An Expert Guide to Pickleball Gear

Published on 04/24/2023 · 5 min readLooking for a new summer activity? Look no further! Tennis and Racquet Expert Allison Ostrander explains all the gear you'll need to get started playing pickleball!
Allison Ostrander, Tennis Expert
By Tennis Expert Allison Ostrander

Photo by Brendan Sapp

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong played on a badminton-sized court. Pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors and uses a smaller net than a tennis court. All ages and skill levels can enjoy this social and fun game regardless of skill level. Below is a helpful guide to assist players in selecting pickleball gear to get you on your pickleball journey or upgrade your current equipment.

Pickleball Paddle Selection

Photo by Allison Ostrander

With over 150+ pickleball paddles on the market, it can be difficult to find the one that best fits your style of play. For the true beginner, there are reasonably priced options around $50-$99, and if the "pickleball bug" sticks, then it's time for an upgrade. Many pickleball paddles on the market have a carbon paddle face with a textured surface which gives extra spin and slice.

Joola, which is one of the more popular paddle brands, has created a Hyperion paddle and a Swift paddle with a textured surface. The Joola Hyperion paddle line, which is currently endorsed by players like Ben Johns (No. 1 Professional Pickleball Association [PPA] male player in the world) and Simone Jardim (prior No. 1 female PPA player), is a great head-heavy paddle and weighs a little more than most paddles for added power. The Swift version has the same textured paddle face for spin/slice but is more evenly balanced and a little less heavy.

For those tennis players out there converting over to pickleball, the Hyperion paddle is a nice choice. However, the Franklin company has been around for years with many paddles to choose from, including the new Carbon STK paddle which has comparable specs to the Joola Swift paddle but with a slightly elongated handle for extra reach and for those tennis players who prefer a two-handed backhand.

DUPR

You have probably heard players discuss a DUPR rating or have possibly been asked what your rating is. DUPR (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating) is the current rating system for pickleball players all over the world. The rating system was developed in 2021 by the founder of MLP (Major League Pickleball) Steve Kuhn. This DUPR rating scale is from 2.00 to 8.00 and takes into account all matches played to give players a rating regardless of age, gender, etc. PPA professional players also have DUPR ratings; for example, Ben Johns has a 7.18 rating, and Anna Leigh Waters, the current No. 1 female player in the world, has a 6.20 rating.

Thickness

When considering a paddle, many players like a 16mm thickness, which provides some added control and power. The 16mm paddle is a more standard thickness. When a paddle is thicker, you get increased control and are able to absorb pace from your opponents. Typically a 13mm and below paddle will create more power, but these paddles are a little less forgiving (less control). When looking for a paddle, the bottom line is to find one that feels right to you.

Pickleball Accessories

Photo by Lesli Whitecotton

Overgrip

Overgrip is another option to consider for your pickleball paddle. Overgrip helps protect the original grip that comes with your pickleball paddle and stops the paddle from slipping when hitting. It's easier to replace the overgrip rather than replace the original grip.

Edge Tape

Edge tape is very helpful in protecting your paddle edges against scrapes and scratches. It adds another layer of protection, keeps your paddle looking new, and extends the paddle's life.

Lead Tape

If you want to add a small amount of weight to your paddle, some players add lead tape to the outer edges. Lead tape will give you a heavier paddle swing and can increase the sweet spot. However, if you have a paddle that is head heavy, be careful with the lead tape placement to avoid any arm discomfort.

Grip Band

An accessory that is becoming more popular is a personalized grip band placed between the handle and paddle face (at the top of the overgrip). It is just a fun band that adds a little personality to your paddle.

Pickleballs for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Photo by Allison Ostrander

There are many brands but only a few things to consider regarding pickleballs. An outdoor pickleball has 40 holes, and an indoor pickleball has 26 holes. Many outdoor balls can also be used indoors, but it depends on the indoor surface you're playing on. In many cases, an indoor ball doesn't bounce high enough, so many players end up hitting with outdoor balls. A couple of brands used by the PPA are Franklin and Durafast.

Pickleball Shoe Selection

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Who doesn't love pickleball shoes?! There are many brands out there, and the big secret is that tennis shoes can be used most of the time, especially for outdoor play. Suppose you plan on playing indoors on a real pickleball court (not a basketball court). In that case, it's recommended to use an indoor court shoe as the grip is specifically designed for indoor use and helps with lateral movements.

A few brands make some great indoor shoes, such as Asics, K-Swiss, and Skechers. Some great brands for outdoor use are Babolat, Mizuno, and K-Swiss. Players with any discomfort in their heel, plantar fasciitis tendon, or elsewhere should consider using inserts; they are very helpful with extra heel and arch support.

Connect with an Expert

Photo by Allison Ostrander

Pickleball is a sport that has no boundaries when it comes to age, and appeals to all skill levels regardless if a player has prior racquet sports experience. Pickleball provides socialization on and off the court and players can make play as competitive as they want. You can find a Pickleball Expert here on Curated to help you find gear that is right for you. Let an Expert guide you through the process.

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Shop Tennis & Racquet on Curated

K-Swiss Women's Express Light Pickleball Tennis Shoes
$99.95
Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16mm Pickleball Paddle
$219.95
Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 14 Swift Pickleball Paddle
$219.95

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Joola Pickleball Ridge Grip (2x) (White)
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DuraFast 40 Outdoor Pickleballs (4x) (Neon Green)
$12.99
Wilson Pickleball Comfort Pro Overgrip (3x)
$6.99
Gamma Pickleball Supreme Overgrip (Black) (3x)
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