The popularity of pickleball is on the rise. Those who are looking for an easy-to-learn sport that involves plenty of physical activity, are starting to hit pickleball courts in droves. The rules of pickleball are quite simple and people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy this wonderful sport. Even if you don’t have any prior experience in playing court sports like badminton and tennis, it won’t take you long to get the hang of pickleball. If you are serious about this sport, then you must have a list of all the pickleball equipment that you might need to be the best pickleball player that you can be. On the other hand, if you are just playing pickleball for fun, knowing what pickleball equipment you need is important to enjoy the sport to the fullest.
Apart from being a court sport itself, pickleball is significantly different from its counterparts like tennis or badminton. In fact, it can be described as a fusion of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. Those of you who not only play pickleball, but also play tennis & badminton please take a look at our comprehensive tennis equipment list as well as our badminton equipment list. Some players believe that pickleball can be played with the same accessories as tennis or badminton, the paddle and the ball being the only exception. This is not the case and you will get a clear idea after going through my list of pickleball equipment.
Let’s start, shall we?
Pickleball paddles, also known as rackets or bats by those new to the sport, are one of the main components of pickleball and should be the number one item on your pickleball equipment list. What is a pickleball paddle used for? It’s obvious, you use a pickleball paddle to hit the pickleball ball! At first look, one might mistake a pickleball paddle as a plus sized table tennis bat. Unlike table tennis, pickleball is played on a large court with a relatively large ball, so the paddle needs to be the suitable size too.
While very basic pickleball paddles are made of wood, lighter materials such as composite and graphite are very popular in pickleball paddle production. You can choose either of these materials depending on your comfort and playing style.
Pickleball Paddle Materials
If you are going with a wood pickleball paddle, make sure you don’t choose the lightest option out there. They tend to rip apart during intense games as they are not too durable. Wooden paddles are the cheapest option available & are a good option if you want to try the sport & don’t want to break the bank when purchasing your first paddle. Composite pickleball paddles are lighter & more expensive than wooden paddles and are becoming more popular with pickleball players. These paddles have a composite core with a carbon fiber or fiberglass surface. When we say a composite core we’re talking about a core which is constructed using , aluminium, polymer or a material called Nomex which is a type of nylon.
Pick a paddle made of graphite if cost is not a huge consideration because graphite paddles are the most expensive type of pickleball paddle. Graphite paddles are generally easier to control & light weight.
Pickleball Paddle Weight
The ideal weight of a decent paddle should be between 5 to 15 ounces. Anything outside this range is not recommended at all.
Pickleball Paddle Grip
Another important factor you must consider while purchasing a pickleball paddle is the grip. Without comfortably gripping your paddle, you won’t be able to play well against good opponents. The grip can’t be too big or too small. Moreover, if the grip is too big, playing for a while might even strain your elbow.
I know that pickleballers very often also play tennis, so if you’re a tennis enthusiast as well as a pickleballer then please take a look at our reviews of the best tennis rackets of 2020.
Also, take a look at our in-depth review of the Onix Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle.
Here is our recommendations for pickleball paddles which cover all price brackets:
As the name of the sport itself is ‘pickleball’, you definitely need a ball to play this popular sport which is why it should be the second item on your pickleball equipment list. There are two types of balls used to play pickleball; indoor and outdoor pickleball balls. Pickleballs are unique looking, as they come with holes to maintain certain aerodynamics when they travel through the air.
Regardless of where you play, you need to understand that pickleball balls need to be replaced on a regular basis. The base material is plastic, which wears out over time. However, purchasing from trusted manufacturers is important, because you wouldn’t like it if you had to change a number of balls during a match.
Indoor Pickleball Balls
Pickleball is very often played in indoor courts and gyms. The indoor environment is significantly different from the outdoors, and the balls are slightly different as well. I am not saying that it is not possible to play pickleball with the same balls both indoors and outdoors, but to replicate a professional playing environment, you should have different pickleballs for indoors and outdoors.
Indoor pickleballs are slightly lighter than outdoor ones. If you are playing indoors, air would not be of that much significance in terms of determining the trajectory of the ball. That’s why indoor pickleballs are slightly lighter than their outdoor counterparts. Indoor pickleballs usually tend to last longer as well because indoor floors are less damaging to pickleball balls than outdoor courts. The major visual difference is that the holes are larger.
Here are the our recommendations for indoor pickleball balls:
Outdoor Pickleball Balls
Outdoor pickleballs are replaced more frequently than indoor pickleballs. As we all know, outdoor courts usually have rough surfaces and the pickleball balls gets damaged much quicker while playing on these rougher surfaces. These balls are slightly heavier and contain smaller holes because there is wind outdoors that can change the trajectory of the balls. If you are willing to play pickleball as an outdoor sport, then the following are great outdoor pickleball ball options.
You don’t need to own a pickleball net if you play in a gym or court where nets are already installed. On the other hand, if you want to build your own pickleball court in your backyard, then purchasing a net is a must. Pickleball doesn’t need a large court like tennis. In fact, pickleball courts take barely 30% of the space of a regular tennis court. That’s why more people are willing to build their own pickleball courts compered to tennis court.
