Electrum Model E Elite Paddle Review (Feel, Power, Spin, Control)

Electrum is a paddle manufacturer that’s been around the block for a while. The original Electrum Model E has been well-loved by players for years. I’d been wondering when Electrum would come out with a new version Model E and was pretty excited to hear about the Model E Elite when it was announced.

Upon hearing that the Elite would utilize the full suite of Gen. 2 thermoforming tech in the paddle, I became intrigued and hopeful that they’d take a unique spin on it. After playing with the Model E Elite for the past month and a half, I can confidently say that I see why Colin made the switch.

In this post, I’ll be breaking down everything I like and the few things I’m not so fond of with the Electrum Model E Elite.

Let’s dive in.

Electrum Model E Elite Technical Specifications

  • Price: $199 ($180 with this discount link)
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Type: Power/All-court
  • Core thickness: 16mm
  • Face: Reinforced raw carbon fiber
  • Average weight: 8-8.3oz
  • Handle length: 5.25″
  • Grip size: 4.5″ (feels smaller, though)
  • Swing Weight: 121
  • Spin RPM: 1800
  • Warranty: Six months

Quick Summary

The Electrum Model E Elite is made with the “Gen. 2” carbon-fiber paddle-making trends of thermoforming, edge-foam injections, and a high-quality Toray raw carbon fiber face.

Overall, the Model E Elite plays uniquely compared to other thermoformed paddles. Many of the current thermos are from newer companies that source pretty similarly with their production methods, while Electrum is well-established and has their own research & development and design methodologies.

The Model E Elite doesn’t make a case as the hardest-hitting thermoform. I’ve found that it plays like one of the most control-oriented Gen. 2 thermoform paddles on the market.

It’s one of my favorite new all-arounder thermoform paddles with one of the best carbon fiber surfaces I’ve hit with. I like this paddle a lot, and the Model E Elite would likely land in my top-two spot behind the Ronbus R3 Pulsar if there were just a couple of tweaks made to it (more on that later)

Feel

In hand, the Model E Elite looks and feels pretty familiar to the original Model E, as it has the same shape and length. There are, however, some notable changes that have been made.

Handle shape

The handle width is 4.5 inches, which is on the larger end. Many new paddles are released with 4.125″ thick handles, which I prefer. Though it’s worth noting that the Model E Elite’s handle actually seems a bit smaller than 4.5″. Mine is 4.3″ when I put a measuring tape to it. The handle is also a bit squarish feeling with its half-oval shape. It feels okay, but I’ve grown accustomed to and prefer octagonal-shaped grips. And I’ll note that the handle is made in one solid “carbon-forged” piece, meaning no foam inserts like many other brands do, and no exposed polymer in the handle like with the original Model E.

Handle length

The handle length of the Elite is 5.25 inches. For me, I find this length to be just okay. I prefer to have a longer handle, ideally 5.5″ or 5.6″ long. Longer handles like this provide easier access to two-handed backhands and more power, and just feels better balanced to me. But, for most players, 5.25″ might fit them just right. There’s still enough room to squeeze in a two-handed backhand for those with small to normal hand sizes, and the shorter length allows the paddle face to have more surface area.

Grip feel

I’ve never liked Electrum’s fake leathery ribbed-grip setup. It affects how my fingers sit on the handle and just doesn’t feel good in my hand. I’m sure some people like it, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that does. The grip also gets slippery fast when your hands accumulate sweat. The way the built-in raised cords of the grip align is for right-handed players and will feel off for left-handed players.

I played with the stock grip for one long play session to be reminded of how much I disliked it before replacing it with a new grip and overgrip. But you could add a single overgrip to the handle and it should feel pretty good.

Weight/distribution

The paddle is in the mid-weight range. The average weight listed is 8.0 to 8.3 oz, but mine came in at 8.4 oz. It feels slightly head-heavy, which could be caused by the thermoforming and edge-foam injections.

Overall, it doesn’t feel any less maneuverable than the original Model E, as that paddle is on the heavier and more cumbersome end.

