Babolat Pickleball Paddle Review: In-Depth Analysis

Babolat burst into the booming pickleball scene in 2021 with an array of paddles targeting core player profiles. The company applied its tennis expertise to purpose-built pickleball gear. In this in-depth Babolat Pickleball Paddle Review, we will scrutinize the design, construction, and resulting playability of four Babolat pickleball paddles spanning beginner to advanced skill levels.

Babolat Pickleball Paddle Review

Babolat XPLR Pickleball Paddle

The XPLR paddle lives up to its “explorer” name as an ideal choice for newcomers to the sport. With its lightweight maneuverability and graphite construction, the XPLR offers user-friendly fun as players learn proper strokes and court positioning.

Babolat XPLR Pickleball Paddle


Design Objectives

As its name suggests, the XPLR aims to be a novice player’s trusty companion as they explore and learn the sport. Babolat designed this paddle for user-friendly maneuverability, forgiveness, and well-rounded playability.


Weight – At just 7.8 oz, the XPLR has an ultralight weight to reduce fatigue and keep swing speed easy for developing players. Babolat pickleball paddle strips away excess mass.

Face – The 100% fiberglass hitting surface provides moderate touch and power. The tightly woven fiber arrangement has some natural grittiness for spin while retaining Babolat’s comfortable feel.

Core – A durable polymer honeycomb core balances rigidity against decent flexibility and vibration dampening. The plastic hexagons offer a resilient sweet spot.

Edge – Minimal 1/5″ perimeter guard protects edges from chips and cracking if the paddle accidentally contacts playing surface.

Grip – Standard 5 inch circumference grip with basic polymer exterior. Non-cushioned but tactile and moisture absorbing.

Balance – Slightly head-light balance centers weight at handle for quicker swing speed and maneuverability. Ideal for novices.

Babolat XPLR Pickleball Paddle

Playability Impressions

Weighing under 8 ounces, the nimble XPLR paddle is easily weldable for new players learning proper swing techniques and ball contact. The lightweight construction makes sustaining volleys during rallies very manageable. Users enjoy the low fatigue factor.

Despite its featherweight design, the XPLR still packs decent pop from its responsive fiberglass face and polymer core. While power levels can’t match thicker carbon layers, the flexible bounce of fiberglass has a forgiving touch. Mishits don’t painfully jar the hands like more rigid paddles.

This exceptional blend of user-friendly maneuverability, comfort, and power gives beginners the confidence to develop skills effectively with the XPLR. Babolat built this paddle for education and enjoyment. The well-balanced attributes aid player progression across techniques, strategy, and athleticism.

Reasons to Buy
  • Very lightweight and maneuverable
  • Forgiving fiberglass face good for beginner control
  • Durable polymer honeycomb core provides nice pop
  • Comfortable average sized grip
  • Minimal edge guard retains feel and power
Reasons to Avoid
  • Lacks the spin potential of textured faces
  • Fiberglass face lacks extreme power and pop
  • Core transmits more vibration than cushioned materials
  • Grip lacks cushioning or tackiness

Babolat RNGD Pickleball Paddle

The RNGD paddle promises easy “renegade” power from its flexible woven fiberglass face and poppy polypropylene honeycomb core. It suits newer players or hard-hitters looking for effortless punch.

Babolat RNGD Pickleball Paddle


Design Objectives

The RNGD model aims to provide accessible power for eager beginners along with control-focused intermediates. The lively construction allows anyone to hit forceful shots with less effort and refined technique.


Weight – At 8.1 oz, the RNGD has noticeably more heft than the XPLR for increased momentum and stability through shots. But retains mobility.

Face – Highly flexible 100% fiberglass woven face acts like a trampoline to maximize pop off the strings. Less rigid than carbon or graphite.

Core – Polypropylene honeycomb cells generate impressive rigidity for solid feel on contact. But the plastic cells have some flex too.

Edge – Only minimal 1/5″ perimeter overlap in order to maintain paddle responsiveness and pop. Prevent edge damage.

Grip – Same standard polymer exterior construction as XPLR for decent moisture absorption. Non-cushioned.

Balance – Slightly head-light keeps the weight balanced toward the handle for quick reactions despite heavier overall mass.

Babolat RNGD

Playability Impressions

Right away the RNGD’s 8.1 oz weight provides noticeably more heft and substance in hand compared to featherweight paddles. This additional mass supplies forward momentum for driving serves and groundstrokes with authority. The paddle wants to be swung fast and hard.

