Best Franklin Sports Pickleball Paddles 2023 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Franklin Sports is new to the pickleball market, but an old name in sports. Read the Complete Buyer's Guide about best Franklin Pickleball Paddles.
Before you purchase your next paddle, you should compare the latest Franklin pickleball paddle. The company has several new options designed for both novices and advanced players.

Franklin Sports Equipment – Pickleball Paddles and More

Franklin Sports is new to the pickleball market, but an old name in sports. Franklin has produced sports equipment for decades. In fact, Franklin-branded basketballs can be seen on almost every basketball court in the world. Besides a Franklin basketball, you can now buy a Franklin pickleball paddle. The company launched its paddle line several years ago. Many of the older paddles are still available on the Franklin Sports com website and through online retailers. The first paddles are part of the company’s Pickleball-X brand and include a variety of options for all types of players. Franklin offers inexpensive paddles for beginners and high-end USAPA-approved paddles for more experienced players. Franklin Outdoor Sports also started selling their own pickleball ball. The X-40 is an outdoor ball with 40 holes. The company also sells bags, slings, nets, and various accessories.

Franklin Sports Best Pickleball Paddles

Franklin Sports products cover almost every sport, including pickleball. There is something for every price range and experience level. The X-series included the first paddles created by the company. After the success of the X-series, the company started introducing additional paddles to appeal to a wider audience. The latest options include Viper, Python, and Volt. You can now choose from the following selection of high-quality paddles from Franklin Sporting Goods: Franklin Sports ensures that there is a quality option in every price range. Some of these paddles are available for less than $10, while others are in the $100 or more range. Here is a closer look at each of these options.

Carbon Fiber Viper Paddle Review

9.3/10Our Score

The Viper paddles are among the newest Franklin paddles. The main features include:

  • Weighs 7.5 to 7.7 ounces
  • Edgeless construction
Pros and Cons With the Viper, you are getting a 100% carbon paddle. It features a carbon fiber honeycomb core and carbon facing. You get phenomenal control and finesse, with just a slight limitation to power. The Viper is a solid paddle. It offers great balance, which makes it a suitable option for a wide range of players. The only potential drawback is that you cannot use this paddle in official tournaments. The Viper paddle from Franklin’s Sporting Goods is not currently USAPA-approved.

Nomex X-Caliber Paddle Review

X Caliber Performance Paddle
8.5/10Our Score

The X-Caliber is part of the Franklin Sports Pickleball-X series of paddles. As one of the original X-series, it is often available at a lower price, which increases its overall value. The highlights include:

  • Weighs 8.0 to 8.2 ounces
  • 5-inch grip length
  • Composite facing
  • Nomex honeycomb core
Pros and Cons While the X-Caliber is a balanced paddle, it does not offer the same performance compared to other X-series paddles. The Nomex core does not distribute the force of the ball as well, which limits your overall power and accuracy. The composite facing helps make up for the loss of power and the wide design compensates for the lack of accuracy. In the end, it is a great choice for those who want a longer handle without the need for the extra reach of an elongated paddle.

Aluminum – X-Finity Paddle Review

X Finity Performance Paddle
9.5/10Our Score

The X-Finity closely resembles the X-Caliber. It includes roughly the same dimensions, including the same 5-inch grip. However, the materials are different. Here are the main technical details:

  • Weighs 7.9 to 8.1 ounces
  • 5-inch grip length
  • Composite facing
  • Aluminum core

Pros and Cons The X-Finity is designed to provide more control instead of power. It has great balance for players of all skill levels and a sturdy composite face. This paddle uses an aluminum core, which has a few limitations. Aluminum cores do not provide as much power as Nomex or polymer. It also generates more noise and may dent, which decreases the life of the paddle. The primary reason to consider using this paddle is the level of control. The balanced design should help you focus more on your form and strategy.

Polypropylene Core – X-1000 Paddle Review

9.4/10Our Score

The X-1000 is an affordable Franklin pickleball paddle. It also features a form-fitting grip that you may find more comfortable compared to other options, along with these details:

  • 5-inch grip length
  • Weighs 7.7 to 8.2 ounces
  • Thick polypropylene core
  • Composite facing
It has a wide, short head with a long handle, creating an interesting shape. This design may appeal to those who regularly play racquetball or table tennis. However, if you are tennis player, you may struggle with the limited reach of this squat paddle. This USAPA-approved paddle delivers more power and a large sweet spot. It is also one of the more durable options.

