When selecting a pickleball paddle, one of the critical factors to consider is the thickness of its core. This aspect significantly influences the paddle's overall performance and can affect your gameplay experience in various ways. Let's delve into the impact of core thickness to help you make an informed decision.

  1. Core Types

Pickleball paddles typically come with two main types of cores: polypropylene (polymer) and aluminum (never use wood!). The thickness of these cores varies and plays a crucial role in determining how the paddle performs on the court.

  • Polymer Cores: These cores are often found in modern pickleball paddles and are favored for their lightweight nature and responsiveness. They come in different thicknesses, typically ranging from 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch, or 10-16mm. Thinner cores provide more control and finesse, making them suitable for players who prefer precise shots and touch around the net. On the other hand, thicker polymer cores offer increased power and a larger sweet spot, which can benefit players looking to add more force to their shots.
  • Aluminum Cores: While less common in modern pickleball paddles, aluminum cores are known for their durability and sturdiness. They tend to be thicker compared to polymer cores and are favored by players who prioritize strength and stability over other characteristics.
  1. Impact on Performance
  • Power vs. Control: Thicker cores generally translate to more power when hitting the ball due to their ability to store and release energy efficiently. This makes them suitable for players who rely on strong, aggressive shots from the baseline. Thinner cores, on the other hand, offer better control and maneuverability, allowing for precise placement and finesse shots.
  • Sweet Spot Size: Core thickness directly affects the size of the sweet spot on a paddle. Thicker cores typically provide a larger sweet spot, offering forgiveness for off-center hits and improving consistency in your shots. Thinner cores have a smaller sweet spot, requiring more precise ball contact but offering better touch and feel.
  1. Player Preference

Ultimately, the choice of core thickness boils down to personal preference and playing style. Consider the following factors when selecting a pickleball paddle:

  • Playing Style: Do you prioritize power and aggressiveness, or finesse and control?
  • Skill Level: Beginners may benefit from paddles with larger sweet spots and forgiving characteristics, while advanced players might prefer paddles that offer precise control and responsiveness.
  • Court Position: Your position on the court (e.g., at the net or baseline) can also influence your choice of core thickness.


Choosing the right core thickness for your pickleball paddle is crucial for optimizing your performance and enjoyment on the court. Whether you lean towards power or control, understanding how core thickness affects paddle performance will guide you towards selecting a paddle that complements your playing style and enhances your overall game.

Still can’t decide? Come into the store or give us a call and we can help!