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Founded by a nuclear engineer, Gamma has been producing innovative, high-quality tennis strings and rackets since 1974.
Since then, they have moved into the pickleball industry, producing paddles, balls and other equipment for the rapidly growing sport.
The company’s initial series of pickleball paddles were intensively tested for nine months in laboratories and on tennis courts, and they were enthusiastically received by professional pickleball players.
Many of these professionals even switched from the paddles they had been using to Gamma paddles.
Players who used Gamma paddles now include Lucy Kitcher, DJ Howard, Gene Smith, and Davon Martin.
Many of Gamma’s paddles have names associated with nuclear physics to honor the company’s founder’s scientific background and to emphasize the company’s commitment to innovation.
Gamma offers a wide variety of paddles, including paddles with the traditional wide-body shape and elongated ones, and a range from expensive, pro-level paddles to less expensive options friendly to beginners.
Their paddle designs draw on some of the insights Gamma gleaned from producing tennis equipment, while also featuring new, constantly improving innovations.
Gamma is especially known for their grips, which appear on all Gamma’s paddles as well as several paddles made by other manufacturers.
They are also the US Open Pickleball Championships’ official grip. The grips have a honeycomb design, which helps prevent the paddle from slipping and absorbs moisture from players’ palms.
Best Gamma Pickleball Paddles
The paddle features Gamma’s Neucore technology. Its core is made of high-quality polymer and is 25% thicker than the core of an average pickleball paddle.
The core’s cells are also larger than is common, which makes the paddle more responsive and predictable, helping to keep the player in control of the game.
The paddle’s thickness doesn’t take away from its soft feel, but it does supply extra power for long shots from the back of the court.
The Compass’s surface is made of graphite, a popular material in pickleball paddles because it is strong, lightweight, and textured.
The texture helps players put spin on the ball, making their shots less predictable for opponents. The graphite surface also provides the satisfying feeling of “pop” when it hits the ball.
The paddle comes with an edge guard, which makes it more durable and also helps dampen the impact of striking the pickleball.
The paddle is 16 5/8 in. long and 7 1/8 in. wide. This makes it an elongated or blade-style paddle.
Once these elongated paddles were considered specialty paddles, but nowadays they are becoming increasingly common.
They are especially good for singles players, who need to cover a wide area, and for players who are used to the extra length of a tennis racket.
This extra length also expands the paddle’s sweet spot, making it easier to hit the ball just right (although the sweet spot is not as wide as in a traditionally shaped wide-body paddle). And the length provides extra leverage, which grants greater power to your long shots.
The standard Compass comes with a 4 ¾ in. long grip, but there is also a long-handle version with a grip length of 6 in.
The paddle face is slightly smaller in the long-handle version in order to stay within USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) regulations.
But for some players, this is an acceptable sacrifice to make in exchange for being able to hold the paddle with two hands.
The grip circumference is on the small side (4 1/8 in.), but players can always add grip tape to increase grip size.
The Compass features Gamma’s Honeycomb Grip, which is firm but also tacky enough to wick moisture away from players’ palms.
The Compass is a mid-weight paddle at 7.75 oz. This means that it enjoys a balance of control (which light-weight paddles tend to specialize in) and power (which is greater with a heavier paddle).
Mid-weight paddles can also prevent injury because they aren’t heavy enough to put great strain on the joints, nor are they so light that you need to swing especially hard to hit the ball far.
The paddle’s face shows a black compass on white background, with red highlights, including Gamma’s logo.
It’s a dramatic-looking paddle that will aesthetically appeal to many people.
The Needle was Gamma’s first elongated paddle to go on the market, and it’s still one of their best-selling offerings.
It’s used by Lucy Kitcher, who also uses Gamma’s Phaser 2.0 and Mirage paddles.
The Needle’s core lacks the extra thickness associated with the Neucore technology (see above), but it does use Gamma’s Sensa Poly Core technology, which made a big splash when it was first introduced.
The Sensa Poly Core was designed to distribute weight evenly, improve the feel of the paddle, and improve players’ control over the ball.
The Needle’s textured graphite face helps to “grab” the ball, holding it on the paddle longer, which enables the player to spin the ball.
But it’s also firm enough to make a satisfying “pop” when it strikes the ball.
And the fact that it’s graphite helps keep the weight down, making the paddle easier to maneuver and to swing quickly.
The Needle also features an edge guard, which overlaps the paddle’s face 1/8 in. This guard protects the paddle from damage, enabling players to continue using it for years to come.
The Needle is 16 5/8 in. long and 7 1/8 in. wide, similar to the Compass, which makes it easier to reach the ball and gives your strokes extra power when hitting from the back of the court.
As mentioned above, this is also helpful for players who moved to pickleball from tennis, and those who play alone.
Some players find that the length limits accuracy, although the weight balance from the Sensa Poly Core mitigates some of that.
Like all elongated paddles, the Needle has a long, narrow sweet spot, which has advantages and disadvantages.
The length is helpful for some players, but it is less forgiving on the horizontal plane. But for players who like playing with elongated paddles, the Needle is a great choice.
The paddle weighs 7.6 oz, putting it in the middle range for pickleball paddles.
Mid-weight paddles help to balance the control offered by lightweight paddles and the power offered by heavier ones.
Like the Compass, the Needle has a small grip size of 4 1/8 in. It has an excellent, very comfortable grip like all Gamma’s paddles.
This is the same Honeycomb Grip as the Compass, so it works just as well to pull moisture away from the player’s hand.
And players can also purchase Gamma’s high-quality grip tape to make the grip larger, if necessary.
The Needle’s face is half blue, half green, divided diagonally by a needle-shaped black line with a gray honeycomb pattern.
On the blue side it has Gamma’s logo in green and white lettering proclaiming the name of the paddle.
Both the Compass and the Needle offer high-quality, mid-weight, blade style paddles. The main difference between them is the thickness of the core, which adds a few fractions of an ounce to the Compass but offers other benefits.
Either one would be a solid choice for a player who wants the extra reach with a balance of control and power.
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