What Is The Difference Between 14mm And 16mm Pickleball Paddle? Comparing Thickness and Playability

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The thickness can be as critical as the material or the grip when selecting the perfect pickleball paddle. I’ve discovered that the thickness of a pickleball paddle influences not just the feel of the paddle in my hand but also the style and effectiveness of my play.

The debate between 14mm and 16mm paddles is more than just a number game; it’s about finding a sweet spot between control and power. So, What Is The Difference Between 14mm And 16mm Pickleball Paddle?

Understanding the nuances between 14mm and 16mm paddles has been essential in adapting my game to different scenarios and opponents. For players analyzing their playing style or looking to level up their game, this distinction in paddle thickness might hold the key to their next breakthrough.

Key Takeaways

  • Paddle thickness affects power and control.
  • A 14mm paddle is great for finesse; a 16mm paddle offers power.
  • Paddle choice can align with individual playing styles.

What Is The Difference Between 14mm and 16mm Pickleball Paddles?

14mm and 16mm pickleball paddles

The choice between a 14mm and 16mm paddle can affect everything from the power of my shots to the precision of my serves.

So, let’s dive in and unpack the characteristics of each paddle thickness and see how they compare.

14mm Pickleball Paddle Characteristics

14mm paddles are known for their lighter feel and enhanced maneuverability, which make it easier for me to maintain control and precision.

They allow for a more sensitive touch, letting me feel every hit, which can be a big advantage when I’m aiming for that perfect spin or hitting the sweet spot.

16mm Pickleball Paddle Characteristics

In contrast, a 16mm paddle tends to be more powerful, as the added thickness provides a stronger base for slamming the ball. This can mean my volleys pack more punch, potentially leaving my opponent scrambling.

a volley shot

However, this power comes at the cost of slightly reducing feel and accuracy. While my shots might be more forceful with a 16mm paddle, I have to be careful not to sacrifice precision for power.

14mm vs 16mm Paddle Features

Feature14mm Paddle16mm Paddle
ControlStrong but may slightly reduce the touchStrong but may slightly reduce the touch
PowerAdequate for most play styles; relies on skill for forceMore naturally powerful, good for strong volleys
Touch/FeelSuperior, as it transmits more paddle-ball contactGood, but dampened feel due to thickness
ManeuverabilityMore maneuverable due to lightnessSlightly less maneuverable due to the extra weight
Sweet SpotTypically ample, requiring precisionOften larger, accommodating powerful strikes

The distinctions between 14mm and 16mm paddles are reflected in their performance on the court. My choice depends on prioritizing control and finesse or power and aggressiveness in my gameplay.

Why Does Paddle Thickness Matter?

Influence on Power

Thick paddles, such as those measuring 16mm, typically offer a firmer response, which can translate to more power behind my shots. The additional mass provides more momentum, meaning it can travel faster and harder when I strike the ball.

Players often find that a 14mm thick paddle might give them a lighter feel and a quicker swing but might not match the power impact a 16mm can offer.

Influence on Control

Now, if we’re talking control, that’s where the 16mm paddles might shine less.

A thinner 14mm paddle gives me better feedback and touch, allowing precise shot placement. The thinner the paddle, the more I feel the ball and the more control I have over where it lands.

This control level is crucial when trying to outmaneuver my opponent with carefully placed, strategic shots.

a strategic shot

The Sweet Spot and Thickness

A 16mm paddle tends to have a larger sweet spot due to a thicker core, giving me more room for error.

In contrast, 14mm paddles might have a smaller sweet spot, but for players who can consistently hit it, the paddle responds with a satisfying pop that can aid in power generation.

Related Post: What Is The Sweet Spot On A Pickleball Paddle?

How Does the Difference in Thickness Affect Playing Styles?

Aggressive vs. Finesse Play

14mm Paddle:

  • Ideal for players with a finesse style who prefer control and precision.
  • Allows for more nuanced shots and softer touches, making it suitable for strategic placement.

16mm Paddle:

  • Favors an aggressive playing style, focusing on power-driven plays.
  • Its thicker core translates to harder hits, aiding players who actively drive the ball across the net.

In summary

In a game where milliseconds and millimeters can dictate the winner, the paddle’s thickness is a key factor in aligning with a player’s instinctive style of play.

If I am focused on rapid-fire volleys that keep my opponents on their toes, a 16mm paddle might be my go-to due to its extra oomph.

However, when I play a more calculated, strategic game, employing drop shots and drinks, a thinner 14mm paddle enhances my ability to control the ball with finesse.

Adapting the Paddle to Your Style

Players must choose a paddle that complements their natural tendencies to optimize performance.

  • For power players who thrive on strong, deep shots, a 16mm paddle may maximize their ability to dominate play.
  • Conversely, players who excel with a touch and precision-based approach may find that a 14mm paddle better suits their finesse play.

