Pickleball’s rise from hobby to competitive sport has spawned an array of high-tech paddles engineered for elite play. With so many choices now available, selecting the right paddle can feel overwhelming. Finding the best match for your skill level and style of play means understanding how subtle design factors influence on-court performance.
In this in-depth editorial Franklin Pickleball Paddle Review, we will analyze the playability and performance of 5 top pickleball paddle models. We’ll break down how elements like materials, weight, balance, and construction affect crucial playing attributes including power, control, touch, and maneuverability. Whether you crave fierce drives or feathery drops, the right paddle becomes an extension of your hand. Let’s dig into the specs and on-court capabilities of these premier options to reveal your ideal partner. The games await!
DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddles
Part of Franklin Sports’ Decimator paddle series, the DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber model is a top choice for intermediate to advanced level players. This 2-player set comes with 2 carbon fiber paddles and 4 outdoor balls, providing everything 2 people need to hit the courts.
Key Features and Benefits
7.2 oz weight – Heavier than some composite paddles but still very maneuverable and well-balanced. Light enough for good mobility yet offers stability for solid impact.
Carbon fiber face – Increased surface friction grabs ball for more spin potential. Feel is moderately soft without being mushy. Touch shots benefit from control.
Polypropylene core – Harder plastic material transmits noticeable pop and power. Great for confident drives and volleys. Stiff construction minimizes energy loss.
4.8″ grip length – Average size fits most hand sizes well. Allows precise hand alignment and wrist cocking.
Edge guard – Thick protective perimeter boosts durability if paddle lands off center or scrapes court surfaces. Prolongs lifespan.
Carrying case – Padded bag protects paddles during transport and conveniently holds balls. Great for travel to matches.
Playability and Performance
The DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber paddle provides an excellent blend of characteristics that benefit intermediate to advanced level players. The Franklin Pickleball Paddle carbon fiber face has a mildly textured finish that increases friction for added spin generation. While it can’t match the radical grip of other textured technologies like Franklin’s MaxGrit, the carbon fiber surface noticeably improves spin potential versus a smooth paddle. This aids placement and accuracy on touch shots.
The polypropylene core complements the carbon fiber face with impressive power and stability. Polypropylene is a stiff, dense material that offers great rigidity. This translates into serious pop on drives and volleys. Shots rebound cleanly off the paddle surface with force and velocity – ideal for aggressive matches when you need to end points decisively. The dense core also eliminates vibration and instability that sap energy and control. The DECIMATOR exudes a sense of solidity upon ball impact – you can swing with confidence.
While some graphite paddles deliver softer finesse, the DECIMATOR’s 7.2 ounce weight provides enough heft for stability yet remains nimble in your hands. The weight distribution also feels nicely balanced. Combined with the 4.8 inch grip size that fits most hands comfortably, the DECIMATOR offers great playability. The grip alignment and wrist support promote quick reactions and fluid strokes. Though not the most finesse-oriented paddle, the Franklin Pickleball Paddle DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber supplies a well-rounded blend of power, spin, and mobility suited for intermediate to advanced doubles and singles play. It’s a versatile option for competitive matches.
- Generates impressive spin for accurate placement shots
- Provides great stability and power on volleys and drives
- Moderately lightweight for good mobility
- Extended handle promotes proper grip and wrist alignment
- Paddles and balls are USAPA approved for tournament play
- Excellent value for a 2-player set
- Lacks extremely soft touch of higher-end graphite paddles
- Not as lightweight as some advanced carbon fiber models
- Grip could be improved with more cushioning
The DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber paddle set works well for intermediate to advanced players focused on spin and control. The carbon face excels at touch shots with spin, while the polypropylene core offers excellent power. Excellent for doubles play.
SIGNATURE SERIES Fiberglass
Franklin Sports’ Signature paddle line represents their top-of-the-line offering. The fiberglass and MaxGrit combo on the SIGNATURE SERIES aims to provide maximum control and spin.
