The Ten Best Paddles You May Not Know About

With so many paddles on the market it can be tough keeping up with it all. Fortunately, we have people to do that for you. We’ve asked our staff to come up with paddles that may not be grabbing all the headlines but still provide top quality benefits.

Here are the ten best paddles you may not know about (in no particular order):

Paddletek Tangent Pro

1. Paddletek Tangent Pro

The brand you know; the paddle you may not. The Tangent Pro evokes feelings of the original Element with its style. It’s a great all court paddle, having a traditional face size with slightly rounded corners and a 9/16″ core. The shape and thicker core widens the sweet spot and provides more mass for power. From baseline to kitchen play, the Tangent offers top shelf Paddletek quality.

What our customers say:

I love this paddle
I had been playing with the same paddle since I started years ago, it was a lightweight Prolite. The first time I used this paddle I could feel a big difference, it really took my play to the next level. The only con is that the handle is short, so the best fit is for players who have fairly small hands.

Stan in Alabaster, AL

Kinetic Ovation Speed

2. ProKennex Kinetic Ovation Speed

The Ovation from ProKennex is one of the newest paddles on the market and stands out with its unique oval shape. It’s a streamlined design that makes the paddle swing with less resistance, adding credence to the “Speed” in the paddle name. As an edgeless paddle, players experience fewer miss-hits. The Tungsten Bead technology in the paddle helps it absorb energy and prevent vibration from moving up your arm. You’ll be amazed by the feel and the power you get from the Ovation.

What our customers say:

Great Paddle and Amazing Customer Service
Changed my game and worth every penny. The paddle has better control with a larger sweet spot. It has really improved my touch at the net without sacrificing power from the baseline. PickleballCentral’s service is always geared towards the customer first and with excellent shipping its a no-brainer.

John in Rancho Mirage, CA

ProLite Surface NRG

3. ProLite Surface NRG

ProLite has built a loyal following with the Titan, SuperNova and Cypher. These are paddles known for their ability to grab the ball and impart spin, but they’re not known as power paddles. With the Surface NRG, that changes. This paddle maintains the spin and shot shaping ability of the other ProLite performance paddles while providing a little more pop. It’s another innovative offering from one of the original paddle companies.

What our customers say:

Light & Well-Balanced with Plenty of Pop & Spin
I was using a Selkirk Amped S2, which I liked, but was looking for a little more spin, control and pop on my serves. The Prolite Surface NRG matched the Selkirk in terms of power and pop but I did find I got a little more spin, control and touch/feel when using the NRG. The NRG has a slightly longer handle which allows more wrist action on serves and spins. My drop shots are better and more consistent with the NRG – one of the benefits of good feel & touch. Lastly, I really like the weight distribution on the Prolite Surface NRG. I highly recommend this paddle… unless you’re on the other side of the net from me. Then, choose another paddle please!

David in Marietta, GA

Gamma Legend

4. Gamma Legend

Here’s another new paddle on the market. Gamma is now offering their top performance paddles (Needle, Mirage and RZR) with a thicker core (Compass, Legend and Shard). What we like about the Legend is that it’s a composite paddle that plays like graphite. The NeuCore Poly Core is 9/16” thick. The energy of the shot is spread throughout the paddle giving it the control characteristics of a graphite paddle while maintaining the pop of fiberglass. It’s a fun paddle to use.

What our customers say:

Legend paddle is awesome
I’ve only played a couple of days with this Legend and it feels better than my other paddles already. It does soften the sound a tiny bit and seems to help with blocking shots. I’m still a beginner at this game, but I really like this paddle.

Rob in CO

HEAD Radical XL Graphite

5. HEAD Radical XL

Head paddles are known for their playability characteristics that mirror the tennis industry, making them very comfortable for people switching from tennis to pickleball. The Radical XL has all that and then some. The grip feels very comfortable and familiar while the sweet spot sits higher on the paddle. The extra bonus the XL offers with the blade shape is additional power. Its combination of a higher sweet spot and a longer shape increases the torque, hence the exit speed of the ball. It’s radical how science affects pickleball!

What our customers say:

Blue Radical 7.5oz
Received my paddle and got to play about 5 games today. Great feel playing. I love it. Great touch and power. I can drop shot or drive one home.

