Proton Paddle Lineup Review

by Joseph Sutton on Jul 9, 2024

Proton Paddle Lineup Review

What's so special about Proton Paddles?

Proton paddles have been featured on the top of professional podiums all year, and players are catching on that there is something special about these paddles. With 4 series that all play differently, it's hard to know where to start. In this blog, we break down the full lineup and will help you find the perfect Proton Paddle for your game.

Proton Paddle Lineup at PickleballCentral.com

Read more about the brand below or jump right to the paddle you want to learn about:

Who is Proton?

Proton paddles burst onto the scene at the end of 2023 and their bright designs made them stand out in a black paddle market, but Proton had years of experience in the sporting world before starting pickleball. Proton founder, Charles Darling, took his experience in the aerospace and defense industry to solve one of the biggest problems in softball, the bats just kept breaking and construction was getting worse. Charles set out to build a competitive bat designed by some of the brightest carbon fiber engineers in the world, and Proton Sports launched with great success in 2021.

It wasn't until 2022 that Charles' kids introduced him to pickleball, and he was hooked from the start. Immediately, Charles recognized some of the same equipment issues in pickleball as he did in softball, and he set out to make a high performance paddle that would actually last. After a year of intense R&D, Proton Pickleball launched with overwhelming success thanks to their bold designs and innovative paddle technology.

Proton Sports Founder Charles Darling

Proton founder Charles Darling

Series 1 Proton Pickleball Paddles

Proton's primary tech story is the innovative Nanotac surface used on their Series 1 paddles. Instead of utilizing fragile "grit" to achieve spin, Nanotac material "grabs" the ball utilizing the maximum allowable Coefficient of Friction or "grip" as set by the USAP. The rumor is that top players Megan Dizon and Andre Daescu were able to use a single paddle in a tournament season while their competition switched nearly every week if not more. Proton even offers a lifetime warranty on the Nanotac surface material reinforcing their committment to producing a durable and dependable product.

Megan Dizon Backhand with Proton Series 1 Pickleball Paddle

PPA Tour Pro Megan Dizon playing the Series 1 Type A 11mm paddle

Should I choose the 11mm or 15mm Series 1 paddle?

While the decision between the elongated and square(widebody) model will be easy for most to make, choosing the best thickness between 11mm and 15mm can seem more difficult. These paddles are heavier than typical carbon fiber paddles thanks to their durable surface material, so for many players who like lightweight paddles, the thinner 11mm options will be the way to go. For players who want that extra forgiveness and can manage more weight, the 15mm models offer it in abundance.

What is the difference between series 1 type a and type b?

The Series 1 paddles come with 2 core materials available, the standard Polypropelyne honeycomb "Type A" core, and the Nomex honeycomb Type B" paddles. Nomex was the original core material for composite paddles and is still found in popular power options like the Onix Z5. It's known for having great pop, but it does lack the forgiveness and shock absorbtion qualities found in Polypropelyne. Most players will prefer the "Type A" models while players who love the ping-y feeling of Nomex will be happy that the "Type B" option is available.

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Series 2 Proton Pickleball Paddle

We hear all the time about how important control, placement, and game improvement are to our customers, and the Series 2 paddles from Proton are designed just for them. With a sleek edgeless design, a 360 molded build, a sealed octagonal handle, and a textured surface for spin, the Series 2 paddles check the important boxes. Even with that construction, it's how they play on court that really sets them apart. Players were asking for longer handles and elongated paddle shapes without sacrificing touch, and the Series 2 offers both, so you don't have to comprimise your two-handed shots or lose any reach to get total control over your game.

Proton Series Two Paddle

Who should consider the series two paddle from proton?

If you know placement is the key to your success, or you are tired of popping up balls and having your opponents slam them back at you, then you should consider the Series 2. Players looking for modern control paddles with high build quality will love the Series 2, and they will find it compares best to options like the Selkirk LUXX Invikta, Diadem Warrior 2, or Gamma Airbender.

Series 3 Proton Pickleball Paddle

The clear winner for most popular performance paddle build of the last two years is the thermoformed raw carbon fiber paddle (think Joola Perseus, CRBN X Series, Diadem Power, etc.). The Series 3 paddle from Proton is their take on this podium topping build with a few key features. The first thing to note is the colorways. Each model features a colored edgeguard and a rainbow gradient for the paddle face, and the team at Proton did this to set the paddles apart from the black and white paddles flooding the market, but there's more than aesthetics going on.

Alex and Angie Walker using Proton Series Three Pickleball Paddles

PPA Tour Pros Alex and Angie Walker playing the Proton Series 3 carbon fiber paddles

Proton Series Three Raw Carbonn Fiber Paddle

The Proton Series 3 printing is full of color and life on top of the durable Raw Carbon Fiber face material.

The raw carbon fiber texture itself was engineered to last longer than the standard resin peel ply texture, and while we have only put a few days of play into these, we look forward to testing out the grit's longevity. At 15mm thick and sharing the elongated shape of the Series 2, the Series 3 is a bit more offense-oriented and would be considered an "all-court" paddle by most.

Like the Series 1 paddles, the Series 3 is more head-heavy than average options, and players who prefer lightweight paddles may consider the Series 2. The benefits of the weight distribution on the Series 3 are performance oriented power and forgiveness out of the box, little to no added weight needed. We added an overgrip and felt like we could play a tournament with the paddle as is which we love to see.

Who is the Proton Series Three paddle for?

Proton crafted the Series 3 to compete with the most popular performance paddles on the market, so anyone considering a high spin potential, all-court power level, and elongated paddle should certainly consider it. Players coming from tennis will immediately connect with the Series 3 as it shares a similar balance and performance on court with a racquet.

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Series 4 Proton Pickleball Paddle - "Project Roadrunner"

While a launch date is yet to be announced, we are eagerly awaiting Proton's take on the Kevlar paddle trend. Interestingly, Project Roadrunner is edgeless and is unique to the market if nothing else!

Proton Series Four Pickleball Paddle Kevlar