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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!
- My 2020 Play Test Results -
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.
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.
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 Material: Composite with Fiberglass Face
Paddle Core: Honeycomb Woven Polymer
Average Weight: 7.8 to 8.3 ounces
Paddle Width: 8 ¼”
Paddle Length: 15 ¾”
Grip Circumference: 4 ⅛” or 4 ⅜”
Grip Length: 5.5”
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 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”
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 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”
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!!
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!
Pickleball paddles constructed of composite materials are highly sought after for four main reasons:
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.
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.
The Rebel PowerSpin Composite Paddle by Pro-Lite Features a striking, eye-catching facade with its black, red, and white color scheme. Brimming with style, this paddle has all the high-end performance features you're looking for.
Utilizing Pro-Lites special proprietary QuadCore polymer core, this paddle is immensely durable and strong but remains quiet during play for players who dislike the noise associated with lesser-quality paddles.
The PowerSpin’s high quality, textured fiberglass face gives players the ability to easily add spin to their shots, while a generous 16” overall length provides copious amounts of reach to effectively return tougher shots.
The polymer core adds a good blend of touch and power like we'd expect from any polymer based paddle.
While the face of this paddle is long (we like that feature), the width is slightly more narrow compared to "widebody" paddles like the Z5 below. A low-profile edge guard that doesn't get in the way during frantic dink play provides additional surface area.
Coming with a long yet comfortable 5" grip, former tennis players will feel right at home and maybe even try the familiar two handed backhand shot.
The PowerSpin is a medium weight paddle coming in at 7.8-8.2 ounces. This, combined with the versatile polymer core, and you've got a very well rounded, balanced paddle.
The Rebel PowerSpin by ProLite provides medium weight comfort, a myriad of performance features and a distinctive, serious look to set any player apart from the crowd.
|Product Dimensions||16"x 7 5/8"|
|Product Weight||7.8-8.2 oz|
In the world of pickleball, the Z5 Composite paddle has been a favorite by many players due to it's widebody shape and extra hitting surface. It's known as a very forgiving pickleball paddle because of it's size - think less "swing and miss" scenarios.
With its heavy hitter feel and comfortable tennis style grip, this paddle will feel great in the hands of anyone coming from a tennis background. It also features well balanced construction using a nomex core - perfect for added "pop". It's one of only two Nomex core paddles on our list which means balls will burst back off of this paddle.
Due to the it's widebody "hit anything" style of paddle face and it's 8.4oz weight, the Z5 is beefier than some paddles. This is perfect for those wanting a side of "oomph" with their spin shots.
We would consider this a power paddle that has plenty of spin attributes tied to it. It's heavier weight means you need less arm swing to see a response and the Nomex core allows the ball to essentially leap off of your paddle.
These features along with a textured composite face make the Z5 one of the best pickleball paddles for spin on the market today.
A bold, bright, and distinctive color scheme is screen printed onto a woven composite face with a honeycomb graphic background for an eye catching design that is unique to Onix and the Z5.
|Product Dimensions||15 1/2” x 8 1/8"|
|Product Weight||8.4 to 8.7 oz|
The Encore Pro Pickleball Paddle is advertised by Engage as “an outstanding choice for players wanting the best of both worlds—power and control.”
The original Encore paddle has been a highly successful paddle for Engage. With the "Encore Pro", we get all the same features of the standard Encore but in a heavier paddle boasting a larger, more centralized sweet spot.
The standard Encore weighed in at 7.5oz while the Pro is a little thicker at 7.9-8.3oz. This give players more "plow through" and pop. Offering players the ability to hit with power and spin, the Encore Pro is a great choice for those looking for peak surface texture.
Engage designed this paddle for maximum surface roughness, even the USAPA has designated this paddle as having the highest amount of surface roughness allowable in match play! This gives players exceptional control - perfect for those looking to put more rotation on the ball. In addition, it also has the highest deflection rate by the USAPA!