Jim in Shickshinny, PA

Rally Graphite Power 5.0

PBC Rally Graphite Power 5.0

This is another entry into the category of thicker core paddles, and it comes at a great price point. The Rally Graphite Power has gone through several iterations, all of which have been quite popular. This paddle should be the most popular yet. The 5.0 plays softer than its predecessors. Even though it gives up some of the trademark power associated with the name, the increase in feel and control make this a legitimate full court paddle.

What our customers say (as the 5.0 is so new, this is a review of the previous 2.0):

I was using a lighter paddle and had to bang the ball pretty had to get some velocity on it. Now, using this paddle that weighs approx. 7.9 ounces, my power game has improved. At the net just hold it up at the right angle and with minimal effort you can place the ball where you want with a simple wrist shot. Learning to hit top spin shots has taken a bit more time… overall my game is improving. Great paddle for arthritic hands – at least my hands anyway!

Bernard

Engage Trident

7. Engage Trident

Here’s another paddle from a big-name brand that is flying under the radar. The Trident focuses on control, feel and spin. However, coming from Engage you know there will be some pop. The Trident plays very soft and with the GripTek face you get a little extra spin on your cuts and top spin shots. We also think the Trident is one of the best-looking paddles from Engage. Looking good and playing good is a nice combo.

What our customers say:

Trident
Well, I took a chance on a brand new paddle with no reviews except PickleballCentral’s own pro… kind of like the dealer telling you how great your new car will be. I’m a 3.5 player and initially I didn’t see any real difference between the Trident and my old generic paddle. It took a couple of games to recognize that I was consistently hitting much better dinks! The surface is supposedly as rough as the rules allow (which isn’t very) but I have noticed a little more spin on the ball. The pro review said the paddle was “soft” and it wasn’t a term I understood until I hit with it. Love my new Trident and highly recommend it.

Randy in Kansas City, MO

TOPP Reacher Graphite

8. TOPP Reacher Graphite

The second blade on our list is the Reacher Graphite from TOPP. It combines the additional power you get with the blade shape with a graphite face to increase control. Graphite spreads the energy out over the entire paddle face and give you a more predictable shot time and time again. The additional reach (pun intended) that you get with this paddle doesn’t hurt either. This paddle was designed by Steve Wong, proving that the original paddle makers still have game.

What our customers say:

This paddle is excellent because it has great control and reach as well as a quieter sound when it hits the ball.

Rodney in Bellefontaine, OH

Onix Outbreak

9. Onix Outbreak

When it comes to softness, the Outbreak from Onix may provide the softest feel of any paddle out there. The thick core and the TeXtreme Technology combine for a paddle that plays like butter – in the very best way. From short hops to dinks and blocks, the ball just feels good coming off this paddle. When a performance ball and an Outbreak meet the result is pure magic. The paddle comes in at 7.8 to 8.2 oz which gives it the mass needed to provide some pop to go with the gentle feel.

What our customers say:

Outbreak paddle
I didn’t play a whole lot of tennis growing up but ping pong was my game, very fast paced. This paddle offers so much control and deep play at the kitchen line. My returns are more consistently low over the net and in play. Large sweet spot with no dead spots. Great paddle

JDubs in FL

Wilson Energy Pro

10. Wilson Energy Pro

Oftentimes people equate an entry level price point with a lower performing paddle. That is not the case with the Energy Pro. The Energy Pro sits in the sweet spot for weight at 7.5 – 7.8 oz. With a polymer core and fiberglass face you will feel comfortable hitting shots from anywhere on the court. It’s nice to know you don’t have to break the bank to get a paddle that will help you improve your game. Wilson is showing they’re determined to make their mark in the pickleball scene.

What our customers say:

New Paddle
Nice paddle, service was great, order came fast and in good condition. I would purchase other products from PickleballCentral. You have a great selection of items to choose from, so many that it was hard for me to make a decision, but your information on each item was a great help. I am 80 years old and having a great time playing pickleball. Hard for my old bones sometimes but it keeps me moving. Have some good games every so often even against the younger people. Your Youtube videos are great and have a lot of information.

Mike in Mount Pleasant, SC

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