Best Pickleball Paddle for 3.5 Player: Top 5 Picks

As players develop their pickleball skills, the right equipment becomes crucial in honing their game. For players at the 3.5 skill level, having a paddle that suits their developing technique and style of play can make a significant difference.

A 3.5 rating in pickleball denotes a player who has moved beyond the beginner stages and is refining their strategic play and consistency. At this level, choosing a paddle that complements a player’s strengths and mitigates weaknesses is key. Therefore, selecting a paddle involves a balance between its weight, grip size, materials, and surface texture. These features impact the paddle’s performance, including control, power, and spin.

When considering a purchase, players should prioritize a paddle that offers a comfortable grip and weight, ensuring they can play for extended periods without fatigue. The material composition, typically graphite or composite, affects the paddle’s responsiveness and durability. Additionally, surface texture plays a role in how the ball reacts upon contact, influencing spin and control.

With these aspects in mind, we’ve conducted thorough research and tested numerous paddles to find the best options tailored to 3.5 players. Our focus is on providing players with the tools they need to advance their game and enjoy competitive play. The paddles we recommend promise a blend of power and finesse, allowing players to execute a wide range of shots with confidence.

Best Pickleball Paddle for 3.5 Player

We’ve thoroughly researched and tested a variety of pickleball paddles suited for 3.5 level players. Our selection aims to enhance your game by providing options that offer the perfect balance of power and control, ensuring you can stay competitive on the court. Whether you’re looking to improve your shot accuracy or require a paddle that complements your growing skills, our list has got you covered.

Our Top Pick

JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 Pickleball Paddle

16mm Response polymer core provides reduced vibration & increases control. The honeycombs compress for better feel while their cell shape & material prolong the life of the racket.

We rated this as the best pickleball paddle for 3.5 player. This paddle elevates a 3.5 player’s game by offering superior spin control and a comfortable grip, paired with excellent construction.


  • Impressive spin control with the Carbon Abrasion Surface
  • Enhanced durability from the honeycomb core
  • Comfortable and secure handle grip for extended play


  • Higher price point than basic models
  • White grip tape may show wear more easily
  • May take time to adjust to the textured surface for optimal play

Getting to grips with the JOOLA Hyperion CAS 16 yields a noticeable improvement in our dinks and drives. The paddle feels like an extension of our hands, allowing for seamless transitions between gentle, precise shots and more aggressive plays. The textured face has clearly been engineered to up our spin game, and it shows in the way we can now shape shots with enhanced confidence.

Durability seems to be a cornerstone of this model. The honeycomb core not only holds up to extensive play but also aids in shock absorption. That means even after long hours at the court, the paddle’s integrity remains uncompromised. This aspect alone makes us feel secure about putting it through its paces in back-to-back games.

The extra control one gains using the JOOLA Hyperion CAS 16 can be exhilarating for a 3.5 level player keen on refining their technique. True, its price may be steeper than other entry-level options, but the investment reflects in the gameplay. Be aware that mastering the unique surface texture takes a little practice, but once you do, the paddle unquestionably helps place the ball with precision and power where you want it.

Onix Z5 Graphite

We recommend the Onix Z5 Graphite for its exceptional balance of touch, power, and speed, making it an excellent choice for a 3.5-level player looking to elevate their game.


  • Impressive control with a good-sized sweet spot
  • Lightweight design aids quick maneuverability
  • USAPA approved for tournament play


  • Higher price point than some competitors
  • Might be too lightweight for players preferring a heavier paddle
  • Some may not prefer the tennis handle shape

Swinging the Onix Z5, I immediately noticed the soft touch and the control it offered during fast volleys. Its graphite face combined with the nomex core readily amplified my ability to place the ball accurately, a must-have for every 3.5 player keen to refine their tactical edge.

Maneuverability was never a concern with the Z5. The paddle felt like an extension of my arm as I switched from forehand to backhand with ease. The lightweight nature of the paddle ensured that we were quick to the net and could snap volleys back with precision.

