Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (2024)

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (1)

2023 was a whirlwind year for pickleball paddle releases. Every month, new paddles hit the market with improved features, materials, and designs to help you play at a higher level.

Some paddles are made for experienced players—those with a rating of 4.0 or higher. I put the best advanced pickleball paddles to the test and wrote up a detailed review of each. Check out my top five picks:

Best pickleball paddles at a glance

Best overall

Our Rating:

1. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta

With great spin and speed to match its power, this paddle is ideal for advanced players who play an aggressive game.

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Best value

Our Rating:

2. Legacy Pro

The Legacy Pro delivers performance on par with the most expensive paddles on the market, with some of the best spin in the game.

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Read my full review

Best for power

Our Rating:

3. Bread & Butter Filth

A lively, aggressive paddle that's a ton of fun to play with. The B&B Filth also has enough control to become your everyday paddle.

15% discount

Read my full review

Best for control

Our Rating:

4. JOOLA Perseus

Ben Johns' new paddle of choice, the Perseus offers advanced players great control with enough spin and power for a rounded game.

Read my full review

Best for spin

Our Rating:

5. CRBN-1X Power Series

A premium raw carbon fiber paddle, the CRBN-1X Power Series is a great option for any advanced players who love to add power and spin to their game.

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Read my full review

Which paddle is best for you?

Before buying a paddle, it’s important to make sure it fits your game. That's why I created a 30-second quiz that recommends the best paddles for your play style and budget.

Give it a try and see if any of these advanced paddles make the list:

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Find the perfect paddle

I've personally tested over 80 paddles. Take the quiz to see which ones fit your game best.

Take Paddle Fitting Quiz

The best advanced pickleball paddles in 2024

Why should you trust Pickleheads? I spend hours testing every product I recommend. Only the very best make it onto my lists, so you can be sure you're buying the best. Learn more about how I test and review products.

That's my list. Read on to learn why they're my favorites in 2024:

Best overall

1. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta

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An elite-level paddle, if you're experienced enough to tame it

10/10

Power

7/10

Control

10/10

Spin

6/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're looking for power:

    this is the hardest-hitting paddle I've played with in 2023.

  • You play aggressively:

    with big spin and power, this paddle is deadly in the right hands.

  • You plays with lots of spin:

    the gritty surface of this paddle generates great spin.

Pass if:

  • You need control:

    this one isn't built for a soft touch game. If want more control, try the JOOLA Perseus.

  • You want a raw carbon fiber paddle:

    this paddle has fiberglass in the build, so try the CRBN-1X instead.

  • You're on a budget:

    this paddle costs $250, while the Six Zero DBD Control is $70 cheaper.

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Selkirk

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Pickleball Central

The Power Air Invikta had the highest combined score for spin and power of any paddle I've tested in 2023 so far.

I did find it difficult to control, with a lot of pop off the face. However, if you're an advanced player with good control already, you can play an aggressive game with this paddle that's difficult to compete against.

Who it's for

The Vanguard Power Air Invikta is suitable for players rated 4.0 up to pro level. While intermediates can try it out, it'll definitely be a challenge. If you're not too hard-hitting and more into a soft, control game, this one isn't for you either. The JOOLA Perseus will be more up your alley.

Features

One of the first features anyone notices on this paddle is the hole in the throat. This exists to make the paddle more aerodynamic and help it to swing faster through the air.

This isn't just a gimmick, either. The "Air-Dynamic" throat definitely increased my swing speed and boosted my power and spin. This small design feature gives this lightweight paddle a big boost of power.

Design and feel

This paddle feels sleek, modern, and premium in the hand. You can tell the materials used are high-quality and the unique throat design turns heads on the courts.

The Invikta is the longest and narrowest of the three Vanguard Power Air models. Between the elongated shape and the aerodynamic throat hole, my swing speed felt super fast and had lots of power behind it.

