Technology changes all the time and Pickleball paddles are no different. The original Pickleball paddles were made of wood. While wood paddles are still manufactured, most paddles today are made of materials which make the paddle lighter and have more power. Knowing that paddle manufacturers are looking to improve their paddles, let’s take a look at some of the new Pickleball paddles.
The paddles in this review are either ones first coming to the market within the last year. Others making the list had significant improvements in technology from earlier versions.
Here’s the cliff notes if you don’t want to read the detail below:
Advanced Pickleball Paddle Technology
Gamma introduceed 3 new paddles in May 2019 featuring Neucore technology. Neucore represents Gamma’s trade name for the inside of the paddle being 25% thicker than normal. This means the paddle will absorb the shock of power hits. The result of this is less vibration so if you have tennis elbow, one of the paddles in the Neucore line might be right for you. The Neucore technology also reduces the noise when the ball hits the paddle. If you play in areas with noise restrictions, these paddles may also be a good choice. All of the Gamma paddles mentioned below are USAPA approved for tournaments.
The Gamma Shard upgrades the Gamma Ryr and is a graphite paddle providing a good mix of spin and control. It is a light weight paddle at 7.75 ounces and has a small grip size at 4 1/8″. The paddle has a traditional shape with a 4.75″ handle length. The color theme is either yellow or pink.
The Gamma Legend upgrades the Gamma Mirage and has a fiberglass surface. This means it’s a great paddle to put spin or “English” on the ball. At 8.1 ounces, it is a mid weight paddle with a small grip at 4 1/8″. The handle length is similar to the Gamma Shard at 4.75″. The color scheme for this paddle is subdued with either a black or white background.
The Gamma Compass upgrades the Gamma Needle and has a graphite surface. The biggest difference between the Compass and the Gamma Shard is the shape of the paddle. It has an elongated paddle face so it is very long and more narrow than a traditional Pickleball paddle. The compass measures 16 5/8″ in length so if you need more reach, this paddle may be the one for you. It is lightweight at 7.75 ounces and has the same grip circumference of 4 1/8″ and handle length at 4.75″ as the other Gamma paddles mentioned in this review.
A Contemporary Pickleball Paddle: Onix Outbreak
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of my Onix Z5 paddle. It’s the one I started playing with and still do to this day. A few months ago, I was searching for a new paddle but I had to put that on hold due to injuries. It’s kind of hard to give paddles a good test when you cannot move around on the court.
I’m looking forward to testing the Outbreak which was released in late 2018. It already has rave reviews on Pickleball Central and Amazon. The paddle features TeXtreme Technology which is a type of carbon fiber used for the surface of the paddle. The advantage of it is that is adds touch and control without extra weight. The paddle weighs 8.2 ounces so it is mid weight.
The one criticism I found in the reviews is that the grip is very thin. This means the paddle can be top heavy. If you are a tennis player, the Onix Outbreak may be a great choice for you. Otherwise, just replace the grip with a more cushioned one and it should play great for you!
A Modern Pickleball Paddle: Engage Poach Advantage
It wouldn’t be fair to write this review without mentioning the Engage Poach Advantage. The Engage Poach debuted a year ago but it is worth discussing since it is revolutionary in its design. The Pickleball paddle has six layers while most paddles only have two. The benefit of the extra layers is more power but with a soft touch when hitting shots like dinks. Despite the ability to put a significant amount of top or under spin on the ball, it still meets the guidelines of the USAPA and can be used in sanctioned tournaments.
The Engage Poach has a fiberglass composite surface and polymer core. You can choose from a light weight (7.5-7.8 ounces) or mid weight version (7.9-8.3 ounces). It comes in blue, green, red or purple but I have found in looking online some of the colors can be sold out. Still, if you are looking for a paddle which provides excellent power and control, this may be the one for you.
It has also been reported that many Engage pros are switching over from the Engage Encore to the Engage Poach Advantage. The Engage Encore is listed in almost every review on this site as it is a great paddle for spin, one of the best overall, and a favorite among the pros. My bet is the Engage Poach Advantage will take over as the favorite Engage paddle among Pickleball Players. It is definitely a favorite among new Pickleball paddles.
This article reviewed five new Pickleball paddles. All were new to the market or had significant upgrades in technology. Below is a summary of the paddles reviewed.