Let’s talk about PCKL, not pickleball the game but the brand and the paddle they make.
Who is PCKL? PCKL is paddle company based in Atlanta, GA that you may have seen advertising a lot on TheDink and other social media. It has been one of the most advertised paddle companies lately that isn’t one of the big brands.
PCKL is targeting the market at lower price points with their highest-cost paddle being the Pro Series at $120. At first glance you see a bright white paddle with a neon green edge guard. That is a unique looking design that will stand out amongst the other paddles in the paddle rack. There has been recent talk about white paddles because of not being able to see the ball come off white paddles.
I have experienced this in play and have been told by others while using white paddles the same thing. The Pro Series is the paddle I am reviewing today, so let’s dive into what I found out during my testing.
PCKL Pro Pickleball Paddle Specs
|16.5 x 7.5 inches
The Pro Series is in contention for one of the thinnest paddles on the market (is it even possible to definitively say something is at the top of the market when there are over 1,000 paddles now?). As you would expect with a thinner paddle it hits like a truck and it might top any non-thermoformed paddle in terms of raw power. The ball just flies off the paddle with ease, but that does create some problems as you will find out in the feel/control section.
PCKL says the PCKL Pro is a carbon faced paddle with fine grit texture. It reminds me of the other white-faced paddles like the ProDrive which has an applied grit. This means it will give you decent spin.
Drives, rolls, slices, and heavy topspin serves will all get a good amount of spin, but the spin will not last long. This type of surface can wear out quickly.
After playing with the PCKL Pro paddle my experience with placing shots can only be described as rough. Hitting drives was difficult because this paddle’s sweet spot is SMALL.
Any off center shot with this paddle, and I didn’t know where the ball was going to end up. The power changes drastically as you hit different spots on the paddle. Hitting drops gave me a similar problem as I didn’t know how much force to use because it depended so much on how close to the sweet spot my contact point was.
I found getting to the NVZ way more challenging with this paddle than any other carbon fiber paddle I have used. Another weak spot of this paddle is block and resets. Blocking drives with this paddle was extremely challenging as it just seemed to crumble under pressure. The low weight is one of the reasons, but the cheap build quality is another reason.
Resets were also challenging due the flexing of the paddle at the throat and the ball coming off the paddle quickly. This is not a feel/control paddle. It is a pure light weight power paddle.
I don’t have high expectations for the durability of this paddle. The grit will wear off quickly and I could already feel spots starting to be smooth after a month of playing with the paddle. The paddle feels a little flimsy and I could see the handle breaking after more play because I already can feel it flexing like my past Hyperions that broke at the same spot. There just aren’t enough people using these compared to the Hyperions to get enough feedback on whether these will break with time.
A Big Shocker
You know how I said the Pro Series as one of the worst sweet spots around? Well, it also comes with some of the most feedback and vibration around. The worst is when you miss the small sweet spot and you start to feel your arm vibrating after hitting an overhead. The paddle construction feels cheap and it really makes me question how much money they are paying TheDink to advertise their paddle because it truly is a terrible paddle.
Who is this paddle for? It does have decent spin, power and it is on the lower end of weight. So if you like super small sweet spots, strong vibrations for your arm when you hit off center shots, and quick fading grit then this paddle is the perfect match for you. Honestly, you are better off with a $30 paddle from your local sporting goods store than wasting $120 on this paddle. They can spend all the money advertising they want, but the truth is here. This is a paddle that nobody should consider.