Wood vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles

Wood vs Graphite Pickleball Paddles

Finding the right pickleball paddle is step number one to achieving success on the pickleball court. There’s a world of difference between the various paddle materials, which affects how you play pickleball. Here, we’re looking at the difference between wood vs. graphite pickleball paddles

Which is better, and which should you choose? Let’s compare. 

About Wooden Paddles 

Wooden rackets were the first used in the game of pickleball. Way back when the game was first invented, it was played with a wooden ping-pong paddle. 

Once the game took off and became popular, specially designed wooden rackets entered the picture. 

As the game really began to gain interest, new paddle materials and new technologies entered the picture. 

Today, wooden paddles are used mostly by beginners and aren’t seen much in the hands of more advanced players. Still, they have their place, and some pickleball players still swear by them. Here is the scoop about wooden pickleball paddles. 

Wooden Paddles

Are Wooden Paddles Any Good?

Pickleball paddle technologies have far advanced what you find in the typical wood paddle. With lighter paddles that offer more finesse and options for core material that provides more power and control, wood paddles have fallen to the side. Wooden pickleball paddles range in size anywhere from 8.5 ounces up to 10 ounces, which makes them one of the heftiest paddle materials on the market. 

Still, wooden makes for less expensive paddles and are often the first choice for anyone just getting into the game that doesn’t want to spend a chunk of change on a more advanced racket before they really know what they need – or even if they’re going to stick with the game. 

A wooden paddle is going to be quite durable, which is also good for beginners, but once they crack or begin to splinter, they degrade and become unusable quickly.  

Who Should Buy Wooden Pickleball Paddles?

New pickleball players are the primary users of wood paddles. Wood is fairly durable and cheap and works well for learning the game. 

Wood is also a good choice if you want to keep extra paddles on hand for those times when friends want to join in on a friendly game. 

People who should move away from wooden paddles include anyone that suffers from tennis elbow. Wooden paddles are heavier, and that extra weight can put extra stress on your wrist and elbow.

It isn’t just the paddle weight but the lack of shock-absorbing features, like a honeycomb polymer core, that would help absorb some of the vibrations when you hit the ball. 

Wooden pickleball paddles also aren’t the best for anyone who’s ready to move up a little and add a little finesse and strategy to their game. 

When you’re ready to level up your skill level, a different paddle material that offers more power or control with a different paddle core material is what you want to look for. 

Pros & Cons of Wooden Pickleball Paddles 



Good for beginners 

Good to keep around as spare paddles 

Fairly durable material 

You can make decent power strokes with a wooden paddle 


The core material is wood also, making the paddle heavy and rigid

Wooden paddles are loud

Not a good choice if you have tennis elbow

Typically no edge guard 

Hefty paddle weight is uncomfortable for some 

Doesn’t offer great control

Three Great Wooden Pickleball Paddles 

About Graphite Pickleball Paddles 

Graphite pickleball paddles are about as far opposite as you can get from wooden paddles. A graphite surface makes for a lighter paddle that’s known for offering more control. A graphite paddle feels lighter and less bulky than a wooden pickleball paddle. 

The softer feel and control make graphite a popular choice for players who are advancing from beginner to intermediate level. Graphite can be a big adjustment if you’re coming from using a wood paddle, but it’s a change that many pickleball players welcome. 

Paddles with graphite surface materials are typically on the more affordable end of paddles for intermediate players, which is just another reason why they’re such a good transition paddle. 

Graphite Vs. Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles 

Graphite and carbon fiber paddles are often confused with each other. Graphite is a type of carbon fiber pickleball paddle, but there are some differences. 

Graphite is a little heavier than carbon fiber, so it’s going to have just a bit more weight to it. The core material factors into the weight as well, but generally speaking, graphite is heavier. 

A carbon fiber paddle feels lighter in your hand and offers more control. Graphite offers a bit less control but more power than a paddle with a carbon fiber paddle surface. Graphite paddles tend to also be less expensive, which is a bonus if you’re budget-minded. 

Who Should Buy Graphite Pickleball Paddles 

Intermediate players who want to level up their pickleball racket without spending a fortune will appreciate graphite’s finesse, durability, and affordability. Graphite offers more control but less power, so it’s a good choice for anyone looking to make precision shots. 

You’ll find the price of graphite paddles ranges between $60-$80 on average. They’re not the cheapest, but they’re definitely more affordable than some other types of paddles. 

Beginning players who are a little familiar with the game and know they’ll want to play somewhat consistently are also a good match with graphite. 

Anyone wanting a heavier paddle that offers a ton of power probably won’t be happy with graphite’s performance. 

Pros & Cons of Graphite Paddles 


Economical option for a paddle upgrade 

Lightweight for more control 

Great variety of graphite paddles on the market to choose from 

Good for beginners and intermediate players 

Most paddles feature an edge guard for added durability 


Not great for power shots 

Less finesse than carbon fiber or fiberglass paddles 

Durable, but the surface can scratch more easily 

Not usually the first choice for advanced players

Three of the Best Graphite Pickleball Paddles 

Other Things to Consider 

The battle for the best pickleball paddle doesn’t come down to the difference between graphite and wood alone. There are other details to consider when choosing your new pickleball paddle. 

Other Surface Materials

Other types of surface materials include composite paddles, which include the category of fiberglass paddles. Fiberglass paddles were the most popular before composite paddles took over the market. A fiberglass paddle offers enhanced control compared to a composite paddle, 

Fiberglass paddles are also great shock absorbers, which are good for control and aren’t as stiff as other paddle face materials. 

Core Materials 

The core material is the heart of your paddle. Wooden paddles don’t have specialty cores, but others have different types of core materials. For example, you can find a paddle with an aluminum core, polymer cores, and Nomex cores. If you like a lightweight paddle, aluminum cores are your friend. Nomex is more commonly found in a mid-weight paddle. 

Grip Size 

Pickleball players have different-sized hands, so it only makes sense that we need different grip sizes too. There are ways to measure your ideal grip size, including the classic index finger trick, but you might prefer a larger grip or a smaller grip, depending on what’s comfortable for you. Normal grip size is in the 4.25 – 4.5 inch range. 

Paddle Shape and Size 

Paddles for pickleball can’t exceed 24- inches when you add width and paddle length, but that leaves a wide window for paddle shape. 

An elongated paddle will have a smaller sweet spot, but the extra paddle and handle length make it easier to grab those shots that would otherwise be out of reach. 

Wide paddles tend to have a larger sweet spot, which is the surface area where you’re going to have the most precision and control. Some players love wide paddles, while others find them cumbersome. 

Bottom Line 

If you want a super economical, heavier paddle, the wood is a great choice, especially for a first paddle. If you want a paddle that’s lighter and offers good control, graphite is the way to go. There’s lots more to consider when choosing your pickleball equipment, and we’re here to help. Check back often for more updates and advice on your favorite game. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *