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Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners Players

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners

Best Pickleball Paddles for Beginners

If you’re one of the many new pickleball players the USA gains each year, welcome to the sport! Even if you’re new though, you may not really be at a “beginner skill level.”

Beginners, intermediate and competitive players all get categorized based on their “Pickleball Player Skill Rating.” These ratings are done on a scale of 1 – 5.5+, made based on mastery of control, consistency, and flexibility, with many other details falling into each of those sections. Take a look at this chart to see what generally dictates each skill level rating.


Pickleball Rating System


A rating of 1.0 - 2.0 is given if you are just starting to play pickleball & just starting to understand the
rules of the sport. A 1.0 is given to someone with no other sports background when joining pickleball.


A rating of 2.5 is given if you have limited experience playing pickleball. You can keep a short rally on
the pickleball court and you have a basic understanding of the rules (in particular, if you can keep the
score properly).


A rating of 3.0 is given if you (A) can generally hit forehands, volleys, serves and returns with medium pace,
with minimal ability to sustain a dink rally. Generally you lack consistency and control; and (B) you
understand the basic strategy and rules of pickleball, including that you can keep the score properly.


A rating of 3.5 is given if (A) you can hit forehands, volleys, serves and returns with pace and moderate
control. Your dinks and drop shots have limited control, and you're developing backhand shots but avoiding
if possible. You have moderate consistency and control, and have started varying your shots between the
hard and soft game. (B) You understand the overall strategy and rules of pickleball, including stacking, to
sustain rallies. You have begun entering pickleball tournaments.


A rating of 4.0 is given if (A) you generally hit forehands and serves consistently with depth and control. You
hit backhand shots with moderate success. Your dinks and drop shots have more consistency with depth
and height. Overall, you have consistency and control in your shots. (B) You firmly understand the strategy
and rules of pickleball. You have a broad knowledge of rules, have become aware of your partner's
positioning, have a moderate number of unforced errors and you understand how to attack your opponents"
weaknesses on the court.


A rating of 4.5 is given if (A) you generally hit both forehand and backhand drives, serves, returns, dinks, drop shots,
and block volleys with pace, spin, depth, direction, consistency and control. You are able to vary your shot
selections with controlled offensive intent. (B) You firmly understand the strategy and rules of pickleball (including
stacking). You have a limited number of unforced errors and you change your game play to attack your opponents'
weaknesses on the pickleball court - including controlled footwork to quickly change directions and shot types. Your
communication with your parter is strong and you aren't afraid to play at the non-volley zone.


A rating of 5.0 is given if (A) you have mastered both forehand and backhand drives, serves, and returns with pace,
touch and spin. Plus you mastered dinks and drop shots to move opponents. You can control and block volleys of
different speeds, all with consistency to take advantage of the non-volley zone. (B) You have mastered the strategy
and rules of pickleball (including stacking) in tournament style play. Your footwork is highly effective, helping you
turn defensive shots into offensive shots. You rarely make unforced errors and you constantly attack your
opponents' weaknesses on the pickleball court by adjusting your own style and game plan mid-game.


A rating of 5.5+ is given if (A) you have mastered all shots and strategy on the court in
tournament style play. (B) You are consistently winning at the highest level, meaning that
you are winning against the best professional pickleball players at the tournament level.
Your skills and abilities speak for themselves.

Beginners are going to fall into the 1.0-2.5 range on this scale. This is you if you are just starting to play pickleball and are beginning to learn the rules. To be qualified as a 1.0, you also have no other sports background. You likely don’t have many specific pickleball skills yet, if any. Your goal as of now is to develop a baseline of skills so you can begin to compete against others.

Where Do I Start?

With there being so much information on searching for beginner’s paddles, we’re here to simplify that for you. There are a few key details you should look for when purchasing your first pickleball paddle as a beginner. Size, shape and weight are only a few of the aspects in which paddles vary. Each aspect directly impacts your overall performance and enjoyment of the sport. 

Go step-by-step with us so you can learn which paddles will be best for you as a beginner.

Pickleball Paddles For Beginners

What Aspects Should I Look for in my Paddle?


  • Standard Dimensions
    • 15 ¾” long
    • 7 ½” – 8” wide
  • Widebody Dimensions
    • 15 ½” long
    • 8 1/8” wide
  • These two varieties of paddles provide larger sweet spots, with a widebody having the largest option.
  • The larger the sweet spot, the better your shots will be and feel, even if hit slightly off-center.


  • Midweight paddles, or average weight paddles, provide the best balance between power and control.
    • Most midweight paddles are made of composite, carbon fiber or a hybrid material
    • They tend to weight in the upper 7 to low 8 oz. range
    • Many midweight paddles are widebody paddles, which expand the sweet spot.
    • One drawback is a midweight paddle could make backhand shots more difficult as a beginner. A lightweight paddle can eliminate this concern.
  • Lightweight paddles provide the best control for a beginner.
    • Most lightweight paddles are made of graphite or aluminum
    • They tend to weigh in the low to mid 7 oz. range
    • Most lightweight paddles also have a large sweet spot, but most often with a standard sized body rather than a wide body.


  • Typically for beginners, a shorter handle will enhance your control. However, if you have larger hands, then a longer handle may be necessary.
    • Standard handles measure in around 5”
    • Long handles measure in between 5-5 ½”
  • Your choice of grip size mostly comes down to hand size, not so much skill level.
    • Smaller hands will benefit from smaller circumference grips. This saves you from burning energy in your hand or forearm while holding onto a larger grip.
    • Larger hands will benefit from larger circumference grips for the same reason.
    • The goal is to use whatever grip will permit the most comfort for your hand size – not too tight or too loose.
      • Standard grip size is 4 ¼”, thick size is 4 ½” and thin size is 4-4 1/8”


  • A thicker pickleball paddle, measuring around 16mm+, is best for beginners as it adds control. This thicker paddle can also minimize discomfort in shots hit off of the sweet spot.


  • Pickleball paddle faces come in many materials. Carbon fiber faces tend to be the best selection for beginners and are the most popular among players nowadays.
    • This material provides better feel upon contact and overall added control.
  • A paddle face made of a hybrid of materials can also be beneficial for beginners. These will give you the “best of both worlds” per se, helping you to improve your game in multiple ways at once.
    • Hybrid paddles are most often constructed with a combination of carbon fiber, fiberglass and graphite.

Our Top Beginners Pickleball Paddles for You

Now that you understand what makes the perfect beginner pickleball paddle, we know that you're ready to start shopping. Don't worry, here at Pickle Ballers Hub we have built out a selection of the best pickleball paddles for beginners, making your shopping experience as easy as can be. If you would like to shop all of our pickleball paddles for beginners, click here!