Types of Pickleball Paddle Cores

If you’re like me, you may have even thought about ripping open an old paddle to see what’s inside. I guarantee you won’t find anything too interesting inside the paddle. In this article, you won’t have to rip open a paddle because I will tell you everything you need to know about paddle cores, so you don’t have to.

Reading this gives you a general idea of what to expect here. Generally, polymer core paddles are the best paddles to use. They have an outstanding balance of power and control. Since they are the most common type of paddle, they are readily available and have many options.

Let me give you the general rundown if you came here for a quick answer. Polymer core paddles are the best paddles to use. They give you an outstanding. It is the most popular paddle type, so there are many choices, and their availability is widespread. This paddle balances power and control.

pickleball paddle core

The anatomy of a composite paddle

You have probably heard the term “composite” used throughout your life. But what does it mean exactly? Composite refers to a product consisting of several components.

Several parts make up composite pickleball paddles, and they have a combination of several different components. These components are the core, face, edge guard, and handle. All of these things combined create what we call a composite pickleball paddle.

You can’t see the core because the edge guard and face cover it. But the body makes up the bulk shape of the paddle and is generally as tall as the edge guard.

Most pickleball paddle cores are designed to mimic a honeycomb structure. Check out this compelling piece of honeycomb. As you can see, manufacturers purposefully create empty cells in the material. Don’t worry. I won’t go into a physics lesson here (nor can I), but this is done on purpose and for a good reason. Designing paddles this way makes the paddle just as strong but with most of the weight taken out of it! But what about materials?

When selecting a pickleball paddle, you have numerous considerations to keep in mind. Fear not, however; our guide on How to Choose Pickleball Paddle can help you out!

Types Of Pickleball Paddles Core 

It is important to note that there are three core material types of composite pickleball paddles. These are nomex, aluminum, and Polymer. I will explain these three core materials today.

Polymer/Polypropylene Core

In pickleball paddles, the most commonly used core is what players call “Poly,” “Polymer,” or “Polypropylene.” These cores provide everything players need, regardless of level. As the quietest core option currently on the market, this soft, flexible (and maybe most importantly, soft) plastic blend is designed in large honeycomb cells that offer maximum control and maximum control. Polymer core paddles will make up the vast majority of them you’ll see, whether on your local courts or at a pro event. In general, pickleball paddles with polymer cores offer the following benefits:

  • Soft feel
  • It provides the most touch
  • Quiet
PickleBall Paddle Core

Nomex Core

Among the paddle cores available is Nomex, a more rigid material that provides power and durability. Nomex cores are constructed from a material similar to cardboard but are stronger and more resistant. In the early days of pickleball, Nomex cores were dipped in resin to create a complex, honeycomb-like material. Because Nomex is harder than Polymer, they are usually louder and more powerful. When noise is not a concern, pickleball paddles with Nomex cores make great options for players looking for speed and power.

See More : Spin Pickleball Paddles

Pickleball paddles made from polymer core are an excellent choice if you play in neighborhoods or close to homes. These paddles offer the following benefits at a high level:

  • Power
  • Durability

Aluminum Core

It is easy to swing aluminum cores, but the power level is lower. Although they are not as loud as nomex, they are still much more audible than polymers. Because of its lightweight characteristics, this paddle is easy for juniors and players who may find it difficult to swing a standard paddle. However, aluminum core paddles are becoming less common as lightweight paddles with polymer cores become more widely available. Specialized players prefer maneuverability, control, and touch when playing with them.

During this section, aluminum paddles are a good choice for beginners or junior players. However, if you intend on playing often, consider something different.


Wood paddle cores are generally the most cost-effective option for pickleball players just starting the game.

Several types of wood paddle cores offer different levels of playability, but the ones that are heavier tend to be the cheapest, although they tend to be the most durable in the long run.

Do I Need to Consider the Weight of the Core When Choosing a Paddle?

A lighter paddle can give you an advantage when you get into fast exchanges with your opponents while at the net, including the ability to maneuver it more easily. On the flip side, you have to swing harder when you use a lighter paddle to get the same amount of power you would get with a heavier one. 

A heavier paddle lets you hit with more power because the paddle weighs more than the ball, so you don’t have to swing as hard to produce energy. A heavier paddle is perfect for dinking since shorter swings reduce the tendency for errors and allow you more time to get back in the correct position after hitting the ball.

Read more : Dimensions of a Pickleball Paddle

Heavier paddles are more stable at impact and don’t wobble as much when hitting the ball closer to the edge. As a result, players are more consistent and make fewer mistakes. Many players add lead tape to the edge guard of their paddles, so if you get a lighter paddle and want it to be heavier, you can always add more.

PickleBall Paddle Core


What is a polypropylene core?

A polypropylene honeycomb core is one of the most widely used lightweight composite sandwich structures in the construction industry because it can provide optimal mechanical performance while being lightweight.

Which is the best core for pickleball paddles?

There are many types of polymer cores on the market, and not every polymer core is equal in quality. You’ll see $30 paddles with a polymer core and $200 paddles with a polymer core. Polymer cores are durable, quiet, and offer a good balance between power and touch, which is why Polymer is so popular.

What’s the best pickleball paddle size, 13 mm or 16 mm?

The difference in thickness (16 mm vs. 13 mm) made a massive difference in the performance of these paddles in terms of softness, control, and stability. The 16 mm paddle felt more powerful, offered a more rigid feel, and was less stable than the 13 mm paddle.


Pickleball paddles are essential because the right racket can make a big difference to your game. The paddle’s weight directly impacts your play, so lighter pickleball paddles are best for touch players who prioritize ball control, while heavier pickleball paddles are best for power players.

If you’re interested in playing pickleball, take the time to try out a couple of different paddles to see which one you prefer. You can find pickleball courts near you by reading our guide to find pickleball courts near you. The Pickleball Rules guide will tell you what you need to know to play the game.

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