Six Zero is one of the more exciting paddle companies to hit the pickleball scene over the last year. They’re definitely doing things different and seem to have a great research & development process. Dale, the owner, is very passionate about the sport and innovating the paddle space.
In this post, I’ll be covering their most inexpensive pickleball paddle offering, the thermoformed Six Zero Sapphire. Their Diamond series gets most of the hype, but the Sapphire is definitely a paddle that’s worth taking a look at. I’ve featured the Sapphire on my list of best pickleball paddles for intermediate players. and best paddles for $100 or less.
Alright, let’s dive in.
Six Zero Sapphire Technical Specifications
$99($89 with code DASHPB)
- Type: Control/All-court
- Shape: Elongated
- Core thickness: 13mm
- Face: Toray 700 Raw carbon fiber w/ textured epoxy coating
- Average weight: 7.9-8.0 oz
- Grip length: 5.6”
- Swing Weight: 108
- Grip size: 4.25”
- Core: Honeycomb polymer
- Total length: 16.5”
- Width: 7.5”
- Warranty: 6-month for defects
Six Zero Sapphire Quick Summary
Unibody thermoformed (hot molded) paddles are all the rage at the moment. They hit hard, provide great spin, and are well-built. The Sapphire from Six Zero is the only thermoformed paddle I know of that’s being sold for under $100.
The Sapphire is a very solid paddle for this price range. It’s build quality alone dominates the under $100 space. I like the shape a lot. It reminds me of the Franklin Signature series paddle shape, but with better feel and performance.
Performance wise, the Sapphire feels well-balanced as an all-court paddle. It has great power, good spin, and good control.
I really enjoy the 5’6″ elongated handle on the Sapphire. I play with a two handed backhand and find 5’5″+ handles to be the ideal length. Even when I’m not utilizing a two-handed backhand, the elongated handle is nice because you can grasp the paddle lower on the handle and generate more power with your swing.
All in all, I’ve been happy with this paddle, especially at the price point. Six Zero is making fantastic paddles with attention to detail that’s second to none.
Being a thinner-cored 13mm thermoform model, the Sapphire’s power potential is definitely at the forefront. You can hit drives, overheads, and putaways hard with minimal effort.
I’d still class it as an all-court paddle, but it certainly leans towards power. The Sapphire can play as a legit singles paddle with its power output.
I’ve found the both the power and pop output from the Sapphire to be better than any other 13 or 14mm paddle I’ve played with. This paddle can be a weapon at the net with its solid pop combined with its low-low swing weight.
The Sapphire isn’t as poppy as other popular thermoformed paddle on the market right now, namely the Six Zero Black Diamond or Legacy Pro, but it does deliver more pop than non-thermoformed, Gen. 1 raw carbon fiber paddles.
Due to the Sapphire being thermoformed and featuring a thinner core, I was worried that I’d struggle to control it and reign in its power. But I don’t have any complaints after playing with it.
No, it’s not going to play with the control of a quality 16mm paddle. It doesn’t have edge foam like a lot of the high quality modern paddles. We are talking the $100 paddle range here, afterall. But it’s solid, nonetheless.
The Sapphire has a large sweet spot, which is consistent with all of the thermoformed paddles I’ve tried. It feels very good to hit a ball off the sweet spot, and it comes off the paddle like a rocket.
When it comes to quick hands and hand battles at the net, this paddle should improve your game significantly out of the gate. It’s very quick and maneuverable with its low swing weight of 108. It helps that the paddle feels very well balanced. Six Zero’s engineers clearly took the time to balance this paddle well.
If you want more control and forgiveness with the Sapphire, I recommend adding weighted tape to the lower half of the paddle. It will make your hits feel solid and reduce vibrations.
Spin wise, this unique textured epoxy coating they’ve put over the paddle face seems to be working and delivers a good deal of spin. It legitimately feels like small-grain sandpaper out of the box.
I tested the paddle’s spin rate and averaged around 1,700 RPM, which is solid for any paddle, especially in this price range. The Sapphire didn’t quite make my list of top pickleball paddles for spin, though the other Six Zero paddles did.
I believe that we’re discovering in the paddle world that friction is more meaningful than grit in creating spin. You have some new paddles that aren’t very gritty, but feel super friction-heavy to the touch. And these tend to be out-performing more gritty paddles in spin performance.
All in all, the grip and spin from the Sapphire is solid. I know they put the gritty surface coating on it simply to differentiate it from the premium diamond paddle line, but I’m not sure that it’s necessary.
I’d like to see newer iterations of this paddle focus on friction over grit, because I think the performance and surface longevity would be improved.
This is a well-made paddle that should stand the test of time, so long as it doesn’t face delamination issues. The hope is that Six Zero has remedies this issue that’s plagued newer gen thermoformed paddles. The belief is that they have.
Structurally, this paddle will hold. You won’t get any broken handles or edge guards falling off. This Sapphire does not feature a carbon edge seem like the Diamond series, but it should still be plenty reliable.
The paddle surface coating won’t last long by its nature. Any sprayed-on gritty coating suffers this fate. It will be interesting to see how it hold up over time though. I haven’t had enough time with the paddle to test how it wears with considerable use, and I know very few people who have played with it for an extended period of time.
But compared to other paddles in the $100 price range, this paddle will likely be miles ahead in the durability department. Most inexpensive paddles basically fall apart before too long, while the Sapphire should hold up quite well overall.
The Sapphire is a great choice for a paddle under $100. The unibody thermoformed build quality and Toray T700 carbon fiber used are top notch. You can get the Sapphire for $89 with code DASHPB from Six Zero’s website.
The only paddle I’d recommend before it in this price range is the Ronbus R1 16mm. It’s not as powerful, but gives better control performance than the Sapphire. But if you’re wanting a thermoformed paddle for $100, the Sapphire is absolutely the way to go.
Just six months ago you’d never be able to get a paddle of this quality in this price range. Even now, the Sapphire is similar in quality and build to the Rokne Curve X, which retails for $180. You could compare the Sapphire to the Power Air Invikta also, which is two times the price and doesn’t feel as good to play with (in my opinion).
Should you buy the SixZero Sapphire?
If you’re in the market for an inexpensive but premium paddle, the Sapphire is excellently designed and a great value for the money. If you’re a beginner looking to improve your game by moving on from your entry-level paddle, you won’t be let down by choosing the Sapphire.
The Sapphire is particularly great for improving hand speed and confidence at the NVZ line. The swing weight is one of the lowest that I’ve played with. For the price, you simply can’t go wrong. It’s a fun paddle to have around. If you already have a more premium paddle, the Sapphire is great as an inexpensive backup paddle or lender.
The Sapphire is currently backordered, so I recommend purchasing yours now to ensure that you can get it as soon as possible. If it’s unavailable for purchase due to demand, save the code DASHPB to get your discount when it’s available.
If you want more control for the price, the Ronbus R1.16 might be up your alley. It costs about the same as the Sapphire and is a 16mm gen. 1 raw carbon fiber paddle, which gives it better control performance.
If you’re okay with spending a bit more than $100, there are some stellar paddles in the $130-160 price range. Some of my top choices include the Legacy Pro, Vatic V7, Vatic Flash, Six Zero Black Diamond, and Six Zero Double Black Diamond. You will absolutely get your money’s worth from these paddles by spending only $30-60 more.
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