In pickleball, there are different play styles you can choose. Depending on your play style, the paddle you choose can make a significant difference to your game and improvement. Control in pickleball is referred to as touch, and control-focused play styles rely more on hitting the ball accurately than hitting the hardest shot you can.
The best pickleball paddles for control include:
- The Selkirk Vanguard 2.0 Hybrid S2
- The Paddletek Bantam TS-5
- The Engage Pursuit MX 6.0
- The Diadem Warrior
- The Babolat MNSTR Touch
- The GRUVN Raw-16R
- The GAMMA Needle Middleweight
- The TMPR Tantrum GXT
- TheVulcan V560 Control
If you’re a control player or want to adopt a more control-focused play style, it’s essential to know what paddle to use. Best paddles designed for control are great for beginners and players who value accuracy over power. We’ve compiled a list of the best pickleball racquets for control for you.
1. Selkirk Vanguard 2.0 Hybrid S2
The Hybrid S2 2.0 is a lightweight carbon fiber paddle that has it all. It is an excellent touch paddle due to its low weight, consistency, and balanced feel. At the same time, it packs a power punch, letting you control the game from the baseline or in the kitchen without having to generate too much of your own power.
The lighter weight makes it extremely easy to get the paddle behind the ball quickly, and the woven carbon fiber surface provides an excellent grip on the ball for precision plays. The paddle surface provides a medium spin factor to help give your shots an edge without disturbing your control over the ball.
The X5 polypropylene core combined with the woven carbon fiber paddle face also means you’ll be able to bring out enough power when needed without sacrificing control. The shorter handle gives the paddle a large surface area to work with, and it’s wide enough that accurately hitting the ball is no problem.
The Hybrid S2 is a forgiving paddle that allows players to exhibit control even with poor contact on the ball. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners to learn and professionals to dominate the court.
2. Paddletek Bantam TS-5
The Bantam TS-5 comes in various weight options ranging from seven pounds to seven and ½ pounds, making it one of the lightest paddles around. Its lightweight construction and five-inch handle allow quicker response times on shots, keeping you in control of the rally. Responding more quickly to shots will make playing at the net a breeze.
Despite its low weight, the TS-5 has the power to put away shots. Whether you’re volleying at the net or driving from the baseline, thanks to its Bantam PolyCore technology, this paddle is great for players without much swinging power. The ⅛-inch edge guard protects the paddle, and its small width gives players more room on the paddle’s face.
The surface is made of a textured fiberglass and epoxy hybrid material that provides players with a decent spin factor that allows for some tricky shots without disturbing their control. The responsive feel, coupled with the extra power, allows players to produce excellent power with a feeling of being in control of all their shots.
3. Engage Pursuit MX 6.0 Graphite Elongated
The Engage Pursuit MX 6.0 is an elongated paddle that maximizes feel and control with a ⅝-inch thick core. The rough surface texture grips the ball more firmly, increases the dwell time and provides unprecedented control. The paddle uses Engage’s proprietary Control Pro ‘Black’ technology to enhance the core’s softness. It employs vibration control technology to limit the shock and strain on players.
The combination of the graphite skin and the thick core creates an incredibly responsive feeling for players. The elongated shape and five and ¾ grip length give players a more extended reach and better control on harder-to-reach shots. The paddle comes in standard and lightweight options for players who prefer a certain weight to their paddle.
Instead of a surface layer applied to the face of the paddle, the Pursuit MX 6.0’s outer layer is the graphite skin, which has better durability and gives players a better spin factor and grip for controlling the ball. The long handle allows for a more versatile play style. It also lets players put away the ball with some serious, two-handed power, even for those who don’t usually generate much power themselves.
4. Diadem Warrior
Diadem’s Warrior is a paddle with a lot more power than you might expect from a control paddle. It has an exceptionally soft feel thanks to the 19mm, three-layer core, but despite this, it has a surprising amount of power and spin. The paddle’s only downside is its unforgiving nature and small sweet spot, which means a certain level of skill is required to wield this mighty paddle effectively.
The Warrior features a carbon fiber face with a grit paint surface for better spin and control. The grit paint creates more friction, making it easier to grip the ball for spinning. The paddle’s soft triple-layer core and grit paint give the ball longer dwell times for more precision and feel. The core features two polypropylene layers hugging an Aramid honeycomb material, giving it extra power.
The Warrior is a powerhouse at the net due to its weight and responsive core, though it wavers slightly from the baseline. However, this is to be expected due to its focus on controlling play styles, which is where it shines. The slightly elongated design provides more reach for tricky plays, and the weight gives players a feeling of stability no matter the situation.
5. Babolat MNSTR Touch
The Babolat MNSTR Touch uses aerospace technology to reduce shock and provide a pure feeling on shots. This paddle is extremely light for fast hands and quick responses at the net. At the same time, its 13mm thick C3H6 honeycomb core and graphite face give players incredible touch.
The EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) core filters out extra vibrations and provides excellent accuracy and precision for control players. The paddle does not have high power but allows players to get behind the ball quickly for a better swing. The graphite surface gives players a good amount of spin when they need it with pinpoint accuracy. Where it lags in power, it more than makes up for in feel and touch.
Players may not get much put away power from the baseline, but with the feather-like weight and feel of this paddle, dominating the net is easy. The precision this paddle offers lets players control the flow of the game with quick movements and excellent accuracy. The ⅕-inch shock-absorbing edge guard makes room for rough plays from tricky shots.
The MNSTR Touch only comes in one size and has a grip circumference of four inches. It has a balanced feeling when swinging and is stable enough that blocking and volleying are no problem. The low weight and small grip make it ideal for smaller players with less strength.
6. GRUVN Raw-16R
The GRUVN Raw-16R is a round-faced paddle comprising a T700 carbon fiber face for extra control. The Wide paddle face provides players with more contact area for the ball, and the T700 carbon fiber surface grips the ball well with long dwell times. The surface was designed to increase control and the spin factor for precise execution.
The paddle only comes in a midweight option, though this is comfortable for most players. Its core is a 16mm polypropylene honeycomb that provides good stability and absorbs residual shock when hitting. The surface and the core together make a great combo and improve shot accuracy and feel for players. The core also lowers the noise when hitting, which is helpful when playing at clubs in residential areas.
The five and ¼-inch handle improves players’ versatility and is long enough to be comfortable for more powerful, two-handed shots. The grip is cushioned and moisture-absorbent so players can maintain a solid grip on the paddle while playing to prevent mishits and maintain consistent accuracy. The paddle also has an edge guard to protect it when it’s necessary to return tricky low balls.
7. GAMMA Needle Middleweight
The Gamma Needle is a middleweight paddle sporting an extra long face for extra reach. The paddle weighs 7.6 ounces and has been designed to distribute its weight evenly rather than centering near the tip. Its sixteen and ⅝-inch length gives players a lot of extra reach for tricky shots while it remains balanced for excellent control.
The Needle is GAMMA’s first elongated paddle, and they’ve done an excellent job maintaining the overall balance and stability of the paddle. The sweet spot is slightly narrower than those of standard shape paddles, but it’s also longer. The longer sweet spot makes the Needle even more impressive because it further brings out the elongated paddle’s advantages and makes up for the reduced width.
The Needle is an excellent choice for slightly experienced beginners to professional-level players who have gravitated more towards elongated paddles in recent years. The small grip and weight distribution give players ample wrist mobility to move the paddle quickly without straining the arm too much. The textured graphite surface grabs the ball well to ensure solid contact and a precise hit.
8. TMPR Tantrum GXT
The TMPR Tantrum GXT has a slightly elongated design for extended reach with a five-inch handle to make two-handed swings a little more comfortable. It’s comprised of a thinner 13mm honeycomb polymer core and a unidirectional graphite surface which gives the paddle a soft feeling with a little less pop but superior control.
Although thinner cores are typically built for aggressive play styles and powerful shots, the Tantrum GXT’s graphite surface extends dwell times for better precision on the court. The graphite surface and the slender edge guard provide some decent durability for long-term use. The handle employs vibration dampening technology to eliminate excess vibration to give players accurate feedback.
The Tantrum GXT is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a paddle that provides control, specifically at the net. The thin core and round shape make it aerodynamic for quick movements. The rounded paddle face creates a more prominent sweet spot than standard, square-faced paddles. The paddle face’s design allows for more consistent shots and better balance, letting players swing with confidence.
As with most elongated paddles, the Tantrum GXT is recommended for intermediate-level to professional-level players who better understand the effects of the paddle’s mechanics on their game. It has two grip options for small to medium hands, which can be increased with overgrips. There are also weight options from 7.1 ounces to 8.5 ounces for players of any strength or weight preference.
9. Vulcan V560 Control
The Vulcan V560 Control is a heavyweight paddle, weighing in at around 8.4 ounces, with a slightly extended length of 16 and ½ inches, giving players extra reach for tricky shots. It features a five and ½-handle that gives players plenty of room for two-handed shots.
If you like to dominate at the net, the Vulcan V560 has the power and control to do it. The 13mm polypropylene core and composite fiberglass surface provide a softer feel for longer dwell times and improved touch and accuracy. The narrower face provides a stable and balanced design, great for volleying and putting shots away at close range.
The thin polypropylene core and fiberglass surface combination provide a pop that other control paddles may lack. The fiberglass surface gives players an excellent spin factor without sacrificing control for precise and tricky spin shots that will cause headaches for your opponents.
Control paddles are designed to provide players with a softer, vibrationless feel for accurate feedback. Paddles built for control focus more on feel and accuracy than power. Sometimes this means sacrificing some of the pop players might want from a paddle, but control paddles are the way to go for those who value precision.
Better feedback from the paddle means players can more accurately place shots and dominate opponents by controlling the game’s pace and flow. Control paddles are also an excellent tool for improving your game, and many professionals have adopted the use of these paddles.