best pickleball paddles for beginners

Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners

If you just started playing pickleball and you're looking for a list of the best pickleball paddles for beginners - you've come to the right place.  Chances are, when you got introduced to the game, you may have borrowed a friend's paddle or used a free wooden paddle many recreation centers or YMCAs offer.  Now however, you're hooked.  You can't stop playing the game and you want a paddle of your own!  The goal of this article is provide you the most up to date list of the best pickleball paddles for beginners.  These paddles range from graphite to composite, come in many different shapes, sizes and weights - all without draining you're bank account along the way.  If you're looking to grab an inexpensive paddle that performs well, and is reliable, these are the pickleball paddles to choose from.

Pickleball Paddle Chart: Paddles 1-4

Rally Graphite 2.0

best pickleball paddles for beginners

Neo Composite  

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Phoenix LTE

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Ranger Paddle for Kids

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Weight: 8.0oz

Weight: 7.6-7.9oz

Weight: 7.7-8.0oz

Weight: 6.5-6.9oz

Dimensions: 15 3/4" x 8 1/8"

Dimensions: 15 1/2" x 7 5/8"

Dimensions: 15 3/4" x 7 3/4"

Dimensions: 15 1/2" v 8"

Pickleball Paddle Chart: Paddles 5-8

The Fusion 2.0

best pickleball paddle for beginners

The Venom  

best pickleball paddle for beginners

The Rockstar

best pickleball paddle for beginners

Upstreet Graphite

Weight: 7.9oz

Weight: 7.8oz

Weight: 7.6oz

Weight: 8.6oz

Dimensions: 15 5/8" x 8 1/4"

Dimensions: 15 3/4" x 8 1/8"

Dimensions: 15 1/2" x 7 3/4"

Dimensions: 16"x 7 7/8"

Our list of paddles featured in this article is quite lengthy, because there are a lot of quality beginner paddles to consider from some of the top paddle manufacturers in the sport.  However, there are many other paddles, in similar price ranges that we would not recommend.  Why is this?  Well for starters, they're not made by common manufacturers let alone the top brands.  In addition, some of these paddles are sold only online from online retailers.  You cannot go into a common sporting goods store and find these paddles.  In our opinion, this is not ideal.  We've said it before, just because a paddle is sold online and popular, doesn't mean it's a good one.  Research needs to be done. Second rate paddles in the $20-$30 range won't help you improve your game, and they won't stay in shape very long either.  But, pickleball paddles for beginners don't need to be $100 either.  And that's where we come in.  We've done all of that work for you to create a complete, extensive list of the best pickleball paddles for beginners.  


The Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners - 2017

The Rally Graphite Power 2.0

Video Source: unplutocratical, video features the first generation Rally Graphite.

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

The Rally Graphite has been around for years but recently got an upgrade with it's "2.0" version.  We reviewed the original Rally Graphite, you can find that here.  The 2.0 is on our list of best beginner paddles because it offers a good blend of power and control.  

The 2.0 is slightly heavier than the first installment, giving the paddle a little more punch with your follow through.  It's a medium weight paddle, which we recommend for beginners because a heavy weight paddle takes time to reel in while a feather weight paddle takes practice to find the right amount of swing to generate power.  

At about 8 ounces even, the Rally 2.0 finds a happy medium, limiting break in time.  This is ideal for new players perfecting their serve and placing the ball deep at their opponent's baseline.  

The 2.0 also gets a different paddle core.  The original Rally Graphite, had a Nomex core to generate "pop" to help compensate for it's lighter weight.  The Rally 2.0 Power however offers more control, touch and feel at the net with it's polymer core.  In addition, it's features a thicker polymer core - offering players a larger overall sweet spot.  For new players, the more forgiving the paddle, the better.

best pickleball paddle for beginners

The NEO Composite Paddle by Selkirk

Video Source: Bell Racquet

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

Selkirk has been a respected brand in the world of pickleball for years, and the Neo Composite represents their best paddle for new players. The Neo comes in two simple yet flush color options; red or blue but Selkirk did not skimp out on the paddle tech they put into their entry level option.  The composite paddle face allows this paddle to provide both spin and power while remaining exceptionally light on it's feet. Weighing in at 7.6-7.9 ounces, this is a well balanced, surprisingly light beginner paddle!  Newer players will appreciate the Neo's light weight and fast response at the net, which isn't always felt with composite paddles, let alone budget ones.  Beneath it's composite face is an advanced polymer core.  Despite it being an entry level option, Selkirk has incorporated it's PowerCore polymer technology.  As a new player, all you need to know is that this gives the paddle touch and feel beyond it's minimal price tag.  The best pickleball paddle for beginners should combine great design and manufacturing while maintaining a low price point...the Neo Composite from Selkirk does just that!

best pickleball paddle for beginners
best pickleball paddles for beginners

The Phoenix LTE by Paddletek​

Video Source: Paddletek Pickleball Paddles

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

Paddletek is an up and coming pickleball paddle brand that is gaining popularity quickly in the mid west.  The Phoenix LTE takes inspiration from Paddletek's very successful Phoenix "Pro" line of paddles.  The Phoenix LTE has the same features as the more expensive Pro version but is built for newcomers with a lighter overall design and smaller grip - making it easy to just pick and play with.  

Inside this beginner paddle is an advanced polymer core with vibration dampening.  This allows for quieter play and softer, accurate shots at the net.  The face itself is comprised of a composite material, designed to help players add spin to their shots - like top spin, back spin or even when cutting down on the ball.  

Paddletek went above and beyond with this paddle face by making the face a very forgiving 15.75 inches long!  What does this mean?  It means the head of the paddle is extra long with an oversized sweet spot making it easier to reach and return tougher shots!

Despite it being the third most inexpensive paddle in Paddletek's lineup, it still meets all of the USAPA's standards and is approved for tournament play.

best pickleball paddle for beginners


​The Ranger by Paddletek

Video Source: Paddletek Pickleball Paddles

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

The Paddletek Ranger is truly one of a kind.  It's the first and only pickleball paddle designed for kids!  If you're looking for a paddle that is perfect for a grandchild or little one in grade school, then this is the paddle for you!  Paddletek stepped up and became the first major paddle manufacturer to target a younger audience - kids 12 and under!  

Every aspect of this paddle's design was done with the younger generation in mind.  From the grip, to the paddle's overall smaller profile, this paddle is perfect for the child in your life who wants to join you at the local pickleball courts!

As you'd expect, this paddle's weight is extremely light - 6.5 to 6.9 ounces to be exact, making it very easy to pick up and play with.  To go along with the light weight, Paddletek has incorporated an extra long handle (to allow for two handed grip) and an extra large 8 inch wide paddle face. This is an ideal combination for a pickleball paddle designed for kids.

The face itself is comprised on composite material, ideal for grabbing the ball and adding an extra level of control.  Again, this is best suited for kids getting introduced to the sport of pickleball.  ​

best pickleball paddle for beginners

The Fusion 2.0 Widebody by Gamma​

Video Source: Gamma Pickleball

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

The Fusion 2.0 from Gamma Pickleball is a wide body paddle offering a large 8 inch wide paddle face giving new players more hitting surface. Inside the paddle, Gamma opted to go with an aluminum honeycomb core.  This means it's harder than soft "polymer cores" found in many of today's paddles but softer than the extra rigid "nomex" cores found in power paddles.  Essentially, with an aluminum core, the Fusion 2.0 offers a good balance power and touch.  

The paddle face is manufactured out of a fiber glass composite face giving you a playing surface designed to grab the ball and even slow it down. This effectively gives you the chance to dictate the pace of the match and control more points - perfect for a beginner player.  This is why the Fusion 2.0 has made our list of the best pickleball paddles for beginners.  


The Venom by Pickleball Inc.

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

The Venom was featured in our other article The Best New Pickleball Paddles for 2017, and for good reason.  Pickleball Inc has essentially been around as a proven pickleball paddle maker since the sport's inception.  And they're not afraid to use their history and tradition and use it as inspiration for future paddles.  

The Venom uses its unique "tear drop" tapered shape to place more of its overall weight in the paddle's head; much like a tennis racket or traditional wooden pickleball paddle. This, along with it's innovative and proprietary nomex core Pickleball Inc calls their "PFG2 Core" give this paddle great balance, symmetry, control and exceptional power.

As we've mentioned before, most nomex paddle cores tend to be the loudest (we love the trademark "pop") and create a defection response where the ball virtually leaps off of the paddle back at your opponent. However, Pickleball Inc's PFG2 nomex core is ahead of its time, allowing the paddle to remain remarkably quiet.  

The finishing touches are a composite paddle face for extra grab and spin and an elongated "tennis-like" handle for better control of the heavy paddle head. Pickleball Inc did it right and for a reasonable price, has made one of the best pickleball paddles for beginners.


The Rockstar by Pro-Lite

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

Inspired by 80's hair bands like Journey, the Rockstar from Pro-Lite Sports brings vibrant colors, an advanced honeycomb shape polymer core all in a lively, boisterous package! It's a perfect blend of light hearted fun and real pickleball tech for the beginner looking to take the game a little more seriously without losing any enjoyment.  

Expertly fashioned between two textured fiber glass plates of composite material is an exceptional ploymer core Pro-Lite calls ​QuadCore.  This is their proprietary core that delivers power and pop for quality deflection and soft quiet play at the no volley zone.

This makes our list of best pickleball paddles for beginners because it's built around the idea that an entry level paddle should be easy to hold with it's narrow yet long grip and light enough to withstand extended hours of play - it's a medium weight paddle coming in at a cozy 7.6 ounces.  It's not a small paddle by any means but at the same time it isn't a wide body or heavy power driven brute.  It's sits comfortably in the middle.   


Graphite Paddle by Upstreet - Our Budget Pick

Video Source: Upstreet

  • PAddle Info
  • Paddle Specs
  • Why Players like it

This graphite paddle from Upstreet represents our budget pick.  For those looking for a quality paddle for under $50, this could be your best bet. 

Upstreet is a new name in the paddle business and is clearly targeting a younger more recreational type of player with their products.  Their signature paddle is this inexpensive graphite option boasting many colorful, youth inspired color options and graphic designs.  

It's a heavy paddle at 8.6 ounces but that's because Upstreet uses a unique cell structure for it's polypropylene honeycomb core. This gives the paddle a more uniform mechanical structure for optimal performance.

It should be noted that this paddle is the only paddle on our list not approved for tournament play by the USAPA.  Our take: if you're looking for a basic recreational paddle, ideal for outdoor use, this could be a great budget friendly pick.


We hope you enjoyed our run down of the Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners! Is it extensive? Yes, but we feel these eight paddles represent the very best in paddles designed with a beginner in mind.  If you're looking to upgrade beyond a beginner paddle, check out our post on the Best New Pickleball Paddles for 2017!

Leave a comment below, we'd love to hear from you!  What paddle do you use? Why do you like it?

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