Diadem Icon Paddle Review

No items found.

The Diadem Icon is now the best of the best when it comes to molded paddles. You get the firm feeling of a molded paddle, but you also feel the surface of the ball in a way that no other 12mm molded paddle can. It is a great all-court paddle that can be used to attack and defend drives with brute force or to take the game to your opponent with pinpoint accuracy.


  • Molded Paddle
  • Controlled Power
  • Thin but packs a punch
  • Wide Sweet Spot
  • Good spin


  • Difficult soft game
  • Unconventional design may take time to get used to=

Diadem Pickleball, a well-known tennis equipment manufacturer, has just released their first pickleball paddle, the Icon. They didn't come in like Wilson or Head and produce a bunch of generic paddles. Diadem aimed to make a big splash in their industry debut. So they did. Putting out a one-of-a-kind performance paddle that incorporates a number of their own unique innovations. A bit more coverage of that topic is forthcoming in this review.

Because the Diadem Icon paddle is so unconventional, I went into this review with low expectations. Suprisingly I have to say, I t's one of the best all-court paddles on the market, in my opinion.

In this review, I will discuss my experience with Diadem's new Icon paddle after using it for over 40 practice games and a tournament.


For such a thin molded paddle, the Icon surprised with its soft feel and controlled power. By "controlled power," I refer to the ability to generate good ball speed without having the ball jump off the face, making the swing erratic and difficult to control. With these paddles, you could place the ball with greater precision than with regular power paddles because the ball would stay on the face for a longer period of time.

In comparison to other molded paddles by Gearbox and Prokennex, the Icon feels and plays softer, making it an excellent choice for maintaining a consistent distance. It didn't take me long to get the hang of hitting good drops with it, but it did take me a little longer to keep it under control at the net when playing against high pressure dinkers.

An excellent paddle for use on any court, thanks to its hybrid design, moderately powerful yet manageable stroke, and surprisingly sensitive handle. 

Core and Design

The Icon's honeycomb polymer core is wrapped in high-quality carbon fiber in a molded construction. The smaller honeycomb cells are an innovative addition to its core. The paddle is made more dense and sturdy by using smaller honeycomb cells. They were the pioneers in this industry, and many other companies have since tried to emulate their success by incorporating similar features into their products.

The fact that it's only 12mm thick overall is a big factor in its ability to produce more power than comparable designs. The high-quality carbon fiber works to increase the sweet spot's size and ensures that the paddle's speed remains constant regardless of where the player is striking the ball.

Even though the paddle's sweet spot is reasonably large, it is not the most forgiving one available. An enormous sweet spot is one of the things lost when a body's core is made thinner.

The Icon has a wider sweet spot than the Selkirk Invikta Vanguard Power that I reviewed not too long ago, despite the fact that both watches are 12 millimeters thick.

Diadem is able to achieve its edgeless paddle design thanks to the molded construction of the paddle. Without the guard, it's a work of art. As a fan of both Miami Vice and Black's graphic styles, I think the sleek, borderless design adds a lot to the overall aesthetic.

The edgeless design and thinner core of the paddle not only added to its sleek aesthetic, but also increased its speed and maneuverability. The paddle's maneuverability was enhanced by its light weight. The fact that it was only 8 ounces in weight made it seem lighter than it actually was. Because I only tried out the mid weight version for this review, I can't say whether the light weight version strikes the same balance.


The Icon is a power paddle, in my opinion. Even though it wasn't a perfect 10, it was sufficient to make your opponents sweat when you drove the ball or were given a high ball at the net. It has power, but it is power that is under control. Therefore, it was possible to generate good ball speed, but the ball did not jump off the face, making it difficult to control. You could place the ball with greater precision because the ball stayed on the face for a longer period of time compared to standard power paddles.

The spin it generated was greater, and the paddle's power was better utilized, thanks in large part to the paddle's novel facing material. Let's discuss the one-of-a-kind front layer of the Icon. This coating is a two-part polyurethane (whatever that means ha). Its silky texture and gentle feel are bizarre qualities in a pickleball paddle. According to the theory, it increases spin on the ball not through texture but through adhesion. The results were satisfactory. I had no trouble at all driving the ball with the desired amount of topspin or rolling it over the net. I found that when dinking, it grabbed the ball more effectively than textured paddles.

The paddle didn't wobble much when hit slightly off-center, giving the impression that it was very sturdy. Its strength and steadiness made it an effective weapon against temporary speed boosts. It allowed me to make slightly faster counters, and even mishits could be pushed through for a decent result.

The paddle's longer handle facilitated two-handed backhand shots and added a measure of speed and control. Handles of 5.25 inches or more in length are favored by experienced players. Professional players like Tyler Loong are the exception rather than the rule because they use paddles with extremely short handles.

Soft Game and Defense 

When compared to Gearbox and Prokennex's similarly molded paddles, the Icon has a noticeably softer feel. It's not as soft as thinner polymer core paddles, but it still has a more substantial feel on impact. It's not too flimsy, and it doesn't "jump off the face" like some power paddles do, so you have plenty of control from the baseline and the middle of the court. I was quickly able to adapt and begin making solid, repeated hits after each practice. The ability to dunk and block shots came easily to me as well, though I struggled more to maintain good form in defensive lift dunks when facing off against high-pressure dunkers. A lot more often than usual, I'd find myself throwing one of those open.

The Icon felt forgiving when hitting from the middle of the court or the baseline, but not so much when hitting difficult finesse shots like dink volleys. My dink volleys rarely made it over the net if I wasn't dead on with my aim. Only when playing dink volleys did I find the paddle to be less forgiving. That wasn't a problem for me in any other context.

The Icon's superior stability and extra power made it a fantastic paddle for blocking attacks. One of my game's weak spots is defending drives, but with the Icon, I was able to easily punch my opponents' drives back at their feet. When I have other paddles in my hands, I can often use their drives against them, or at least prevent them from giving me an advantage.

Astounded by how much I could manipulate the Icon. My sense of connection and distance control was excellent. Difficult finesse shots, such as a dink volley or absorbing pace for a lift dink, were made marginally more difficult by its use.

This page may contain affiliate links. Learn more

Related Products

There are currently no Relate Products available.
View all Product Reviews