What Pickleball Paddle Do The Pros Use – Updated July 2021
Have you ever wondered what Pickleball paddles do the pros use?
Over the last few months, I’ve interviewed over 30 professional Pickleball players on the Pickleball Fire podcast and asked them which pro Pickleball paddle they use and why. This included senior pros and pros, men and women, and singles and doubles players. Of course, this list is dependent on which paddle company sponsors the pro. So, you can see I’ve interviewed six players sponsored by Paddletek, six sponsored by Selkirk, four sponsored by Gamma, and four sponsored by Onix. As you might expect these are well-established companies which grow their brand by sponsoring players. Other companies like Armour and Players Pickleball have more of a grass roots approach.
The most popular pro Pickleball paddles were the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro, Onix Evoke Premier, Selkirk Invikta (Amped and Vanguard edition), and Gamma Legend. Both the Tempest Wave Pro and Invikta were also favorite pro Pickleball paddles in 2019. What was really interesting about these four paddles is that the common theme was the control the paddles provided. And, if you think about that it makes sense as the pros can generate their own power. Two of these pro Pickleball paddles, the Onix Evoke Premier and Selkirk Invikta, have longer handles so if you are a tennis player and use a two-handed backhand you should definitely check them out.
I’ve compiled the data in the chart below so you can see a summary of the pro Pickleball paddles. All paddles had a ranking of 4.5 on Amazon at the time this article was published.
A few of the paddles I could not find on Amazon so here they are with the pro who use it:
Armour Axiom – Steve Wong
Franklin Ben Johns Signature – Rob Nunnery
Head Extreme Tour – Sarah Ansboury
Monarch Golden Axe (Sold exclusively at Dicks) – Scott Golden
Gearbox Gx6 Joey Farias Signature – Joey Farias
Paddletek Phoenix Genesis – Leigh Waters
Why do the Pros Like Their Paddle?
Below are the answers as to why the professionals like the top four different pro Pickleball paddles.
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle – Control
“I feel like I can really guide it very well. It’s really well known for control. It doesn’t have as much power as other paddles, but I really think for me personally control is more important than power because I can add the power by getting stronger. But yes, that’s the reason why I love my paddle.”
“I believe it’s the most complete paddle in the game. It’s a little thicker than normal paddles and has a little more absorption and it has a graphite facing. So it’s really soft and has a little grit to it. I have plenty of power. I’m looking for control so it absorbs energy well. It gives me the control I want with a little extra spin. And it’s just been the most complete paddle, like I said, that I’ve ever played with and I’ve tried a lot of them.”
Onix Evoke Premier Pro Pickleball Paddle– Control and Longer Handle
“I think this one has some more control in it then the Evoke Pro had which is the one that I used before this. And I don’t have too much of an issue generating my own power. So just having that little bit of extra control and overall sweet spot is what I really enjoy about this paddle. I also kind of switch my grip every now and then. So I liked having a nice, thin and smaller handle. And I use the Premier light paddle which the handle is four and an eighth instead of four and a quarter. So that’s another huge piece that I really enjoy about this paddle.”
She said the Onix Evoke Premier has a longer handle which is great for two-handed backhands and Meg says she loves to use her backhand. She also likes the power and the pop rather than the softer feel of some other paddles.
Gamma Legend Pro Pickleball Paddle – Control
“I have played with the Gamma Legend for about the last year and a half. And I like it because it’sk ind of a mid-weight. It’s an eight ounce paddle, which is heavier than a lot of people play with, and I like it because I like the touch game and the spin game. I return and hit a ton of under spin as well as top spin. And I like to feel my paddle and not have it be too light when I’m executing more of those touch shots and spin shots. So I really liked that and Gamma about a year and a half ago increased the core of their paddle by 25%… It’s just got really great control and a softer touch. And the Legend specifically is little bit more of a wider body so when you’re blocking against power, it’s very, very stable.”
“It’s got a good balanced feel and weight to it. I do add a little bit of lead tape to it because I like a heavier paddle, but it’s got a nice, soft feel off the face. I feel like I can get enough power, but I’ve got a good, consistent feel when I’m hitting a third shot drop and when I’m dinking. And I’ve tried a number of different paddles. I’ve tried just about every brand, a number of different styles, just to see what’s out there and see how the feel compares. I just really liked the feel and the touch of the Gamma Legend paddle.”
“It’s kind of a basic size and shape, square head, but it’s a bit thicker than most paddles. So I think it helped me actually a lot when it comes to touch shots, like the drop shot or dinking. So I highly recommend it to anyone.”
“I love playing with the Gamma Legend. That’s my favorite paddle. I really like it because for me it’s a perfect balance between touch and power. And the handle is pretty short so it’s pretty good for me because I know I don’t use a two-handed backhand.”
Selkirk Invikta Pro Pickleball Paddle – Control and Longer Handle
“I was trying to switch my game up a little bit to gain some touch and control and I already had the power. So, the the Amped series with the honeycomb core gave me a little more feel, a little more control and touch on my soft game.”
“I use a Selkirk Vanguard weighted up to 10.7. It is a tank. I use it because it’s the closest thing I’ve felt to a tennis racket if that makes sense. And there’s a lot of great paddles out there, but this one just has the feel and the control that I wanted and I would say the softness if that makes sense. I would probably refer to softness as control. And to me, I haven’t felt a paddle out there that has better control than that paddle.”
“I use the Invikta and it’s a little bit longer handle. And for singles and sometimes in doubles, I will use a two handed backhand. So having a little bit of that extra length of the handle is important. And then it also has that slightly longer rectangular shape which again is for a singles player. That one or two inches extra in reach really does make a big difference when you’re trying to give your opponent a small target for passing shots when you’re up at the net volleying.”
I’m in the market for a new paddle as I’ve played for a year now and am looking to see what paddle is the best for my game. I currently use the Onix Z5 which is both a great starter paddle and one that has benefited my game as an intermediate player. Now, I’m looking to take the next step in my game and with my paddle so here’s what I found the pros use. If you look to the right side of the table you will see the number of pros using each paddle.
As I interview more pros, I’ll be updating this article on what Pickleball paddle do the pros use
I’m keeping the 2019 edition of what Pickleball paddle do the pros use as it still has some good information on popular paddles.
To determine what paddles the pros use, I reviewed more than 50 articles on Pickleball Central which has a section on meet the pros. One of the questions asked is what paddle do you use and why. I documented over 50 open level players from this series to see what Pickleball paddles do the pros use.
The review included two years of articles so you’ll notice some trends just based on the year. For example Selkirk released their Amped Paddle line in 2017 so I see in the recent reviews these paddles were mentioned more often.
One thing you’ll notice from the chart above is the price point of these paddles. While I paid $70 for my Onix Z5, the pro paddles are all above $100. You can also see many of the pros were using the Engage Encore Pro, a paddle mentioned in our review of the best paddles for spin and best paddles. If you are a beginner looking for a paddle, you can also check out our review on the best paddles for beginners.
We’ve also created a Paddle Selector to help your further. Click here to answer just 3 quick questions and we’ll make a recommendation on the best Pickleball paddles for you.
In summary, the overwhelming favorite paddle manufacturer for the pros is Selkirk. More than half of the paddles mentioned were made by Selkirk. The other top two brands were Paddletek and Engage. Other mentions were Gamma, Gearbox, and Pro-lite. Overall, the pros mentioned 30 different paddles although the Paddletek Tempest is used the most.