Carbon fiber and graphite pickleball paddles are the most popular types used by the pros today, but which type is right for you? Check out this head-to-head comparison of carbon fiber VS graphite pickleball paddles before making any purchases!
We know that shopping for a pickleball paddle can get overwhelming quite fast. You’ll see fiberglass pickleball paddles, graphite paddles, composite paddles, and carbon fiber paddles-not to mention things like the paddle core, grip size, and weight of the paddles. That’s a lot of variables to consider! We’re here to make it at least a little bit easier with our comparison of graphite vs carbon fiber paddles.
Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles
Carbon fiber is a polymer made up of thin filaments of carbon. Carbon fiber is known for its incredible stiffness that can offer great benefits on the pickleball court. In fact, carbon fiber is stronger than steel!
Carbon fiber paddles are the newest type on the market, but the number of players using carbon fiber paddles is growing rapidly. Players are choosing carbon fiber because of its lightweight, durable design.
The stiff nature of carbon fiber surfaces offers impressive control on the court. When you hit the ball with a carbon fiber paddle, you are in total control of where it’s going.
Carbon fiber pickleball paddles are some of the most expensive you can buy. The price tag comes from carbon fiber being hard to produce. Specific machinery is needed, along with specialized knowledge of the manufacturing process.
When a product is more expensive to make, it’s more costly for the consumer to buy. Materials that are cheap to produce, like fiberglass, create composite paddles that can be sold at a lower price point.
Carbon fiber paddles are extremely lightweight, even lighter than composite pickleball paddles. The lightweight design makes it easy for players to be on the court for extended periods without feeling joint pain or muscle fatigue.
Less energy spent holding the paddle is more energy you can put behind each shot! You’ll need that extra energy, though. The downside to a lighter paddle made of carbon fiber is that the paddle does lack power compared to other materials.
Carbon fiber is very durable. It’s more durable than steel, resistant to heat, and can take a serious beating on the pickleball court.
- A stiff surface offers great ball control
- Limited selection – not every brand produces carbon fiber paddles
- Less powerful
Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Graphite paddles are extremely popular in the professional world and for recreational players. They’re a middle ground between carbon fiber and composite pickleball paddles with fiberglass surfaces.
Graphite pickleball paddles have different materials on the paddle surfaces than in the core. The core is reinforced with a polymer-like substance, while the paddle face material is graphite. The core offers additional power that makes getting a good spin on the ball easier.
Graphite pickleball paddles aren’t the cheapest on the market, but they are more affordable than carbon fiber paddles. Graphite paddles are easier to produce. You can find a graphite paddle made by almost any brand that makes pickleball gear!
Graphite paddles fill the sweet spot between expensive carbon fiber and cheap fiberglass paddles.
Graphite paddles are a bit heavier than carbon fiber paddles but still lighter than fiberglass paddles. The exact paddle weight can vary depending on the core material used.
Graphite is a common choice for pros because you get the comfort of a light paddle with more power than you get with carbon fiber. Players can still have great control over where the ball goes with exceptional power from the graphite face.
A graphite pickleball paddle is more durable than a composite pickleball paddle, but not as during as a carbon fiber paddle. The durability of a graphite paddle depends a lot on what type of core material was used. A polymer honeycomb core makes the paddle extremely durable, while other cores are more prone to damage.
Adding an edge guard to your graphite paddle will improve the durability even more! Edge guards protect the paddle’s edge where the paddle face and core meet. The guard keeps the surface materials from separating from the core materials.
- More power than carbon fiber
- Lighter than fiberglass or wooden paddles
- More affordable than carbon fiber
- Graphite paddles weigh more than carbon fiber
- Different materials in the core can change how the paddle feels
Now that you know a little about these two types of pickleball paddles, it’s time to decide what’s the right paddle for you! If you’ve never held a graphite or carbon fiber paddle before, start there. Holding each type of paddle will give you a better idea of what the weight feels like, the paddle thickness, grip size, and how the face material feels.
Visit our other content to browse specific recommendations for pickleball gear, learn about your favorite players, and master the rules of the game!