After Testing 20 Paddles -These Are The Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin
Over the past year I’ve been buying and trying out various pickleball paddles to get a better feel for which ones are the best pickleball paddles for spin. If you come from a tennis background like me, hitting a forehand topspin shot back at your opponent can be an insanely gratifying experience. But are certain pickleball paddles better at putting spin on the ball? After play testing over 20 paddles, I can confidently tell you YES!So, what are the best pickleball paddles for spin? Well, after playing with it for over a year now, I am a huge fan of the Prince Response Pro. It’s uniquely balanced and has a knack for grabbing the ball and rebounding it back at your opponent better than any paddle I’ve ever played with. Not to mention the sweet spot is HUGE!I also like the Rebel PowerSpin from Pro-Lite and the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro. Both of these paddles are extremely responsive. And the more I played with them, the more I wanted to step on the gas and tee up on the ball. You can do this and still get great ball manipulation!Topspin passing shots are a thing of beauty with these all three of these paddles!
Why Trust Me?
I didn’t just hop onto Amazon and read the product reviews; a lot of which are fake and paid for. I actually bought and used these paddles. I own them. I’ve played extensively with them.The only honest way to get a real list of the top pickleball paddles for spin, is to play with a lot of them. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.In fact, I’ve played with over 20 paddles from big name pickleball brands like Pro-Lite, Paddletek, Selkirk, Prince, Engage, Wilson, Gearbox and Pro Kennex.
Why The Prince Response Pro Is The Best Pickleball Paddle For Spin
Before I go any further, you should know that this is the same paddle that Pro player Simone Jardim won the triple crown with. You read that right. In 2018 she won the US Open Women’s Singles crown, the Women’s Doubles Championship, and the Mixed Doubles Championship.Three gold medals in one tournament with the same paddle – The Prince Response Pro!Simone Jardim won three gold medals – ALL with the Response Pro!In my opinion, what makes the Response Pro so good at manipulating and grabbing the ball is, in large part, due to two fundamental design elements. It’s sweet spot, and it’s one of a kind shape.Of all the paddles I’ve tested, the Prince Response Pro appears to have the largest sweet spot I’ve ever played with. There is rarely a bad hit or miss-hit on this paddle’s face.What does this have anything to do with being the best pickleball paddle for spin?Let me explain.The larger the sweet spot, the more accurate and on point the paddle is when attempting advanced shots like a deep, topspin return to the baseline. Which this paddle does very very well.Other paddles that claim to be the best for putting english on the ball have a rough sandpaper like texture on the paddle face, but if the sweet spot is tiny, then you’ll be spraying those topspin or backspin shots all over the place.So, if it’s not on target, what’s the point?The Response Pro has a gigantic sweet spot, so if you’ve got your feet lineup properly, go ahead and put spin on the ball – this paddle will respond properly time after time.Now, moving onto paddle shape. That’s the second thing that makes this paddle one of the best pickleball paddles for spin.The unique oval shape is a trademark shape for Prince. They brought that shape into the game of tennis and they’ve now done the same thing with pickleball.This oval shape creates a perfectly balanced paddle that has just the right amount of “head heavy” feel when whipping through on a topspin volley.What does this mean? Having a paddle that is head heavy means the weight of the paddle is slightly more distributed towards the top of the paddle face.This is so imperative when looking for pickleball paddles for spin.If your paddle isn’t a little head heavy, it’s not ideally suited for optimal spin.For example, the default motion for a topspin forehand return is one where your arm is moving from low to high – flicking the wrist from an open to a closed position at the end of the shot.This creates the flick effect to put topspin on the ball.With a balanced but slightly head heavy paddle that has a giant oval shaped sweet spot like the Response Pro – you get a spin response second to none.Trust me, it’s a thing of beauty. I’ve tried a lot of good spin oriented paddles. The Prince Response Pro tops them ALL.Related Content: Read why the Prince Response Pro sits atop my Best Overall Paddles List for 2020.
If your paddle isn’t a little head heavy, it’s not ideally suited for optimal spin.
More Polymer = More Spin Opportunities
This paddle’s core is also worth mentioning when talking about the top pickleball paddles for spin.It’s got a slightly thicker polymer core. Polymer paddle cores are the standard right now in the industry but what makes the Response Pro so unique is that it is thicker than most paddles.Not a ton but enough to notice. If you’re playing with a paddle from 3-4 years ago, you’ll notice that the Response Pro is thicker.Not heavier though. That’s important.Having more layers of woven polymer in a honeycomb oval shape is noticeable from the point the ball makes first contact with this paddle. I swear you’ll notice how much more control you have with this paddle.And control is huge when you’re trying to put english on the ball.It just feels different. It felt thicker in my hands and consequently I felt more control very quickly.This was not a Jedi mind trick. Others in my family that play pickleball felt this as well.The slightly thicker core and the control I got with it was noticeable to me whether I was flicking dinks at the net or putting some spin on the ball during my serves.I can serve up on the ball while incorporating a little upward cut action on the ball, so that when it lands, it bounces and then pops to the right every time.It’s a legal serve but isn’t always consistent for me depending on the paddle I’m using. But with this paddle, it’s on point and powerful more often than not.A good pickleball paddle for spin like the Response Pro, gives you more opportunity to attempt and execute advanced shots like that.