Key Features and Benefits
Fiberglass face – Provides excellent touch and feel. Very soft without reducing power too drastically. Helps absorb ball impact vibrations.
MaxGrit textured surface – Special gritty coating grips ball to boost spin generation substantially. Allows insane levels of ball manipulation.
Cushioned 5.6″ handle – Maximizes grip comfort and stability in hand. Improves wrist alignment for smoother strokes and injury prevention.
Polypropylene core – Hard plastic material lends pop while retaining durable and shock-absorbing properties. Prevents energy loss.
7.5-8 oz weight – Featherlight for advanced maneuverability. Easy to wield for sustained rallies and reactive play.
Playability and Performance
The SIGNATURE SERIES fiberglass paddle proves Franklin Sports’ MaxGrit texture technology can enable freakish levels of spin. The gritty fiberglass surface almost feels like fine sandpaper – it radically increases friction when contacting the ball. This enables insane spin shots that seem to bend reality on the court. The ball stays glued to the paddle face longer before releasing, allowing players to whip topspin drives or underspin drops that catch opponents off guard. The texture truly unlocks wrist flick potential.
Touch players who construct points through finesse love MaxGrit paddles because their paddle becomes a precision instrument for surgically striking shots. The fiberglass face provides a softer, more dampened feel than carbon fiber or graphite for pillowy-soft touch. Yet it retains enough rigidity for ample power – just don’t expect the fierce pop of stiffer cores. But the maximal spin and control makes this paddle a touch master’s dream.
The polypropylene core lends decent flexibility and vibration absorption too. At just 7.5-8 ounces, the SIGNATURE SERIES featherweight construction gives excellent maneuverability for quick reaction shots and mid-rally adjustments. The elongated 5.6 inch handle promotes great grip stability and wrist alignment as well. This is an ideal paddle for experienced finesse players able to maximize the benefits of extreme spin and soft touch in their game. The MaxGrit texture rewards players able to utilize its unique properties.
- Incredible control and touch for finesse shots
- MaxGrit surface creates heavy spin for placement shots
- Durable polypropylene core for stability and power
- Extended handle with cushioning absorbs vibration
- Very lightweight and maneuverable
- Ideal for intermediate to advanced skill levels
- Lacks the raw power of carbon fiber or graphite faces
- Textured MaxGrit surface can snag slightly on ball cloth
- Higher price than entry level models
With its focus on control and spin, the SIGNATURE SERIES Fiberglass paddle suits touch-based players who strategically construct points. The MaxGrit surface accentuates spin for smart placements. Best for experienced players.
CARBON STKTM Pickleball Paddle
Featuring an innovative carbon fiber surface, this CARBON STKTM model from Franklin Sports emphasizes touch, control, and spin. It represents a top-tier option approved for competitive tournament play.
Key Features and Benefits
STK carbon fiber face – Franklin’s special carbon fiber weave has natural gripped texture to achieve insane spin. Also very rigid for power and durability.
Polypropylene core – Hard plastic material provides excellent pop and shot-speeds. Also enables a durable and stable paddle platform.
5.6″ cushioned grip – Longer size with thick cushioning makes for superior comfort and wrist support during play. Maximizes stability.
7.6-8.3 oz weight – Extremely lightweight construction. Easy to wield for quick maneuvers with minimal fatigue.
Edge guard – Perimeter padding helps protect paddle from rim damage if mishit shots clip ground or fence.
Playability and Performance
Serious players seeking radical spin potential have met their match with the CARBON STKTM paddle. The STK designation indicates Franklin’s special grippy carbon fiber weave with built-in texture. The material has a naturally “sticky” grabby feel – almost like fine grit sandpaper. This surface friction applied to the hard carbon fiber face results in the most monstrous spin capability imaginable. On touch shots, the paddle seems to latch onto the ball before propelling it forward with intense topspin or slice action.
