The Best Pickleball Paddles for Spin in 2023, Ranked

As a pickleball paddle reviewer, I play with just about every paddle on the market. Today I’ve compiled a list that’s been long in the making – my list of top paddles for spin performance in 2023.

The playing field has changed with new paddle technologies emerging this year. The highest spinning paddles from last year didn’t even get close to making this year’s list.

The standard test is to measure a paddle’s ability to impart spin by measuring RPMs. Last year, RPMs of 1,600 were top-tier. This year, you have to be in the 1,800 RPM range to even compete, with many paddles on this list ripping balls in excess of 2,000 RPM.

While raw RPM output is important when choosing a high-spinning paddle, this article isn’t just a list ordered by the highest RPM numbers. More goes into choosing a paddle than spin. A lot more. Some great paddles have been left off the list due to lower-priced competitors challenging them for the crown.

How I compiled this list

I use a high-framerate camera to capture footage of me striking a two-toned ball. I then study the footage frame-by-frame to assess RPM performance. It’s not a perfect science because I’m hitting it and not a machine, but I do my best. I also collect information from other paddle reviewers and test it against my own findings.

While spin numbers are a big focus, my primary emphasis in this ranking is to compile the best high-spinning paddles overall. This means taking into account other factors in addition to spin, including power output, controllability, price, and durability.

Why? Because some paddles that impart tons of spin onto the ball aren’t high-performance paddles outside of that ability.

You can rest assured that the paddles on this list both have top-tier spin and are overall excellent paddles that I’d recommend for multiple reasons.

It’s important not to get too hung up on the order of the list below. Every paddle on this list provides top-tier spin, as every paddle in this ranking is utilizing new-generation tightly woven Toray T700 raw carbon fiber paddle faces.

Also, just because a paddle didn’t make this list, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good paddle for spin. For reference, any paddle that has RMPs of 1,700+ would be considered high spin. After that, you get somewhat diminishing returns.

You might notice that no big-name companies made the top 10 on this list. In fact, the rankings are comprised mostly of paddle lines from three smaller companies, with a few outliers.

Big paddle companies like Joola, Selkirk, CRBN, and Engage are incredibly popular and have done a lot for pickleball, but serious competition has come for them this year. Newer companies have started to surpass them both in innovation and price performance.

With that said, let’s dive into the list.

1. Vatic Pro Prism (Best Paddle for Spin & Control)

The Vatic Pro Prism line has been a revelation since its summer 2023 release. The Prism’s combination of high spin, control, excellent build quality, and low price make it an easy choice for players who want a high-performing paddle that doesn’t break the bank. The Paddle comes in two shapes: Flash (Hybrid) and V7 (Elongated).

At 1951 RPMs, the Prism’s spin is top-tier. You can maximize your slices and topspin with the Prism, easily bending shots to your liking.

The Prism belongs in the Gen 1.5/thermofoamed (not thermoformed) paddle category, along with 2022’s most popular paddle, the Joola Hyperion CFS. It features the same production methods as the Hyperion at a much cheaper cost ($89.99 vs. $220) while improving both durability and spin output over the Hyperion.

For this reason, it tops this list, along with others, including the best paddles of 2023, best beginner paddles, best paddles for women, and best paddles under $100.

2. Ronbus R1.16/R3.16

  • Price: $120 ($100 with code DASHPB)
  • RPM: 2098
  • Paddle type: Control
  • Skill Level: Beginner/intermediate
  • Read the full Ronbus R1.16 Review

The Ronbus R1/R3 16mm paddle line is well-built, high-performing, and budget-friendly with excellent spin. This is one of my top recommended non-thermoformed paddles across all categories.

My testing scores of the R1.16 resulted in RPMs of 2098, which puts it near the top of spin generation. I remember being blown away by its spin capabilities the first time I played with this paddle in early 2023. Ronbus paddles are excellent across the board, and their non-thermoformed R1/R3 are especially good for a controlled soft game with the ability to add tons of spin.

3. Ronbus Nova

  • Price: $180 ($160 with code DASHPB)
  • RPM: 1929
  • Paddle type: All-court/Power/Control
  • Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Read the full Ronbus R1 Nova Review

The Nova is currently my favorite paddle to play with. It’s an innovative thermoformed paddle that uses new “Gen. 3” innovations which seemingly solved the durability issues that have plagued thermoformed paddles since their inception.

Like other Ronbus paddles, the Nova’s spin performance is absolutely top-notch. My Nova didn’t break 2,000 RPMs like my Ronbus R1/R3 and Pulsars did, but the 1929 RPM number I got from the Nova is still exceedingly good.

If you’re looking for a well-priced ($160 after code) high-performing thermoformed paddle with fixes that have solved the delamination/disbonding/core-crush durability issues, then the Nova might be for you. I cover a lot more about the paddle in my review.

