9 best pickleball paddles for intermediate players

I am getting shocked when use this paddle for my games. When you begin, the cost of your pickleball paddle doesn’t make a significant difference. Whether it’s a simple $4 wooden paddle, a $25 paddle from Walmart, or your friend’s expensive $250 paddle, what matters most is learning the fundamental rules and ethics of the game and determining if you have a strong interest in playing pickleball extensively.

Once you catch the pickleball bug and start playing more often and become deeply involved in pickleball and increase your frequency of play, as well as your level of competitiveness, the paddle you choose becomes more significant. 

At the intermediate/ basic level, you begin to understand how to shape your shots, generate more power for effective winners, understand the game value and apply spin to the ball. You also focus on refining your soft game, including drop shots, dinking, and resets.

As the game becomes more refined at this stage, the paddle you use can either enhance or hinder your skill development and overall competence on the court.

If you’re still using a beginner/ basic level paddle that is inexpensive and lacks power, spin at the 3.5 or 4.0 level, it’s time to upgrade. In this discussion, we will explore the top intermediate best pickleball paddles that offer ample power, effortless spin, and control, enabling you to excel in mastering the delicate aspects of the game.

How and why I compiled this list

If you choose a Paddles as beginner its vary on different areas like shapes, weights, lengths, grip sizes, grip lengths, and of course, costs. Some are better for control, Spin while others are for power above all else.

I have delved deeply into the sport of pickleball and developed a strong interest in the gear associated with it. My passion involves collecting and extensively testing paddles. I invest a significant amount of time researching the ton of other players and staying updated on the latest developments from paddle companies.

The list of intermediate paddles presented here is the outcome of countless hours spent on the court and extensive research within the paddle community. I find it frustrating when people make generic recommendations without proper knowledge. Therefore, I assure you that each recommendation on this website is based on my thorough and dedicated efforts.  I spent a lot of time, effort and energy coming to the conclusions that I have.

Without further delay, let’s get to the list of my 5 top intermediate Best pickleball paddle recommendations

1. Ronbus R1.16 Pickleball Paddle

Ronbus R1.16 Pickleball Paddle
Paddle type:All-court
Where it excels:Feel, sweet spot, control, spin, weight, balance, price
What it lacks:The handle feels a bit bigger than advertised

In 2023, Ronbus is pushing innovation by making a paddle that plays incredibly similar to the Hyperion CFS while only costing half as much rather than 2022, best pickleball paddle Joola Hyperion line was considered one of the top paddles of the year and paddle industry was dominated by a few major companies. 

The Ronbus R1.16 is currently at the top of my list of the best paddles under $150 and also overall recommendation for intermediate players.This paddle offers exceptional performance across all areas of the court, including excellent control, spin, and ample power. It also has a wide and forgiving sweet spot that limits mishits.

Although the Ronbus brand may not be as widely recognized as some of the major paddle brands.  R1.16 is from a newer brand and isn’t as popular. it has been gaining significant attention in the paddle enthusiast community due to its ability to deliver a combination of high quality and affordability. The R1.16 competes favourably with Joola’s pricier paddle lines and offers a comparable feel and all-court capabilities to models such as the Joola Vision, Hyperion CAS, CFS, and CGS. In fact, I personally prefer the Ronbus R1.16 over my Joola Hyperion CFS, which is a paddle priced at $220.

2. Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control 16MM

Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control 16MM
Paddle type:Control/All-court
Where it Excels:Spin, pop/deflection, control, power
What it Lacks:Harder to control than non-unibody thermoformed paddles

The Six Zero Double Black Diamond Control 16MM paddle stands out as the first paddle on the market to feature the innovative unibody thermoformed paddle technology, which has gained significant popularity in the pickleball community in 2023. These paddles are part of a new generation of raw carbon fiber paddles, characterized by their one-piece thermoformed body, edge foam, and T700 carbon fiber faces.

