As pickleball begins to pick up around the world, the question most people, who are only just about getting used to understanding this sport, ask is the costs involved with it. Is pickleball a costly sport or can you get away without having to spend too much on it? Here’s a lowdown on how much does one need to spend in order to play pickleball.
For starters, if you are just starting out on pickleball, we have a very user-friendly guide explaining the various terms associated with the sport here.
These will get you up to scratch with experts, and believe me when I say it makes a lot of sense to go into your games fully armed, especially with all those pickleball experts around.
Let’s now start with the question you want answered before we get down to the nitty-gritties of the same.
How Much Does Playing Pickleball Cost?
If you are a beginner wanting to try it out for the first time, the costs involved with playing pickleball could be as close to next to nothing. Here’s a quick table explaining the costs and for a more detailed explanation, you can scroll down further for an individualized breakdown.
|Pickleball Items||Cost Range||Pro Tip|
|Paddle||Anywhere from next to nothing to $200||Go for paddles which cost around $40-60 for starters.|
|Ball||$12 for a 12-ball pack||Balls last around an hour or so, so a 12-ball pack could last 5-6 sessions of couple of hours each.|
|Shoes||Free to $60||If you already play a sport like tennis the same shoes can be used. Else, a decent new pair could cost around $60.|
|Court||$10-20/hour||This won't cost too much if the costs are shared by four people for weekend play.|
|Miscellaneous||$25||Wrist-band, head-band, towels, caps etc.|
To get something exciting out of it even as someone starting out, you might want to spend some money on it before you take that step up. You could spend anywhere between nothing to even $1000 playing pickleball as a beginner and it all depends on how you want to go with it.
What I will do below is explain the various cost-heads and the expenses involved with each of them, so you can then decide on your own costs accordingly.
Costs Involved While Playing Pickleball
In order for you start things off with pickleball, here’s what you need as a beginner:
- Pickleball Paddle
- Pickleball (ball!)
- Pickleball Shoes
- Pickleball Court
- Miscellaneous (including clothes & accessory)
You obviously cannot play without a pickleball paddle and ball now, can you? There isn’t too much to choose when it comes to the ball, but here’s our guide for the best pickleball paddles for beginners.
Pickleball shoes are not too different from tennis or some other court shoes, so if you have already played such a sport, chances are you can start off with your pickleball career using the same.
And as far as courts are concerned, typically a group of people can book them for a few hours to be able to reduce costs. Here’s our guide on the six ways I use to book pickleball courts near me in the USA.
Let’s now dig deeper into the exact costs involved with each of these things and find out the total costs involved in pickleball.
Cost of Pickleball Paddles
The biggest cost associated with pickleball is the cost of a paddle.
How much do beginner pickleball paddles cost? There’s a range associated with this with the costs associated with paddles starting at almost next to nothing to over $200. Beginner pickleball players can look to go for paddles which cost around $40 to begin their journey.
We had written a piece on the pros and cons associated with playing with wooden pickleball paddles here, and one of the biggest reasons in their favor is their cost (less than $20 at times).
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t spend a little extra on better paddles, especially if you think you are going to get more serious about this sport.
(Check the cost of a package deal of four wooden paddles and four balls along with a carry-bag with Amazon here. It’s a rather inexpensive way to starting playing pickleball, especially if there are others who are starting out with you and want to share the paddles).
Assuming you are looking to go for non-wooden paddles, then the costs are bound to increase but it might not be a bad investment.
This is because once you get the hang of the game, you would prefer playing with non-wooden paddles for their lower weight and because they are easy to use.
Some of the beginner pickleball paddles can be bought for anything as low as $40-60. While those at the higher end of the cost scale can go up to even $200, those at the lower end are fine to go too.
As a beginner who is still trying to understand the finer nuances of the game, the difference in the usage of a $50 paddle and one that costs $200 might not be too much.
There is another option here.
Do not spend at all on paddles and rent or borrow them from the club or your friend (people are always looking to get others into a sport they are already playing, human tendency that and most would, as a result, be happy to share their paddle for starters).
You could also bring the costs down to next to nothing if you are just starting out and want to get a feel of the game. You can do this by booking a pickleball court which also supplies the equipment including rackets on rent. Typically clubs rent out pickleball paddles for a mere $5/visit.
