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The 10 Best Pieces of Pickleball Gear of 2024

I’ve been playing pickleball for about a decade, growing up with older parents than my peers’ made the sport a natural family activity. It’s no wonder that its popularity has skyrocketed — it’s an optimal sport. Beginners and professionals can play together easily, it’s widely accessible in most cities, and with the right gear, you can take it along on your vacation or road trip.

I recently joined Urban Pickleball Club in Austin, TX, which means my game has (hopefully) evolved with even more practice. I’ve also been able to try out new products in real-world settings against some tough competition. For this story, I got some pointers from two people who know what they’re talking about: Ben Johns is the world’s number one player and Brian Ashworth is a 5.0 player and certified instructor.

The best pickleball gear should be versatile enough for both indoor and outdoor courts, while also helping you move quickly and accurately to hit those oh-so-special white-line shots. No matter your skill level, we’ve gathered all the best gear to enhance your play.

Selkirk Luxx Control Air Pickleball Paddle

PHOTO: Amazon

The Selkirk Luxx Control Air is the Rolls Royce of pickleball paddles. Is it good for beginners? Probably too good — I wouldn’t recommend it if it’s your first paddle or you’re just getting started in the sport. But, if you’re ready to take your game to the next level, there’s really no better option.

It’s made with the brand’s proprietary carbon fiber blend, which gives you more control of aim and spin. You’ll notice the difference (trust me, when I upgraded to mine, I felt like a professional) within your first few hits. The grip is spongy and tacky, perfect for those especially sweaty days, and the large sweet spot gives you more confidence to hit power shots or short dinks. Perhaps the most unique feature of this paddle is the open space towards the bottom of the paddle which enhances in-game airflow allowing you to react to tricky shots quicker.

Onix Pickleball Net and Practice Net

PHOTO: Amazon

If you’re looking for the best way to train, a practice net is a great option. Rather than having to find a pickleball-specific court, you can just set up shop in your driveway or on a tennis court. The Portable Pickleball net from Onix comes with two nets, one USAPA regulation size and one smaller, 10-foot size. Its construction is fairly simple, just a few interlocking steel tubes and adjustable straps, plus the wide base ensures that it’ll hold strong during play. It comes with a wheeled carrying case for easy portability and setup and tear-down is straightforward.

Simple Modern Summit Water Bottle with Straw and Chug Lid

PHOTO: Amazon

When you’re hydrating in between games, there’s two things you don’t want to worry about when it comes to your water bottle: messing around with a lid and lukewarm water. Simple Modern’s Summit Water Bottle has two cap options, but the one I prefer is the foldable straw lid because of its easy accessibility. This bottle is double walled, which means your drinks will stay cold for over 24 hours, and the stainless steel is BPA free. If you’re looking to keep this in your car, the 22-ounce size fits most cup holders.

RIA Vantage [Court HD+]

PHOTO: Ria Eyewear

Ria is one of the few, if not only, brands making men’s and women’s sunglasses specifically for pickleball. Their Vantage model is made of a patented Swiss nylon frame and two-piece shatterproof polycarbonate lens designed in collaboration with optics titan Zeiss. What makes them designed specifically for pickleball? The Court HD+ lenses are created to increase the contrast between yellow and a blue and green background, making them ideal for most racquet sports. When I’m playing during the day, the bright sun rays are what I typically blame if I lose, so I appreciate how well these both block out the light and stay put without constricting my temples. The nose piece is also adjustable, which is a nice bonus.

Joola Pickleball Paddle Cover

PHOTO: Amazon

Joola is widely recognized as one of the leaders in the pickleball space and their neoprene sleeve is one of the best ways to maintain your paddle when it’s not in use. Its thick fabric helps keep your paddle free from dents, scratches, liquid, and dirt that it may otherwise attract. It has a zipper closure for easy access and at about the price of lunch, it’s hard to think of a better investment in extending the life of your paddle.

