How To Choose Your Pickleball Paddle

The Complete Guide to Finding the Perfect Pickleball Paddle

Finding the ideal pickleball paddle to fit your specific needs can be a challenge if you’re not sure what to look for. At Chill Pickle, we’ve helped simplify the process by creating this comprehensive guide that walks you through the basics of what to look for in a pickleball paddle at every stage of the game. Whether you’re a newbie just getting started or a seasoned pickler ready to crush your competition, this guide will help you find the ideal pickleball paddle that meets your specific needs. Let’s dive in!

Pickleball Paddle Type

Within the world of pickleball, there are three types of paddles to choose from: beginner pickleball paddles, intermediate pickleball paddles, and professional pickleball paddles. Here’s a breakdown of what each type entails:

Beginner Pickleball Paddles

Beginner pickleball paddles generally offer a larger sweet spot and greater forgiveness for off-the-mark shots, which can help novice players build consistency and reduce errors on the court.

Intermediate Pickleball Paddles

Offering an ideal balance between power and precision, intermediate pickleball paddles are typically characterized by their ability to deliver a perfect combination of power, control, spin, and forgiveness, offering ultimate versatility and performance.

Professional Pickleball Paddles

Professional pickleball paddles generally prioritize power above all else, delivering incredible pop, spin, and maneuverability on the court for skilled players who are willing to sacrifice a bit of control to pack a bigger punch behind every shot.

Pickleball Paddle Shape

The shape of your pickleball paddle is what informs where its sweet spot will be. According to USAPA guidelines, the combined total length and width of a pickleball paddle cannot be more than 24 inches in order to be in compliance with competition regulations. The following are some of the most common pickleball paddle shapes:


A widebody paddle is any paddle that is under 16” in length. Wider paddle faces are ideal for beginners as they allow for more room for error and improvement thanks to their larger surface area.


Also called traditional pickleball paddles, standard paddles are rectangular in shape with longer handles. They offer a great balance of stability and control, making them another great option for beginner picklers.


Elongated paddles have a paddle surface that’s longer than it is wide, resulting in greater reach, spin, and power. This is why elongated pickleball paddles tend to be a favorite among professional and intermediate players who are able to sacrifice a bit of control.

Pickleball Handle Length

Another key factor to consider when finding the best pickleball paddle for your needs is the handle length. The length of your handle can have a tremendous impact on your paddle’s overall performance. There are three common handle lengths to choose from:


Standard handles are typically 5” – 5.25” long, offering more paddle surface without crowding your hand. These handles are usually the preferred choice among novice players who are just getting started.


Any handle that’s longer than 5.25” is considered a long handle. These handles offer players more leverage, giving them greater power and spin during shot placement. Those who prefer two-handed shots and consider themselves to be intermediate or advanced pickleball players generally prefer a longer handle.


Any handle that’s longer than 5.25” is considered a long handle. These handles offer players more leverage, giving them greater power and spin during shot placement. Those who prefer two-handed shots and consider themselves to be intermediate or advanced pickleball players generally prefer a longer handle.


Handles that are under 5” long are considered short handles. While they are less common, short handles offer a greater paddle surface area, which can be helpful for beginner players that want a bigger sweet spot and more forgiveness for off-the-mark hits.

Pickleball Paddle Face

One of the biggest considerations to keep in mind when searching for the best pickleball paddle for your needs is the paddle face material. There are three types of materials that are most commonly used in pickleball paddle construction:

Raw Carbon Fiber

Similar to carbon fiber, Toray (T700) Raw Carbon Fiber offers a harmonious blend of power and control. If spin is what you seek, this material is definitely the clear winner of the bunch. The raw nature of the carbon fibers offer more texture for better spin and hard-to-return shots.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber pickleball paddles are another excellent option — especially for those seeking a greater balance between power and touch. Lightweight, durable, and vibration-dampening, carbon fiber paddles offer more predictable and precise shots while enabling greater power behind each hit.


Fiberglass is one of the most common materials used in pickleball paddles as it is highly durable and lightweight. With a focus more on precision and power than touch and control, the flexibility of fiberglass paddles compared to carbon fiber or raw carbon fiber results in greater accuracy and enhanced spin due to the nature of the surface.

Pickleball Paddle Core Thickness

Selecting the right core thickness for your pickleball paddle is also an important factor to keep in mind when finding the perfect match for your game. Players generally have two options to choose from:

Thinner Cores
(13mm & Below)

A thinner core is any paddle that has a thickness of 13mm or below. Thinner paddles have a stiffer feel when the paddle makes contact with the ball. This is because they do not absorb as much energy, so the ball bounces off faster and with greater power. For this reason, thin pickleball paddles are generally preferred among players seeking greater power and faster game play.

Thicker Cores
(16mm & Above)

By contrast, thicker paddle cores are any pickleball paddle that has a thickness of 16mm or above. Usually a player selects a 16mm pickleball paddle because they are seeking greater control or touch. Thicker cores absorb more energy from ball contact, helping to improve blocks, resets, and drop shots. These paddles may also feel as though they have a better sweet spot.

Find the Best Pickleball Paddle for Your Needs at Chill Pickle!

At Chill Pickle, we’ve carefully researched and tested various materials and shapes to arrive at the best combination for players at every stage of the game. Whether you’re just getting started on your pickleball journey or are ready to take your skills to the competitive level, we have a pickleball paddle that’s perfect for your individual needs. Explore our selection of premium pickleball paddles online to find your perfect match and embrace the calm before the court today!