RacquetWarrior.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an affiliate, this website earns from qualifying purchases.
Graphite pickleball paddles are very popular among beginning and advanced players alike. A thin layer of graphite on the paddle’s surface covers a core made of rigid nylon, aluminum or a polymer.
Graphite paddles are light but strong, and so they are a popular choice among competitive pickleball players.
Their light weight makes them ideal for players who focus on control of the ball more than power.
Mid-weight graphite paddles also come highly recommended for players with tennis elbow or who are otherwise susceptible to injury.
But there are some heavier graphite paddles available for players who want the extra power, and many newer paddles are designed to combine control and power in a single paddle.
Many graphite paddles have a textured surface, which grips the ball slightly, giving players more time to put spin on the ball.
Spin makes the ball’s trajectory less predictable for the opposing players, giving the player using the graphite paddle an advantage.
There is a dizzying variety of good graphite paddles on the market today, and so here are some of your best options.
Best Graphite Pickleball Paddles
It’s used by amateurs and professionals alike and has been endorsed by National Champion Steve Wong.
Like many graphite paddles, it is good for players whose styles emphasize control rather than power. This is because graphite paddles tend to be lighter weight than wood or composite paddles.
The graphite Z5 weighs between 7.5 and 8.2 oz, averaging 7.9 oz. This actually makes it a midweight paddle, so it balances power and control.
Midweight paddles also come recommended for avoiding injury, as they are not heavy enough to strain the joints, nor are they light enough that players need to swing extra hard to hit the ball to the back of the court.
The paddle’s core is made of Nomex with a honeycomb structure formed by dipping a framework with honeycomb shapes in plastic resin.
The honeycomb structure is common among pickleball paddles because it is one of the best way to ensure that the core is strong and durable without making the paddle too heavy.
The specific polymer (plastic) used in the Z5 is Nomex, a nylon-based plastic that is now one of the more popular substances in pickleball paddles.
The firmness of the nomex combined with the paddle’s graphite face makes a satisfying “pop” when the ball strikes the paddle.
The paddle’s graphite carbon fiber face is rough enough to put spin on the ball but significantly lighter than the composite version of the Onix Z5.
Onix’s Z5 has the traditional wide-body shape for pickleball paddles.
It is 15 ½ in. long and 8 1/8 in. wide. This wide-body shape remains very popular among amateurs and professionals alike because its large hitting surface also means a large sweet spot right in the center of the paddle.
The paddle also has an edge guard, which protects the edges of the paddle from damage, helping the paddle to last longer.
This edge guard does overlap the paddle face by ¼ in, which is not uncommon, although it does present the risk of the ball striking the edge guard rather than the paddle.
The Z5’s handle is 5 in. long, which gives players some reach without taking too much away from the dimensions of the face.
Its grip is 4 ¼ in. around, making it medium-sized, and is comfortable for most players.
They can sense where on the paddle the ball strikes, which means that they hit the ball outside the sweet spot, they know.
This enables the player to adjust how they strike the ball in the middle of a match, which is great for beginners, but also for anyone serious about improving at pickleball.
The paddle’s face is dominated by a striking Z shape, which many commenters find aesthetically pleasing.
As an added bonus, the paddle comes in a variety of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, and white. Behind the Z is a honeycomb pattern, suggesting the honeycomb structure of the paddle’s core.
The paddles in Paddletek’s Tempest series are designed to offer excellent control, something at which graphite paddles excel.
When playing with the Tempest Wave, there is little turnaround time between the ball striking the paddle and it moving in the opposite direction, which is great for fast-paced, competitive play.
One side of the Tempest Wave is textured graphite, which has all the typical advantages of textured graphite faces: speed, light weight, and spin.
Paddletek calls this paddle’s core the Smart Response Technology Core. It’s made of polypropylene, a kind of plastic, which is intended to make the paddle more responsive to the ball.
The Paddletek website boasts about the paddle’s “unmatched accuracy, power and forgiveness.”
The final point means that even if your stroke is somewhat off-center, the paddle will still hit the ball adequately.
Supporting this, Paddletek offers a no-dead-spot guarantee: if you notice a dead spot within five years of purchase, Paddletek will replace the paddle.
This indicates that the company is confident that any part of the paddle you hit with will respond reasonably well.
This paddle also has a protective edge guard, which only overlaps the face by 1/8 in. This is a slight improvement over the ¼ in. edge guard of the Onix Z5.
The Tempest Wave has an extra long handle (5.5 in.), which appeals to players who feel like they need the extra reach and to those used to playing tennis.
The company has two grip options. The thin grip is 4 1/8 in. around, while the standard grip is 4 3/8 in.
This is convenient, as having the correct grip size is one of the most important things to think about when selecting a pickleball paddle.
Many players find the handle extremely comfortable, which is important if you spend hours playing pickleball.
The Tempest Wave is 15 7/8 in. long and 8 in. wide, so it has the traditional wide-body paddle shape, albeit slightly longer and narrower than the Z5.
It weighs 7.4 to 8.0 oz, averaging 7.6. So it’s a mid-weight paddle, giving it extra power in addition to control, which lets players ease up on how hard they swing it, preventing injury.
The top of the Tempest Wave Pro features Paddletek’s logo with dots of expanding size in a color gradient going down toward the corner of the paddle.
The background is black. Five color options are available, which approximate orange, green, purple, red, and blue.
Many other high-quality graphite paddles are available, but the consensus among reviewers seems to be that these are two of the best choices.
Both are mid-weight, wide-body paddles, with a honeycomb plastic core and textured graphite face. They represent some of the best of what the pickleball industry currently has to offer.
Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com Image ID: 409288375