I recently spoke to Brandon Swanson, the Paddle Geek, about Pickleball paddles on the podcast.  Since you may not have had a chance to listen to the podcast, I thought I would write a post to summarize what I learned from Brandon.

Brandon became the Pickleball geek after he broke his first paddle.  Apparently, he had played with the paddle for 6 years so it lasted for quite awhile.  When Brandon went to buy his second paddle after the Onix Z5, he found so many choices.  Brandon said when he bought his first paddle, there were only a couple of choices.  Six years later the Pickleball paddle market exploded with an amazing number of choices.  In fact, Brandon now has 120 Pickleball paddles and does video reviews on Facebook and Youtube as paddles come to market.

So, given Brandon’s level of expertise and understanding of the technology I asked him about which paddles he recommends as of December, 2020.  Here is the cliff notes versions with more detail below the chart.

Brandon has a tennis background so he prefers a paddle that is head heavy so he uses Players Pickleball Rogue 2.  The technology of the paddle absorbs shock really well so it provides the control needed for the soft game while having plenty of power.

I asked Brandon which Pickleball paddle is best for players who are new to the game but do not have a racket sports background.  He mentioned three including the Selkirk S2, Onix Evoke Premier, and Paddletek Tempest Pro.  The Selkirk S2 is the most expensive of the bunch with a list price of $150.  The Paddletek Tempest Pro is the value pick of this bunch although it still retails for $130.  If considering the Paddletek Tempest Pro, be sure not to confuse it with Paddletek’s Tempest Wave Pro.  This is a more expensive paddle and the professional Pickleball players always rave about it.  Brandon suggests these 3 paddles for beginners without a background in racket sports because the sweet spot is closer to a player’s hand.  Also these paddles are not elongated so they are more of the wide body style.

Although not in the chart above, Brandon’s value pick is the Selkirk Prime Epic.  The paddle is less that $100 and in range of the pricing of the Onix Z5.  Brandon also suggests Players Pickleball Rogue for a value pick which you can purchase here.  Again, don’t confuse the Rogue with the Rogue 2 as they are two different paddles and the Rogue 2 retails for $125.

Despite the recommendations from Brandon, he does suggest you try out the paddles before you purchase them.  The best way to do this is to borrow your friends paddles and play a game or two.  Also, indoor tennis clubs and dedicated Pickleball facilities often have paddles you can demo.  If neither of these two options work for you, be sure to read or listen to the reviews on the internet.  Brandon has both a Facebook page and Youtube channel where you can watch his paddle reviews on video.  Plus, Amazon provides a great source of ratings and written reviews.  I know that’s how I purchased my first paddle which just like Brandon was the Onix Z5.

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