Head Pickleball Paddles

HEAD Pickleball Paddles – Paddle Comparison & Analysis

HEAD Pickleball Paddles

In today’s post we’re going to take a closer look at all the HEAD Pickleball Paddles, explain the differences between them and give you our top pick.  HEAD offers a variety of pickleball related products like court shoes, pickleball bags, and grips but their two pickleball paddle product lines are by far the most popular.  Because HEAD pickleball paddles are gaining steam on the market right now, we've decided to take an in-depth look at all the different kinds of paddles they offer, comb through their individual specifications and performance attributes and give you the details.  HEAD paddles are quickly becoming a hot product for online retailers, so we thought we’d dedicate a entire post just on them. Let’s get started.

A Little About HEAD as a Company

Head isn’t a new company, in fact they’ve been around for years, they’re just relatively new to the game of pickleball.  If you’ve ever been active in winter sports like skiiing or snowboarding, chances are you own a piece of HEAD equipment. (I do, and I didn’t even realize it).  If you’ve ever been into paddle sports like tennis or racquetball, chances are you’ve owned a piece of HEAD gear.  But HEAD is a versatile company, making quality products for sports like: pickleball, tennis, skiiing, snowboarding, squash, racquetball, swimming and even snorkeling. 

When it comes to pickleball, HEAD’s background in tennis as a proven manufacturer of superior racquets comes into play big time!  In fact, it is this trusted reputation as an elite tennis company that allows HEAD’s pickleball paddles to stand out from the crowd.  They know how to take the tennis style grip from their tennis racquets and incorporate them into their pickleball paddles.  From their squash and racquetball background, they’re experienced in sizing and placing proper weight and balance across a paddle face.  These attributes, along with some clever “pickleball only” design elements make HEAD’s pickleball paddles a worthy competitor in the ever-growing paddle market.

In short, because of HEAD’s racquet sport background, you know you’ll be getting a quality pickleball paddle.

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HEAD Pickleball Paddles - Extreme Series

Extreme Tour

Extreme Pro

Extreme Pro L

Extreme Elite

Weight: 7.6oz

Weight: 7.8oz

Weight: 7.8oz

Weight: 7.8oz

Carbon Graphite Face with Polymer Core

Composite Face with Polymer Core

Composite Face with Polymer Core

Composite Face with Polymer Core

HEAD Pickleball Paddles - Radical Series

Radical Tour

Radical Pro

Radical Pro L

Radical Elite

Weight: 8.0oz

Weight: 8.2oz

Weight: 8.2oz

Weight: 8.1oz

Carbon Graphite Face with Polymer Core

Composite Face with Polymer Core

Composite Face with Polymer Core

Composite Face with Polymer Core


HEAD Paddles – The Breakdown

Depending on the online retailer you’re shopping at, deciphering the differences between HEAD’s pickleball paddles can be a bit challenging.  It’s easy to confuse one paddle from another…so let us clear things up. First off, HEAD’s pickleball paddles are broken down into two simple product lines: HEAD Extreme paddles and HEAD Radical paddles.  Each line of paddles has four variations: A Tour, a Pro, a Pro L and an Elite. So, two paddle types  - with each type featuring four separate paddles  - making a total of eight paddles to choose from. Now the charts above make more sense don't they?  We’ll breakdown the features and attributes of each because there are some subtle differences.

HEAD Extreme Paddles - Paddles for Control

The Extreme Tour

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

One of the first things you’ll notice about this paddle is the unique diamond cutter shape!  This is unique to all of HEAD’s Extreme series of paddles. Aside from just looking cool and different, the diamond cutter shape with edged corners serves a legit purpose...they allow you to get the paddle closer to the court floor for ground strokes!  Simple, clever and effective. Again, this control oriented design is featured across the entire Extreme line of paddles.

The Extreme Tour represents HEAD’s flagship lightweight paddle designed for those with finesse and superior control in mind. If you’re the type of pickleball player that likes control and touch around the net with your dink shots, then this could be a great option for you.  If precision is important and you’re looking to take your third shot drop to the next level, then this is your paddle! We like the Extreme Tour for two main reasons: it’s light weight for easy, precise swinging, and it’s graphite hitting surface for added control and stability. These two features make this HEAD’s lightest paddle, the easiest to just pick up and play with, and great for precision around the net!  If you’ve moved from a power player to a more net oriented drop shot type of player zeroing in on 4.0 status, you’ve got to try this paddle!

As HEAD’s flagship control oriented paddle, the Tour get’s pro endorsements as well.  Sarah Ansboury, the 2016 US Open Women’s Champion uses it and loves the fact that it’s made from one single piece.  That may sound routine but this is actually very rare in today's paddle market.  Most top-of-the-line paddles are made from a two-piece construction set up where two pieces are fused together.  HEAD creates their paddle molds using one singular piece, regardless if the paddle is graphite or composite. This approach gives the HEAD Extreme Tour outstanding paddle head weight and maneuverability.

What You’ll Like:  The diamond cutter shape adds to the paddle control and feel when dinking low to high.

What You Won’t Like:  It’s light, maybe too light. If you’re a power player like me, you might want something with a little more plow through.

-Paddle Specs-
Weight: 7.6 oz
Length/Width: 16” by 7 7/8”
Grip Size: 4 1/4”

Paddle Tech: 4 of 4 HEAD exclusive paddle technologies
-Optimized tubular construction (OTC) of the polymer honeycomb core for feel
-Carbon Graphite Hitting Surface for increased touch and pop
-Extreme Spin Technology for ball grab and manipulation
-Ergo Comfort Grip System with vibration dampening


The Extreme Pro and Pro L

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

Regardless of where you might be shopping, it’s easy to get the the Pro and the Pro L confused. It’s really very simple though.  They’re the same paddle.  The Pro L is the “ladies” version.  Which is why it has a more feminine graphic cosmetic appeal. Other than that, they’re identical.  I think the lighter color scheme and graphics looks pretty cool, regardless of what gender you are! HEAD has definitely entered the market with a young, modern, sharp looking design across all their paddles and the Pro is no exception.

Like the Extreme Tour, we get the diamond cutter shape for more control and precision for ground strokes. We also get the same comfortable grip and spin technology from the Tour. However the fundamental difference between the Pro and Tour featured above is the hitting surface. The Pro and Pro L represent the middle tier in the Extreme line of paddles because instead of a graphite paddle face like the Tour, the Pro features a heavier composite hitting surface.  HEAD places a premium on their lighter, more advanced graphite surface, that is why the composite Pro and Pro L come in ten dollars cheaper.  Don’t be fooled though, the composite based Pro is still a great paddle.  In fact, composite material tends to be better than graphite for adding spin on the ball because of the textured surface the composite material offers.  This lends It’s self well for grabbing the ball momentarily and adding spin.  We love the top spin and backspin opportunities offered by composite paddles!

Coming in at closer to 8 ounces, the Extreme Pro is a great paddle for someone who likes added punch to their drives, serves and returns. This is a great, relatively inexpensive paddle that will make former tennis players feel right at home.

What You’ll Like:  For a middle tier priced paddle, it’s gonna look and feel like a premium paddle costing over $100.

What You Won’t Like:  For those looking to improve their dinks, and require better placement for soft shots at the net, look at a graphite paddle like the Tour instead.

-Paddle Specs-
Weight: 7.6 to 8.1oz
Length/Width: 16” x 7 7/8”
Grip Size: 4 1/4”

Paddle Tech: 3 of 4 HEAD exclusive paddle technologies
-Optimized tubular construction (OTC) of the polymer honeycomb core for feel
-Extreme Spin Technology for ball grab and manipulation
-Ergo Comfort Grip System with vibration dampening


The Extreme Elite

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

The final paddle in HEAD’s Extreme series of paddles is the Elite.  The Elite is the entry level option and the most inexpensive of the bunch.  Expect to pay around $60 depending on what online retailer you’re shopping at.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better made paddle at that price point from another well known paddle manufacturer.  Are there other entry level paddles at a lower price point?  Sure.  But they’re mostly off brands with little to no presence in the pro pickleball community.  This, in our opinion, represents a big red flag, especially for a beginner.  If you’re just starting to enjoy pickleball and you want a legit starter paddle, the Elite is designed with you in mind.  You get what you pay for and despite being at the bottom tier of HEAD’s pickleball paddles, it’s a supremely well made paddle.  It offers decent pop and control from the fiber glass composite paddle face as well as good control thanks to the polymer core.  

What You’ll Like:  An overall quality paddle at a great price. We also like the 5” grip (bigger than other HEAD paddle handles).

What You Won’t Like:  If you’re an intermediate player somewhere near the 3.5 or above caliber, the other paddles in this series will offer you more and give you better performance.

-Paddle Specs-
Weight: 7.8 oz
Length/Width: 16” x 7 7/8”
Grip Size: 5”

Paddle Tech: 2 of 4 HEAD exclusive paddle technologies
-Optimized tubular construction (OTC) of the polymer honeycomb core for feel
-Ergo Comfort Grip System with vibration dampening


HEAD Radical Paddles - Paddles for Power

The Radical Tour

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

“Speed. I am speed.”  Those are the famous pre-race motivational words Lightening McQueen uses in the Disney Pixar film Cars.  Those words, ironically enough, can also be used to describe how you’ll feel after playing with the HEAD Radical Tour!  The Radical series of paddles is designed for the power player in mind and the Tour version is the top tier option for those wanting speed and quick reaction times!  When volley play at the net gets fast and furious, having a paddle that can respond with quick pop back at your opponent is crucial.  If speed and pop at the net is your style of game, then this could be your paddle!  With the HEAD Radical Tour, we get a single piece constructed premium graphite paddle face with polymer core that provides power, punch and surprisingly, great spin!  For a graphite paddle, the amount of english you can put on the ball is fantastic!  We love that!