Fresh Pickle Lola Pickleball Tote Bag

PHOTO: Fresh Pickle

I go to the courts several times a week, and transition from car to play can become a burden. Carrying a paddle, balls, water bottle, portable speaker, and more quickly make a leisurely activity feel like work, that’s why a good bag is so important. Fresh Pickle, a new brand making stylish pickleball accessories, offers an all-in-one solution with their tote bag. It fits up to three paddles, has a water bottle holder, and a spacious main compartment big enough for a pair of sneakers or plenty of balls. It’s made of a water-resistant canvas and features adjustable straps so you can find the perfect length.

Joola Vision II Deluxe Backpack

PHOTO: Amazon

If you’re on the road or fly a lot, then you know the value of a go-to backpack with dedicated storage for all your trinkets. Joola’s Vision II Deluxe Backpack takes everything I love about my trusty travel companion and tailors it for the court.

When it comes to choosing a pickleball backpack: “I’d say a separate compartment for shoes is almost a necessity,” Ashworth said. “Also a separate and preferably padded spot to place paddles.” This backpack’s main storage space can hold up to four paddles and a separate bottom slot is big enough for a pair of shoes. This bag features over 10 pockets to keep everything organized, including a large laptop sleeve so you can swiftly go from office to the court. If that’s not enough, a durable hook at the top lets you hang it on the fence to keep it off the dirty ground.

K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball Shoe

PHOTO: Amazon

I’ve always been a one-size-fits-all type of guy, meaning my running shoes are my gym shoes are my pickleball shoes. But after playing more and more, and feeling the soreness from it, I think it’s a smart idea to invest in sneakers designed specifically for the sport. The Express Light Pickleball Shoes for men and women is one of the first shoes designed specifically for pickleball, which means it prioritizes stability and agility. The upper of the shoe has the brand’s proprietary molded flex area to prevent dragging and the ankle has extra padding for comfort as you move around. The herringbone-pattern outsole gives ultimate traction, great for outdoor and clay courts.

Amazon JoncAye Pickleball Paddle Set of 4

PHOTO: Amazon

If you’re just getting started with pickleball, or you’re looking for a new activity for the family, you really don’t need top-of-the-line gear. The slight improvements from equipment designed for advanced players won’t have that much of an effect if you don’t have the basics down, and that’s why I love this set on Amazon. It comes with four fiberglass paddles, four balls, extra grips, and a bag to carry it all. If you’re only looking to play with your significant other, two-packs are also available for about half the price as the full set. Master your serves and returns with this value pack that’s well worth the money.

Tips for Buying Pickleball Gear

Consider your court type

Some equipment will vary by court type, mainly the balls. Indoor balls usually have 26 larger holes while outdoor balls typically have 40 smaller holes, so just make sure you have both types if you’ll be switching between settings. According to Johns: “Paddle, of course, makes the biggest difference. Shoes would be next — make sure you get some that have good lateral support so you don’t go rolling any ankles.” Have a paddle you like, get the proper footwear, and everything will fall into place as long as you’re playing with the right ball.

Opt for durability

With the right care and attention, pickleball gear can last you for years, depending on how much you play. No matter what skill level you are, you should always look for versatile pieces made of high-quality materials. Ashworth opts for “quality and practicality, a reputable brand, and, as a bonus, one that is owned by other pickleball enthusiasts.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What pickleball paddles are best for beginners?

    When you’re just starting, you should be more focused on the grip and feel of the paddle versus specific materials. I recommend getting a starter set like the JoncAye four-piece set or SLK by Selkirk two-piece combination because of their universal appeal and beginner-friendly sweet spot. “[Look for] a large sweet spot, a feel that you like, spin, power, appropriate weight, and dimensions suited to your game style,” Johns says.

  • How much does a pickle ball weigh?

  • What is a pickleball court surface made of?

    Pickleball courts, like tennis courts, are made of an asphalt or concrete base with an acrylic paint finish for traction.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Joe Niehaus is a writer and experienced product tester. He has enjoyed playing pickleball for over a decade in Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, and Texas. He’s a member of the Urban Pickleball Club in Austin, TX and plays several times a week. For this article, he also interviewed Ben Johns, the world’s number one pickleball player, and Brian Ashworth, a 5.0 player and certified instructor.

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