How Do You Choose the Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners?

Selecting the right pickleball paddle sets the foundation for an enjoyable experience on the court.

Mike Hardy

For beginners, finding the perfect pickleball paddle can significantly impact their enjoyment of the game and progression in skill. The selection is vast, with sizes, weight, grip, and material composition options. As newcomers step onto the court, equipped with enthusiasm and a desire to learn, the importance of selecting the right paddle cannot be overstated.

In this guide, we talk about pickleball paddles explicitly tailored for beginners. From understanding key factors to consider when selecting a paddle to exploring top recommendations, read further as we uncover the best pickleball paddles to kickstart your game in this exciting sport.

Key Factors for Beginners When Selecting a Pickleball Paddle

When beginners select a pickleball paddle, several key factors come into play to ensure an optimal playing experience. Firstly, paddle weight is crucial, as a lighter paddle can offer better maneuverability and control, while a heavier one can provide more power. 

Grip size is important to consider, as it directly impacts comfort and control during gameplay. Material choice also plays a significant role, with options ranging from graphite for a lightweight feel to polymer for enhanced durability. Carefully evaluating these factors can help novice players choose a paddle that enhances their skills and enjoyment on the pickleball court.

Pickleball Paddle Weight

When it comes to selecting a pickleball paddle, understanding the importance of weight, especially for beginners, is paramount. Paddle weight directly impacts a player's ability to control the ball, generate power, and maneuver on the court. 

Lighter paddles typically weigh between 6 and 7.3 ounces and are favored by beginners for their ease of handling and reduced fatigue risk during prolonged play sessions. These paddles are well-suited for players who prioritize control and finesse over power.

On the other hand, mid-weight paddles, ranging from 7.3 to 8.5 ounces, strike a balance between control and power, making them suitable for beginners looking to develop their skills and versatility on the court. They offer a good blend of maneuverability and stability, allowing players to execute shots confidently while maintaining control over the ball.

For those seeking maximum power and stability, heavier paddles, typically weighing 8.5 ounces, provide the necessary heft to drive shots with authority and absorb impact from fast-paced rallies. 

However, these paddles may require more strength and endurance to wield effectively, making them better suited for intermediate to advanced players who have developed their technique and strength.

Pickleball paddle weight typically correlates with player skill level, with lighter paddles (6-7.5 ounces) suitable for beginners, mid-weight paddles (7.5-8.5 ounces) catering to beginners to intermediate players, and heavier paddles (8.5+ ounces) favored by intermediate to advanced players.

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Weight (Ounces)

Player Skill Level




Beginner to Intermediate


Intermediate to Advanced

Paddle Grip Size

Selecting the appropriate paddle grip size is a critical factor for beginners in pickleball. A grip that is too small or too large can lead to discomfort, decreased control, and even injury during gameplay. To accommodate various hand sizes and playing styles, pickleball paddles typically come in different grip sizes, ranging from small to large.

For beginners, finding the right grip size is essential for comfort and optimal performance on the court. Players with smaller hands may prefer a smaller grip size for better control, while those with larger hands may opt for a larger grip to prevent hand fatigue and improve stability during play.

Pickleball paddle grip sizes vary to accommodate different hand sizes and player heights. For instance, individuals with hand sizes under 4 inches typically find small grips suitable, while those with hand sizes ranging from 4 to 4.5 inches often opt for medium grips, catering to heights between 5' 3" and 5' 8".

Larger grips, such as those measuring 4.5 to 4.75 inches, are recommended for players between 5' 8" and 6' 2". In contrast, extra-large grips, suitable for hand sizes of 4.75 inches and above, are ideal for individuals 6' 2" and taller.

Grip Size

Hand Size



Under 4 inches

Below 5’ 3”


4 - 4.5 inches

5’ 3” to 5’ 8”


4.5 - 4.75 inches

5’ 8” to 6’ 2”

Extra Large

4.75 inches & above

6’ 2” and above

Pickleball Paddle Core Material

Selecting the right core material for your pickleball paddle is crucial, especially for beginners looking to optimize their playing experience. The core material significantly impacts factors such as power, control, and durability, making it essential to understand the options available. 

Here's a detailed comparison of the most common core materials:

Core Material




Recommended Skill Level


Nomex cores provide increased power and responsiveness, making them suitable for players who prefer a more aggressive playstyle.

Offers superior power for hard hitters. Provides a responsive feel and consistent ball response. Resistant to denting and warping.

Can feel stiff, leading to reduced touch and control for some players.

Intermediate to Advanced Players

Polypropylene Honeycomb

Polypropylene honeycomb cores are lightweight and offer excellent control, making them ideal for beginners looking to refine their technique.

Lightweight and easy to maneuver. Offers excellent control and touch on shots. Durable and resistant to wear and tear.

May lack the power of denser core materials.

Beginner to Intermediate

Advanced Players

  • Nomex

Pickleball paddles with Nomex cores are designed to offer increased power and responsiveness, making them ideal for players who prefer a more aggressive style of play. These paddles provide superior power, a responsive feel, and consistent ball response, making them particularly suitable for hard hitters.

However, some players may find Nomex paddles stiff, potentially reducing touch and control. Therefore, they are recommended for intermediate to advanced players prioritizing power and responsiveness over finesse.

  • Polypropylene Honeycomb

Polypropylene honeycomb cores are renowned for their lightweight composition and superior control, making them particularly suitable for novice players seeking to hone their skills. These cores allow easy maneuverability and precise shots.

While they are durable and resilient against wear and tear, they may not deliver the same power as denser core materials. As such, they are recommended for players ranging from beginners to intermediate levels and advanced players who prioritize control over power. Check our polypropylene honeycomb Marbled Fireball Pickleball Paddle:

Core Thickness

The core thickness directly impacts the paddle's performance, control, and power on the court. Generally, pickleball paddles feature cores ranging from thin to thick, with variations in materials and construction methods influencing their characteristics. One common core material used in Dink’s and many other paddles is polypropylene honeycomb, known for its lightweight yet durable properties. 

For beginners, a thicker core typically provides more power and forgiveness on off-center hits, making it easier to control the ball. However, thinner cores offer increased touch and finesse, which may benefit players seeking more precise placement and control over their shots.

Pickleball paddles come in varying core thicknesses, including slim (less than 8mm), medium (9-13mm), and thick (greater than 13mm). Slim cores are preferred for players seeking enhanced control and finesse, while medium cores balance power and control.

Thick cores offer maximum power and stability, making them suitable for players who prioritize strength in their shots.

Core Thickness


Slim (< 8mm)

Offers enhanced control and finesse

Medium (9-13mm)

Strikes a balance between power and control

Thick (> 13mm)

Provides maximum power and stability

Price Range

Paddles come in a wide range of prices, from budget-friendly options to more premium selections. While opting for the cheapest paddle available is tempting, investing more upfront can often result in better quality and durability.

Beginners should aim for a balance between affordability and quality, ensuring they get a paddle that meets their needs without breaking the bank. Additionally, understanding the features and materials contributing to a paddle's cost can help beginners make informed decisions and prioritize their preferences within budget constraints.

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Why are Custom Paddles the Best Option for All Skill Levels?

Custom paddles offer unparalleled benefits for players of all skill levels, making them the optimal choice for anyone serious about their pickleball game. Firstly, custom paddles allow players to tailor their specifications to their preferences, including weight, grip size, and material composition. This level of customization ensures optimal comfort and performance on the court, regardless of skill level. 

Additionally, custom paddles are often crafted with superior materials and craftsmanship, resulting in enhanced durability and consistency. For beginners, custom paddles can be adjusted to accommodate skill progression, while advanced players can fine-tune their equipment to match their evolving playing style. Ultimately, the ability to customize every aspect of a paddle makes custom options the best choice for maximizing performance and enjoyment at all skill levels.

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