The 17 Best Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players: Ranked & Reviewed (2024)

best pickleball paddles for intermediate players

The pace at which pickleball paddle technology is changing is like trying to keep up with the pace of play of Tyson McGuffin!

It’s fast.

It’s nonstop.

And it shows no sign of slowing down!

But with that comes great advantages and improvements for us as pickleball players. A pickleball paddle that was good just a few years ago has probably fallen behind in terms of its capabilities and features.

There has been a notable surge in the enhancement of intermediate pickleball paddles recently.

While there has been significant emphasis on improving top-end pickleball paddles as players advance and beginner pickleball paddles with the sport’s growth, intermediate pickleball paddles seemed to be overlooked.

However, the market has now shifted its focus towards enhancing intermediate pickleball paddles.

In this blog post, we rank and review the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players. We’ve spent hours upon hours doing our research not only on the court but on the internet as well so we can bring you the best and most complete list of intermediate pickleball paddles.

So, without further ado, here is our list of the 17 best pickleball paddles for intermediate players.

What are the Best Pickleball Paddles For Intermediate Players?

Onix Z5 Pickleball Paddle

Onix Z5

The Onix Z5 pickleball paddle has been a staple near the top of many best pickleball paddle lists. That is because it is such a great all-around pickleball paddle that can really do it all for all types of players. You can easily see this paddle on a best-of list for beginners, intermediate and even advanced. We really like it in the intermediate category because we think the intermediate player will see the most improvements when going to this paddle.

The Onix Z5 graphite paddle has great touch and control and for the player moving from beginner to intermediate category, you will notice this as compared to your beginner paddle. One thing that we really like about it is the tennis racket handle shape. You get the feel of a tennis racket handle in your pickleball paddle which is great for those former (or even current) tennis players!

It has a Nomex honeycomb core and is a nice light-midweight paddle coming in at an average of 7.5-8.2 ounces. Nice power and control here. And, lots of different color options which make it fun and personal!

Onix Z5 Pros

  • Powerful Shots
  • Control and Accuracy
  • Durable Construction
  • Large Sweet Spot

Onix Z5 Cons

  • Grip May Not Last
  • Wide Body May Limit Manueverability

CRBN2 16mm

CRBN2

CRBN has done a really nice job with their paddles. We really like the CRBN 1X Power paddle and you can see that on our best pickleball paddles list.

With the CRBN2 you get a nice midweight raw carbon fiber paddle that is very nice for the intermediate player. We think this pickleball paddle is very versatile and provides touch, control and a bit of power. I think this is perfect for where the intermediate player is on their pickleball journey.

It has a standard shape and handle so it is easily adaptable which will allow you to make the switch without feeling super uncomfortable. A polypropylene core and a nice protective edge guard will get you ready for the courts with confidence. Add to that the t700 raw carbon fiber paddle face and a paddle weight of 7.8-8.1 ounces you still get great power.

This is a very good intermediate pickleball paddle that can also take you to the next level.

CRBN2 Pros

  • Great Spin
  • Balanced Power & Control
  • Good Handle
  • Well Made

CRBN2 Cons

  • Slightly Head Heavy

Electrum Model E 16mm

Electrum Model E Pickleball Paddle

Electrum is just a solid name in pickleball. Maybe not the most well-known but certainly well respected. They make really nice paddles.

The Model E in our opinion is really nicely geared for the intermediate player. This pickleball paddle is slightly heavier coming in at an average of 8-8.5 ounces. It is an elongated paddle so you get nice reach and also has a 5 1/4 inch handle length which can give you room if you use two-handed backhands.

A 16mm polypropylene core thickness and a super gritty Raw carbon fiber face allows for some nice spin on this baby. A very good do-it-all paddle. This was Collin Johns pickleball paddle of choice before he made the switch to Joola.

A very nice pickleball paddle that you know will play well consistently with its nice large sweet spot. You can play with confidence with this paddle. I have not talked to too many people who do not like this paddle as it is very nice to play with as an all-around paddle.

