Playing pickleball comes with a learning curve like any sport. Pickleball players will notice a significant improvement in their game when they’re playing with the right pickleball paddle. There’s more to it than just what feels good in your hand, though!
The USAPA, also known as the USA Pickleball Association, is responsible for setting guidelines around the size and specifications of pickleball paddles. If your paddle doesn’t meet USAPA guidelines, it’s considered illegal and shouldn’t be used on the pickleball court. All organized pickleball competitions adhere to the USAPA guidelines, and players who don’t meet the guidelines will be disqualified.
Measuring the Pickleball Paddle
Pickleball paddle dimensions refer to the length and width of the paddle. Dimensions include any additions to your paddle, like a butt cap or edge guard. The combined length and width of the paddle can’t exceed 24 inches.
- Measuring the Pickleball Paddle
- Pickleball Paddle Specifications
- Choosing Your Pickleball Paddle
- Choose the Right Paddle and Play Pickleball Like a Pro
The paddle length can range from 15 to 17 inches, while the paddle width can range from 7 inches to 8.25 inches.
Most pickleball paddles used today are 15 inches long and 8 inches wide for a combined size of 23 inches. For reference, that’s smaller than a tennis racket but larger than a paddle used for table tennis.
Oversized paddles that feature a shorter length and wider paddle face can be purchased, but it’s not common, especially among the pros.
Pickleball Paddle Specifications
The USAPA sets other specifications in place to keep the game fair. These specifications have to do with what the paddle is made of and any alterations that take place. First, the pickleball paddle must be made of a non-compressable material to keep everyone safe while you play pickleball.
Paddles are commonly made of graphite and composite materials. Carbon fiber is widely used as a core material to make a firm hitting surface that offers excellent control while playing pickleball.
It’s your choice if you prefer a graphite paddle or composite paddle, but homemade paddles are no longer allowed under USAPA rules. The surface of the paddle must be smooth. Any paint textured sprays, electrical modifications, or rough edges are prohibited.
Choosing Your Pickleball Paddle
Outside of the pickleball paddle requirements, there are many things to consider when choosing your pickleball paddle to be legal on the court.
Your average composite pickleball paddle has a grip size of 4 to 4.5 inches.
The best way to find your ideal grip size is to hold different sizes and see what feels the most comfortable.
Paddles can range from 10mm to 16mm thick. The thickness depends on what material the paddle is made of and what type of core the paddle has. The thicker the paddle, the more control. The thinner the paddle, the more power you’ll have behind each shot.
Most paddles weigh between 7 and 8.5 oz. Lighter paddles are easier to handle, while heavier paddles produce more power. You can achieve the same power with a more lightweight paddle if you hit hard enough, though.
An edge guard can be added to any pickleball paddle. Edge guards secure the edge of the paddle so the face can’t detach from the core while you play pickleball. There’s no downside to using edge guards, and they help the paddle last longer!
Do pickleball paddles come in different sizes?
Yes, paddles come in a variety of lengths and widths. The combined length and width of the paddle must be no more than 24 inches to meet pickleball paddle specifications.
What’s the standard size for a pickleball paddle?
The standard size for a pickleball paddle is 15 inches long and 8 inches wide.
Is a thicker pickleball paddle better?
A thicker pickleball paddle puts more power behind each shot but doesn’t offer as much precise control as a thinner paddle. It all comes down to personal preference.
What weight pickleball paddle do the pros use?
Pros use a medium-weight paddle between 7.5 and 8.4 oz.
What makes a pickleball paddle illegal?
A paddle is illegal if it doesn’t meet the pickleball paddle specifications for dimensions or if it’s been altered using textured paint, electronics, etc.
Choose the Right Paddle and Play Pickleball Like a Pro
Choosing the right paddle is one of the most important things you can do to improve your pickleball game. You might need to play with a few paddles to find the one that’s just right for you. Some players even prefer having a couple of different styles of paddles to choose from. Check back often and let us help you learn more about pickleball paddles and strategies to improve your game.