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Ronbus Pickleball Paddle Buyer’s Guide | Reviews & Comparisons

Ronbus is a grassroots pickleball brand that grew substantially in 2023 and shows no signs of stopping. Ronbus keeps innovating new paddle tech, and word of their quality, low-cost offerings has been getting out to the public.

I’ve been testing Ronbus paddles extensively since their first model was released. I also have used Ronbus paddles as my main competition paddle outside of reviewing, so I have a lot of miles logged with the paddles on this list.

If you’re interested in getting a Ronbus paddle but aren’t sure which one, this paddle guide is for you.

Some areas Ronbus paddles excel in:

  • Performance. Ronbus paddles reliably perform above average. The cost-to-performance ratio is excellent, especially compared to paddles that cost twice from the big names without a boost in performance.
  • Innovation. Ronbus actively innovates paddle-making methods, such as Gen. 3 thermoforming.
  • Build quality. Ronbus uses top-notch production methods and materials. Expect the same craftmanship and source materials as the big brands.
  • Warranty. Their 6-month warranty is solid and the company is very responsive and supportive.

Here’s an at-a-glance summary of the paddle rankings in this review:

Nova Series

Price: $180$160 | Enter discount code DASHPB

Awards: Ronbus’s best thermoformed control paddle and most durable paddle

Where it excels: The Nova is a lightweight, maneuverable, thermoformed paddle emphasizing aggressive control and durability. It’s one of the more forgiving thermoformed paddles on the market. It’s less stiff than most thermos and has a plush feel for touch shots like dinks, drops, and resets, while still retaining higher-than-average power. Its “Gen.3” production methods provide confidence in its ability to resist thermoforming issues like delamination, disbonding, and core corruption. It also has great spin, right around the 2,000 RPM range.

Where it struggles: Being control-focused, the Nova has less pop and power than standard ultra-stiff paddles in the category. You won’t get as much compared to the Pulsar, for example. Its sweet spot also feels marginally smaller than the Pulsar and R.16 lines.

Where it stands in the lineup: The Nova is the thermoformed control option with an emphasis on durability. It’s a more aggressive paddle compared to the R.16 control lineup but less stiff and aggressive than the Pulsar. It’s right in the middle between an all-court and control paddle.

My opinion of the Nova line: The Nova performs admirably as a control-oriented thermoformed paddle. The balance between power and control with high spin is appealing. I also like the improved durability aspect, as no one enjoys the experience of a failing/delaminating paddle.

Who I recommend the Nova line to: The Nova’s focus on being lightweight, controllable, and durable means it’s good choice for a wide variety of players. I recommend it to players who want a thermoformed paddle but don’t need as much raw power as the Pulsar. It’s also ideal for those who don’t want to deal with paddle any paddle delimitation.

Should you choose the R1 Nova or R3 Nova? The R1 Nova is a shorter and faster hybrid-shaped option. You should go with the R1 Nova if you favor maneuverability and quickness at the net. The R3 Nova is elongated for players who want extra reach and a slight bump in power output over the hybrid-shaped R1. The R3 is slightly more forgiving and stable as well.

Be sure to add DASHPB coupon code at checkout for $20 off

Pulsar Series

Price: $150 | $130 |Enter discount code DASHPB

Awards: Ronbus’s best power paddle, best overall paddle recommendation

Where it excels: The Pulsar is Ronbus’s traditional thermoformed power paddle. It’s cemented itself as the go-to for high power and pop output. It doesn’t lose out on control, though. It’s firmly in the all-court paddle category, leaning towards pop and power. It’s excellent for drives, counters, and speed-ups. It has a large and forgiving sweet spot and a high 2,000+ RPM spin output.

Where it struggles: The Pulsar has a stiff feel that can make it harder to control for some players. Though it is on the lower end for stiffness when compared to other thermoformed paddles.

My opinion of the Pulsar line: Anyone seeking more offensive ability and a step up in power control paddle offers will like the Pulsar. It gives you a boost in offensive ability without losing too much control. The Pulsar is my favorite Ronbus paddle to use, and the he R3 Pulsar was my most utilized paddle in 2023. The Pulsar’s large sweet spot and relatively forgiving feel for a power paddle make it hard for me to put it down.

Who I recommend the Pulsar line to: Anyone who wants a thermoformed paddle that leans power and pop while still retaining decent controllability. While the stiffer feel may take getting used to, the Pulsar is a less stiff thermoform overall , making it one of the easier-to-handle power thermoformed paddles on the market.

Go with the R1 Pulsar if you favor fast hands and maneuverability or the R3 Pulsar if you want extra reach, slightly more forgiveness/stability, and slightly more plough-through power.

R.16 Series (Gen. 1 Control)

Price: $120 $100 | Enter discount code DASHPB

Awards: Ronbus’s best control paddle

Where it excels: The R.16 series is the non-thermoformed control paddle from Ronbus and really delivers in that area. The paddle’s touch is excellent and the sweet spot is big, minimizing mishits. Control and spin are top-notch. Durability is also excellent.

Where it struggles: Less power than other Ronbus paddles, requiring more effort to deliver strong drives, punches, and counters. It’s particularly soft on power in hot weather.

Where it stands in the lineup: This is the easy choice for control-focused players who want high performance at half the price of many competitors. It’s a great paddle to enhance your soft game and has excellent spin for added finesse capabilities.

Who I recommend the R.16 line to: Players that favor a control-oriented game or need help improving consistency in their soft game and preventing pop-ups. The extremely soft touch makes drops, resets, and dinks effortless.

Choosing between the R1.16, R2.16, and R3.16: The R1.16 is a hybrid-shaped paddle that has moderate length and high maneuverability with its low-swing weight. The R2.16 is a short but wide ping-pong-esque paddle that’s very headlight and maneuverable with a huge sweet spot. It does sacrifice some power compared to the other shapes. The R3.16 is elongated and has the most power and reach out of the three models. The trade-off is that it does sacrifice a bit of maneuverability over the other two shapes.

Be sure to add DASHPB coupon code at checkout for $20 off

EV2 (Foam core)

Price: $180 | $160 | Enter discount code DASHPB

Awards: Best EV Foam paddle on the market

Where it excels: Ronbus’s EV paddle hits insanely hard. It’s also amazingly arm-friendly, has a huge sweet spot, and is impressively durable for an EV core paddle.

Where it struggles: The EV2 isn’t an approved paddle for competitive play. As of yet, no EV foam core paddle has been approved. The power can be a negative in many instances, as it’s hard to control. Touch is also challenging to dial in. It can be hard to keep dinks and drops down, and it’s also very easy to send drives deep and wide.

Who I recommend the EV2 to: I often recommend this paddle to senior players who have very little self-generated power. The top-notch vibration-dampening of the EV is ideal for players with elbow issues, as well. It’s also good for rec players who want all the power available in a paddle at the expense of control. Just remember that this paddle is not tournament-approved, so some people will not want to play against it.

Be sure to add DASHPB coupon code at checkout for $20 off

In summary…

Ronbus is one of my preferred paddle companies to play with and recommend. The paddles from this small company perform well and the cost is right. No price gouging and plenty of innovation coming from Ronbus. They have some really cool paddles yet to come in the pipeline.

Alright, I’m going to go hit the courts with an R1 Pulsar. Happy pickling.

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