Best Paddle Ball Sets

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
204 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best paddle ball sets

Last Updated December 2019

The beach can be a great place to relax, but sometimes you want something active and exciting to do with your friends while you’re at the shore. If you’re looking for a simple game that can be played almost anywhere, consider a paddle ball set. All you need to play is two paddles and a ball, all of which fits easily into any beach bag.

If you’re new to the game, you’ll enjoy a training set, which includes shuttlecocks and balls of different sizes to use while you practice your serve and swing. For seasoned paddle ball players, there are high-end sets that feature high-quality construction and designs, some of which may even be handcrafted. However, no matter what set you get, it’s easy to learn for players of any age and skill level.

If you’re ready to introduce a fun game into your time spent on the beach, take a look at our buying guide for paddle ball sets. Once you get your hands on a set, you’ll be hooked for hours.

Paddle ball sets are inexpensive equipment for schools and daycare centers to purchase for gym classes and after-school programs. It’s an easy way to get children moving, and since it’s a casual and easy-to-learn game, it often gets kids engaged quickly.

What is paddle ball?

Also known as Frescobol, paddle ball is a casual sport played cooperatively between two or more players. In a two-player game, the players stand about 15 feet apart and aim to volley the rubber ball back and forth as many times as they can.

It’s an easy sport for just about anyone to pick up, and more experienced players can make things interesting by adding flair to their game with trick shots.

You can also use a paddle ball set to play beach tennis on a sand volleyball court.

Key considerations

Paddle balls

Paddle balls are small rubber balls that are usually hollow. While they have a reasonable bounce, their design somewhat limits their bounce distance — so it’s easy to retrieve your ball during a game. Balls are usually around 2.25 inches in diameter, though there are slight size differences between sets.

Paddle size

Since paddle ball is generally played as a relaxed, casual game, there are some variations in paddle size. The total length of paddles ranges from 13 and 17 inches including the grip. The widest part of paddles is typically between 6 and 8 inches. As far as weight goes, depending on the material, most paddles weigh between 12 and 18 ounces.

Grip

Grip design is what varies the most among paddles.

Basic styles feature a rubberized grip on both sides of the paddle. In these styles, the grip doesn’t wrap the full diameter of the handle. Instead, there is a grip on each side that exposes a thin segment of wood. Some players prefer these grips, as they tend to be sturdy and don’t slip out of your hand easily.

Wrap grips have a material that covers the majority of the grip area. These are seen in paddle sets of all price points. High-end sets have molded wrap grips, which are similar to tennis racket grips. Paddle sets geared toward children tend to have thicker wraps made of foam, though these sets are often budget-priced due to their lower quality.

Depending on the style of grip, expect to see rubber, foam, and synthetic materials. Rubber grips are the most popular across all price points, whereas foam grips are generally common in inexpensive sets. Synthetic grips, particularly molded ones, are made from plastic blends and are most common in expensive sets.

Choosing sets carefully

If you’re looking for a paddle ball set, it’s important to make sure it’s actually a paddle ball set. Paddles for pickleball often look similar, so unless you're familiar with the differences among them, it’s easy to confuse the sets based on appearance.

  • Paddle style: To identify an actual paddle set, look for paddles with rounded, pancake-style shapes. Other paddle sports actually feature square or oval paddles. Ping pong and pickleball paddles often have a rubber covering over the paddle areas.

  • Ball style: As far as the ball goes, make sure it’s a rubber one. It should be similar in size to a ping pong ball, which is much lighter and made of celluloid. Pickleballs are easy to rule out, as they have much larger plastic balls with holes for aerodynamics.

Care and maintenance

Even though paddle ball sets are inexpensive, it’s still important to maintain them properly.

  • Cleaning: Since they are usually made of wood and are often unsealed, immersing paddles in water will cause permanent damage to the paddle. If you’d like to clean the grips you can wipe them down with alcohol occasionally, as long as you avoid saturating the material.

  • Storage: When it’s the off-season, store your paddle ball set in a cool, dry area in your garage or home. Keep wooden paddles away from areas that attract humidity or moisture like sheds or outdoor equipment trunks.
EXPERT TIP

When playing paddle ball in a public area, be mindful of those around you — including pets.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If one paddle breaks, it’s most cost-effective to simply purchase a new paddle ball set. In fact, some people purchase two sets at a time to have spare paddles to get more people involved in the game.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Paddle designs

Paddles can may be a plain wood paddle with a splash of color from a logo, or they may have intricately painted designs. As far as colors go, monochromatic paddles tend to feature bright colors that are easy to see during play. Paddles with designs often feature floral patterns with hibiscus flowers, though stripes and other patterns are also popular.

Paddle materials

Wood is the most common material for paddles. Common types of wood including pine, sapele, and beechwood. Some high-end sets use more expensive wood types like maple, and if the paddles are handmade, they will be even more expensive. Simple paddles are relatively unfinished and could splinter easily, whereas high-quality paddles are usually finished or coated and last longer as a result.

Value packs

Value packs of paddle ball sets include extra equipment. In addition to two paddles and a ball, they often come with a carrying bag. Spare balls are often included, as well as other objects to use, like shuttlecocks, ping-pong balls, and pickleballs. There are even sets that come with LED balls to play paddle ball at night.

Shuttlecocks are much lighter and easier to control, so they are ideal for children and beginners. Some value packs include more paddles, which generally come in a variety of colors.

Paddle ball set prices

Paddle ball sets cost between $8 and $80.

If you’re purchasing a set for children or for casual play, opt for a budget-friendly set between $8 and $15.

For more seasoned paddle ball players, mid-range paddle ball sets priced between $15 and $40 are ideal. Not only do they feature better paddle construction, but the grips are also more ergonomic.

High-end sets, which are often made of handcrafted wood or fiberglass, cost anywhere from $40 to $120. Due to the high price point, these sets are best suited to adults who plan to play paddle ball for years.

If you are more experienced and are looking for a more challenging way to play, use the paddle with your non-dominant hand.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Purchase multiple sets. Playing paddle ball at the beach is likely to make everyone you’re with want to give it a try, so consider picking up more than one set so siblings and friends can all enjoy the game.

  • Buy spare paddle balls. Most sets only come with one ball. Pick up additional balls in case you lose any.

  • Practice against a wall. If you’re just getting the hang of paddle ball and want to improve quickly, practice ball control against an outdoor wall.

  • Gift a set to beach lovers. If you’re looking for a gift for a couple or family who spends a lot of time at the beach, paddle ball sets are a fun, inexpensive presents.

Other products we considered

We have a couple of paddle ball sets that didn’t quite make our top recommendations but are still worth considering. The Funsparks Jazzminton Deluxe LED Paddle Ball Set is an affordable value pack that features three pairs of shuttlecocks in different sizes. If you’re ready to try your handle at nighttime paddle ball, you’ll enjoy the LED balls in red and yellow. The flicker is bright enough to be seen by players, though it isn’t too distracting. The paddles come in the brand’s signature neon orange and green, so they’re easy to see during play as well. When you’re ready to pack it in after an afternoon of paddle ball, simply throw all your equipment in the included drawstring bag.

For a simple budget set, the Pacific Sports Smashball Set is ideal. With a look reminiscent of Smashball sets from the 80s, this set features bright yellow handles and pancake-shaped paddles. Both the paddles and the ball are more lightweight than comparable sets, so they work well for beginners and children. Best of all, it’s one of the most affordable paddle ball sets at less than $10.

Paddle ball is safe to play either barefoot or with shoes on, though it’s not recommended to wear high heels as you could fall or sprain an ankle easily.

FAQ

Q. What is the recommended age range to play paddle ball?

A. Paddle ball can be enjoyed by anyone, though it’s generally recommended for ages four and up. However, there are sets geared toward young children which have additional safety features like padded grips and smoother edges. Because wooden paddles can be hard to handle at age four, some sets feature lightweight plastic paddles instead.

Q. I have trouble holding onto my paddle during play. What are my options?

A. You could upgrade your paddle ball set to one that features higher quality grips. Molded grips are ideal and are designed to provide a superior hold. Another option is to buy paddles that have wrist lanyards. Even if you drop the paddle, you won’t need to bend over to pick it up.

Q. I have a plain, unfinished paddle. Can I paint it?

A. Absolutely. Simply pick up sanding supplies, wood paint, and a top coat. Take advantage of stencils or sponges to customize your set. If there’s a logo already painted on the paddle, you might need to sand it down. Even then, it could require a couple thick coats of paint to hide it.

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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