Portable pickleball nets are a great equipment option. These nets can be taken anywhere. By using portable nets, you can even turn your existing tennis court or your driveway into a pickleball court! Portable nets are suitable for both indoors and outdoors. You should choose a pickleball net with the approved dimension though. The width of the net needs to be 20 feet at least. The approved height for pickleball nets is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center.
Here are the pickleball nets for your equipment list that are recommended by us.
Both male and female pickleball players need to wear good footwear to get the necessary support needed to win matches. A good pair of shoes is essential pickleball equipment needed to improve a player’s ability to move over the court. In addition, good quality shoes also prevent joint injuries. Well, there are not a lot of shoes in the market that are dedicated designed for pickleball players, but one thing I can say is that you need to wear court shoes at least to play pickleball.
For choosing a good pair of shoes, first you need to consider sole traction and lateral stability. You also have to consider cushioning. I would recommend not wearing shoes with heavy cushions, as not that much jumping is involved in pickleball. And lastly, you need a separate pair of shoes for indoor and outdoor pickleball. As indoor and outdoor courts have different surfaces, one shoe might not fit both types of courts.
Here are the pickleball shoe recommendations I have picked for you.
Womens Pickleball Shoes
Mens Pickleball Shoes
As you can tell from our list so far, there is a number of pieces of pickleball equipment & accessories. That’s why you should have your own pickleball kit bag to carry all your pickleball gear around in.
There are a few different styles of pickleball bag, including sling bags, backpacks, duffel bags and larger tennis racket style bags, but ultimately the choice of which one to choose comes down to personal preference. Some folks want a bag to carry a paddle & a couple of balls, while others want a bag big enough to fit their shoes, a change of clothes, their cell phone as well as a number of items which are on our equipment list. They do that to make sure they’re prepared for anything that they encounter before, during or after their pickleball game.
Decide what you want your pickleball bag to do for you & choose accordingly. We’ve given the top choices of pickleball bags, including a few different styles & sizes to help make your choice easier:
Those who are just starting out and wouldn’t want to go through the trouble of purchasing pickleball equipment and accessories separately, you might want to consider pickleball sets. The standard pickleball set comes with a pair of pickleball paddles, a few pickleball balls, and a small bag. Purchasing sets is a great way to reduce the cost when you’re starting out with the sport, as most of the pickleball sets are usually priced lower than the sum of the price of each of the products.
Here are a few sets you can take a look at!
Pickleball Grip Tape
As for any court sport you need to firmly hold your racket or paddle to play better. Just like rackets, pickleball paddles need comfortable and solid grips. Pickleball grip tape is the go-to pickleball equipment option for most players to enhance their grip on their pickleball paddle. Wrapping good quality grip tape around the paddle’s handle will make it much easier to control their paddle.
If you have sweaty palms, it is a must that you wrap grip tape around your paddle’s handle. The pre-installed grip of your pickleball paddle might not be enough to prevent sweat from building up and residing on your paddle’s handle. Cheaper paddles usually come with low quality grip wrappers that don’t provide any resistance to sweat at all. This might significantly affect your performance. If you are using a head-heavy pickleball paddle, then your palm sweat can get in your way, and the paddle might even slip out of your hand while hitting the ball.
Another use of pickleball grip tapes is to provide more thickness to the handle. Some players feel comfortable playing with handles this way. If you are one of them, it is highly recommended for you to invest in good quality grip tapes. Grip tapes are not too expensive either. See some of them in the recommendation list below.
Pickleball Paddle Covers
The next entry into our professional pickleball accessories list is pickleball paddle covers. If you are in love with pickleball, then it’s quite certain that you are in love with your pickleball paddle as well. You’ll be surprised to know that professional pickleball players also have their favorite paddle, no matter how many other paddles they own, just like me and you! You would not want to see your favorite paddle wear and tear due to damage caused outside the court, right? This is why you should consider buying a pickleball paddle cover.
Pickleball paddle covers are not only great for protecting your favorite paddle, but also make it really convenient for you to carry your paddle if you are not using a bag. Most paddle covers are roughly 9×12 inches, though any size would do as long as your pickleball paddle fits inside it.
Even if your pickleball paddle set includes covers, you should consider buying better ones because the ones included in paddle sets are sometimes of an inferior quality to be totally honest. Longevity, cushioning, and zipper strength should be your main concerns while buying pickleball paddle covers. Good paddle covers are great pieces of pickleball equipment and can last years. With good cushioning, a paddle cover can prolong the lifespan of your paddle as well. Zipper strength is also important because your cover will become unusable if the zipper doesn’t work. Don’t purchase paddle covers that come with loose zippers.
Here are the options I’ve picked for you.
