Choosing a padel racket can be difficult. In this complete guide, we work out all concepts and differences between different padel rackets.
The right padel racket should give you confidence on the padel court and strengthen your game. Choosing the wrong padel racket not only makes you perform worse on the padel court, but can also cause injuries.
Are you planning to buy a new padel racket? There is a huge selection of padel rackets on the market and it can be difficult knowing which one to choose. That’s why we have created this guide to help you make the right decision. Check out the guide How to choose a pickleball paddle if you are more into Pickleball.
Table of contents
- Choosing the right padel racket for you
- The shape of the padel racket
- The balance of the padel racket
- Hard or soft padel racket?
- The weight of the padel racket
- Top padel rackets of 2023
Choosing a padel racket in 5 steps
There is no padel racket to suit everyone. Your choice of racket should be based on your particular circumstances. Therefore, before you start looking at individual models of the padel rack, you should first answer several basic questions.
How often do you play? Do you play tournaments? For what reasons are you playing? For example, if you enjoy playing with friends one day a week, it’s a completely different situation than if you play five days a week plus tournaments.
If you play a lot, it may be worth investing in a more expensive, high-quality padel racket, as it will last longer and will help you develop faster. However, if you only play now and then, you will not notice a particularly big difference between a simpler racket and a top racket.
What level are you playing at? Have you just started playing padel or are you an advanced player or even a professional player?
A common beginners mistake make to buy a too expensive and many times hard-to-play padel racket. You may look coolest on the court, but it won’t help you win games.
As a beginner, you should instead opt for an easy-to-play and forgiving racket, regardless of your budget. Once you have become a more experienced player and found your specific playing style, you can always change to another racket.
How much money can and would you like to spend on a padel racket? Of course, with a limited budget, your options are fewer. However, a good padel racket does not have to be expensive, there are several models that offer a great bang-for-the-buck.
We will soon be doing a budget padel rackets buying guide, so stay tuned!
What’s your playing style? Are you playing on the right or left side? Do you play mostly defensive or do you prefer to attack?
One of the most important aspects when it comes to selecting a padel racket is your playing style. If you are a player who prefers control and precision you should obviously choose a racket with defensive features. Similarly, you should look for a racket with more potency if you play a lot of volleys and smashes.
The general idea is that the player on the left side is supposed to be the more attacking player and the player on the right side is the more defensive one. However, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, with offensive players on the right and vice versa.
How much do you weight? Are you in good shape? Do you have any previous injuries?
You should choose a padel racket that is tailored to meet your weight and physique. Junior players and women generally play with lighter rackets, while men, especially with good physics, normally benefit from using a slightly heavier racket.
If you are suffering from injuries such as tennis elbow, choosing the correct padel racket becomes extra important. You then want to try to find a model that is injury-friendly to play with, which has less weight and is good at absorbing vibrations.
The shape of the padel racket
There are mainly three different shapes on a padel racket; round, diamond, and teardrop. Each one of them has its special characteristics with their advantages and disadvantages.
Round padel rackets
Padel rackets with a round shape are suitable for beginners as they are generally easy to handle and more forgiving to play with. They are also suitable for more advanced players who primarily seek control and precision in their game.
Diamond-shaped padel rackets
Diamond-shaped padel rackets suit the more aggressive player. They are more difficult to play with and do not offer the same control as a round racket. In exchange, you gain significantly more power and speed in volleys, bandejas and smashes.
Teardrop-shaped padel rackets
Players who look for a good balance between speed and control should look for a teardrop-shaped padel racket. They are generally slightly easier to play than diamond-shaped rackets and offer more power than the round ones.
Do you want to know more about the different shapes and which shape the top players use? Read our article Padel Racket Shape → What You Need To Know
The balance of the padel racket
An important aspect when choosing the padel racket is the balance. It is determined by how the weight is distributed between the lowest and highest point, more specifically the grip and the head of the racket.
The balance largely affects how your padel racket feels on the padel court. The balance can be divided into three main categories: low balance, high balance, and medium balance.
Padel rackets with a low balance are generally pretty easy to handle and comfortable to play with. They suit players who seek security and maximum control in their shots. They are also more gentle to play with, which can help avoid injury. The disadvantage of the low-balance rackets is that they do not generate the same power in offensive shots such as volleys and smashes.
High balance padel rackets offer more speed in the attacking play, but at the expense of reduced control and comfort. They generally require better technique more experience than the low-balance rackets. If you are prone to injury, you should be careful about choosing a high balance padel racket.
If you are an all-round player who is looking for a good balance between speed and control, a medium balance racket can be a good alternative.
