Which Padel Racket To Buy?
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When approaching a new sport, it is important to pick the right gear from the very beginning, so you can get the most out of it. And avoiding injuries, of course.
As we have talked many times, the options for racket sports now are countless, and so the options for choosing the right gear. In this case, I will help you choose your new padel racket.
Which padel racket to buy? The best padel racket for you will depend on your level and the type of player you are. Then, aspects like the shape, core, balance, racket stiffness and the sweet spot placement will be relevant in your decision.
I have been there myself many times -I own 6 rackets now-, so I will use my experience to help and make it easy for you.
How to Choose a Padel Racket?
Buying a new padel racket might not be an easy task. There are many models and versions, and different features depending on the type of player. Therefore, I always recommend doing a bit of research beforehand, so we make sure it will fulfill our needs.
I have gathered all the information necessary and made a list of aspects you should consider before buying your next racket. The list doesn’t have to be followed chronologically.
This might be one of the most relevant aspects to look out for when purchasing a new racket. The shape of the head of the “pala” will influence our game big time. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences between the variety of shapes in the market.
Basically, there are three main shapes:
- This type of racket padel are generally very easy to handle, resulting in a high degree of maneuverability. They are recommended for all types of players due to its ease of use.
- There is a reason because these types are easier than the rest: the sweet spot is significantly bigger than the other types.
- As you have probably assumed, these rackets are ideal, especially for beginners.
- When it comes to the best ratio power/control, this type stands out from the rest.
- They are known to be versatile, as they have a good balance between features from both round rackets and diamond rackets.
3. Diamond rackets.
- If you want to buy a racket to get the most power out of your strikes, then you should go for a diamond racket.
- But power comes with a cost: low control. Therefore, this type of racket is recommended to experienced players, it’s not a good choice if you are a beginner.
Balance is highly related with the shape of the racket, and it’s another relevant aspect when buying a new “pala”. When talking about balance here, we will be talking about the placement of the balance in the racket. Don’t get confused with the degree of stability.
There are three types of balance:
Rackets with low balance are usually round-shaped. Weight is slightly placed towards the handle, giving a higher control over the racket. This type of racket is recommended for beginners.
2. Medium balance
Rackets with a medium balance will have a more even weight distribution than the ones with low or high balance. Weight is placed somewhere between the head and the handle. They are recommended for players that want a powerful racket, but without losing control over it.
3. High balance
Rackets that have the weight placed towards the head will have a high balance. They are more difficult to control and handle than the ones with low or medium balance. Usually, diamond-shaped rackets, which are known for featuring power, will have this type of balance.
They are recommended for advanced players.
Another relevant aspect when purchasing or evaluating a new padel racket is the surface’s stiffness. At first, it may seem insignificant, however, it’s worthwhile to consider racket stiffness and to gain an understanding of how it impacts performance.
Depending on the level of flexibility when pressure is applied to the racket, we find two main types of stiffness in padel:
- Soft rackets
These types of rackets are also known as defensive rackets, as the ball bounces off more due to a higher bending of the materials of the racket. Therefore, it will be easier to deflect aggressive strikes only by placing the racket on the ball’s way.
Another benefit of softer rackets is the decrease of vibration, as the racket absorbs most of the energy from the impact with the ball, making it smoother and more comfortable.
They are mostly preferred for amateur players as they are also easier to control.
- Hard rackets
They are also known as attacking rackets. Harder rackets will be more difficult to control. They give the player more power when striking the ball, but as we know, this will result in a lack of control.
However, if you are an experienced player and most of your game is based on volleys and you like to play up close to the net, you should go for harder rackets.
Another benefit of hard rackets is that they tend to last longer than softer options.
When it comes to weight, there is not an exact amount of grams a padel racket must weight. It all comes down to the player’s preferences and his or her playing style.
As a rule of thumb, padel rackets are typically divided into two categories: light and heavy rackets. Again, there is no consensus about it, so it will all be subject to the player’s appreciation.
Generally speaking, the higher weight will increase power and reduce maneuverability. On the other hand, lighter rackets will be easier to handle but will give less power to the strikes.
Within the aspects that will influence which padel racket buy we have to talk, of course, about the materials they are made of.
Although the padel industry is not as developed -yet- as it is in Europe or South America, there are still many options available to choose from.
Since the old wooden rackets, many things have changed in the padel industry. Nowadays, manufacturers produce padel rackets mainly from carbon fiber and fiberglass.
Let’s take a quick look at them:
Historically, the most used material in the padel rackets industry. Since carbon fiber entered the picture though, fiberglass has been decreasing in popularity, but it is still very visible, especially in the low-end rackets market.
Typically fiberglass rackets are cheaper and more flexible. As a downside, they are heavier and less durable than carbon.
