The ULTIMATE Guide to Beginner Pickleball Paddles: 3 BEST Pickleball Paddles for Beginners

Written by Adam (HV)

June 15, 2024

beginner pickleball paddles, best pickleball paddles for beginners

Finding the right beginner pickleball paddle can be hard. If you’re just starting out, it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.

How do you choose a beginner pickleball paddle? What are the best brands? What is the best value in the sea of paddles and brands for your skill level?

In this post, I’ll help you answer those questions, I’ll help you avoid common mistakes with paddle purchases, and I’ll give you a shortlist of my recommendations that won’t break your budget.

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Beginner Pickleball Paddles

I’ve played with a lot of paddles and brands. I’ve learned from trial and error and from getting experience. I don’t claim to be an expert on beginner pickleball paddles, but I have spent a lot of time on court with different paddles and I’ve been where you are, so I hope I can help you from saving your time and money.

Here are a few things to stay away from.

  1. Don’t buy a wooden paddle
  2. Don’t buy a paddle and think, I’ll use this forever. You will most definitely expand your collection if you keep playing. Your paddle will go through wear and tear and eventually you’ll need to get more.
  3. Don’t buy a paddle without getting hands-on experience with it. Your friend may be raving about one paddle, but don’t take their word for it. Play with it for a few sessions.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to choose and you’ve got to get hands-on experience.

How do you get hands-on experience?

  • Start with your friends. Ask what they like about their paddle. 
  • Find your local tennis store or pickleball club, and see if they have a demo program. A lot of times, these demo programs mean you pick a paddle to try out, pay 20-40 dollars, and that money can count toward your purchase if you choose to buy from that store.

How Do I Choose a Pickleball Paddle for Beginners?

In the world of beginner pickleball paddles, you can definitely nerd out on the specs. Based on my experience, if I could go back in time, the things I would look for are:

  • Control
    • If you’re just starting out, it’s best to choose a control paddle that gives you more control in your shots. Why is this important? If you can consistently control the ball and hit it where you want it to go, you can improve your consistency with your shots, build your confidence, and improve your game. This probably won’t make sense now, but if you can find ways to improve your confidence, you will be better because of it. 
  • Quality Control
    • Depending on how much you’re playing, you want a paddle that won’t break after the first few weeks. Although this happens sometimes with the best brands, my recommendations coming up includes the quality control that way you’re not taking a risk with your dollars.

The Specs of a Beginner Pickleball Paddle 

    • Once you get a beginner pickleball paddle in your hand, here are a few things to look for:
      • What is the difference between 13mm and 16mm pickleball paddles? Often you will see the variations of paddle width like 14mm or 16mm being the most common. Generally speaking, the thinner, like 13mm, the less control you will have. So look for one around 16mm.
      • The weight – the weight of your paddle is important – go for lighter paddles because you can always add more weight
      • The shape – there are a few shapes out there – if you’re just starting out, go for a stander shape or a wider body shape – this means that you have more forgiveness for when you don’t hit the ball in the sweet spot
      • The face – the material of the face of your beginner pickleball paddle can generate spin when you hit the ball. A carbon fiber face is a good material
      • Handle length – people prefer different lengths depending on your hand size.  if you’re a former tennis player and you want to use two hands with shots, you may prefer a longer handle

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners: My Top 3 List

best pickleball paddles for beginners

The SLK EVO 2.0 max is a solid option for anyone who is looking for their first paddle purchase. 

With the SLK Evo 2.0 you have two different shapes, the max and the XL.

The max gives you a bigger sweet spot and the xl is an elongated shape.

For this video, I’m reviewing the control option. It comes in at a 16mm core and offers the biggest sweet spot and best feel of the three. If you’d like more power, I would recommend the power option.

Another thing worth mentioning is Selkirk’s 1-year limited warranty. Selkirk makes excellent paddles with high quality materials, and they stand by it with their warranty. 

If you’re just starting out, looking for a good paddle with a big sweet spot, good feel and quality, this is a solid option. 

best pickleball paddles for beginners

Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners: Holbrook

The next paddle on the list was the Holbrook Mav Pro 2.0

I thought this paddle was an excellent combination of touch and spin, without losing power.

Holbrook uses the T700 carbon fiber for the paddle surface which is a high quality material that adds a ton of spin to your shots.

If you’re just starting out and looking for a high quality paddle, with an excellent balance of control, power, and spin, this is a great choice at an excellent price. Use my code to get an extra 20% offS which makes it a steal.

best pickleball paddles for beginners

The Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners: HISK Paddle

My top pick for a beginner paddle under $100 is the Hisk Rav Pro.

The Rav Pro is an excellent paddle and I just can’t get over the price, which I’ll share in just a second.

But first, the paddle combines both traditional and modern design – it has foam injected edges – this enhances power and widens the sweet spot. The surface is made from japanese 2700 raw carbon fiber, which is great for control and spin

The core is 16mm and on the performance side, I really love the feel:

  • There’s a great balance of power and control: There’s slightly less pop than fully thermoformed paddles so it offers better control.
  • Sweet spot: the foam-injected perimeter makes for a forgiving sweet spot which is beneficial for beginners and really any player who values control

Price & value:

  • When you purchase, you get a paddle cover, replacement grip, and wristbands and with my promo code, you’ll save 20% – so all of this for $56. This is a ton of value for a great price.

So there you have it – that’s my jumpstart guide for getting your first paddle. Was this helpful? Have you played with any of the paddles I mentioned? Let me know in the comments. If you enjoyed this video or learned something new, please remember to like, subscribe, and hit that notification bell so you never miss another update from high five pickleball.

The ULTIMATE Guide to Beginner Pickleball Paddles: 3 BEST Pickleball Paddles for Beginners

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Gear | 0 comments

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