Choosing a pickleball paddle can be overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from and everyone seems to be hyping up different ones.
The reality is that a lot of pickleball paddles are marketing over substance. There are plenty of great paddles, but some many that have been hyped up won’t fit your needs & play style.
I’m a full-time paddle reviewer and have demoed out and recommended dozens of paddles to women while listening intently to their feedback. Today, I’ll be helping you pick a trustworthy paddle that’s tailored just for for you.
In this article, I’ve hand-picked a list of my top five paddles that will help you feel and play your best as a female player.
5 Paddle Characteristics for Female players to consider
Obviously, not all women play the same way or have the same physical attributes. But there are commonalities that female players tend to look for when choosing the right paddle for them.
1. Grip circumference
The shape and thickness of a paddle’s handle tends to be the most important consideration for the women that I play with and recommend paddles to. I recommend paddles with a 4″, 4.125″, or 4.25″ grip size for most women. The larger more chunky and boxy handles rarely appeal to men, much less women. Fortunately, those big boxy handles are largely going out of style.
2. Grip length
This one is more subjective than grip circumference. While most women want a small grip circumference, the length depends more on their style of play. Most women who come from tennis will want a longer grip length of 5.3″ or longer. This will give room for two-handed backhands and provides more whip and power on strokes. Shorter handles around 5″ are more suited for women who want a quicker-moving handle that doesn’t feel large.
Paddle weights vary significantly, typically ranging anywhere from 6oz to 12oz. There’s a sweet spot that most female players prefer their paddle to play at, and it usually falls in the 7.6oz – 8.4oz range.
- Lightweight paddles in the 7.5oz & lower range range move fast, but lack stability and aren’t great at absorbing vibration.
- Mid-weight paddles in that ideal 7.6oz to 8.4 oz range offer the best balance for most women in the areas of power, control, and maneuverability.
- Heavyweight paddles in the 8.5oz & higher range provide extra power but can be unwieldy and slow to swing, which decreases controllability.
This is, of course, going to be subjective, but many women prefer to play a control-focused game. Having a paddle that supports this style of game is important. For this reason, many women tend to favor soft and plush paddles over hard and stiff paddles with tons of pop.
While control is important, a lot of female pickleball players prefer a paddle that carries good amounts of pop and power to help give them some extra punch to their shots. It can feel good to have the paddle do a lot of the work for you. Some of the paddles on this list will provide that extra power edge and do so without playing too advanced and unnecessarily sacrificing control.
My Top 5 Recommended Paddles for Women
Alright, let’s move on to the paddles. Note that these might not be the paddles that you see the most on your local courts, such as the popular Engage and Paddletek models.
Those aren’t bad paddles, by any means. But they tend to be overly expensive and do not perform as well as the ones on this list. Their popularity is due to long-standing brand ambassadorship and sponsorships (tons of women buy Paddletek paddles because of Anna Leigh Waters, for example).
1. Vatic Pro Prism
$99.99($89.99 with code DASHPB)
- Shape: Hybrid (Flash) & Elongated (V7)
- Core thickness: 16mm
- Read the full Vatic Pro Prism Flash review
- Read the full Vatic Pro Prism V7 review
First place on this list was an easy choice. The Prism line of paddles from Vatic Pro has been a revelation since its release. Both models, the hybrid-shaped Flash and elongated V7, have been flying off the shelves.
Why the success? Because the Prism paddles play incredibly well, are made of high-quality materials, and are priced at a ridiculously affordable price of $89 w/ coupon code DASHPB.
The Prism is comparable to another excellent paddle in the $100 price range, the Ronbus R1.16. The Vatic Prism is $10 cheaper and includes superior edge-foam technology to the Ronbus, though.
A more direct comparison is the Simone Jardim edition Joola Hyperion CFS 16mm. Both feature the same Gen. 1.5 thermoforming tech and play very similarly. The reason why Vatic’s Prism made this list and the Hyperion didn’t? The Hyperion is $219 while the Vatic is $89.
- Grip circumference. The Prism’s grip size is 4.25″. It’s thin, but not the thinnest. It feels great stock in small hands, but it might be a bit too thick to add an overgrip to for some women.
- Grip length. The Prism’s grip length is 5.3″, which is a great length for most female players. It’s good for two-handed backhands without feeling unwieldy.
- Weight. The Prism Flash’s weight range is 7.9-8.2oz, while the Prism V7’s weight is 8.2-8.5oz. Both are in the ideal weight range, but the V7 tips at the top end of that range. The Flash will feel lighter and slightly better for most women.
- Controllability. The Prism line has a soft and plush feel, making it a great control paddle that will help improve anyone’s soft game. It’s very similar to the Hyperion CFS in this regard, which was the top control paddle of 2022.
- Power/pop. The Prisms are not power paddles, but they do have enough power and pop to keep your game fast, allowing you to apply pressure and pin your opponents back.
2. Ronbus R1 Nova
Ronbus makes some of my favorite paddles on the market. The Nova is Ronbus’s newest thermoformed line and features an excellent balance of power and control.
The Nova utilizes new proprietary tech that makes it the most durable thermoformed paddle. Ronbus has finally managed to crack the code and resolve issues such as core-crushing, disbonding, and delamination that have plagued thermoformed paddles.
Being a thermoformed paddle, the Nova is going to have more pop and power than a traditional control paddle. But after a little bit of an adjustment period, I think that a lot of female players will fall in love with this paddle. I have a lot of women in my local community testing this new paddle, and the response has been very good so far.
