Skip to content

Diadem Pickleball Net Review

Some of you may have seen me teasing on Instagram a big parcel from Framework Sports/Diadem. Inside was the new Diadem Pickleball net from the European arm. Having been an owner of a Head Pickleball net for a year and had PLENTY of experience of Pickleball Club, Picklenets, Vermonts, Net World Sports, Franklins and Swiftnets, I was curious to see what they came up with. 

Lots of nets seem to come from the same or similar factory. They have a press button ball locking mechanism to join each piece, a central support to stop the middle dropping and some kind of velcro strap to tension the net. There is quite a wide variance in “proper” height. I’ve seen sets come in a few centimeters too low at the edges with difficulty to fully tension a net. 

I’ve had good success with the Franklin nets: they have some intelligent design features that make them easier to put together properly, if you follow the process, and they have a locking central support. The latest ones even have a bungee cord inside three pieces to ensure they stay together and you don’t get mixed up when assembling.

I’ve always defaulted to the Head Pickleball net: they are same as the Picklenet/On Court Off Court net but substantially cheaper. It’s literally a different colour paint job and logo that makes it different. The oval structure means they go together easily, are almost impossible to put together incorrectly and have speedy construction. The zips on the bag break in exactly the same way and the nets have the same slight tolerance issues where they sometimes don’t sit truly flat on the floor. I’ve used a door wedge at times to resolve this. They also age over time: the central support is a central flat fibreglass pole that is stitched into the net. When it is repeatedly taken apart, over time the end frays and the central support comes out. That support sheds fibreglass splinters like they are going out of fashion so you end up need to cover your hands to construct the net. 

My Head net was serving me well and I was extremely mindful of the centre support so it’s fully intact. When the Diadem wheeled net launched, my curiousity was piqued.  Full disclosure: I’m the “OG” player/coach for Diadem in Europe, I was lucky enough to partner with the brand before they launched fully into the UK. When players purchase paddles from me, there is some revenue for me from Diadem. This doesn’t alter my recommendations on products when asked by my players: whilst I’m aligned with Diadem and believe there is pretty much a paddle for everyone in the range, the pricing and model might not be aligned to the player’s needs. I’ll advise on other brands or models if they need a lower price point or different spec. Anything Framework do, I can support you in your purchase and you help fund this blog/website. Just get in touch.

When the net arrived, I was shocked by the size of the box: it was substantially larger than any net I’d used before. When i took it out of the packaging, it was a bit smaller but still large pieces. The longest bar being 1.35m long, it was bigger than any other net i’d seen. Defintely not car boot friendly!

The construction is very different than a “classic” net: it contains nine pieces to create the width plus two side supports with wheels, two upright posts and a central support. Most nets have close to equidistant sized width pieces. This has five long and four very short ones.  Five long pieces are: two ends with cut outs for the side support/posts, two lengths which join those to the middle and a central support in the middle with two holes drilled to fit the centre wheel (which is vital).

The short pieces are substantially heavier and work as interconnects between the widths: they simply slot in, lining red dot to red dot up and pushing home. The weight creates the tension to keep together. 

The side supports can only fit one way into the ends and the posts are also shaped so they can only fit one way in. The most time consuming part of construction, and it isn’t once you’ve done it once, is fitting the central wheel.  The best technique to do this is to do “upside down”. Turn the central support upside down so you can see the thread through the holes in the middle piece, then screw the wheel in with the spanner holding the nut.

Doing this as the first part of construction means the rest is a breeze: simply slot it all together, then drop the net over the poles. 

Once you’ve done this, you will notice the central wheel is floating off the ground. By tensioning the net with the velcro straps, the posts bend in slightly and dip the centre wheel to touch the ground. It lets you know when tension is enough and ensures the net is perfect height. The poles sit above the white logoed part of the net but putting the velcro straps around 1-2cm below the top gets you to 36″ height at sideline. 

There are two wheels on each side and the central wheel. They are well constructed and have solid locks.

After figuring out the construction process, I have been able to construct the net in around three minutes from start to finish. This is pretty good compared to others and the only thing that takes a little bit extra time is the central wheel. I know I can construct this net faster than some people can construct a Picklenet. However, I’m also able to construct the Franklin net which can fox many players! 😂

The most important part of a net is how it plays: but how can a net “play”? The one huge variable between nets for play is how the net cord shots react. Portable nets will normally force a net cord ball to drop. The Swiftnet prides itself on a realistic “fixed net” cord reaction with its differently tensioned net cord. However in my experience, the swiftnet hasn’t reacted substantially better than a standard portable net.  

Over a few sessions, my players noticed that the Diadem net plays more like a fixed net and hard net tape hits fly on, rather than drop on contact.  I suspect it’s created by the tensioning of the whole structure at the end of the build. It’s the only net I’ve used that felt consistently like an outdoor fixed net for net cords. The construction of the net is excellent: there’s no indication that it will go out of flat like a Picklenet/Head will do. The extra 4 to 5kg of weight over other nets is a likely factor to this: it’s not too heavy to impact the portability of the net much but seems to let the net stay firmer and flatter.

The one thing that is a con for the net is that the poles are longer than any other portable net. They are too long to comfortably fit in a car boot, although the net will fit across the rear seats of my car at a slight angle. You can also put a seat down to fit it in.  The bag is also slightly longer than necessary but consider that a feature: room to fit extra kit in but be mindful that the weight of the net could cause damage to more fragile items. Throw a few cones in for space marking but leave your best paddle in your normal bag. I’d also like a small cloth or padded bag to store the heavy short pieces, the central wheel, spanner and that elusive split washer (which a couple of spares in the bag would be a nice touch).

The Diadem Pickleball Net retails at £295 so it’s at the premium end of the market compared to a £70 “get you started” net of eBay or Amazon. However, if you consider the build quality, robustness and quality of the net, it’s great value for money. It’s perfect for a venue that has storage space to keep constructed and just wheeled out. If you are a club investing long term, this is the net to buy for regular sessions. If you want to purchase, reach out to me and I’ll be able to supply direct to your door. I can also help supply the excellent Head net if you are interested in one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *