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Which padel racket

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Padel rackets explained. We try to take the mystery out of choosing the best padel racket for you.


selection of padel rackets on court floor
But which racket to choose

A new obsession


With all new obsessions there is a period of pure and utter joy of finding something new and just existing in the moment. Everything is shiny and new, and padel is no different. You marvel over the glass walls, are frustrated with the mesh and love the fact that serving is underarm.You read around the subject and watch endless videos of world class players hitting the ball, first out of the court and then hitting it back in from the front row of the spectator seats, what a game!



The only issue with any new sport, is the purchase of the equipment and the technological jargon you have to learn to get the correct kit.

What exactly is EVA soft rubber? And for that matter what exactly is EVA ULTRA soft rubber and what on earth is the difference?

Things to consider


When choosing a racket that may cost up to £300 and will be your playing partner for the next 12-18 months it’s good to have a guide. The following is a very basic but helpful place to start.

Btw, why do I mention 12-18 months? Padel rackets get a huge battering from the ball during every match and the properties of the cores mean they will all eventually break down. It really depends on how often you play obviously, but like running shoes they will eventually lose the springiness that the foam core has. Unlike other rackets they have no strings to tighten. The components you choose and your playing style will determine the time period that a racket will last.


Cost

Everyone has different budgets. At BoblPadel we are aware of that and have ensured we have a range of quality rackets across the price spectrum. This is your single biggest decider on which racket to purchase and rightly so.

The main issue which determines price is construction, with newer technologies and materials costing more. However don’t let that deter you from making an informed decision. Here we explain what it all means so you can pick the factors that give you the most bang for your buck.



Balance

If you have played racket sports before then you probably have a view on balance. This is the pivot point of a racket and describes which end would drop if you placed a pivot in the centre of the racket. High pivot means it is head heavy and the top of the racket would drop towards the floor. Low pivot means the handle will drop and medium means it will stay level.

Balance is personal preference but head heavy can tire weaker arms, in children for example. It will cause the racket to droop meaning presentation to the ball is slower and takes more effort. This is very much the goldilocks principle when choosing a racket.

A heavier racket with your preferred balance can feel better than a lighter racket without.


Shapes


The shape of a padel racket is very important to understand. The distinct characteristics of the face will determine power and control which are the two key points of the game.

The basic shapes are:-



Round

A round face means an enlarged sweet spot to allow for better connection to the ball. It is quite often said to be a beginners racket but to be honest a good round racket will be excellent for most players with even some pros preferring a round headed racket.

It gives excellent control and if the core is correct and the balance is good for you then you can generate more than enough power.


Teardrop

Sometimes referred to as rounded teardrop, these rackets give a smaller sweet spot and will be designed to increase power and are aimed at the intermediate market. This is the most popular racket shape, even amongst beginners as they want something to grow with them as they play. It will be harder on you for any mistakes so think about core and frame/face composition during purchase.


Diamond

Generally considered to be an expert/power player’s racket. Sweet spot will be higher in the racket head and far smaller than a round racket. You need to be hitting consistently good contact for these. If you are buying one of these then you probably don’t need this guide.


Frames and cores


Frames

These come in carbon, fibreglass and sometimes Kevlar.

Carbon is hard, tough and more expensive.

Fibreglass is light and is used on more entry level rackets.

Kevlar is very high end and will be used at pro level. We do not currently stock any Kevlar rackets.



Core

This is probably the most complicated component in a padel racket.

This comes in EVA or foam or polyethylene.

EVA is sometimes confusingly referred to as EVA foam but we prefer to use the tag EVA rubber so it’s easier to differentiate.

EVA and foam both come in normal, soft and ultra soft. So that is 6 levels and then you can throw in polyethylene and Hybrids which sit somewhere in the middle. Confused?


On a scale they move from low to high density as below:-


ultra soft foam

soft foam

foam

hybrids/polythelene

ultra soft eva

soft eva

eva.


Foam gives more power for less arm movement and EVA gives more control.

So in effect that density range could be called the “power to control” range.

As an aside, polyethylene is similar to foam but has shown to reduce vibrations which will help with any injuries in the lower arm.


One of our manufacturers, Varlion, is producing two distinct profiles of rackets, S and W.

They refer to Winter and Summer. As temperatures change the elasticity of the cores changes too. This will affect the response of the balls, which also change in different temperatures. The S range is designed for temps above 25C and the W for temps below 25C.


At BoblPadel we have stocked the Varlion W range because, after all, this is the UK.

Faces

The face of a padel racket is often made of two distinct materials. Carbon and Fibreglass. There are other materials but those are two main ones you will encounter.


Carbon fibre is lighter, more fragile and more expensive. It also comes in 4 hardnesses, 1K, 3K, 18k and 24K. The number implies thickness (hardness) and a larger number will give more power when hitting the ball.


Fibreglass is slightly heavier, more flexible, more resilient and cheaper. It will give you more control than carbon fibre but less power.


Rackets also come with different face surfaces to aid production of spin. Some are smooth, others have a raised hexagon shape and some even a sandpaper like finish. All of these are applied to create more spin, more easily. If it’s something you want to increase then a rougher surface will help, if you are already adept at spinning the ball then maybe it isn’t so important to you.


We believe you should think about a padel racket purchase from the following perspectives:


Cost

Control or Power(derived by shape, core and frame construction)

Balance

Weight

Face material and texture


Conclusion

Generally, beginner rackets are making an assumption you need control and advanced rackets want to increase your power with an assumption that you are already completely in control.

So there you have it, hopefully a basic understanding of what constitutes a padel racket.


If you need any help then feel free to drop us a line to Info@boblpadel.com

We can answer your questions and point you in the right direction.



Other things to consider when buying


Do I need a bag?


The answer is probably yes, but padel rackets are smaller than tennis and shorter than squash rackets so you might be able to repurpose an existing sports bag. What we have found is that car keys and mobile phones scattered around the court get stepped on a lot more than you would imagine so something to contain these items during play is essential.


Do I want to alter the balance and grip circumference with an over grip?


These can add weight to the handle to move the balance point lower away from the top of the racket. So it’s definitely a personal preference. Luckily they are cheap and easy to fit/remove.



Do I need a bumper?


We would recommend a bumper as these protect the top of the racket which gets quite a scraping/chipping on the mesh or glass when you have to commit to returning a difficult shot.


Can I use tennis balls?


You can but they are going to bounce very fast off your racket and you are going to hit a lot of shots out. Then someone is going to bring some padel balls and you will under hit them all into the net. Just buy some Padel balls(pressured lower than tennis balls) and you will be sorted.









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