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The best pickleball paddles for power


By Stephen Bass

on Aug 29, 2022

The Best Pickleball Paddles for Power

Let’s be honest, pickleball is becoming faster each year. With advanced technology and perhaps the influx of tennis players, the ball is moving around the court at a faster pace than ever.

You still need to master the soft game! There will never be a day where you don’t need to dink and have a consistent third-shot drop. But there are pickleball paddles designed to give you additional power which can be an advantage for aggressive players. 

What is a power paddle in pickleball?

Power paddles make it easy to increase the speed of the ball as it comes off your paddle. Players who prefer to drive the ball and want to have the power to “finish off the point” often prefer these paddles. 

Generally, power paddles have:

  1. Thinner core
  2. Heavier weight
  3. Longer total length

Thick vs Thin Core

Generally speaking:

  • Power Paddles have a core thickness of ~13mm or less.
  • Control Paddles have a core thickness of ~16mm or greater.
  • What are the advantages of a thick core?

    The longer the ball is in contact with the paddle surface, the more force is absorbed by the paddle. A thick core will have more room to "absorb" the ball, increasing the time the ball is on your paddle face, and giving you more control. But it decreases the speed (and therefore power) at which the ball leaves the paddle. 

    What are the advantages of a thin core?

    A thin core does not absorb the ball as much, decreasing the time the ball is on your paddle, and allowing you to generate more power

    Why does a heavier paddle increase power?

    To briefly go back to 8th-grade physical science: 

    Force = Mass x Acceleration. 

    Increasing the Weight (Mass) results in greater Power (Force) which translates to HITTING THE BALL HARDER! Not to mention, a heavier paddle makes your groundstrokes more consistent and controlled (especially for those coming from a tennis background). 

    The ideal weight of your paddle is different for everyone. We would recommend getting a mid-weight or even light-weight paddle then adding lead tape to find the right feel for you! Lead tape can be found for a couple of bucks at your local sporting goods store or even golf pro shop.

    How can I increase acceleration (speed) to add power?

    1. Hit the gym! Your muscles determine how quickly you can move your paddle through the air so increasing your strength increases power.
    2. Decrease Drag/Resistance with an Aerodynmic Paddle: We created the first of its kind Air Dynamic Throat Technology in our Selkirk Labs 002 Paddle developed to optimize aerodynamic airflow to reduce drag (and elevate the sweet spot). We just released the Vanguard Power Air which is an improvement on the 002 with a larger air dynamic throat, a higher spin potential, and a larger sweet spot. It also features an edgeless design and is the most aerodynamic paddle we have produced.
    3. Use a thinner grip. Imagine trying to swing a paddle with a handle the size of a tree trunk. You would have an extremely slow hand speed trying to lug the paddle around. Conversely, a thinner grip allows you to easily manipulate the paddle and “whip it” through the air, generating more power. 

    Why do longer paddles increase power?

    To fully explain this concept we would need a 30-minute physical science lesson about simple machines, levers, fulcrums, etc. But to save us time I will sum it up like this: The greater the distance between where your hand grips the pickleball paddle and where the paddle strikes the ball, the more force you are able to generate.

    For example: Would a sledgehammer (longer paddle) or a handheld hammer (shorter paddle) generate more power? The sledgehammer. The greater distance between your hands and the head of the sledgehammer allows you to generate more power. 

    You can increase the total length of the paddle by:

    1) Increasing the handle length such as the Vanguard Power Air Invikta or Epic (5.25in).
    2) Increasing the length of the paddle face (elongated paddles) such as the Vanguard 2.0 Invikta or the Amped Invikta paddle.

    What are the best pickleball paddles for power?

    1. The Vanguard Power Air: This paddle is the power and spin paddle the pickleball community has been asking for. We took feedback from the 002 paddle and performed research and testing for over a year to bring you the Power Air. It comes in 3 shapes, but the Invikta will allow you to generate the most power because of its length. This paddle is easily the most aerodynamic paddle we’ve designed and it generates an insane amount of power and spin! The power air has an improved sweet spot as well to improve control.

    But don’t take our word for it! You can check out this independent review from The Pickleball Studio to see how the Power Air shapes up against other paddles:

    You can learn more about the paddle HERE or SHOP NOW!

    2. The Project 002 Paddle is still the preferred paddle from some of our pro players. The 002 Invikta was the first to feature the air dynamic throat and an improved Hybrid Carbon and Fiberglass Face for maximum power!

    This is a labs project paddle, which means a short application is required prior to purchase if you are not a Selkirk Labs Member. Click to Learn More About the Selkirk Labs Membership Program.

    3. The SLK Omega Max is the Power Paddle for the everyday player. This paddle uses similar technology to the Power Air, but without the Air Dynamic Throat. Again, don't take our word for how great the paddle is!

    Selkirk Sport provides a range of paddles designed for different playing styles. Use our paddle comparison tool to find the best paddle for you, whether you're looking for power, control, or spin.

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