Rackets are not one size fits all products. What kind of racket you choose, should be based on your unique needs. So, before you decide to look more deeply into specific models or brands, answer first these more specific questions.
Are you going to play often? Are you planning to play tournaments? Why do you play, is it just for fun or are you a more serious player? Your needs are different if you play just once a week with friends compared to a person who is competing and playing more than five days a week.
If you want to play more, it could be a good idea to invest in a higher quality racket, as it may also help you to progress faster. On the other hand, if you just like to have a match here and there on the weekends with your friends, you will not notice any huge difference between a basic and top racket.
What is the level you are playing at? Have you just started or are you a more advanced player? Or even a professional?
A mistake that I see a lot of beginners make is that they go wild and buy a racket that is way too expensive and hard to play. I know, it might look super cool, but if you are a beginner, it won’t help you to win any games.
I recommend that beginners should look for an easy-to-play and forgiving racket. If your budget is limited, so are your options, but a good padel packet does not have to be expensive. I know there are many models that offer everything you need, for a great price!
What’s your playing style? Are you playing on the right or left side? Do you play mostly defensive or do you prefer to attack?
Your style of playing is the most important factor that comes to selecting your racket. If you are a player who prefers control and precision you should obviously choose a racket with defensive features. Similarly, you should look for a racket with more potency if you play a lot of volleys and smashes.
Usually left side players are the ones who attacks more and defense is done by the right side player. There are still a lot of exceptions to this rule, so don’t take it as it is set in stone.
Your weight, shape and possible previous injuries are all factors that need to be considered when you are choosing the right racket. People who usually play with lighter rackets are females and juniors when men, especially with good physics, benefit from using a slightly heavier racket.
The shape of the padel racket
You can find padel rackets in three different shapes. Round, tear-drop, and diamond. They all have their own characteristics and advantages as well disadvantages.
Round padel rackets
Beginners should choose round rackets as they are generally easy to handle and forgiving to play with. But if you are a more advanced player who is looking for more control and precision go for the round one as well.
Diamond-shaped padel rackets
Diamond-shaped rackets are more difficult to play with and do not offer the same control as a round racket. They are suited for more aggressive style players. In exchange, you gain significantly more power and speed in volleys, bandejas, and smashes.
Teardrop-shaped padel rackets
If you want to have a good balance between speed and control, you should look for a teardrop-shaped padel racket. They are slightly easier to play with than diamond-shaped rackets and offer more power than the round ones.
The balance of the padel racket
Another important aspect when you choose the padel racket is the balance. Balance is determined by how the weight is distributed between the lowest and highest point, more specifically the grip and the head of the racket.
This largely affects how your padel racket feels on the padel court. The balance can be divided into three main categories: low balance, high balance, and medium balance.
Padel rackets with a low balance are quite easy to handle and enjoyable to play with. They suit players who seek security and maximum control in their shots. They are also more gentle to play with, which can help avoid injury. The disadvantage of the low-balance rackets is that they do not generate the same power in offensive shots such as volleys and smashes.
If you are looking to have more speed and don’t mind that you lose some control and comfort, a high balance racket might be your choice.
They generally require better technique and more experience than the low-balance rackets. But remember, if you are prone to injury, you should be careful about choosing a high-balance padel racket.
If you are an all-around player who is looking for a good balance between speed and control, a medium balance racket can be a good alternative.
Hard or soft padel racket?
Should your new padel racket be hard or soft and what is the difference between the two? There is actually quite a lot of difference what comes to feeling and playability.
Soft padel rackets
You will get more speed when you play with a softer racket. It is much friendlier when you are a beginner. When you, for example, block a shot from the opponent at the net or hit a looser shot from the defensive part of the court, the elasticity of the racket generates much more speed.
If you are also looking to avoid hurting yourself and prevent any injuries, soft padel rackets are great for that too, as they absorb vibrations better.
Hard padel rackets
Do you like to hit the ball hard and you are a more advanced player? I recommend you should take a look at harder padel rackets as they generate more power. Good recoil with high output speed is the result of the ball not being absorbed by a soft material.
Harder rackets also offer better control for players who have good technique.
Internal core and surface
The material in the internal core is normally either EVA, available in various densities or FOAM. The surface is made of either carbon fiber or fiberglass. Carbon fiber is a harder material with better durability, while fiberglass provides a softer feel when hitting the ball.
Weight of the padel racket
There is no unique optimal weight for the racket. You have to make your decision based on your pre-conditions, such as playing style and physics. I have put together several general tips and guidelines that I talk about in this guide.
Differences between light and heavy padel rackets
The first obvious difference is that lower-weight padel rackets are easier to handle. They allow you to move the racket faster to get into the correct position in many situations on the padel court.
Heavier rackets are harder to handle, but instead, give you more power in the shots. This is easily explained by Newton’s second law: Power = Mass x Acceleration.
Select weight based on your pre-conditions
If you are a beginner and your technique is average, my recommendation is to choose a lighter racket. A racket too heavy will boost the risk of you hurting yourself.
The rule of thumb is that the heavier you are, the heavier the racket you can play with. If you are more athletic you can surely choose a racket that is heavier without the same risks of injury compared to a person who is not that fit.
If you are eyeing a racket that is highly balanced and it is more difficult to handle, my recommendation is that you opt-in for a lighter version. If your racket has a lower balance, you do not need to pay attention to the weight as much as it is focused primarily on the grip.
General guidelines based on your body weight
Here is a guidepost to give you some rough ideas on what weight racket you should choose based on your body weight.
Men – body weight 110-155 lbs: 360-365 grams
Men – body weight 160-175 lbs : 365-375 grams
Men – body weight +180 lbs: 380-390 grams
Women – body weight 90-130 lbs: 340-355 grams
Women – body weigh 130-155 lbs: 360-365 grams
Women body weight +155 lbs: 370-375 grams
Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines, you need to try our different rackets to find the perfect one for your needs.