Deflection is the biggest measurement of power for a pickleball paddle, so this gives you a good idea as to how responsive the Encore Pro is at the net.
Engage engineered this paddle with it's "ControlPro Technology" which is designed to have the paddle's skin and core to work together. The polymer core gives the Encore Pro it's touch, the special coarse skin gives the paddle it's control and "grab", while the large sweet spot and heavier weight give this paddle it's power. ControlPro Technology makes that work harmoniously giving the everyday pickleball player a high performance paddle!
|Product Dimensions||15 1/4” x 8"|
|Product Weight||7.9 – 8.3 oz|
The Encore X represents the only graphite paddle on our list. Graphite paddles are known for their light weight, exceptional touch and soft feel at the net. However, the Encore X adds to that recipe!
Engage has developed a chemically bonded skin they place over the paddle face called "liquid graphite" that enables this graphite paddle to deliver elite levels of ball grip during play. We're extremely exited about this paddle and the potential trend it represents in the graphite paddle market.
If you've always played with a graphite paddle but want more spin and ball control without having to leave the touch and feel graphite paddles deliver, then this could be the perfect paddle for you.
As you'd expect from a graphite paddle, the Encore X weighs in at a graceful 7.5 ounces.
Underneath the chemically bonded lion tongue-like paddle skin is a honeycomb woven polymer core making it quiet, reducing contract vibration and providing remarkable levels of touch! If you want a heavier version for more power, the Encore X does come in a Pro version that pushes the weight up to 8.3oz.
The X Series comes in six attractive color options and is quickly becoming a next level option for pickleball fans looking to upgrade their paddle and performance.
|Product Dimensions||15 1/2” x 8 1/8"|
|Product Weight||7.5 - 7.8 oz|
The CRUSH PowerSpin is the second and newest installment in Pro-Lite's PowerSpin line of composite paddles. It's lighter than its big brother, the Rebel PowerSpin and takes advantage of Pro-Lite's trademark Magnum paddle shape.
The original Magnum paddle has a long history and was one of the game's original composite paddles. So, the CRUSH comes from a proven lineage of paddle templates.
It's also chalk full of new paddle tech. QuadCore, SPINtac, and MicroEdge are the high-end materials used. The QuadCore polymer core enables players to focus on touch and feel - perfect for more accurate finesse play at the net.
Pro-Lite's state-of-the-art SPINtac fiberglass panels sandwhich the polymer core and are engineered with texture for players desiring big spin and quieter play.
Finally, the MicroEdge guard extends the playing field on the face of the paddle, taking advantage of every square inch of the already highly successful wide body Magnum paddle shape.
It should also be noted that the grip size on the CRUSH is on the smaller side. This is by design.
The smaller grip and lighter paddle weight compliment each other perfectly and provide players faster reaction times at the net and better all-around control.
Players with smaller hands will appreciate the small grip but love the wide body paddle face with it's extra large sweet spot. It'll feel like every shot hits the mark!
|Product Dimensions||15 1/2” x 7 7/8"|
|Product Weight||7.4oz - 7.8 oz|
The Gamma Micron 2.0 pickleball paddle is ideal for those players seeking a midweight paddle with an large face and smaller grip, well under the $100 price range.
It's not a prototypical wide body paddle but it's no slouch either. With a length of 15 and 3/4 inches, you get plenty of shot making real estate and the textured fiberglass face is there for great ball grip and control.
The Aramid Nomex featured in the core of the paddle is there to provide loads of power and pop. Paddles with a composite fiberglass face and a Nomex core are known to deliver in the power department and the ultra affordable Micron 2.0 is no exception.
Gamma went with a relatively small contoured grip style and circumference to allow for greater paddle control and deflection response. This is ideal for players with smaller hands.
For those looking for a great paddle for spin, but need one that is on the small-ish side, lightweight and well under $100, this could be the paddle for you.
|Price||$ - The Budget Pick|
|Product Dimensions||15 3/4” x 7 3/4"|
|Product Weight||7.6 oz|
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.