Explained: The Best Power Pickleball Paddles for Your Game in 2023

by Joseph Sutton on Sep 13, 2023

Explained: The Best Power Pickleball Paddles for Your Game in 2023

Generating Power in Pickleball is More Important than Ever

Pickleball is attracting more dynamic athletes than ever before, and they, along with the evolution of paddle technology, are bringing explosive energy to the game. Whether created by high swing speed, a powerful paddle, or both, strong drives, fast counters, and effective “put aways” are now staples for any well rounded player. 

While generating power is important, harnessing it in a controlled way is crucial, and understanding the subtle differences in power paddles will help you pick the right tool for your game. We’ve put together a list and description of the best power pickleball paddles on the market so that you can unlock your full dynamic potential on the court.

What makes a power paddle? Plow vs Pop

Before we dive into our list of trusty power paddles, we want to take a second to explain some popular yet abstract terms that help us take the data from Labs at Pickleball Central and explain it to diehard players like you. 

Plow Through – Paddles with higher swingweights lose less momentum on impact and pass more energy into the ball (plow), while keeping the paddle face stable. A paddle’s swingweight is a good starting indicator of its power potential.

Pop – Similar to tennis strings, the properties of the face, core, and structure of a paddle affect the compression and rebound of the ball on contact. Paddles with more “pop” compress more and rebound quicker creating a faster ball speed (and more spin, but that’s a conversation for another day).

Understanding the difference between these two concepts allows you to find the right power paddle for your playstyle.

Our Choice in Power Paddles

Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta

Selkirk Power Air Pickleball Paddles at Pickleball Central

The power air is an incredibly maneuverable elongated paddle with great pop, perfect for players looking to put more pace and spin on their shots without sacrificing hand speed (thanks to a very low swingweight). 

The sacrifice you make with a low swingweight and twistweight is a loss in stability on off center hits, so if sweet spot size is a concern, some weighted tape on the perimeter of the paddle could be very helpful. This added weight will also improve plow through on contact, giving you even more power and stability.

Read more about Selkirk's Power Air Line: Unleash Your Power On The Pickleball Court with Selkirk Sport's Power Air Paddles

ProKennex Black Ace XF

The Black Ace series features a signature spade shaped raw carbon fiber surface and the most pop of any paddle from ProKennex yet (and that’s saying something!). 

ProKennex is known for their maneuverable and shock absorbing construction great for those prone to pickleball elbow and the Black Ace series offers those benefits while giving its users access to incredible power.

CRBN 1X16mm

The X series brings thermoformed, unibody construction to their popular raw carbon fiber paddle lineup. The elongated and thick cored CRBN 1x 16mm offers great plow through and pop off the face thanks to the heat-formed carbon fiber and expanding foam perimeter.

While there are more maneuverable paddles on the list, the 1x 16mm is not cumbersome and offers a generous sweet spot and solid stability on off center hits, making it a fantastic choice for players looking for top-tier power with solid forgiveness.

JOOLA Perseus CFS 14

The 14mm Perseus co-designed by Ben Johns features a raw carbon fiber face, thermoformed unibody construction, and an expanding foam lined perimeter. The 14mm model features a maneuverable swingweight and low twistweight, making it easy to manage for most players.

Advanced players will appreciate the responsive powerful feel off the paddle face, but the tighter sweet spot out of the box will be tougher for newer players to master. Some weighted tape on the perimeter of the paddle will unlock the best the Perseus has to offer.

Diadem Icon V2 XL

The tennis experts at Diadem have been studying pickleball for a few years now, and the Icon V2 is a fantastic reflection of the work they’ve put in. 

The edgeless unibody construction and 13.7mm ultra-thin core create an easy to swing offensive power paddle accessible to any player in the game. Designed with the tennis player in mind, the XL shape allows converts from the sport to quickly and easily find the sweet spot and put the ball away.

Gearbox CX11E Power

If you’ve never hit a gearbox, you should. These expertly designed solid carbon fiber paddles are the most durable on the market, and the CX11E Power combines that longevity with an incredibly powerful and responsive feel. You get great feedback from the Power, and many players love the feeling knowing exactly when they find the sweet spot. 

If you want durability, power, and a responsive feel, this could be the gearbox for you. Players looking for a little more forgiveness may consider the top-of-the-line CX14E Ultimate Power.

Electrum Model E Elite

Electrum Pickleball Paddles at Pickleball Central

Electrum joined the thermoformed paddle club with the Model E Elite, and it has quickly established itself as the flagship in their lineup.

With incredible pop and a high swingweight, this paddle has high plow through and is what some would refer to as a “tank”. For stronger players who can manage more weight, the best-in-class stability and impressive put away power of the Elite make it a paddle capable of competing at the highest level right out of the box.

Paddletek Bantam EX-L

Even though it is a few years old, the Bantam EX-L remains a competitive paddle on the PPA tour thanks to its consistency and unique ability to offer a responsive feel on contact without sacrificing forgiveness. 

When players want to put the ball away, the ball launches off the face as well as most of the paddles on this list, but this one does it at a price point below 100$.

Engage Poach Infinity MX

Engage makes no compromises for power with this made in the USA elongated fiberglass paddle. The extra-long 6” handle makes using a second hand on backhanded shots effortless while the 6-layered fiberglass face construction offers incredible pop at high compression without making softer dinks and drops too difficult. 

Players who hit flat and powerful counters and drives should consider the Poach Infinity MX for their next paddle.

ONIX Evoke Premier

ONIX Pickleball Paddles at Pickleball Central

The Evoke Premier is still one of the top choices for ONIX players on tour. The high stability, low balance point, and powerful fiberglass face make the paddle an offensive weapon excelling in speed ups and counter attacks at the net.

If you love a good hands battle and are looking for an edge against your opponents, The Evoke Premier is a fantastic option to consider. 

HEAD Extreme Pro

We were pleasantly surprised at the performance of the Extreme Pro, and it earned a spot on the list as a great beginner to intermediate power paddle for someone looking to improve their game. An EVA foam filled handle helps to absorb the shock of the powerful 11mm core on impact. 

We love the affordable price point of the Extreme Pro, and we have no hesitation recommending this paddle to any player wanting a responsive and maneuverable power paddle without breaking the bank.

ProXR Advantage Blackout 14

ProXR handle technology gives players a consistent, connected feel to their paddle unlike anything else on the market. The Advantage Blackout features an elongated shape and fiberglass face that work together to make generating pace easy.

If you’re looking to feel more connected to your paddle while bringing the heat, the Advantage Blackout 14 should be on your list. 

Regardless of which paddle winds up suiting your game, or if you still think placement and strategy are better than power (they sure can be), we hope you now have more knowledge about power and its different forms than you did before. Now go out and play. 

Learn how adding lead tape to your pickleball paddle can add power!