You don’t need an expensive paddle to play pickleball well.
But you can be hampered and held back by a cheap AND sub-par paddle, so with this article, we’re looking at paddles that are both cheap (generally aiming for a pickleball paddle under $50) AND high quality for the price.
Basically, we’re looking for the biggest bang for your pickleball buck. And one thing to look out for in a good quality pickleball paddle should be a large sweet spot with a polymer core. You generally want to avoid wooden paddles.
But where do you start? There’s an overwhelming number of pickleball paddles available on the market. The decisions become a lot tougher when you’re looking for cheap paddles. Of course, you don’t want to compromise on quality. So we’ve developed this guide to provide you with all the information that you need to buy the best cheap pickleball paddles.
(Some of the below links are affiliate links which means we get paid a bit if you click through and buy something — don’t worry it doesn’t add anything to your cost! Just helps keep the site running.)
Best Cheap Pickleball Paddles Reviews
This is your best bet all around for a cheap pickleball paddle that is as high quality as you can get for a low price.
Selkirk NEO is also approved by USAPA for tournament use. The company has used polymer in the construction of the core of this paddle. Therefore, the paddle is extremely durable and has a lot of power. It is another one of those options with which you can focus more on power as compared to spin.
The sweet spot of this paddle is exceptional, and you will feel the power behind your shots. With this paddle, it’s just about timing, and you will notice those shots flying off from it. With EdgeSentry features, your paddle’s edges are well protected against any wear over time. And if you are a huge fan of ThinGrip handles for better control on your shots, then this paddle is tailor-made for you. Grips come standard at 4.25 but you can order optional larger and smaller grips if you prefer that.
With thin grip handle, textured paddle facing and lightweight construction, if you want more precision in your shots and better control, then this is the right paddle for you. And if you want your paddle to look good as well, then probably this is the best cheap pickleball paddle that you will find on the market with good looks.
Due to its size and length, the pickleball paddle is a good choice for you to consider whether you are an intermediate player or a beginner.
- The paddle is tested and approved by the USAPA.
- Polymer core material.
- Edge protection with EdgeSentry.
- ThinGrip handles for comfortable and ergonomic gripping.
- Extremely lightweight.
- These paddles do make some noise.
- Not designed for communities with sound restrictions.
This honeycomb core, graphite faced paddle is available in six different color combinations, and it doesn’t weigh much either. I personally think this is the best facing design of any of the best cheap paddles we are looking at so if that’s a high priority on your list, this is the one for you.
The weight of this paddle ranges between 7 and 9 ounces, and it features a durable edge guard with a graphite face that is textured.
This paddle is designed for novices and beginners. You can comfortably learn this game using it and develop your skills with time. Based on the weight, you can pick a paddle and enhance your skills according to the level of your expertise.
The paddle has a unique balance between control and power. However, we suggest using it if you are learning new skills only. There are far better options available for you to explore if you have some experience in the game.
The grip of this paddle has sweat absorbing features, and it is very soft. The small grip allows you to control your shorts easily. The paddle also meets all the quality standards and specifications set by the authority of USAPA officially.
Another excellent feature of this pickleball paddle is that it is made of fiberglass. That means it will move in the air very comfortably, and you won’t have to deal with any kind of air resistance in your shots and swings. It is one of the best reasons why this little paddle is an ideal option for a beginner.
- Available in 6 different colors.
- Made of high-quality fiberglass.
- Very lightweight in construction.
- The textured surface is good for swings.
- Easy to use sweat-absorbing honeycomb grip.
- No paddle cover included.
- Not the best option for improving your skills at the game.
This Rally Tyro paddle is approved by the IFP and USAPA to play in the tournaments. The low price doesn’t mean that this paddle is no good when it comes to performance.
The core of this paddle is made of polypropylene, and it offers exceptional durability. The construction of this composite paddle features vibration dampening construction. You won’t have to compromise on control or power. Therefore, you have a better chance to win the game.
The grip of this paddle also features a perforated moisture wicking cushion. It allows you to grip your paddle comfortably and play your shots with ease. With the textured grip, you can make those swings, and with polypropylene core, you can make those powerful shots with ease.
Another exceptional feature of this paddle is that you won’t have to deal with any vibrations during your shorts. Now there will be a lot more accuracy, and you will end up where you want with your shots. The facing of this paddle also features polycarbonate. And with this velvety texture, the power in your sweet spot will be improved. Your shots will have more accuracy and power behind it.
