Paddle Guides

The Difference Between Wooden and Plastic Pickleball Paddles

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Wooden and plastic pickleball paddles are used in pickleball by many people whether they are beginner or intermediate players. The key difference between wooden and plastic pickleball paddles depends on various factors Including:





Performance and Sound

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll delve into the wooden and plastic pickleball paddles comparison exploring their advantages and disadvantages.

So let’s dive deep into this comparative guide about wooden versus plastic pickleball paddles. 

Overview of Pickleball Paddles

pickleball paddles and balls

Pickleball paddles have changed a lot since the sport started in the 1960s. At first, players used any paddles they could find, often from other sports. But now, paddles are specially made for pickleball to play better and feel more comfortable.

Let’s look at the main parts of a pickleball paddle:

The Face

This is the part of the paddle that hits the ball. It can be made of wood, composite (a mix of materials), or graphite. Each material makes the paddle hit differently.

The Core

This is inside the paddle and affects how heavy it feels and how it feels to hit the ball. The core can be made of polymer (a kind of plastic), Nomex (like hard paper), or aluminum. Each one changes how the paddle plays.

The Grip

This is where you hold the paddle. The grip size and material can vary, so you can choose what feels best in your hand.

Nowadays, pickleball paddles are getting more advanced. They are using new materials that make the paddles light but strong. They are also focusing on making grips that are easier to hold and paddles that work well for different ways of playing.

As more people play pickleball, these paddle designs will keep getting better to make the game even more fun.

Wooden Pickleball Paddles

wooden pickleball paddle different from plastic pickleball paddle

Wooden pickleball paddles have been around since the game started. They were the first kind of paddles people used. Over time, these paddles have changed a bit, but they still keep their classic feel.

Let’s talk about what wooden paddles are like:


Wooden paddles are usually heavier than other types. This can make them a bit harder to swing quickly, but some players like the solid feel.


They are strong and last a long time. You don’t have to worry about them breaking easily.


One of the best things about wooden paddles is they are usually less expensive than others. This makes them a good choice for beginners or anyone on a budget.


When you hit the ball with a wooden paddle, it makes a unique, loud sound. Some players really like this.

Playing Style

These paddles are great for players who like a simple, straightforward game. Because they’re heavy, they can help you hit the ball harder.

Want to make your own pickleball paddle? Read our step-by-step guide on How to make a pickleball paddle.

Pros and Cons of Wooden Pickleball Paddles

Advantages of Wooden PaddlesDisadvantages of Wooden Paddles
Less expensive than other types, making them great for beginners or those on a budget.Can be harder to swing quickly, which might be challenging for some players.
Strong and long-lasting, not easily damaged.Heavier weight can make it harder to play soft, precise shots.
Good for a straightforward, power-focused playing style.They don’t offer as much control or sensitivity as lighter paddles.
Produce a unique, loud sound when hitting the ball, which some players enjoy.Lacks advanced features and materials found in more modern paddles.

Plastic Pickleball Paddles

plastic pickleball paddle different from wooden pickleball paddle

Plastic paddles, also known as composite paddles, are a newer choice in the pickleball world. They started becoming popular as players looked for paddles that could do more than wooden ones. These paddles are made from a mix of materials like fiberglass, graphite, and sometimes a bit of wood too.

Now, let’s explore what plastic paddles are all about:


Plastic paddles are usually lighter than wooden ones. This makes them easier to move quickly and play for longer without getting tired.


They are strong and last a long time, just like wooden paddles, but they can be a bit more sensitive to harsh conditions.


These paddles can be more expensive than wooden ones, but the price varies a lot based on the materials and features.


The sound of hitting the ball with a plastic paddle is quieter and less sharp than with a wooden paddle.

Playing Style

They are great for players who want more control and precision in their game. Their lighter weight helps with quick, accurate shots.

Advantages of Plastic PaddlesDisadvantages of Plastic Paddles
Easier to handle and great for quick play.Can be more expensive, especially high-tech models.
Offers better control for precise shots.Might not perform as well in extreme conditions.
Comes in many designs and materials, providing lots of choices.Lighter weight might mean less power in hits compared to heavier wooden paddles.

Also read:

Comparative Analysis of Wooden and Plastic Pickleball Paddles

When choosing a pickleball paddle, understanding the differences between wooden and plastic Pickleball paddles is key. Let’s compare these two to help you decide which might be best for you.

Performance: Power vs. Control

  • Wooden Paddles: Known for their power due to their weight. They’re great for strong, hard hits but might lack precision and control.
  • Plastic Paddles: Typically excel in control and precision. They’re lighter, which makes it easier to maneuver the paddle for strategic, controlled shots.

Suitability for Different Levels of Players


Wooden paddles are often recommended for beginners due to their affordability and simplicity. However, some beginners might prefer the lighter, more controllable plastic paddles.


Plastic paddles are often preferred at this level. They offer a good balance between power and control, which helps players develop their skills.


Most professional players lean towards high-quality plastic paddles. They value the control, lightweight, and advanced features these paddles provide.

Also read:

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Wooden Paddles

They are made from a natural material, which can be seen as more environmentally friendly. However, the sourcing of the wood and the manufacturing process can impact their sustainability.

Plastic Paddles

The production of plastic paddles can have a greater environmental impact, considering the materials used. However, advancements in eco-friendly materials and recycling processes are helping reduce this impact.


In this guide, we’ve explored the distinctive characteristics of wooden and plastic pickleball paddles, covering their performance, suitability for different skill levels, and environmental impacts. From the robust and affordable nature of wooden paddles to the lightweight precision of plastic ones, each type has its unique advantages and drawbacks.

Whether you’re a beginner finding your footing in the sport, an intermediate player honing your skills, or a professional striving for peak performance, the choice between wooden and plastic paddles is a personal one, deeply influenced by your playing style and preferences.


 What’s the main difference between wooden and plastic pickleball paddles?

Wooden paddles are heavier and more affordable, ideal for beginners. Plastic paddles are lighter, offer better control, and are suited for advanced players.

Are wooden pickleball paddles suitable for professional play?

Wooden paddles are less common in professional play due to their weight. Professionals often prefer lighter, more precise plastic paddles.

Can the type of paddle I choose affect my playing style in pickleball?

 Absolutely! Wooden paddles are great for power play, while plastic paddles enhance control and precision, influencing your playing style.

 Are plastic paddles more expensive than wooden ones?

Yes, generally, plastic paddles are more expensive than wooden ones due to the advanced materials and technology used in their construction.

Is there an environmental advantage to choosing a wooden paddle?

Wooden paddles can be more eco-friendly due to natural materials, but it’s important to consider sustainable sourcing and manufacturing.



When not dissecting opponents on the pickleball court with laser focus, Ethan wields words with equal precision. A dedicated competitor and insightful writer, he captures the sport's essence with sharp wit and unwavering dedication.

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