Stability and power are essential for pickleball paddles, especially if you are going to play in tournaments. Adding lead tape to your paddle will give you that added stability. According to USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) rules, there is no limit to the amount of weight you can add to your paddle, so you may want to buy large amounts of lead tape. But which lead tape is best?
Lead tape or Tungsten tape adds weight and gives more stability and power to a pickleball paddle. The best options are:
- Tourna Pickleball Lead Tape
- Nebudo ¼ Inch Lead Tape
- Katana Sports Copper Customization Tape
- Summerhouse ¼ Inch Lead Tape
- Gamma Lead Tape
- Wilson Tungsten Tuning Tape
Lead tape can be toxic if not handled correctly. That is why other alternatives can be used if you want to add some extra weight to your pickleball paddle but you are concerned about lead poisoning while handling the tape. Some lead tape brands are better than others, and some are specially designed for pickleball paddles. Let’s look at the best options available on the market.
The Best Lead Tape For Pickleball Paddles
Many professional pickleball players use lead tape to alter the weight and balance of their paddles. Where you add lead tape to the paddle can make a difference to the weight, balance, or power. It can also decrease the vibrations from the ball hitting the paddle. Here are the types of tape that are rated most highly by professional pickleball players.
Tourna Pickleball Lead Tape
Adding Tourna lead tape to your paddle will give you stability and power. It is a tape that can be easily cut to the desired length you require for the specific areas you want to provide additional weight. It has a ¼ inch wide cut, making it ideal for pickleball paddles. The adhesive backing on the tape makes it easy to use.
As with any product that needs to stick to a surface, the surface must be clean, and you have to work with clean hands; otherwise, you will have trouble sticking this to the paddle, or it may come loose at some stage.
Nebudo ¼ Inch Lead Tape
Nebudo Lead Tape has an adhesive backing that makes it easy to apply to any required surface. You must clean the surface properly before applying the lead tape and handle it with clean hands since the tape will not stick to the surface if there is any stickiness on the paddle.
The Nebudo lead tape will add 0.25 grams per every inch that you use. Using this measurement will allow you to add the required weight to your paddle, ensuring that you get the added power so that you will have less strain on your arm and wrist.
Katana Sports Copper Customization Tape
Katana Sports Copper Tape is a lead-free alternative tape and a substitute for chemically loaded lead tape, but it also has an adhesive backing making it easy to apply. This will give your paddle the weight, stability, and power that it requires.
Summerhouse ¼ Inch Lead Tape
One problem with lead tape is that heat and oxidation could cause lead poisoning. Summerhouse lead tape is coated with black color to avoid the oxidation of the lead in the tape, making it a healthier option. It is still to your advantage to wash your hands properly after applying this tape to your paddle, though, because of all the chemicals and lead in the tape.
Gamma Lead Tape
This product also effectively adds the necessary weight you need for your pickleball paddle. Some users complain that the backing isn’t easy to remove from this tape, but most of its reviews are still excellent. Even if you choose not to buy Gamma Lead Tape, the customer reviews make for entertaining reading if you have the time.
Wilson Tungsten Tuning Tape
Tungsten tape is an alternative to lead tape. It is healthier and more environmentally friendly than lead tape, but it still contains chemicals, so care is still recommended. It effectively adds the weight and balance you want to achieve on your paddle.
How To Apply Lead Tape To A Pickleball Paddle?
Before you begin to add the lead tape, the paddle must first be adequately cleaned in the areas where you will be applying the tape. You can use a glass- or window cleaner or even alcohol to clean the pickleball paddle’s edge. Wiping the edge with a clean, dry cloth afterward will ensure that your paddle is ready for applying lead tape or any of the alternative tapes.
After applying the lead tape to the areas you require, you can use electric tape to cover the whole edge of your paddle to customize it in the color of your preference and ensure that you don’t touch the lead afterward.
Why Add Lead Tape To A Pickleball Paddle?
Adding lead tape to a pickleball paddle can have many benefits. For one, it could change the way the paddle feels in your hand while you’re playing pickleball. The lead tape will also add power and stability to the paddle since the added weight will increase its momentum and the force with which it hits the ball, meaning less pressure is needed from your arm and wrist.
Adding too much weight to the paddle could lead to injury, though. Always trust the way the paddle feels in your hands while playing, and if you do alter the paddle with lead tape, do it in small increments first and go with what feels good. If there is an overextension of the wrist, there is a good chance that there is too much weight on the paddle.
Where you place the lead tape will have different effects on how you will play. Adding some lead tape to the paddle’s top will give you more power while adding lead tape to the center of the top will make the paddle feel more stable and secure.
Lead Tape On The Top
Adding some lead tape to the paddle’s top at the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions of your paddle will increase power and also add stability. Weight at the end of the paddle in the center of the top will add leverage and give more energy transference to the ball due to increased momentum.
Lead Tape On The Sides
Adding weight to the sides of the paddle will cut down on the torsion and twist of the paddle. This will add stability to your paddle, making it easier to handle.
Lead Tape On The Bottom
Adding tape at the 4 and 5 o’clock positions and at the 7 and 8 o’clock positions at the bottom of your paddle will increase stability and decrease the vibration of the paddle if the ball doesn’t hit the center of the paddle.
Lead Tape On The Handle
Adding lead tape to the paddle’s handle will help with your whip and maneuver of the paddle. It also adds some additional stability and power since it alters the center of gravity.
Is Lead Tape Really Toxic?
Lead in its pure form is toxic and shouldn’t be consumed or handled, but the lead tape has fewer lead particles in it and is safe to handle. Still, it is advisable to use caution when you’re applying lead tape to your paddle. Wash your hands properly after applying it, and you will be fine. If you are extra careful and you don’t feel safe handling lead tape, you can wear gloves while using it.
Some alternative products can be used to add weight to your paddles, like tungsten tape and the newest addition to the party, copper tape. These are safer to use if you are still uncomfortable about how toxic lead tape is.
Adding lead tape to your pickleball paddle will help you fine-tune your paddle’s weight. This will reduce the possible risk of injury to your wrist or arm while also potentially improving your game. Now that you know six of the most recommended tape brands that professional players use and you can apply it safely, there’s no reason for you to struggle with a paddle that’s less than perfect.