A Guide to the Best Pickleball Equipment Sets
Pickleball is a racket sport that sort of combines elements of ping-pong and traditional tennis. Like traditional tennis, it’s played on a court with the two players separated by a net. An official pickleball court is a bit smaller, however: it measures 20 feet wide by 44 feet in length (for comparison, a tennis court is 27 feet by 78 feet). But, like ping-pong, the players use paddles to hit the ball. The format of the game is to see who reaches 11 points first. (However, you have to score 2 points more than your opponent to win. Therefore, the final score can be 11-9, or 12-10, etc.)
The great thing about pickleball is that it can be played both indoors and outdoors. And since the court is smaller, it doesn’t involve as much physical exertion. It can be enjoyed by both young children and seniors alike. And it’s also possible to play doubles, just like in tennis or ping-pong.
We’ll examine some of the best sets of pickleball equipment. We’ll see that there are differences between whether you want to play indoors or outdoors, and in the sizes and weights of the paddles. And the kits come in a convenient carrying case, for portability. It’s another great option for some exciting play–both outdoors and indoors!
Types of Pickleball Equipment
For starters, we can distinguish between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls. A pickleball ball is a bit unique: it looks more like a wiffle ball, with somewhere from 24 to 40 holes for air flow. There are fewer holes in outdoor pickleballs, so that gusts of wind won’t affect the ball’s path as much. Here are some other differences:
Outdoor balls : Pickleballs for outdoor use tend to be made from a smoother plastic, and are heavier (weighing around 0.9 ounces), harder, and have smaller holes. The reason for the smaller holes is so as to have less air resistance when playing outdoors. Since the ball is harder, it comes off the paddle harder and faster. An example is the Franklin Sports Outdoor Pickleballs. Each ball weighs 26 grams (0.92 ounces), and is made from one-piece construction, for greater durability.
Franklin Sports Outdoor Pickleballs
Indoor balls: These are lighter and softer, with larger holes. Indoor balls are easier to control, but you can’t hit them as hard. They tend to last longer than the outdoor balls since the impact with the paddle isn’t as hard. They weigh less than outdoor balls, at about 0.8 ounces. An example is the Orca Paddle Co. Pickleball Set. The set contains 2 paddles and 4 yellow indoor pickleballs.
Orca Paddle Co. Pickleball Set
You’ll also notice that the paddles can differ in the type of material from which they’re constructed:
Wood: Wooden paddles are less expensive, but there is the risk of the paddle cracking or chipping. The Boulder Wooden Pickleball Set comes with triple-layered poplar wood paddles that are lightweight, with tape on the handles that wick away moisture.
Boulder Wooden Pickleball Set
Graphite: There are also graphite paddles, which are stronger, yet lighter than wood. The Niupipo Pickleball Paddles weigh only 8 ounces each. But, they’re significantly more expensive (two graphite paddles can cost $65, as opposed to 4 wooden paddles for around $40).
Niupipo Pickleball Paddles
Composite: There are composite paddles with a Fiberglass face and polypropylene core. The core is intended to cushion the ball, while the fiberglass helps you add spin to the ball. An example is the Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle. This is a serious paddle for professionals, at around $150.
Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle
What reviewers say
Here’s what customers say about their choice of pickleball equipment:
Sets with indoor and outdoor balls: You can find sets that contain both indoor and outdoor balls. The Gonex Pickleball Paddle Kit contains two indoor and two outdoor balls. But a customer noticed the difference immediately when he tried to use an indoor ball on an outdoor court. Even though it’s possible to do it, you’ll see a definite difference in performance and responsiveness.
Less strain: A customer who suffered from tennis elbow to the extent that they needed cortisone shots said that he could play with the Prokennex Kinetic paddle. He was surprised at the mobility that he had!
Here are some features of the best pickleball equipment sets, which may help you decide on one set over another:
Grip: Paddles will differ in the length of their handle. Experts say that the length of the grip on the paddle is best determined by your height. For someone under 5’ 2”, you can go for a paddle with a 4”-long grip. A person over 5’ 9” should get a 4.5” grip. And someone between the two heights should get a paddle with 4¼” grip.
Shape of the paddle: You’ll notice that pickleball paddles come in one of two shapes. There’s an oval shape, such as the Prokennex Ovation Flight Pickleball Paddle. They also make a rectangular-shaped paddle, in their Prokennex Pro Flight Paddle. The rectangular shape offers you a larger surface area to hit the ball, but it also can demand more strength to swing.
Prokennex Ovation Flight Pickleball Paddle
Prokennex Pro Flight Paddle
Size of the sweet spot: There is a “sweet spot” on paddles and racquets where you can get the maximum speed from the ball, with the least amount of effort. There is also less of a “sting” in your hands when hitting a ball at the racquet’s sweet spot. There are certain paddles with a larger sweet spot, such as the Rally Graphite Pickleball Paddle.
Rally Graphite Pickleball Paddle
Edge guard: Professional paddles cost a pretty penny, so it’s worth protecting your equipment. Many paddles come with an edge guard, which prevents the paddle from getting chipped at the edge. Some paddles, such as the ProKennex paddle, have a replaceable guard.
Using indoor balls outdoors: Players don’t use outdoor balls indoors, because they tend to skip and don’t bounce as high. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to use indoor balls when playing outdoors, since they’re less likely to crack on a clay surface.
We examined some of the differences between pickleball paddles and balls. There are definite differences between racquets for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. The skill level is worth considering when choosing the best pickleball equipment for your needs. You’re sure to find an appropriate item among the Best Reviews Guide list of the best pickleball sets!