- High-end performance and durability.
- USAPA approved for use in the tournaments.
- Textured grip features moisture-wicking properties.
- Velvety polycarbonate facing for better swing with precision.
- Lightweight constructions.
- Its decal tends to bubble with time.
The Head Radical paddle comes with a fiberglass finish on the hitting surface. You will feel very nice and comfortable when you play your shots. It is a solid options under $50 when it comes to playing those powerful shots.
If you have some skills up your sleeves but still don’t want to spend much on your paddle, then this is a good option for you to consider. Fiberglass is a great option for you if you are not expert enough to use graphite paddles. This paddle will not feel heavy in your hand because it has a honeycomb grip that can conveniently wick any moisture.
You will have a better grip during those quick high powered shots. And with the fiberglass finishing, you will also be able to maintain better control over your shots. But this paddle is made for quick shots and less focus on spin. Therefore, if you love fast games, then this is the right choice for you.
- Fiberglass paddle finishes for durability.
- Honeycomb grip for moisture-wicking properties.
- Lightweight design for better control in your shots.
- The grip circumference is medium, and it is pretty comfortable in your hand.
- Focuses more on speed than ball control.
- Better suited for intermediate pickleball players.
Niupipo’s polypropylene honeycomb core and fiberglass faced paddle is the cheapest option on our list. So if you’re looking to save as much as possible, this is the paddle for you.
This paddle is also USAPA approved and has a fiberglass face. Your purchase will also include a cover to keep your paddle safe during storage.
It provides you with a comfortable grip and will wick away any moisture from your hands during the play. The grip is strong, and it ensures a better transfer of energy from your arm to your paddle.
The fiberglass face of this paddle provides you with that sweet spot, and it will suit you during those aggressive shots featuring more power. Composite paddles are much lighter than polymer, so you won’t have to deal with any weight in your shots. Therefore, you will feel a lot more confident while playing.
You will be able to maneuver your shots a lot better. This paddle is designed for more power than spin. Therefore, if you are looking to play some powerful shots and improve your skills, then this is the right choice for you.
For the price, a good all around paddle, but if you’re willing to spend just a few more dollars to get a bit more quality and control, I’d recommend any of the other paddles on this list first.
- Comes with a protective cover.
- Polypropylene honeycomb construction.
- Fiberglass face for better power behind the shots.
- The cushioned grip keeps moisture away.
- For both indoor and outdoor use.
- Cheapest of the bunch.
- You might find its handle to be a bit too short.
- Not a well-known brand in the pickleball world.
How to get the best cheap pickleball paddle – A Buyer’s Guide
As there are so many different types of pickleball paddles available, choosing the right one becomes a very difficult task. Here are some critical things that you need to consider before buying the best cheap pickleball paddles.
If you have plans to play even casually, you should avoid getting a wooden paddle. In the first 20 years of the sport, wood paddles were the norm, but with the advent of newer materials (composite, graphite, polypropelyne, etc) players were able to get paddles that were better on all counts: lighter, longer lasting, better control, larger sweet spot, increased power.
Now, when you start looking at composite and graphite pickleball paddles, the price will jump. But in the cheap or value category, you need to go for fiberglass, polymer honeycomb, or polypropylene, those are your best options. These materials are durable enough to last for a long time, and the paddle also doesn’t come with a hefty price tag.
If you play pickleball for recreation, you don’t need to have a heavy paddle in your hand. The weight choice is up to you: heavier paddles are better for stronger shots — but will tire your arm out more quickly — while lighter paddles help with control. Heavier paddles focus more on powerful shots like those serves or those long drives right from the baseline. Lighter weight paddles are better suited for spins and maneuvering. If you haven’t had any issues like arthritis or tennis elbow, then paying with a slightly heavy paddle won’t be an issue for you.
You need to make sure that the grip that you have chosen fits perfectly and ergonomically in your hand. If you are not very comfortable with your grips, you won’t feel comfortable playing either. When you are in doubt between two different sizes, then it is recommended to go for the smaller one. It is better for you to feel the grip of a paddle by taking it in your hand. If you are shopping online, then here are some points for you to consider that can help as a general guideline:
- Under 5 feet 2 inches of height → 4-inch grip size
- 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 8 inches → 4.25-inch grip size.
