Illegal pickleball paddle

Well, guess you are now preparing for a pickleball match and may pose a question for you, Is your pickleball paddle legal? According to the USAPA, the governing body of USA pickleball states that paddles have to meet certain requirements just like the Engage Pro. One may have a question on what exactly makes the paddle illegal, that’s a good question and it can be a variety of attributes such as length of grip to the dimensions of the paddle. Most of the players who are not aware of the requirements of this game go on to purchase paddles that are not USAPA approved. On this issue of illegal paddles, Tournament directors may decide not to incorporate you in their games as they will be following the regulation. However, on the other hand, some won’t even know if the paddle is illegal or not. The best advice is for you to get the best paddle that is approved and also noise-free so that neighbors are not distracted by the noise from the paddles. We have compiled a number of illegal pickleball paddles which are not yet USAPA approved.

What are the things that make the paddle illegal?

A variety of attributes makes the paddle illegal and these are grip length and size, materials used, dimensions of the paddle just to mention a few. Below is a list of attributes that makes the paddle deemed illegal.

Size and Weight

A pickleball paddle should not exceed a total surface of 24inches and that includes the length and width of the paddle along with the edge guard and butt cap. Most of the paddles weigh between 7.5 and 8.5ounces and the length of the paddle cannot exceed 17 inches.


Most of the paddles have a rough surface however they should be smooth in order for them to be legal. Paddles must meet the requirements of a roughness test as part of the pickleball paddle approval process.  The paddle also must meet a reflection test in order to check if the paddle does not become reflective as to obscure the vision of other players on the court. The surface has to be flat and also it should not have holes, cracks. To add on, the surface of the paddle cant be shiny for example stickers or manufacturers’ marks.

Modification and Alteration

Most people tend to modify and alter their paddles and they are some limitations for alteration and modification before it turns into an illegal pickleball paddle. USAPA prepared a rulebook for pickleball games. This book enlightens newbies on the rules that have to be followed when playing pickleball games. It becomes illegal to use thick decals and pen markings and this will not be suitable to pass the roughness test. Some players use an edge guard to protect the paddle and it helps you find an optimal place for actions of the paddle with additional pop.


Pickleball paddles must be made with material that is strong and deemed to be safe. Paddles go under a deflection test that measures how rigid and compressible the material is. Materials such as foam core are illegal because they degrade over time hence they are no longer on the USAPA pickleball paddle approved list. USAPA does not specify on which type of materials to be used but most of the materials are usually made from honeycomb aramid. This is an aerospace fiber developed by Dupont. The other material is honeycomb polymer and both of these paddles are strong and light. The material is smart and has high stiffness also, the paddle must pass a deflection test to ensure that it’s free from the trampoline effect like bouncing back of the pickleball.


USAPA standards and regulations also take note of the pickleball design. Both the features should be reasonably compatible with the design of the paddle. The shape and paint of the pickleball paddle should also meet the standard of USAPA.

Homemade pickleball paddles

Homemade pickleball paddles may lack direct monitoring and it’s not a good idea to use these paddles. However for your own personal use, one can use the paddles. For professional purposes, paddles which have gone through tests are most ideal for pickleball because they would have met specific parameters set up by the USAPA.

Steps taken by USAPA to curb illegal paddles

The USAPA formed a company by the name Equipment Evaluation Committee that makes sure people use quality paddles. This company makes sure information and instructions reach USAPA and they compiled a book of instruction for pickleball. If pickleball paddle companies fail to reach the standard wanted by that company, the manufacturer has to change the design or the material used. Companies get penalized if they produce the paddles without the approval of the EEC. These companies also have to maintain the standard of these paddles effectively. Therefore, companies should manufacturer pickleball paddles that are strong and of a good standard so that players do not have a hard time.