Yet the flexible fiberglass face retains a degree of vibration dampening and touch absent in rigid graphite and carbon. It has a trampoline-like response to expand dwell time against the ball, enabling impressive pop without jarring the hands. This friendlier power gives developing players the confidence to take bigger cuts.

The polypropylene honeycomb core generates further rigidity and stability for a solid feel during rallies and volleys. Shots rebound with satisfying pop and velocity. However, polypropylene lacks the buttery touch of polymer or aluminum cores.

Overall, the RNGD’s lively flex and heavier weight provide very user-friendly access to powerful drives without sacrificing forgiving finesse. The paddle supplies a nice blend of pop, stability, and control for advancing intermediates and hard-hitters.

Reasons to Buy
  • Heavier 8.1 oz weight adds stability and power
  • Fiberglass face generates impressive pop and rebound
  • Polypropylene honeycomb core maximizes rigidity and ball speed
  • Smaller hitting surface helps control shots
  • Edge guarding protects rim from dings and chips
Reasons to Avoid
  • Heavier weight reduces maneuverability
  • Fiberglass face lacks elite spin potential
  • Polypropylene core transmits significant vibration
  • Grip comfort and tackiness could be improved

Babolat RBEL Pickleball Paddle

The RBEL paddle features Babolat’s RPM Max Grit textured face for radical spin paired with an ultralight build for quick-twisting wrist action. Ideal for spin-savvy players.

Babolat RBEL Pickleball Paddle


Design Objectives

Babolat pickleball aimed the RBEL paddle at intermediate and advanced players looking to generate heavy topspin and quick action. The grippy gritty face allows insane spin and ball manipulation.


Weight – Incredibly lightweight at just 7.6 oz. Minimized heft maximizes maneuverability for quick wrist flicks and handling.

Face – Sandpapery RPM Max Grit textured surface has tacky friction to grip ball and allow massive spin generation. Carbon and fiberglass blend.

Core – Polymer honeycomb design provides decent punch, vibration dampening, and rigidity for control. Not overly rigid.

Edge – Familiar 1/5″ perimeter guard protects paddle while minimizing mass. Preserves feel and pop.

Grip – Same average sized polymer grip as other Babolat pickleball paddle models. Non-cushioned but with decent moisture absorption.

Balance – Slightly head-light distribution supports quick reaction time and handling for spin shots.

Babolat RBEL

Playability Impressions

Weighing an astonishingly light 7.6 oz, wielding the RBEL paddle feels like pure man

euverability magic. The minimal mass makes wrist flicks and quick maneuvers completely effortless. Serious players can sustain the breakneck hand speed essential for continuing spin rallies.

The Max Grit carbon/fiberglass textured face looks mildly abrasive but actually has a sandpapery grittiness for absurd friction engagement with the ball. Generating underspin and topspin becomes almost comically easy. This tacky grip unlocks spin previously unattainable with conventional smooth paddle faces.

While power maximizers may want more pop, the polymer honeycomb core provides decent punch and ideal flex for control. Touch-based games thrive on manipulation versus raw power.

With its radical grip and feathery lightness, the RBEL paddle pairs best with intermediates to advanced wielders able to harness extreme spin and placements. The speedy finesse rewards fast hands and clever shotmaking. Serious players should take it for a spin.

Reasons to Buy
  • Extremely lightweight at just 7.6 oz for easy handling
  • Max Grit textured face allows insane spin generation
  • Polymer core provides good balance of control and pop
  • 5 inch grip suitable for most hand sizes
  • Edge guarding protects paddle rim from damage
Reasons to Avoid
  • Lacks the raw power of thicker core paddles
  • Gritty textured face provides muted touch feel
  • Polymer core lacks extreme pop and rigidity
  • Basic grip lacks cushioning or tackiness

Babolat MNSTR+ Pickleball Paddle

This Babolat MNSTR+ paddle designed for “monsters” of the court packs increased power from its elongated shape, grippy face, and heavier weight. It’s Babolat’s most advanced option.

Babolat MNSTR+ Pickleball Paddle


Design Objectives

Babolat engineered this paddle for competitive players and power strikers desiring maximum pop and stability melded with high spin potential. It’s built for domination.


Weight – A substantial 8.1 oz head-heavy weight amplifies paddle momentum and kinetic energy through the hitting zone. But still maneuverable.