The Elite has a swing weight of 121, which puts it on par with most elongated paddles, and is notably more maneuverable than the Hyperion CFS 16mm.

How it feels contacting the ball

As mentioned earlier, the Model E Elite plays uniquely. It’s the stiffest thermoform paddle that I’ve hit with it but doesn’t feel excessively poppy or difficult to control. I find it easier to control than the Double Black Diamond, which is a control-focused thermoform paddle, so the Model E Elite definitely lands high on the controllability spectrum.

The stiff feeling gives a nice response and feedback without feeling jarring. But note, this is comparing it against other thermoformed paddles. It feels much different than the original Model E, as that paddle is one of the softest and most plush feeling Gen 1. CF paddles. So the stiff feel of the Elite will turn some original Model E players off, or at least take them a while to adjust to.

Another thing to note is that the sound the paddle makes when it hits the ball changes depending on the power and speed of the shot made. A dink has a distinct sound that contrasts with the sound of a hard drive.

Power

The Model E Elite has the added power of an elongated thermoformed paddle but doesn’t hit as hard as some of the heaviest hitters, like the Legacy Pro, CRBN 1X, and Black Diamond.

As I’ve grown familiar with all of the thermoformed paddles, I find the slightly muted power of the Electrum Model E Elite and Ronbus R3 Pulsar to be perfect. It’s far more powerful than any Gen. 1 carbon fiber paddle I’ve played with, including the original Model E.

I can drive the ball low, hard, and with tons of pace with the Elite, all while having to worry less about hitting the ball out or popping it up. Your serves, drives, overheads, punches, and counters should be plenty explosive with the Elite.

I typically experiment with adding weight to my paddles for extra power and plow-through, but I only played with extra lead tape on my Elite for one play session before deciding that I didn’t need it.

Pop

I thought that with the stiff Electrum Model E Elite would be incredibly poppy. It’s not, which I’m actually happy with. The pop is present but surprisingly muted (compared to other thermoformed paddles), which is actually really nice for the overall balance of the paddle.

You can still hit the ball with plenty of pace and speed, giving your drives, speedups, and putaways that extra edge. But you won’t have to worry as much about popping it up or hitting it out of bounds as you would with a CRBN 1X or Six Zero Black Diamond.

Control

Being a thermoformed paddle, the Model E Elite is tougher to control than the original Model E. The original is one of the softest I’ve played with, so that’s to be expected.

But when compared to other thermos, I’ve found the Elite to be one of the best options for control. It hits plenty hard, but the ball doesn’t rocket off the face. It’s not as poppy or powerful as some thermos, making it more forgiving and easy to control. Overall, it’s gentle with a nice response and good feedback.

For a 16mm paddle, the sweet spot is very good. It hit reliably right out of the gate, though I did notice that far-off-center hits would die out pretty quickly. It’s not terrible in this regard, though. I’ve just been playing a lot with my Ronbus Pulsar R3, which feels good all the way out to the edges.

The paddle also feels quite stable and solid. Off-center hits won’t cause the paddle to twist in your hand very easily.

If you’re coming from a non-thermoformed Gen. 1 paddle, you’ll have to adjust a little bit to the stiff feel of the Elite. But it should be quicker than with some other thermoformed paddles.

Spin

The Electrum Model E Elite has great spin, like pretty much all Gen. 2 thermoformed paddles. It landed as an honorable mention in my list of the best high-spin paddles.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this tops a lot of previously renowned high-spinning paddles. Chris at Pickleball Studio measured the spin RPMs of the Elite at 1800. That’s high. In my experience, it definitely hits this threshold, and maybe even higher.

You can shape the ball readily with the Elite. My topspin and underspin shots were just as hard to hit as with the Legacy, Vatic Pro Flash 14mm, or CRBN 1X 14mm. My slice serve returns felt like true weapons with the Elite.

Interestingly, each side of the paddle face on my Elite had slightly different grit. This happens sometimes with pretty much all paddles, but it was funny to note how different they were. Both sides create a ton of speed, but one side definitely imparts more.

