Innovation moves swiftly in the ultra-competitive pickleball gear market. Brand new materials and technologies emerge every season as companies aim to capture an edge in performance and playability. One relative newcomer making waves is Electrum Pickleball Paddle out of Las Vegas. In just a few short years, they’ve established themselves as true pioneers in paddle engineering.
Electrum’s recently launched Elite iteration of their popular Model E paddle exemplifies their obsessive focus on advancing pickleball technology. This In-depth Electrum Pickleball Paddle review will analyze if the next-gen Elite version can live up to the lofty bar set by the original best-selling Model E.
We’ll closely examine the new thermoformed core construction along with the raw carbon fiber face that Electrum claims provides their best balance of control, power, and feel yet. After extensive testing, we’ll determine if the E Elite truly represents the future of Electrum Pickleball Paddle.
Electrum Pickleball Background
Electrum burst onto the pickleball scene in 2019 driven by a small team of entrepreneurs and engineers committed to innovating paddle performance through scientific testing.
Their hands-on founders have backgrounds ranging from pro-player experience to materials engineering and physics expertise. By combining first-hand pickleball knowledge with lab testing processes borrowed from aerospace engineering, Electrum created an ideal paddle development environment.
Their Las Vegas headquarters house state-of-the-art labs to rigorously experiment on paddle components like new polymer cores, face materials, and surface coatings. Hundreds of design iterations get prototyped and tested annually in search of incremental performance gains.
Electrum also collaborates with pro players during the design process to ensure quality and playability meet the demands of high-level competition. This blend of science and user feedback enables Electrum to introduce several groundbreaking paddles within their first few years in business. Their unique elongated Model E shook up the market back in 2020 thanks to an expanded hitting surface, unlike traditional pickleball shapes. The responsive pop and enlarged sweet spot delivered immediate benefits for thousands of players.
Now, Electrum aims to build on that successful debut with the next generation Model E Elite. Let’s analyze the key performance technologies integrated into this ambitious redesign.
Model E Elite Design and Construction
At first glance, the Model E Elite looks nearly identical to the original Model E featuring the same iconic graphics. The minimalist aesthetic combines a matte black carbon fiber face and grip with sleek white edge trim.
Vibrant pops of color accent the neck along with Electrum’s signature giant eagle logo. Fans of the original paddle will feel right at home with the bold styling.
Electrum retained the distinct elongated paddle shape as well – slightly wider and longer than traditional pickleball paddles. This expanded surface area provides added reach while increasing the sweet spot size, especially for two-handed players.
Thermoformed Honeycomb Core
The game-changing enhancements in the Elite hide internally within the new thermoformed Polypropylene honeycomb core. Past Polypropylene cores arranged hundreds of tiny honeycomb cells in vertical columns throughout the paddle face.
Electrum’s new single condensed core utilizes precision thermoforming to mold the entire honeycomb structure into one unified cell. This eliminates the thin walls between columns, creating a solid face of consistent Polypropylene.
Benefits of this breakthrough include increased pop and stability by enabling smoother transfer of energy across the entire hitting surface. Vibration dampening receives a boost too thanks to the highly unified core system.
Mating this stiffer single honeycomb cell with the carbon fiber face also allowed Electrum to shave core thickness down to 16mm for a lively response while maintaining forgiveness. Overall, the thermoformed core provides excellent control with added power.
Carbon Fiber Face
To complement the responsive core, Electrum outfits the paddle face with raw carbon fiber containing no additional coatings or finishes. This bare carbon fiber construction optimizes surface friction for superior spin generation and touch shots.
Carbon fiber rates among the most sensitive and reactive face materials available. Unfinished carbon fiber further enhances control and feedback. The grippy bare carbon fiber grabs and manipulates the ball with ease for shaping delicate shots.
Yet the rigid woven composite still delivers exceptional “pop” on volleys, blocks and drives as well thanks to carbon’s inherent stiffness and energy transfer properties. This bare carbon fiber face retains Electrum’s high-standards for performance excellence.
Gamma Ergo Pro Grip
To ensure all-day playability and comfort, Electrum equipped the Elite with a premium Gamma Ergo Pro handle wrapped in tactile leather. The contour molded shape with perforated guard rails promotes outstanding grip security and wrist comfort.
This upgraded handle represents a noticeable improvement over the previous ProLite grip for sustained control during intense matches and tournaments. The ergonomic shaping and leather wrapping deliver exceptional quality.
Balance and Feel
On the courts, the Model E Elite provides outstanding balance between speed, stability and power. Weighing in at 8.2 ounces puts the Elite into that ideal midweight class suitable for all-around versatile play.
Quick maneuvers feel effortless thanks to the lightweight honeycomb core and dynamic carbon face. Yet stability and torque resistance shines as you load up for penetrating groundstrokes or blocks at the net. This paddles begs to be swung with authority.
The leather grip and contoured edges supply added finesse for shaping delicate touch shots as well. The Model E Elite truly epitomizes Electrum’s goal of maximizing balance and feel for competitive play. Next let’s move into extensive play testing results.