The introduction of this new paddle technology brings a considerable amount of power and stiffness compared to other raw carbon fiber paddles, making them more suitable for advanced players. However, the Double Black Diamond paddle offers an excellent option for intermediate players who are interested in transitioning to this new generation of paddle technology.

What sets the Double Black Diamond paddle apart is its focus on control. While benefiting from the power, spin, and pop provided by this new technology, players can still enjoy a high level of ball control. This combination makes it an ideal choice for intermediate players who seek to experience the advantages of the latest paddle technology while maintaining precision in their shots.

3.) Legacy Pro Pickleball paddle

Legacy Pro Pickleball paddle
Paddle Type:Power/All-Court
Core Thickness:16mm
Face:Raw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber
Average Weight:8.0 Oz
Handle Length:5.3″
Swing Weight:120
Grip Size:4.125
Core:8mm Polymer Honeycomb Cells
Edge Guard:Anti-Abrasion TPU
Total Length:16.5 In
Width:7.5 In
Where It Excels:Power, Spin, Pop, Value
What It Lacks:Tremendous Combination Of Power, Spin, And Pop Can Make It Hard To Reign In

If you’re really looking to up your game as an intermediate player, and do it on a budget, the Legacy Pro paddle is the ideal choice. This paddle has made a tremendous impact on the pickleball scene, generating considerable hype. However, the full potential of the Legacy Pro and other similar unibody thermoformed paddles has not yet reached its peak popularity.

You can expect to see Legacy Pros all over the courts this summer (2023),  which is impressive considering it’s a new company competing with well-established giants like Joola, Selkirk, and CRBN. Using the Legacy Pro as an intermediate player can significantly elevate your skill ceiling, particularly if you’re transitioning from a beginner or non-advanced paddle. The power and spin you’ll experience with the Legacy Pro will feel remarkably effortless.

Nevertheless, mastering the Legacy Pro requires some adjustment in terms of when and how to unleash its power. It packs a substantial punch, demanding a skilled player to control it effectively. If you struggle with the control aspect of the game, such as dinking, resetting, and dropping, expect a few weeks of adaptation before fully unleashing the paddle’s best qualities. While the Legacy Pro is recommended for 4.0+ players, adept 3.5 players can also handle it.

If you’re worry about your control abilities, I’d recommend the Double Black Diamond (#2 on this list). It possesses many outstanding qualities of the Legacy Pro but offers greater controllability and forgiveness. Additionally, they even offer a 14mm Double Black Diamond model that provides even more power.

4.) Vatic Pro V7 16mm Pickleball Paddle

Vatic Pro V7 16mm Pickleball Paddle
Core thickness:16mm
Face:Raw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber w/heat-compressed texture
Average weight:8.1 oz
Grip length:5.3′
Swing Weight:119
Grip size:4.25 in
Core:C7 Polymer Honeycomb
Edge Guard:Anti-Abrasion TPU
Total length:16.5 in
Width:7.5 in
Paddle type:Power/All-court
Where it excels:Power, spin, pop, value, aesthetics
What it lacks:Like the other stiff and poppy thermoformed paddles, it’s a bit hard to dial in at first.

The Vatic Pro is an exceptional and innovative paddle made from thermoformed raw carbon fiber, showcasing yet another remarkable innovation. This new technology has proven to be truly impressive. When I first tried the Vatic Pro, was the first one of these paddles I got and it performed a lot better than I expected and surpassed my expectations. It is a well-designed paddle that strikes a perfect balance between power and control.

It has a nice sweet spot for Vatic Pro is its elongated shape, which offers a generous sweet spot. This is achieved through edge foam injection and thermoforming techniques, resulting in a paddle with exceptional responsiveness and pop. The paddle’s spin capabilities are also outstanding, particularly when using the 14mm Vatic Pro Flash version, which features a tighter and more textured surface face.