- Grip circumference. The Nova has a grip thickness of 4.125″. This is the ideal handle size that I recommend the vast majority of female players to pursue. It’s a great size for smaller hands and can easily be thickened up with an overgrip if desired.
- Grip length. The Nova has a handle length of 5.5″. This is my personal ideal handle length. It’s great for two-handed backhands and allows plenty of reach to get to tough shots.
- Weight. The Nova’s weight averages 7.8oz. This makes it the lightest thermoformed paddle available right now. The weight is going to be ideal for many women as the paddle is highly maneuverable and won’t cause strain.
- Controllability. The Nova is one of the softer and most controllable thermoformed paddles. It’s an excellent choice for women who like their paddle to do a good amount of the work for them while also being easy to reign in and control shots with.
- Power/pop. The Nova has a good amount of power and pop. If you’ve never played with a thermoformed paddle, it’ll take a minute to adjust to the stiffer paddle face. But once you adjust, you’ll really start to benefit from the paddle’s potency.
3. Six Zero Double Black Diamond
$180($162 with code DASHPB)
- Shape: Hybrid
- Core thickness: 16mm
- Read the full Double Black Diamond Review
The Six Zero Double Black Diamond (DBD) has been one of the most popular paddles of 2023, and for good reason. It’s got ample power, pop, and control to really improve your game. This is a thermoformed paddle like the Nova, so it’s going to be a bit more power-oriented than control oriented. But recent manufacturing changes have made this paddle more controllable than ever before. Once you adapt to the power and pop that the DBD delivers your game will feel far more effortless as you allow the paddle to do the work for you.
- Grip circumference. The grip size of the DBD is 4.25″, which puts it in the ideal range for most women.
- Grip length. The grip length of the DBD is 5.5″ which is within the ideal size range for most female players, especially ex-tennis players.
- Weight. The DBD’s average weight is 8.1oz, which is right in the middle of the ideal weight range. The paddle is also very well-balanced.
- Controllability. The DBD is a thermoformed power, so it is stiffer and poppier than Gen. 1 raw carbon fiber paddles, but it’s made with control in mind. The newest versions of the DBD are even more controllable than the original releases of the paddle.
- Power/pop. The DBD is on the lower end of the power side for thermoformed pickleball paddles, especially with recent changes that have softened it up some. It is quite poppy though, so it does take some time to adjust to the soft game. But once you do, the pop and power can be a huge aid to your game.
4. ProKennex Black Ace LG Daniel de la Rosa
This is the most unique paddle on the list compared to the others. It’s the only 10mm thick paddle, which gives it a much different feel and makes it more suited for intermediate to advanced women. The ProKennex brand is known for their vibration dampening technology, so this is an excellent paddle for those with tennis elbow issues. The paddle is more on the power side than the control side, but once you get used to it, this paddle is an excellent performer that’s agile and incredibly fun to play with. It also looks fantastic.
- Grip circumference. The Black Ace has the thinnest grip size on this list at 4 inches. A 4″ handle might feel small for some players, but many women I play with love the small grips from ProKennex.
- Grip length. The length of the Black Ace is 5.8″, which gives it the longest handle of any paddle on this list. Paddles like this are excellent for ex-tennis players and those with two-handed backhands. It’s also a great length getting extra reach and adding extra whip and force to your shots.
- Weight. The ProKennex Black Ace is 7.95oz, which is a perfect weight for most female players.
- Controllability. Thin paddles like the ones ProKennex sells are acquired tastes. While the control of the Black Ace might be intuitive for some, it takes others time to dial this paddle in. The paddle’s lightweight feel really helps the process.
- Power/pop. The Black Ace has a good amount of pop and power. It will make you feel like a powerhouse on the court even if you don’t have a ton of arm strength. This is a more aggressive paddle meant for intermediate to advanced female players.
5. Hudef Apex Pro
$89($80 with code DASHPB)
- Shape: Standard
- Core thickness: 14mm & 16mm
- Read the full Apex Pro Review
The Apex Pro is the cheapest paddle on this list at $80 after discount code DASHPB. It’s also the best control paddle in its price range. This is an excellent paddle for women who are looking to improve their control game with a great paddle at an inexpensive entry price.
- Grip circumference. The Apex Pro’s grip thickness is 4.125″ for the 14mm version and, 4.25″ for the 16mm. Both fall in the ideal range for female players.
- Grip length. The Apex Pro has the shortest handle on this list at 4.9″. This doesn’t make it well-suited for two-handed backhands, but some women who don’t require a long handle will prefer the Apex Pro’s short handle for the feel and maneuverability.
- Weight. The average weight of the Apex Pro falls between 7.8″ and 8.3″, which is right in the ideal range for most women.
- Controllability. This is the second-best control paddle on this list, behind the Vatic Pro Prism. It’s plush and has a very forgiving touch.
- Power/pop. As a control paddle, the Apex Pro doesn’t boast a ton of power or pop. You won’t surprise yourself with effortless hard-hitting drives when using this paddle, but the power output is just fine for a controlled play style. The thinner 14mm model will have more power than the 16mm.
I hope this post has proven helpful for your buying decision. The paddles on this list are some of my favorite paddles available in pickleball right now.
While this post is meant to help the average woman pick a stellar paddle, remember to consider your own needs. While most women don’t want a heavyweight paddle, some, like pro player Salmone Devidze, do. She boasts one of the heaviest paddles on the pro scene at around 11oz.
Just like male players, it’s good for you to test out multiple paddles to find the one that’s the perfect fit for you. But, chances are, you’ll be happy with any paddle that you pick from this list.
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