Want to know more about how the balance of a padel racket affects your game? Read our article What you need to know about the balance of the padel racket.
Hard of soft padel racket?
The next important aspect to consider when choosing your new padel racket is whether it should be hard or soft. They differ greatly when it comes to feeling and playability on the padel court.
Soft padel rackets
If you are a beginner, a soft padel racket can be a good choice, as it helps you get more speed. When you, for example, block a shot from the opponent at the net or hit a looser shot from the defensive part of the court, the elasticity generates more speed.
Soft padel rackets also absorb vibrations better, making them a good alternative for those who want to avoid injuries.
Hard padel rackets
Are you a more experienced player who hits hard? Then take a closer look at hard padel rackets as they generate more power. Good recoil with higher output speed is the result of the ball not being absorbed by a soft material.
In addition to being more powerful, harder rackets also offer better control for players with good technique.
Internal core and surface
The material in the internal core is normally either EVA, available in various densities or FOAM. The surface is made of either carbon fiber or fiberglass. Carbon fiber is a harder material with better durability, while fiberglass provides a softer feel when hitting the ball.
Want to know more about the differences between soft and hard padel rackets? Read our article Soft or hard padel racket – what should you choose?
The weight of the padel racket
How much should a padel racket weigh? The answer is that there is no optimal weight. You should make your choice based on your pre-conditions, such as playing style and physics. However, there are several general tips and guidelines that we talk about in this guide.
Differences between light and heavy padel rackets
The most obvious difference is that lower-weight padel rackets are easier to handle. They allow you to move the racket faster to get into the correct position in many situations on the padel court.
Heavier padel rackets are harder to handle, but instead, give you more power in the shots. This is easily explained by Newton’s second law: Power = Mass x Acceleration.
Select weigh based on your pre-conditions
If you are a beginner with an average technique, our recommendation is to choose a lighter racket. A too heavy racket will increase the risk of injuries.
The general rule is that the heavier you are, the heavier the racket you can play with. Of course, your fitness level also influences the choice of weight on the racket. A more athletic person can choose a heavier racket without the same risks of injury.
If you choose a padel racket with a high balance which is more difficult to handle, we recommend a racket with a lower weight. If your racket has a low balance, you do not need to pay attention to the weight as much as it is focused primarily on the grip.
General guidelines based on your body weight
Here are some general guidelines when selecting padel racket based on your body weight.
Men – body weight 50-70 kg: 360-365 grams
Men – body weight 70-80 kg : 365-375 grams
Men – body weight +80 kg: 380-390 grams
Women – body weight 40-60 kg: 340-355 grams
Women – body weigh 60-70 kg: 360-365 grams
Women body weight +70 kg: 370-375 grams
Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines, it is important that you try different weights on the padel racket to find the right one for you.
Want more information on how the weight of your padel racket affects your game? Read our article The weight of the padel racket – How it affects your game
The Best Padel Rackets of 2023
There is a huge amount of padel rackets on the market and new brands are being introduced regularly. We frequently try new models and publish our reviews at PadelJoy.
After reading this buyers guide, you hopefully have an idea of what type of racket you are looking for. In our guide Best Padel Rackets of 2023 you will find racket recommendations for all types of players.
Choosing a padel racket – Summary
There is no such thing as a perfect padel racket. Which racket is right for you depends on your personal preferences and pre-conditions. Choosing the right padel racket is done by asking yourself how often you play, what level you are playing on, your budget and your fitness level.
Padel rackets can be round, diamond-shaped, or teardrop-shaped. Round padel rackets suit beginners and more experienced players looking for control. More experienced players looking for power should take a look at diamond-shaped rackets. All-round players can benefit from teardrop-shaped rackets.
The balance of a padel racket is defined by how the weight is distributed. Low balance rackets have a weight distribution towards the grip, while high balance rackets have the weight distributed closer to the head of the racket. Low balance makes the racket easier to handle and more comfortable, while a racket with high balance generates more power.
There are various densities of the internal core of padel rackets. Fiberglass gives a softer feel while EVA is generally harder. Your personal preferences and playing style should determine which material to choose.
Another key aspect is the weight of the padel racket. Lighter rackets provide increased mobility on the padel court, while heavier rackets generate more power due to more mass. A tip for beginners is to choose a slightly lighter racket. Keep in mind that a too light or too heavy racket can cause injuries.
This buyers guide should be seen as a guideline. In the end, choosing the right padel racket is about finding a racket that you enjoy to play with and bring out the best of you on the padel court.
Want to learn how to play padel? Check out our guide How To Play Padel: Padel Rules.