After using this paddle in a series of intense games, durability stood out. Despite several dives and floor scrapes, the edge guard protected the paddle well, adding to my confidence in making those challenging shots. It’s reassuring to know that the Z5 can handle the rigors of serious play.

KASACA Aero Spike

We believe the KASACA Aero Spike is an excellent choice for intermediate pickleball players seeking a balanced blend of control and power.


  • Enhanced ball control thanks to graphite carbon fiber face
  • Comfortable, slip-free grip for extended play
  • Lightweight for nimble shot-making


  • Edgeless design may not suit all playing styles
  • Premium pricing may not fit all budgets
  • Limited color and design options

The KASACA Aero Spike immediately impressed us with its lightweight feel and maneuverability. Its 8-ounce weight felt natural in our hands, allowing for nimble movements and swift strokes. Playing at the 3.5 skill level requires a mix of power and precision, and we found this paddle met those needs remarkably well. The carbon fiber surface provided us with the satisfying pop we were looking for, and the honeycomb core dampened vibrations nicely.

Comfort was clearly a priority in the design of this paddle; the cushioned grip was a standout feature. We played for hours without any signs of fatigue or discomfort, which can be a game-changer during long matches or intense practice sessions. Additionally, the grip’s anti-slip properties instilled confidence during play, allowing us to focus on the game rather than adjusting our hold.

The edgeless design of the Aero Spike paddle is something that caught our eye from the get-go. It gave us a bit more playable surface area, reducing mishits and extending the sweet spot. For players who frequently hit the ball near the edges, this feature is invaluable. However, we must note that while we enjoyed the uninterrupted surface, it’s a design element that some may need time to adjust to, especially if transitioning from a traditional edged paddle.

In summary, the KASACA Aero Spike is a solid performer on the pickleball court. Its ability to enhance our play, combined with the durability and style it offers, makes it a compelling option for players at the 3.5 skill level.

JP WinLook Pickleball Set

We believe this pickleball paddle set from JP WinLook is a solid choice for 3.5 skill-level players looking for a comfortable feel and improved game performance.


  • Excellent balance between power and control
  • Soft cushion grip reduces hand fatigue
  • High-visibility balls suitable for various playing conditions


  • May not suit players looking for a heavier paddle
  • Advanced players might outgrow set
  • Carry bag durability could be an issue over time

Playing with the JP WinLook Pickleball set, our first impression was the quality feel it gave us on the court. The paddles strike a perfect blend of control and power you might look for at a 3.5 skill level. The soft cushion grip is truly comfortable, and we noticed our hands stayed relaxed even during longer sessions — no signs of slipping even as the game heated up.

The graphite face of the paddles allows for a decent amount of spin and precise shots, which notably improved our game. We appreciated the lightweight but durable construction that didn’t compromise on performance. The paddles felt like an extension of our hands, seamlessly translating our skill to the game.

Transitioning from indoor to outdoor play with the included balls proved to be no issue as they were easy to track and consistent in flight. The carry bag made transporting the set hassle-free, although we can’t speak yet for its longevity after months of use. Handy to have, certainly, but we’re mindful to handle it with care. Overall, the JP WinLook Pickleball set felt like a natural progression as we continue to develop our skills in pickleball.

ACE Spade

We believe the ACE Spade is a worthy investment for a 3.5-level player seeking a balance of power and finesse in their game.


  • Exceptional court coverage and superior spin control
  • Robust construction with edge protection enhances durability
  • Approved for tournament play, appealing to competitive players


  • Premium pricing might deter budget-conscious players
  • May take time to adjust to the unique paddle sound
  • The edge guard’s durability could be a concern for some

After a few games with the ACE Spade, its premium build quality is immediately noticeable. The paddle’s weight distribution and elongated shape offer impressive court reach, giving us that extra edge during intense volleys. We’ve found that the raw carbon fiber texture isn’t just for show; it genuinely imparts a high level of spin on the ball, allowing for more advanced plays.