- Carbon fiber
This material is generally used for high-end rackets. It has a good reputation and its popularity has boosted in recent years.
Within their main features, carbon fiber rackets are highly durable, lighter and can withstand high temperatures.
One of the most important parts of a padel racket is its core. Currently, there are two types of core in the market: Foam or Ethylene-vinyl acetate rubber (aka EVA).
It’s the most used material in the padel’s racket industry. How can we know if a core is made out of EVA? Basically, we need to check the holes of the racket: if they are completely flat and smooth, it’s EVA.
EVA cores offer higher durability and a smoother design than Foam cores. On the other hand, they are harder than Foam, thus absorbing less from the impact with the ball. They are recommended for more advanced and aggressive players.
This type of core is softer than EVA, which allows the players to hit the ball with less power than harder rackets. It is typically associated with defensive players. One of the main features of foam cores is that they absorb more energy from the balls.
As a main disadvantage, foam cores are less durable than EVA.
What is the Best Padel Racket For Beginners?
The best racket for beginners should be light and round-shaped. These types of rackets will give us a sense of security when hitting the ball and will reduce the risk of making mistakes.
Picking up light rackets will ease maneuverability, which will be very crucial at the first stages. When playing padel at the beginning, most of the points will come from unforced errors, therefore we need a racket that will help us minimize the number of them.
Also due to its lightness, we will be able to move the racket around with less effort, making it easier to improve our technique as we play.
Last but not least, round-shaped rackets have a bigger sweet spot, making it easier for beginners to play longer rallies.
What is The Sweet Spot in Padel?
As well as in many other racket sports, in padel, the sweet spot is the point of the racket where the ball will be hit with the most efficiency.
Whether you are an experienced player or you just started playing padel, the sweet spot is the ideal part of the racket you should aim to hit the ball with.
If hitting the ball with the sweet spot, the force transmitted to the hand is sufficiently small that the player is almost unaware of the impact. However, if the impact takes place away from the sweet spot, we will feel more vibration in the handle.
As we have seen before in this article, padel rackets have different shapes. Depending on the shape, the sweet spot will be different.
As a rule of thumb, the most centered the sweet spot is, the easier it will be to control the racket.
Centered sweet spot
Slightly elevated sweet spot
Elevated sweet spot
Here’s a quick explanation on how to find the racket with the sweet spot that fits best for you:
How Long Does a Padel Racket Last?
As we have mentioned in other articles, the racket in padel is one of the elements that influence the game the most. We could think of it as an extension of our arm. Therefore, we should take good care of our “Pala”.
If you have experience with padel rackets, you must know that they are very prompt to get scratches and quite fragile if falling to the ground. That is why is highly advisable to carry your racket around using a cover.
However, at some point, we will have to get rid of our beloved racket and start thinking of replacing it for another one.
Some factors may affect more than others when referring to padel racket’s durability, but these are the most important ones:
- How often do you play?
Frequency of usage highly impacts the racket’s lifetime. The more often we play with it, the least will last.
For example, if you use the racket on average 1 or 2 times a week, it is likely that your racket can last up to one year. However, if used 4 to 5 times on a weekly basis, it could shorten its life down to 6 months.
- How old is your racket?
As expected, the older our racket is, the more likely is to decrease performance. As a rule of thumb, after one year, rackets start losing their properties.
- Which material is your padel racket made of?
The materials used to make the rackets will also impact the frequency. Padel rackets are mostly made of carbon fiber or fiberglass. If your racket is carbon fiber-based, it will last longer than if you had a fiberglass one. Therefore, if you are looking for durability, you should go for carbon fiber.
One of the most important factors to take into consideration in order to extend the life of our racket is good maintenance. Small habits like using covers, dry it off if wet, long exposure to the sun or simply making sure it doesn’t fall to the ground will increase significantly our racket life.
- Anger issues
You might be surprised how many people smash their rackets after losing a point or a very bad volley. It is highly advisable to keep it cool and count to 10. Your racket will thank you.
Now that we know what to focus on to extend our padel’s racket life, let’s take a look at how can we notice it is time to change.
How do we know we need a new padel racket?
- Excess of vibration
If you play with a damaged racket, you will start feeling a noticeable vibration in your arm. Although small, it can be pretty annoying and it can develop into injuries in your joints, especially your elbow and your shoulders.
- Racket starts cracking
It is important to draw a line between scratches and cracks. Whereas scratches are mainly superficial, crackings in your racket can affect the core and over time, it will impact its performance.
- Color fading
If the racket is constantly exposed to the sunlight and high temperatures, the color/design will start fading, and the materials will lose their properties. For those who live in warm areas with tons of sunlight, this is one of the main reasons for racket damaging.