Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle Review (Power, Spin, Control, Feel)


The pickleball paddle market is crowded with new companies, many of which simply recycle old ideas and are not worth mentioning.

Ronbus stands out from the crowd. This innovative new company is shaking up the market with impressive paddles at affordable prices. By collaborating closely with TopCarbon, Ronbus has advanced thermoforming technology to create paddles that excel in both performance and durability, surpassing what other thermoformed paddle manufacturers have achieved.

Ronbus’s initial paddle offerings—the R1, R2, and R3.16—have been successful and provide a refreshing take on the Gen. 1 raw carbon fiber paddle space. Personally, I love the R1.16 for its excellent performance and reasonable price.

This post focuses on Ronbus’s latest cutting-edge product – the Pulsar. This new paddle marks Ronbus’s entry into the Gen. 2 thermoformed paddle market, and, once again, it’s not just another copy of existing designs.

Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle Technical Specifications

  • Price: -13% $129.99 BUY
  • Warranty: 6 months for defects
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Core thickness: 16mm
  • Face: Raw Toray T700 carbon fiber w/ textured finish
  • Average weight: 8.1 oz
  • Grip length: 5.5”
  • Swing Weight: 121
  • Edge foam: Yes, throughout the entire perimeter of the paddle, incl. the handle
  • Grip size: 4.125”
  • Core: Honeycomb polymer
  • Total length: 16.5”
  • Width: 7.5″

Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle: Quick Summary

The Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle is a Gen. 2 RCF (raw carbon fiber) paddle designed with unibody thermoforming, edge-foam injection, and a high-quality carbon fiber paddle face. Gen. 2 RCF paddles offer more power, pop, and spin than Gen. 1 models while still maintaining impressive control.

The Pulsar line includes two paddle shapes: the R3 and the R1. The R1 features a hybrid, curved-top design, similar to the Hyperion, Six Zero Black Diamond, and Vatic Flash paddles. In contrast, the R3 has a conventional elongated rectangular shape, akin to the Legacy Pro, Vatic Pro V7, CRBN 1X, and the upcoming Joola Perseus.

I’ve tested all the new thermoformed paddles released since late 2022, and the R3 Pulsar stands out. It offers a bit of everything, feeling exceptionally well-balanced with ample spin, touch, and just the right amount of power. Notably, it is one of only two thermoformed paddles with an elongated shape and a 5.5″ handle, the other being the CRBN 1X.

To me, the Pulsar is the perfectly balanced all-court thermoformed paddle. It is exactly what I had hoped to see in the Gen. 2 thermoform paddle space. It has quickly become one of my top recommendations for players looking to try a Gen. 2 RCF paddle for the first time.


The first thing I noticed when picking up the Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle was how balanced it felt. My particular R3 Pulsar weighs 8.1 oz, which is lighter than my other elongated thermoformed paddles like the Vatic V7, CRBN 1X, and Legacy paddles, which all weigh 8.4 oz or more. I did add weight to my R3 Pulsar to bring it up to 8.5 oz, and it still felt great.

The CRBN 1X 16mm feels the most similar to the Ronbus R3 Pulsar, as they share the same paddle dimensions and a 5.5″ grip. I personally prefer the longer grip over the 5.3″ grips found on other thermoformed paddles, although this is just a matter of personal preference.

The surface of the R3 Pulsar focuses more on friction than grit, similar to the Legacy Pro. I’ve found that this type of surface enhances spin performance.

In terms of feel, the Pulsar is stiffer than a Gen. 1 non-thermoformed paddle, but it has a plush and soft feel for a thermoformed paddle, with a noticeable density. It’s a unique feel that stands out.

The 4.125-inch circumference handle feels excellent to me. While it might feel narrow for those who prefer thicker handles, you can always add one or more overgrips. I’m glad Ronbus chose this circumference size, as it will likely appeal to most players and can be easily adjusted for those who prefer a thicker handle.

Power of Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle

The R3 doesn’t deliver as much effortless power as some other high-performing thermo paddles like the Six Zero Black Diamond, CRBN 1X, and Legacy Pro. However, this doesn’t mean it’s lacking in power. Straight out of the box, the R3 Pulsar provides plenty of power. By using a slightly bigger swing, you can achieve a similar power level to the Black Diamond while having fewer concerns about overhitting.

