You don’t need special skills to try your hand at pickleball, America’s fastest-growing sport, but you do need the right equipment. Perhaps most important is the paddle—which you use to serve, volley, and drive the ball across the court. We tapped pickleball coaches and pros to learn more about which paddles stand above the rest, no matter your level of play.

How to choose a pickleball paddle

There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when picking this all-important piece of gear.

Weight: Paddles generally range in weight from about 7 oz. (or less) to about 8.5 oz., Landon Uetz, PT, DPT, a physical therapist and certified pickleball coach in Arizona, tells SELF. Heavier ones (above 8 oz.) often deliver more power, helping you hit the ball with more velocity, while lightweight paddles (around 7 oz.) are easier to control. Not sure what you prefer? Opt for a midweight option—those in about the 7.5 to 8 ounce range—as that will likely strike a comfortable middle ground, says Uetz.

Shape: Two common shapes are wide-body (which is more square-ish) and elongated (which is rectangular), Jessica Coughlin, a certified pickleball coach in Connecticut, tells SELF. Wide-body paddles have a bigger sweet spot (the area where the ball bounces off best), making them a solid pick for beginners, whereas elongated paddles may be more comfortable for folks with a background in court sports, since that shape more closely resembles a tennis racquet. A standard-shaped paddle strikes the middle ground between the two.

Feel: You want a paddle that is comfortable in your hand, David Dutrieuille, Minnesota-based national pickleball director for LifeTime Fitness and certified professional with the Professional Pickleball Registry, tells SELF.

That “feel” can be tough to suss out online, which is why Uetz suggests heading to a local sporting goods store and holding paddles of varying weights and shapes. You can then use that intel to make a virtual purchase. “It will at least give you an idea as to where to start,” Uetz explains.

Surface material and thickness: Wood paddles may be inexpensive, but they have a small sweet spot, says Uetz. Plus, you may find they make it more difficult to control the ball, and they also tend to be less durable. It’s a better bet to go with a paddle made of composite material, graphite, or carbon fiber, says Coughlin. She also suggests looking for ones crafted with a honeycomb core, a design element that helps them absorb the impact of the ball and aids in control. You may also want to note paddle thickness: Typically those that are thicker offer higher control than thinner ones, since they better absorb the impact of the ball, Coughlin explains.

The Best Pickleball Paddles

Based on expert recommendations and customer reviews, here are some of the best pickleball paddles to take to the court.

1. Best Overall Paddle: Selkirk Halo

Selkirk SLK Halo Pickleball Paddle

Beloved by Coughlin, this paddle offers stellar control and a gritty surface, which “helps you to grip the ball better when making contact.” Reviewers describe it as a “great all-around paddle” and praise its “excellent spin capability” as well as the fact that the ball “pops nicely” off the face. It’s not the least expensive option on the market, but the high-quality construction means it will likely last for many games to come. Plus, it’s approved by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), meaning you can use it to play in official tournaments. Note: There are several variations of the Selkirk Halo that differ slightly in style and shape. Coughlin uses the Halo Paris Todd, named for a pro women’s pickleball player.

Weight: 7.6–8.2 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Carbon fiber

2. Best Budget Pick: MTEN Fiberglass Paddle

Mten Fiberglass Surface Pickleball Set

If you’re brand new to pickleball, you don’t need to blow your entire budget to get a good paddle. Case in point: This affordable pick from Onix that’s ideal for beginner players. The wide-body shape provides an ample sweet spot, the honeycomb core offers good ball control, and the midweight design helps ease players into the game without overloading their arms. Shoppers appreciate the sleek design, bold color combination, and the overall feel of this paddle in their hands.

Weight: 7.8–8.1 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Composite aluminum

3. Best Bundle Deal: Selkirk Latitude

Selkirk Latitude Pickleball Bundle

One big perk of pickleball is that it’s a really social sport, which is why it never hurts to have an extra paddle on hand. That way you can “bring other people to the court without having to tell them to go and buy something,” says Uetz. With this popular, affordable bundle, you can snag two decent-quality paddles—plus three balls and a drawstring bag to haul everything—for around $100. It’s USAPA-approved, designed for all skill levels, and crafted by well-known brand Selkirk.

