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Your Guide to Pickleball Picker-Upper Paddle Attachments

So, you love playing pickleball, but you hate bending over to pick up balls?

You’re not alone!

Ball retrieval is one of the least appetizing aspects of the sport. Compared to tennis, pickleball paddles are shorter, and pickleballs are less bouncy. Not a good combo.

It can be so frustrating to hit your physical limit due to picking up balls rather than leaving it all out on the court.

Fortunately, there are solutions on the market that can make picking up pickleballs much easier (and quicker) for you.

There are three main pickleball picker-upper tools that I recommend.

  • Tube retrievers
  • Cart ball retrievers
  • Paddle attachment retrievers (this post)

In this post, we’re covering the paddle attachment retriever, which adds length and ball-suction ability to your paddle to help you pick up pickleballs more easily.

In my experience, these are almost always excellent purchases for the right person.

Proper installation and paddle compatibility help you get the most out of your paddle retriever. More on that later.

Top Pick

A game-changing paddle attachment which enables you to pick up balls with ease. It saves your back, hips, and knees, freeing you up to work hard in the game, not picking up balls.


Who is the pickleball suction cup paddle attachment for?

Those pre-existing back, hip, knee, or other physical restrictions that strain from overuse. Picking up balls with the paddle attachment results in less bending and less strain, allowing you to play longer pain-free.

Those who want to actively prevent developing physical restrictions. You don’t need to have a physical ailment now to warrant using one of these attachments. Using proper equipment and form can help you avoid pain in the future and keep you limber longer.

Those who want to easily reach balls in hard-to-reach places. It’s already uncomfortable enough to reach down to pick up an errant ball. It’s even worse when that ball has landed behind a chair or in any hard-to-retrieve place.

Those who want to hand the ball over to their partner easier. We don’t always pick up balls just for ourselves. We also retrieve them for our partner. Instead of avoiding extra bending by kicking a ball to your partner, you can pick up the ball easily with a retriever and hold it up to your partner, who can effortlessly grab the ball from the attachment.

Those who want an easy conversation starter on the court. It’s hard for people not to comment on the smoothness of picking up a ball casually with a suction picker-upper. While some people might feel self-conscious using one, the reality is that 99% of people find the tool impressive and love to ask questions about it!


It helps your body feel better. This tool will noticeably reduce the impact of pickleball-related back, knee, and leg strain in your game.

It picks up both indoor and outdoor balls from all brands. These have no problem handling the variety of ball types out on the market. Just make sure it’s not a brand-new ball. Five minutes of play give them a rough texture to grab onto.

The suction technology is effective. These attachments do the actual picking-up job quite well. You simply press down on the ball with the end of your paddle and it picks it up immediately. It will then hold the ball until you or your partner pull it off. Note that brand-new balls don’t provide the best suction, but after being played with for 5 minutes or so it should be easily picked up.

It helps you play pickleball longer and more often. Our bodies wear out from playing the game enough already. If you love the sport, you want to give yourself the best opportunity to play it often. Reducing the effort you expend while picking up balls helps that.

It doesn’t get in the way of your play. There is some size and weight to the picker-upper, but the ergonomics make the attachment never truly become a nuisance.

It fits on all paddles with very few exceptions.  It’s not always easy to add the attachment to a paddle (more on that later), but it’ll adhere to pretty much any standard pickleball paddle with a little effort spent.


They can get in the way for some people. While a non-annoyance to most, certain people’s hands and playstyle can interact with the attachment in unpleasant ways. Some people have told me it rubs their hands when they play due to the way they hold their paddles. Others have said that it gets in the way of their two-handed backhand. While they could change their grip or get an elongated handle paddle to resolve the issue, for some people, it’s not worth it.

They can change the weight and overall “feel” of the paddle. It won’t be hard to adjust to for most, but for others, the change in paddle feel can be an annoyance. I’ve had people tell me that the way it rotates in their hand the changed balance and weight of the paddle throws them off. But I’ve typically only seen it take 30 minutes before a level of comfort sets in.

Paddle attachments like the picker-upper are not legal to use in competitive play. While a great tool for warmups, practice, and recreational/competitive social play, these suction attachments are not allowed in tournaments. Though you should check with the lead refs at your tournament.

Best practices for attaching to your paddle

A number of people buy a Pickleupper and mistakenly think it won’t fit on their paddle.

For example, I’ve met a number of Selkirk paddle users who have heard it won’t work with their paddles.

The truth is that it fits on both small and large paddle handles. But it just requires more work sometimes to get it onto the larger-handled paddles.

Here are the best practices for adhering a Pickleupper to your paddle:

  1. Fold the suction cup back on itself to the point that it’s moderately inside out
  2. Wiggle the exposed narrow area onto the handle of your paddle in a twisting motion
  3. Go as far as you can, then unfold the suction cup

If you’re struggling to do step 2, try one or more of the following:

  • Add hot, soapy water to the inside of your picker upper attachment and onto the end of your paddle before attempting to put it on your paddle
  • Stretch the opening of your Pickleupper before attempting to put it on your paddle
  • Heat your Pickleupper in water to at or near boiling before attempting to put it on your paddle
  • Use a small amount of Vaseline on the end of the paddle before attempting to put it on your paddle

While it can be difficult to get this accessory mounted, it’s secure once it’s here. No shame if you need a friend’s help!

Final Verdict

If you dislike bending for pickleballs, then the value of this paddle attachment is well worth it.

It’s inexpensive, and when properly installed, becomes a game-changer for many pickleball players.

I’ve talked to many players who can now reach all the way down to the ground to retrieve a ball with ease say they’ll never go back.

They value that they can play much longer before their back, hips, or other body parts signal to you that it’s time to call it quits for the day.

Overall, this is a great product for those looking for an edge to play and stay active for as long as possible.

Just be ready for the comments! They’ll typically range from “I love that thing!” to “Where do I get one of those?”

Feel free to send them to this post.


My recommended brand: The PickleUpper

Top Pick

PickleUpper Original Pickleball Retriever

A game-changing paddle attachment which enables you to pick up balls with ease. It saves your back, hips, and knees, freeing you up to work hard in the game, not picking up balls.


I recommend buying the original, tried, and true brand of picker-upper attachments. Every PB player that cares about back health should consider buying one of these.

They make a wonderful gift for older folks just discovering pickleball or to anyone who’s fallen in love with the game.

With the PickleUpper, you have a guarantee of good quality. There are a number of cheaper brands – but we’re talking a difference of $7 or so dollars in price.

It’s simply not worth it to roll the dice to save $7 when you could instead rest assured that you’re getting the best option available with the PickleUpper.

Buy one, benefit from it, and sing its praises to others! Our backs, hips, and knees will thank you for it.

Closing tips

While the suction cup doesn’t irritate most people’s hands, it happens more often on short-handled paddles. To remedy this, I recommend getting an elongated handled paddle.

Bring a second paddle to mark your place in line on chainlink fence queueing systems. Sometimes you have to line up your paddle to get in line for a court. But the PickerUpper attachment won’t fit in a fence, which many groups use to reserve with. To resolve this, bring another paddle that doesn’t have a PickerUpper on to hang up on the fence when you want to save your place in line.

To make a modified pickleball picker-up with a longer reach, consider making a DIY tube picker-upper. Cut a 4 foot piece of 24″ PVC pipe and attach it to one of a T end handle, and the user end attach a PickleUpper with electrical tape. You can then pick up a ball with great reach and easily tap it into a bucket. You could also simply buy a tube pickleball collector, which has a number of other benefits, as well.

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