Overall though, it’s HEAD’s exceptional carbon graphite hitting surface that make everything purr like a kitten for this paddle.  The response time of this paddle is very very good, the ball leaps off the paddle from it’s sweet spot! Again, if you’re a third shot “drive” player, then this could be a great paddle for you.

What You’ll Like:  The 5 inch handle adds to the brute force, power wielding persona of this paddle. That, and the 16 inch face make plow through easy! If Thor player pickleball, this would be one of his paddles!

What You Won’t Like:  If you’re not a power player, choose another paddle. It’s that simple. Third shot drop aficionados may want to look elsewhere.

-Paddle Specs-
Weight: 8.0 oz
Length/Width: 16” x 7 7/8”
Grip Size: 5”

Paddle Tech: 4 of 4 HEAD exclusive paddle technologies
-Optimized tubular construction (OTC) of the polymer honeycomb core for feel
-Carbon Graphite Hitting Surface for increased touch and pop
-Extreme Spin Technology for ball grab and manipulation
-Ergo Comfort Grip System with vibration dampening


The Radical Pro and Pro L

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

Like all of HEAD’s paddles in their Radical series, the Pro and Pro L boast the Dynamic Power Shape designed with a tapered edge for superior control on power shots.  Every inch of the design here is made with the power player in mind.  Unlike the Radical Tour, the Pro and Pro L (again the L is the ladies edition) offer a slightly heavier and spin oriented composite surface.  The heavier weight can lead to more power shots versus a graphite paddle but it all depends on the player behind the paddle.  Technically, the Radical Pro is HEAD’s best Power driven paddle.  If you’re like me and like deep, consistent serves with power behind them, then you’ll be right at home with this paddle!  Even when hitting returns, this paddle will provide great power and plenty of spin opportunities!

One of the things you’ll notice about the Radical Pro versus the Extreme Pro is in the paddle’s thickness. In fact, the entire line of Radical paddles is slightly thicker than the Extreme line of paddles to give them a more power driven response. If you’re a player who’s still developing your skill set, and like more punch behind most of your shots, then the Radical Pro is going to be a great option for you.

What You’ll Like:  With a heavier paddle like this, designed to blast power shots, you’ll appreciate the five inch grip needed to maintain a level of control when swinging through the ball.

What You Won’t Like:  Experienced players may not find enough touch and control due to the paddle using a heavier composite surface.

-Paddle Specs-
Weight: 8.2 oz
Length/Width: 16” x 7 7/8”
Grip Size: 5”

Paddle Tech: 3 of 4 HEAD exclusive paddle technologies
-Optimized tubular construction (OTC) of the polymer honeycomb core for feel
-Extreme Spin Technology for ball grab and manipulation
-Ergo Comfort Grip System with vibration dampening


The Radical Elite

Video Source: Pickleball Channel

The Radical Elite is HEAD’s entry level option for the power player.  It features the same Dynamic Power Shape as the Pro and the Tour, but comes in at a beefy 8.1 ounces. However, it does not include HEAD’s Extreme Spin Technology.  It’s the most inexpensive paddle in the series and is designed as a beginners paddle through and through.  For those just learning the game and just needing to get the basics down, the Radical Elite is a well made, professional looking starter racquet.  It gives the new player plenty of features to work with while removing fancy elements a newer player may not need yet.  It’s everything a novice player needs and nothing they don’t. Simple.

What You’ll Like:  Sturdy paddle design, professional looking with less swing through needed to hit the baseline.

What You Won’t Like:  ​If you’re shot selection and repertoire are advancing you might out grow this paddle rather quickly.

-Paddle Specs-
Weight: 8.0-8.3 oz
Length/Width: 16” x 7 7/8”
Grip Size: 5”

Paddle Tech: 2 of 4 HEAD exclusive paddle technologies
-Optimized tubular construction (OTC) of the polymer honeycomb core for feel
-Ergo Comfort Grip System with vibration dampening


Our Overall Favorite of All HEAD Pickleball Paddles:

The Radical Tour comes in as our favorite because it offers a slightly heavier feel compared to the Extreme Tour. We tend to like paddles closer to 8 ounces like the Radical Pro. I’ve found that when a paddle weighs in the mid 7s (around 7.5 ounces), I tend to want a little more power after a couple hours of play.  Out of all HEAD paddles, the Radical Tour gives us the closest thing to a happy medium.  It’s a good paddle for a broad range of skill sets.  Beginners won’t wrestle with it too badly and more advanced players will appreciate it’s one-piece design and spin technology.  Overall, it’s a great paddle at a very competitive price point.

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