What is the Best Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players?

Best Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players (2)

So you’ve transitioned from a total beginner to an intermediate pickleball player. Congrats!

But this transition isn’t just about your skills— you also need to choose the right gear, specifically, the best pickleball paddle for intermediate players.

Your game is evolving, your shots are getting sharper, your tactics are more nuanced, and your overall control of the game is improving.

To keep up with these advancements, it becomes essential to find a paddle that matches this growth.

But navigating the world of pickleball equipment can be quite a maze, especially with so many paddle varieties on the market. Each one is designed differently, with unique features, materials, benefits—and pitfalls.

It can be overwhelming to sift through them all, but you don’t have to!

We’ve spent countless hours researching, examining, and testing an array of pickleball paddles, looking for the ones that will truly add value to an intermediate player’s game.

And we’ve narrowed it down to four intermediate pickleball paddles that stand out based on their performance, construction, durability, and overall value for money.

Let’s dive in and see what these top-rated paddles have to offer!

Our top pick for the best pickleball paddle for intermediate players

Best Intermediate Paddle
PCKL Power Series Pickleball Paddle
  • Designed for frequent, intermediate players
  • Helps improve power while maintaining shot consistency
  • Edgeless design to reduce mishits while increasing sweet-spot surface area
  • Rough-grit graphite carbon face
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10/02/2023 07:23 am GMT

One cool thing we love about the PCKLD power series is its edgeless design.

That means it has a huge sweet spot and a uniform pop across the board. Say goodbye to dead zones and hello to a little extra love for those shots that aren’t quite on the money.

Now, let’s understand what makes up this impressive paddle.

It has a polypropylene core for a smooth feel when you hit the ball. Plus, the rough-grit texture is all about improving spin control and giving you that much-needed power (perfect for those booming groundstrokes).

The corded grip on this paddle is also a game-changer, and its ridges will help you keep a firm hold on things, even during intense gameplay on those hotter summer days.

With this grip, you can play offensively at the kitchen line or unleash powerful strikes from the baseline while maintaining both comfort and security.

Who says performance and comfort can’t coexist, right?

Other great pickleball paddles for intermediate players

Best Quality
Selkirk Latitude Widebody Composite Pickleball Paddle
  • Made in the USA
  • USAPA Tested & Approved
  • WIlson's widest paddle face (8.25" wide)
  • Amazing responsive "Sweet Spot" coverage
  • Form-fitting grip that won't slip from your hand during aggressive play
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10/01/2023 04:24 pm GMT

Selkirk paddles will always win for best quality in our books because they are one of the few companies whose paddles are actually made in the USA (specifically, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho).

Most other pickleball paddles on the market come from the same few factories overseas.

Selkirk promotes caring for and cleaning your pickleball paddle rather than just buying a new one, which makes us believe the company truly cares about putting out a good product.

They also claim pickleball paddles can last up to five years (and more, if you’re a casual player), so you should only expect to be buying a new paddle every 3 to 4 years at the earliest.

Selkirk makes a few expensive, advanced paddles, like the new Vanguard Power Air, but they also offer a beginner-friendly line of pickleball paddles, called SLK, which we highly recommend for newer players.

Best Overall Value
ONIX Graphite Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle
  • Co-designed by Pickleball Pros - For optimal power and precision
  • Paddle Shape (16"x8") - Boosts reach and power
  • Atomic13 Tech - Reduces shock, enhances speed and power
  • Superior Touch - Consistent coating for soft impact, maintains spin and pop

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10/01/2023 05:47 pm GMT

The ONIX Graphite Z5 Graphite paddle has a unique and balanced design that makes it easy to maneuver around the court.

This bad boy is an absolute gamer-changer as it strikes that sweet spot between power and control. The paddle’s soft control surface will also give you more shot placement options, allowing you to win points effortlessly.

But the icing on the cake?

That cushion comfort grip! Say goodbye to blisters and hello to pure, shock-absorbing bliss.

