Selkirk Paddles Review: Which is the BEST control paddle? Luxx vs. Vanguard

Written by Adam (HV)

April 2, 2024

selkirk paddles, pickleball paddles, selkirk luxx

Today we are reviewing Selkirk paddles: their top control paddles.

The reason I’m making this post/video is because there are a lot of people who want more precision, better consistency, and more overall control in their game, and both of these paddles can help deliver on those things, but many people don’t know which paddle to get. 

Should you go with the new vanguard control or spend a little extra to go with the luxx? We’ll get into the price a little later, but I’ve played with both pickleball paddles over the last few months, and I’ve played with both of their predecessors over the years, and in my opinion there is one clear winner. 

If you have an opinion about these paddles, if you disagree with me, or if you’d like to see more Selkirk paddle reviews, comment below and let me know what you think.

In this video, we’ll cover: 

  • The overall specs
  • Durability & Warranty
  • The Feel & Sweetspot
  • Spin
  • Power
  • Control
  • Final Results & Takeaways

If you want to purchase one of these Selkirk paddles, don’t forget to use code ADV-highfive at checkout to get a digital gift card with your purchase. Using my code helps support my channel and is always appreciated.

Watch the full video here.

Purchase the Vanguard Control

Purchase the Luxx Control

Selkirk Paddles: The Luxx Control Air vs. the Vanguard Control

To kick things off, let’s look at the specs of these Selkirk paddles. I’m reviewing the Invikta shape for both paddles and I got both of them in stock weight. The vanguard comes with a lightweight option but at the time of this video I’m only looking at the midweight option. One thing that I have to call out is that Selkirk placed a lot of marketing language into these product specs, which can make it confusing. Every paddle company does this, but I’m going to try and simplify it for you and call out what I think are features worth calling out. Also, it’s my opinion that the technology from the labs series is actual advancement, so those things are worth mentioning.

The build:

  • The vanguard is 16mm thick with a polymer honeycomb – they call it the x5+ – this was originally designed for the 006 –
  • The luxx is 20 mm thick with what is called the thikset honeycomb – Selkirk is calling this a proprietary blend – it’s still honeycomb polymer but the construction does feel different – which we’ll get into later
  • The luxx also has a thermoform construction with what Selkirk calls flexfoam across the entire perimeter to increase durability, enlarge the sweet spot, and absorb vibrations.

    The edge:

    • The vanguard has the traditional build with an edgeguard
    • The luxx has the open throat design with an edgeless build 

    The face:

    • The vanguard has the T700 raw quadcarbon fiber – from my understanding, this is a peel ply carbon fiber that you would see in all gen 1 carbon fiber paddles that have come out in the last few years
    • The luxx has what they call florek carbon fiber – this is a spray-on material
      • We can get into the durability of these paddles later

    The Selkirk Paddle Warranty

    Both of these paddles come with a limited lifetime warranty. I will say Selkirk’s customer service team is exceptional and they are normally very fast. Be sure you’re aware of their warranty rules.

    Vanguard Control

    • Grip size: 4.25
    • Handle Length: 5.5”
    • Core Thickness: 16 mm
    • Shapes: S2, Epic, Invikta
    • Weight: Midweight – 7.8-8.1oz
    • Core type: Thikset Honeycomb – polymer
    • Edge: Edgeguard
    • Face: T700 Raw QuadCarbon Fiber – this is a peel ply carbon fiber
    • (SPIN: 1910-2060 RPM)

    Selkirk Luxx Control

    • Grip size: 4.25
    • Handle length: 5.35”
    • Core thickness: 20 mm
    • Shapes: S2, Epic, Invikta
    • Weight: 7.8-8.1 oz.
    • Core type: Polypropylene Honeycomb – polymer
    • Edge: Edgeless
    • Face: Florek Carbon Fiber – this is a spray-on carbon fiber
    • (SPIN: 1905-2010 RPM)

    Selkirk Paddles Category 1: Feel & Sweet Spot

    Starting off, let’s talk about the feel and the sweet spot of these Selkirk paddles. 

