What Specialist Equipment Is Needed to Play Pickleball

Mastering pickleball is not only about the skill; having the right gear can give you that extra edge on the court.

We’ve put together a list of the specialist equipment needed to play pickleball including:

Pickleball Paddles

A paddle is the ‘bat’ used in pickleball to serve the ball. Sometimes, you’ll hear it called a racket, but the correct term is “paddle.”

A racket (also racquet) is more often associated with tennis.

Though the paddle is similar to a tennis racket, it has a shorter handle and a hardhead’ instead of strings.

Moreover, the head of the pickleball paddle can be longer than its width or wider than its length. The latter is termed as ‘hyper’ by players.

Types of Pickleball Paddles and How They Influence the Game

Pickleball paddles are divided into two classes based on their shape. A paddle can either be elongated or hyper (standard or square).

The square paddle usually has a large sweet spot to help you strike the pickleball ball more accurately. On the other hand, an elongated paddle has a small sweet spot, offering more reach, spin, and power.

Pickleball Paddles: Colors and Sizes

Depending on the brand, you can find paddles in different colors. The CRBN Control Series Paddles are black with white markings while the CRBN Power Series Paddles are black with white and red markings.

Similarly, pickleball paddles can have any width and length. However, the USAPA rulebook dictates that the total length and width, including any end cap and edge guard, must not exceed 24 inches.

Most pickleball paddles are 7 to 8 inches wide and 15 to 16 inches long. These classes of pickleball paddles provide the player with all-around power, balance, and control.

What Materials Are Pickleball Paddles Made Of?

Originally, pickleball paddles were made from wood, but modern versions are constructed from lightweight materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, and graphite.

Paddles with a graphite surface are light but exceptionally sturdy, so when the ball hits the surface, the force spreads evenly across the whole face area.

This broadens the sweet spot on your paddle (which improves performance) but the power is relative.

Carbon fiber surface material is lighter and sturdier than graphite. They are also stiff which means the energy of the pickleball ball spreads all over the paddle face and the handle.

This gives you insane amounts of spin, a better feel, and a larger sweet spot. However, it will take some power away because only a little energy is transferred back to the ball.

Of the three paddle surface materials, fiberglass is the heaviest. Some people may refer to it as composite.

It also gives out the most power. It is not as stiff as graphite or carbon fiber, so you can think of it as a trampoline that takes the energy from the ball and gives it back.

Lack of stiffness also means the sweet spot is smaller than in paddles with a graphite or carbon fiber surface material.

Pickleball Balls

A pickleball ball resembles a wiffle ball, only slightly heavier between 0.78 oz and 0.935 oz. Usually, it’s a uniform color except for markings. A manufacturer or supplier's name or sponsor logo are the exceptions.

Depending on its intended use, a pickleball ball can have between 26 and 40 circular holes (all around the ball). These holes allow air to go through them, making the ball bounce lower and slower, unlike a tennis ball.

Unlike in tennis though, the reduced bounciness forced me to bend a little deeper at the knee to return the ball.

Most indoor pickleball balls have 26 wider holes, while most outdoor balls have 40 smaller holes. The difference in the number of holes helps you maintain consistency and the flight trajectory of your strikes.

The higher number of holes in outdoor pickleball balls gives a robust feel when playing in windy conditions. (Which feels like all the time, based on where I live!)

Additionally, wider holes allow more air to pass through them, slowing the trajectory and speed and enabling softer and more controlled shots. That’s why indoor pickleball balls have larger holes than outdoor ones.

When I first played pickleball, I realized how light the ball was in comparison to a tennis ball. So, to ensure the ball crossed over to the other side of the net, I needed to hit it harder.

Types of Pickleball Balls

There are two types of pickleball balls: indoor and outdoor balls. The major differences between them are the size and number of holes, durability, hardness, and weight.

For instance, outdoor pickleball balls are more durable as they’re crafted from harder plastic, while indoor pickleball balls are made from softer plastic and are less durable.

Moreover, outdoor pickleball balls tend to weigh more than indoor ones.

Because of the different features, you should always use indoor pickleball balls, indoors and outdoor pickleball balls, outdoors.

How Much Do Pickleball Balls Cost?

The price of pickleball balls ranges from under $7 to over $200.

How much a ball costs depends on its brand, quality, the number of balls in a set, and other features like enhanced durability and visibility.

Outdoor pickleball balls tend to be pricey because they are more durable (due to material quality and construction) than indoor ones and have smaller holes.

Pickleball Nets

While the pickleball net looks almost the same as in tennis, a pickleball net is shorter.

According to USA Pickleball, the pickleball net is at least 21 feet and 9 inches long. However, most nets are 22 feet long, extending an inch on each side beyond the court width boundaries.

An important thing to know is the width of the net affects the game by determining the available playing area.

While a wider net forces players to move around the court more, a narrower pickleball net makes the game fast-paced and intense. You’ll find that your game strategy will change depending on the net width.

Some pickleball nets, especially permanent ones, have a center strap. Its purpose is to enable easy adjustment to the 34-inch requirement at the center.

While the center of the pickleball net is 34 inches high, the height at both ends (at the sidelines) is 36 inches. The two-inch difference in the net’s height makes hitting the ball over the middle easier.

Pickleball Bags

A pickleball bag is a bag used to carry pickleball equipment like a paddle, balls, etc.

While you can carry your game equipment in any bag, you need one that will help you organize and carry your items easily and comfortably to and from the court.

Most pickleball bags are tour bags, slings, and backpacks.

If you choose a bigger pickleball bag, you may have extra space to pack your towel, water bottle, and other personal belongings.

Besides being roomy, the best pickleball bags have compartments to help you organize your equipment better.

Pickleball bags can sell for between $9 and $400, depending on the quality of the materials. But, regardless of your budget, always choose the best pickleball bag you can afford.

Below are some ideas to help you choose the best pickleball bag.

  • Big enough to carry everything you need for your game
  • Made from durable and weather-resistant material such as polyester or high-quality nylon. Also, it should have reinforced zippers and sturdy straps
  • Has insulated pockets for drinks or ventilated compartments for stinky sports shoes
  • Padded straps and back panels ensure you're comfortable even when you carry it for long

Pickleball Apparel

Mostly, pickleball doesn’t have a dress code.

However, the USA Pickleball rules don’t allow pickleball players to wear clothes that are a similar color as the pickleball balls they are playing with.

Some pickleball clubs may have a dress code. If you are in a pickleball club, check with the club’s dress code (if there is one) before deciding what to wear for your session.

So, what should you wear when you play pickleball?

Pickleball Clothes for Comfort and Mobility

The best clothes to wear for pickleball are:


Comfortable sportswear is loose-fitting, soft, breathable, and makes you feel relaxed.

Leggings are among the most comfortable sporty wear for both men and women. Not only do they provide compression, but they also allow you to move freely, and keep you warm while playing outdoors.


Like Karate and yoga, pickleball can put you in positions you never imagined, especially when returning low shots like drop shots and dinks.

You need stretchy clothes, specifically, 4-way stretch fabrics with raglan sleeves, to move freely across the court. They’ll allow you to bend, squat, and run without worrying about clothes ripping.

Lightweight and Breathable

Pickleball is a sweaty game. To stay cool and fresh, you need clothes with tiny pores or micropores to keep you cool even during heated matches.

Ladies can wear tennis skirts, skorts, leggings, racerback tank tops, sports bras, 4-way stretch t-shirts, tennis or golf dresses with built-in shorts, polo shirts, and tank tops.

On the other hand, men can wear tennis shorts, athletic shorts, long-sleeve shirts, and a polo or sweat-wick tee shirt on the court.


Always choose moisture-wicking clothes when playing pickleball.

They keep sweat away from the skin (helping you stay cool and dry), so you won’t feel clammy.

You can pick clothes made of polyester, nylon, merino wool, and bamboo as these are some of the best moisture-wicking materials.


Pickleball is fun. So, wear something bright, with cool patterns or something else which makes your personality shine.

You can kick it up a notch by adding a catchy phrase to your t-shirt, cap, or hoodie. Something like “Real Men Stay Outta Kitchen,” “Dink Responsibly”, etc.


You should always check the UPF rating of sportswear before buying. Good sun-protective sportswear should have a minimum of 15 UPF rating.

Have the Best and Quality Materials

Do you ever wonder why most sports clothes are not 100% made from moisture-wicking or breathable materials? Well, that’s because blending the two materials makes the perfect sportswear.

For instance, even though polyester is more moisture-wicking than cotton, it’s not as breathable. On the other hand, Rayon is a soft, breathable, and moisture-absorbent fabric that is a blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon.

So, for a pickleball cloth to be moisture-wicking, soft, comfortable, and breathable, it has to be made from a blend of cotton, rayon, and polyester.


One thing that’s certain when you play pickleball is that you’ll sweat. This isn’t bad if you have breathable, antimicrobial, clothes as they’ll keep you free from odors.

You stay cleaner and fresher longer and the overall quality of your clothes is preserved.


On windy or rainy days, a weather-resistant sweatshirt is the perfect thing to wear on the court. In addition to being cozy, it’ll keep you warm.

If you don’t like wearing sweatshirts, you can opt for layered tops instead. They’re perfect for adjusting to the weather as you can easily remove the extra clothing layers while playing.

You can also wear leggings, sweatpants, and sweatshirts to stay warm in cold weather.

Have Zippered Pockets

You may never know the importance of investing in utility shorts and other pocketed pickleball clothes until you are tired of running across the court to fetch loose pickleball balls. 


You should always aim to wear pickleball clothes that have a bluesign label.

The certification means the textile has been tested for harmful chemicals so wearing it shows you support environmental sustainability.

Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes

The best-laid plans don’t always happen as imagined. Despite your best efforts, sometimes you can have errant serves while playing.

In some cases, these inaccurate shots can unintentionally come square into your eyes. To avoid getting hurt, it’s best to have goggles or sunglasses.

Besides being stylish, they can help you block blinding sun rays when playing on a sunny day.

Pickleball Shoes for Better Performance

Pickleball shoes offer players a better grip and more ankle support. They also have excellent soles like gum rubber to provide a solid grip and support the lateral movements players make on the court.

An important thing to remember is the court surface influences the type of sole your pickleball shoe should have.

For indoor courts, an organic rubber sole is ideal, whereas for an outdoor court, a synthetic sole is the best.

All in all, the best court footwear should have a large toe box to enable toe movement and improve comfort.

And though there are shoes specifically designed for pickleball, you may not need to buy them if you already have a tennis pair.

Headwear for Sun Protection

I recommend something like a trucker hat, ball cap, boonie hat, or a visor to maintain a clear vision while playing.

But besides protecting you from harmful UV rays, the best pickleball hats are adjustable (to fit well and comfortable), breathable/vented, and lightweight.