Buying a Spin Pickleball Paddle: What to Look For and Examples

What is a spin pickleball paddle, and should I buy one? Our guide to getting the best spin paddles.

Buying a Spin Pickleball Paddle: What to Look For and Examples

If you're buying a pickleball paddle, you're going to see marketing copy about power, control, and spin. But it's important to fully understand what those elements actually mean for us as individual players.

Spin pickleball paddles do exist, but power and control are the elements which sell the most paddles in our experience.

But if you're interested in spin, you should know what you're getting yourself into.

Should I Buy a Spin Pickleball Paddle?

Does spin actually matter in pickleball? Sure, it's cool to see and satisfying to pull off, especially when you send a ball dancing to the left and your opponent can only watch it sail past them.

But do players need to prioritize spin in their game, or is it just a gimmick for a couple easy points when compared to power and control?

We asked Zane Navratil, one of the pros noted for his spin and innovator of the now-banned spin serve. 

He says spin is only something you should strive for once you have phenomenal execution on your flat shots:

"I love my spin. But if you don’t have the fundamentals down, you’re building a house with a poor foundation," Zane says.

But let's say you come to pickleball from something like table tennis, where spin is crucial, and you already have the motor skills to apply it consistently.

If you're still a beginner in pickleball, that skill will definitely earn you some quick points if you're playing against other beginners. Players at low levels don’t recognize spin, so they won’t adjust and end up miss your shots.

This might feel exciting at first, but at some point, you're going to get diminishing returns on tricky spin shots.

At the intermediate level, spin tends to be over-emphasized, so you'll have some competition, Zane says.

"Certain players at this level tend to see spin as more valuable than it actually is. They will go for excessively spinny shots at the expense of strong execution. Often, attempting spin leads to losing more points rather than winning more points."

Then, at the highest level, every player can read and anticipate spin as well as the effect it is going to have when the ball contacts their paddle. 

Zane illustrates this point in the video below:

The Verdict: Buy a Spin Paddle IF You Know Your Style

While spin is the number one thing Zane looks for in a paddle because it plays to his strengths, spin-heavy paddles may help or hinder your game.

"I generally think players should pick a paddle which accentuates their strengths (or what they perceive to be their strengths)," Zane says.

"The problem arises when people think that they are a spin player when they are actually a control player (or some other misconception about their own game)."

If you don't have any experience with spin AND you're new to pickleball, pay attention to other elements of the game to determine your strongest point.

If you like dinking, buy a control-dominant paddle; if you're a driver who likes the fast game, consider power paddles.

Remember: if you're especially weak in one of those areas, buying a paddle designed for that can also help you feel more confident while you're learning.

What to Look for in a Spin Paddle 

Selkirk makes quite a few paddles noted for their spin, so we asked their director of research & development Tom Barnes for a closer look at what goes in to making one.

He says it's all about the face material, surface texture, and overall weight of the paddle.

"Materials like carbon fiber and composite, along with added surface grit, enable players to generate more spin by allowing the paddle to grip the ball better upon contact," he says.

"Lighter paddles are easier to maneuver, aiding players in executing the brushing motion needed to create spin." 

3 Top Pickleball Paddles for Spin

Now that you know what to look for in a spin-centric paddle, you'll be able to focus on everything else about paddles that make-or-break your game.

Things like handle length are important for putting spin on two-handed backhands. You'll also want to consider your ideal paddle weight and if you need to add weight to certain shapes to fit your play style.

But if you need a place to start, here are three different options we highly recommend:

Endorsed by pro Zane Navratil, this paddle features a carbon fiber face that ensures powerful, precise shots.

Its responsive feel guarantees consistent accuracy, allowing you to control the pace of play effortlessly. The Zane Navratil Signature Paddle is designed to enhance both your power and precision on the court.

Key Specs:

Core: PP Honeycomb

Face: T700 Raw Carbon

Weight: +/- 8.2 oz

Dimensions: 16.5" x 7.5"

Handle: 6" length, 4" grip circumference

Thickness: 14 mm

The Vanguard Control Invikta Paddle is crafted for players seeking consistency and control. This paddle offers a perfect balance of power and precision, catering to players seeking a reliable and controlled performance.

Key Specs:

Face: Raw QuadCarbon Fiber

Core: Vanguard X5+ honeycomb

Weight: 7.3–8.1 oz

Dimensions: 16.45" x 7.44"

Handle: 5.5" length, 4.25" grip circumference

Thickness: 16 mm

The CRBN 1X Power Series Paddle is designed for power and pop, featuring a gritty carbon fiber face. Its unibody design enhances durability and responsiveness, while foam-injected edge walls add stability and reduce vibration.

This paddle boasts an expanded sweet spot, ensuring consistent performance across the entire face, making it perfect for aggressive play.

Key Specs:

Core Thickness: 14mm/16mm

Face: Gritty Carbon Fiber

Weight: 7.8-8.1 oz

Dimensions: 16.5" x 7.25"

Handle: 5.5" length, 4.25" grip circumference