So you’re enjoying your new favorite sport of padel (paddle) and you want to buy the ideal racket for your style of play and level? This post will explain all the factors that go into this decision.
There are three racket head shapes that we need to consider:
- Tear drop
Round Padel Rackets
Round rackets are ideal for beginners. They have a medium/low weight balance which makes them handle very comfortably. They also tend to have an amplified sweet spot, and are thus quite forgiving if you don’t hit the ball with exactly the center of the racket (which you should nonetheless always aim to do).
They are rackets that are also ideal for defensive players whose major strength is ball placement. They provide excellent control, and their major downside is lack of power for smashes.
Tear Drop Padel Rackets
These are the most popular type of rackets as they are ideal for intermediate players. They provide a great mix of power and control and can thus help you hit excellent shots with a large variety of effects.
They are very versatile rackets that adapt to all styles of play, climatic conditions and match situations. It is a mix between diamond and round and has a weight distribution that is very even and shifted towards the center of the racket, which gives it the feeling of being very balanced and adaptable to different situations.
Diamond Padel Rackets
These are the favored shape of many professional players. They have a top balance, which means that most of the weight is distributed away from the grip and towards the top part of the racket. This gives the racket lots of power but on the other hand makes it much harder to control. The sweet spot of the racket is also minimal. Hence this type of racket is only recommended to those who have really mastered all the repertoire of padel shots and can consistently hit the ball with significant power and always with the very center of the racket. It is ideal for attack-minded players, especially those playing on the left side.
If you are switching to a diamond-shaped padel racket from another type of racket, it is best to go for a racket that weighs a bit less than what you are used to, in order to compensate for the fact that the balance on these rackets is skewed towards the top.
Padel rackets come with varying grip lengths and thickness. You can also add more overgrips if you want to make the grip bigger. It’s important to change the overgrip regularly because as your hands sweat your grip will quickly deteriorate and you’ll end up having lots of racket movement when you hit the ball, especially if you don’t hit the ball with the sweet spot of the racket’s head.
Racket weight is very subjective, you will need to try several rackets and see which weight you like best. If you’re a bigger and stronger player, as a general rule you will want to go for a heavier racket.
The general guidelines are the following:
- Women – between 340g and 370g. Most opt for 360g.
- Men – between 360g and 390g. Most opt for 370-375g.
- Junior – between 240g and 280g.
How the weight is distributed is also very important, and can totally change the maneuverability and balance between control and power. The best way to judge maneuverability is to try out a racket and see which style fits you best. From my experience, it’s easiest to judge how agile a racket is up close to the net doing volleys. The more agile rackets will give you a feeling of speed when preparing for a volley, while the less agile ones will feel a bit more cumbersome.
Padel racket frames are usually made out of fibreglass or carbon. Fiberglass is cheaper to produce and you will find it used on the lower-end models. Kevlar is also used on some high end rackets together with carbon.
The thickness of the racket is usually between 36 and 38m, with the latter being the maximum thickness allowed under today’s regulations.
Soft foam (Polyethylene) will help you feel every shot and you won’t need lots of power to hit speedy shots. Since you have slightly more time in contact with the ball, you can apply effects easier. The downside is that since the foam is very springy you will have less power in smashes.
On a racket’s packaging or marketing materials, you might find “salida de bola” or “ball output” mentioned. This refers to the springiness of the material. If you have a racket with high “salida de bola” it means that the ball will bounce off the racket very actively. This is ideal for beginners and perhaps older players as they don’t have a lot of strength and arm/body technique to move the ball around with control and speed, so it makes it easier for them to bounce the ball of the racket and get it to the other side, especially from a devensive position further back in the court.
EVA rubber is hard and less flexible. It is more difficult to play with especially in winter when the balls are heavier. However in high speed matches rackets with EVA cores are ideal. There are players who play with hard foam in summer and soft foam in winter. EVA cores are more durable than Polyethylene ones.
Lately, some manufacturers have developed a third type of core (Polyethylene) which combines both EVA and FOAM. This hybrid, is a soft rubber with much longer durability made of a core FOAM surrounded by an exterior EVA rubber.
It can be hard to distinguish what foam is used in a racket just by looking at it, but the sound they make on impact is significantly different.
Attacking vs Defensive Rackets
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a racket is whether you are an attacking or defensive player. Usually attacking players play on the left and the defensive ones play on the right. As a player focused on attacking play, you will fare better with an aggressive racket that emphasises power over control. The reverse applies if you are a defensive player.
The current top brands in 2017 are the following:
If Shooter distributes rackets in your area, you should go for one of their rackets. Their craftsmanship is the best out there at the moment, and head and shoulders above the rest. Bullpadel is another brand that I like although the rackets might not be as long lasting as Shooter.
Price is not the main factor when choosing the best padel racket. You should always find a shop that allows you to try several rackets without any pressure before you take a decision. Try as many variations (shape, brand, foam type) as possible so that you find the one that most fits your liking. Even the sound of the racket when hitting the ball can be an important factor when choosing a racket.
