Most listings merely state the core material and do not specify the core’s thickness. However, it certainly affects how the paddle behaves, so if you can, I would try to find out how thick it is if possible.

Paddles with thin cores are the easiest to wield. They are lightweight and cut through the air giving you quick arm speed and exceptional power. The ball rebounds off the paddle’s face because it is thin and can’t sink in.

On the other hand, paddles with thick cores are slower. This may seem a little illogical as they have more weight behind them, but the increased core depth actually dampens the speed of the ball. The result is less power, but a softer feeling racket with more control. As such, thick cores are a great fit for beginners, but thin cores certainly still have their appeal.

Paddle Shape

The paddle shape is generally split into two types: wide-body and elongated. However, you may find paddles that are a cross between both. Wide-body is the most common and the type we recommend for beginner pickleball players. It has a good margin for error and offers a large sweet spot.

Elongated paddles, by comparison, are longer and thinner. As a result, it is easier to miss the ball. However, the advantage of these paddles is that they offer more reach, making them an option for players who often get caught out by drop shots.

Grip Size

You should purchase a grip size that suits the size of your hand. Otherwise, the paddle will feel awkward to use. The easiest way to do this is to equate grip size to height. See the useful table below to determine which of the pickleball paddle grip sizes you should use.

Height Category Grip Size
<5’ 2” Small 4”
5’3” – 5’8” Medium 4 ¼”
>5’9” Large 4 ½”

Edge Guard

An edge guard helps protect your beginner pickleball paddle from damage. Having one is always a good idea — as a beginner, you will hit the ground more than elite players will. If you choose to go without one, you may end up having to replace your paddle sooner than you expect.

The advantage of going without an edge guard is that you’re paddle has a cleaner look and a slightly larger hitting area. Overall though, we don’t feel the trade-off is worth it. You shouldn’t be hitting the ball that close to the edge of your racket anyway.

Appearance

While appearance is the least important factor when choosing your pickleball paddle, it is still something you will want to consider. Paddles come in all sorts of designs and we’ve seen our fair share of sleek-looking paddles, and, equally, our fair share of horrid-looking ones.

Given that appearance is a subjective quality, it’s tough for us to give you recommendations. So all we can really say is don’t choose a paddle with a tacky design, we find a minimal art style is often much better.

FAQs

What Is the Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners?

We find the Uteeqe pickleball paddle to be the best pickleball racquet for beginners. It features a high-quality graphite face and polypropylene honeycomb core making it very quiet. The Uteeqe paddle also comes as a set of two which is great if you have a partner who is also new to the game.

How Much Does a Beginner Pickleball Paddle Cost?

Beginner pickleball paddles cost anywhere from around $10 to $60. We find $30 to be around the average. You can help bring the price per paddle down by purchasing multiple paddles as a set.

Is it Better to have a Lighter or Heavier Pickleball Paddle?

Pickleball paddles vary in weight from around 6 oz to 14 oz. Light paddles are less than 7.3 oz. These paddles offer the most control. By comparison, heavy paddles weigh more than 8.4 oz, and these paddles give you more power but they lack control. Therefore you should choose a paddle depending on the strength of your shots and how much control you require.

Final Thoughts – Our Pickleball Paddle Recommendations

By now, you should understand what features to look out for in a beginner’s pickleball paddle, and potentially have some models that you like the look of. Of all the paddles we have reviewed, we found that the Uteeqe pickleball paddle set is the best pickleball paddle for beginners.

Textured graphite surfaces and polypropylene honeycomb cores offer a mix of control and speed and are not very loud. This means you can play in your garden without annoying your neighbors. They also have an average of 5 stars on Amazon across 1,400 reviews which means you’ll almost certainly like how they perform.

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Alex Horscroft

Freelance writer. Table tennis enthusiast. Lover of all things online. When I’m not working on my loop game I’m probably binge-watching some fantasy show.