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z5 pickleball paddle review

ONIX is one of the most popular manufacturers of pickleball paddles in the world. Their flagship model, the Z5 Graphite pickleball paddle has been one of the best-selling paddles in the Pickleball circuit.

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A Deep Dive into the ONIX Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

The Z5 graphite paddle with its distinctive Z design on the paddle face is the preferred equipment for both recreational and professional paddle players.

One of the sportier paddles on the market, the ONIX Z5 Graphite paddle is a midsize, middleweight option. It has been designed to be used by players of all physical builds, playing styles, and game techniques.

So, what makes the ONIX Z5 Graphite the preferred on-court choice for so many of pickleball’s famous names? One stand-out feature that makes this a match-winning paddle is the graphite face, hence the name. The Z5 Graphite is a widebody paddle with a graphite face, 5-inch tennis racquet handle, and a Nomex honeycomb core.

It weighs around 8 ounces, which is a bit heavier than most paddles but almost an ounce lighter than its sibling, the Z5 Composite pickleball paddle. This will give you a lot of power behind your shots considering that the heavier the paddle is, the more force it provides to the shot.

Most beginners are recommended the Z5 graphite paddle for its traditional “widebody” paddle face. The ONIX Z5 Graphite paddle’s classic shape improves versatility and comes into play as the wider and taller a paddle is the larger its sweet spot. The larger sweet spot makes miss-hits less likely, making it extremely popular in the pickleball world.

Let’s take a detailed look at the features that the Z5 graphite has to offer.

First, and probably, the most important feature in any paddle is the material used for the core. As mentioned above, the Z5 Graphite paddle’s core is crafted out of Nomex honeycomb. Nomex is basically a cardboard-like material that’s been coated in a layer of resin. It’s extremely stable, hard, but lightweight due to its honeycomb shape.

Nomex has been used as a fireproofing and fire-retardant material to construct helmets for firefighters earlier. Now, the combination of the graphite paddle and the Nomex core is considered one of the best options for a paddle as it creates medium spin, creates an even spread of force, and is quite maneuverable.

The Nomex honeycomb core gives power and the ONIX Z5 Graphite ensures you have both the right power and mobility to hit the ball with both accuracy and confidence.

This superior-quality paddle has a face that is made of graphite, a very lightweight material that’s used in a wide variety of sporting equipment. In pickleball, it is used as a “face” to cover the secret weapon, the core of the paddle.

Pickleball paddles use a lot of materials like composite materials or fiberglass for the faces in manufacturing. But recently some companies have shifted to graphite, to make their paddles more lightweight. The ONIX Z5 graphite paddle weighs between 7.5 to 8.2 ounces.

This extremely light paddle weight attracts beginners and recreational players alike who want to enjoy the ease of movement this paddle offers on the court.

The Nomex core and graphite face not only make the Z5 super lightweight but it also gives more “pop” to the ball. What we mean by “pop” is basically the amount of force that a paddle can absorb when the ball makes contact.

When a player strikes a ball, the paddle will either absorb some of the force or hardly any at all depending on its constituent materials.

The Z5 Graphite paddle with its honeycomb core helps spread the force of the shot more evenly and doesn’t absorb and dampen much of the force. The ball bounces right off the paddle and that’s one of the reasons that power players prefer this paddle. This gives players the ability to play power shots effortlessly.

This superior-quality paddle is 15.5” long and has a large hitting area, thanks to its 8.13” wide face. The near-perfect dimensions on the Z5 graphite paddle give it a larger sweet spot. Combined with the solid grip that the 5” tennis racquet handle provides, this paddle provides great shot control and is well-balanced.

There is one unique feature of the ONIX Z5 graphite which doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It is the tactile feedback that a player gets from the paddle during gameplay.

If you’ve played any sport involving a racquet, bat, or a club you will often be able to judge a shot by how it felt in your hands. It’s the reverberation, or the reverb, one might feel if they hit a shot on the heel, on the sweet spot, or on the toe of the equipment. Having the ability to sense where the ball is making contact gives you great real-time information about the shots made during the game. This helps players to know where their technique needs improvement.

Pickleball paddles are no different; the construction of the Z5 paddle is such that you can easily feel where you hit the ball on the paddle. The core of this paddle isn’t going to absorb much of the force during a miss-hit, but you will definitely feel it in your hands. The ONIX Z5 graphite paddle increases this feedback making it a great buy for beginners as well.

ONIX has clearly gone for the bold flamboyant theme for their Z5 graphite paddle with some great results. The ONIX Z5 also scores well on the visual front. The ONIX Z5 Graphite pickleball paddle comes in blue, green, orange, pink, purple, white, and yellow variants. The woven black graphite paddle face has the giant distinctive Z screen printed on it. This looks simply stunning with the honeycomb graphic background.

The ONIX Z5 graphite paddle is a great choice for pickleball players of all skill levels for the power and solid feel that they provide.

Who’s It For?

The ONIX Z5 Graphite paddle provides raw power which translates to screaming winners and monstrous smashes. If you’re a power player or a beginner looking to really hit it out, this is a perfect paddle for you.

With all that power, in return, you don’t get great control of shot placement with this paddle. So, if you’re backing your game or don’t mind the loss of control, the Z5 graphite paddle will be a great fit. The large sweet spot on the Z5 graphite makes this paddle a favorite for beginners, as there are lesser miss-hits.

It’s not one of the cheaper paddles out there, but medium paddles are a good choice for beginners who are still discovering their own playing style. This pickleball paddle is a great piece of equipment for everybody from beginner to advanced pickleball players.

What We Like About ONIX Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Z5 Graphite could just be the closest thing to a “whole package” pickleball paddle that has come to the circuit in a long time. The Z5 graphite delivers results in both the power and discretion departments, along with greater speed and maneuverability. The larger sweet spot helps you improve your game.

The Nomex core with a graphite face provides superior control compared to other materials. The classic widebody dimensions, the tennis handle, and medium-weight round out the positive features of this paddle.

This is ONIX’s most popular paddle due to the balance of power, control, and overall performance.

What We Don’t Like About ONIX Z5 Graphite Pickleball Paddle

While there’s no doubt that the ONIX Z5 graphite paddle offers well-balanced play, some players have found it tilted towards the power side rather than balance.

The main problem with having so much force and “pop” on the ball is that you lose control over how you maneuver the ball. When you’re returning your opponents’ smashes or power shots, how the ball reacts with the paddle is pretty much outside your control. You’ll have to overcompensate for control with this paddle otherwise you’ll be lobbing returns right into the smash zones of your opponent’s more often than not.

The paddle is also very loud because of its Nomex cores. It doesn’t offer any sound dampening or absorbing technology. This caused some recreational players who play in neighborhoods to avoid using this paddle.

According to some customers, it lacks the stunning visual edge when compared to other pickleball paddle brands. As an example of lazy designing, customers cite the printing of the website address and phone number at the paddle’s base which doesn’t really make sense as you don’t see that with other sports equipment.

PROS

  • The classic wide paddle face
  • Nomex honeycomb core and graphite face
  • Great control and flexibility
  • Adequate gripping
  • Balances speed and power well
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Ideal for all skill levels

CONS

  • The ONIX handle grips are slippery
  • Only one face features texture
  • It doesn’t do anything to reduce noise
  • Is on the slightly expensive end of pickleball paddles

What’s Included?

The package includes one Onix Z5 graphite paddle in the color of your choice. Earlier, grips from the brand Gamma used to be shipped along with the paddles, now they come with ONIX’s own perforated cushion grip. It is safely packed in a plastic cover. The package doesn’t include a paddle case which you’ll need to buy separately.

Overview Of Features

Let’s reiterate the features once again.

  • Weight
  • The ONIX z5 Graphite is a middleweight paddle weighing from 7.8 ounces making it a well-balanced paddle. This makes it easy to maneuver. The overall paddle weight is in the range of 7.8 – 8.2 ounces based upon the paddle you choose and the grips you add. Overall, the Z5 Graphite paddle is designed to offer you well-balanced gameplay.

  • Paddle Face
  • The ONIX Z5 Graphite measures at 15.5 inches long, which is similar to almost all pickleball paddles making it the standard length for paddles of brands across the board. When it comes to width, however, the Z5 graphite paddle is 8.3 inches wide which makes it much broader than the other general paddles, which are usually 8 inches wide.

  • Grip & Handling
  • The ONIX Z5 Graphite pickleball paddle has an ideal grip size of 4.25 inches which doesn’t leave excessive hand room which can lead to losing shots and overworked fingers. Furthermore, the cushioned grip that this paddle features will add to the convenience.

  • Core
  • ONIX Z5 Graphite pickleball paddle goes to the next level when it comes to the core material. Featuring a technologically advanced Nomex honeycomb core, a cardboard-like material coated with a resin layer, the Z5 Graphite helps you hit powerful shots with ease.

    Fun trivia, which attests to the capability of the Nomex honeycomb core, is that this material is used in the construction of helmets for firefighters as it is a fireproof and fire-retardant material.

  • Play Style – Pure power
  • The Nomex honeycomb graphite surface is hard yet lightweight allowing the paddle to remain stable during gameplay. This makes the Z5 Graphite a great choice for superb power generation. Add to this a large sweet spot and you get a potent match-winning paddle with a combination of power and accuracy.

  • Popping Nature
  • Graphite paddles provide a distinctive “popping” sound when the ball makes the right contact. Although the graphite face of the ONIX Z5 makes it a lightweight paddle, you can rely o this paddle to generate the pop and ‘oomph’ on the court.

    Most pickleball paddles are constructed to absorb as much of the force as possible and as soon as the shot connects, to provide control and precision. Not so with this popstar paddle. With the ONIX z5, the ball bounces straight off the face providing players to hit power shots and send the ball screaming across the net.

    For power players who love their smashes and down-the-court winners, this is the perfect paddle.

  • Feedback on Every Shot
  • Beginner skill level pickleball players can rapidly improve with the feedback provided by their paddle during shot-making. This is one aspect that the ONIX Z5 gets absolutely right. If your shot-making is even a little slightly off from the sweet spot, you’ll get to know in an instant and adjust accordingly.

    Once you are practicing enough on the court, you’ll be able to feel yourself adjusting to the paddle. This will help your pickleball game tremendously which makes the ONIX Z5 Graphite paddle an invaluable tool for any player wanting to improve their game.

  • Colour Options
  • One thing we love about ONIX pickleball paddles is the multiple color choices one has to choose from. Not that it has a bearing on your game performance in any way, but it’s always great to have options like green, blue, pink, orange, white, yellow, and purple to choose from as far as the ONIX z5 graphite paddle is concerned.

Review Summary

Experts of the game and professional pickleball players suggest going for a composite or a graphite paddle at the start of your pickleball journey. Both these materials provide their own advantages but as far as providing maneuverability and freedom of movement is concerned, graphite paddles are the ones to go. This is the top reason that the ONIX Z5 paddle is one of the best paddles in the market.

There are three main components of the ONIX Z5 graphite that work like a well-oiled machine. The first is the large sweet spot, thanks to its classic wideboy dimensions. This allows you to swing hard at the ball while reducing the chances of a miss-hit. The second is its winning feature, the Nomex honeycomb core that gives the power and “pop” to shot-making.

And the third aspect working for the Z5 is the graphite face which balances this paddle beautifully.

The face, the size and dimensions, combined with the core are a sure shot, yet simple formula for success on the court. Last and although a minor feature, it would be amiss if we didn’t mention the sheer number of colors the ONIX Graphite Z5 is available in. It is refreshing to see a brand offer its flagship paddle, in literally every color of the rainbow.

Overall, the ONIX Graphite Z5 is an excellent, if slightly expensive paddle. It is a great piece of playing equipment for beginners and experts both. An excellent paddle that provides lots of power, helps improve your game quickly and provides loads of playing comfort.

So, if you have the budget for it, then the ONIX Z5 Graphite pickleball paddle is a solid widebody option that delivers enough power to wow the crowd and your opponents.