It is worth noting that the Vatic Pro is essentially identical to the latest CRBN 1X/2X Power paddle line. Both paddles play similarly and are manufactured with comparable specifications in the same factory. The primary distinction, however, lies in the price. The Vatic Pro is $80 cheaper, making it an excellent choice for intermediate players looking for a premium paddle without breaking the bank.

5.) Six Zero Sapphire Pickleball Paddle

Six Zero Sapphire Pickleball Paddle
Paddle type:All-court
Face:Toray 700 Raw carbon fiber w/ textured epoxy coating
Average weight:7.9-8.0 oz
Grip length:5.6”
Swing Weight:108
Grip size:4.25”
Core:Honeycomb polymer
Total length:16.5”
What it lacks:Core Thinner 13mm core gives power, but makes it not as plush as thicker 16mm paddles
Where it excels:Great spin, lightweight for quick hands, high-end production & materials at a very affordable price

Don’t underestimate it just because it’s entry-level price, this is a solid paddle for any 3.5 / intermediate player. It’s definitely the best you can get at the price range.

Six Zero is one of the more exciting paddle companies to hit the pickleball scene over the last year. This thing has a lot of spin. You’d be able to guess, too, just looking over the face grit right out of the package. Six Zero uses interweaved Japanese Toray carbon fiber layers and an epoxy coating that’s new to the market. I’ve found its spin output of the Vatic Pro surpasses that of several high-end paddles that cost more than twice its price. It truly delivers exceptional spin performance. 

The sweet spot provided by this paddle is of top-notch quality considering its price point. Many paddles below $100 tend to have poor sweet spots, but the Vatic Pro competes well with more premium options.

6) Selkirk AMPED S2 X5 FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk AMPED S2 X5 FiberFlex Pickleball Paddle

The Selkirk AMPED S2 X5 FiberFlex is a top-of-the-line pickleball paddle that stands out for its balance and maneuverability. The paddle features a large sweet spot thanks to its X5 core technology, which gives it exceptional power and accuracy on all shots. It also has a unique FiberFlex face which allows for optimal ball spin while maintaining touch.

  • Large sweet spot
  • X5 core technology provides superior power and accuracy
  • FiberFlex face allows optimal ball spin
  • Durable design ensures longevity of use
  • Slightly heavier than some other paddles in its class
  • A bit pricier than some other options on the market

7) Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

The Onix Graphite Z5 is one of the most popular paddles among intermediate players due to its exceptional balance between power and control. The graphite face helps provide excellent power and control, while the Nomex honeycomb core ensures durability and responsiveness. The paddle also has a comfortable grip that reduces vibration.

  • Great balance between power and control
  • Graphite face produces excellent spin and control
  • Nomex honeycomb core adds durability
  • Comfortable grip reduces vibration
  • Slightly heavier than some other paddles in its class
  • Slightly less durable than some other options on the market

8) ProLite Titan Pro Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddle

ProLite Titan Pro Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddle

The Titan Pro is a masterpiece of design and technology, with a unique shape that provides optimal ball control and handling. The paddle’s Black Diamond Series face allows for excellent spin, while the composite core technology provides superior power. It also has a comfortable grip that reduces hand fatigue during extended play.

  • Unique shape provides optimal ball control and handling
  • Black Diamond Series face allows for excellent spin
  • Composite core technology provides superior power
  • Durable design ensures longevity of use
  • A bit pricier than some other options on the market

9) Engage Encore Pro Pickleball Paddle 

Engage Encore Pro Pickleball Paddle 

The Engage Encore Pro is known for its exceptional touch, feel, and finesse on all shots. The paddle features advanced polymer core technology that provides exceptional power and control, along with a unique skin that reduces ball slip. The paddle also has an ergonomic grip that reduces hand fatigue during extended play.