Face – babolat’s sticky Max Grit carbon and fiberglass textured face generates heavy spin. The grippy friction also provides control.

Core – Enlarged polymer honeycomb core surrounded by EVA foam padding increases sweet spot feel while controlling vibration and sting.

Edge – The same 1/5″ overlap as other models protects the paddle perimeter from cracks and chips.

Grip – An extended 5.5″ length allows two-handed backhand comfort plus added leverage for extra power and reach.

Balance – Definitely head-heavy to concentrate mass in the paddle head for maximizing smash power and stability.

Babolat MNSTR+ Pickleball Paddle

Playability Impressions

Right away the paddles’s 8.1 oz weighted head provides noticeable plow-through momentum and kinetic energy for cranking serves and groundstrokes. Obliterating shots comes easier with the inertia of this paddle thanks to physics. The mass also delivers reassuring stability when blocking returns.

Despite the lively power, Babolat’s grippy Max Grit carbon/fiberglass face allows easy spin generation too. So players can take huge cuts while still shaping the ball with topspin or slice as desired. The enlarged core expands the sweet spot for a buttery responsive feel across the surface, reducing vibration.

This is a paddle engineered for competitive enthusiasts who want to overpower opponents through penetrating drives and heavy spins. The added mass and spin potential allow going for more winners. The MNSTR+ name aptly describes its capabilities.

This is a paddle engineered for competitive enthusiasts who want to overpower opponents through penetrating drives and heavy spins. The added mass and spin potential allow going for more winners. The MNSTR+ name aptly describes its capabilities.

Reasons to Buy
  • Heavier 8.1 oz head-heavy weight boosts power and stability
  • Sticky Max Grit face creates heavy spin potential
  • Expanded polymer core increases sweet spot size
  • 5.5″ grip allows two-hand backhand comfort
  • Edge guard protects paddle perimeter from cracks
Reasons to Avoid
  • Heavier weight reduces quickness and maneuverability
  • Max Grit texture reduces soft touch feel
  • Polymer core transmits more vibration than some materials
  • Higher price range due to advanced construction

Babolat Pickleball Paddle Comparison

PaddleWeightBest Suited ForKey Attributes
XPLR7.8 ozBeginners & IntermediatesLightweight maneuverability, good control
RNGD8.1 ozBeginners & Power PlayersEasy access to power, improved pop
RBEL7.6 ozIntermediate & Advanced Spin PlayersInsane spin from gritty face, fast handling
MNSTR+8.1 ozAdvanced Competitive PlayersMax power and spin, versatile play


What is Babolat’s RPM Max Grit pickleball face technology?

RPM Max Grit uses a textured gritty surface that increases friction with the ball to allow insane levels of spin. The sandpaper-like coating enables heavy topspin and slice shots.

Do Babolat paddles run large or small grip size?

Babolat’s grips tend to fit true to size. Their 5 inch grips suit most average hand sizes well. Those with smaller or larger hands may prefer adjusting up or down.

How forgiving are Babolat’s fiberglass paddle faces?

The fiberglass face material provides a nice blend of power and forgiving touch. It has more flex and shock absorption than rigid graphite or carbon. Ideal for beginner friendly play.

Do Babolat paddles come with edge guarding?

Yes, Babolat paddles feature a minimal 1/5 inch edge guard overlapping the rim. This helps protect the paddle from cracks and chips if it contacts the playing surface.

What carrying cases work best with Babolat paddles?

Babolat’s own padded paddle bags work well for transporting their paddles. Other brands like Gamma and Selkirk also make quality bags with ample Babolat paddle protection and storage.

Concluding Thoughts

Babolat’s impressive initial foray into pickleball pays proper respect to the sport by delivering paddles with distinct strengths rather than just repurposing tennis leftovers. The company clearly targeted core player types from beginners to aspiring pros. We appreciate their thoughtful approach.

The XPLR, RNGD, RBEL, and MNSTR+ paddles represent a strong beachhead in the market by combining innovation with balanced playability. These foundational models offer plenty of upside for players at every stage of the learning curve. Babolat built a commendable baseline to grow from.

Expanding their paddle portfolio diversity long-term while refining technologies will be key steps for Babolat to challenge established brands. Maintaining quality and value across wider offerings as materials and manufacturing evolve poses the biggest challenge for all producers.

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