Best Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players

While skills and strategies are essential, proper equipment is crucial for improving your pickleball game. You’ll be better prepared for challenging matches with greater control and speed if you invest in a premium pickleball paddle suitable to your skill level.

Need some help figuring this out? We got you. Continue reading to learn what to look for while shopping for the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players!

This year, the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro is our top pickleball paddle for intermediate players, while the much-loved Onix Z5 is our budget pick for intermediate players.

What’s ahead

Things to know | Best pickleball paddles for intermediate players | How they compare | What to look for

Things You Should Know

For intermediate pickleball players seeking the optimal paddle, consider these key points:

  • Experts recommend that intermediate players look for paddles with a medium weight (between 7.5 and 8.5 ounces) to balance power and control.
  • A larger sweet spot on the paddle face can help intermediate players hit more consistent shots, so look for paddles with a wider hitting surface.
  • Paddles made from composite materials (such as fiberglass or carbon fiber) offer better durability and performance than wood paddles but may be more expensive.
  • Some popular pickleball paddle brands for intermediate players include Selkirk, Engage, Head, and ProLite.
  • It’s essential to consider your playing style when choosing a paddle – if you prefer finesse shots over power shots, you might want a lighter-weight paddle with reasonable touch/control.
  • Many intermediate-level paddles feature “edge guard” technology to protect against damage from accidental hits against the court or other objects.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different grips (such as cushioned or perforated grips) until you find one comfortable in your hand during play.

Best Pickleball Paddles For Intermediate Players

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1. PaddleTek’s Tempest Wave Pro (Best Overall)

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One of the best paddles ever made is the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro. The paddle provides all the strength, touch, and ball control required. You might choose a less expensive paddle if you’re a novice. 

Although the Tempest Wave is quite expensive, the value you receive is exceptional. This core feels incredibly good throughout the shots, and the combination of power and control is great. 

What We Like

We like its graphite face. A graphite face feels hard, quick, and responsive with every strike. It is the best graphite pickleball paddle for intermediate players.

Since the paddle face is so wide, you may be more creative with your hits and attempt to create a spin on the court.

With this paddle, you can expect a lot of power as well. This tool allows you to be aggressive without feeling out of place because of the paddle’s midweight and graphite face. Nothing beats the sensation of making a solid strike with a graphite face. 

What People LikeWhat People Dislike
Numerous grip options.Expensive.
Huge sweet spot.Some users notice multiple dead spots after using it for a long time.

2. Onix Z5 Pickleball (Best Budget)

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Another good graphite pickleball paddle for intermediate players is the Onix Z5 Pickleball

There are two variations for the face (also known as hitting surface) of the Z5-  a composite face with greater rigidity and heavier power capacity and a face made of graphite, which is much lighter, softer, and more controllable. These options are equal in every way except for weight and face material. 

What We Like

The Z5’s Nomex core ensures it has enough power regardless of whether you select the graphite or composite face. Nomex is a strong and resilient core made of a substance that resembles cardboard and is then coated in resin to increase longevity.

The ONIX Graphite Z5 pickleball paddle is built to perform. Players will have greater precision and power because of the improved sweet spot, technologically sophisticated core, and hard face. 

The paddle’s wide body makes it easier to make contact with the pickleball. When you swing forcefully, the core produces both pop and power.

What People LikeWhat People Dislike
Comfortable handling feel.Compared to other pickleball paddles, it lacks a great visual head.
Feels sturdy from the head to the handle.

3. Head Gravity Graphite (Best For Power)

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The Head Gravity Graphite is a terrific paddle for intermediate pickleball players who like the power game. It features an exceptional hitting surface and enables the best possible ball control. 

Players with intermediate to advanced skill levels have given this high-performance pickleball paddle favorable reviews. This paddle is an excellent option for those trying to better their game because it is made to deliver the ideal balance of power, control, and mobility.

The structure of Gravity Graphite is one of its distinguishing qualities. Its graphite face allows for precision stroke placement and reasonable ball control by providing a responsive and uniform feel. 

What We Like

We like the weight distribution of the paddle. The Gravity Graphite generates enough power for aggressive shots and maintains superb control and stability during delicate shots and dinks, thanks to a slightly head-heavy balance. On the court, versatility and adaptability are ensured by this equilibrium.

The Gravity Graphite’s excellent grip is another feature we love. Its comfortable ergonomic handle helps prevent hand fatigue during prolonged play sessions. The paddle’s noise-dampening technology also reduces the sound made when it contacts the ball, making for a more enjoyable game.

What People LikeWhat People Dislike
Easy to handle and comfortable grip.A few players have reported concerns about its durability over time.
Noise dampening technology.Players noted the Gravity Graphite’s sweet spot might be smaller than other paddles.

4. Gamma Neutron 2.0 (Best For Small Hands)

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The lightweight 7.0 oz Gamma Neutron Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddle is ideal for adults and players with advanced skill levels. The paddle’s frame and texture are both made of graphite. It provides extreme agility and flexibility. 

The aramid honeycomb core of the Neutron Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddle is distinctive to the company. The USAPA requirements are met and complied with by Neutron Sports 2.0.

