You can generate all the power and spin in the world, but if you have no control over where the ball is going what good is it? This article is specifically for people looking for the very best Pickeball paddles for control.
We carefully tested and demoed about 15 paddles and narrowed it down to the top 5. Starting out we knew that we had to select paddles that had 3 important factors for control:
Graphite or Carbon Fiber Face
Graphite and carbon fiber paddles are slightly more rigid, meaning there will be less power transfer on impact but more feel/control as you strike the ball. Futhermore, carbon fiber is rigid but soft and has more of a gritty texture so you control the power while maintaining control of the spin. If spin is your main priority, check out these paddles for spin.
Wide/Standard Body Shape
A wider body has a bigger sweet spot which means the face offers more consistency. The narrower the paddle, the smaller and more explosive the sweet spot is going to be. This is great for power, but not so great for control.
A thicker core (around 16mm) is going to have a softer feel and more stability throughout the paddle face. Futhermore, it’s going to dampen some of that shock and vibration for a better feel, especially around the net.
With that in mind here are the 5 best control pickleball paddles.
5 Best Pickleball Paddles For Control
The electrum pro is my personal favorite pickleball paddle for control that we tested. The raw carbon fiber face feels like the ball sticks to the face a little longer. The face is so soft and absorbs shock very well.
The face is balanced, stable and so responsive. Balls don’t explode off the sweet spot or die off the edges. it’s very constant over the entire paddle face.
Aside from amazing control, this paddle can generate a lot of spin. The face is soft but gritty and it allowed me to really be confident around the net.
- Geat feel and power
- Gritty surface generates spin
- Powerful sweet spot.
- Leather grip provides amazing feel
- Comfortable weight and balance
- The sweet spot could be a little bit bigger.
I know I said a graphite face was important, but a carbon fiber face is even better since it offers more stiffness with extra feel and grittiness.
The CRBN 2 is by far one of the most complete pickleball paddles I’ve played and it offers amazing control without sacrificing power and spin even with a 16mm core.
The size and overall weight of the paddle are perfect and very close to standard. Even though it has that bigger sweet spot it feels powerful no matter where you hit it on the face.
it’s worth noting you should check the USAPA-approved paddles. At the time of writing this the CRBN 2 is not on the list of regulation Pickeball paddles.
- Amazing feel from soft, yet rigid face.
- Explosive sweet spot
- Easy to generate spin
- Very well-balanced and stable.
- Very comfy grip.
- Currently not a legal paddle by USAPA but keep checking.
Gearbox pickleball paddles are always pushing the envelope with new technology in their paddles. They have continued that trend with the CX 14H.
This paddle checks all the boxes even with a smaller 14mm core width. it’s feels very light, balanced and stable. Though there is a big sweet spot that offers plenty of control, the paddle is still responsive if you hit it off the edges. The ball doesn’t complete die, but you’ll know you missed the sweet spot.
As far as power and spin goes, it’s not outstanding in either department, but it gives enough to be a well-rounded paddle. I also found this paddle to absorb shock very efficiently which helped with controlling drives.
Around the net this paddle performs beautifully for touchy dinks, and hands battles. It doesn’t feel like the face is going to turn over on you.
- Very good at absorbing shock
- Great balance and stability for greater control
- Great sound off the face
- Slightly longer handle gives you more reach
- Needs a little more power.
The Vanguard s2 has great specifications to be a great pickleball paddle for control. The core is just about 16mm and the length and width are as close to standard as you can get. What really stood out to be was the weight of the paddle. Of course with Selkirk you can choose light-weight, mid-weight, or heavy, but I went with midnight and it still felt so light in a good way.
A light paddle with a larger face feels so stable in my hands and really allowed me to hit any type of shot I wanted to. I could hit drives and dinks with great control.
Another aspect that stood out to me was how comfortable the grip is. A cushioned tacky grip really lets you grip the paddle loose so you gain even more control instead of trying to steer the paddle with your hands.
- Thick core dampens vibrations
- The weight feels great in the hands
- Huge sweet spot makes drops and dinks easy and controlled
- Needs a little more power.
- Sounds a little clunky
- Face texture wears off.
The Encore MX 6.0 by Engage is an amazing paddle for a specific group. If you prefer to have two hands on the handle when hitting backhand drives and dinks then the long slender handle of this paddle is perfect. You can always throw an overgrip on the paddle if you prefer a thicker grip.
The rigid, yet gritty graphite face makes this paddle perfect for controlling the spin while maintaining good feel and overall performance and the standard sized face with a thick core makes this paddle very responsive.
- Longer handle gives you extra reach and control
- Thin handle allows for better control for drives.
- Sweet spot feels great and very responive
- Face texture wears down
- Grip is starting to show wear after 3 months of avid playing.
All of these pickleball paddles are great options for those looking for overall control. Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a perfect paddle for every player since everyone has a different style. You can always add small modifications to tailor your paddle to your game. Some of these modifications include lead tape and overgrips.