Best Wood Pickleball Paddle

 Are you interested in picking up pickleball but a bit overwhelmed by all the paddle choices? Don’t worry; picking up pickleball is easy, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money trying out the game. We’ll go through the best wood pickleball paddles to help you get a feel for the game.

The original pickleball paddles were constructed of wood, but since then, the design has been refined; paddles also come in composites, graphite, and aluminum. Wood pickleball paddles have remained popular because they are durable, inexpensive, and allow you to take powerful shots.

While more advanced players will often opt for the high-end graphite or aluminum paddles with composite cores, you won’t need this level of equipment when starting. Wooden pickleball paddles are a great way to get introduced to the game, and some players prefer them for their strength.

Are Wood Paddles Good For Pickleball?

Pickleball paddles come in various materials, but the one you’re likely most familiar with is wood. When pickleball was invented in Washington back in 1965, it was meant as a children’s game, and the first paddles were simply table tennis paddles.

As the inventors refined the game, Barney McCallum began to make a better paddle suited for the style of play. It turns out the table tennis paddles broke too often. They needed something bigger and more durable.

The first true pickleball paddle was called the M1 and was made from wood.

These days, paddles are made from composite materials, aluminum, and graphite. But wooden pickleball paddles are often used for teaching children the sport.

The wooden paddles are heavier than their modern counterparts but are also more durable and less likely to break with rough play, making them ideal for kids and beginners.

But don’t get the idea that only kids use wood paddles—players like Joan Pritchard, whose husband Joel was one of the inventors of pickleball, still owns two of the original paddle designs and says she loves them best.

Pros of Wooden Pickleball Paddles

Because wooden paddles are relatively inexpensive, they also make a good choice if you need to buy paddles in bulk for schools, camps, or community centers. For people new to the sport, investing in a wooden paddle is a good option if they decide not to continue playing.

On average, wooden pickleball paddles range between $12-$25—much cheaper than composite pickleball paddles, depending on their construction, can set you back anywhere from $30-$200.

If you’re a power player, wood paddles will give added strength to your shots. Experienced pickleball players may opt for a wooden paddle because of the sheer power they get from this material.

Their durability is a boon for people who don’t want to keep replacing their paddles due to breakage.

If you’re buying a starter kit with paddles, nets, and balls, you’ll likely have wooden paddles since the high-end composite models are usually sold separately.

However, wooden paddles needn’t be basic. They can have different edging, grips, covers, and handle lengths. All these details will help you get a wooden paddle that suits your grip and playing style.

Cons of Wooden Pickleball Paddles

The biggest con for most pickleball players is the weight of a wooden paddle. The composite paddles tend to be much lighter, putting less strain on your wrist. A wooden pickleball paddle weighs around 10oz, with some as much as 12oz.

For many players, the weight is the factor that turns them against wooden paddles, as the repetitive nature of the game makes a lighter paddle a far better option.

Some surface materials will allow for better control during shots than wooden paddles.

You may have less directional control with a wooden paddle than with other materials.

Are Wooden Or Aluminum Pickleball Paddles Better?

To choose the right pickleball paddle, you’ll need to know how wood compares with other materials. What’s right for one person could be a bad choice for you, depending on several factors.

When looking at paddles, you want to consider the paddle’s weight, its thickness, what surface material the paddle has, and the handle and overgrip.

Paddle Thickness

Depending on what it’s made from, a pickleball paddle will vary in thickness. The thicker the material, the more power your strike will have. A thinner material tends to be less stiff, dissipating some of the power of your ball striking off the paddle.

If your style of pickleball play is fast and aggressive, with lots of hard, powerful shots, a thicker paddle will be to your advantage. Wood paddles have a solid core rather than honeycomb, and are usually the thickest and stiffest materials, so they are perfect for this kind of play.

The durability of wood is also useful for this offensive style; taking the punishment, a lighter paddle will not.

Aluminum paddles have a core of honeycombed aluminum and make for incredibly light bats. This material suits a style of play that favors control and precision over power. Of all the paddle types, aluminum tends to feel the lightest because its design weights toward the handle.

They are usually the least durable of the paddles, and if you have a strong, powerful serve, you may find that aluminum doesn’t suit, and you’re replacing your paddles too often. Aluminum is a better choice for players who like to play close to the net.

Paddle Surface Material

While paddles have different cores, such as wood, Nomex, polymer, aluminum, and graphite, the surface of the paddle may be made of a different material.

Wooden paddles usually have wooden surfaces, though aluminum core paddles usually have fiberglass or graphite.

The surface is usually painted or finished with vinyl, which can add texture for added grip, and even a little extra weight or durability. However, strict guidelines exist on what kind of texture and how much can be added.

Paddle Handle and Grip

Paddle handle length is very important when choosing a paddle. The handle is your focus for control and power, and having the wrong length can be detrimental to your game.

While this is less related to the material, as you can get different lengths in all styles, it’s still a major factor. The width of the grip size is also important, as you need to hold the paddle firmly but comfortably through extended rounds of play.