    The Luxx Control has a huge sweet spot – even for the invikta shape, I thought that the paddle was very forgiving. When the ball hit around the perimeter of the paddle it didn’t just die in the net. Suddenly your miss-hits aren’t really misses anymore, and you’re able to maintain control of where you place the ball, which to me makes the luxx unique. The closer you hit at the center of the sweet spot, the better it feels. There is little to no vibration on shots, even out of the box it felt great. 

    On the flip side, the Vanguard Control is stiff and the sweetspot is smaller. The shots that hit on the outside of the sweet spot would die. Out of the box, I also felt vibration when hitting the ball on regular ground strokes. I’m not sure if this was just the paddle I got or if it was more common with every vanguard. Either way… 

    For the feel and sweetspot, the winner is the luxx. 

    Selkirk Paddles Category 2: Spin

    The luxx comes with a spray on carbon fiber, and I have to give it to Selkirk, I was surprised at how much spin I could generate with a paddle that is so soft. This was a big improvement compared to its predecessor the 003. Granted, how you maximize spin is different than most paddles. I found that the aerodynamic throat gives you the ability to whip the paddle more, and if you can flick or whip the paddle correctly, you can apply more spin. The RPMs I was able to generate were anywhere from 1900-2000.

    The vanguard has a raw carbon face. Because it is not thermoformed, the spin performance was somewhere between a gen 1 and a gen 2 paddle. And frankly, the spin felt inconsistent at times where I would hit the same shot with the same swing, but see different results. The rpms were also around the 1900-2000 range.

    As for the durability of the face of each paddle, i saw breakdown of both. The spray on carbon of the luxx began to wear down (although it was minimal) and the raw carbon breaks down as well. By cleaning it often, I noticed that it prolonged the life of each surface longer, so be sure to clean your paddle regularly.

    To compare both of these paddles on spin is tricky. They both have unique factors that contribute to the spin, they’re in the same range of RPMs and they both break down. For spin, I’m calling it a tie.

    Selkirk Paddles Category 3: Power

    The luxx

    I was pleasantly surprised by the power I could generate with the luxx. For a paddle this thick that is regarded as a pillow, this pillow can smash the ball. By the way, I define power and pop differently. Power is when I’m applying force to the ball. And if you can apply enough power yourself, you can see results. I’m thinking this is related to the uni-body construction – when you take a look under the stock grip, you’ll see it is a unibody design. On shots like serves, 4th shots, and drives, I was able to generate considerable power and after adding weight, it was even better.

    The vanguard

    The vanguard also brought some power to the table. I was impressed at the power you could generate compared to the paddle’s predecessor, but unfortunately it doesn’t stack up to the thermoformed, uni-body design of the luxx. 

    For the category of power, I have to give this to the Luxx.

    Selkirk Paddles Category 4: Control

    When it comes to control and touch shots, the luxx just felt like an extension of my arm. Shots in the transition zone were easier, tough volleys in the kitchen were easier, even returning tough dipping third shot drives were easier. The dwell time of the paddle makes it feel like you can almost hold the ball on the paddle and place it where you want it to go. Now you may be saying, Adam all of those things are defensive shots. But here’s the catch, I learned that by dialing up the placement of my offensive shots, this paddle made my offensive shots that much more offensive. No longer was I hitting shots harder just to put them away, but I was adding more precision with pace, because this paddle gave me more control. 

    The vanguard also offered great control. The x5 core from the 006 provides better feedback on shots. Selkirk promotes this paddle as a non-thermoformed paddle as a way of promoting its control features. I think there is some truth to this because it is softer than a thermoformed raw carbon paddle and you do see some extended dwell time. So with a raw carbon face and an upgraded core, this is a definite upgrade to its predecessor. But is it enough to win the control category?

    My answer is…. No. I think the luxx still far exceeds the vanguard in the control category. Luxx takes it.

    Selkirk Paddles: Final Results

    So here you have two very solid choices for control paddles, but in my opinion the luxx is the clear winner. 

    If you’re looking to improve your control, consistency, and placement, and deciding between these two paddles, and you have $250, I would go with the luxx every single time. 

    However, if you only have $200 to spend, but you’re looking for a paddle that has control, I think the vanguard competes well with other gen 1 paddles on the market. But that is a review for another day.

    So what do you think? Is there something I’m missing about the Vanguard? Is the luxx worth $250? Is there a better control paddle that can beat the luxx? Let me know in the comments.

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