This paddle is also thermoformed (Selkirk prefers the term "360° molded") which creates a "unibody" paddle. This means that all the elements are bonded together, making it tough, durable, and overall better at generating power.

Thermoformed paddles typically play stiff with lots of pop, and I felt that here. They're also powerful, though, which the Invikta sure is.

Performance

First up, let's talk power. The paddle cuts through the air easily and that extra speed gives your shots a ton of drive and zip. In my testing, this helped keep my opponents back off the kitchen line and playing defensively.

The spin is also great, thanks to how the sandpaper-like surface grips the ball. In testing, I could feel the paddle cling to the ball on my backhand slice return or when mixing it up with a spin serve.

The only drawback for me is that Selkirk still use a spray-on grit, which means wears off over time. Many newer raw carbon fiber paddles have the texture built in, like the CRBN-1X, so the grip surface lasts much longer.

If you're looking for help with your drops and dinks, this paddle isn't right for you. Try the JOOLA Perseus instead.

Value for money

This is worth the $250 if you're an advanced player who plays an aggressive game. You won't find a paddle with better power and spin, at any price.

However, if you're looking for comparable power at a much more affordable price, check out the Bread and Butter Filth. The Filth is also a much more well-rounded paddle.

To learn more, check out my full Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta review.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (10)

My verdict

This paddle has been around since summer 2022—a long time in pickleball—but it's still one of the best power paddles out there. For any high-level players looking for a paddle with great power and spin, the Selkirk Power Air Invikta won't disappoint.

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Best value

2. Legacy Pro

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A pro-level paddle without the premium price tag

7.5/10

Power

9/10

Control

10/10

Spin

9.5/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want a pro level paddle on a budget:

    this paddle competes with others that cost $100 more.

  • You play with lots of spin:

    this paddle really shines in the spin department—especially topspin.

  • You need control:

    I found this paddle more forgiving and controlled than most advanced paddles, including the Selkirk Power Air Invikta.

Pass if:

  • You're looking for more power:

    if so, try the Vanguard Power Air Invikta or the Bread & Butter Filth.

  • You want a paddle that's fast in the hands:

    this one can feel a little sluggish, so I'd recommend the JOOLA Perseus instead.

  • You want more pop:

    I found this paddle had a soft, muted feel. You might prefer the Selkirk Power Air Invikta.

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Legacy

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Paddle weight

8-8.4 oz

Paddle length

16 ½"

Paddle width

7 ½"

Handle length

5 ⅓"

Given the price, I assumed there was a catch with this paddle, but then I started seeing top players at my local courts playing with it and finally got it on the court myself.

As it turns out, there is no catch. It spins hard, has great control, and packs enough power to play a 4.0 or higher game. At $150, it's easily the best value for advanced players.

Who it's for

This paddle is ideal for any advanced player on a budget. It's an all-court paddle that offers all the spin and control you need. If you want pure power, check out the Bread & Butter Filth. Otherwise, the Legacy Pro is an awesome advanced paddle without the high price tag.

It also has a surprisingly large sweet spot. So, if you've recently moved up to advanced, you'll appreciate its forgiveness.

Features

This paddle is built like many of the most professional (and most expensive) paddles on the market today. It's thermoformed, with foam injected into the face's perimeter, which makes it stable and strong.

The face is made from T700 raw carbon fiber, the choice of many elite paddle manufacturers nowadays. Legacy make their paddles with a woven pattern that is meant to enhance the spin even more.

Having tested it against the competition, I agree and even chose it as my favorite for spin in my list of the best pickleball paddles in 2023.

Design and feel

This paddle's elongated shape gives you better reach—especially up at the kitchen. It's also thermoformed, which usually makes a paddle more powerful. I found this one surprisingly forgiving and controlled, while the power level was slightly less than I'd expected.

One issue is that the head can feel a little heavy and sluggish. If you're looking for a more nimble, lighter feel, try the JOOLA Perseus.