Grip size often correlates to your height, so a rough guide for your grip size is as follows:

HeightGrip Size
Under 5’2″4″ grip
5’3″ – 5’8”4 1/8″ – 4 ¼”
5’9″ and over4 ½”

Are Wooden Or Graphite Pickleball Paddles Better?

Much the same arguments for and against aluminum vs. wood paddles apply here.

Graphic paddles are light and powerful, however, more so than aluminum, but are usually among the most expensive options.

Graphite is an excellent choice if you prefer a paddle that is both ultra-light for speed and ultra-stiff for power, but the price may be a negative. If you’ve got your eye open for a more inexpensive option, wood will beat graphite.

While high-end paddles may be constructed from polycarbonates and graphite, that doesn’t mean you won’t find some excellent wooden paddles for beginner and intermediate players.

We’ve found some of the best wooden pickleball paddles available, and these will give you a powerful shot and excellent durability for a reasonable price.

What Are The Best Wood Pickleball Paddles?

If you are looking for an inexpensive wooden paddle that will serve you through learning how to play pickleball, these are some of our favorites.

As you gain more experience and skill, you’ll probably want to find a graphite, polycarbonate, or aluminum paddle, depending on how you prefer to play.

Several of these paddles come as parts of sets that include nets and balls, making them ideal for beginners.

Amazin’ Aces Wood Pickleball Paddle

Amazin’ Aces paddles are made from a 7-layer plywood maple core.

The grip is cushioned for comfort.

These paddles weigh 10 oz and have a grip width of 4 ¼.”

One of the best starter sets as they are well-priced, and the grip is a suitable size for most adults. The handle is on the longer size, and due to this and weight, these make better paddles for adult players.

They have a powerful connection when hitting the ball, and the grip is comfortable and well-wrapped.

While these may not be ideal for more experienced players, they make a fantastic starter set and are good to have as a backup set. Advanced players with a strong serve can also get a lot out of them.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Champion Sports Rhino Edge

Champion Sports Rhino makes fiberglass, wood, graphite, and aluminum paddles, so if you find that the wood Edge style suits you in this make, it can make switching to another material easier.

Their wooden paddle is strong and durable, using 7-ply wood for construction.

The shaft and edge guard are made of graphite.

The paddles weigh 11-11.2 oz, making them a heavier option than the Amazin” Aces, but the weight gives them a lot of power.

Unlike the Amazin’ Aces, however, this paddle also sports an edge guard, which adds control and durability. It also helps protect the edges of the paddle from being chipped or splintered.

The grip is solid and comfortable but designed for a larger hand, so not suitable for small adults or kids.

The Rhino Edge is a good, well-made paddle for fun games and learning to play.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Diller Wood Paddle

The Diller wood paddle is a classic 7-ply wood paddle that is perfect for beginners. It’s a strong paddle with a good bounce constructed from layers of alternating grain hardwood.

This paddle is made by the same people who invented the game, and USAPA approves them for playing pickleball in tournaments.

The Diller wood paddle weighs 10 oz and has a grip of 4 ¼.”. They are excellent for beginners learning to play the game and are sturdy and light enough for children to use.

This bundle is an excellent value set for indoor play.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Franklin Activator

The Franklin Activator is another good, inexpensive choice for beginners to pickleball. Featuring 7-ply wood construction and wrapped handles for a comfortable grip and non-slip hold.

They also have an edge guard for extra protection and durability.

The Franklin Activator weighs between 9.5 and 10.5 oz, with a grip width of 4 ¼.”

While they are a good budget set for people who are not sure if they’ll continue the game, you’ll want to upgrade from these wood panels if you decide to keep playing pickleball regularly.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Kanga Wood Paddle

The Kanga paddle is made from a white maple core, and the grip has been wrapped in a high-quality cushion grip with perforations to avoid slipping.

This set is aimed at beginners to pickleball but will do well for community centers, camps, and games. These paddles weigh 9.5-10.5 oz and have a grip width of 4 ¼.”

These paddles are best for adults and older kids who want to get a feel for pickleball before committing to a more expensive set.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Rally Meister

These strong, lightweight paddles are made from 7-ply white maple wood and weigh between 9.5-10.5 oz. They are sturdy and will take some hard play.

The grip is cushioned and comfortable, designed to wick away moisture and prevent slipping. The shaft on these recreational paddles is made from graphite.

This is a good basic beginner paddle, and they make for an excellent starter set or additional paddles for community centers and recreation rooms.

With a low price for a bundle of four, these Rally Meisters are perfect for the family learning how to play and not wanting to spend a lot of money.

Check it out on Amazon below.


While you can get very cheap wooden pickleball paddles, not all of them are great for playing with as the weight makes it very tiring for your wrist. We’ve found that the best wooden pickleball paddles have been made with a plywood method and don’t weigh more than 10.5 oz. A good wooden set of paddles will help you learn the fundamentals of pickleball and give you a chance to try pickleball out before you invest in expensive equipment. The best wooden paddles also make excellent additions to the community center and school equipment as they are durable.


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