Pickleball paddles usually last between one and five years. Many factors impact the lifespan of a pickleball paddle: the amount of use, how well they are looked after, and the play style of their owner.
How Long Do Pickleball Paddles Last?
On average, a pickleball paddle should last for between one and five years, according to Selkirk, a paddle manufacturer.
This large range is because there are a number of factors that impact the lifespan of a pickleball paddle.
- Material: One of these is the material your paddle, paddle face, and core material are made of. Some materials (like wood paddles) offer less consistent performance but have excellent durability, so they last longer than a better-performing but less hardy type of paddle.
- Use: Another factor is the amount of use the paddle gets. If you only play occasional pickleball games (i.e once or twice a month), your paddle is going to last quite a long time. However, professional and advanced players who play a lot and undertake a lot of practice pickleball drills will be using their paddles much more. This will reduce the lifespan of their paddle when compared to a recreational player who spends less time on the pickleball court.
- Care: Another factor is whether or not you take proper care of your paddle. This has a huge impact on its longevity.Keeping your paddle away from extreme temperatures (e.g in a car on a hot day, or in the garage during a freezing cold spell) should increase the lifespan. Equally, storing your paddle in a proper paddle bag while not playing, making sure your paddle has a well-maintained edge guard, and avoiding clinking of paddles with other players will help protect it from dents, scratches, and other general wear and tear.
- Playing Style: The final factor regarding the lifespan of a pickleball paddle is your individual playing style. Power players who hit a lot of high-speed drives will find that their paddles wear out quicker than control players who hit soft dinks and drop shots. This is just due to the stress the different types of shots put on the paddle.
Which Pickleball Paddle Materials Last the Longest?
If you’re looking for a cheap, hardy, inexpensive paddle that will last a long time, wood paddles are a good place to start. They are a great option for new players or those with kids who just want a piece of equipment that is going to last without much maintenance.
However, wooden pickleball paddles are by far the heaviest and worst-performing type of paddle, so they aren’t suitable for people who play the sport more regularly.
Of the better-performing options, the two best paddle types are graphite paddles and composite paddles. Graphite paddles are the hardiest and most durable. Selecting one of these will increase the life of your paddle. However, they are less powerful than polymer/composite options and can also be more expensive.
How to Know When to Replace Your Pickleball Paddle
There are a number of ways to tell that your paddle is nearing the end of its lifespan.
- Feel: Most pickleball players will be very familiar with the way the ball reacts off their paddle and will be aware of any changes. Has the sweet spot become smaller or less powerful? Are you sensing dead spots where the ball comes off the paddle more slowly than it should? These are signs the paddle might need replacing.
- Sound: You can also notice a paddle that is reaching the end of its life by the paddle sound. If there is a sudden change in the noise your paddle makes as it hits the ball, it might mean something has broken, or the paddle has had too much wear and tear.
- Appearance: Another way to tell is by your paddle’s appearance. If there are noticeable dents or scratches on the face of your paddle, these can affect performance and might mean your paddle is past its shelf life.
Not every type of wear and tear requires replacing the whole paddle. Paddle grips can be replaced easily either at home or by a professional. People who play a lot of pickleball should consider replacing their grips at regular intervals to ensure the grip stays tacky and functional.
What To Do When Your Pickleball Paddle Is Worn Out
If your paddle has worn out, you have several options.
If you think it might be able to be repaired, you can take it to a local pro shop or pickleball club and see if they can get it feeling brand new again.
If your paddle is still under warranty, the manufacturer might be able to replace or fix it for you. Most paddle companies will have the terms of their warranties on their stores at checkout.
If that is not possible, it’s probably time to invest in a new paddle. If you love your current model, you can buy the same one again or look for one like it. Or perhaps you’ve figured out that the paddle you had wasn’t quite right for your playing style, and you’re after a change?
If so, check out the paddle buying guides we have here on the website for tips and tricks on how to find the pickleball paddle that’s right for you.
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