Illegal Pickleball Paddle and Balls

In the past few years, lots of people have started to really like pickleball. But, there are some important rules about the paddles used in pickleball. These rules decide if a paddle can be used in tournaments or not. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) makes these rules. Knowing these rules is important, especially for players who take pickleball seriously.

Importance of a Pickleball Paddle Approved by USAPA

When we discuss the best pickleball paddle, it’s not about famous brands or fancy stuff; it’s about following the rules of the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). In serious tournaments, if your paddle isn’t approved by USAPA, you might get disqualified. While there might not be very strict rules for casual games, it becomes super important to follow the rules when you join official events.

Why Some Pickleball Paddles Are Not Allowed

Pickleball organizers, such as the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), have set rules to ensure fair play for everyone enjoying the game. These rules are put in place to make sure everyone has a good time and the game stays fun and friendly for all players.

These rules are not for people who play just for fun. If you’re playing with friends and family for enjoyment, you can use any paddle you like. But if you want to play in official tournaments, you need to use a paddle that follows the official rules.

Even if you’re playing casually, using an approved paddle is a good idea. It helps you get used to the right equipment, making it easier if you ever decide to play in more serious games. So, what makes a paddle allowed or not? Let’s find out!

Recommended Read: Top female pickleball players

What Makes a Paddle Illegal?

There are several attributes that can make a paddle illegal according to USAPA:

Core Material

Foam core paddles lose their stiffness and get weaker as time goes on. This makes them bounce more like a trampoline. Because of this, you can’t use foam core paddles in official games.


The paddle surface must pass roughness and reflectivity tests. It cannot be too rough to generate spin nor too reflective to cause glare issues.


The shape, color, and how light reflects on the paddle must follow the rules set by USAPA. Paddles that reflect too much light and might make it hard for opponents to see are not allowed because it could be a problem for their vision.

Size and Weight

Paddle length cannot exceed 17 inches. Total surface area including edge guard cannot surpass 24 inches. Weight must be between 7.5-8.5 oz.


You can make some changes, but don’t make too many. It’s okay to adjust the grip or add things like edge guards or lead tape to make it heavier, but only within certain limits.

Additional Elements

Materials like rubber, sandpapers, and synthetic rubber are not allowed. No removable parts, except lead tape and grip adjustments, are allowed.

Illegal Pickleball Paddle and Balls

How to Find a USAPA Approved Pickleball Paddle

Paddle makers give special names and numbers to their paddles. Look at the model number and name, and make sure it matches with the list of paddles approved by the USAPA. Click here to check the approved paddle list.

USAPA Paddle Approval Process

The Equipment Evaluation Committee reviews and tests paddle prototypes. They use the USAPA rulebook criteria to assess compliance. Paddles violating guidelines may face penalties.

Examples of Illegal Paddles

Amazing Aces Classic Wood, Amazing Aces Classic Graphite, Diller Pickleball Paddle, Sports Adventure’s Graphite Paddle, and Upstreet Wood Paddle have all failed to receive USAPA approval. Common reasons for failure include wood materials, short handles, incorrect dimensions, and more.

Best USAPA Approved Paddles

Here’s the Some top paddles:

  • Selkirk Amped Epic – Polypropylene honeycomb core
  • Gamma Micron 2.0 – Popular graphite carbon fiber core
  • Engage Encore Pro – Fiberglass face and polymer core

Where to Get Pickleball Paddles Approved by USAPA

You can find lots of pickleball paddles on Amazon, but not all of them are allowed in official games. Before you buy, make sure the paddle is on the approved list.Find some of the best pickleball paddles that can help you play even better. 

Here are a few:

ImageProduct NameBuy From
ONIX Graphite Z5Check Price
Amazin’ Aces Signature Pickleball PaddlesCheck Price
Selkirk Neo Pickleball PaddlesCheck Price
HUDEF Pickleball PaddleCheck Price
GAMMA Sports Fusion Series Check Price

Tournament Balls Approved by USA Pickleball

You can find the list of approved balls HERE, and it includes the ones tested and given the thumbs up by USA Pickleball.


Are Electrum Paddles Allowed?

Yes, Electrum Pickleball Paddles are allowed in official games. They are USAPA approved, meaning they meet the standards set by the USA Pickleball Association. These paddles feature a carbon fiber surface and a polypropylene honeycomb core, making them a great choice for spin and power.

Are wooden pickleball paddles legal?

Yes, wooden paddles are legal, but they are not ideal for professional play.

What is the weight limit for pickleball paddles?

USAPA doesn’t impose a weight limit; however, guidelines suggest a range between 7.5oz to 8.5oz.

Is the Diadem Vice Paddle Legal?

No, the Diadem Vice Pickleball Paddle is not approved by the USA Pickleball Association. 

Are JOOLA Paddles Banned?

No, JOOLA Paddles are not banned; in fact, all JOOLA paddles are USAPA Approved. The USA Pickleball Association approves these paddles, ensuring they meet the necessary criteria for the tournaments. You can choose a JOOLA paddle that suits your playing style from their selection.

Why Was the CRBN Paddle Banned?

CRBN Pickleball shared a statement about the ban by USA Pickleball. They believe that only a small number of their third-generation paddles had surfaces that didn’t meet the required roughness standards. 

Which CRBN paddle got banned?

In 2022, USA Pickleball took off all CRBN paddles from the list of paddles they approved. This means both CRBN 1 and 2 paddles are not allowed to be used in the 2022 US Open Pickleball Championships.

How do I know if my pickleball paddle is legal?

To be allowed in tournaments, paddles need to meet specific rules. They should have an approved core material,  should not have a surface that’s too bumpy, and it must meet specific size and weight requirements.


It’s important to use a pickleball paddle approved by USAPA for pro and competitive play. Make sure your paddle follows the rules to avoid getting disqualified from tournaments.

Source: USAPA Rulebook

If you’re curious about the top men’s pickleball players to watch out for in 2024, this article may be worth exploring.

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