Paddle Spec Sheet
Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin – My Runner-Up Pick – The Rebel PowerSpin By Pro-Lite
I’ll admit it, my tennis background makes me more a “power” player when it comes to pickleball. Much more than a finesse player. As I grow as a pickleball player, that’ll change and I’ll probably become more attuned to the touch side of the game.But until that day, I still LOVE smashing topspin forehand returns at my opponent and almost love a third shot drive as much as a well placed third shot drop. Which is what this next paddle does really well!The Rebel PowerSpin from Pro-Lite combines two of my favorite things: power and spin.Heck, Pro-Lite even put the two words in the name! So it’s gotta be good at that right?And indeed Pro-Lite delivers.I felt the ball literally jump off my paddle with the Rebel PowerSpin! The power was there and the rough texture of the fiberglass face significantly played a role in the level of “ball grab” this paddle gave me.In fact this textured fiberglass face is Pro-Lite’s own patented design they uniquely call “PowerSpin.” Duh.Pro-Lite was bullish with their design, not hiding the fact that this was a power players paddle designed to manipulate ball control and spin.In fact, it’s most bullish and bold design element is it’s length. It’s a whopping 16 inches, the longest allowed by the USAPA. It’s literally against the rules to have a longer paddle than this!This paddle length adds to the Rebel PowerSpin’s stature and makes it one of the best pickleball paddles for spin.Why does length make a good paddle for spin?Well, the longer the paddle the more force you’re going to generate when you whip through the ball. A topspin forehand return of serve is a perfect example.I found my return of serves with this paddle were especially were deep, pretty darn consistent and when I wanted to layer my returns with with loads of spin – the Rebel delivered in spades!The power and spin capabilities of this paddle are truly magnificent.But, it comes at a small price. If you love the wider oval shape, like I do, of the aforementioned Prince Response Pro, the thinner Rebel PowerSpin will take a little getting used to.There is a slight adjustment or break-in period needed.When you have a paddle this long, which again generates great topspin power, you literally have to take space away from other parts of the paddle.In this case, it is the width. At 7 ⅝” wide, it lacks a little of forgiveness I feel with the Response Pro. The sweet spot just isn’t as friendly.It’s not a bad or tiny sweet spot for a paddle on the thinner side, but it’s not as forgiving as other wide-body paddles I’ve played with.I have played with thinner paddles though, like the Invikta from Selkirk. And the PowerSpin outperforms that paddle any day of the week. So 7 ⅝ “ isn’t horrible, in fact I wouldn’t even call it that skinny. Its just thinner than what i usually play with.Overall, the length and whipping power you get with this paddle greatly outweighs the narrow feel it comes with. And the break-in period isn’t much…maybe one solid play session and you’ll get accustomed to it.Even new players will be just fine.
Paddle Spec Sheet
- Paddle Material: Composite with Fiberglass Finish
- Paddle Core: Honeycomb Woven Polymer
- Average Weight: 7.7 to 8.4 ounces
- Paddle Length: 16”
- Paddle Width: 7 ⅝ “
- Grip Circumference: 4 ¼”
- Grip Length: 5”
- Price: $90-120
Honorable Mention – Third Best Pickleball Paddle for Spin – The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro
Let me tell you something. The fact that a lightweight graphite paddle even shows up on this list of best pickleball paddle for spin, is no small feat.It’s a testament to the design prowess of the engineers at Paddletek.Most of the top pickleball paddles for spin on the market right now are composite paddles – but that’s for a reason.Composite paddles by default have sandpaper like texture to them. This rough texture gives them the ability to hold or grab the ball ever so slightly. Some composite paddles have more “grab” than others.For example, the Prince Response Pro and the Rebel PowerSpin have way more grab than other composite paddles I’ve played with.But graphite paddles generally have more of a smoother surface and are lighter. Graphite paddles have great touch because of their featherweight feel.But the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro is in a class all its own. It’s a next level graphite paddle that maintains elite control and touch and combines never-before-seen ball manipulation from a graphite paddle.It’s unique because Paddletek has incorporated their new “textured graphite” paddle face technology that allows the face to hold the ball much like a composite face and rebound it back.Run your fingers across the paddle face and you’ll feel it. Most graphite paddles don’t have any grizzled texture. This baby has a five o’clock shadow – and it’s beautiful.This thing is a graphite paddle juiced up on steroids and muscle milk! It’s awesome!In addition, Paddletek implemented its state of the art, high grade honeycomb shaped graphite polymer into the paddle core. This next-level paddle core gives the Tempest Pro it’s consistent whiplash effect.Get the mechanics down for a topspin flick or cut down on the ball at the net, and the Tempest Pro really flexes its muscle.In fact, if you’re looking for ball spin at the net during dink play, then this paddle is probably the best option for you.The Response Pro and rebel PowerSpin give you that baseline to baseline spin power. But the Tempest Pro is probably the best choice for spin at the kitchen line.Compared to the Tempest Wave II (which I deem to be the best beginner paddle on the market right now) the Tempest Pro gives the player more power, more control and of course, more spin.I’ve played with the original Tempest, the Tempest II and now the Tempest Pro.The Tempest Pro gave me WAY more topspin juice and oomph compared to the others.The Tempest Pro is arguably the most control oriented paddle available but that elite control lends itself so well to those looking for added spin to their pickleball game…especiall at the kitchen line.Editor’s Note: It should be noted that Paddletek recently redesigned the cosmetic look of all their paddles. So the picture of my Tempest Wave Pro is going to look different than the most recent version.Personally, I like the graphic design of the older version better than the new version but both are available for purchase and perform the same.