Overall, the Electrum Model E 16mm seems to be a great option for players who value control and touch, especially in the soft game. However, players who prioritize power and speed in their play style might find some limitations with this paddle.

Model E Pros

  • High Control and Spin
  • Excels In Soft Game
  • Nice Elongated Shape
  • Carbon Fiber Surface

Model E Cons

  • Slightly Less Power
  • Could Be A Touch Heavy For Some

SLK EVO Power 2.0 XL

SLK by Selkirk recently came out with the EVO line for this exact purpose. The intermediate player at a great competitive price point. This pickleball paddle comes in the XL or Max size. The XL is slightly longer with a thinner face and the Max is shorter with a wider face. The XL also gets you a much longer handle so if you are a two-hander this is your paddle.

The SLK EVO Power XL paddle is great for a tennis player transitioning over to pickleball. Someone who has racket sport experience so not a true beginner to the game. It is powerful with its carbon fiber face and provides good spin which is something we see from a lot of tennis players.

The core is on the thinner side at 13mm, but that is where you get that power from! The paddle weighs between 7.8 oz and 8.2 oz.

The best part about these paddles? They are $100. A Selkirk backed pickleball paddle coming in at $100 is a major win!

These points highlight that the SLK EVO 2.0 XL Power paddle is well-suited for intermediate players looking for control and a large sweet spot, with a spin-friendly surface and comfortable grip. However, players who prefer a pickleball paddle that is quicker in hand or with more power in short-range shots might find some limitations.

SLK EVO Pros

  • Excellent Control
  • Large Sweet Spot
  • Spin Friendly
  • Comfortable Grip

SLK EVO Cons

  • Edge Guard May be a Touch Thick

Selkirk SLK HALO Max Control

SLK Halo max control

The Selkirk SLK HALO Max is consistent among all the best pickleball paddles list. This pickleball paddle could quite literally take you all the way from beginner to experienced. I think the sweet spot for this paddle is intermediate and above. The consistent play and control of this paddle are what I think makes it really stand out.

I chose the Control paddle, which is the 16mm core, because for intermediate players I think gaining excellent control on your shot placement and dinks is what will really take you to the next level.

This pickleball paddle weighs in at an average of 7.6 oz to 8.2 oz. It has a T700 Raw Carbon fiber face for control and spin, again something that I think takes the intermediate player to the next level.

In summary, the Selkirk SLK Halo Max Control picklball paddle is a solid choice for intermediate players looking for a good balance of control and power, with a decent spin and a large sweet spot. However, players looking for maximum power or spin, or who prefer paddles with more advanced features, might want to consider other options.

SLK Halo Pros

  • Large Sweet Spot
  • Good Spin
  • Raw Carbon Fiber Face
  • Long Handle

SLK Halo Cons

  • Less Pop Than Comparable Paddles
  • Price

Selkirk LUXX Control Air S2

Selkirk Luxx Control AIr S2

Amazing control in this paddle! This pickleball paddle is endorsed by former tennis pro Jack Sock. This baby comes with a 20mm core! Yes, 20mm! Control galore with this paddle and don’t forget about the great spin too!

This pickleball paddle uses the new Florek Carbon Fiber technology for a large sweet spot, tons of control and spin. This paddle also incorporates the airdynamic throat for less drag and quicker swing speed. Very large sweet spot for amazing control and fewer mishits. And, this pickleball paddle is assembled right here in the USA.

Overall, the Selkirk LUXX Control Air S2 is highly regarded for its control and touch, with improved pop and spin compared to earlier models.

Luxx Pros

  • Excellent Control
  • Good Pop and Spin
  • Carbon Fiber Construction

Luxx Cons

  • Lacks Finishing Power
  • Requires More Punch On Blocks

Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control 14mm

six zero double black diamond control

This is a very popular pickleball paddle among the intermediate players I see out there. A very good control paddle and very good spin. The pickleball paddle has a slightly flared shape to it which gives it a larger sweet spot. It might take some getting used to at first but when you do you will notice the difference.

