Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (2024)

To play pickleball, you only need a few pieces of equipment, which includes a pickleball paddle. There are thousands of pickleball paddles to choose from in the marketplace, which makes selecting a pickleball paddle a bit difficult. With that said, the overarching goal with choosing a pickleball paddle is to pick one that maximizes each player’s skill and results on the court—in other words, choosing a pickleball paddle that helps a player make better shots and win more games.

There are hundreds of paddle manufacturers working to help pickleball players achieve this goal of better play by producing the “best” pickleball paddle. Paddle manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of the rules of pickleball (which include rules on size, material, surface, alterations, etc.) in an effort to outpace the fast-growing competition in the pickleball paddle industry. They are looking to in-depth research and development to get an edge over their competitors, and find a marketing angle in order to explain to the pickleball population why their paddle is the best. Even a 1% improvement could result in a few extra shots and a few extra points, which could be the difference between a win and a loss on the pickleball court for those competitive players (particularly, any pro pickleball players—and we all want to play like the pros, right?).

Taking a look back at the original pickleball paddles, the first pickleball paddles were made from wood. It wasn’t until 1984 that pickleball paddles were made out of a composite material, which is almost 20 years after the sport originated. These early pickleball paddles historically had relatively square shapes that are solid (in other words, without any holes).

Pickleball paddles are evolving to be lighter, stronger, have a bigger sweet spot, have more “pop” and more spin, etc. One such evolution in the pickleball industry is a change in the shape of the paddle. Paddle manufacturers have expanded their product offering from the traditional wide-body shape (a squarish-shape paddle face) to add a shape that is slightly longer (a slightly more rectangular shape for the paddle face, so it gives the player more reach).

Other paddle manufacturers are continuing this trend of playing with shape by focusing on decreasing aerodynamic drag on their pickleball paddles. Drag is the aerodynamic force that opposes the swing of a paddle—in other words, the force that slows down the paddle swing. So, by decreasing the aerodynamic drag, pickleball players could swing faster and have faster hands—which is imperative when playing at the Kitchen line.

One of the paddle manufacturers on the forefront of shape is TMPR, which clearly states that it “utilize[s] the power of shape and its effects on paddle performance for increased response, less drag and less strenuous vibration.” Most of TMPR’s pickleball paddles have a rounded edge (rather than a traditional square or squarish edge) in order to accomplish this goal. TMPR plays with oval, teardrop, circular, and other non-traditional shapes in order to improve performance on the pickleball court. Other paddle manufacturers have followed this concept, too, including ProKennex (which has an oval-shaped paddle to help with “pickleball elbow”) and newcomer Joola (which recently launched a rounded top-edge on its new line of pickleball paddles to help improve aerodynamics on the pickleball court).

Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (1)

(Use code “PICKLER10” for $10 off at TMPR)

TMPRtook inspiration from tennis-racquet designs, as most tennis racquets have more rounded edges. In fact, many of the pickleball paddle evolutionary steps have also occurred in the sport of tennis (for instance, the transition from wood to composite racquets, changes in shape, etc.), so as an older sport with more history, tennis is a good place for pickleball to look for innovation (as are other sports). In fact, there is another evolution in the pickleball paddle design that seems to be inspired by changes in tennis racquets over the years, which is open space in the structure of the tennis racquet—in other words, open-throat tennis racquets. From this concept, we are now seeing holes—yes, intentional holes—being placed in the face of pickleball paddles.

Selkirknotably released the highest priced pickleball paddle at $333, which features an open throat. This pickleball paddle—called Project 002—is the first of its kind with a hole in the throat of the pickleball paddle.

Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (2)

Another paddle manufacturer—OneShot Pickleball—also released a pickleball paddle with eight half-circle holes on the edges of the pickleball paddle surface. Both of these designs have the purpose of decreasing aerodynamic drag.

Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (3)

Other paddle manufacturers (like CRBN, Electrum, and Joola) have focused on the power of spin on the pickleball court, and have pushed the bounds of the rules on surface roughness in order to get more spin. USA Pickleball is in the position to police these innovations and make sure each paddle plays within the confines of the rules (in order to protect the growth and integrity of the sport). In recent days, these paddle manufacturers have even been called into question for breaking the rules, and USA Pickleball even went so far as to remove the CRBN paddle as an approved paddle during the US Open Pickleball Championships because of manufacturing drift related to the surface roughness (in other words, the surface roughness fell outside of permitted rules in manufacturing runs after CRBN was initially approved, so USA Pickleball removed its approval status and the CRBN paddle is no longer permitted in sanctioned tournaments (including any PPA tournaments)). Other paddle manufacturers (like Joola) are being questioned for their compliance with paddle standards, so more re-tests, like the one with CRBN, are likely for more paddle manufacturers. The takeaway for USA Pickleball is that it may need to improve and elevate its manufacturing standards and testing to keep up with this improving technology from paddle manufacturers.

Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (4)

Pickleball paddle manufacturers will continue to look for ways to improve pickleball paddles and their performance on the court, like TMPR, Selkirk, CRBN and others. For instance, paddle manufacturers will look to find better cores for more power and control, better skins or surfaces with more grit for spin (i.e., the recent news with CRBN and Joola), different shapes or structures (like intentional holes) for less drag and faster hands, how to create a paddle with a bigger sweet spot, etc. Any improvement by the smallest percentage can lead to an advantage on the court, as the margins for victory on the court can be small (notably, at the professional levels).

However, for most of us, the paddle may not make a difference (the 1% or so advantage may not matter). As they say, the paddle does not make the player. Rather, the player makes the paddle.

Does your pickleball paddle affect your game? Do you have an idea on how to improve the development and performance of pickleball paddles? Share with us at stacie@thepickler.com!

And, for 10% off your next pickleball paddle, use the code “10PICKLER” at Fromuth Pickleball!

Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (5)

Pickleball Paddle Manufacturers Push Pickleball Technology | Pickler (2024)

FAQs

How can I make my pickleball paddle better? ›

Adding weight on the pickleball paddle's sides increases stability, widens the sweet spot, and reduces mish*ts and the vibration you feel when you do mish*t. Placing lead tape to the sides improves sweet spot more and has less effect on hand speed, compared to when placing weight at the top of your paddle.

How do you evaluate pickleball paddles? ›

The heavier pickleball paddles (those which weigh over 8.5oz or 241g) offer a high level of power, whilst light paddles (those that weigh under 7.3oz or(207g) provide a greater level of precision and control.

Are there illegal pickleball paddles? ›

They must meet a deflection test so as the paddle does not have a trampoline effect like a stringed racquet. The deflection test measures how rigid and compressible the material is. Foam core paddles are illegal Pickleball paddles.

What is the difference between carbon fiber and composite pickleball paddles? ›

Fiberglass is a composite material that has less stiffness than carbon fiber, which means it will be more flexible on contact, or in other words, offer more rebound as the ball hits the paddle surface. The result is greater energy return to the ball resulting in a more powerful response.

Is there really a difference in pickleball paddles? ›

Yes - there is a profound difference between pickleball paddles. Hundreds of attributes create significant differences between paddles, from tangible factors like materials, weight, and shape, to intangible factors like craftsmanship, innovation, and sourcing.

Is carbon fiber or graphite better for pickleball? ›

If you're looking for a lightweight, responsive paddle that offers more power on your shots, you may want to consider a carbon fiber paddle. However, if you're looking for a more durable and comfortable paddle that offers greater control, a graphite paddle might be the better choice.

How do you pick a pickleball paddle for advanced players? ›

Long paddles provide better reach and a tighter sweet spot for excellent power. Paddles cannot exceed 24” combined for length and width. Paddle thickness complements paddle shape. 13mm paddles are thinner for greater control and maneuverability while the thicker 16mm offer greater power on each swing.

Can I use electrical tape on my pickleball paddle? ›

If you have a tendency to go for low shots and scuff the edge of your trim, use a piece of tape, such as electrical tape, around the outer perimeter to mitigate the effects of scuffs and scrapes. Don't use your paddle to hit anything heavier than a Pickleball.

How does lead tape increase sweet spot? ›

3 GRAMS FROM THE HANDLE

We suggest you start with this setup if you elect to add lead to your paddle. Your paddle will feel a little heavier but more stable on dinks. The twist weight increases slightly, which will make the sweet spot larger.

Can I write on my pickleball paddle? ›

Handwritten markings (which are limited to pen markings, and not other “aftermarket” graphics) are allowed anywhere on the pickleball paddle, but such handwritten markings cannot impact the roughness of the pickleball paddle and must be in “good taste.”

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