Now you are an intermediate pickleball player, instead of a total beginner. Congratulations!
Choosing the best pickleball paddle for intermediate players isn’t just about your skills; it’s also about choosing the right gear.
The quality of your shots is improving, your tactics are becoming more nuanced, and you are becoming more in control of the game as a whole.
With these advancements, finding a paddle that matches this growth becomes imperative.
There are so many different pickleball paddles on the market that finding the right one can be quite a challenge. There are differences between each one, including features, materials, benefits, and pitfalls.
Trying to sort through them all can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to!
The pickleball paddles below have been examined, tested, and researched for countless hours in order to find the ones that will provide the most value to intermediate players.
In addition to their performance, construction, durability, and overall value, we’ve chosen four intermediate pickleball paddles that stand out.
Check out these top-rated paddles and see what they have to offer!
Best Pickleball Paddle For Intermediate Players
PCKL Power Series Pickleball Paddle
The PCKLD power series’ edgeless design is one of our favorite features.
The result is a large sweet spot across the board and uniform pop. Dead zones are a thing of the past and those not quite on target will get a little extra love.
Let’s take a closer look at the impressive paddle.
When you hit the ball, the polypropylene core provides a smooth experience. It also provides you with that much-needed power (perfect for those booming groundstrokes) due to its rough-grit texture.
On those hotter summer days, the corded grip and ridges on this paddle will help you keep a firm grip on things.
While maintaining both comfort and security with this grip, you can attack from the kitchen line or from the baseline.
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro
As our top choice, we recommend the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro. Designed to provide control, power, and accuracy, this paddle is highly rated on Amazon.
Precision and speed are key characteristics of this paddle, which makes it a good choice for strategic players.
The graphite surface is textured and has a honeycomb polymer core.
From more than 570 Amazon reviews, this paddle had an average score of 4.6 out of five stars.
Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16
We’ll move on to the Hyperion CFS 16 by Joola Ben Johns. It is the signature paddle of professional pickleball player Ben Johns, who is sponsored by Joola.
Carbon friction surface (CFS) maximizes spin and the reactive polypropylene honeycomb core ensures consistency.
Even though it’s a bit pricey, it’s a great option if you’re an intermediate player seeking a high-quality paddle.
Selkirk Latitude Widebody Composite Pickleball Paddle
Despite being one of the few paddle companies that make their paddles in the USA (specifically, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho), Selkirk paddles will always win in our eyes.
A few factories overseas produce most pickleball paddles.
Our belief is that Selkirk cares about making a quality pickleball paddle rather than simply selling it.
Pickleball paddles are also said to last five years (and even longer if you’re a casual player), so you should only replace your paddle every three to four years.
SLK manufactures a beginner-friendly line of pickleball paddles, called SLK, that we highly recommend for new players, as well as some more advanced paddles, like the Vanguard Power Air.
Selkirk Amped Epic
This is the next pickleball paddle on our list, the Selkirk Amped Epic.
Fibreglass is used for the face of this paddle, and polypropylene X5 is used for the core, which reduces vibrations for smoother play.
An ideal balance of power and control can be achieved with the long handle and large surface area of this paddle.
The book has a 4.7-star average rating on Amazon at the time of writing.
ONIX Graphite Z5
Graphite paddles from ONIX have a unique and balanced design, which makes them easier to handle.
It strikes a perfect balance between power and control, making it a real game-changer. As the paddle’s control surface is soft, you’ll have more options for placing shots, which will make winning points easier.
What’s the cherry on top?
I love that cushion comfort grip! Experience pure, shock-absorbing bliss and say goodbye to blisters.
With the ONIX Graphite Z5, you’ll be guided to greatness on your pickleball journey.
Head Extreme Pro
We conclude our list with the Head Extreme Pro.
The Head brand manufactures a number of pickleball paddles as well as tennis rackets.
Diamond paddle faces and composite hitting surfaces feature the Head Extreme Pro.
At the time of writing, it had a 4.5 out of five-star rating on Amazon thanks to its balanced power-to-control combination.
What To Look For In A Pickleball Paddle
Even if you’re an intermediate player, it’s hard to figure out which paddle is best for you when there are so many options available in 2023.
Here are some things you should consider:
Choose a pickleball paddle based on the following factors:
- A paddle’s face size
- Paddle weight
- Handle grip/length
- Paddle material
- Design and look of the paddle
There is no doubt that size matters when choosing a pickleball paddle!
Traditional pickleball paddles have square faces, while longer, narrower paddles have round faces.
Compared to round paddles, square paddles have a bigger sweet spot (the area where you make contact with the ball), which is helpful for beginners.
Although narrower paddles have smaller sweet spots, they are more maneuverable.
Pickleball paddles should be selected based on their size as well as their weight.
In contrast, lighter paddles are easier to maneuver but have less power; heavier paddles have more power but are more difficult to maneuver.
A lightweight or mid-weight option will give you enough pop to make those sneaky drop shots.
An average pickleball paddle weighs between five and eight ounces.
Keep your grip in mind!
You should hold your paddle confidently during play by having a comfortable and secure grip-not too tight or too loose.
If your paddle doesn’t have grips already installed, don’t worry! Most paddles come with premade grips.
It is always possible to buy additional tape to keep your grip firmly in place.
Selecting a paddle also requires consideration of the grip size.
There is a 1/8 inch cushion on either side of the handle, and the grip is 4 14 inches wide by 5 12 inches long.
According to us, this grip size is “average” and is good for most players. Custom-sized grips may be a better choice if you have hands that are larger or smaller than average.
It is also important to consider the material of your paddle when it comes to its performance on the court.
Pickleball paddles are commonly made from the following materials:
- Wood: a heavy and clunky material that used to be used in pickleball paddles.
- Graphite: a lightweight, powerful material.
- Aluminum: lightweight and highly controllable.
- Fiberglass: provides both power and control, making it a popular choice.
Different materials might work better for different types of players (offensive or defensive). The pickleball paddles made from wooden material are not recommended in 2023.
Beginners don’t need to break their budgets just yet, though there are plenty of expensive options out there.
For anyone looking to try pickleball for the first time without spending too much, we found a few good beginner paddles for less than $100.
As long as you buy a high-quality pickleball paddle, investing $80 to $120 shouldn’t hurt your feelings.
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Our Selection for Intermediate pickleball paddles
Our selection of the best pickleball paddles was based, in part, on extensive research of pickleball paddle manufacturers of all sizes, personal experience with the sport, and a lot of on-court testing. The quality of the paddle’s face, grip, and overall design were taken into consideration when grading each paddle.
Maintaining pickleball paddles to prolong their life
It’s inevitable that your pickleball paddles will wear down over time, but there are a few crucial tips to help them last longer:
- Make sure you use your paddles only when playing pickleball. Despite the temptation to play with tennis balls, your favorite paddles were designed specifically for pickleballs, and using anything else may result in greater damage.
- Take care of your grip. Take a few minutes after you play to wipe down a paddle’s handle with a towel to keep it feeling fresh and comfortable longer. Sweat will naturally make your grip sticky over time, so keep it clean by wiping it down with a towel after you play. An application of grip tape may solve the problem if the grip becomes uncomfortable or too gross to fix.
- Please do not tap. Your paddle’s lifespan will be shortened and its performance will be worsened if you accidentally tap it against the ground, the net, or your equipment.
- Pickleball paddles should be stored properly. When you’re done playing, cover your paddles with a cover and keep them in a temperature-controlled area of your home. Paddles that are kept in cars or sheds will deteriorate and warp due to extreme heat and cold.
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What distinguishes a paddle for intermediate players from other types?
Players who have developed some skills but are still refining their technique should use intermediate paddles, which offer a balance of power and control.
Do I need a heavy or lightweight paddle as an intermediate player?
Depending on your playing style and strength, you should choose a heavy or lightweight paddle. Find out which suits you best by experimenting with both.
Can I use a beginner’s paddle as an intermediate player?
Intermediate players can use a beginner’s paddle, but upgrading to an intermediate paddle is likely to improve their performance.
Is a composite or graphite paddle better for control?
For players who prioritize control, graphite paddles are preferred because of their exceptional feel and touch.
What are the advantages of using an intermediate paddle over an advanced one?
Players still refining their skills will find intermediate paddles to be more forgiving, as they offer a balance of power and control. A paddle designed for advanced players typically enables them to maximize their abilities.
In choosing the best pickleball paddle for intermediate players, it is important not to make a hasty decision. You now have a headstart in making your decision with these handpicked paddles we’ve shared today.
Take the court and give it a try, no matter which one you choose.
Then, you can improve your pickleball game by finding the best paddle for you!
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