Although paddles are usually top of mind in pickleball, don’t forget other important equipment needed to play.
When it comes to playing pickleball, putting thought into the kind of net best suited for your court is one of the last things people do. But, like all sporting equipment, there are variations on the market that cover nearly every situation you may find yourself in.
Essentially, there are two types of nets available from which others are derived—permanent and portable. Permanent nets are just that, permanent. You’ll find these on dedicated pickleball courts, attached to poles cemented into the ground. The only consumable is the netting itself, which can be removed and replaced depending on season changes or wear and tear.
Where players have more choices is in the realm of portable nets. However, when you have an area that can be dedicated to pickleball play most of the time, you’ll want a heavy-duty net system with wheels. Weighing around 230 pounds, this isn’t something you want to lug in and out of your trunk every weekend. A sturdy, tournament-grade net system that can be moved, if it needs to be, is a great option. Perfect applications would be indoor or outdoor recreation centers that have to make use of every square inch of space and where pickleball is a favorite sport, but has to give up court space for other programming at times. It’s great to be able to simply roll the net out of the way to the sidelines or across the gym and reinstall with ease. You just don’t want to have to carry it across town for quick games unless bodybuilding is a secondary life goal.
For space that’s dedicated mostly to pickleball play, we’ve tested and would recommend the Elite Heavy-Duty Pickleball Net System with wheels. It has an MSRP of $1,454.
If you’re a weekend or vacation player, and you’re looking to have a spare net in your trunk for whenever a game may pop up, then a portable net system is your best bet. This is a net that’s easy to assemble, take apart and store until it’s needed again. Many lightweight net systems have no wheels as wheels aren’t always necessary. Others come with wheels, which can add more weight to the system and about $100 to the price tag. Many systems come complete with their own carrying bag, won’t take up much room in your car and are light enough to carry a few blocks to the park on foot. Lightweight portable net systems are the perfect option for taking on vacation if you’re not sure whether your destination has pickleball facilities on-site. If you don't want to check this with your luggage, it’s light enough and small enough to ship ahead so your game is waiting for you when you touch down.
There are lots of portable net systems out there. The ones we have tested and recommend are the Gamma Portable Pickleball Net, Franklin Portable Net System, USAPA Portable Pickleball Net System, the Tourna Net System and the Deluxe Portable PickleNet System (wheeled).
Nets make great gifts, too!