On-Court Testing and Performance
Over an 8-week testing period, our reviewers analyzed the Model E Elite in a variety of playing conditions from casual rallies up to tournament match intensities to gauge versatility. We compiled feedback on key attributes like power, control, feel, spin and forgiveness.
Our testers were thrilled by the impressive power unleashed from the low weight design. The stiffer unified Polypropylene core transferred outstanding energy through the ball for penetrating shots with force to spare.
Groundstrokes easily reached deep court targets with same velocity and accuracy as thicker core paddles. The lively carbon fiber face adds plenty of responsiveness to shots around the net for quick volley exchanges.
Power and stability shined during blocking drills as well. The Elite shrugged off hard cross-court drives allowing for crisp counter-attack shots in response thanks to the firm body and grip stability.
Control and Responsiveness
The thermoformed core generates outstanding feedback and touch for all shot types. While volleys and power shots benefit from the added pop, we were most impressed by finesse capabilities.
The extra sensitivity provided brilliant touch for rolling dinks or aiming drop shots that clipped the net and tumbled with backspin. This paddle promotes feel and control for all the trick shots and placements competitive play demands.
The expanded sweet spot proved valuable for when hands get shifty deep into matches. Well-struck shots flicked from the paddle’s center turned slightly wayward hits along the edges into consistent winners as well thanks to forgiving face.
Even at a midweight class, the Model E Elite paddles faster than its build suggests. Light flicks of the wrist quickly get the paddle moving thanks to the responsive core and slimmer profile. However, stability remains impressive allowing for full-power drives and blocks when required.
The flexible handling and maneuverability shined when forced to change direction reacting to angled shots and drop shots. The paddle smoothly transitioned between playing areas as points dictated. Solid footwork complements the Elite’s agile nature.
The raw carbon fiber face, especially when brand new, generates tremendous friction and bite on ball contact for heavy spin shots. Topspin forehands exploded off the court as our grippy surface gripped and flicked the ball forward.
Quick backspin flicks came easy too thanks to the heightened surface grip. Control and responsiveness enhanced shot shaping abilities and let spinny shots grab the court with authority as balls peeled or skidded low.
Paddle Face Sweet Spot
Electrum’s elongated shape expands the sweet spot hitting area noticeably, especially for two-handed grippers. The unified core maximizes stability from all contact points across the face as well.
We enjoyed the added forgiveness on off-center hits as hands tired or reactions slowed. Less precision was required finding the exact paddle center during crunch points thanks to the enlarged head distributing impact evenly.
Comfort and Playability
The ergonomic Gamma grip provided secure, slip-free handling even during marathon matches in high heat. The contoured neck shape and perforated design promote coolness and comfort to make the Elite a paddle built for extended tournaments.
On every shot type imaginable, the Elite felt reliable and composed in hand from start to finish. The construction quality shines for competitive players who punish their gear. Durability and playability earn top marks.
- Thermoformed core generates excellent touch and stability
- Bare carbon fiber face optimized for control and spin
- Elongated shape expands sweet spot and reach
- Powerful shot-making capabilities from mid-weight design
- Extremely responsive and comfortable in hand
- Gamma grip provides outstanding handling
- Lacks overwhelming power some look for
- Premium $200 price tag
- Elongated shape takes minor adjustment
- For elite caliber tournament play, the Model E Elite provides one of the best all-around blends of stability, finesse and power we’ve tested.
A: It features a condensed Polypropylene honeycomb core and bare carbon fiber hitting surface. The core is thermoformed into a single unified cell for consistent power transfer.
A: The Elite uses more advanced construction like a thermoformed core and premium Gamma grip. It also has a raw carbon fiber face for added control and spin potential.
A: It provides one of the best balances of power, control, touch and forgiveness thanks to its innovative construction and premium materials.
A: With its blend of attributes, the Elite suits intermediate to pro players looking for a competition-ready paddle. Developing players can grow with its versatility.
A: Yes, Electrum includes a basic neoprene sleeve for protecting the Elite during storage and transport.
With the new Model E Elite, Electrum Pickleball Paddle once again proves their commitment to advancing paddle technology and quality is second to none. The innovative thermoformed Polypropylene core optimized for responsive touch and power transfer represents a giant leap over previous generation paddle cores.
Paired with the dynamic carbon fiber hitting surface, the Model E Elite exemplifies Electrum’s obsessive attention to maximizing all aspects of paddle performance. Outstanding construction quality and the ergonomic Gamma grip deliver long-lasting playability as well.
For intermediate up to elite caliber players seeking the most well-balanced and versatile paddle on the market, the Model E Elite checks all the boxes. While the $200 price tag exceeds casual players’ budgets, Electrum added value in the Elite to justify the investment for serious competitors. Considering their impressive pedigree of innovation in just a few short years, Electrum’s reign pushing boundaries in the pickleball market appears poised to continue. The Model E Elite looks like the new paddle to beat.