Performance

Spin is the first thing you'll notice with this paddle. I could put the kind of spin on the ball where your opponents let a shot go, thinking it's going to sail, only to watch it dip right on the line. That's always a satisfying feeling.

I'm also impressed by the control I get with the Legacy Pro. I feel at home with my touch shots and have no problem winning long dink rallies. The paddle is also surprisingly forgiving for an advanced paddle, with one of the largest sweet spots I've seen on a thermoformed paddle.

Having heard about this paddle's power, I was excited to see how hard I could hit the ball. Sadly, I was a little disappointed, so I'd recommend the Bread & Butter Filth if you want more power in your game.

Value for money

At only $150, this paddle is a genuine bargain. If you're an advanced player on a budget, I recommend giving this paddle a look before the $250 JOOLA Perseus or other premium picks.

To learn more, check out my full Legacy Pro pickleball paddle review.

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My verdict

If you're an experienced player who doesn't want to spend a fortune, the Legacy Pro is a solid choice. It offers top levels of spin and control, with enough power to play a complete game. I also found it surprisingly forgiving, so if you're just reaching the advanced level, give this paddle a look.

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Best for power

3.

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The most powerful paddle I've tested so far in 2023

10/10

Power

8/10

Control

10/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You're a power player:

    if you're a banger like me, you'll have a lot of fun with this paddle.

  • You want an all-court paddle:

    for a wildly powerful paddle, the Filth is surprisingly good on control.

  • You want a pro-level paddle for under $200:

    I think the Filth is a great deal at $165.

Pass if:

  • You can't handle too much pop:

    for a softer paddle, try the JOOLA Perseus.

  • You need help with control:

    if you're working on your short game, try the JOOLA Perseus or Gearbox CX14E.

  • You can spend over $200.

    I think the CRBN-1X is worth the premium, with better feel and performance.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (16)

Bread & Butter

15% discount

Paddle weight

8 oz

Paddle length

16 ½"

Paddle width

7 ⅜"

Handle length

5 ½"

The Filth was the most fun paddle I tested in 2023. It hit really hard and I couldn't help but play aggressively with it. I think any advanced player who wants a lively, hard-hitting paddle is going to like the Filth.

Who it suits

This paddle will suit the advanced player who values power above all but who also likes to play with spin. Both areas were 10/10 for me. It also has an affordable price tag despite being built like the most expensive paddles on the market.

Features

This paddle has the same thermoformed build and raw carbon fiber face as paddles like the Legacy Pro and CRBN Pro Series. On paper, it's almost identical to the CRBN-1X (but $65 cheaper).

I thought that the thermoforming added lots of power, and the texture of the face generated great spin.

Design and feel

I'll be honest—I love the way the paddle looks with its trippy face design and nice-looking leather grip. It also feels plush and comfortable in the hand. I could play with this paddle all day and night if I could.

Performance

This paddle has lots of pop and energy, but I think advanced players will have no issue taming it. Bread & Butter claim their paddles are built in outer space, and I was almost hitting balls into outer space in my first game.

Thankfully, I got a feel for it by the second game. The more I played with it, the more I could dial in advanced touch shots like topspin drops or even third shot drops taken off a deep return. I never expected it would become my go-to paddle through much of 2023.

Value for money

Priced at $165, this paddle is genuinely great value. I compare it to one of my favorite paddles of all time (and pick 5 on this list) the CRBN-1X, which retails for $65 more.

To learn more, check out my full .

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (17)

My verdict

Packed with personality, this is the most fun paddle I've ever played with. It hits hard and generates loads of spin but can play controlled when you need it to. Any hard hitter is going to like this paddle—it's been my go-to throughout much of 2023.

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15% discount

Best for control

4. JOOLA Perseus

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A premium control paddle from top brand JOOLA

8/10

Power

10/10

Control

8/10

Spin

8/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You want more control:

    I scored it 10/10 for control, which surprised me given it's a thermoformed paddle.