Remember to test several rackets before making a buying decision, it’s the best way to find the perfect fit for you.
If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll help you choose your ideal racket.
Hi! Any experience with rackets from Corkpadel handmade from Portugal 🇵🇹
Pls check: https://padelsport.no/?product_cat=cork-padel-racket
hi jean I am looking on a padel website and then it comes to purchase and it asks the size i woul d like eu l, eul xl, eu xxl. what in fact is this referring to?
many thanks tony
I’m amateur player from italy. Herae padel is getting viral. As jean suggests try before buy. I bought a head tornado which i sold cause i didnt like it. Then I tryed other 4/5 low end rackets until yesterday i played with siux diablo and really fell in love. But …the price is over my budget, if you know a similar racket but cheaper i’d take in consideration. Thanks
Jesper Friis says
I have checked Padelrackets at the website padelnuestro.com I have to choose a size but what size? Can you help me?
Alex Azevedo says
A question nobody has asked yet, but I am guessing many who visit this page wonder about:
– what would be a good entry level padel to try out the sport for someone with experience in other racket sports? Is anything under the 60€ threshold worth it or would it just be a waste of money?
Brands like Dunlop offer quite a few models in that price range from previous years…
At the moment I play with a Head Vector which I really like. Unfortunately it has developed a crack Could you tell me which present day bat has replaced it? Or is it still possible to buy a vector?
Hi Eric, unfortunately I’m not familiar with that particular model so I can’t really advise you on which racket to go for. My general advice is always to try several rackets, you might find another model/brand that you will like even more than your current Head Vector.
Simon S says
i live in germany and padel i slowly but surely growing. I play since january 2018 with a strong background of tennis and badminton.
That being said i am right now at a point where i started to play smaller tournements and really feeling comftable on my left side. My first racket was (still is) the Ultimate Pro Ltd. Orange 2016 from Head.
It was great in the beginning but i think im ready for something fresh. I think a diamond is too much of stretch since i still have to learn a lot (who doesnt) but coming from your experience, is there a racket you can recommend for an slightly above average player?
From your guide id say a teardrop might be right since im starting to play more and more agressive.
Ty for your help!
Glad that padel in Germany is growing. Try the Bullpadel Hack, or the top rackets from Starvie and Nox. I love the teardrop shape but I would also suggest you try the diamond shape and see how it feels. Always try different models and weights and make sure the grip is adjusted to your hand so that you get an accurate feel for each racket before making a decision. Also try to use the same balls for each trial, as they make a big difference. Of course, playing in the same conditions and same court is also a good thing. You want to try to keep conditions as similar as possible between each test. The best situation would be if you can get 2/3 rackets to test during a single match. If you’re buying from a club they sometimes have test rackets that you can take with you to the courts.
Simon S says
Thank you for the quick response.
I have a training session tomorrow where i will test the dunlop gravity. A friend of mine recommended the Bullpadel Hack aswell so i guess ill try this one aswell 🙂
Robyn Eames says
Hi Jean, Thank you for your quick response, it is really helpful.
Unfortunately, I live in Estepona in Andalucia and there are no shops that I know of locally that sell a good selection of rackets. I guess Marbella is my nearest large town but an internet search for padel shops has been particularly difficult with no obvious hits this side of Malaga or Seville (around 100km away).I’ve looked at all the major brands and there are so many different rackets on the market all purporting to have their individual merits it’s making my head hurt.
Would you be able to recommend a couple of suitable rackets I could track down and at least narrow my search a little?
Any assistance you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks very much
In Marbella you can find my friends from Padel Trainer, they have their own brand called Mack. The best thing you could do would be to go there for a 2 day clinic or just a training session and they will guide you. Daniel Dios the head coach there is a great professional and speaks perfect English.
I interviewed Daniel on my podcast as well in case you want to check that out http://mastermind.fm/episode-81-fastest-growing-sport-world-daniel-dios-padel-trainer/
Robyn Eames says
Hi, having spent many years playing squash and badminton to a Regional competition level I have recently retired and taken up Padel. I tend to play right side and concentrate on ball placement as well as applying different spins.
I want a new racket which will give me maximum control. I’ve considered the Nox luxury control L4 so would appreciate any thoughts on this racket or any others you think I should consider.
I have a budget of around £225/250 euros.
Thanks very much
Hi Robyn, I haven’t tried the Nox you mention, but I think it’s a great racket. One thing you should know is that the players we see on World Padel Tour don’t really use the same rackets that are sold to the general public. So I wouldn’t suggest paying too much attention to what the pros are using.
The best advice is to go to a shop which can lend you several rackets to try out, and just choose the one which suits you best. Be aware that nowadays many brands manufacture in China to cut costs, and the results are less than awesome. If possible look for brands that still manufacture an artisan way in Spain.
With the technique that you undoubtedly have, you can skip the beginner or intermediate rackets and go for the top rackets, but there is no need to spend a lot of money. 250 euros is plenty and should be the maximum one has to pay for any racket, unless he/she is getting something custom like the pros.