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Spartus Gladius Centurion: Pickleball Paddle Review

Gladiator holding two Spartus Gladius Centurion pickleball paddles

Spartus understands the needs of pickleball players and has designed their paddles to improve power and control and provide style and comfort on the court. They deliver incredible value at an unbelievably low price. They’re dedicated to providing the best pickleball paddles on the market, focusing on quality, design, and integrity. The 16mm Spartus Gladius Centurion is a perfect result of thoughtful design and careful planning – a fun paddle to play! 

The Spartus Gladius Centurion adds power, performance, and control to the games of advancing beginners, intermediates, and seasoned pros alike. Spartus is known for its quality, innovation, and affordability, so I was excited to check it out.

Are you more interested in a control paddle better suited for fast hands and placement? If so, check out our pickleball paddle review of the Spartus Ballista V2

Spartus Gladius Centurion has a beautiful aesthetic

Table of Contents

Review Summary

The Spartus Gladius Centurion stands out as an all-around paddle, perfect for elevating your game regardless of your current skill level. Whether you’re an advancing beginner, an intermediate player, or a seasoned pro, this paddle offers a consistent advantage, providing players an edge over their opponents.

I’d categorize this as an all-court paddle. It can improve your dinks, 3rd shot drops, serves, and groundstrokes. You’ll feel the paddle’s power on your first few shots, but control is its secret weapon. I first noticed this when hitting hard third-shot drops that consistently landed cleanly in the kitchen. After two weeks of playing with the Centurion, I can confidently say it checks all the boxes: power, spin, control, and price. 

The Centurion also made the Simply Pickleball list of Best Pickleball Paddles for Under $150

Gladius Centurion at a Glance

Spartus Ballista V2 Pickleball Paddle Logo

Control: B+

Power: A

Spin: A

Forgiveness: A-

Value: A+

Spartus Gladius Centurion: Features

Each Gladius Centurion undergoes a complete thermoforming process utilizing a singular 360-degree Toray T700 carbon fiber piece, ensuring an ideal harmony of power, control, and spin. This meticulous method demands custom molds to consistently apply heat throughout the paddle, bolstering its strength significantly.

The paddle’s perimeter is filled with edgefoam to optimize the sweet spot. At the same time, each layer spans the entire length, contributing to a unified construction that enhances the Gladius Centurion’s durability to an exceptional degree. 

Toray T700 Raw Carbon Fiber Face

The Spartus Gladius Centurion has a single piece of 360-degree wrapped Toray T700 carbon fiber. In addition to providing stability and power, the grooves in the carbon fiber weave produce spin. 

Having played with this paddle, I can confirm that it generates a ton of spin. Pickleball Studio came in with an RPM test at 1829, which is in the high spin category. We will start testing spin as well and update with our test results soon. 

The main concern with raw carbon fiber is how well the spin will hold up over time. Raw carbon fiber tends to get smoothed out after hitting thousands of pickleballs. Regular cleaning is a best practice to maximize spin for your carbon fiber paddle. Click here to read our guide on how to clean a carbon fiber pickleball paddle

Thermoformed Unibody Design

The Spartus Gladius Centurion has a single piece of Toray T700 carbon fiber, which is hot-molded or thermoformed around the entire paddle.

Thermoforming guarantees uniformity in paddle construction, minimizing variations in weight and shape. This consistency ensures players encounter a familiar feel while playing, facilitating improved muscle memory and shot precision.

This not only makes the Centurion extremely durable, but it also provides even weight distribution. While the static weight is around 8oz, we calculated the swingweight at 120. A swingweight of 120 puts it into the category of power paddles. However, it doesn’t feel too head-heavy when playing and holds up well in fast-hand battles. 

Edge Foam Perimeter

The primary benefit of the edge foam is enlarging the paddle’s sweet spot. It helps add weight to the edge which expands the sweet spot. We test twistweight to help determine the size of the sweet spot. Using the Briffidi SW1, we calculated a twistweight of 6.06. This is in line with other similar 16mm elongated thermoformed paddles. 

The sweet spot on the Centurion felt pretty forgiving and you can definitely play with this paddle out of the box. You can test lead tape on the throat or sides, but it isn’t necessary. Want to learn more about lead tape? Read our blog on how to add lead tape to your pickleball paddle.  

Edge of the Spartus Centurion pickleball paddle

Spartus Gladius Centurion: Paddle Specifications

  • Price: $99.99 (save 10% with SIMPLYPB)
  • Thickness: 16mm 
  • Length: 16.5″
  • Width: 7.5″
  • Grip Length: 5.5″
  • Grip Circumference: 4.125″
  • Weight: 8oz*
  • Swing Weight: 120*
  • Twist Weight: 6.06*
  • Spin: 1829**
  • Balance Point: +12*
  • Shape: Elongated
  • Thermoformed: Yes
  • Unibody: Yes
  • Foam Edge Walls: Yes
  • Face: Raw Carbon Fiber
  • Core: Polypropylene Honeycomb
  • USAP Approved: Yes

* Simply Pickleball test results.

* Pickleball Studio test results. 

Performance

The Centurion has hit high marks across the board in every performance metric. You can’t go wrong buying this paddle. 

Control: B+

With a 120 swingweight, the Centurion is built more for power than control. This paddle will deliver enough control at the net for players in most games to enable quick hands and accurate shots. However, with 4.5+ players accustomed to fast-hand battles, the Spartus Ballista V2 would be a better choice. 

Power: A

Combining raw carbon fiber, thermoforming, edge foam, and a unibody design gives you power. A lot of power. Thanks to the Gladius Centurion, I’ve hit some of the best serves of my pickleball career. I’m consistently winning points on my serve alone in every game. Because of the additional power and spin, I can swing as hard as I want, and the ball drops right at the baseline.

Spin: A

With high-end Toray T-700 raw carbon fiber, it’s no wonder this has an 1829 spin rating. The ball gets a ton of topspin, and you’ll see a ton of action from cut shots. I’m amazed at the perfect drop shots I hit from the baseline. As a reminder, the raw carbon fiber is a magnet for pickleball debris. Make sure you clean this paddle often. 

Forgiveness: B+

The edge foam premier evenly distributes weight along the edge. This helps extend the sweet spot. There is always a trade-off between paddle weight and sweet spot. Spartus has done an excellent job maximizing the sweet spot for the 16mm Centurion with a 120 swingweight. As mentioned above, you can add lead tape to expand the sweet spot, but I would play with it first since it’s unnecessary for most players. 

Value: A+

If I gave ratings higher than A+, the Spartus Gladius Centurion would get it! There is no better value for a 16mm thermoformed power paddle. Why does a similar CRBN or Joola cost more than double? They’re paying a ton to market their paddles, and that cost is passed along to the consumer. Like many other start-up paddle companies, Spartus runs grassroots marketing campaigns and passes tremendous value to its customers. 

Spartus Gladius Centurion: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great all-court paddle 
  • Game improvement paddle 
  • A perfect blend of power, spin, and control
  • Incredible value 
  • Aesthetically pleasing 

Cons

  • It is not suitable for someone who needs a lighter paddle 
  • Not a beginner paddle 
  • Spin can decrease overtime with raw carbon fiber paddles

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Spartus Gladius Centurion: Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an incredible deal on a 16mm carbon fiber power paddle, this is a great paddle to buy. This is an excellent investment for advancing beginners and intermediate players looking to take their game to the next level. The more I play with this paddle, the more I like it. Good luck on the courts and happy dinking! 

 

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