What is a Thermoformed Pickleball Paddle? Key Insights (2024)

what is a thermoformed pickleball paddle

There has been a decent amount of buzz in the pickleball world around thermoformed paddles.

You may have come across some in your search for a new paddle, perhaps tried one of your friends, or heard someone talk about them on a podcast.

But exactly what is a thermoformed pickleball paddle?

A thermoformed pickleball paddle uses a manufacturing process that combines materials under heat to create paddles out of one piece in a “unibody” design. They typically have great durability and are very consistent.

In this blog post, I will discuss “what is a thermoformed pickleball paddle,” expalin the technology behind it, talk about some of the uniqueness of them and share how they can help your game.

So with that…let’s get started.


  • Thermoformed pickleball paddles are known for their durability and performance. The have a larger sweet spot and a good balance of power and control.
  • The thermoforming process uses heat and pressure to create a unibody design.
  • Made with materials such as a polypropylene honeycomb core and carbon fiber, these paddles typically result in increased durability and resistance to delamination.

What Is A Thermoformed Pickleball Paddle?

thermoformed pickleball paddle machine
Photo Credit: pickleballpaddlemanufacturers.com

Thermoformed pickleball paddles are becoming very popular lately. They are known for being very durable and have a really even balance of power and control.

What makes them differnet is a specialized manufacturing process known as thermoforming.

Thermoforming involves the application of heat and pressure to create the paddle.

The manufacturing of thermoformed paddles is an art of its own. It involves a meticulous process that ensures the paddle’s durability and performance.

The Thermoforming Process

thermoformed pickleball paddle press
Photo Credit: pickleballpaddlemanufacturers.com

Here’s how the thermoforming process works:

  1. A hot press molding machine is used to apply heat and pressure.
  2. This process uses a unidirectional carbon fiber prep reg, which is a carbon fiber ply pre-impregnated with epoxy resin.
  3. This material is used in manufacturing the face sheets.

The result of this process is a unibody paddle with a seamless paddle face. This means that the paddle is designed as a one-piece structure. This unibody construction contributes significantly to the paddle’s performance.

Key Components of a Thermoformed Paddle

This core is secured to the face sheets using epoxy glue. This structure provides a balance of strength and lightness which helps to improve the performance of the paddle.

They are engineered to be lightweight and well-balanced and are easy to maneuver quickly at the kitchen.

Advantages of Thermoformed Pickleball Paddles

thermoformed pickleball paddle cores
Photo Credit: pickleballpaddlemanufacturers.com

One of the main advantages of thermoformed paddles is their sweet spot. The sweet spot refers to the area of the paddle that generates the most power and control when striking the ball.

Thermoformed paddles typically offer a larger sweet spot compared to non thermoformed paddles however we are seeing larger sweet spots more commonly now.

In addition to the larger sweet spot, there are some other advantages over traditional ‘sandwich paddles’:

  • Durability seems to be better
  • They are light, and still have a good balance of power and control.

Increased Durability

Thermoformed paddles are typically very durable. The unibody design contributes significantly to the durability.

Plus, the extended durability can help prolong the lifespan of your paddle. This makes them not just a high-performing choice but also a cost-effective one in the long run.

Comfort and Reduced Arm Fatigue

Thermoformed paddles can help to reduce arm fatigue and increase comfort during play. Because they are lightweight, they can reduce the amount of arm fatigue you might experience. Particularly good for those who get tennis elbow.

Players using thermoformed paddles also report the following benefits:

  • Noticeable reduction in vibrations upon ball impact
  • Increased level of comfort during the game, particularly over multiple games
  • Especially beneficial for players who engage in longer sessions or competitive matches

Overcoming Delamination in Thermoformed Paddles

So this was a very hot topic a little while back. You can check out my YouTube Video ☝🏻 where I explain what is pickleball paddle delamination and some of the drama that was happening with it.

Delamination refers to the separation or peeling of layers within the paddle. This is typically caused by manufacturing defects like poor glue adhesion.

The performance of the paddle can be significantly affected by this. Delamination compromises the integrity of the paddle and this is what caused the big stir.

Using a delaminated thermoformed paddle is not recommended and it can actaully get you DQ’d from a tournament.


It can actually improve the power and pop! Watch our video! ☝🏻

Choosing the Right Thermoformed Pickleball Paddle

how to choose a pickleball paddle

Factors to Consider

When choosing a thermoformed pickleball paddle, there are several factors you should consider:

  1. Weight: Weight is super important. This is really personal preference. Heavier paddles more often can be more powerful while lighter can help with control.
  2. Grip Size: Make sure the grip fits your hand comfortably. Typical grip sizes range from 4 to 4 ½ inches in circumference.
  3. Material: Thermoformed paddles are typically made from composite materials. The specific materials used (e.g., fiberglass, carbon fiber, polymer blends) impact the paddle’s durability, stiffness, and power. Fiberglass offers more flexibility and better control, while carbon fiber is stiffer and provides more power.
  4. Core Material: The core affects the feel and sound of ball impact. Common core materials include polymer (soft and quiet) and Nomex (hard and noisy). Polymer cores generally provide a good balance of power and control, suitable for players of all levels.
  5. Shape and Size: The shape and size of the paddle determine your reach and the sweet spot. Longer paddles provide better reach while wider paddles offer a larger sweet spot and are more forgiving on mis-hits.
  6. Edge Guard: Do you want an edge guard or an edgeless paddle? Edge guard will protect the paddle but edgeless can offer a larger sweet spot.
  7. USAPA Approval: This is a must even if you don’t plan to play in tournaments. Make sure the paddle is approved by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).
  8. Price and Brand: Budget of course is important. Prices of paddles are skyrocketing. The good news is you can still find a great paddle at a good price.
  9. Aesthetic Design: While not affecting performance, the look of the paddle is important too! We want to look good out there right??

Testing different paddles, if possible, or buying used is the best way to find one that feels right for your style of play and comfort.

Top Thermoformed Picklebal Paddle Brands

CRBN pickleball paddle 1X

Some of the best thermoformed pickleball paddles are:


To sum it up, thermoformed pickleball paddles offer good durability, performance, and comfort. The unique manufacturing process and unibody design sets them apart from traditional paddles. This leads to enhanced performance, larger sweet spot, reduced vibration, and increased durability.

Choosing a thermoformed paddle can improve your game, reduce arm fatigue, and get you a high performance paddle that can last.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a thermoformed pickleball paddle?

A thermoformed pickleball paddle uses heat and pressure to create a unibody design of a pickleball paddle out of one piece.

What are the benefits of thermoformed paddles?

Thermoformed paddles typically have a larger sweet spot, improved durability, can reduce vibration, and enhance performance.

What is delamination in pickleball paddles?

Watch our YouTube Video!!!!

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 process here.

Affiliate Disclosure:

Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a product. You can read our affiliate disclosure in our disclaimer.

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