Trust us, the ONIX Graphite Z5 is your trusty sidekick, ready to guide you on your journey to pickleball greatness.

Best Design
Upstate | Recess Pickleball Paddle
  • Shop directly on Recess for 10% off your first paddle
  • Durable fiberglass surface
  • Designed in the USA
  • High-quality honeycomb core
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Hands down, Recess Pickleball makes some of our favorite pickleball paddles on the market right now.

These are great paddles for the more stylish, aesthetic pickleballers, but the quality certainly doesn’t suffer either! We’ve been really happy with the quality of our Recess paddles over the last year.

We’ve written an in-depth review of our Recess Pickleball paddles including what we think about the design, durability, price, and a ton of other useful info. 

Give it a read if you’re looking for a trendy pickleball paddle that will look just as good on the court as it plays.

What to look for in a pickleball paddle

With so many paddles on the market in 2023, it’s hard to figure out which one might be right for you—even if you’re an intermediate player.

Here’s what you should be thinking about:

Key factors to think about when choosing a pickleball paddle:

  • The size of the paddle face
  • The weight of the paddle (most paddles nowadays are fairly lightweight)
  • The grip/length of the handle
  • The material of the paddle
  • The look and design of the paddle (hey, this is important, too!)

Paddle Size

When choosing a pickleball paddle, size matters—literally!

Pickleball paddles come in a range of sizes, from traditional, square paddle faces to longer, narrower paddles. 

Square paddles have larger sweet spots (the area on the paddle where you make contact with the ball), which can help as a beginner when you’re making shots.

Narrower paddles are more maneuverable but have smaller sweet spots so your accuracy could suffer. 

Paddle Weight

Besides size, weight matters in selecting a pickleball paddle.

Heavier paddles have more power behind them but can also be harder to maneuver; lighter paddles offer better maneuverability but less power. 

So, if you want something that’s easy to swing yet still provides enough pop for those sneaky drop shots, go with a lightweight or mid-weight option.

Most pickleball paddles weigh around 5 to 8 OZ.

Paddle Grip  

Don’t forget about grip!

Your grip should be comfortable and secure—not too tight or too loose—so that you can hold your paddle confidently during play. 

Most paddles come with their own pre-made grips already installed, but if yours doesn’t, no worries!

You can always buy additional tape to keep your grip, well, grippy. 

Grip size is also an important factor when selecting a paddle.

The standard grip size is 4 ¼ inches wide by 5 ½ inches long with 1/8 inch of cushioning on either side of the handle. 

We consider this the “average” grip size and it works well for most players. However, if your hands are larger or smaller than average, it might be worth investing in a custom-sized grip that fits your hands better.

Paddle Materials

The material of your paddle also has a big impact on its performance on the court.

The most common materials used to make pickleball paddles are:

  • Wood – the original material used in pickleball paddles, quite heavy and clunky
  • Graphite – lightweight material with solid power
  • Aluminum – lightweight material with excellent control
  • Fiberglass – a popular option because of its combination of both power and control

Depending on what type of player you are (offensive or defensive) one material might work better than another. In 2023, we would advise staying away from wooden pickleball paddles, however.

Paddle Price

While there are plenty of expensive options out there, beginners don’t need to break their budgets just yet.

We’ve found many good beginner paddles for less than $100, making them an affordable option for anyone who wants to try their hand at pickleball without spending too much money upfront.  

Investing $80 to $120 in a good pickleball paddle shouldn’t make you feel guilty, as long as the paddle is of high quality.

Key Takeaways

Choosing the best pickleball paddle for intermediate players isn’t a decision to take lightly. But with these handpicked paddles that we’ve shared today, you now have a headstart to make your decision.

Regardless of which one you end up choosing, make sure you hit the court and give it a try for yourself.

That way, you can find out which paddle suits you best and enhance your pickleball game to the next level!

Read Next:

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The Best Pickleball Paddles Under $100

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