The First Padel Racket of Many
This article is aimed at beginners or players who have not played racket sports before and want some advice when choosing their first racket. For accomplished tennis or racket sport players, please review the Choosing a Padel Racket article.
Buying your first racket can be a difficult decision so early in your padel journey. You’ve either been renting a padel racket from the club or borrowing a friend’s each time you go to the courts or you’ve played once and decided padel is the sport for you! But either way you decide a padel racket is a good investment! And in most cases it is an investment indeed, because before you step into the shop (physically or online) you probably think this glorified beach bat cannot set you back too much. However, most of the top models from the mainstream brands cost 200-300 euros plus, so you want to make sure you choose wisely!
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your padel racket:
The weight can vary in rackets between 320-400g (especially if you add grips), 100g might not seem like much, but wait until you are swinging it constantly for a couple of hours. If you are new to padel or have any elbow/shoulder injury I always recommend aiming slightly lighter 340-370 would be the bracket I suggest. For men, padel rackets tend to be around 370 to 380 grams ( heavier racquets generate more power swinging at the same speed). Ladies padel rackets usually weigh between 340 to 360 grams and junior rackets are generally between 240 to 280+ and are of a smaller size although full size lighter rackets do exist for older juniors.
Shape & Balance
There are 3 shapes of racket at the moment – Diamond (high balance – weight towards the top), TearDrop (medium balance, weight in the middle) and Round (low balance, weight towards the handle). As a new player I would not get too caught up on “the right shape for you”, the shape might alter the balance (Diamond is most head heavy usually and therefore slightly more difficult to wield). But the materials that brands put in the rackets is a much bigger factor. So choose the shape you feel comfortable with. Having said this, newer players might prefer an even balance or head light racket with a bigger sweet spot that is more forgiving and that tends to be the round shaped rackets.
This affects the impact and responsiveness of the contact. Generally speaking a harder racket gives more power, less feeling and more vibrations up your arm. A softer racket gives more control or feeling and less vibration. This can be very difficult to measure, the only real way is to test it by hitting or using the heel of your hand to feel how hard it is (you might need the help of a coach or more experienced player to tell you). Generally speaking the brands would tell you if this is a softer or harder racket. For a new player, power is unlikely to be a crucial part of your game, so I would always suggest a softer racket for those starting out.
So as a new player you know you need a relatively light, evenly balanced, softer padel racket …how do you find that type of racket?
In most cases the brands will have that information on each of their models online but in the best case scenario you can test the rackets! Some padel clubs rent rackets by the hour and generally have a few to choose from or if your local padel club is not set up like that yet, then ask to borrow rackets. Players at the club will have a wide variety of racquets and most are willing to let you hit the ball for 5 minutes to see what their padel racket is like. It is well worth doing this to ensure you have the best chance of finding the racket that suits you and your game, rather than guessing and buying something online that may not suit you.
How To Save Money On Your Padel Racket?
If you want to save some money on your first purchase, here are some sensible ways to do that.
Buy a previous year’s model
It might not have this season’s colours or the player using it before might’ve moved to a different brand, but most of the time the racket characteristics will be very similar (if not identical) to the latest model. Often these sell for less as brands are trying to get rid of them.
Wait for a deal
Almost all the brands will have a deal on the rackets later in the season. They realise they still have a huge stock left and try to shift it later in the season.
Combine this with the previous years model and you can get discounts of up to 40 to 50%. Most eshops have deals like this one.
Try a less mainstream brand
Having made my own rackets I can tell you the quality of the smaller brands are similar (if not better in some cases) than their expensive counterparts. Nowadays there are plenty of cheaper options that will offer you, a relatively new player to padel, some very good racquets.
Only buy a second-hand racket if you know the person and know how long they’ve used it! I have seen so many times where people have bought second hand to save money, have then broken the racket within the first few times of playing (assuming they didn’t notice it was broken on the resell) and then have to buy a new racket almost straight away. I would also only recommend buying the racket if your friend has used it less than a handful of times.
- Overgrips – racket handles are often too small and will be much more comfortable with an overgrip attached.
- Anti vibration. Some racquets offer an anti-vibration system that can help if you are sensitive to tennis elbow or shock from repeated ball striking.
- Style and personal choice. Combine the advice above with a racquet you like the look and feel of and will be happy playing with.
Hope you are able to find your dream racket and this leads you into a happy start to your padel. Are you happy with your padel racket? Email us at [email protected] and tell us how you found it!