The spin rates achievable with the STK carbon fiber weave far exceed a smooth paddle face. This allows players to swing very aggressively while maintaining control through heavy spin – a lethal combination. You can impart wicked action on the ball without fear of overhitting. The polypropylene core assists by providing rigid stability and impressive pop. Vibration is minimal – shots simply explode off the paddle with force. The core material also gives a nice audible crack on contact.
Weighing only 7.6-8.3 ounces, the CARBON STKTM paddle feels featherlight and lightning-quick in hands. The elongated 5.6 inch grip promotes excellent wrist support and handling. Franklin’s engineers truly built this paddle for competitive and advanced players looking to push spin and power limits. If you have the skill to harness its potential, this paddle provides a fun, aggressive ride. Touch players can paint lines at will with the radical grip and spin.
- STK carbon surface generates heavy spin on touch shots
- Strong polypropylene core supplies responsiveness and power
- Very comfortable, non-slip grip improves handle stability
- Paddle edge is protected from damage
- Extremely lightweight and maneuverable
- Designed for competitive and tournament play
- Polypropylene core can transmit more vibration than other materials
- Less pop than some graphite paddle faces
- Higher price tag
With exceptional control and spin generation, the CARBON STKTM paddle suits experienced players focused on finesse and touch shots. The uniquely textured STK carbon fiber surface takes spin potential to the next level.
MAXGRITTM PILOT Pickleball Paddle
This spin-focused paddle from Franklin pickleball paddle incorporates their textured MaxGrit fiberglass hitting surface and responsive polypropylene honeycomb core for discerning intermediate and advanced players.
Key Features and Benefits
MaxGritTM fiberglass face – Slightly gritty texture increases friction and grip on the ball for enhanced spin generation and control. Provides nice touch and feel.
Honeycomb polypropylene core – Hexagonal cell structure offers excellent rigidity for great pop and stability. Also allows larger sweet spot.
Contour non-slip grip – Ergonomic shape with grippy texture allows superior handling and comfort. Optimizes wrist placement.
7.7-8.2 oz weight – Lightweight and well-balanced between handle and head. Enables quick maneuverability.
Edge guard – Protective perimeter padding shields rim from potential cracks or chips if mishit.
Playability and Performance
The MAXGRITTM PILOT paddle demonstrates Franklin’s focus on utilizing textured faces to produce radical spin. The MaxGrit fiberglass has a mildly gritty surface texture adding just enough friction to significantly increase spin versus a smooth paddle face. The grittiness feels like fine sandpaper. Combined with the rigid honeycomb polypropylene core, the MAXGRITTM PILOT enables serious spin finesse shots with ample pop and control.
The MaxGrit fiberglass texture allows added ball manipulation compared to conventional materials. With some practice, players can maximize wrist action to shape wicked slice or devastating topspin shots. The core’s honeycomb structure provides excellent rigidity and stability for confident drives intermixed with touch play. The interior hexagonal cells also widen the sweet spot considerably compared to solid cores. The surface feels very responsive across a broader hitting zone.
Weighing only 7.7-8.2 ounces, the PILOT offers outstanding maneuverability and quick reaction time. The contour grip with tactile texture allows secure handling and comfort during competitive matches. The PILOT’s blend of grippy face texture, poppy core, and nimble weight make this a very well-rounded and versatile choice for intermediate to advanced level players. With some skill, you can unleash the potential of its spin-enhancing face.
- MaxGritTM fiberglass creates heavy spin for precise placements
- Polypropylene honeycomb core enables stability plus power
- Comfortable contour grip improves handling
- Lightweight for excellent maneuverability
- Edge guarding protects paddle rim from chips and cracks
- Designed for intermediate and advanced players
- Lacks extremely soft finesse of graphite paddle faces
- Polypropylene core can transmit more vibration
- Grip comfort could be improved with more cushioning
With its spin-enhancing textured face and responsive core, the MAXGRITTM PILOT paddle suits intermediate to advanced players looking to add control and placement to their power game. Great for aggressive spin shots.