What We Like

We adored almost everything about this paddle, including how reasonably priced it is given all its benefits. It’s impressive how the aramid honeycomb design provides and maintains the ideal balance of control and power for all players. The paddle is quite comfortable because the light padding ensures a non-skid grip.

What People LikeWhat People Dislike
Lightweight Noisy
The fiberglass face of the paddle is textured, resulting in a durable and high-performing construction.

5. Gamma Compass (Best Elongated Paddle)

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The Gamma Compass Pickleball Paddle has swiftly gained popularity among pickleball players thanks to its distinctive features, which include a highly textured face and a bigger, more extended core. The racket is made in four types and sizes: Compass, Jester, Shard, and Legend. This allows for flexibility and gives players the benefit of having numerous options.

What We Like

The Compass Pickleball Paddle has textured graphite hitting surface that offers a more responsive feel and gives players more control. Depending on your style, you’d also enjoy how predictable the paddle is. 

While some designs use fiberglass, others use graphite. Both options are precisely textured, so you should expect similar performance.

What People LikeWhat People Dislike
Has a large sweet spot.Compared to most graphite paddles, it has a top-heavy balance.

6. The CRBN 2 (Best For Tennis Players)

The CRBN 2 might be ideal if you are a tennis player still working on your short game.

Though it’s a new company, CRBN appears to be dominating the pickleball market. Its powerful playing style perfectly matches its modern, all-black appearance.

Since all T-700 raw carbon fiber paddles have a rough feel and begin to fray after about a week of use, they will be your best choice if you’re searching for a lot of spin.

What We Like

The CRBN 2’s reduced weight, equilibrium, and well-balanced sweet spot are the ideal trifecta that makes it substantially simpler to generate spin with this paddle.

What People LikeWhat People Dislike
Core made of polypropylene honeycomb for greater power.Quite pricey in comparison to other paddles.
Lightweight construction for better mobility.Some players could not handle the heavy weight.

How Our Picks Compare

When comparing the Gamma Compass, Gamma Neutron 2.0, Head Gravity Graphite, Onix Z5 Pickleball Paddle, and PaddleTek’s Tempest Wave Pro, it’s important to consider factors such as construction, performance, and player preferences.

The Gamma Compass is known for its durable polymer core and textured fiberglass face, providing a good balance of power and control. Its comfortable grip enhances handling and reduces fatigue during long matches. 

The Gamma Neutron 2.0, on the other hand, features a graphite face and polypropylene core for improved touch and responsiveness. This paddle offers excellent maneuverability and is favored by players seeking precise shot placement.

The Head Gravity Graphite stands out for its unique construction, combining a graphene carbon face with a foam core for enhanced power and stability. This paddle is ideal for players who prefer a solid feel and powerful shots. Another great product is the Onix z5 pro pickleball paddle for intermediate players. It offers a balance of power and accuracy well-suited for players still developing their skills.

PaddleTek’s Tempest Wave Pro combines power and touch with a polymer honeycomb core and a fiberglass face. The paddle’s textured surface offers excellent spin control, making it a top choice for players who like to put spin on their shots. The Tempest Wave Pro‘s elongated shape also adds reach to players’ swings.

Key Features to Look for in Intermediate Pickleball Paddles

Here are some features you should consider when looking to buy the best intermediate pickleball paddle


The following are common pickleball paddle materials:

  • Wood- Most affordable and heavy. 
  • Graphite– costly and light. Outstanding performance.
  • Composite – A material that sits somewhere between wood and graphite. Various weights and prices are available.

Paddle Size

According to USAPA regulations, your pickleball paddle cannot be longer than 17 inches (43.18 cm) or wider than 24 inches (60.96 cm), including any edge guards and butt caps. 

Paddle size has a significant impact on performance. You can smash the ball harder the longer the paddle is. The wider the paddle, the more surface area you’ll have and the more likely you will strike it. 

The area in the center of your paddle where you get the most precise response from your shot is called the “sweet spot,” and its size varies depending on the size of your paddle. 

Core Construction

The core material is important when selecting the best pickleball rackets for intermediate players. Pickleball paddle cores are typically made of one of three materials: 

  • Aluminum- These are the most popular and are robust and lightweight.
  • Polymer- Made from a unique plastic mixture, this paddle is quiet.
  • Nomex- Very durable. Best for those who want power and control.


Intermediate players often choose paddles that balance control and power well. Search for paddles that weigh between 7.5 and 8.5 ounces.


Pickleball paddles can be widebody or elongated, the two most common designs. While elongated paddles provide greater reach and power, widebody paddles have a wider sweet spot and are more forgiving on hits not in the center. Select the shape that corresponds to your playing preferences and style.

Grip Size

The grip size should be suitable for your hand size, easy to hold and change grip style. An improper grip may hamper your control and maneuverability. Choose wisely because most paddles are available in small, medium, or large sizes.


And that’s a wrap! We hope this guide has helped you understand the type of paddle an intermediate player should use. Your pickleball performance will be influenced by your grip length, weight, and the materials used to make the paddles, so it’s essential to research before you buy.

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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