Weight: 6.9–7.5 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Graphite

4. Best Durable Paddle: Onix Z5 Graphite

Onix Graphite Z5 Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles

The Onix Z-Five is a well-crafted, quality pick—and it was the first paddle Uetz used when he started playing pickleball. “It lasted me for a couple years playing recreationally,” he says. Ping pong players may find this option especially appealing, as the flared, wood handle resembles the shape of a table tennis racquet. It’s USAPA-approved, comes in 13 different colors, and can also be purchased as part of a bundle with pickleball balls.

Weight: 7.5–8.2 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Graphite

5. Best Lightweight Paddle: Paddletek Bantam TS-5

Paddletek Bantam TS-5 Pickleball Paddle

Coughlin’s other paddle of choice is the USAPA-approved Paddletek Bantam TS-5, crafted with a honeycomb core for good ball control. It’s available in six different weights (ranging in increments of 0.1 oz), so you can find the perfect level of heft for your hands. Amazon reviewers loved how the lightweight design allowed them to make precise shots and play long games without fatiguing.

Weight: 7–7.5 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Fiberglass epoxy

6. Best Paddle for Beginners: Joola Essential Pickleball Paddle

Joola Essentials Pickleball Paddles

If you’re new to pickleball and overwhelmed by all the paddle varieties, consider this raved-about paddle from popular brand Joola. Dutrieuille says it’s excellent for first-timers, since it’s both well-priced and high-performing. Reviewers compliment its durability, lightweight feel, and generous sweet spot. Bonus: Amazon offers a bundle option—two paddles, two balls, and a bag—which is appealing for folks looking to jump into the game with a friend.

Weight: 8.2 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Fiberglass

7. Best Paddle for Advanced Beginners: Pik Ninja Sports Assassin Pro 2.0

Pikninja Assassin Pro 2.0 Paddles

This USAPA-approved paddle is designed by Franklin for Ben Johns, the number one ranked pickleball player in the world in men’s singles and men’s mixed doubles. Dutrieuille recommends it for a step above beginner. It features a long handle, which allows you to make two-handed shots. Another plus: Its gritty surface is designed to promote traction on the ball and boost its spin. It comes in five colors and two different thicknesses: 13 millimeters and 16 millimeters.

Weight: 8.1 oz.

Shape: Elongated

Surface Material: Fiberglass

8. Best Versatile Paddle: Franklin Signature

Franklin Signature Pickleball Paddle

Both Coughlin and Dutrieuille recommend this USAPA-approved paddle. The curve of the head is designed to minimize drag and boost swing speed, while the honeycomb core provides ample power. Coughlin recommends it for intermediate- to advanced-level players. It’s on the pricier side, but if you’re committed to pickleball, this paddle may just be a worthwhile investment for leveling up your game.

Weight: 8.4 oz.

Shape: Elongated

Surface Material: Carbon friction

9. Best Paddle for Kids: Oneshot Juniorshot Series Paddle

Oneshot Juniorshot Series Paddle

Introduce your little one to pickleball with this paddle designed specifically for younger players. Available in two models—kids and toddler—it’s smaller and lighter than your typical adult paddle, making it easier for children to grip and use. The colorful illustrations on the paddle face—pick between outer space, dinosaur, or ocean artwork—are super fun and kid-friendly. Reviewers rave about the paddle’s “adorable” aesthetic and describe it as the “perfect” size for young pickleballers.

Weight: 5.3–6.0 oz.

Shape: Wide-body

Surface Material: Fiberglass

10. Best Splurge Paddle: Joola Ben Johns Hyperion 16mm

Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Pickleball Paddle

Created by Minnesota-based Pik Ninja, this USAPA-approved paddle is a favorite of Dutrieuille, who loves the simplicity of the design and the five vibrant color options. It’s suitable for a wide range of ability levels, including beginners and semi-professional players. It may be especially great for folks with a tennis background, since the shape and length of the handle grip more closely mimic a tennis racquet, compared to standard pickleball paddles.

Weight: 7.8–8.2 oz.

Shape: Standard

Surface Material: Glass fiber composite