Very good grip on the face with the carbon textured surface and also has a really nice pop we noticed. The core is a premium honeycomb polymer core.

It has a long 5.5-inch handle for good grip and room enough for two-handed backhands. The average weight of this pickleball paddle comes in at 8.1 ounces.

The Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control 14mm is a versatile paddle, offering a balance of control, power, and spin. However, players used to a more control-oriented play might need some time to adjust, and the grip quality could be a concern for some.

Six Zero Pros

  • Great Accuracy and Finesse
  • Good Spin and Power
  • Large Sweet Spot
  • Lightweight and Maneuverable

Six Zero Cons

  • Flared Shape Takes Some Getting Used To
  • Grip Can Get Slick When Wet

Joola Vision CGS

Joola Vision CGS

Specifically designed for the aggressive intermediate player, the Vision CGS is a very good paddle. Joola is making some of the best pickleball paddles on the market today and scooping up the best players in the game like Ben Johns, Collin Johns and Simone Jardim just to name a few. While they are choosing pickleball paddles like the Hyperion and Perseus, the Vision fits perfectly in the intermediate level as well as the “intermediate” price level.

Exceptional spin on this pickleball paddle, which is common from Joola. The 16mm core gave us nice control and still has decent power. Not the most powerful out there but the spin and control were great. Nice 5.5-inch handle length and a slightly lighter 7.8-ounce weight.

As with the Perseus, you notice the new head shape that is slightly curved. Joola claims less drag creating more swing speed. Can’t say that I noticed that in particular, but overall really like this paddle, like I do with most Joola paddles I play with.

In conclusion, the Joola Vision CGS is great for its control, lightweight design, and spin capabilities but may come at a higher price and potentially with less power than some alternatives. It’s a great choice for those who value control and precision in their game, but those looking for more power.

Vision Pros

  • Durability
  • Control
  • Spin Capability
  • Lightweight

Vision Cons

  • Slightly Less Power

GAMMA Obsidian 13mm

Gamma Obsidian

The Gamma shape is similar to the Six Zero we reviewed earlier. The tapered profile of the head gives you that larger sweet spot and you could feel it. Rarely a mishit when we used it. The paddle is very easy to maneuver at the net which was partly due to its lighter weight at 7.7 ounces.

Spin was great on this paddle and with the 13mm core we chose, the power was great! The 5.75-inch handle length was appreciated by those who like a little longer handle.

It’s a solid paddle and we love the look too!

In summary, the GAMMA Obsidian 13mm is a solid option for players looking for a maneuverable, lightweight paddle with a comfortable grip and good spin capabilities.

Obsidian Pros

  • Lightweight and Maneuverable
  • Premium Grip
  • Spin Generation

Obsidian Cons

  • Control
  • Carbon Fiber Face May Wear

Engage Encore MX 6.0

engage encore mx 6

The Engage Encore MX 6.0 is a super popular paddle and for good reason. You get very good power and reach from this paddle yet maintain the control that intermediate players need. The long 6-inch handle is awesome if you like two-handed backhands or just extra room to extend a finger for comfort. But if you don’t like a longer handle, then this one is not for you.

A nice midweight paddle at 8 ounces, we felt comfortable with it all over the court. From dinks to drives you can feel confident with it. A good all-around paddle with multiple color options, weight options and grip size options. We like options.

Overall, the Engage Encore MX 6.0 is a top-of-the-line paddle made for performance, offering excellent control and spin. However, its limitations in power and a smaller sweet spot might be a consideration for some players.

Encore MX 6.0 Pros

  • Midweight Design
  • ControlPro Polymer Core
  • FiberTEK Skin
  • Made In USA

Encore MX 6.0 Cons

  • Small Sweet Spot

Volair MACH 1 Forza

volair mach 1 forza

The Volair may not be as well known as some of the others on this list, but that doesn’t make it not as good. The Mach 1 Forza comes in two thicknesses, 14mm and 16mm. Volair is co-founded by top pro Julain Arnold and made to have good controllable power. The 14mm will give you a little extra power while the 16mm will add a little more control to your game.

