The XS XSPAK pickleball paddle has been making quite a bit of noise among pickleball enthusiasts which is interesting considering it’s not made by any of the large pickleball paddle manufacturers. The XS XSPAK has the same T-700 Raw Carbon Fiber face used by CRBN, GRUVN. and Gearbox, but it’s under $100.
But is it the right pickleball paddle for you?
I personally review the XS XSPAK and tell you exactly my thoughts and insights about this paddle and see if it lives up to the hype.
It’s also worth noting that at the time of writing this, the Amazon listing grossly misrepresented a lot of specs. It says it’s a graphite face, but it’s a raw carbon fiber face. The listing also says it’s 11.4oz, but it’s closer to 8oz.
XS XSPAK Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle vs. CRBN 1 Paddle
This paddle shares a lot of similar specs with the CRBN 1 paddle. They’re almost indistinguishable if you’re looking at them from afar.
They both use a T-700 raw carbon fiber on the standard-sized face with a 5.5″ grip length. The CRBN 1 grip circumference is slightly narrower at 4.25″ while the XS XSPAK is 4.35.”
They both have a 16mm polymer core, and overall, they’re just a very sleek and very good-looking pickleball paddle.
The best part is that the XS XSPAK is half the price of the CRBN 1 and still performs like a premium pickelball paddle.
XS XSPAK Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle Review
The polymer core paired with the T700 raw carbon fiber face is a perfect duo for generating a ton of spin. It’s a noticeable difference during serves, drives, and roll volleys compared to some of the premium $200 paddles on the market.
This paddle was so efficient at generating spin that it almost felt illegal, but this paddle is USAPA approved. It’s also worth noting that a majority of generating spin comes from your technique so the amount of spin will vary from player to player.
Power and Control
The 16mm core makes this paddle perfectly balanced in terms of power and control. It was very easy to execute blocks, resets, and dinks but since it it a slightly heavier paddle you have a lot of weight moving through the ball which can generate a lot of power.
The XS XSPAK outperforms many premium paddles, in my opinion, if you’re looking for a great balance of feel and power.
Carbon fiber paddles can feel pretty stiff, but this one felt especially stiff, so that may take some getting used to especially if you’ve never used a carbon-faced paddle.
Other carbon fiber paddles I’ve used can sometimes feel soft, like the ball sticks on the face a little bit, but the XS XSPAK feels very rigid across the entire face. Despite the stiffness, it still has very good control.
The sweet spot feels great when you connect. Overall I would say this is a relatively forgiving pickleball paddle. but like most paddles, if you catch the ball out on the edges it’s not going to feel great.
I haven’t had this paddle too long, but from what I can tell, it seems very durable. The raw carbon fiber face doesn’t have any scratches or dings (yet) and the feel has been remarkably consistent over the last 4 weeks of play.
Carbon Fiber in general is a far more durable material than fiberglass, and the firm, rigid feel gives me a little extra confidence in its durability.
Drawbacks of The XS XSPAK Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
As far as the feel and the specs, I enjoyed it, but it’s subjective. Some players may not like the rigidness of the paddle and may be looking for something that feels a little softer.
The only real drawback with this paddle is that there is no manufacturer warranty, and the customer service is not as good as some of the major paddle manufacturers.
Benefits of The XS XSPAK Carbon Fiber Pickleball Paddle
You are getting a great value with the XS XSPAK. You are getting a paddle that could be a carbon copy of the CRBN 1 (sorry I don’t know how else to say it.) The paddle performs well in all aspects and makes you feel like a beast on the court with power and spin. The areas the XS XSPAK excels in are drives, serves and rolls. I could hit some monster serves and drives with it. I was hitting great rolls at the net and didn’t have trouble keeping them in. The only drawback is no long term warranty but I am ok with that when the price is so low.
What are others saying?
The XS XSPAK pickleball paddle looks, feels and plays very similar to a CRBN 1 16mm. If you’re looking to get that CRBN paddle this is a great substitute that will save you a little bit of money.
Overall this is one of the best pickleball paddles under $100 that might be available on the market today and it’s nice to see that you can still get a lot of amazing performance, modern tech, and playability at a good price.