  • You found the Hyperion too heavy:

    this one's a full 0.5 oz lighter, and plays much better in fast kitchen exchanges.

  • You want Ben Johns' paddle:

    The world #1 uses the 16 mm Perseus as his go-to.

Pass if:

  • You're on a budget:

    the Perseus is $250, so check out the Legacy Pro for a cheaper alternative.

  • You play with lots of spin:

    you might prefer the CRBN-1X or the Legacy Pro, both great spin paddles.

  • You want a power paddle:

    there are heavier hitters than this one, like the Bread & Butter Filth.

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Pickleball Central

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Amazon

Paddle weight

7.8-8 oz

Paddle length

16 ½"

Paddle width

7 ½"

Handle length

5 ½"

Having tested over 20 thermoformed carbon fiber paddles this year, I found most of them great for power and spin but often lacking in control. The Perseus is the exception. It's great on blocking and resetting, and I found it had just enough spin and power to play a complete game.

Who it suits

This paddle is ideal for advanced players who are looking to focus on their control game and who aren't put off by a small sweet spot. If you like fast hands battles, I'd recommend giving this one a try.

Features

The paddle's unibody design, which JOOLA call "fully encased carbon", gives this paddle a stiff, crisp feel. However, I found that the poppiness can be reigned in after a short adjustment period.

The surface they use on the face is now called "charged carbon", though I was disappointed to find it generated less spin than their previous "carbon friction" surface.

Design and feel

JOOLA certainly know how to design a pro-level paddle—the Perseus feels and looks great in the hand. It's lightweight, at only 8 oz for the 16 mm option, so feels quick without any sluggishness.

Head heaviness was one of the biggest complaints from the Hyperion, so this is a definite upgrade.

Performance

The main strength of this paddle is its excellent control. I quickly found myself hitting dinks, drops, and resets with confidence. I also liked playing with it against hard-hitting advanced players as it was especially good for blocking.

Unlike its predecessor, the Hyperion, this paddle feels light and nimble in the hand. The sweet spot is small, but advanced players won't be bothered by that.

Once you get a feel for this paddle, you can play a strong touch game. While spin is lacking, and you won't generate as much power as the B&B Filth, there's plenty of both to play a complete game and win games against 4.0-5.0 players.

Value for money

This is another $250 paddle, which is a lot of money to shell out. If you have the budget though, and want a control-focused, top-of-the-range paddle, the Perseus is a great option to consider.

To learn more, check out my full JOOLA Perseus review.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (21)

My verdict

The Perseus is a great control paddle. It's best suited to advanced players because it has a relatively small sweet spot and requires some lead tape to optimize performance. Considering the paddle works for Ben Johns, you can play at a very high level once you get a feel for it.

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Best for spin

5. CRBN-1X Power Series

Loading...

An excellent all-court power that's built for spin

9/10

Power

8/10

Control

10/10

Spin

9/10

Forgiveness

Buy if:

  • You play with lots of spin:

    this is the original carbon paddle, but it still generates some of the best spin out there.

  • You play an aggressive game:

    this paddle hits hard, with lots of power and pop.

  • You want forgiveness:

    this paddle has a surprisingly large sweet spot.

Pass if:

  • You're looking for a control paddle:

    as this is more of a power paddle, you might prefer the JOOLA Perseus instead.

  • You're on a budget:

    the Legacy Pro has comparable spin with a little less power for $80 less.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (24)

CRBN

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Pickleball Central

Paddle weight

7.8-8.1 oz

Paddle length

16 ½"

Paddle width

7 ½"

Handle length

5 ½"

It's rare to find a paddle that works as well for early intermediates as it does for 4.5-5.0 players, but the CRBN-1X is just that. It's an all-court pick that skews toward power. Plus, advanced players will appreciate the reach and extra power you get from the elongated design.

Who it suits

This paddle can work well for intermediate players too, but they won't get the same level of performance from it that a more experienced player will. Advanced players who like to play with lots of power and spin will feel at home with the 1X.

