Guide to Illegal Pickleball Paddles With Examples & Tips (Sept 2023)

You’re trying your best to play pickleball at higher-level tournaments. The time comes when you realize yourself well fit for playing in such events. But one thing that can distinguish your overall efforts is your illegal pickleball paddles

Do you know whether your paddle is USAPA approved or not? If not it means you’re already knocked out of the tournament. Hence, you should know about the illegal paddle so that you can keep what’s allowed according to the official pickleball rules.

I’m going to mentor you from beginner to expert level about allowed and banned pickleball paddles. Plus, I’ll also give a few examples of legal and illegal paddles so that you can grasp the guide superbly.

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What Makes A Pickleball Paddle Illegal?

While playing competitive pickleball tournaments match. The official wouldn’t be able to check all the rules one by one.

But instead of that, there are some very common things that make a paddle illegal. Which I’m going to expand on here in detail:

1. Paddle Materials

As you know there is no specification of materials to make paddle of. But when making a pickleball paddle, you should consider that it should be made from sturdy and non-elastic materials.

Just for the purpose of confirming players’ protection. Sometimes, you purchase a paddle that is fit according to the USAPA rules but later with the usage of time, it loses the quality which might be considered illegal.

Generally, there are two very common core materials, Polymer and Aramid honeycomb. Both of them are famous for their own quality. I’ve already disclosed Pickleball Paddle Core in detail if you want to learn.

Both materials are solid, durable, and lightweight, making every player the first choice when it comes to paddle core selection.

Other well-known materials are graphite, carbon fiber, composite, wood, and fiberglass as they’re used in the main body of the paddle. You may also want to learn about the differences between Graphite vs Fiberglass Pickleball Paddles

2. Design

The paddle design is somehow rarely a detective issue in pickleball paddles. As there’s care for everyone from USAPA that’s why the design and paint of the paddle should be under official rules. 

I personally have experienced two things related to paddle design. One is being a reflective paddle which can badly cause to your opponent’s views. 

You can also realize the reflection when you’re trying to make contact with the ball and immediately your opponent’s paddle reflects on your eyes.

And the rest is known to you that you’ll make a fault of missing the ball or taking it out of the lines.

Another problem with paddle design is some players paint irrelevant or humiliating words or sticker which USAPA don’t want to detect in any paddle as it’s a sport for every age person.

Learn Elongated vs Standard Pickleball Paddle (Pros And Cons)

3. Size And Weight

Remember that there’s no weight-related or paddle thickness restriction in pickleball standard rules.

You can play with whatever weight suits your play style. But the recommended weight is under 7.5oz or above 8.5oz.

However, the size of the paddle is 17 inches in length. Moreover, the mix (length and width) should not be more than 24 inches.

4. Extra Elements

You’re allowed to modify your paddle but to some certain level. Such as adding lead tape to your handle to be comfortable or making the weight heavier.

Another case is adding an edge guard for a power shot and paddle protection as well. Such modifications are good to apply as depends on player choice. I’ve reviewed some of the Best Edgeless Pickleball Paddles if you want to give it a look.

However, using any material additional material to get extra benefits is entirely illegal. Furthermore, you can also use a decal until it doesn’t omit the smoothness of a paddle.

5. Homemade Paddles

Most of the new players are doubting about homemade paddles. However, there’s a very open condition to understand.

If you’re just playing friendly or recreational games, then using the homemade paddle is okay. 

What you should think is that a homemade paddle wouldn’t be allowed to use in tournaments. Hence, it would be best if you were very careful during purchasing a pickleball paddle.

These are some of the common detective issues in illegal pickleball paddles. However, there are many more, and if you want you can learn them in the rules book I’ve mentioned below.

Examples Of Illegal Pickleball Paddles

As I’ve explained to you what to consider while selecting the legal pickleball paddle. Now I’m going to list down some of the unapproved pickleball paddles.

However, you can use these paddles in your practice or friendly matches but not in a tournament.

1. Amazin’ Aces Classic Wood Pickleball Paddle

The Aces classic wood paddles are known as for their great affordability. Moreover, they’re made of plywood which is clearly banned in pickleball official rules.

But I’ve personally played with this paddle in our town court, its performance was unbelievable, especially for a player who just wants to get started in the pickleball court.

2. CRBN Pickleball Paddles

If you’ve not heard about it then it means you’re completely new or you’ve missed a lot. Last year, during US Open 2022, USAPA overnight banned the CRBN paddles.

We all got shocked and we should have been because the CRBN wasn’t less than a fad paddle brand. However, the reason hasn’t been revealed yet.

3. Diller Pickleball Paddle

The Diller paddles are also made of plywood grain which isn’t allowed according to the pickleball standard rules.

Moreover, you can consider it one of the best options in the wood family especially if you’re looking to buy paddles for your family members.

4. Amazin’ Aces Classic Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Amazing Aces classic paddle is amazingly constructed, especially for its graphite face. Besides it, the design is very premium and durable materials. 

Plus, the price of the paddles is really good as compared to others in the market. If you’re just a town pickleball player, then it’s a great option for you to go with. 

Is Your Paddle USAPA Approved?

Since you’re a pickleball player you should know whether your paddle is USAPA approved or not. But how can you tell that your paddle is approved?

The simple solution to that is to take a look at the USAPA approved paddle list. And if you find your paddle in the pass category then your paddle is fine.

However, if you don’t find out your paddle on the list or it was on the failed list, then the best option you have is to return the paddle and purchase any other best pickleball paddle.

What Happens If You Use An Illegal Paddle?

There can be 3 conditions if you’re paddle detected illegally in a pickleball tournament. The very first option is if your paddle finds out illegal before even the match start.

So the match would be called stop until you change your paddle. The second condition, you’ll lose the match if you’re paddle detected illegally in the middle of the match.

Moreover, nothing can be done after noticing the banned paddle after the matching finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Are all pickleball paddles legal?

No, a paddle should be on the USAPA approved paddles list to be considered legal. Moreover, you’ll find so many banned paddles at the top of the market.

Q2. Are Joola pickleball paddles banned?

No, however, Joola paddles are known as the best pickleball paddles in the market for their quality and amazing features for players.

Q3. What is the legal size pickleball paddle?

The legal size of the paddle is 17 inches in length while in mixed the paddle should not be longer than 24 inches.


It’s very important especially when you’re playing pickleball on the professional level. It’d be very difficult for you to check out each paddle in the USAPA approved paddles list.

Therefore, what I recommend is to confirm the paddle is USAPA approved while purchasing it.

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