If you’ve come into the store in the past few months, you’ve probably noticed our extensive pickleball selection. After a combination of customer and YouTube viewer suggestions, some astute market research, and a few shots in the dark, our pickleball wall has doubled. We even offer some paddles exclusive to Canada.
As we carry many of pickleball’s most popular paddles (and many the pros play with), we figured it was the perfect time to round them up and see which paddles have sold best this year and discuss what makes them so popular.
To start our criteria, we’ve decided only to include top-end paddles.
Obviously, many players get into pickleball to try a new activity and need a starter paddle. While we love that the pickleball craze has made its way into the mainstream, those paddles sell themselves more for the demand of playing the sport than for any performance benefit they provide. We want to focus on paddles that sell well because they perform well.
Also, this isn’t a ranking of full paddle lineups, only individual paddles.
For example, instead of adding up all the Hyperions, we would look at the stats for one individual thickness and weight, like the Hyperion CFS 16MM Swift.
So, let's go...
5. CBRN2 16MM
Our fifth best-selling paddle may surprise a few of you, and it surprised us, too.
It’s sold better than its thermoformed counterpart, and considering the hype surrounding this new technology, that is quite the feat. The CRBN2 16MM’s popularity does highlight a few key takeaways, though.
Despite the latest and greatest thermoformed tech seeming like it might be “better” than what came before, there is still a market for classically molded paddles. Thermoforming is great, but there’s no denying its uniquely instantaneous and powerful feel that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Compared to the CRBN2X 16MM, the 2 is softer; it may have less spin and power, but the plusher response makes it perform better for control.
The CRBN2’s popularity is also less surprising when considering the notoriously picky attitude of paddle and racket sport athletes. When it comes to feel, we often prefer sticking to what is familiar rather than trying to adapt to something that may be technically better.
The CRBN2 is also the only standard-length paddle on this list. Extended paddles have taken over in the last couple of years, so it’s no surprise that they dominate the best sellers, but it’s refreshing to see a shorter paddle also feature. Manoeuvrability may not be as marketable as power and spin, but it’s clearly something many players still value.
Basically, the CRBN2 carries the flag for the classic side of pickleball. Standard shape, standard mold; only really the carbon top sheet provides any of that modern element, and it’s difficult to argue that the use of carbon has any downsides.
4. Joola Perseus CFS 16mm Ben Johns Signature
If the CRBN2 is popular because it represents pickleball's meat and potatoes, the Joola Perseus CFS 16mm Ben Johns signature paddle is quite the opposite. In fact, if you round up all of the most hyped tech in pickleball right now, the Perseus has it all.
It’s not even limited to popular technology; the Perseus’ endorsement is spearheaded by pickleball’s most popular figure, Ben Johns, and his name has definitely helped with sales. We brought these in only two months ago, and the paddle has already cracked the top 5, selling like hotcakes with players paying little regard to that lofty $330 price tag. Note to pickleball companies: Next time he’s on the market, lock down Ben Johns.
Beyond all the fancy fluff, though, the Perseus is a fantastic performer in its own right. It has great power and spin, as you would expect from something thermoformed, but it has a softness that most other thermoformed paddles don’t. That’s why it’s probably the most well-rounded thermoformed paddle on the market right now.
The Perseus also has a premium feel, which seems to be a hallmark of Joola’s top-end paddles. It provides a fantastic connection to the ball, perhaps the best of any paddle I’ve tried this year, and I think this may be why so many professional players gravitate toward Joola paddles. That, and maybe a bit of endorsement cash…
As Ben John’s signature paddle, the Perseus is a worthy successor to the Hyperion, which last year more or less broke pickleball and remains one of the best sellers now.
3. Joola Hyperion CFS 16mm (formerly Ben Johns signature)
The Hyperion sells so well that it is number three on this list.
To be honest, if it weren’t for the last couple of months during which it lived in the shadow of the flashy, new Perseus, it would probably be higher up because last year it was by far and away our best-seller.
When I first tried the Hyperion, I must admit it blew me away in nearly every aspect of its playability. The control and stability were probably the standout features, but the paddle had elite levels of power, spin, and especially a connection to the ball that I didn’t think was possible for something so thick. It’s why when I reviewed the Hyperion series, I called it the best paddle in the world; I honestly thought it had broken pickleball.
While Ben Johns may have replaced it as his paddle of choice, all those positive things still apply. In fact, it may be less powerful and spin-friendly than the Perseus, but it's better in terms of control, stability, and sweet spot size.
One important catch, though: it’s not an easy paddle to use. A lot of that fantastic playability is thanks to its hefty swing weight and head-heavy balance, but that also makes it clunky, sluggish, and difficult to bring through contact quickly if you’re not an advanced player.
With that said, for those players who can swing the Hyperion, it’s quite the paddle, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find something this plush that is also so responsive.
2. Vatic Pro V7 & Flash 16mm
There are a couple of reasons these paddles have sold like crazy since breaching R&R walls back in April. For one, Vatic, like Legacy, CRBN, and SixZero, is one of the original flag bearers for thermoforming, a molding technique that has become incredibly popular. These four companies got in early, so their name is synonymous, and more importantly, trusted with the technology.
The Vatic Pro V7 and Flash are the least expensive of the bunch, and that’s one of the primary reasons they sell so well. They are probably the best value paddles out there, at least the best value thermoformed. Coming in under that $200 price point is a steal for paddles this good, and they truly have redefined the industry from a value point of view.
Of course, there is also a Flash 14mm, but these two being more popular is no surprise when considering that thermoformed paddles are already so powerful and spin-friendly that going thinner is almost overkill. The V7 and Flash 16 have significantly better touch and control than their thinner sibling, so they are ahead in sales.
I’m a little surprised that the V7 has done as well as the Flash. Since the Flash’s new “hybrid” shape was introduced, it has taken off in the industry. The length is in between a standard and extended paddle — closer to extended — so players still get almost all the leverage, power, and spin of an extended paddle with noticeably more manoeuvrability.
If only they made this shape in a less expensive, non-thermoformed package.
1. Vatic Pro Prism Flash 16mm
It turns out Vatic Pro does make a Prism Flash 16mm in a non-thermoformed, cheaper offering, and it just so happens to be our bestseller of the year. Who would have thought?
As mentioned earlier, this list doesn’t include takedown paddles, and while the Prism Flash may come in at a similar price to some lower-end options, it’s a top-end paddle in terms of performance, which is remarkable considering its $138 price point. It may not be thermoformed, but it features astonishingly high-end materials.
It has a Toray T700 carbon fibre top sheet and a foam-injected sidewall, two bits of technology we are more used to seeing on $250+ paddles, definitely not on paddles barely breaking the $100 mark.
We still haven’t done a full review of the Prism 16, but from our initial tests, we promise you the only thing cheap about this paddle is the price. Spin, feel, stability, and sweet spot are all top-notch, and while it may not have any outstanding playability characteristics, they are all on par with top-end paddles, and that's all you can ask for in a paddle that costs half the price.
The Prism Flash features that hybrid shape I mentioned earlier; however, if you want an extended version, it also comes in the V7 shape.
Important sidenote regarding the Prisms: We are trying our best to keep up with the demand for these. We regularly go out of stock, but when we see we’re getting close, we immediately place a new order. If they are sold out, click on notify me and we will send you a message as soon as they arrive back in the store.
The Prism Flash ends the list of our best-selling paddles for 2023. It’s crazy to think we brought these in barely three months ago, and they’ve already taken over our sales. Make something good, make it affordable, and you have a recipe for success.
If you want to demo any of the paddles on this list, you can always visit us in-store or check them out online!