I used to think pickleball was just for older adults. Boy, was I wrong!
While the sport of pickleball—a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong—has seen incredible growth over the past years, it took me some time to catch on. Pickleball isn’t a new sport; it started in the 1960s but has just recently gained attention.
When I finally tried this paddle sport, I quickly saw that pickleball offers something for people of all ages. You don’t need special skills to start, so you can have fun immediately. However, this popular sport is challenging, so you’ll still get a great workout—skill levels don’t matter!
If I’ve convinced you to try America’s fastest-growing sport, my job is only half-done! You still have to find the right pickleball essentials and necessary equipment to become a bonafide player.
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What Do You Need to Play Pickleball?
To play pickleball, you’ll need some essential gear to get started:
- Pickleball paddles
- Pickleball net
- Court marker tool
- Bag for your gear
- Pickleball apparel (shoes, shirts, shorts, and more)
Luckily for you, I’ve played enough times to know what pickleball gear stands above the rest! And if this isn’t your first game, you’ll still find pickleball essentials for taking your skills to the next level.
Here, you’ll find recommendations for the best pickleball equipment and gear—all highly-rated items, from pickleball paddles and balls to shoes and apparel.
Best Pickleball Playing Gear
Here is the pickleball equipment you need to play, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned player!
The best pickleball paddles to get some power behind the ball:
The Niupipo pickleball paddle is approved by USA Pickleball Association (USAP), so you know you’re getting something good. It’s even billed as one of the most popular paddles among pickleball players!
This paddle is made of graphite carbon fiber and polymer, making it much lighter (only eight ounces) than standard wooden paddles.
This paddle also has a cushioned, sweat-absorbent handle that’s easy to grip. You can play a game of pickleball for a long time before your hands fatigue!
These are the paddles I ordered for our family when we play together.
The Gonex pickleball paddle is another USAP-approved paddle. This one is also made of lightweight graphite carbon fiber for easier handling—no more pickleball elbow!
The other upside of graphite carbon fiber is that it’s super durable, so the paddle will last season after season.
This paddle also has a cushioned, sweat-absorbent handle for a more comfortable grip.
Try these top-rated pickleball balls:
The Franklin Sports X-40 pickleballs were chosen as the official balls for both the US Open Pickleball Championships and USA Pickleball for a good reason!
They have no seams, so they’ll resist dents and cracking on any court surface, making them great for outdoor and indoor pickleball.
Each plastic ball is also made with the same specs and precise machine-drilled holes, so you’re guaranteed consistent balance and spin every time you play with a new ball.
Choose between four colors: optic yellow, ember, lava, and pink. I ordered these in the optic yellow.
The best options for a sturdy pickleball net:
Why go to recreation centers when you can bring the pickleball court to you? Set up the ZENY portable pickleball net for backyard barbecue games with your friends and family.
The portable net is regulation-size (22 feet long, 36.8 inches tall) and has an easy connection design, making it a cinch to set up and take down.
It also has a thick steel support frame and wide base, so it won’t blow over on windy summer days.
The Flybold pickleball net is also regulation-size. It assembles in five minutes—just click together the interlocking metal posts and set it up on your driveway or lawn for outdoor play.
This next has a reinforced metal frame to keep the net steady under heavy winds. It is also powder-coated to protect the metal from rust, so you can keep the net outside for days without worrying about it.
And if you want to bring the net to a friend’s house, you’re in luck—it comes with a handy carrying bag!
If you don’t need a full-size pickleball net, go for this half-court size net from Franklin Sports (10 feet long, three feet tall).
It’s perfect for playing a game of singles pickleball in smaller spaces! It only takes a few minutes to put everything together, and if you want to bring the net to the beach, it’s light enough to carry.
I also love that the net includes pickleball paddles and balls—you’ll have everything you need to play!
With this portable rebounder, you don’t need a buddy to practice your pickleball serves. Just wheel it onto a flat surface and get going!
Adjust the net angle from vertical to 15 degrees to simulate the upward arc you’ll encounter on the court. When you’re done, the rebounder folds flat to take up as little space as possible.
The best pickleball bag options for carrying your gear:
A bag makes it easy to carry your pickleball gear and accessories to and from the court.
The Mangrove pickleball sling bag is 10 to 20 percent bigger than the typical pickleball bag and comes with four additional pockets to keep your stuff organized.
The main compartment is padded, making it the perfect spot for paddles. Meanwhile, the felt-lined pocket is ideal for your phone, the security pocket for credit cards or keys, the deeper side pocket for your bottle, and the secondary pocket for towels or a change of clothes.
If you need a little more storage space, check out the Sucipi pickleball bag! It’s slightly larger than the Mangrove and has an extra pocket for gear.
Plus, you can wear it backpack-style or zip the padded straps together to convert it into a sling bag.
This pickleball bag is made of extra-thick, water-resistant nylon, so it will last a while. Choose between 16 colors and patterns.
The Fresh Pickle Lola Tote is a smaller but more stylish pickleball bag option.
It has retro stripe details on the straps and an adorable tassel and pickle keychain! Stow clothes and shoes in the roomy interior and pickleballs in the netting pocket.
An exterior compartment holds up to three paddles, while the side pocket holds even the tallest waterbottles.
Finally, your keys and phone can go in the outer or inner zipper pocket. Choose between four color combinations.
Pickleball Court Marker Tools
The best products for marking your pickleball court lines:
Transform your driveway into a pickleball court with this pickleball court lines marker kit!
