3 Pickleball Paddles for Control (And What that Really Means)

What really is a “control paddle,” and do you need one for your pickleball play style? We explain it and highlight a few of the...

The Diadem Warrior Edge, the Six Zero Ruby, and the Selkirk Lux paddles, all considered great for control

You’ve probably seen the term “control” anywhere you’ve ever shopped for pickleball paddles.

Control paddles represent an entire category these days…which is great for manufacturers, since it’s the type of industry jargon that sounds easy to market. Doesn’t everybody want a “control-focused” paddle to some extent?

This is the type of term that you may feel you understand through how it's used in context.

But there’s much more of a technical meaning behind what makes a control paddle that you should understand if you want to choose one that truly matches your play style.

Here’s what you need to know about control pickleball paddles:

Who They’re Made For

"Control paddles are purposefully designed for players who prefer to use finesse rather than sheer power on the pickleball court,” says Rob Barnes, co-founder and co-CEO of Selkirk Sport.

“Control paddles typically feature a thicker core, a lighter weight, materials such as graphite and carbon, and a shorter, wider paddle face to enhance the sweet spot."

Control paddles are typically engineered for players who like to control the pace of the ball. Example: a slowdown volley or a soft dink reset at the kitchen line.

This is where “soft hands” come into play. If you’re a player who resists the urge to smash the ball every time, you’ll probably want to consider a control paddle.

Likewise, if you’re an athletic player who’s already capable of generating plenty of power and spin, a control paddle may help balance your game.

But don’t think your decision should end there…

The Limits of “Control”

Every paddle has its limits. One important thing to remember is that a truly great paddle should balance certain aspects to cover for the weak points of its design.

In the case of control paddles, power is the thing you’ll need to provide.

If you need a little help in the power department but still want a control-focused paddle, look for these qualities:

  • A midweight design (between 7.3 and 8.3 oz), which tends to balance the two opposing qualities of power and control
  • A carbon fiber paddle face
  • A longer handle, which makes it easier to add a second hand to your backhand (and increase the amount of potential power you can add to this shot)

If you’re a high-level player looking to compete, you may consider pursuing more of a power paddle for the simple reason that other competitors are likely using them. Read more on power paddles here.

High level players are able to control the ball in a fundamentally different way than those of lower levels, so at a certain point, the advantage comes from power added.

3 Great Control Pickleball Paddles

Selkirk Luxx Control Air

Sporting a massive 20mm core, the touch and feel of the Luxx Control Air may be familiar to you if you ever tried Selkirk's Project 003.

It's essentially an upgraded version of that paddle, which was known for its sweet spot and gritty paddle face which never sacrificed much power in the name of control.

Learn more in our review here.

Diadem Warrior Edge

At only 8.0oz, the Warrior Edge is a lightweight paddle that a wide range of players can use. Its thick honeycomb core feels like it absorbs each ball, giving you options for how much power to punch back with.

A large, forgiving sweet spot lets you dial-in those tricky reset and wide angle dink shots with ease.

Six Zero Ruby

Notable as the first paddle to use Aramid fiber (made from Kevlar) for its face material, the Ruby has a unique combination of surface roughness and durability.

You'll really be able to feel the difference here: an extra-gritty surface and thermoformed core all make for a paddle that's considered by many to be a marvel in the control category. Check out our video review here.