Sometimes, we find ourselves watching a pro pickleball tournament and squinting a little to find out exactly what paddle is in their hands. The right paddle makes a world of difference in how you play, and the idea of playing with the same paddle a pro uses is kind of fun. So, what pickleball paddles do the pros use in both practice and tournament play?
We’ve done a little research and found some answers.
Many pro pickleball players have sponsorship agreements with sporting brands and will always be seen using those. Other players have signature paddles designed with their advice and guidance. Others like to switch it up a little.
We have come up with a list of the best pickleball paddles that pro players are associated with. Of course, this doesn’t mean they use these paddles all the time or in every game, But these are the top paddles that have had a pro name or two associated with them.
- Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS Pickleball Paddles
- Selkirk Labs Project 002
- Franklin Sports Signature Series
- Gamma 206 Riley Newman Signature Paddle
- Paddletex Bantam EX-L Pro
- JOOLA Simone Jardim Hyperion CFS 14 Swift
- Onix Evoke Premier
- Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddle Signature Series – Christine McGrath
- Bantam TS-5 Anna Leigh Waters Signature Paddle
- Paddletek Tempest Reign Pro Catherine Parenteau Signature Paddle
- Engage Elite Pro Maverick
- Pro-Lite Titan Pro LX Pickleball Paddle
- What Do Professional Pickleball Players Look For In a Paddle
- Bottom Line
Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS Pickleball Paddles
If you know pickleball, then you know the name Ben Johns. He’s one of the biggest names in the sport, with many easily making the case that he’s the best pickleball player of all time. He currently holds more triple crown wins than any other male player in the sport. All of this, and Ben Johns isn’t even out of his mid-twenties yet!
If you want to play with the Ben Johns Signature Paddles, you want to reach for the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion Paddle.
This is a carbon fiber model that’s designed for advanced players. This premier pickleball paddle features advanced materials, a carbon friction surface for an enhanced spin, a hyper-foam injected edge guard for incredible stability, and an aero-curve design to cut down on lag and increase swing speed.
- Elongated handle
- Large sweet spot
- 16mm core
- Size: 16.5 inches x 7.5 inches
- Weight: 8.4 ounces
Selkirk Labs Project 002
The Selkirk Labs Project 002 is a serious option designed for pro pickleball players and advanced players who are serious about their game.
These paddles are used by professional pickleball player Tyson McGuffin, who has an impressive record and is a top-ranking player in men’s doubles and mixed double tournament play.
The man has the skill, but his choice in pickleball paddles is no accident. This one was created specifically for Tyson McGuffin.
It features a patent-pending open-throat technology for more efficient airflow and less lag, a powerful carbon fiber and fiberglass face, and proprietary spin technology. Selkirk has this model listed as best for advanced players at a pickleball skill level of 4.5 or higher.
- Includes a collectors case
- GreenTech Polypropylene core
- Size: 16.5 inches x 7.35 inches
- Weight: 8.1 ounces – 8.4 ounces
- One-year manufacturers warranty
- Price: $330
If this seems like a bit much for you, but you still want to know what it feels like to play with Selkirk premium technology, we recommend another paddle in their line – the Selkirk Amped Fiberglass model. This one is more affordable at $150, offering the exceptional quality that Selkirk is known for.
Franklin Sports Signature Series
Zane Navratil is a top-ranked men’s singles pickleball player and a certified pickleball instructor. If you decided to attend one of his pickleball clinics, which paddle would he be using? Chances are you might find the Franklin Sports Signature Series in Zane Navratil’s hands.
Franklin is one of the paddle companies that consistently make good pickleball paddles across the board. We share Zane Navritil’s fondness for these paddles for several reasons. First, it features a fiberglass face designed with max grit technology, reduced vibration, and a polypropylene core. Plus, it comes in some really great colors!
- USAPA certified for tournament play
- Size; 16.5x 7.5 inches
- Weight: 7.5 – 8.0 ounces
- Available in 13mm or 16mm core options
- Grip circumference: 4.25 inches
Gamma 206 Riley Newman Signature Paddle
Riley Newman came to the game of pickleball as an accomplished tennis player. However, once he had a pickleball paddle in his hand, it was obvious that he was a natural. He has gone on to win many victories in the pro circuit, including winning gold in mixed doubles with his sister Lindsey Newman.
So, what is Riley Newman’s favorite paddle? He’s a big fan of Gamma pickleball paddles and has been seen playing in tournaments with a couple of different models in his hand. To celebrate their relationship, Gamma offers their Gamma 206 Riley Newman Signature.