4. Six Zero Double Black Diamond (DBD)

The Double Black Diamond (DBD for short) is one of the few thermoformed paddles to emphasize control, and it balances that distinction well. It’s also one of the best paddles to arrive on the scene this year.

In addition to its excellent combination of control and power, the DBD generates top-of-the-line spin numbers above 2,000 RPM. This makes the DBD an excellent choice for players who can handle the power of a thermoformed paddle without needing to sacrifice control or spin.

While some beginners might do well with the DBD, I’d recommend most beginners to play with one of the first two paddles on this list, as they’re non-thermoformed and easier to control. High-tier beginners and intermediate/advanced players would do well picking up the DBD to boost their spin numbers and overall performance.

5. Ronbus Pulsar

The R3 Pulsar is one of the most durable and controllable Gen. 2 thermoformed paddles. It’s also, you guessed it, a very spin-heavy paddle. The Pulsar is my favorite paddle next to Ronbus’s newest Nova line. At spin levels of 2076 RPM, the Pulsar has all the spin you could need from a paddle.

The Pulsar is an ideal paddle choice for someone who wants tons of spin and the power of a thermoformed paddle without sacrificing control. Next to the Double Black Diamond, the Pulsar is one of the softest thermoforms on the market. It’s less poppy than the DBD, which makes it edge out in the control category. It has slightly more power than the Ronbus Nova.

The Pulsar is also one of the most durable paddles in the thermoformed category. I haven’t heard about any delaminated/core-crushed Pulsars. It’s a great choice for a high-spinning thermoformed paddle, especially with its recent price drop to $130 with code DASHPB

6. Vatic Pro Flash & V7

  • Price: $139.99 ($129.99 with code DASHPB)
  • RPMs: 2,001 (V7), 1,902 (Flash 16), 2,044 (Flash 14)
  • Paddle type: All-court/Power
  • Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Read the full Vatic Pro V7 Review and Flash Review

The original Vatic Pro thermoformed paddle line has become quite popular in 2023 and for good reason. They’re high-performers with tons of spin and style. At $129.99 when discounted, they’re also some of the most well-priced paddles in the thermoformed category.

The paddles come in two shapes. The V7 is an elongated paddle that gives slightly more power and reach over the Flash model. The Flash model features a curved aerodynamic shape that benefits from being lighter weight and more maneuverable.

7. Six Zero Black Diamond (Best Paddle for Spin & Power)

  • Price: $180 $162 (w/ code DASHPB)
  • RPM: 1943
  • Paddle type: Power/All-court
  • Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Read the full Black Diamond Review

The Black Diamond is my favorite power paddle on the market. It has excellent spin and a good amount of control for a power paddle of its caliber. If you’re into power paddles that can rip balls with tons of spin, then the Black Diamond is a great choice.

It’s not the hardest-hitting paddle on the market, that distinction would probably go to the ProKennex Black Ace. But compared to other power paddles, I don’t see any of them being able to impart nearly as much spin as the Black Diamond. The Black Ace, for example, has RPMs in the low 1600s. The control and overall of Six Zero’s Diamond line is all around top-notch, as well.

8. Volair Mach 1 Forza

  • Price: $179.99 $162 (w/ code DASHPB)
  • RPM: 2028
  • Paddle type: All-court/Power
  • Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Read the full Volair Mach 1 Forza Review

The Mach 1 Forza is another big-spinning quality thermoformed paddle. I just got done playing with this paddle before writing this review and had a ton of fun dipping my serves like crazy and catching people off guard with big slice returns.

I really like this paddle, and if I wasn’t accustomed to high-spinning thermos I’d be pretty floored by it. Compared to other thermos, the Mach 1 Forza is notable for its top-notch spin and high level of pop.

I recommend picking up the Mach 1 Forza if you like poppy thermoformed paddles, longer handles (it features a 5.5″ length handle), and/or the quality aesthetic of the paddle. The price is good. It’s also Julian Arnold’s signature paddle, so if you’re a fan of his, this is a fun paddle to rep.

9. Bread & Butter Filth

  • Price: $165 ($140.25 with code DASHPB)
  • RPM: 1854
  • Paddle type: All-court/Power
  • Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Read the full B&B The Filth Review

The Filth is the first premium paddle offering from the intriguing new paddle company Bread & Butter. It’s a thermoformed paddle with great spin that performs well all around. It also has my favorite design & graphics out of all the paddles on the market.

The paddle is really fun to play with. It’s crisp with great controllability and a large sweet spot. It can create a lot of spin, but its output isn’t quite as top-tier as some of the others on this list. Though 1854 RPM is quite respectable and got it a place on this list.

