Graphite Vs. Composite Pickleball Paddles

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Graphite vs. composite pickleball paddles, which one to choose to level up your game? Paddles these days come with so many options that can lift or drag down your game. Looking at these options, you have:

  • Core material options
  • Paddle Surface
  • Handle Length
  • Paddle Shape
  • Paddle Weight

For today, let’s delve into the world of pickleball paddle surface material, specifically: Graphite versus Composite, and see which will level up your pickleball play!

Check Out Our Favorite Pickleball Paddles of the Year

different layers of a pickleball paddle

Also Check Out: How To Choose a Pickleball Paddle

The paddle surface is the outer layer of the paddle that comes in direct contact with the ball. It’s important to note that the paddle surface material will affect the way the paddle plays, in four areas:

Control/Touch

  • The texture of the paddle surface will determine how much control you have over the ball.
  • Stiff paddle ball surfaces will provide the player with more control

Power

  • The power of a pickleball paddle is partially determined by the hardness or softness of the paddle surface.
  • Heavy pickleball paddles offer players more control and require less power to swing the paddle.
  • Heavy paddles can cause strain on your shoulders and elbows
  • While lightweight paddles require more swing strength to generate power

Size of the sweet spot

  • The larger the sweet spot on the paddle, the better the accuracy of your shots
  • There is less likelihood of hitting “off-centered” shots which will fly off target.

Paddle Speed

  • A paddle’s swing speed is determined by its weight
  • It is the surface material that determines the paddle’s weight along with the core
  • For fast hands during net play, a lightweight paddle will give you more reaction time and swing speed

Graphite vs. Composite – The Details

So, now that we understand a more about on how the paddle surface material will affect your play, let’s dig into our topic for today: Composite vs. Graphite; which one to choose?

To begin, let’s start with a little background on the two materials to understand what we are dealing with and what you should expect:

Composite Material

  • Composite paddles mainly come in two separate types: fiberglass and carbon fiber, both of which are great at transferring energy from the ball to your paddle. In general, composite paddles will add power to your game because the material is very flexible, and acts like a trampoline that pushes the ball off the paddle on impact.
  • Composite paddles provide a flexible, less rigid surface than Graphite, so they act like a trampoline that takes the energy from the ball and transfers it right back as you strike it. This flexibility will add power to your game.
  • This power will add depth to your drives and pop to your returns
  • Composite paddles are very durable and will last for a long time.
  • They are also some of the most expensive paddles on the market today

Here is a short list of the more popular composite surface paddles available today:

#1: Engage Encore Composite Pickleball Paddle

#2: Evoke Premier Composite Paddle

#3: Onix Z5 Composite Pickleball Paddle

#4: Selkirk AMPED s2 X5 FiberFlex

Graphite

  • Graphite paddles are made from carbon fiber material, a very rigid material.
  • This rigidness means there will be less power transfer on impact but more feel/control as you strike the ball.
  • Graphite pickleball paddles are designed to distribute the power of impact across the entire surface and into the handle of the paddle. This results in a truer feel and a large sweet spot as you strike the ball.
  • Graphite paddles are lightweight and significantly more sensitive than composite, which allows you to keep the ball under control.
  • This control and sensitivity lend themselves well to the drinking game, providing the player with accuracy and an optimal sweet spot that will add a touch to your game.
  • Graphite paddles are usually up to 1 ounce lighter than composite ones
  • Graphite paddles surfaces are made with a woven bonding of material that adds a texture to the paddle surface, providing more spin and control

Here is a short list of the more popular graphite surface paddles available today:

#1: Joola Ben John’s Hyperion CFS 16

#2: Onix z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

#3: ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle

#4: Vulcan v550

So, Graphite versus Composite, which one do you choose?

So, what’s your game need? Let’s apply the notes from above to what you need to level up your game.

Need Power?

  • Drive those returns deep and low with a composite paddle surface
  • Less strength is required to put some pop in the ball and keep your opponents on their toes

Need Control?

  • Drop those dinks and guide those volleys with a composite surface paddle
  • With a larger sweet spot and more forgiving flexibility, these paddles will add sensitivity to your shots and accuracy to your dinks

OR…

Gain more control with your drives and returns, using the textured face that comes with the Graphite surface

Need More Speed?

Face those firefights at the net with graphite surfaced paddle

  • They are lightweight and allow you to quickly move your hands around to counter or drive your next hot volley

Graphite versus Composite – a tough decision, but it depends on where you want to focus on improving your game. Always remember, the surface face plays a big part in your gameplay.

Graphite versus Composite Pickleball Paddles – Wrapping it Up.

So, for you as a player looking to level up with a new paddle, pick an area in your game that you want to improve upon. 

Then, check out the paddles listed above and use them to level up your game. And always keep in mind drilling will get you familiar with the paddle and ready for any match, rec, or tourney! 

These paddles will add tools to your pickleball toolkit, but regardless of graphite versus composite pickleball paddles – you need to repeat the dinks to reap the benefits of these surfaces!

Composite Surfaced Paddles

  • Provide power
  • It will last a long time
  • Considered the most popular surface material for pickleball paddles

Graphite Paddles

  • Lightweight for faster hands at the net
  • Will add control and touch to your game
  • Can be expensive

Let me know which one you currently use in the comments or which you are looking to purchase, and we can compare notes! Being in the know about paddle technology will help level up your game!

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