Tennis and pickleball are both popular racket sports, but they differ in many ways. While the general idea of hitting a ball back and forth across the net is the same, the court, the rules, and even the paddle used are different. With more tennis players becoming curious about pickleball, we went on a search to find the best pickleball paddle for tennis players.
How Pickleball and Tennis Compare
When comparing tennis and pickleball, it’s easiest to start with how the two games are the same. They’re both played on a court. They both require skill and strategy in hitting a ball back and forth over a net in an attempt to score points.
The main piece of equipment needed is a racquet, and ideally, it’s one that’s aligned with how you play the game.
Oh, and they’re both lots of fun and great exercise.
Besides those few details, pickleball and tennis don’t have much in common regarding how the game is played, scoring, and strategy.
Still, if you love one racquet sport like tennis, you might be naturally inclined to try another sport like pickleball.
And considering the rapid growth in pickleball popularity, who can blame you? A background in tennis can be an advantage over other beginner players on the pickleball court.
But, when it comes to playing pickleball, one of the most strategic moves you can make is to invest in a good pickleball paddle.
- How Pickleball and Tennis Compare
- What a Tennis Player Should Look For In a Pickleball Paddle
- Joola Ben Johns Hyperion Pickleball Paddle
- 7 Really Good Pickleball Paddles for Tennis Players
- Bottom Line
Tennis rackets and pickleball rackets are quite different. Pickleball paddles are smaller than the rackets used in tennis, and they have different shapes. The handles are shorter, and they’re made with different materials. Instead of a tightly strung, netted hitting surface, pickleball paddles are solid. They have an inner core and surface that can both be made from a number of different types of materials.
What a Tennis Player Should Look For In a Pickleball Paddle
The best paddles for tennis players wanting to play pickleball are ones that feel natural in their hands. Although the two types of racquets feel completely different when you swing them, you’ll naturally feel more comfortable with one that feels and moves a similar to a tennis racquet. You also want one with features that will make the transition to pickleball more seamless.
In general, tennis rackets are heavier than the ones used in pickleball. Tennis rackets typically weigh in the 10 -12 ounce range. In contrast, 10 ounces is really heavy in pickleball, although there are a good number of wooden paddles that come close.
Tennis players may feel more comfortable with a racquet that’s more toward the heavier end of the weight range. In pickleball, a heavy paddle is one that weighs more than 8.5 ounces.
The measurement of a pickleball paddle cannot exceed 24-inches when you combine both the length and width. But, this leaves some wiggle room for differently shaped options to enter the picture. Some are shorter with a wide face, while others are elongated with a more narrow face.
Many tennis players prefer to go with a wider-body pickleball racquet to start. This offers them more usable surface area, which is more similar to a tennis racket.
On the other hand, a tennis racket can be held with two hands, which is something hard to do in pickleball unless you’re using one with a longer handle. A longer handles likely means the paddle face won’t be as wide.
Tennis is a game of power shots, but pickleball is a balance between power and precision or control. A racquet that’s designed for power will make you feel more comfortable at first, but one that’s more designed for control will more quickly help you master the finesse and precision that’s necessary for the game.
Joola Ben Johns Hyperion Pickleball Paddle
The Absolute Best Pickleball Paddles for Tennis Lovers
Our top pickleball paddle pick for tennis players is the Joola Ben Johns Hyperion. In our opinion, this is one of the best paddles on the market. It’s definitely not for a novice racquet sports player. It’s built for advanced players, but when you’re coming to the game with a tennis background, it definitely has many features you’ll appreciate.
It features a carbon fiber face with a friction surface, which is approved by the USAPA if you happen to make it to the tournament level. This also makes it a breeze to get some ball spin going, and it features an elongated paddle handle for two-handed play, so you can make that two-handed backhand feel right at home.
This one is swift and powerful, with a special type of foam injected into the polymer core. This provides a more balanced weight and is more similar to what you get when you play tennis. It has a generous sweet spot and superior ball control.
If you want to enter the world of pickleball, looking like the pro you are in tennis, this is one of the best pickleball paddles you’ll find.
This is a high-end pickleball paddle, but it’s worth the investment. The list price of this is just under $220.