This model is built for power, and it has extra length at the handle, which is great for making two-handed shots. Other paddles have shorter handle lengths, but this one offers good balance and more control while still packing some power. It’s an ideal option for anyone who wants to transition from tennis to pickleball.
- Textured composite surface
- NeuCore polypropylene core
- Textured grip for comfort and control
- Size: 16 ⅜ x 7 ⅜ inches
- Weight: 8 ounces
Paddletex Bantam EX-L Pro
Kyle Yates came to the game of pickleball at the age of 19 and quickly rose to become one of the most successful and well-known players in the sport. He has six US Open titles to his name, along with four USAPA Nationals Gold Medals and a grand total of fifteen USAPA Nationals medals.
What is the paddle that has helped him achieve pickleball fame?
Kyle Yates uses the Paddletex Bantam EX-L Pro. It has a high-performance, velvet-textured polycarbonate face, a high-grade honeycomb core, and a high-tack performance grip. The ratings on this give it a nice balance of power and control, leaning just slightly more to the power side.
Though it’s used by a professional like Kyle Yates, it’s great for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced.
- Designed with ultra-responsive polycore material
- USAPA lightly textured surface
- Size: 15 ⅝ x 7 ¾ inches
- Weight: 7.8 -8.4 ounces
- Slim grip circumference at 4.25 inches
JOOLA Simone Jardim Hyperion CFS 14 Swift
Simone Jardin was ranked the number one female pickleball player in the entire world for four years between 2016 and 2020. She’s a name that’s widely recognized in the world of professional pickleball and has won multiple medals in both singles and doubles pickleball tournaments. She has even taught some of the other top pickleball players.
When it comes time to hit the court, Simone Jardim reaches for her signature paddle by JOOLA. The JOOLA Simone Jardim Hyperion CFS 14 Swift paddle.
It has a slim profile and is built with Swift Technology, which increases speed and agility. This model also includes many of the features that JOOLA is known for, including the carbon friction surface (CFS), hyper-foam edge wall, carbon forged handle, and an elongated handle that absorbs shock for comfort and prevents injury, like tennis elbow.
- USAPA tournament approved
- High spin rating
- Slim grip
- Size: 16.5 inched x 7.5 inches
- Weight 7.7 ounces
Onix Evoke Premier
The Onix Evoke Premier is one of the favored choices of two of the top pickleball players in the world – Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright.
The two professional pickleball players not only played with this paddle but also helped develop it. The result is pinpoint precision, power, and control.
This model is slightly wider than the 7.5 inches that’s common with other popular paddles, increasing the size o the sweet spot, and it features a specially designed edge guard that helps to absorb shock and increase power when you make contact with the ball.
- USAPA tournament approved
- DF composite paddle face
- Polypropylene core
- Weight: lightweight, standard weight, and heavyweight options are available
- Size: 16 inches x 8 inches
- Handle length: 5 inches
Franklin Sports Pro Pickleball Paddle Signature Series – Christine McGrath
This Franklin Sports Pro Signature Series paddle belongs to none other than Christine McGrath. As a lifelong lover of the world of tennis, McGrath transitioned to playing pickleball about seven years ago and has blazed the pro tournament trails ever since.
Her paddle of choice is made by Franklin Sports and carries her signature.
It features Franklin Sport’s MaxGrit technology that reduces vibrations while enhancing spin. It has a nice, thick 16mm polypropylene core and a slightly wider paddle face constructed of fiberglass and offers a large sweet spot.
This will be comfortable and easy to use for beginning players who are gaining skills and moving toward earning an intermediate pickleball rating.
- USAPA approved for tournament play
- 16mm and 13mm core options are available
- Weight: 7.9 – 8.3 ounces (16mm), 7.6-8.1 ounces (13mm)
- Size: 15.9 inches x 8 inches
- Handle length: 5 inches
Bantam TS-5 Anna Leigh Waters Signature Paddle
Anna Leigh Waters has made it into the top five of the highest-ranking women pickleball players in the world, and she’s only 15!
You can often see her partnering with her mom on the court, but no matter who she’s playing with or against, there’s a good chance the paddle you’ll see in her hand is her signature paddle by Bantam.
The Bantam TS-5 is lighter compared to Bantam’s EX-L Pro pickleball paddles (used by Kyle Yates). The lighter paddle weight offers excellent precision and control on the court. This is swift and maneuverable while still packing a decent amount of power.
If you like to play pickleball with a paddle in the 7-ounce range, these great paddles will be comfortable in your hand.
If you like this but wish it had a little more weight, adding lead tape to the grip will help to add some heft and balance to your swing.