It’s definitely more powerful than any Gen. 1 paddle I’ve used, including the thinner 13/14 mm versions of those paddles. The R3 feels like a more powerful version of the Ronbus R3 or Joola Hyperion, both of which I’ve enjoyed using. I’m looking forward to trying out the R1 Pulsar, as its shape is more similar to the Hyperion CFS.

In terms of raw power, the Double Black Diamond (DBD) might be the closest comparable thermoformed paddle. It’s hard to determine which hits harder between the DBD and the R3 Pulsar. The DBD is certainly more responsive. Either way, both paddles provide ample power for control-oriented thermos.

One advantage of the R3 Pulsar’s softer, less responsive power is that it allows for more experimentation with lead tape. I’ve tried adding lead tape to the R3, which significantly increased the paddle’s plow-through power.


The R3 Pulsar lacks a super-stiff face and is one of the less poppy thermoformed paddles available. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Thermoformed paddles are already quite stiff and powerful by standard paddle metrics, so excessive pop can make them difficult to control. For instance, I find the Six Zero Black Diamond one of the harder thermoformed paddles to use, primarily due to its extreme pop.

That said, the R3 Pulsar still offers more pop than most paddles. It excels at delivering laser-quick punch volleys and dominating hand battles. I often catch opponents off guard with unexpectedly powerful and poppy drives straight up the middle or fast counter punches that are difficult to react to in time.

I’ve heard that the R1 Pulsar has even more pop than the R3, and I’m eager to try both paddles soon for a side-by-side comparison.

Control of Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle

The R3 Pulsar strikes an excellent balance between power, pop, and control. Both the Pulsar and the Double Black Diamond are among the most easily controlled thermoformed paddles available. I find the plush Pulsar easier to control than the crisp-feeling DBD, as the Pulsar feels less poppy and more consistent overall.

The Pulsar isn’t too stiff or too plush and features a large, forgiving sweet spot, making mishits rare. Its touch is impressive, and I haven’t had issues with popping up balls. I felt in control of my drops, dinks, blocks, and resets almost immediately with this paddle.

This paddle may help players who have been hesitant to switch to thermoformed paddles feel more comfortable doing so. If you’re transitioning from a soft, control-oriented Gen. 1 paddle like the Hyperion CFS or Electrum Model E, you’ll need to adjust your shots a bit before you feel completely at home with the R3 Pulsar. However, the adjustment period is shorter compared to other thermoformed paddles, and your soft game should remain strong throughout the transition.

An interesting difference with the R3 Pulsar is that it doesn’t seem to need a “break-in” period. Most thermoformed paddles take a week or two to settle in and perform at their best, but the Pulsar’s performance has remained consistent. It feels the same after a few weeks of hard play as it did when I first used it. I’ll discuss the reasons for this in the durability section.

Maneuverability/hand speed

Because the R3 is 16mm thick with an elongated face, it doesn’t feel as fast as hybrid-shaped or thinner paddles. It has a swing weight of 121, similar to other elongated paddles like the CRBN 1X, Legacy Pro, Vatic V7, and Diadem Warrior Edge.

However, it doesn’t feel heavy or clunky. I find the Pulsar more maneuverable than my Legacy Pro, CRBN 1X, and Vatic V7 paddles, even when it’s weighted up to the same level. It feels much easier to swing than my Hyperion CFS and Warrior.

While the R3 isn’t the lightest or quickest, it still feels plenty quick at the kitchen line. My hand speed hasn’t suffered at all with this paddle, and its elongated reach and longer handle make the higher swing weight worthwhile.

If you want a faster paddle, the R1 Pulsar, with its hybrid shape, offers the quickness you need. The R1 Pulsar comes with a 5.5-inch handle like the R3, as well as a shorter 5.25-inch handle, which feels very fast in hand.

Spin of Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle

Just like the original Ronbus R3, the Pulsar offers top-tier spin, making it one of the best paddles for spin. You should be pleasantly surprised by the amount of curve you can generate with the Pulsar.

In my experience, the R3’s spin capability rivals that of the Legacy Pro and is definitely higher than that of the Double Black Diamond and CRBN 1X. This is impressive considering all these paddles are among the highest-spinning paddles on the market.