This is a theromoformed paddle with foam walls injected at the sides which helps to keep noise levels down a bit! Above that, you get a larger sweet spot as well so you can say goodbye to mishits. Very nice paddle worth the look.

Overall, the Volair MACH 1 Forza is a solid all-court paddle, particularly suited for intermediate players who appreciate a mix of power, spin, and control. However, its stiffer feel and smaller sweet spot might pose a challenge for players used to more forgiving pickleball paddles.

MACH 1 Pros

  • Powerful
  • High Spin Rating
  • Good Balance
  • Reasonable Price
  • Product Pro 5

MACH 1 Cons

  • Stiff Feel
  • Smaller Sweet Spot

Vatic Pro V7

vatic pro 7

A very enjoyable pickleball paddle on the court made with T700 raw carbon fiber. It is a well-made paddle with good durability. The walls of the paddle are foam injected which increases the sweet spot and aids in good control.

Slightly heavier in the 8.1 to 8.5 ounce range, this unibody-constructed paddle with a 16mm core offers great control. It has an elonged handle for extra reach as well. A solid paddle and a decent price.

Vatic Pro V7 Pros

  • Durable
  • Large Sweet Spot
  • Comfortable Grip
  • Low Noise
  • Product Pro 5

Vatic Pro V7 Cons

  • Could Use More Pop
  • Some May Not Like Heavier Weight

Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro V3

paddletek tempest wave pro v3

Paddletek has an amazing brand in the pickleball space. They are one of the pioneers in the pickleball paddle space. The Tempest Wave paddle has been a staple and now the Tempest Wave Pro v3 takes it to the next level. This paddle will certainly carry you from intermediate to advanced with no issues. A lot of top players use this paddle.

Amazing control, touch and forgiveness is what this pickleball paddle is all about.

What makes the v3 different from the Tempest Wave Pro is the exclusive ICED Carbon Fiber. This gives amazing spin capabilities with great durability. The sweet spot is big on the Tempest Wave Pro and you can feel it with its balanced weight while making your shots. Combine that with great maneuverability at the net and you have a winning paddle!

Tempest Wave Pro V3 Pros

  • Responsive Surface
  • Balanced Weight
  • Improved Grip
  • Vibration Dampening
  • Versatile Play

Tempest Wave Pro V3 Cons

  • Specific Feel
  • Availability

Diadem Warrior Edge 16mm

diadem warrior edge

One of the more popular paddles out there the Warrior Edge will not let you down. It can do it all. it has a nice 16mm core for good control and maneuverability at the net. This is a nice midweight paddle weighing in at an average of 7.8 ounces to 8.2 ounces.

The grip circumference is a tad small, but grip tape can easily fix that if you prefer. A Mid-size handle at 5 inches with a common face width of 7.5 inches makes it a very comfortable and universal paddle. Won’t take any time to get used to this great overall, consistent paddle.

Warrior Edge Pros

  • Thick Core
  • Textured Surface
  • Durable Build
  • Comfortable Handle

Warrior Edge Cons

  • Spin Focus
  • Less Forgiving

Franklin FS Tour Dynasty

franklin fs tour dynasty

The new release from the legendary name in the game Franklin is the FS Tour Dynasty. We chose the 14mm version of this paddle for a little extra power. Great pop coming out of this paddle with plenty of spin to boot. Perfect for the intermediate player looking to up their game.

A thermoformed pickleball paddle with a polypropylene core creates an extremely well-made paddle. A longer 5.6-inch handle helps with reach and power and the carbon fiber face provides the control you are looking for. A great all-around pickeball paddle that weighs an average of 8.1 to 8.4 ounces. Add a few different color options and you have yourself a great paddle that is ready to go.