- Textured fiberglass epoxy hybrid surface
- Choose your weight in one-ounce increments from 7.0 ounces – 7.5 ounces
- The decent power rating of 7.5/10 for such a lightweight paddle with a softer feel
- Slim grip circumference of 4.25 inches
- Polymer composite honeycomb core
- Size: 15 ⅝ inches by 7 ¾ inches
Paddletek Tempest Reign Pro Catherine Parenteau Signature Paddle
If you pay attention to pro pickleball, you no doubt recognize Catherine Parenteau’s name. She is one of the top-rated players in the world, being ranked #2 in women’s singles and #3 in women’s doubles. Not that long ago, she signed on with Paddletek in the development of her signature paddle – the Tempest Reign Pro.
The Tempest Reign Pro is one of PaddleTke’s best-selling paddles. It offers an elongated paddle face, which centers the sweet spot a little higher up, so you never miss those hard-to-reach shots.
This paddle also features the specially designed Tempest SRT Core and a carbon fiber face. You’ll love how it hits those long shots and keeps your competitors on their toes.
If you’re looking for a slightly different but equally great option, the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro offers a level of performance and power that many pro pickleball players swear by.
Tempest Reign Pro Features:
- Great power, control, and forgiveness ratings
- High sweet spot
- Standard grip or thin grip options
- Weight: 7.6 – 8.1 ounces
- Size: 16.5 inches x 7.5 inches
Engage Elite Pro Maverick
The Engage Elite Pro Maverick is a former favorite of Ben Johns, and while it’s no longer the Ben Johns Signature paddle, it’s still making waves and drawing some pickleball pro attention on the court.
Today, the Engage Elite Pro Maverick is most commonly associated with a pickleball player named Jonny Andrews, who you might know by his show called Jonny Pickleball.
This is a midweight paddle that checks off all the boxes for control, power, and comfort. In addition, it features a unique chemical bond paddle face and an extra long handle length that’s great for those who love the sport but prefer to play two-handed, which most paddles just don’t allow enough room for.
- ControlPro II Core with vibrational control technology
- Variable release flex technology
- A quiet paddle that’s great for green-zone play
- Size: 16.5 inches x 7.5 inches
- Weight: 7.8 – 8.3 ounces
Pro-Lite Titan Pro LX Pickleball Paddle
Unlike the other pickleball paddles on our list, there isn’t just one or two pro players we’ve seen with the Pro-Lite Titan Pro LX in their hands. This is one of the pro paddles that seems to be universally popular.
Titan offers a unique Hyperweave surface on this paddle, including three layers of carbon fiber, which sets it apart. According to Titan and pro players who have used it, the entire surface is essentially one massive sweet spot.
This is a wider, broad-face paddle with a 14mm polymer honeycomb core. If you’re ready to step up with a great new paddle, this is an investment piece worth having.
- Hyperweave carbon fiber face
- ProTac cushion grip for comfort
- Quadcore polymer core
- Size: 15.5 inches x 7 13/16 inches
- Weight: 7.5-7.7 ounces
- USAPA tournament approved
What Do Professional Pickleball Players Look For In a Paddle
Pro players have moved beyond pickleball paddles designed for beginner and intermediate-level play. They’ve fine-tuned their strategy and know where their strengths and weakness are. They know how they like their pickleball paddles to feel in their hand and whether they want the balance to lean more toward power or control since both touches on important gameplay elements.
From this list, you can see that pros don’t all prefer the same type of paddle. They choose according to their playing style. Here are a few things to consider when choosing pro paddles.
The best paddle is one that offers the perfect balance of control and power you’re looking for. The right weight will feel good in your hand and won’t contribute to arm fatigue.
A heavier paddle will offer more power but might but can cause fatigue and strain on your wrist and elbow. On the other end of the spectrum, a light paddle is great for control, but you really want one that’s made with technology that dampens vibrations to avoid tennis elbow.
Pickleball paddles are all about the same size, but even the smallest difference can have a huge impact on how you play. So always look at the paddle specs to get an idea of the shape, including paddle width and length.
Wider paddle width will have a larger sweet spot, but longer paddles are great for reach and typically have their sweet spot located higher up on the paddle face.
You don’t need to be a US Pickleball Open champion competing for prize money to play with the top-tier paddles that pro pickleball players use. As the sport continues to grow, new paddles with more advanced materials are coming to the market.
It doesn’t matter if you play mixed doubles at your local YMCA, hit a ball back and forth with your partner in your own backyard, or have your sights set on being among the ranks of pro pickleball players; finding the right paddle is key to your game.
If you’re looking for a new paddle to replace the wooden paddles you started with or are ready to up your game, we have tons of great suggestions. Come back often for more info on the best gear and strategies for improving your gameplay.