The line markers are easy to lay out, and because they’re bright yellow, the lines of the court (including non-volley zone lines, also known as the kitchen line, where you can’t step or hit the ball) will be easy to see while you play.
Plus, you can wipe down and reuse the markers repeatedly, saving you from buying fresh markers every time you need to set pickleball lines.
Court marking tape is less sophisticated, but it gets the job done! This bright yellow vinyl tape is ultra-durable, holding up to heavy foot traffic. This tape is easy to peel off once you’re done and won’t leave any residue.
However, it may work better for indoor play than outdoor play, as it sticks more easily to indoor surfaces like hardwood, vinyl, rubber, and gym floors than asphalt driveways.
Best Pickleball Shoes and Apparel
Here are some of the highest-rated pickleball shoes, shirts, skirts, and tanks!
The best options for pickleball shoes:
If you’re serious about pickleball, proper footwear is essential!
The ASICS Gel-RENMA pickleball shoes have unique technology in the midsole that provides greater support and limits twisting at the foot and ankle when you pivot and perform lateral movement.
Meanwhile, the forefoot has gel technology to create a softer landing when your foot strikes. Choose from five different colors.
These are some durable court shoes!
The K-Swiss Express Light pickleball shoe has a solid rubber outsole with drag guards at the toe and heel to stand up to every pivot and foot strike.
They also offer a support frame in the midsole to keep your feet stable and a sock liner to keep your feet dry.
Score a pair in any of the six color combos!
The Adidas Gamecourt Tennis Shoes are marketed as tennis shoes, but this pair is also ideal for pickleball.
The heel locks your foot in place, while the cushioned midsole absorbs shock for a softer landing.
A breathable, flexible mesh upper keeps your feet cool when the game heats up. Check out the seven color combinations to find your perfect match.
The best pickleball shorts to wear on the court:
You can’t be bothered with shorts that ride up or constrict your movements when there are serves to return! That’s where the BMJL running shorts come into play.
They have a relaxed fit and side slits, so you can move comfortably. And the soft, breathable material won’t hold you down when you start sweating.
Plus, with so many fun colors to choose from, there’s no reason to limit yourself to basic black or white!
The Gym People’s running shorts have a high-waisted, stay-put design and built-in liner for extra coverage, along with a side slit for a greater range of movement.
Hidden utility pockets and a back waistband zipper pocket give you space to store essentials while you play.
The only downside from my view is that these shorts are handwash-only. Otherwise, they’re the perfect choice for a long, intense pickleball game.
I love a great athletic skirt, and the BALEAF pleated tennis skirt is both cute and functional.
The pleated hem in the back is flowy, while the streamlined cut in the front gives it a structured, flattering fit.
I also like that the stretch waistband is wide, and the skirt includes mesh liner shorts (with built-in pockets to stash balls and valuables!) for better coverage. I have this skirt in three colors!
The SATINY tennis skirt is pleated all the way around, which gives it a flowy, feminine shape.
The skirt and the built-in shorts are made of ultra-soft, stretchy fabric that’s breathable and quick-drying for when the game heats up.
It also has four discrete pockets to store keys, credit cards, and extra pickleballs. There are so many fun colors (including neon green!), you’ll have trouble picking just one.
Some of us prefer more leg coverage. For that, I give you the ZUTY tennis skirt.
It’s 18 inches long and high-waisted—ideal for more modest players. It has a pleated hem in the back for a more stylish look, and it’s made of soft, quick-drying fabric.
Like the other skirts on this list, it has built-in-shorts and storage pockets for pickleballs and valuables.
The best pickleball hats to help keep you focused on the ball:
If you’re playing outdoors, you’ll appreciate having a hat to shield your eyes from the sun and glare.
The MISSION cooling performance hat is great because it has proprietary fabric technology that cools it in under a minute when it gets wet. It also offers UPF 50 sun protection to protect your scalp from harmful UV rays.
Pick from six colors and use the adjustable hook and loop closure in the back to customize your fit. I have this hat in two colors.
The BUILTCOOL baseball hat also cools down when it gets wet. Just soak it in water, wring it out, and snap it to activate the cooling technology.
The fabric will cool up to 30 degrees below your body temperature, helping you stay comfortable under the hot sun. The hat also includes a sweatband to wick away moisture and sweat from your face.
Get it in any of 16 colors.
Pickleball Tank Tops
The best pickleball tank tops to keep you cool while you play:
You’ll definitely keep cool in the CRZ YOGA lightweight tank top. It’s made of a super-soft, moisture-wicking polyester-elastane fabric blend that’s comfy and breathable.
Plus, the fabric has built-in UPF 50+ sun protection—a bonus on bright, sunny days! The fit is a bit relaxed, with a racerback cut to give your arms more room to move.
Meanwhile, the hem sits at your hip for better coverage.
The Dragon Fit sleeveless top is slightly cropped—perfect for pairing with wide-waisted shorts.
The nylon-spandex ice silk fabric is insanely stretchy and airy, making it the ideal choice for keeping cool during outdoor games.
The high neckline provides coverage, while the racerback cut offers freedom of movement. I have this crop top in four colors.
The CRZ YOGA waist-length tank top is made of spandex and Pima cotton, offering a soft feel that lets your skin breathe.
It’s not technically a racerback tank, but it still provides plenty of room for your arms to move.
It also has a looser fit to allow extra room for layering over a sports bra and a high neck for coverage at every angle. I have this tank top in five colors.
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