List of pickleball paddles that are illegal

Below is a list of pickleball paddles that are not approved by USAPA

Amazing Aces Classic Wood

Most people buy paddles from this huge company as it sells most of their paddles at an affordable price whilst quality is not compromised. However, in as much as this company sells paddles, they have a wooden paddle by the name  Amazing Aces Classic wood that has not been approved. This paddle is made from plywood material, that’s why USAPA disapproved this paddle for professional tournaments. This paddle is normally used by beginners and the set consists of 2 pickleball set that includes 2pickleball paddles, 4 pickleballs, and 1 mesh bag.

Amazing Aces Classic Graphite

This paddle by Aces is made using cutting-edge technology and features materials such as polymer core. USAPA does not approve of this paddle due to the fact that it’s a short handle and a narrow body.

Diller Pickleball paddle

This company also has affordable paddles however they are not the best quality paddles.  This paddle has been a staple in schools, community centers. The paddle is built from durable 7-ply alternating grain hardwood. However, although the paddle is said to be having a comfortable grip with ribbing the paddle is not USAPA approved. The length of this paddle is 5.5nches and its core material is wood.

Sports Adventures Graphite paddle

This paddle was specially designed for beginners and its perforated ultra-cushion is 4.5 grip that absorbs sweat effortlessly. The paddle length is 16inches and its weight is 7.9-8.3oz. This paddle is carefully designed to bring you the best experience in all areas. However, in as much as this paddle is lightweight with polypropylene material, it does not meet USAPA regulations.

Upstreet Wood paddle

This paddle is built using 7ply maple wood constructed Upstreet Wood that is designed using a high-end cushioned grip. This feature is the most common inexpensive composite paddle. Most of these paddles are found on the market and they are termed illegal paddles or not approved. Most paddles made from wood are included in the list of illegal paddles.

Legal pickleball paddles

Engage Ultimate Composite paddle

This paddle is made of an aluminum core that is to provide the best paddle for those players who are looking for a touch game. This paddle has an upper middleweight of 8.0-8.2ounces and this paddle weight allows players to have the right amount of power and also a perfect ball placement.  The sleek-looking paddle features a vibrant color on the upper half of the face with gray on the bottom of the paddle. The Ultimate paddle by Engage makes sure players do not choose between power and control. This paddle has been approved by USAPA

Selkirk 300AXL Aluminum graphite paddle

This is a lightweight paddle and offers excellent control for those perfectly placed lobs to finessed dink games and explode with a full swing slam down the middle. This paddle is one of the champions paddles that is crafted with an ultralight aerospace-grade aluminum honeycomb core that provides optimum control along with a high-grade graphite surface with vinyl UV. Paddles have a pro-lite gamma grip with a low profile edge guard. This is USAPA  recommended and has been tested and found fit to be used on tournaments.

Onix Evoke premier Composite

This paddle has been used by Onix pro players and it features a specially designed Atomic 13 Edge Guard that creates a slim, durable paddle edge. Some of the professionals that use this paddle comprise Matt Wright, Lucy Kovalova and these pickleball players find this paddle very comfortable to use.  However, this is a more costly paddle though one can consider using the paddle if you want to have a successful game. The paddle is lightweight that is 7.5-7.8 ounces and the heavier weight paddle weighs approximately 8.2-8.5″. The paddle is made of fiberglass with a polypropylene core moreso, it features an oversized sweet spot.

Wilson Rush Composite

This a classic shoe that comes in white color and has a classic design. The rush retails for around $89 however, one can find it cheaper. This type of shoe has a lot of features than the old school style shoes. The upper part of the shoe has leather, but the breathability is still with the shoe. The midsole and outsole of the shoe are solid and also this is one of the best pickleball shoes. The 9mm heel-to-toe drop is big, therefore for pickleball lovers, these can be the best shoes for you especially if you are in love with stylish shoes.

In a nutshell…

Illegal pickleball paddles are paddles that have not been approved by USAPA. These paddles cannot be used by professionals and they are at times banned for use. Therefore, for you to enjoy this game you have to get a paddle that is USAPA approved. Above we managed to review some of the paddles that are legal for use. CHEERS….