The Filth is priced well at $140.25 after discount code, and it’s a great option for someone who wants a paddle that’s shaped similarly to the CRBN 1X but cheaper, crisper, and more durable.

10. Hudef Apex Pro

  • Price$89 ($80 with code DASHPB)
  • RPMs: 1,827 (16mm), 1,839 (14mm)
  • Paddle type: Control
  • Skill level: Beginner/intermediate
  • Read the full Hudef Apex Pro Review

I’ll close this list with another affordable beginner-friendly control paddle that has a ton of spin. Spin levels north of 1,800 are excellent for an $80 paddle.

The Apex Pro is ideal for beginners or control-focused players who prefer a shorter handle (the R1.16 and Prism both have elongated handles). The paddle is soft and plush enough for any beginner player to get their bearings on the game.

Hudef also has an inexpensive thermoformed paddle, the Viva Pro, which has respectable RPMs in the 1,775 range. You can read a review of the Viva Pro here.

Honorable Mentions

The Legacy Pro. The LP is the first high-spin thermoformed paddle to really catch fire. My tests put it near the 2,000 RPM mark. The only reason it didn’t make the top 10 in this list is that the manufacturing consistency from Legacy has been lacking. When they’re popularity expanded they were forced to up production, and their spread to multiple factories kept the paddles from feeling consistent batch after batch. You can read the full Legacy Pro Review here.

The Electrum Model E Elite. My Model E Elites scored 1856 RPMs, which is respectable and makes the paddle a great choice for those who want high spin. It didn’t make the list because I already have a lot of thermoformed paddles in the top 10 and Electrum was recently forced to remove the graphene reinforcement from the paddle face of their Model E Elite due to trademark issues. You can read the full Electrum Model E Elite Review here.

Joola Perseus/Scorpeus. This paddle line is hugely popular and features some great paddles. My RPM ratings for these paddles ranged in the upper 1700 to upper 1800 RPMs, which is respectable. The paddles are just too expensive though to compete with the ones featured in the top 10. If they had better price-to-performance ratios, I’d have included them. You can read the Joola Perseus review here.

CRBN 1X/2X/3X. CRBNs thermoformed power series paddles are another high-spinning thermoformed paddle offering. The 1X/2X had some major delamination/core-crush issues, but I think they’ve addressed it with the 3x. This paddle line all has high spin around the 1,900-2,000 RPM level. The biggest knock on CRBN which kept them off the list is price. The CRBNs are far more expensive than any paddle that made the list. If they had better cost-to-performance, I’d consider adding them to the top 10.

Selkirk paddles. Selkirk has some high-performance paddles in their line with a lot of spin. The new 006 Tour gave me RPMs of 2100. The Power Air RPMs were just over 2,000, and the Project 002 and 003 both have RPMs around 1,800. But aside from their spin, these paddles just don’t have a great cost-to-performance ratio. For example, the Project 006 would be near the top of this list if not for its $333 price tag.

FAQ

Can a paddle really improve your spin game?

Yes, absolutely. But you need to actually have a good spin game as a prerequisite. A paddle’s ability to enhance spin requires you to make shots that impart spin to begin with. If you want a lot of spin in your game, learn to hit top-spin and slice shots.

Once you’ve introduced the right techniques into your form, the paddle will really be able to help you get your spin to the next level.

Should beginner players choose their paddle based on its spin capabilities?

Typically, no. Or not exclusively. The focus for beginner players should be on control. But, fortunately, some excellent beginner-friendly control paddles have fantastic spin, like the first two on this list.

If a beginner has a high-spin paddle, they should focus on other aspects of their form before trying to add spin onto every shot. Get the basics down so your shot mechanics are consistent, and then learn to apply spin. There’s no need to learn to maximize spin at the beginner level.

Conclusion

I hope this list has helped you choose your next paddle. Every paddle listed is excellent across the board and well-priced.

If you continue to hunt for high-spin paddles, remember that any RPMs of 1,700 or higher are excellent. You get diminishing returns after that. However, the difference between 1,700 RPM and 2,100 RPM is definitely noticeable.

And remember, your spin performance depends more on your form and technique than the paddle. If you want to get the most performance possible, learn how to improve your spin game in addition to picking up a new paddle.

Good luck out there!

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2 thoughts on “The Best Pickleball Paddles for Spin in 2023, Ranked”

  1. I enjoyed both your Six Zero paddle reviews (DBD 16mm and BD) and ended up buying both. After playing with these for a month, you were spot on in your review. I’m favoring the BD more than the DBD at the moment due to that extra pop and dialing in the control. Don’t get me wrong, the DBD 16mm is an excellent paddle with a higher level of control.

    I’m curious your thoughts about the Six Zero BD Pro model with the purple edge guard.

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