Been playing pickleball for a while? Then it’s probably time to find the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players and level up your game. Intermediate paddles are stronger, more balanced, and tend to be pricier, which also makes them feel better.
If you’re serious about playing pickleball more and more, then an upgrade is going to be worth it for your gameplay.
In this article, we’ll explore the best pickleball paddles designed specifically for intermediate players and provide you with a buyer’s guide so you can make an informed choice for your next game. We’ll also be giving our top 5 recommendations for the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players.
Who Are Intermediate Pickleball Players?
Intermediate pickleball players are those who have moved beyond the beginner stage and have developed a solid foundation of skills. They understand the basics of the game—such as proper grip, positioning, and shot selection.
Intermediate players will need paddles that will complement their playstyle and give them even better control over their shots.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pickleball Paddle for Intermediate Players
Intermediate players like yourself already know your play style. Do you like to be aggressive or on the defense? Are you a strong hitter or a soft hitter?
Finding the right pickleball paddle will significantly improve your performance. Factors like power, control, balance, and spin will help you choose a paddle that fits your style of play.
The Different Types of Paddles
Pickleball paddles come in several different types, with the most common ones being composite paddles, graphite paddles, and wooden paddles. Wooden paddles are mostly for beginners, so we won’t be going into detail about those.
Here are the key differences between these graphite and composite pickleball paddles.
Composite Pickleball Paddles
Composite paddles offer a balanced combination of power and control. They are versatile and well-suited for various playing styles. Intermediate players will benefit from the flexibility that composite paddles provide.
These paddles provide a good level of control for more precise shots. This control is essential as intermediate players progress and focus more on strategic shot placement rather than relying solely on power.
Composite paddles are known for their durability. They can withstand the rigors of pickleball play, including impacts with the court surface, without suffering significant damage. This durability ensures that intermediate players can rely on their paddle for consistent performance over time.
Many composite paddles are designed to dampen vibrations, providing a comfortable and stable feel during play. This feature is beneficial for intermediate players who want to reduce the impact on their hands and arms, especially during longer matches.
Composite paddles come in various weight ranges, allowing intermediate players to choose a weight that suits their playing style. Whether they prefer a slightly heavier paddle for more power or a lighter one for better maneuverability, there’s likely a composite paddle that fits their needs.
While high-end composite paddles can be quite expensive, there are budget-friendly options available. Intermediate players can find composite paddles that offer a good balance of performance and price, making them accessible to a wide range of players.
Graphite Pickleball Paddles
Precision and Control
Graphite paddles excel in providing precision and control. Intermediate players who are refining their skills and focusing on shot placement benefit from the exceptional touch and finesse that graphite paddles offer.
Graphite paddles are typically lighter than other paddle types, which enhances maneuverability. Intermediate players can react quickly at the net and during fast-paced exchanges, allowing for better control of the game’s tempo.
A lot of graphite paddles are designed to minimize vibrations. Intermediate players will feel less fatigued and more comfortable using these paddles, even during longer games.
These paddles often have textured surfaces that enhance grip on the ball, making it easier for intermediate players to practice generating spin. Spin can add depth and unpredictability to their shots and is often used by advanced players.
High-quality graphite paddles are durable. Intermediate players can use them to keep practicing, and they should last a long time.
Availability of Options
Graphite paddles come in various designs, weights, and price ranges, making it easier for intermediate players to find a paddle that aligns with their preferences and budget.
Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players
Selkirk AMPED S2
The Selkirk AMPED S2 features a graphite face and a polymer core, striking a perfect balance between power and control. Its elongated shape provides an extended sweet spot, making it forgiving on off-center shots. Its advanced features and superior craftsmanship are geared towards enhancing your performance and helping you reach your full potential in every game.
Intermediate players love this paddle for its versatility. It offers excellent control for precise shots while still providing enough power for smashes and drives. The comfortable grip and lightweight design make it easy to maneuver on the court.
- Comfort Grip™ with grip circumference of 4.25 in
- With FiberFlex™ technology for a surface that produces spin while enhancing control
- Large surface area
- A responsive graphite face that ensures consistent ball contact and enhances your ability to control shots precisely
- Designed with a polypropylene honeycomb core that offers the right amount of power and touch
PaddleTek Tempest Wave Pro
The Tempest Wave is the best-selling series of PaddleTek. The PaddleTek Tempest Wave Pro is a pickleball paddle that sets the standard for precision and control. Designed with intermediate players in mind, this paddle offers exceptional touch and finesse on the court.
Its durability ensures it will last through many intense matches, and its textured surface aids in generating spin to keep opponents guessing. So if you’re a strategic player aiming for precise placements or seeking to add impressive spin to your shots, the Tempest Wave delivers all this and more.