Polypropylene Core – X-Vibe Paddle Review

X-Vibe Paddle
9.6/10Our Score

The X-Vibe was released in February of 2018, making it one of the newest Pickleball-X paddles. It uses a polymer core and composite face, like most paddles. Other features include:

  • Long handle
  • Weighs 7.6 to 8.1 ounces
  • Polypropylene core
  • Composite facing
Pros and Cons The thick polymer core ensures that you get a reliable sweet spot. Even with regular use, the core remains solid and helps provide more control. It is well-suited for novices, intermediate players, and even pros. It is hard to find any Cons with this paddle. It offers a balanced option for a wide range of pickleball players. However, some players may not like the design.

PMI Core – X-Charge Paddle Review

X-Charge Paddle
9.1/10Our Score

The X-Charge is another new entry in the Franklin pickleball X-series of paddles. It is aimed at those that take pickleball seriously. With the X-Charge, you get a high-end paddle featuring state-of-the-art core technology and these features:

  • Long handle
  • Weighs 7.1 to 7.6 ounces
  • Polymethacrylimide (PMI) core
  • Composite facing
Pros and Cons The X-Charge uses the patented PMI core that offers more durability and power. While it has the same standard width and length measurements used for most Franklin paddles, it has a longer handle. You get more reach, which helps balance the head. There are no Cons to this paddle. It is currently one of the most recommended options for all types of players. Aggressive players get more power while defensive players get the control and spin needed for delivering more accurate shots.

Pickleball-X Challenger Paddle Review

X Challenger
8.9/10Our Score

If you have a tight budget, the Challenger is a great Franklin pickleball paddle. It is one of the less expensive options from Franklin and offers the following:

  • 6-inch grip length
  • Weighs 9.6 to 9.8 ounces
  • Aluminum core and surface
  • Soft cushion grip
  • Rubber edge guard
Pros and Cons The Challenger is intended for beginners that need an inexpensive paddle to start playing. The double aluminum plates and the weight of the paddle help you deliver more powerful shots. It also has one of the longest handles, which may suit tennis players. These Pros are great for those who play aggressively or that have a tennis background. Otherwise, these features may work against you. The extra power and reach may keep you from playing close to the net. However, it is still one of the least expensive paddles.

Aluminum – X-Factor [Python] Paddle Review

X-Factor [Python]
8.5/10Our Score

The Python is also an affordable paddle and suited for a wide range of players. It has a rounded base, which helps center the sweet spot. Other features include:

  • 4.75-inch grip length
  • Weighs 7.7 to 7.9 ounces
  • Edgeless construction
  • Aluminum core
Pros and Cons The Python uses two aluminum plates to add more bounce compared to a typical aluminum core. The result is that you get more power for slam shots. You may also notice that you get decent accuracy for more finesse. The only drawback is the durability of the paddle. It dents easily, especially with the edgeless construction. If the paddle flies from your hand, it may get damaged when it hits the court.

Pickleball-X Volt Paddle Review

X Volt Paddle
8.8/10Our Score

The Volt is the least expensive paddle available from Franklin Sports Inc. At just $10 or less, it is hard to believe that this is a USAPA-approved paddle. Here are the main specs:

  • 5-inch grip length
  • Weighs 11 to 11.2 ounces
  • 7-ply wood construction
  • Rubber edge guard
  • Soft cushion handle
Pros and Cons This wood paddle is the least expensive way to start playing pickleball with a USAPA-approved paddle. However, you should understand the potential drawbacks to playing with a wood paddle. While wood is the original material for pickleball paddles, these paddles tend to be heavier, offer less power, and do not dampen the impact of the ball. If you plan to play long matches, a wood paddle will quickly wear you down. Despite these issues, it is still a great way to jump into pickleball without spending a lot of money.

Conclusion – Should You Buy a Franklin Paddle?

You can purchase many of these paddles directly from However, better deals are often available through resellers. Whether you want an affordable paddle that may last a year or a high-end paddle for tournament play, Franklin has you covered. The Challenger and Volt are inexpensive, solid paddles for beginners, while the Viper is likely to become a best-seller for intermediate and advanced players. However, it is also the only Franklin pickleball paddle that is not USAPA-approved. If you want the same performance with an approved paddle, the Python is a close match to the Viper.

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