How do these premier paddles stack up in key performance categories? Here is a summary:
Power: STK Carbon Fiber and CARBON STKTM deliver maximum pop and drive speed. DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber also excels here. MAXGRITTM PILOT and Fiberglass have the least innate power.
Control: Fiberglass provides superior touch and finesse control. STK paddles with grippy faces also enable great control when mastered. DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber gives moderate finesse.
Spin Potential: Nothing compares to the STK paddle’s extreme spin capabilities. MAXGRITTM PILOT enables heavy spin too. DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber allows good spin finesse. Fiberglass has the least spin.
Stability: Carbon STKTM and DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber feel most solid and vibration-free. MAXGRITTM PILOT and STK Carbon Fiber still perform well here. Fiberglass has more flex.
Maneuverability: STK Carbon Fiber is remarkably lightweight and quick. CARBON STKTM and MAXGRITTM PILOT also excel in maneuverability. DECIMATOR is moderately nimble. Fiberglass is heavier.
Beginner Friendly: DECIMATOR Carbon Fiber is the most accessible for novices with its control, power and stability. Fiberglass and STK paddles require more finesse skills.
Advanced Player Performance: STK Carbon Fiber and CARBON STKTM provide the highest upside for elite players able to maximize their technologies and construction.
By examining these key performance metrics, players can gauge which paddle pairs best with their skills and style of play. Understanding these capabilities allows better matching to your experience level and future aspirations in the sport.
Paddle weight significantly affects playability and power. Lighter paddles around 7.0-7.5oz favor better maneuverability and quickness. Heavier paddles 8.5oz+ provide more power and stability. Weights around 7.8-8.3oz offer the best of both worlds. Choose based on your strength and style.
Measure your hand size from the base of palm to tip of middle finger. 4 inches fits junior/women’s hands best. 4 1/4 inches suits most average men’s hands. 4 1/2 inches works for very large hands. The grip should feel snug but not constricting.
Materials like polymer, fiberglass, graphite, and carbon fiber make BIG differences in power, control, touch, and durability. Core materials also affect feel, stability, and sweet spot size. These all factor into price too.
Beginners fare best with control-oriented paddles around 8oz with decent pop. Intermediate players benefit from more spin and finesse of fiberglass or graphite faces around 7.5oz. Advanced players maximize carbon fiber power and textured faces under 8oz for extreme precision.
Edge guards protect rims from cracks and chips if the paddle accidentally clashes with fences or the ground. They prolong paddle lifespan. However, guards may slightly reduce power and add weight. So they’re recommended but not mandatory.
With pickleball’s surge in popularity, the paddles have advanced right alongside player techniques and tactics. Cutting-edge materials like Franklin’s STK carbon fiber and MaxGrit technologies allow paddles to practically fuse with a player’s hand for unprecedented control and finesse. Yet obtaining peak performance requires matching these innovations with proper skills and strokes. Mastering paddle grip and manipulation gives players an arsenal of weaponry.
Before adopting new paddle technology however, be sure to demo options firsthand. Every player’s needs differ so test driving paddles on the court proves informative. Don’t be seduced by marketing claims alone – evaluate if special features and benefits outweigh costs for your playing profile. Mix objective analysis with subjective personal feel. Only by swinging paddles in live action can you determine the ideal synergistic match.
The beauty of pickleball ultimately transcends any single piece of equipment. But when our gear becomes second nature, it allows us to focus that much more on skill refinement, court strategy, and competition. Mastering paddle proficiency is akin to giving our hands wings. So whether you favor crushing power or deft finesse, selecting the right paddle brings you closer to that peak flow state we all seek. When our paddle choice unlocks our potential, we win regardless of match outcomes. Such flow is contagious – it builds our pickleball community. That may be the most important match of all. Game on! We hope Franklin Pickleball Paddle Review will be helpful to you to level up your game.