Aerodynamic paddle reduces drag and increases speed
Paddle weight: 8.6 ounces (just at the cusp of being a heavier pickleball paddle)
Paddle Length; 16.5 inches
Paddle Width: 7.5 inches
Grip Length: 5.5 inches
Sure Grip technology for comfort and control
7 Really Good Pickleball Paddles for Tennis Players
Gamma NeuCore Compass
The Gamma NeuCore Compass makes it onto our list because it’s a high-performing elongated pickleball paddle that feels natural to tennis players.
This is more of a lightweight paddle at 7.75 ounces, which might be an adjustment for some tennis lovers, but it moves so effortlessly that you won’t miss the extra weight.
The elongated shape provides an extra inch of length over standard racquets, and it has a nice sweet spot, which is something that can be hard to come by in longer paddles.
Additional features include a honeycomb grip, thick, large cell polymer core, and it’s USAPA-approved. The list price of this is just under $150.
Rockne Curve Classic
The Rockne Curve Classic checks off all the boxes of what you want when transitioning to pickleball from tennis.
It’s a great and durable paddle with a pro-grit textured surface. It’s constructed with vibration-dampening technology, so it absorbs shock and vibration when you hit the ball. This is a huge plus if you’re prone to tennis elbow.
Other features pickleball players love about this include the stable poly core that’s great for any playing style, the soft touch, the fiberglass surface, and the extended grip length for two-handed play. The Rockne Curve Classic is also more affordable, costing just under $90.
SLK Evo Soft
We found the SLK Evo Soft to be one of the most versatile for those who also love playing tennis. Switching back and forth between sports can put you off of your game, but this paddle will help you recover.
We like the Evo Soft XL model that has a slightly larger paddle shape and elongated handle.
The inner makings is a rev-soft polymer core, and it features a Flex Control carbon fiber surface.
At 7.9 ounces, this is definitely not a heavier paddle, but it still offers great power and comfort, along with excellent control. It features a strong edge guard for added durability and a sweet spot you’ll love. The SLK Evo Soft will cost about $120, but we frequently see sales on this model.
Pickleball Inc Champion
The Champion by Pickleball Inc is like an unsung hero among pickleball paddles. This is a super strong and durable graphite paddle, so you don’t have to worry about damaging it as you’re perfecting your game.
This technically qualifies as lightweight since it comes in under 7.5 ounces. If you’re someone who really likes heavyweight pickleball paddles, then this one isn’t for you.
But, if you’re focused on developing control and precision, then this racket with a textured graphite face and nice, comfortable standard grip size is the right paddle for you.
You can purchase the Champion by Pickleball Inc for $89.99.
Vulcan V530 Power Paddle
There are a few different things that we like about this paddle. First, it’s more affordable than a lot of top power paddles, and it’s what we consider to be a heavier paddle at 8.5 ounces.
Between the weight and the carbon face, this is one of the best pickleball paddles for power shots, especially for those new to the game that don’t want to spend a fortune on a good quality first pickleball racquet.
The wide shape and thick 16mm core make this an option that’s hard to pass up. Pick this Vulcan for just under $70 on sale, but the list price is closer to $100.
Onix Evoke Premier
The Onix Evoke Premier was designed by professional pickleball players, and each feature has been thought out and implemented using top technology. The Onix Evoke is a composite paddle with a surface that absorbs shock, provides spin, and feels soft and effortless.
The size and grip size are standard, with what Onix calls an Impact shape. It’s available in lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight options, so you can purchase the one that suits you rather than trying to make your playing style fit it.
The Onix Evoke Premier retails for $149.99.
Joola Essentials Performance Pickleball Paddle
Finally, we end our list with another Joola paddle. This time, it’s their Joola Essentials Performance model. We have a lot of respect for this line of pickleball paddles, but this one earns points in our eyes for just being a really great basic option.
With a 12mm core, this is thin and aerodynamic. It features a fiberglass composite face for durability and performance and a responsive poly core.
Making the transition from tennis to pickleball is easy when you have the best paddle in your bag. The ones on our list are great, but we approached this from the perspective that you already have some experience with a racket. If you’re looking for true beginner paddles, we have lots of recommendations, plus advice on pickleball gear and strategy to improve your game!