The difficulty of choosing a pickleball paddle in Australia is that there are very few retail sellers. New to the industry is Pickleball Online who is based out of Shaw Park Tennis Centre, Brisbane. With prices starting from $40 up to around $200, you would be crazy to buy a paddle without trying it out first.
From our experience, everyone who purchases the cheaper eBay, Amazon paddles soon buy another paddle so really, that cheap paddle wasn’t cheap. I tested many demo paddles and got to try some of the most expensive on the market and many I did not like playing with. Higher price also does not guarantee satisfaction. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
What is wrong with cheap pickleball paddles?
Nothing is wrong with them, they are just not the most ideal to use and they just do not last long and wear out very quickly. They are perfect for children to use just in case they get damaged.
They are very lightweight: this is ok for men with the ability to use power to hit the ball. For most women, with a lightweight paddle, they will struggle to hit the ball from baseline to baseline. Add in hitting against the wind and they will be lucky to hit it over the net from the baseline. That means they will not get their serve in!
Surface is smooth: this means less spin achieved and less control. Textured rougher surfaces means the ball grips the paddle surface longer.
Dead or dull spots: We have demo cheap paddles and our players notice that when they hit the ball there are no sweet spots and so little reaction to their swing, resulting often with a softer shot and not how you had planned on hitting the ball. You will get a thud sound instead of a pop.
What are pickleball paddle cores made of?
Most paddles available have a polymer core which has a honeycomb structure for strength and polymer to keep the paddle light. Some pickleball paddle manufacturers are now making their polymer paddles thicker for better shock absorption which gives better control. TMPR Sports Luxe range is a thicker paddle and we offer demos to try.
Nomex is another core and used in the Onix Z5 range. This paddle gives the loudest sound of all paddles on the market. Nomex also has a honeycomb structure. This type of paddle requires a lot of skill to use due to the power it generates when you hit the ball. The ball bounces off the paddle quickly, so you have less reaction time to control your ball placement. This paddle is definitely not for beginners! You will also not see any of the pros using this paddle.
The face of cheap paddles is vinyl which wears very quickly, more expensive paddles have fibreglass or graphite which will give you more control of the ball.
Why is weight important?
I started with a Selkirk Lattitude at 6.9oz. This is classed as lightweight. I had to work so hard to achieve any depth when I hit the ball and the result was fatigue and back strain.
I upgraded to the TMPR Sport Oculus after testing a demo and I was hooked by the instant power and control I had plus the rounder shape gave less drag unlike the ‘cheese board’ traditional shaped pickleball paddle. This paddle weighs 8oz.
The Oculus paddle has a thicker core like many of the newer branded paddles which means the grip size will be thicker and the paddle will weigh more. Having a small hand, this did make it difficult to grip the paddle tightly and caused a sore hand so we removed the grip and shaved the wood around the handle then replaced the grip – it was much better. If you prefer a thicker grip size, go for the thick core paddle or add an overgrip to your paddle.
The evolving shape of pickleball paddles
As stated before, mine is more oval and more like the shape of a tennis racquet. Paddles can be long with a short handle, a smaller surface area with the longer handle for double handed players or can have a wide body. The paddle must have a combined width and length of no more than 24 inches. Paddles cannot be any longer than 17 inches.
Which paddle should you buy?
We get asked this often. Firstly…
- How often are you playing?
- Are you a social or a competitive player?
- What is your style of play?
Ask fellow players if they are happy with their paddle. Ask it you can have a hit. You need to try a few paddles during one session to compare. You will soon work out which paddle is good for you.
Go to the manufacturer website and now read the specs. After reading this post, hopefully it will now make more sense to you.