- Honeycomb core that guarantees consistent play
- Large and consistent sweet spot
- Ultra-cushion high-track grip to provide comfort, especially during long matches
- Lightweight design
Prince Spectrum Pro
The Prince Spectrum Pro is a composite paddle known for its precision and versatility. It offers a balanced combination of power and control. The textured surface enhances spin potential, while the polymer core dampens vibrations.
Intermediate players appreciate the Spectrum Pro for its all-around performance. It provides excellent ball control and allows for precise shot placement. This paddle is well-suited for players looking to take their skills to the next level while maintaining a comfortable and consistent playing experience.
- Features a circular shape—a unique shape among pickleball paddles—to enhance the size of the sweet spot and reduce vibrations
- 9/16” thick core that offers a perfect blend of control and strength
- 2 weight options: Light 7.2 to 7.6 oz or Standard 7.7 to 8.3 oz
Engage Encore Pro
Control and ball placement are the two things Engage’s Encore line has always been about. The Engage Encore Pro features a fiberglass face and a polypropylene core, focusing on control and touch. It’s designed for players who prioritize finesse and precision.
This paddle is perfect for intermediate players who want exceptional feel and control. Its unique construction dampens vibrations and provides a comfortable grip, allowing you to place shots precisely and tactically.
- Specialized proprietary fiberglass that enhances control and touch
- Polypropylene core that helps dampen vibration
- Wide body: 15 ½ in long x 8 ? in wide with a 5 in handle length
- Lightweight 7.5 to 7.8 oz
The Gamma Needle paddle combines a textured graphite face with a Sensa Poly Core, offering a blend of power and feel. It’s versatile and suits various playing styles.
If you are an Intermediate player who appreciates an all-around performance, the Gamma Needle is perfect for you. It’s not only powerful but also responsive, allowing for nuanced shots.
- Has an elongated shape that extends the length of the paddle so you can reach shots better
- The Sensa Poly Core provides a balance of touch and power
- Textured graphite surface that enhances ball bite
- Lightweight: 7.6 oz
What Are Good Pickleball Paddles — Buying Guide
In addition to the top paddles, it’s crucial to consider factors like your playing style, court conditions, and personal preferences when making your selection.
Don’t hesitate to test out a paddle before making your final decision. Many sports stores offer demo programs, so you try different paddles on the court.
1. Weight of the Paddle
Remember that since you’re holding the paddle from the bottom, the slightest increase in weight at the top can make it feel heavier than it really is. Alternatively, all paddles are built differently and can lean heavier to the top or to the bottom, depending if it’s built for power or not.
Paddles on the heavier side typically range from 7.5 to 8.5 ounces. They are known for delivering more power. If you prefer smashing powerful shots and have the strength to handle a heavier paddle, this might be your choice. However, be prepared for slightly less maneuverability and control.
Paddles in the 6.5 to 7.5 ounce range are lighter and offer greater maneuverability and control. If you prioritize finesse, precision shots, and quick reactions at the net, a lighter paddle might suit your playing style better.
2. Core Material
The core is the material sandwiched in between your paddle faces. It’s like the foundation or base of the paddle, and it plays a significant role in power and feel.
Many intermediate players prefer paddles with a polymer core. These cores offer a balance between power and control. They reduce vibrations and provide a comfortable feel while still allowing you to generate decent power in your shots.
If you are the type of player who wants extra power, you may opt for paddles with a Nomex core. Nomex cores can deliver incredible power but may feel less forgiving and generate more vibrations.
3. Surface Texture for Spin
If you aren’t happy with the surface texture of the paddle you like, you can always buy surface stickers to customize the texture to your liking. It will add only a couple of grams of weight, so it shouldn’t be too disruptive.
Paddles with a smoother surface, typically graphite-faced, excel in providing control and touch, allowing for precise placement.
Paddles with textured or rough surfaces, often composite-faced, can help generate more spin on the ball. Spins add curves to your shots, making it harder for your opponents to predict your moves.
4. Noise Level
Some paddles, especially those with Nomex cores, can produce a louder noise on impact. Take this into serious consideration if you play in areas where noise regulations are in place. Polymer core paddles tend to be quieter.
As an intermediate pickleball player, you should already understand your playstyle and preferences. Use this knowledge to your advantage when selecting a paddle. Remember, the right paddle can enhance your performance and make your pickleball experience even more enjoyable.
The best pickleball paddle for intermediate pickleball players like you will be one that complements your skills. Equip yourself with the perfect paddle and get ready to dominate the court!