- 5 feet 9 inches or taller → 4.5-inch grip size.
Paddle size and Handle Length
Whether you are an expert in the game or are just starting fresh, make sure that the size of your paddle doesn’t exceed 24 inches. Therefore, the best sizes range between 8 inches by 16 inches for short and 5 inches by 19 inches for long handles.
These numbers ensure that you have the optimal size of your paddle with a wider hitting area. These features are always welcomed by beginners of the game. Experts prefer to use long paddles with better grip.
You have to be very careful when choosing the core, as it is the backbone of your paddle. Any metal-based core is not going to help your budget. You need to go for some polymer-based or polypropylene core.
Polymer-based core features honeycomb construction, and it is well known for its lightweight and flexible performance. The paddles are extremely durable as well, but they also make noise as there is no sound cushioning effect they feature.
Polypropylene is another option, and it is getting more popular because this material is light in weight and very durable. Another excellent feature of the materials is that it doesn’t make much noise either.
The core here is soft and flexible, and your shots will have the right amount of bounce in them. Therefore, the paddle will be able to create that cushioning effect, and the paddle becomes less reflective. Aluminum core is also available, but they are expensive paddles.
Material quality and core are very important here, but finishes and overall sturdiness also count. The hitting surface of a paddle needs to have a good quality finish, whether the paddle is cheap or not to avoid any peeling of the face. Make sure that you choose the paddle face finishes that come with UV inhibitors to reduce sun damage or any discoloration.
As you need to go for a USAPA approved paddle, it doesn’t come with any tramp lining effect. The organization has set some rules in this regard. Paddles with more spring in their core can generate more power with less effort, but you will have to compromise on control and precision.
It might not be the most important feature to mention here, but some countries do have some noise restrictions in place. In such a scenario, you need to go for a polypropylene paddle. It has the ability to damper the sound due to the foam area right in the center. It helps with noise reduction.
As the name suggests, this feature keeps the edges of your paddle safe and more resistant to any chip damage. Edge guards are important for longevity as they help mitigate any damage from hitting the ground – particularly important for beginner players. A medium-size edge guard is the best, but the larger one can provide a larger surface as well. However, wider guards will make your paddle heavy, and it will impact your overall pickleball performance.
Make sure you choose the right pickleball paddle according to your skill level. The experienced players of this game go for longer paddles while the beginners prefer using wider paddles that allow for a larger sweet spot. For a novice player, a lighter paddle would be suitable, whereas an expert might prefer something a bit heavier.
Of course, we are talking about the best incheap pickleball paddles; therefore, price is going to be the main factor to decide. Pickleball paddles that are available on the market range from $15 up to $200. But if you are looking for one that you will use for recreational purposes, then you should be safe buying on in the $30 to $50 range. If you are looking to get every advantage using the best equipment, you will be looking at prices in the $90 to $150 range.
Should I prefer control over power?
You need to assess your game first to get to the answer to this question. Check to see whether your strengths lie more in power or with control or some balance of the two. Maybe you like a combination of both in which case it is better to go for a blend. It will be better for you to switch your games in between. Sometimes you need to be more powerful in your shots (during aggressive gameplay). In contrast, other times, you need more control (during defensive gameplay). It is up to you which type you prefer during the game.
Are lightweight paddles better than heavy ones?
Again this is a matter of your personal choice, physical ability and style of play. If you like to play with heavy paddles, no hard and fast rule tells you to play with a lightweight paddle. Just go with what you like. However, if you had any injuries or issues like arthritis or tennis elbow, then you need to go for a lighter option. If you are a power hitter, then you need to go for a heavy paddle for more control.
Are indoor paddles different from outdoor paddles?
No not really, but outdoor courts are harsh on the edges of your paddle, so strong edge guard protection becomes more important. You can also invest in a UV resistant coating if you prefer to play outdoors more often. For playing indoors, it is better to go for the paddles that are thin and provide you with more precision.
All in all, the best cheap pickleball paddle for your money is the:
So which one of these pickleball paddles have you decided to use for your next game? Do you have any recommendations for us? Leave your comments and suggestions below!
And if you’re looking for a pickleball paddle set, check out the ones we reviewed in the link above.
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Last update on 2023-01-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API