  • Advanced polymer core technology provides excellent power and control
  • Unique skin reduces ball slip
  • Ergonomic grip reduces hand fatigue
  • Not as durable as some other options on the market

Moreover, the Personally, I really like the 5.6″ elongated paddle for adding power and completing two-handed backhands. It’s also very light and moves fast at the kitchen/NVZ line.

Criteria for selecting the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players

Pickleball is a sport that requires skill, speed, and agility. The paddle you choose can have a significant impact on your game.

For intermediate players (3.5 – 4.0), it’s essential to select a paddle that caters specifically to their skill level requirements. This section will provide an insight into what criteria should be taken into consideration when selecting the best pickleball paddles.

Weight and balance

The weight of the paddle is critical as it plays an important role in determining how well you can control your shots. For intermediate players, it is recommended to choose a paddle that weighs between 7.5 to 8.5 ounces. A lighter paddle allows for better maneuverability, while a heavier one provides more power.

Balance is another essential aspect of pickleball paddles; this refers to where the weight is distributed in the paddle itself and affects how easy it is to handle the racket during play. A balanced racket helps with both control and power thanks to its distribution of weight throughout the body.

Grip size and material

The grip size of your pickleball paddle plays an important role in your overall performance too – from comfortability while playing, down through ease of hold and accuracy of shots made with good handle control throughout gameplay. Choosing a grip that fits comfortably in your hand will prevent slipping or fatigue during longer games, leading to better accuracy at all times!

There are various sizes available on different styles paddles so be sure to try out different options before making any final decisions about which one feels right for you! Paddle grip materials also have varying levels of grippiness: some offer extra friction for those who sweat profusely during play or prefer tackier handles like soft sponges or textured rubber while others like leather may not be as comfortable but offer a firmer grip.

Paddle shape and design

The shape of the paddle can affect how well you can control your shots. Intermediate players should choose a paddle with an average size, typically around 15.5 inches long and 8 inches wide.

The shape of the paddle may impact the player’s style of play based on whether they prefer a wider or longer sweet spot. Paddles with rounded edges are great for players who want to put a spin on their shots, whereas paddles with squared-off edges are excellent for power hits or punchy volleys.

Core material

The core material affects how much power your shots will have. There are two primary types of core materials: polymer and composite core materials.

Polymer cores provide more control but less power, making them ideal for players who value precision over strength in their game. Composite cores that have graphite or fiberglass incorporated into their construction offer greater power while staying lightweight providing intermediate players with both control and added hitting ability during games without sacrificing overall flexibility whatsoever!

Here’s the key steps to choosing your paddle:

  • Define your style of play. Do you like the soft finesse game of dinking and subtle shot placement? Or do you like to drive the ball hard and overwhelm your opponents with speed and aggression? If you’re the former, a control or all-court paddle would serve you best. If the latter, you might want to double down with a power paddle.
  • Define any special needs. Do you face tennis elbow and need a paddle that can absorb some sock? Do you use two-handed backhand and need a paddle with an elongated handle? Are you shorter and prefer the extra reach of a paddle with an elongated face?
  • Define your investment threshold. As an 3.5+ player, you know that you’re invested into the game, so it makes sense to invest into your paddle. Some people will tell you to stick to a $75 paddle as an intermediate, others will say just go ahead and buy the best paddle you’re willing to buy. That choice is up to you. Personally, I went for the best paddle I could find and didn’t regret it.

In the end, it’s not what it costs, it’s not what others rate it – it’s what right for you at your budget.

It’s never a bad idea to test out a paddle before you buy it. Local players often demo or lend out paddles. If you have access to an opportunity like this, try out a few paddles to really get an idea of what type you’re drawn to.


Hopefully, this list has helped you decide on your next paddle. You won’t go wrong with any of these selections. There’s also a ton of other great paddles not on this list that could make you happy.

What are your thoughts about this list? Have you made a decision on a paddle you’d like to buy or try? Have you seen or tried any of the paddles listed here? Let us know in the comments below.

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