Soft of hard padel racket – what’s best? The hardness of the internal core and the surface are one of the most important factors when choosing a padel racket. It greatly affects the feeling and playability on the padel court.
In this article, we explain the differences to help you make the right decision. Even though there are many different densities on padel rackets, we will categorize them into two main categories: hard and soft.
Soft padel rackets: good speed
The first category to analyze is soft padel rackets. These are great for beginners as they help the player to accelerate the ball and generate speed.
We refer to speed as the velocity the ball gets at no or little effort. An example is when you block a fast ball from the opponent at the net or hit a looser shot from the defensive part of the padel court. Thanks to a bigger elasticity of the inner core, more speed is generated in these situations.
While softer rackets generate more speed with no or little effort, it’s the opposite when hitting hard on the ball, for example in smashes. As the ball travels further into a soft padel racket, the power gets absorbed.
A soft racket is more comfortable and generally has a larger sweet spot. It also absorbs vibrations in a better way and is therefore well suited for those who want to prevent injuries.
Hard padel rackets: great power and control
Generating good speed at looser shots may be the main advantage of a soft racket. A hard racket, on the other hand, is a lot more powerful.
When you hit hard during a volley or a smash, the recoil of a hard racket generates a higher output speed. That’s simply because the power is not absorbed by the core in a hard racket.
Another advantage of a hard racket is that it offers better control. Players with good technique and experience can place shots with more precision using a harder racket.
On the contrary, a hard racket doesn’t generate the same speed at shots with no or little effort due to less elasticity. It’s also not as comfortable or as good at preventing injuries as a soft racket.
Different types of materials in a padel racket
What’s making a padel racket hard or soft? It’s determined by the materials used in the internal core and the surface of the racket.
Generally speaking, there are two types of materials used in the core: EVA and FOAM. EVA is available in many different densities, where a higher density gives a harder racket. In most cases, a racket where FOAM is used means a softer touch.
The most common core is EVA. Thanks to a variety of densities it can be used in many different types of padel rackets. Even though there are softer versions of EVA, it’s generally harder than FOAM, making it less effective in reducing vibrations. Something to keep in mind if you are injury-prone.
Regarding the surface of the padel racket, there are mainly two materials used; carbon fiber and fiberglass.
Carbon fiber is a tougher material that is durable, while fiberglass is softer and has slightly lower durability. It’s not unusual for manufacturers to combine these two materials to achieve specific characteristics.
One of the most important factors when choosing a new padel racket is the hardness.
Soft padel rackets offer good speed at looser shots and is, therefore, a popular choice for beginners. They also absorb vibrations well, which can reduce the risk of injury.
Experienced players who hit harder on the ball get more power using hard rackets, as the power is not absorbed by the core. Hard rackets also offer better control.
The internal core of a padel racket is normally produced out of EVA or FOAM. The most common material is EVA due to its availability in different densities. The surface is usually made of either carbon fiber or fiberglass, where carbon fiber is harder and more durable.
So should you choose a soft or a hard racket? It all depends on your experience, style of play and especially your preferences. We suggest that you try different rackets until you find out what works best for you.
Want to know more about what to consider before choosing your new padel racket? Read our comprehensive guide Choosing the Right Padel Racket – The Complete Guide