FS Tour Dynasty Pros

  • Power
  • Spin and Pop
  • Extended Handle
  • Color Options

FS Tour Dynasty Cons

  • Some Mishits

Oneshot Katana Shot

oneshot katana shot

We love the Oneshot Paddles. Tried multiple and they are all great. For intermediate and advanced players we chose the Katana Shot. Nice balanced paddle. Felt solid, powerful enough, great spin and control.

Midweight paddle coming in at 7.9 ounces to 8.3. the 5.5 inch handle was perfect with room for two hands if needed. The polypropylene honeycomb core adds control and pop to your shots.

Overall a very balanced, even pickleball paddle that has awesome spin, power and control…and let’s not forget about the great looks!

Katana Shot Pros

  • Balanced Performance
  • Solid Feel
  • Handle Size
  • Core Material
  • Great Looks

Katana Shot Cons

  • Not Super Poppy

Head Extreme Pro Composite

head extreme pro

If you’re looking to increase your spin game then this is one to consider. This is a great pickleball paddle for beginner and intermediate players. The composite surface gets you the spin you desire with relative ease. A touch on the lighter side at 7.8 ounces, but this paddle still has some power to it. Easy to control at the net as well. A good intermediate paddle at a nice price with the well-known Head name behind it.

Head Pros

  • Spin
  • Lightweight
  • Net Play Control
  • Affordable
  • Trusted Brand

Head Cons

  • Lacks Power

Making the Right Choice

Having analyzed various pickleball paddles, it’s important to understand what factors you should consider while choosing the best pickleball paddle for your needs. From the material and weight to the grip size and price, these factors can significantly influence your playing style and performance. In the next section, we will delve into these parameters, offering you a comprehensive guide to making an informed decision in your pckleball paddle selection.

Material

The material used in a pickleball paddle can greatly affect its performance. Most pickleball paddles are made of either wood, composite materials, fiberglass paddles or graphite. Wooden paddles may be the most affordable option, but they tend to be heavier and less durable compared to their counterparts. Composite pickleball paddles, on the other hand, offer a good balance of both power and control at a mid-range price. Graphite pickleball paddles are the most expensive but they are also lighter and provide better power and control. Ultimately, it’s important to choose a material that suits your playing style and budget.

Weight

The weight of your paddle can greatly influence how you play. Heavier paddle delivers more power in its shots, while lightweight paddles offer more agility and control. It’s essential to find the right balance for your playing style, as a pickleball paddle that is too heavy or too light can impact your performance.

Grip Size

The size of the grip on your pickleball paddle is another crucial aspect to consider. A larger grip offers more control but may be uncomfortable for players with smaller hands. On the other hand, a smaller grip may provide more power but can be difficult to handle for players with larger hands. It’s important to try out different grips and find the one that feels most comfortable and natural for you.

Price

As with any purchase, price plays a significant role in your decision-making process. With pickleball paddles ranging from budget paddles to high-end pickleball paddles over $250, it’s important to find a balance between your budget and the features you desire. It’s worth investing in a quality paddle that will enhance your game and last longer, rather than opting for a cheaper option that may not perform as well or have a shorter lifespan. Don’t purely buy a pickleball paddle based on price, but definitely consider it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the right pickleball paddle can greatly impact your performance on the court. With so many intermediate paddles available, it’s essential to consider the material, weight, grip size, edge gaurd or edgeless paddle and price before making your decision.

We hope that this guide has provided useful information to help you choose your next paddle for your playing style and budget. So get out there and find the right paddle for you and take your game to the next level! See you on the court! Happy Pickling!

P.S. If you think you need to stay in the beginner paddles category be sure to check our review of the 17 best pickleball paddles for beginners.

Editorial Process:

In our reviews, we either test products personally or, when that’s not possible, base our reviews on research from trusted sources and customer feedback, ensuring unbiased and informed opinions. Read our editorial processĀ here.

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