Do pro pickleball players use 14 or 16mm?

14mm vs 16mm pickleball paddles

Pro players select their paddles based on a delicate balance of power and control.

A 14mm paddle is typically chosen by players looking for more pop in their shots, providing that extra punch.

On the flip side, a 16mm paddle offers enhanced control, giving players the precision they crave during strategic plays.

  • 14mm Paddles: Preferred for power
    • Extra pop
    • Aggressive playstyle
  • 16mm Paddles: Preferred for control
    • Precision
    • Defensive strategies

While I cannot generalize for every pro out there, it’s apparent that many weigh their options based on their playing style. Interestingly, a larger sweet spot is often associated with thicker paddles, so players desiring that might lean towards the 16mm models.

The choice between 14mm and 16mm paddles is not about one being universally better than the other; it’s about what complements a player’s strengths and compensates for their weaknesses.

The Impact of Paddle Thickness on Feel and Shots

Let’s explore how the thickness affects my touch on the ball and the power behind my shots.

ball hits sweet spot on pickleball paddle

Feel and Shock Absorption

The feel of a pickleball paddle combines how it rests in my hand and transmits the ball’s energy.

A 14mm thick paddle often provides a firmer feel with less shock absorption. This can mean more feedback with each shot, which is beneficial for improving my dinking accuracy.

In contrast, the 16mm version offers better shock absorption, which can be a blessing for my elbow during long volleys by reducing the strain on my arm.

Precision and Power of Shots

Regarding the precision and power of my shots, thickness plays a pivotal role.

A thinner 14mm paddle gives me a crisp pop and a more pronounced sweet spot, which can lead to more precise shots. However, the trade-off can be less energy behind the ball, meaning I must work harder for power.

On the other hand, a 16mm paddle’s additional thickness can provide more inherent energy return. This doesn’t just help me with powerful baseline drives; it also allows me to maintain control over the ball, which is critical during a quick exchange of volleys.


What does 14mm mean for a pickleball paddle?

A 14mm pickleball paddle typically refers to the thickness of the paddle’s core.

Paddles with a 14mm core provide a firmer feel and a quicker response off the paddle face. This can translate to more “pop” and speed on your shots, which is advantageous if you favor an aggressive playing style.

For those seeking power in their hits or a paddle that feels lively during play, a 14mm paddle could be the right choice.

What does 16mm mean for a pickleball paddle?

16mm paddles have a thicker core, which can enhance ball control, dampen the impact, and possibly enlarge the sweet spot. This thickness can reduce the power of shots and increase the ability to place shots accurately.

If you prefer a paddle that supports strategic placement and control over raw power, a 16mm paddle could be more to your liking.

Is 14mm or 16mm better?

If you prioritize speed and power in your game, 14mm may be better suited for you.

If control and precision are what you’re after, then 16mm might be the way to go. There isn’t a definitive answer as to which is better; it’s about what works for you on the court.

The consensus seems to be that choosing a paddle thickness should be based on your individual needs and preferences.

Final Words

What Is The Difference Between 14mm And 16mm Pickleball Paddle? Choosing between the 14mm and 16mm pickleball paddles depends on your desired balance of power and control. The thinner 14mm paddle typically caters to players looking for:

  • A lighter touch
  • Enhanced maneuverability
  • Faster responsiveness

While the 16mm paddle appeals to those who prefer:

  • A larger sweet spot
  • Greater power behind swings
  • Increased stability

Remember that personal preference plays a significant role in this choice. If possible, try out both paddle sizes before making a purchase. Whether you opt for the 14mm for its agility or the 16mm for its solid presence, your choice will shape your gameplay and can be a stepping stone towards mastering this engaging sport.


I gathered valuable insights from several credible sources to help me distinguish between 14mm and 16mm pickleball paddles. I found an informative guide on The Pickleball Paddles website, which vividly explains that 14mm paddles are generally designed for power, while 16mm paddles lean towards control.


I also stumbled upon details on the physical characteristics of paddles on the Texas Open Pickleball website, detailing that the thicker 16mm typically offers a larger hitting surface and sweet spot. Conversely, the slimmer 14mm is easier to handle, providing faster response times.

Additional insights were gleaned from discussions on The Pickleball Passion, reiterating the importance of personal preference in choosing between paddle thicknesses and that experimentation with different styles is key to finding your ideal fit.

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Lela J. Reddin
Hey there, I'm Lela J. Reddin, a pickleball enthusiast just like you, and I've put together comprehensive guides on how to play, the official rules of the game, and top-notch advice on choosing the best equipment. Get ready to take your pickleball game to new heights with some valuable insights and tips from yours truly!
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