Posted on

Best Pickleball Paddles?

Wilson Profile is our best selling paddle.
As Canada’s largest pickleball supplier, we answer a lot of questions about pickleball paddles. The question we hear most often is this: Which pickleball paddle should I buy?

There are certainly lots of choices out there. So this is a pretty general question. The way we answer it depends on whether the person to whom we are speaking is a recreational player or a competitive player.

Recreational pickleball players, we will explain, tend to expect their paddles to last forever while competitive players don’t. Competitive players understand that even the best paddles wear out and break down over time. So durability is not usually a major issue to them.

Recreation players, on the other hand, tend to care a great deal about durability. In fact, some of them seem to believe that a pickleball paddle is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

Racquet Selector For a full list of racquets in this category, please check out our ONLINE RACQUET SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, weight, balance and more.

For players in this category we usually recommend 2G pickleball paddles complete with edge guards. we also recommend that they choose a brand well-known for durability, such as Wilson.

Although they look a little old fashioned compared to sleek, modern, edgeless 3G pickleball paddles preferred by competitive players, the edge guards on 2G paddles perform an important function — they protect the most vulnerable part of the paddle from damage.

Are we saying that 2G paddles will last forever?

No, we’re not. Many of the 2G paddles made by US manufacturers have cardboard cores — sometimes call “composite” cores. If one of these “composite” paddles is in your bag when you have a major water bottle leak, the cardboard may suck up the water and permanently damage your pickleball paddle.

Sadly, no pickleball paddle will last forever. The best you can do is to go with trusted brands and to ask questions about warranties.

Racquet Selector For a full list of racquets in this category, please check out our ONLINE RACQUET SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, weight, balance and more.

Pickleball Paddle Warranties

Wilson, the largest sporting goods manufacturer in the world, offers a one-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects on its Xcel, Profile, Surge and BLX Tour paddles. Pickle-Ball Inc, the world’s oldest pickleball manufacturer offers at three month warranty on their whole line.

Ask the person you are buying the paddle from how they handle warranty issues. If you are buying paddles from some guy selling them out of his bag, chances are that you won’t get warranty protection when you need it most. However, if you are buying your paddles from a legitimate retailer, you can expect a higher level of service.

Here at Racquet Network, all Wilson warranty issues are dealt with right in our Calgary store. No shipping is necessary for local customer. However, with Pickle-ball Inc paddles, the customer has to ship the defective paddle back to the manufacturer in the US at their own expense.

That fact, combined with the polymer cores in all Wilson pickleball paddles, generally leads us to recommend Wilson paddles to recreational players for whom durability is a major concern.

Racquet Selector For a full list of racquets in this category, please check out our ONLINE RACQUET SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, weight, balance and more.
Posted on

Pickleball Myth #1 – Paddles Have a Sweet Spot

The Wilson Tour BLX pickleball paddle is one of our top selling models.
We used to keep track of the number of times that customers came into our store asking for a specific pickleball paddle because they heard it has “a bigger sweet spot.” However, it happened so often that we stopped counting long ago.

In fact, pickleball paddles do not have a sweet spot. The term “sweet spot” applies to stringed racquets. It is the part of the string bed that stretches to the maximum depth and then propels the ball forward using the stored energy in the strings. Since pickleball paddles are solid, they cannot have a sweet spot.

The closest one can come to a sweet spot on a pickleball paddle is the center of mass. The center of mass is a point representing the mean position of the matter in a body or system.

On a pickleball paddle the centre of massed is a fixed and mathematically definable point. It cannot be made larger or smaller. Therefore it is not possible for one paddle to have a larger sweet spot than any other.

In order to harness the maximum amount of mass and energy available on any shot, the striker must hit the ball with the paddle’s center of mass. The further away from the center that contact is made, the more energy will be lost.

Hitting the ball with the paddle’s center of mass becomes more important as paddles become lighter. Since lighter paddles have less mass, off center hits are weaker. The more off center they are, the weaker the shot becomes.

With heavy paddles, off center hits are less of an issue. If a paddle is heavy enough, even shots that come from near the outer edge of the paddle will still harness a significant amount of energy, which is exactly why we recommend heavier paddles for beginners.

Players who want to maximize the transfer of energy into the ball through a paddle’s center of mass will have to practice hitting the ball in the mathematical center of the paddle. Those who can only do this inconsistently (beginners) should opt for heavier pickleball paddles.

Posted on

Pickleball Paddle Warranties

Wilson offers a one-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.
Not all pickleball paddles are created equal — and not all come with warranties.

Staff at Racquet Network generally advise our customers to purchase pickleball paddles that come with warranties. Unfortunately, not everybody listens to us. Frequently, in fact, customers complain that we are only advising them to do so because paddles with warranties cost more.

Like everything else in life, quality costs money. So the more you spend on a pickleball paddle, the better the paddle you get. In fact, higher quality paddles are so well made that they don’t even need a warranty. The people who make them know this. So offering a warranty is a no-brainer for them. They know the paddle is so well made that they most likely will never have to replace it.

Low priced paddles (there is a lot of junk in the racquet sports industry) do not come with warranties. They cost less because they are poorly made with low quality materials. The manufacturers know this, too, of course because they are the people who make them. They know that cheap paddles are not durable and so they also know it would be foolish to offer a warranty on such a low quality product.

So why do these paddles exists if they are not worth buying? The answer is simple: demand. There is huge demand for low-priced paddles in the pickleball market. For every one player who understands that quality paddles cost money, there are ten who fool themselves into thinking that pickleball paddles should be cheap and that a cheap pickleball paddle is just as good as an expensive one.

A second explanation for the success of “junk” paddles is that most new pickleball players try the sport before committing to it. In other words, they buy a cheap paddle and see if they like pickleball first. Then a few months later, if they are still playing, they buy a better paddle.

Here at Racquet Network, we stock paddles at all price points. We carry low-priced paddles for players who are just trying the sport out and we carry high end paddles for players who are fully committed to the game. We also carry a variety of paddles for every price point in-between.

Whether you are a new player or an old veteran, though, our advice will always be the same; you are more likely to be satisfied with a quality paddle than a cheap one. So unless price is an overwhelming issue for you, choose a paddle with a warranty. You may never need the warranty, but having one virtually guarantees that the craftsmanship is worth the investment.