The pickleball revolution is upon us. I'll wager a jar of, well, pickles you've heard of this rapidly growing sport. It's everywhere these days, and with good reason: It's easy to learn, fun to play and a solid workout. It also requires precious little equipment: All you need is a paddle, a ball and three friends. You figure out that last part; I've got an incredible deal on everything else. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the Franklin Sports Activator Pickleball Paddle and Ball Set for just $17. That's $13 off the regular price and one of the best deals I've seen — though there are lots of other pickleball sets starting at around $40.
Both the paddles and balls are USA Pickleball Association–approved, meaning they're the right size, weight and all that. So how does this set differ from one costing more? Are all pickleball paddles and balls created equal?
Not exactly. These paddles have a wood core that's more likely to break during, er, a moment of frustration. Pricier paddles made of fiberglass or graphite can better withstand angry swats against the court.
Wood also weighs a little more; these paddles are about 10 ounces each, whereas fiberglass ones tend to be lighter, usually around 8 ounces. That may not sound like a huge difference, but you'll definitely tire more quickly when swinging a heavier paddle.
For beginners, though? Absolutely fine, as evidenced by the 4.2-star average rating from over 3,200 buyers. The only real downside here is the lack of carrying case, though just about any gym bag would work fine.
Want to jump right to a foursome? This Amicoson Pickleball Set includes four paddles, eight balls and a drawstring bag, all for $34 (with coupon).
If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)