Overall, the Elite gets top marks for spin-imparting ability. Your slice game will get the boost it deserves.

Hand speed

The Model E Elite is elongated and mine came in at 8.4 oz, so it was unsurprisingly not a speed monster at the net.  It’s faster and more maneuverable than the original Model E, which is a bit of a head-heavy clunker in my book.

The Elite is a bit head heavy, which did make it feel slower than some of my other elongated thermos. I think that the shorter 5.25″ handle compared to the longer 5.4-5.5″ handles makes it feel head heavier. Though you do get more paddle face to work with.

I’ve seen swing-weight measurements of around 121-123 for this paddle, which checks out for what I’ve experienced with it. This makes it faster than certain paddles, such as the Hyperion CFS, about the same as the Vatic Pro V7 and Legacy Pro, but definitely slower to maneuver than others, like the Ronbus Pulsar R3 and SixZero Double Black Diamond.

Overall, I felt fine keeping up with speed-ups and engaging in hand battles at the net with the Model E Elite. But for players that value speed and maneuverability above other metrics, the Elite doesn’t deliver the goods like some others do.

Durability

There’s been a lot of talk about the durability of thermoformed paddles. Electrum has been using thermo tech since 2019 with the release of their Electrum Pro. They’re using a slightly different method than a lot of the other manufacturers. For example, their paddle isn’t unibody like most of the others.

Unibody or not, Electrum is known to create pretty durable paddles. They’re a large and established company so they can put more resources into their production than smaller ones. Electrum puts a lot of focus on sourcing, skilled labor, and quality control to ensure that they’re at the top of the game.

Electrum uses “whole-cell honeycomb condensed cores” to help prevent core crush and other durability issues. This method ensures that the honeycombs that fill out the edges of the paddle are not cut into partial structures, which can impede durability. Few paddle producers are doing this.

They have independent 3rd party quality inspectors that run a battery of quality tests on their paddles. One of the standard tests they’ve implemented is hitting paddles with a high-speed ball machine at 40-60mph 200 times on a paddle surface while measuring multiple performance metrics.

Value

At $180 with a discount code, the Electrum Model E Elite is a little bit on the pricier side for thermoformed paddles in 2023. But Electrum is a reliable company that’s been around the block with a six-month warranty, which is better than many other manufacturers.

You can get cheaper paddles that play similarly, like the Vatic Pro V7 or Legacy Pro, but the Electrum E Elite has its own identity and plays differently than other thermos with its consistent and control-oriented style.

All in all, I think the Model E Elite is a solid value at $180. Especially when other large, established pickleball companies are charging $220+ for similar paddles.

Should you buy the Electrum Model E Elite?

The Elite has an excellent blend of power and control which makes me not want to put it down. The swing weight is a little high, but it’s not going to be a problem for the vast majority of players. Overall, it’s the perfect thermoformed paddle for someone who wants excellent spin and power but prioritizes control, as well.

If you like Electrum and want a unique and interesting feeling new-gen paddle, then you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up the Model E Elite. You can get 10% off your Elite here at Just Paddles.

While not the cheapest new thermoformed paddle available, Electrum has stood the test of time and puts a lot of care and attention into their paddles.

I will say that the grip length and shape do make me want to put it down, at times. The thick and boxy grip that’s just a bit too short for my liking is the Achilles heel that stops me from fully falling for this paddle. I just love the thinner 4.125″ grip paddles with longer (5.4″+) handles too much. I’m really hoping that Electrum releases a longer-handled Elite with a thinner grip circumference.

The polarizing grip style is of course subjective. Some people love it, and prefer the Elite and other Electrum paddles because of their grip type.

If you have small hands or just prefer a smaller grip, then I recommend checking out some other excellent thermoformed paddles which are getting a lot of attention, such as the Ronbus Pulsar R3 (my favorite paddle), the Legacy Pro, The Vatic V7, and the Six Zero Double Black Diamond.

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