Pickleball clothing & apparel is really important for both men & women pickleballers. The difficulty any pickleball player faces when they want to choose the right clothing to wear for a game of pickleball is that there isn’t a specific category called Pickleball Clothing, so many people are unsure whether specific clothing will be appropriate to wear on the pickleball court. There was a time when you could play pickleball wearing literally anything. Even intermediate level pickleball players used to play the game wearing some silly t-shirts and three-quarter pants. Everything was perfectly acceptable. Pickleball has become more popular which is why players are becoming more professional looking as well. Our list of professional pickleball accessories wouldn’t be complete without including pickleball apparel. This is why I’ve done the research for you to find the best pickleball clothing for both men & women. I recently came across another great servant of pickleball who has some great pickleball clothing recommendations too.
Mens Pickleball Shirts
Well, pickleball apparel is not too different from tennis apparel, as the game itself is somewhat similar to tennis. Regardless of being a more casual sport than tennis, there is a trendy edge when it comes to pickleball apparel. Men today have their preferred choices for pickleball shirts. Sure, there is no certain dress code for pickleball players, but you wouldn’t want to look silly wearing your Mickey Mouse t-shirt while others are wearing more professional sports shirts.
The most common material for male pickleball player shirts is polyester. While some players do love cotton, it is not recommended because cotton tends to get dripped in sweat after a while. Don’t choose too tight or too loose shirts, as you will find it very uncomfortable to run over the court wearing such shirts. Make sure your pickleball shirt is breathable and allows enough air flow. You wouldn’t want to change your shirt multiple times during a match, so comfort comes first before style.
Here are my picks!
Womens Pickleball Shirts
Just like their male counterparts, women pickleball players prefer polyester tops over other materials. The reasoning is the same, a player needs to be on her toes while playing this game, and only breathable clothing that helps keep you cool and is good moisture wicking material can help achieve that. Like male players, female pickleball players mostly wear short sleeved shirts, though very rarely some players choose long sleeves. You will also see a lot of women players who wear sleeveless tops or tank tops. Such clothing is the most comfortable and provides maximum mobility.
While some pickleball tops include spandex as a base material, you should go for the ones in which polyester is the dominant material. Spandex based tops are often guilty of being too tight. However, if you really want to, you can wear cotton tops as well, though I would not recommend it. If you love cotton, then make sure you choose tank tops.
Here are the recommendations I have for you!
Mens Pickleball Shorts
As I mentioned earlier, pickleball apparel is very similar to tennis apparel, and shorts are no different. You can play tennis and pickleball and tennis both with the same pair of shorts. Anyways, I would definitely recommend having separate pairs of shorts for different sports. Purchasing specific shorts for pickleball means that you are more committed to the game.
Like shirts, most pickleball shorts are also made of polyester. Cotton shorts are also popular among some players, but again, polyester is the better option to choose from. If you can’t find polyester shorts, then go with cotton shorts. However, make sure that you don’t wear too long shorts while playing pickleball. Long shorts are not suitable for pickleball or tennis at all. Moving is more difficult in long shorts or pants. Even if you see someone playing pickleball in basketball pants, don’t take any inspiration!
Here are the pickleball shorts I have sorted out for male players.
Womens Pickleball Skirts, Skorts & Shorts
Women pickleball players can play the game wearing womens shorts, but skirts or skorts are more popular. Skirts or skorts gives a bit more of a polished look to women pickleball players. Like shorts, skirts and skorts are also mostly made of polyester. When it comes to skorts, the inner part is made of spandex in most cases.
Female players do seem to prefer skorts over skirts for various reasons, but comfort is the biggest reason for this preference. Skorts are basically a combination of skirts and shorts. They look like skirts, but have shorts sewn in underneath.
Here are some of my recommendations for women pickleball shorts, skirts and skorts for female pickleball players.
I’ll be very honest, pickleball gloves are not mandatory equipment for playing well. In fact, lots of professional players play very well without gloves. The reason why pickleball gloves have made it onto our pickleball equipment list is because more and more pickleballers are seen wearing gloves and there is a good reason for it.
The reason for wear pickleball gloves is the same as wrapping grip tape around your pickleball paddle handle, sweat and comfort. A good pair of gloves makes sure that even if your palms are sweaty, your game won’t be affected. On top of that, if a match goes on for too long, your palm or fingers might start to blister from holding the paddle for extended periods of time. Wearing gloves will help you not to lose your edge when your opponent is a very difficult player and the game is expected to go down to the wire.
Gloves Material & Fit
The base material of pickleball gloves is leather. More expensive options come with thick sheepskin leather, while the affordable gloves are made of thin leather. The technology used to make the leather palms is known as gripster. As you can guess from the name, this technology emphasizes a lot on firm grip and control over your paddle handle.
Choose a pair of gloves that fits your hands well. If the gloves are loose, your palms will move a lot inside them. As a result, you will get irritated and feel like throwing them away. depending on your comfort, go for full finger or open gloves. I personally like open finger gloves more than full finger ones. I believe open finger gloves provide as much grip as full finger gloves, despite giving a bit more breathing space for the fingers. However, if your fingers sweat, then I think full finger gloves would be a much better choice for you.
Before purchasing gloves, make sure that you are not allergic to any material that has been used to manufacture the product of your choice.
Here are the gloves I like.