That way, if you end up not liking the sport or even if you do not have too much spare time and are very irregular at playing it, you do not have to spend so much money on it.
Cost of Pickleball Shoes
Typically, pickleball beginners are those who have moved from other sports, mostly racket sports, to try out their hand at something new. Take the story of Ben Johns, one of the best players of pickleball, and while he also played baseball, he had tried out at various other racket sports like tennis.
So if you are one of those who have played a sport like tennis or badminton, you would have those specific sport shoes. They can be used for pickleball too which implies your cost for pickleball shoes would be zero.
The cost issue arises if you are just starting out on racket sports and pickleball is your first, or your old shoes no longer fit the bill (you have outgrown them, they are torn or lost or just too ragged to use).
According to Statista.com, the average cost of athletic shoes in the USA was around $60 between 2015 and 2017.
This is a very indicative price and I am assure you could get good quality shoes for a lower price than that too but for the sake of this discussion, we will peg the price at $60. Especially if you are looking for a decent quality in the hope they last for a couple of years despite regular sport usage.
Cost of a Ball
As a beginner who is going to be joining others in a game of pickleball for starters, you probably don’t need to own a pickleball yourself.
If you are looking to book a court or play in a club, they would usually provide you with balls for the time you are playing there but if you are still interested in using your own pickleball balls – especially in these post-Covid19 times – then its costs aren’t much to worry about.
A 12-pack pickleball bag would cost around $1/ball and the price will progressively reduce as you order for more. For instance, a box of 200 will cost only 60 cents a ball.
You obviously don’t need 200 balls at the very start, so look at it as a $12 expense for now and if with time you have your own circle of mates you play regularly with, each can chip in with the balls.
How long does a pickleball ball last? Typically in a high-powered game, it would last an hour, so you can think of a 12-ball pack last for a month if you are playing once a week for a couple of hours.
Cost of Pickleball Courts
The best way to play pickleball is to rent a court for a couple of hours and depending on how many of you are playing, divide those costs among yourself. Typically costs associated with this aren’t too much but if you are looking to regularly play, it could go up.
Depending on which city you are from, this could vary but looking at American cities, it’s anywhere between $10-15/hour. Typically clubs give discounts to members and for longer bookings, or for weekday bookings since the demand for the courts is naturally higher over the weekends.
But to give you a basic idea, if one is looking to construct a court from scratch, it would cost you approximately $25,000 depending on a wide variety of factors.
Miscellaneous Costs of Playing Pickleball
Head-bands, wrist-bands, caps, towels and sun-screen are among the accessories you could look to buy when you become a regular at pickleball but not immediately after starting out.
However, if you sweat a lot, there is a definite need for wrist-bands for instance. Similarly if you are playing pickleball outdoors under a scorching sun, you better have a cap on and some kind of sun-screen protecting your skin.
All of this needs a one-time cost (or at least not a cost which is too recurring) but either way, it might not be too much of an overhead.
What About Recurring Costs?
Typically, the weekly or monthly payment to your clubs for your pickleball court hire would be the most recurring cost. Pickleball balls might need to be replenished every month but if you are a part of a group of 4-8 people that will be taken care of at most times.
The two biggest costs are the paddle and shoes. Paddles last for at least a year if not more, especially if you aren’t a daily user. I have had a paddle which went on for three years without issues very early in my pickleball ‘career’ but then again I played three to four times a month.
When it comes to shoes, if you are using them for all your sporting needs, expect them to wear out in 6-12 months and you would need to spend that much every year.
Final Words on Pickleball Costs
As you can see, if you are smart about your early expense, pickleball isn’t the costliest sport or hobby to start off with. The paddle cost forms the biggest percentage chunk of your costs and even that can be managed if you want to rent it out from the club you are playing.
Assuming you are buying everything out, you can kick-start your pickleball career with just $125 in your pocket. This just shows pickleball isn’t a very costly sport to play and if you are someone just starting out, you can easily shell out a few bucks to get going.
Now that you know how much you might need to spend on pickleball, here’s an exhaustive guide you would like on my best tips and strategies for pickleball beginners. You could also consider looking at the best pickleball paddles for beginners here.