Features

This paddle's face material is what generates its spin. CRBN use the T700 Toray carbon fiber surface with a gritty texture, which grips the ball really well.

Unlike with the Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta, this surface isn't sprayed on but instead is built into it, so it won't wear off over time.

Design and feel

This paddle is thermoformed with a unibody design, which I found adds a lot more power and pop to my shots, as well as more stability and strength to the paddle.

Thermoformed paddles tend to feel stiff, but I didn't find that too much of a problem here. The increased stability made up for any stiffness.

Performance

Despite being part of the Power Series, the CRBN-1X still has great levels of spin. During my testing, I could generate the kind of topspin that dips the ball right at my opponent's feet.

The spin here is in the 1750-1850 rpm range. While I know some newer paddles are achieving over 2,000 rpm, in my opinion, they're simply not as good as the CRBN-1X for advanced players. CRBN started the raw carbon trend and, impressively, are still at the very top.

As it says in the name, the CRBN-1X Power Series packs a lot of power, mostly thanks to its unibody design. While not as much as the Filth, there's plenty even for aggressive players like me. There's a small compromise on control, but advanced players won't mind too much.

Value for money

At $229.99, this one certainly has a premium price tag. However, there are plenty more expensive paddles on the market in 2023 that don't get the results this one does. It also comes with a free neoprene paddle cover, and we all love a freebie.

To learn more, check out my full CRBN-1X Power Series review.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (26)

My verdict

I play with the CRBN-1X every week, as its spin and power complement my game perfectly. If you want a paddle that can deliver everything you need to play at a high level, check this one out—especially if you're just reaching the advanced level. I found this paddle to be the most forgiving of any on this list.

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How to choose the best advanced pickleball paddles

At the highest levels of pickleball, modern paddles are designed with very similar attributes. However, there are a few characteristics to keep in mind when choosing the right paddle for your unique needs.

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (29)

Brandon Mackie showing off the Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta pickleball paddle

Size & shape

These days, most pros use elongated paddles and you'll notice all of the paddles on this list are 16.5". This shape gives optimal reach and the potential to generate maximum power.

While a longer face reduces the sweet spot and makes the paddle less forgiving, this won't matter as much to advanced players.

You'll also notice that the paddles on this list are all either 7 ⅜" or 7 ½" wide. This is the standard for high-level paddles.

Weight & balance

Advanced pickleball paddles weigh between 7.8 and 8.5 oz. Modern paddles are the result of years of fine-tuning to find the perfect weight-to-power ratio.

With the breakthrough in thermoforming, professional paddles can now be around the 8 oz mark while still packing a serious punch.

Lighter paddles are more agile and suit players who like to have quick hands and nifty exchanges. Heavier paddles generally suit more power-focused players.

Thermoforming also addresses some of the balance issues older paddles had, including snapping at the throat. Thermoformed "unibody" paddles generally have great stability and strength because they're made from one continuous piece rather than separate parts glued together.

Grip size

The paddles on this list have grip sizes of 4 ⅛" or 4 ¼", so it's clear that advanced players have settled on a standard grip circumference. If you have larger hands, or you come for a tennis background, you can use an overgrip to increase this measurement.

Material

These days, most advanced pickleball paddles use carbon fiber in their construction. This is because it's super lightweight, as well as stiff and durable.

More recently, manufacturers started using "raw" carbon fiber on the face, which simply means there is no coating or paint applied to it. Only one paddle on our list (the Selkirk Power Air Invikta) uses a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass on its face.

Price

With all the high-end materials and cutting-edge design going into pickleball paddles, it's no surprise that prices have increased. However, as I've shown in this list, there's no need to spend over $250 to get an elite-level paddle.

What to consider when buying an advanced pickleball paddle

As well as physical attributes, there are some personal elements—unique to each player—to keep in mind when choosing your paddle.

