Edgeless vs edge trimmed

I was talking with a friend of mine the other night, and he mentioned he was looking at a new paddle and definitely wanted an edgeless one. I asked him why. He unequivocally stated that not having the trim on the edge of his paddle would lead to fewer mishits and have a significant impact on his game.

I jokingly replied, “If you’re hitting that many balls on the edge, you need lessons more than a new paddle.” After I finished laughing, I looked at him, and he appeared to be serious. I apologized and let it go.

About 20 minutes later, I couldn’t let his comment go. “So, this edgeless paddle stuff. You know every paddle has an edge, right? Even an edgeless paddle has a profile; it just happens to be convex versus concave.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at an edgeless paddle. Is it a square edge? No, it’s rounded, like a bullnose. So, if you hit the ball on the edge of an edgeless paddle, it’s still not going to go anywhere near where you want it to. An edgeless paddle will never reduce your errors from hitting the edge of the paddle because it still has an edge. All it will do is change the direction of the error.”

“No, that can’t be. That’s not what everyone says.”

“Well, pass me that pen and let me draw it out for you. Here is the DF (deflection face) on a paddle with an edge guard… here is the DF on an edgeless paddle. What do you think the trajectory of an edge strike with either will be?”

“Probably not where I want the ball to go.”

“Exactly. And on top of that, you have no protection on the edge. Sure, you can put tape on it, but have you seen the edge of your current paddle? It’s pretty hard to repair a damaged edge, but it’s usually easy to replace edge trim.

“Okay, but I like the extra width on a trimless paddle. Edge trim reduces my paddle’s hitting area.”

“Really?” I said. “Have another look at the diagram. Both paddles have lost surface area at the edge. One goes inward, the other outward. A paddle is measured edge to edge. There is no significant difference in either.”

“Hmm……maybe.”

“Just a couple more thoughts for you. If you want to add weight to your paddle, how are you going to do that? Where are you going to put the tape on a trimless paddle?” I could see the “oh, yeah” moment on his face.

I then asked him why he added a little lead tape to his paddle. “To increase twist weight at the edge of the paddle. The increased weight at the outer edge gives the paddle more stability for shots hit near the perimeter.”

“Exactly,” I said. “What do you think a good edge trim does? It provides weight to the edge of the paddle. Inherently providing more stability.”

“Then why all the hype around trimless paddles?”

“Well, they are much easier and less expensive to manufacture, as installing trim is a pain. Trust me, I’ve installed enough of it. Also, for some manufacturers, it may reduce warranty issues associated with loose trim. Not as much of an issue now as the glues are much better. A few years ago, it was an issue. Not every evolution in paddle development is for increased performance or the benefit of the player.”

Finally, he looked at me and said, “You don’t make a trimless paddle, do you?”

“No, we don’t. Could we? Absolutely. Will we? Well, never say never, but it would take a lot of convincing to have me believe it’s the right way to go for the average player. So for now, we will stay with what we believe is the better way to make a paddle.”

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