With the Pulsar, my topspin serve kicks much higher than with most other paddles I’ve tested. I’ve been hitting topspin drives, drops, and dinks with great success, which has been a lot of fun for me (though not so much for my competition).

Durability of Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle

Durability has become a significant topic in the pickleball paddle world, especially regarding Gen. 2 thermoformed paddles. Concerns about delamination, disbonding, and core crush are real.

Fortunately, Ronbus has been very intentional with its manufacturing processes for the Pulsar, focusing on preventing durability issues in its thermoformed paddle line. Partnering with the paddle producer TopCarbon, Ronbus has co-innovated through extensive trial and error to achieve the current state of the Pulsar.

Although the Pulsar is still relatively new to the market, its production methods have proven successful so far. Ronbus conducts extensive stress testing with machines to ensure durability, and I haven’t heard of any Pulsars facing durability issues in the field.

One noticeable difference with the Pulsar is the absence of a “break-in period” common with other thermoformed paddles. I believe this is due to an intentional manufacturing difference, possibly the use of cold molding instead of hot molding. This focus on play consistency is likely part of their strategy to reduce the risk of delamination, disbonding, and core crush.

Beyond these potential issues, the Pulsar is built like a tank. The unibody thermoforming process ensures the paddle isn’t prone to snapping or edge-guard failure. The premium Toray raw carbon fiber used for the paddle face is known for its durability.

I haven’t noticed any wear or decline in spin performance with my R3 or experienced any other issues, but I will update this post if I do.

Value of Ronbus R3 Pulsar Paddle

Ronbus is a company worth supporting and rooting for. Dong, the owner, is pursuing the paddle-making business in his retirement and is genuinely passionate about innovative paddle production methods. His small company is making significant strides in the industry, and supporting him with a purchase makes a big difference. Additionally, Ronbus offers a longer warranty than many comparable companies, further demonstrating their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Should you buy the Ronbus R3 Pulsar?

If you’re in the market for an elongated, long-handled thermoformed paddle with top-tier spin, ample power, and excellent control in the realm of Gen. 2 raw carbon fiber, then the R3 Pulsar is the paddle for you. Whether you’re new to thermoformed paddles or simply seeking the best, the R3 Pulsar beckons your attention.

Some may express concerns about its power compared to other paddles, but I find such worries exaggerated. Personally, I’m able to deliver powerful shots with remarkable accuracy and consistency using this paddle, surpassing my experiences with supposedly more powerful options.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the R3 Pulsar, and it has become my primary paddle of choice. It maintains consistency, strikes a perfect balance between power and control, and offers ample spin to keep your opponents guessing. Plus, its 5.5-inch handle is a personal favorite feature of mine.

For those interested, I recommend checking out my review of the R1 Pulsar as well, especially if you’re intrigued by a hybrid-shaped version of this paddle. The R1 Pulsar also offers two handle length options, unlike the R3 Pulsar. While I’d love to see a 14mm version of the R3 Pulsar in the future, Ronbus has indicated sticking with 16mm for now due to resource constraints and ongoing projects.

If thermoforming isn’t your preference, consider the original Gen 1 Ronbus R1.16 as a suitable alternative. While it may be less powerful, it offers affordability and ease of control compared to the Pulsar.

FAQs about Ronbus R3 Pulsar

What is the difference between R1 and R3 Ronbus?

The R3 plays more forgivingly and has a higher swingweight. 

What is the difference between R3 Nova and R3 Pulsar?

The R3 NOVA is a “gen 3” paddle to the “gen 2” PULSAR.

What makes the Ronbus R3 Pulsar stand out among other pickleball paddles?

The Ronbus R3 Pulsar stands out for its combination of top-tier spin, ample power, excellent control, and innovative thermoformed design.

Does the R3 Pulsar require a break-in period?

Unlike some other thermoformed paddles, the R3 Pulsar does not require a break-in period, thanks to its intentional manufacturing process.

Who is behind the Ronbus brand?

The Ronbus brand is led by Dong, the owner of the company, who is passionate about innovative paddle production methods and delivering high-quality products to pickleball players.

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