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The best pickleball paddles for control

By Brynn Grissom

on Nov 08, 2023

Jack Sock uses the Luxx Control Air as his paddle of choice

As pickleball becomes more popular, the demand for high-quality pickleball paddles has surged. A recent paddle technology trend, led by the wildly popular Vanguard Power Air series, is geared toward the importance of power and maneuverability. 

Despite this power surge, control — the most important element in pickleball — became a market demand with outdated solutions. Thus, among the myriad options available, control paddles have become a favorite choice for many because they help players execute more precise shots, and Selkirk Sport has again been at the forefront of bringing futuristic paddle technology to the scene. 

Control paddles are designed to provide players with precision and finesse in their shots, allowing for better placement and control on the pickleball court. Let’s explore the key aspects of control paddles and take a look at the best paddles for those seeking superior control.

What is control in a pickleball paddle? 

Control in pickleball is crucial for players who want to dominate their opponents through precise shots and strategic placement. Unlike power paddles, which prioritize generating significant force behind each hit, control paddles focus on maneuverability and accuracy. 

With a control paddle, players can more easily absorb pace, making it easier to improve their net play, dinking, and placement, ultimately leading to a more consistent and strategic game. Generally speaking, there are three main factors that affect control in a pickleball paddle: 

  1. Core material and thickness
  2. Paddle weight
  3. Paddle shape

Core material and thickness

The core of a pickleball paddle plays a pivotal role in determining its level of control. Most cores have a thickness that falls in the range of 11-16 mm, but there are no official rules for how thick or thin a paddle can be.

The Luxx has a thicker core to offer more control

Power paddles tend to be on the thinner side, somewhere between 10-13 mm. Control paddles, therefore, are thicker and typically measure 14 mm and thicker. Thicker cores offer more control due to reduced vibration and increased stability as the paddle strikes the ball. 

Most control paddles feature a polypropylene honeycomb core and either a graphite or carbon fiber paddle face, all of which are materials known for their excellent balance between control and power. 

Paddle weight

Control paddles typically fall within the medium weight range, usually between 7.3 to 8.3 ounces. A lightweight paddle is easier to maneuver but doesn’t absorb power well, and a heavy paddle packs a powerful punch but is harder to move. That’s why a midweight paddle is best for control — it is still light enough to maneuver easily, but the slightly heavier paddle can provide better stability and control, as it allows players to absorb the energy of the ball and place shots with accuracy. 

Paddle shape

The length and width of a pickleball paddle also affect control. When searching for a control paddle, it’s important to be mindful of a large “sweet spot,” or the area on the paddle where the ball is hit in the most consistent way. A larger sweet spot provides more forgiveness, allowing players to maintain control even if they don’t strike the ball in the center of the paddle. 

Wider paddle faces offer more stability

An elongated paddle face offers extended reach and more powerful shots, but that often comes at the cost of a smaller sweet spot. A shorter, wider paddle face features a larger sweet spot, allowing for better control. 

The final component of the paddle shape to consider is the length of the handle. Longer handles offer greater reach but move the sweet spot farther from a player’s hand, which can be difficult for newer players to maneuver. A shorter handle gives players more control but can come at the cost of power. 

The best pickleball paddles for control

The Luxx Control Air is a good paddle choice

Luxx Control Air: The Luxx Control Air is a top-of-the-line Selkirk paddle that combines lightweight construction with excellent control. Its honeycomb core provides a solid foundation for precise shots, while the mid-range weight allows for swift maneuverability at the net. The Luxx Control Air is a favorite among players seeking finesse and control.

The Amped S2 is a good intermediate control paddle

The Selkirk Amped S2: Selkirk's Amped series offers a range of control paddles, each designed with different characteristics to suit various playing styles. Whether you prefer a thicker core or a slightly longer paddle, the Amped series has options that cater to your control needs. The Amped S2 offers the largest sweet spot of the collection. 

The Vanguard Control is an excellent control pickleball paddle.

Vanguard Control: The Vanguard Control is another excellent control paddle. It is a raw carbon paddle, which offers optimal spin, but features a thicker core for enhanced control, making it an ideal choice for players who prioritize precision shots and net play. The Vanguard Controls's innovative design and quality materials ensure that it delivers consistent performance on the court.

The EVO 2.0 Control is a good entry level control paddle

EVO Control 2.0: The EVO Control 2.0 is a versatile control paddle that strikes a balance between control and power. Designed for newer players, the EVO Control 2.0 features a polypropylene core and a slightly wider face, providing players with a larger sweet spot and consistent performance. 




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