Analyze Your Partner Situation
How many people do you plan on playing with? If you're hoping to do spankings with multiple people with this single paddle, you want to a paddle that can be sterilized. In this case, leather and other soft materials may not be your best choice. Consider silicone or non-porous plastics for the highest degree of safety if you'll be sharing a paddle with multiple people.
Look at Designs
The style and color of your paddle can matter too. Are you looking for something that has a hardcore, BDSM-leather look? Would you prefer something soft and covered with faux fur ? Whatever it is, make sure to take your favorite colors and appearances to find a paddle that fits your needs - and your tastes.
Compare the Handles
If you're going to be delivering the spanking, you're going to want to think about the paddle's handle. The handle can make or break a paddle for both you and your partner. If the spanker has non-average hands, you're going to want a choose a paddle that is comfortable to hold. Some paddles may have especially large or especially small handles. Some paddles may also have very flat handles that make it hard to get a good grip on the paddle itself. Make sure to read the reviews of your potential paddle to find one that has a comfortable handle. Also, take a second to check the measurements of the paddle to make sure the handle will fit well in your hands. You won't look very enticing if you accidentally throw the paddle across the room!
Do you have other people in the house? Are you going to have to be concerned about hiding the paddle when people aren't around? If so, add discretion to your list of things to think about. You'll want a paddle that's small enough in both width and length to be easily hidden in a drawer or box when you're not playing with it. If you want to be extremely discreet, consider a paddle that doesn't actually "look" like a paddle - like a kink-friendly, reinforced ruler.
Pursue Cute Designs
Do you like the idea of having a paddle that no one else has or just something that really captures your attention? If so, you might want to look at some of the adorable and unique designs that are out there. Basic black doesn't have to be your only option! Paddles come in a variety of non-standard designs including animal-shaped paddles, fandom paddles, and even paddles with gorgeous needlework.
These suggestions are only designed to act as a spring-board to get you really thinking about what's important to you in a new paddle. With all of the options out there, I hope this helps you narrow it down to a few of your favorites. Now find a partner, negotiate, get consent, and enjoy your next spanking session together!