The Coach's Choice of a Paddle ~ Rick Masters

It is a subjective decision. The purchase of a paddle is much like buying a brand of car. They all do the job of getting you from point A to point B, but how do you like the way it feels for you while driving? Same with a paddle.

Paddles come in all types and weights. I prefer a lighter paddle to one that is too heavy. I like the Onix Evoke Graphite for a number of reasons. I like the weight 7.2 oz, it is graphite, which gives strength as well as helps keep the weight down and I like the feel of the ball striking the paddle for control in the soft dink game. The ball stays on the paddle longer which gives you more control of the ball when you are hitting it.

If you want real power and pop off the paddle when you smash the ball the Evoke is not the paddle to deliver that.  Whereas the Onix Phantom and Onix Zen Paddles have an aluminum core giving you more pop and speed off the paddle. I use both the Phantom and Evoke depending on whether I am playing indoor or outdoor Pickleball. All three paddles are great paddles in my opinion. Weight on my Phantom is approx 7.6 oz, & Evoke is 7.2


The Stratus from Paddletek is similar to the Onix Evoke but a little thicker & I think it has a little more rigidity therefore a bigger sweet spot feel & more pop off the paddle.

Manufacturer Information on some popular paddles

Evoke Graphite Paddle
This is a lightweight paddle, weighing only 7.0 to 7.2 ounces. This provides players with ultimate control and manoeuvrability at the net. The face measures 8” wide at its widest point, and then tapers in slightly toward the handle. From top to bottom, this paddle measures 15-3/4” long with a 5” long handle. This paddle has a large grip circumference of 4-1/2” and is wrapped with an extremely comfortable cushion grip.

Phantom Graphite Paddle (Also Canuck Paddle)
The Graphite Phantom Pickleball Paddle has a graphite paddle face decorated with a vinyl decal of a misty swirl. The paddle core is aluminum honeycomb. Aluminum cores provide ideal touch and control in pickleball. The black edge guard protects the integrity of the paddle. This paddle provides solid hits thanks to the aluminum core and sturdy graphite face.  The wide body of 8”, combined with a long length of 15-1/2”, means that the hitting area on the Graphite Phantom paddle is extremely large. The weight range, 7.6 to 8.1 ounces, is a great middleweight that many players enjoy and the grip size of 4-1/4” is also a universally

Graphite Zen Pickleball Paddle
The paddle face has a great shape that utilizes the traditional rectangle design making a tall paddle that also has nice width. The total length on this paddle is 15-1/2”, and it measures a generous 7-3/4” wide.

The elements are all top-of-the-line Onix Sports quality. The edge guard and adhesives do their job so well that we get very few returns. The interior core is aluminum honeycomb, which gives the paddle more sensitivity or, as we say in pickleball, "touch". The middleweight paddle (7.8 to 8.1 ounces) also provides great control. This paddle has a large grip of 4-1/2”, which is great for men or players with large hands.

The decal graphic design on the Zen Graphite paddle celebrates the Chinese symbol for “Power”. If you look closely, you can make out a dragon swirling around in the background of the power symbol. It's a very cool and colorful design.

Champion Graphite Pickleball Paddle
The Champion Graphite Pickleball Paddle by Pickleball Inc. is our most popular paddle. It was one of the original honeycomb paddles and has set the standard for paddle design for several decades. This paddle is perfect for many players and is a true classic. With its ideal face shape, sturdy edge guard and quality construction, you can't go wrong with a Graphite Champion paddle.

The standard grip, also known as tennis grip or thick grip, is a larger grip that measures 4-1/4” in circumference. The standard thick grip is the most popular grip size on the Champion Graphite. The thick grip is made by Gamma and is a cushion contour grip that has a raised cord encircling the paddle handle. This Gamma grip can be found on several of the high-end paddles and provides both comfort and durability.

The minimalistic paddle is painted with a solid color background and a white screen print on top of a wide body graphite face. This large 8-1/8” face width gives players lots of hitting surface, which beginners love.

Phoenix Pro Pickleball Paddle
The lightly-textured vinyl face allows players to impart as much spin as their hearts desire, while the unique polymer honeycomb core provides quieter play without sacrificing any pop. This paddle has a vivid, solid color void of any other graphics other than the Paddletek logo. The color itself makes its own strong statement.

The 8” wide face combined with the total length of 15-3/4” gives the Phoenix Pro Composite paddle a truly traditional shape. Only 4-1/2” of this length is taken up by the handle, which allows the remaining amount to be purely dedicated to the face. Players love that the edge guard only overlaps 1/8” of the almost-rectangle face, which gives them a smaller chance of miss hitting due to the ball bouncing off the edge guard. The perfectly average grip of 4-1/4” is a great choice for players who have average-sized hands or for those who are unsure of their exact grip size. Weighing in at 8.1 to 8.8 ounces, this paddle provides players with effortless power.

*Graphite or Composite? Which is which and how to select?

Hitting Surface - Graphite or Composite:
Depending on the manufacturer, graphite paddles tend to weigh slightly less. The weight difference is so small it isn't even noticeable in most of the paddles. Some players state that a graphite paddle offers them more control. Some players state the ball pops off the paddle faster with a graphite paddle. Some players prefer the composite paddle because of the popping sound that comes from the paddle when hitting the ball.
When comparing graphite and composite paddles... it's best to compare the same brand paddle side by side, ex. Onix composite with Onix graphite. It's hard to compare a graphite and composite paddle from two different manufacturers.

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Designed and updated by Helen Proctor.

Comments and questions are appreciated.

​Last updated:  October 31, 2017

MIDLAND AREA PICKLEBALL CLUB