Paddle Spec Sheet
- Paddle Material: Graphite
- Paddle Core: Honeycomb Woven Polymer
- Average Weight: 7.2-7.8 ounces
- Paddle Width: 8”
- Paddle Length: 15 ⅞“
- Grip Circumference: 4 ⅛” or 4 ⅜”
- Grip Length: 5 ¼”
- Price: $120-150
Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin – Final Thoughts
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of the Top Pickleball Paddles for Spin.
If you’re new to pickleball or a seasoned player, these three paddles represent the best place to start in my opinion. I’ve played with all three of them extensively and feel confident any one of them would be a great choice for someone looking to add serious spin to their game.
Below, you’ll find my previous list of top pickleball paddles for spin that I’ve recommended from previous years. So, as new paddles come out and replace ones I previously recommended, this post will grow over time.
Got a paddle you want me to review for you?
Leave a comment below and review it for you!!
Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin – Related Questions
Composite or Graphite?
We can make a case that the most important piece of equipment for any new pickleball player is a good pair of court shoes. Aside from that, a good paddle tailored to your type of game is the next best piece of equipment.In the game of pickleball, the right paddle can help you improve certain types of shots dramatically. Currently constructed in graphite and composite materials, pickleball players remain divided in their preference in one material over the other.Composite pickleball paddles are starkly contrasted with their graphite counterparts. Graphite pickleball paddles generally have smooth, polished, light weight carbon fiber faces that are free of texture and any kind of grip.The perfectly even and flush surfaces of graphite pickleball paddles are more tailored towards control and feel. Despite being slightly lighter than composite paddles, graphite paddles provide players more pop, great accuracy but slightly less “grab” or “ball control” because of the smooth surface.Seasoned pickleball players understand that paddles constructed of composite materials usually represent the best option for putting spin or english on the ball – along with fantastic levels of touch, feel and durable strength.In short, if you’re looking for the best pickleball paddle for spin – you cannot go wrong with a composite paddle!
Why Composite Pickleball Paddles are Great for Spin
Pickleball paddles constructed of composite materials are highly sought after for four main reasons:
- Great for Power and Touch
- Highly Durable
- Big Sweetspot
- The exceptional ability to give any level of player opportunities for precise SPIN
The classification of composite material is a misnomer since the material these paddles are constructed from are unique blends typically consisting of carbon fiber, resin, fiberglass, and vinyl in addition to new and advanced aerospace materials such as polymer cores and polycarbonate.
Bolstering the level of performance that composite paddles provide are textured tactile paddle surfaces that facilitate the best spin possible due to its ever-so-slight grab of the ball.
The textured surface of the paddle’s face, allows players to momentarily “grab” or manipulate the ball midair. This gives players unparalleled precision and control when wanting to execute shots that require putting english on the ball – like top spin or back spin.
The Exception To The Rule
Advances in new types of graphite paddles tailored towards spin and ball manipulation have begun to trickle onto the market. Paddletek already has their monster of a graphite paddle in the Tempest Wave Pro.
Engage Pickleball has also released an updated line of their Encore paddle series that includes a “liquid graphite” option. This is a proprietary skin-like overlay that provides touch, spin and quieter play.
Both paddles are graphite paddles but are said to deliver insane amounts of spin, never before seen from a graphite paddle before.
I’ll be watching closely if other manufactures offer similar products and if they overtake composite paddles as the best pickleball paddle for spin.
I’m just a lover of all sports that involve a racquet, net and a ball. My whole family loves and plays pickleball regularly. I started this website to help give people like you the performance tips and buying info they need to make an educated and informed purchase.
The products I recommend here have been researched, analyzed, compared and in a lot of cases bought, worn and used. If it’s a bad product, I don’t recommend it. Any small purchase made from this site gives me a small commission that helps fund the growth of the site to provide you more helpful information.
Welcome to TheVolleyLlama.com. My name is Keith, I’m just a lover of all sports that involve a racquet, net and a ball. I played competitive high school varsity tennis, love racquetball and my whole family plays pickleball regularly. I started this website to help give people like you the basics to learn these wonderful games.