Durability is crucial in pickleball equipment, and this paddle doesn’t disappoint. The protective edge has already saved us from a few scuffs and potential damage during our more adventurous dives. It’s a relief to know that this paddle can take a hit and come out just fine.

The grip is another standout feature. It dampens shock without sacrificing the tactile connection to the paddle, which is key for precision shots. Sweaty hands can be a problem during long matches, but the non-slip grip texture kept the paddle firmly in our grasp.

However, no product is without its drawbacks. While the paddle’s performance is undeniably high, the accompanying price tag might make some players hesitate. Additionally, the quiet hit of the ball is different compared to other paddles, which might require an adjustment period. There have been some concerns about the edge guard coming loose, but our experience so far has shown no such issues.

In conclusion, the ACE Spade paddle stands out on the court, both for its stylish design and its high-level performance. Its construction caters to our desire for both control and power in play, making it a strong choice for intermediate players wanting to take their game up a notch.

Best Pickleball Paddle for 3.5 Player

Pickleball Paddle for 3.5 Player – Buying Guide

When we’re in the market for a new pickleball paddle for intermediate players, it’s important to focus on certain features that match our playing level and style. Here’s what we should consider:

Core Material

Nomex: Durable and heavy, great for a powerful game.

Polymer: Quiet and soft, provides good control.

Aluminum: Lightweight, enhances playing finesse.

Surface Material

Graphite: Offers a good balance between control and power.

Composite: Varies greatly, allowing for customization of playing experience.

Fiberglass: Known for its power and ‘pop’.


Lightweight (<7.3 oz): Increased control and less arm fatigue.

Midweight (7.3 – 8.4 oz): A balance of power and control, suitable for various play styles.

Heavyweight (>8.4 oz): More power, but can lead to more arm strain.

Grip Size

Small (4” – 4 1/8”): Better for smaller hands or those seeking more wrist action.

Medium (4 1/4” – 4 3/8”): Fits most hands, providing a balance between control and power.

Large (4 1/2” and above): Suited for larger hands or players looking for a more stable grip.

Paddle Shape

Standard: Balanced reach and width, good for most players.

Elongated: Longer reach but narrower face, can compromise on control.

Widebody: Offers a larger hitting surface, often preferred by beginners for easier ball contact.

We should select a paddle that complements our level and playing style, balancing between power and control to suit our individual needs on the court. By prioritizing these features, we enhance our playing experience and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

When choosing a pickleball paddle for a 3.5 level player, it’s crucial to consider factors such as weight, grip size, and materials. We aim to address the most common queries to assist intermediate players in selecting the perfect paddle.

How do I select a pickleball paddle suitable for a 3.5 skill level player?

Selecting a paddle for a 3.5 skill level player involves finding a balance between power and control. We recommend medium-weight paddles, roughly 7.8 to 8.4 ounces, with a grip size that fits your hand comfortably. A graphite paddle or composite surface can offer the touch needed for strategic play.

What are the top pickleball paddles for intermediate players?

For intermediate players, some of the best paddles include the Selkirk Amped S2 X5, the Onix Z5 Graphite, and the Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro. These paddles provide a mix of power and control with premium materials for improved playability.

Can you recommend a high-quality pickleball paddle under $100 for an intermediate player?

The Niupipo MX-02 is a quality choice under $100, offering good durability and balanced performance. The Gamma Micron 2.0 is another affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality, featuring a textured fiberglass face for enhanced spin.

What are the differences between paddles for beginners versus 3.5 level players?

Beginners typically benefit from lighter paddles with larger sweet spots, while 3.5 level players should look for paddles that offer more precision and the ability to generate spin. Intermediate paddles often have a sturdier core, such as Nomex or polypropylene, for better control.

What is the ideal pickleball paddle for intermediate male players?

Intermediate male players often prefer a heavier paddle for more power. The Engage Encore Pro or the ProLite Crush PowerSpin are excellent choices, providing a good balance between power and touch with durable construction to withstand frequent play.