Pickleball paddles come in a variety of materials, price ranges, and designs. A recreational player usually isn’t buying the same paddle as a pro who can pay a premium price for the perfect paddle. No matter what your skill level is, knowing how to properly handle your paddles is part of being a responsible player.
Let’s learn a little more about proper care for your paddle, signs it’s worn out, and how long your paddle should last.
How Long Does a Pickleball Paddle Last?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. Composite paddles have a different lifespan than graphite paddles or wood paddles.
Your pickleball paddle’s lifespan has a lot of factors at play, so it’s impossible to give a set amount of time your paddle should last. Instead, you should focus on knowing how to identify a dead paddle so you can upgrade accordingly.
Assessing Your Pickleball Paddle
Most paddles have a unique sound, especially when the ball hits the sweet spot. Some paddles produce a loud pop, while others are more subtle.
If you notice your paddle sounds different than it used to, that’s a tell-tale sign it’s started to develop dead spots.
With a change to the interior structure of the pickleball paddle, the sound of a ball hitting the paddle face will be different. Many players describe this change as a paddle that starts to sound dull. Dead spots occur when the internal honeycomb of your paddle warps over time.
Any pickleball player knows how their favorite paddle typically feels. The feeling of your paddle is easier to detect when a ball hits the sweet spot.
If your paddle once felt very responsive to your movements and now you’re struggling to get a good bounce off the sweet spot, it’s most likely your pickleball paddle has reached the end of its life.
Playing with a paddle that doesn’t feel responsive is frustrating. You’ll have to try harder to get the same results as before instead of continually improving your skills.
When you use a new paddle, the paddle’s face is perfectly flat. As you play pickleball with that same paddle over many hours, the paddle surface may start to become warped.
Hold the paddle at an angle to identify any areas of warping or small dips on the surface.
This is a sign that the internal structure of the paddle has been damaged, and your paddle will need to be replaced soon. You can still use the paddle until you replace it, but don’t be surprised if your pickleball game isn’t as good as before.
How to Prolong Paddle Lifespan
Now that you’ve learned how to check the current state of your paddle, let’s talk about how to make your paddles last longer.
Always Use an Edge Guard
Edge guards protect the paddle where it’s most vulnerable. Without an edge guard, the paddle face can start to pull away from the paddle core.
Perform Regular Grip Maintenance
Inspect the grip on your paddle handle. If it’s damaged or doesn’t seem as comfortable as it used to be, replace it! A poor grip makes you more likely to lose control on the court as your palms get sweaty.
Replacing grips is an affordable way to extend the life of your paddle.
Don’t Leave the Paddle Exposed to Extreme Temperatures
Store your pickleball paddle in comfortable temperatures. Extreme weather can impact the integrity of the paddle materials.
This means no leaving it in a hot car for days at a time. Also, don’t leave it outside in an unheated garage during the winter.
Clean Regularly with Warm Water and Soap
Regularly cleaning your paddle will prevent a build-up of sweat and dirt. Always let the paddle dry completely before placing it into a storage bag or locker.
Pickleball is a fun sport that’s challenging, rewarding, and entertaining all at the same time. Replacing a worn-out paddle is the perfect time to make an upgrade that will improve your game. Find the best pickleball equipment for your experience level and budget with our other articles!