The focus of this post is to do a Niupipo Pickleball paddle review of the Explorer. But before I dive into detail about this paddle, I want to give a little history of the Niupipo company along with where they are now.
So, let’s start with when I first heard about the sport of Pickleball in 2018 when I moved to Connecticut. I decided to go to the local gym to watch the game and as it all so often happens, I was invited to try out the sport. I remember being loaned an Onix Z5 and really liked it since the shape and balance was similar to my racquetball racket. When I returned home the first thing I did was go on Amazon and search for Pickleball paddle. What came up in the search results near the top was the Niupipo graphite paddle. I carefully read the reviews and saw people definitely liked the paddle. But I chose to go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy the more expensive Onix Z5 which I used until 2020.
Is Niupipo a Good Brand?
Fast forward a couple of years and the Niupipo company has become a big player in the Pickleball paddle market. Yes, they are a Chinese company called Dongguan Mingxuan Carbon Fiber Technology Co., Ltd. But they are now sponsoring professional tournaments through the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) and even professional player Frank Anthony Davis. In fact, Frank helped to develop the Explorer paddle with Niupipo and even captured a bronze in singles with it at the APP’s Punta Gorda Open held in January of 2021.
Despite the fact that all of the Niupipo paddles I see on Amazon have excellent reviews, I don’t often see people using them on the court. In fact, this morning when I played with some pretty skilled players I saw we were all using one of the well-known high-end American brands like Selkirk, Paddletek, and Engage. Last weekend I did get a chance to play with the Niupipo company’s Explorer paddle as they shipped me one so I could review it. I found it to be a quality paddle much like Selkirk or Engage.
Niupipo Pickleball Paddle Review
The Niupipo Explorer weighs eight ounces so most players should feel comfortable using it as the paddle is not too light or heavy. The core is made of a polypropylene honeycomb like many paddle are today. Niupipo says they have upgraded the honeycomb just as some of the other paddle manufacturers are doing like Selkirk, Paddletek and Engage. The surface is fiberlass which does provide some added power and this was something I definitely noticed with the paddle. Now, the Niupipo Explorer is made of essentially the same materials as my Engage Encore Pro. So, you might think the paddle would play the same way as what I was used to on the court. What I found is that it took me awhile to get used to the Explorer as it is more head heavy than the Engage Pro. This isn’t a bad thing but just something I had to get used to when I played. In other words, it took me awhile to get my soft game going but once I adjusted I felt comfortable. I didn’t have much adjustment in the power game as the Niupipo Explorer definitely has a lot of pop.
The dimensions of the paddle are 15.95″ by 7.87”. The thickness is .63 so it is similar to other high-end paddles which are thicker but still being mid weight. The handle is 4.5” and the grip circumference is 4.4”. I have fairly small hands so I found the grip to be bigger than what I’m used to, but I think most people will find the grip comfortable both in length and circumference.
The Niupipo Explorer does come with a cover which I think every paddle should have and I have to say I really did like the presentation when I received the paddle in the mail. It wasn’t just thrown in a card board box. It had a fitted cardboard box with the paddle going nicely into the area of the foam which was carved out. I have to say the presentation was top notch. The paddle itself is black and grey and I think the graphics are okay but then I don’t like the graphics of the Encore Pro either so maybe I’m just really picky.
The paddle is USAPA approved and can be purchased on Amazon. The list price is $79.99 but they often offer coupons. One strange thing is the paddle was listed on Amazon in June of 2021 but I don’t see it on Niupipo’s company website. Still, other players definitely like the paddle as you can see by the five-star reviews. It’s a great value at its price point. I think going forward I would like to see them offer the paddle in different weights and with different grip sizes as the other manufacturers do for quality paddles.
So, I would definitely recommend the paddle especially for tennis players as I think any paddle that is head heavy is more similar to a tennis racket. I also think it is a great value for advanced players as you see many of its features are consistent with higher end paddles. Of course, if you can be on the podium in a professional tournament using the Nipupo Explorer like Frank Anthony Davis, then I think most amateurs will also enjoy the paddle. I hope this Niupipo Pickleball paddle review helps you make your decision.