Playing style & skill level

Your unique playing style is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing a paddle. The right one can complement your skills and help you to keep improving.

Once you're an advanced player, you'll have mastered the use of control, spin, and power. You'll also know what style of player you are. So, whether you're a banger, spin-junkie, or master of the soft game, find a paddle that's designed for your play style.

Popularity & brand name

Some brands have more "court cred" than others. With new paddles and paddle brands popping up all the time, I recommend keeping an open mind and not letting brand loyalty get in the way of trying out something new.

Bottom line

That's my breakdown of the top five paddles for advanced players on the market today. For me, the Selkirk Power Air Invikta holds the top spot as it's got the best scores in power and spin. Try it out for yourself now and let me know what you think of it.

Just to recap, here's my top five again:

  1. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta - Best overall
  2. Legacy Pro - Best cheap
  3. Bread & Butter Filth - Best for power
  4. JOOLA Perseus - Best for control
  5. CRBN-1X Power Series - Best for spin

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Introduction

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information on various topics, including pickleball paddles. I can provide you with insights and information based on the details provided in this article. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article and discuss each one in detail.

Pickleball Paddle Releases in 2023

The article mentions that 2023 was a year filled with new pickleball paddle releases, with each month bringing new paddles to the market. These paddles were designed with improved features, materials, and designs to enhance gameplay for advanced players [[1]].

Best Advanced Pickleball Paddles in 2024

The article provides a list of the top five advanced pickleball paddles in 2024. Let's go through each paddle and its key features:

  1. Selkirk VANGUARD Power Air Invikta: This paddle is described as ideal for advanced players who play an aggressive game. It offers great spin, speed, and power. However, it may not be suitable for players seeking a soft touch game or those on a budget. The paddle costs $250 [[2]].

  2. Legacy Pro: The Legacy Pro paddle is considered a pro-level paddle without the premium price tag. It offers excellent power, control, and spin. It is recommended for advanced players on a budget. The paddle costs $150 [[3]].

  3. Bread & Butter Filth: The Bread & Butter Filth paddle is known for its power and fun gameplay. It offers good control and is suitable for players who enjoy playing with lots of spin. The paddle costs $165 [[4]].

  4. JOOLA Perseus: The JOOLA Perseus paddle is a premium control paddle that provides excellent power and control. It is recommended for players who prioritize control in their gameplay. The paddle costs $250 [[5]].

  5. CRBN-1X Power Series: The CRBN-1X Power Series paddle is known for its power and spin. It is considered an all-court paddle and is suitable for players who play with lots of spin and aggression. The paddle costs $229.99 [[6]].

Choosing the Best Advanced Pickleball Paddle

The article also provides some guidance on choosing the best advanced pickleball paddle. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Size & Shape: Most advanced paddles have an elongated shape, providing optimal reach and potential for maximum power. The paddles mentioned in the article are all 16.5" in length.
  • Weight & Balance: Advanced paddles typically weigh between 7.8 and 8.5 ounces. Lighter paddles offer more agility, while heavier paddles suit power-focused players.
  • Grip Size: The paddles mentioned in the article have grip sizes of 4 ⅛" or 4 ¼", which is the standard for high-level paddles.
  • Material: Most advanced paddles use carbon fiber in their construction due to its lightweight, stiffness, and durability.
  • Playing Style & Skill Level: Consider your playing style and skill level when choosing a paddle. Different paddles cater to different styles, such as power, control, or spin-oriented gameplay.
  • Popularity & Brand Name: Some brands have a strong reputation in the pickleball community. However, it's important to keep an open mind and try out different paddles to find the one that suits you best.

Remember, the best paddle for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences, playing style, and skill level. It's always a good idea to try out different paddles before making a final decision.

I hope this information helps you understand the concepts mentioned in the article and provides you with valuable insights into advanced pickleball paddles. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Best Pickleball Paddles for Advanced Players in 2024 - Top 5 Compared | Pickleheads (2024)

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