Ping Pong or Table Tennis is a beloved indoor sport loved by most of us. It may look easy but can take a whole lot of your energy. If you are looking forward to elevating your ping pong skills, then let me tell one thing, your game will mostly depend on the type of paddle you use.
It seems uncanny but is the truth. You can characterize a ping pong paddle depending on your playing style. That is, paddles come with different built and framework and as per your requirements, you can use it for defense, for spin or even for speed.
Well, there is no such thing as the best ping pong paddle. All the paddles are unique in its own way. It is the player who determines which paddle suits him/her the most. Your playing format can help you in determining the best suitable paddle.
But before storming into the sports store for purchasing a new paddle, you should know how to determine the paddle that suits you.
How to choose a table tennis paddle: a brief guide
When you are in the market looking for a ping pong paddle, you will get to know that you are facing a baffling choice of different types of paddles and hence, you will ultimately succumb to not knowing which one you should buy.
Making the right choice isn’t that difficult but how will you make the right choice?
All you need is a little insight on paddles so that you can make the right choice.
The first and the foremost thing to do will be gathering knowledge about what makes ping pong paddles different from each. If you become able to point out the difference then you can easily find the most suitable paddle for your ping pong experience.
As you might know that the ping pong paddles can be very costly. They can be of any brand and are available under different price range on the market. So before choosing the perfect paddle, here are some questions that you will be required to ask yourself.
- How often do you play? Are you are regular or just time pass?
- Your playing format. Do you play on the defensive front or aggressive or rely on spin?
- Which part are you looking forward to improving in your game?
- Are you playing it because you want to become better or are you just playing it only for fun?
- Your budget. How much are you willing to spend?
So, these are the questions you need to answer before buying a paddle. These questions can help you from spending a little too much on your paddles.
|STIGA Pro Carbon||85g||9||9||8||9.7/10|
|Killerspin JET 800 Speed N1||190g||9||9||7||9.1/10|
|Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL||160g||10||10||7||8.9/10|
|DHS Hurricane II||167g||9||9||7||8.7/10|
|Palio Expert 2||155g||7||6||9||7.9/10|
|Killerspin JET 600||178g||5||5||10||7.4/10|
All we need to know about Ping Pong Paddles
What is the size of a ping pong paddle?
As per the official ping pong rules, it is stated that a ping pong paddle can be of any size, weight or shape provided that the blade of the paddle must be flat and must be composed of 85% natural wood.
Most of the ping pong paddles are similar in size – 6-inches (15 cm) wider (blade) and 10-inches (25 cm) length.
A paddle is composed of two components
- A wooden blade incorporated with a handle (made from natural wood).
- Rubbers affixed on both the sides of the blade. It acts as a primary layer on top of the blade fixed with water-based glue.
You must know that there are two types of paddles – hardbat paddles and sandwich paddles.
Hardbat paddles are the traditional paddles used in the early days. They still are in origin but are not used for competitions. These are the affordable paddles which you can avail easily of any sports store.
Sandwich paddles, on the other hand, are made as per the international standards are for tournaments and championships.
Choosing an ideal paddle – Readymade Vs Customized
You are provided with the option of choosing between readymade paddles and customized paddles.
Customized paddles are only meant for those who are pros and are playing the sport for years and intend to polish their skills for competitions. The customized paddles come in individual pieces which you have to put them together as per your requirements.
The professionals use customized paddles as they can make the paddle as per their playing style.
The readymade paddles are meant for those who are just introduced to the sport and are looking forward learn it. Those who play it occasionally for fun can purchase the readymade paddles.
The biggest flaw of the readymade racket is that you probably don’t know for how long the paddle has remained inside its packet. That is, the rubber material used for the outer coating may deteriorate with time and environment.
You can purchase it from your local sports store and is ideal if you are on a budget. However, it is recommended that you opt to buy it online from a supplier who tends to replenish his/her stocks periodically.
Also, it is recommended that you purchase the blade and the rubber separately. Some of the recognized brands for paddles include Butterfly, Stiga, Killerspin, Donic, Yasaka and more.
The Blades- what are they made of?
It is mandatory for a paddle to be composed of 85% natural wood. However, in the world where technology is always advancing, there have been some alterations made to the ping pong paddles. The alterations are allowed to some extent.
The paddles we see today are mostly composed of compressed paper, glass fiber or carbon fiber. But the rules state that the composition should not exceed 7.5% of the paddle’s total thickness.
Carbon fiber helps in making the blade harder and gives it a larger sweet spot. But, carbon fiber paddles are expensive and are used by those who have progressed to the advanced level, that is; the professional level.
The types of blades:
- Western Style Blade
The players who use the shakehand grip or the western grip prefer the western style blade. Its handle completely fits in your palm making it easier to hold and swing.
- Penhold Style Blade
This type of blade style is not recommended for beginners. The player holds the paddle like if he/she holds a pen. It is very difficult to play holding the paddle like a pen. Asian player, in particular, uses this type of blade style.
Choosing a blade category as per your Playing Style
- Counter-attacking style:
The blades categorized as ‘Allround’ will be suitable for those who prefer playing with counter-attacking style. These types of blades sport softer outer surface and harder inner surface (plys). You can also search it by reference ‘medium speed blade.’
- Attacking Style:
The blades categorized as ‘Offensive’ will be suitable for those who prefer playing with attacking style. These types of blades sport harder outer surface and semi-rigid inner surface (plys).
- Defensive Style:
The blades categorized as ‘Defensive’ will be suitable for those who prefer playing with defensive style. Both its inner surface and outer surface are made from soft plys.
Choosing the Rubber which complements your Playing Style
This is the most crucial part while purchasing a ping pong paddle. You might be aware of the International Table Tennis Federation approved rubbers. If you want a quality product always purchase the paddle which has ITTF written on it. It is a hallmark of quality.
Well, you can categorize the rubber in three different ways according to the playing style. That is, choose the rubber on the basis of hard speed, spin, and control.
For hard speed, different rubbers are manufactured and same goes for spin and control.
Three main differences that you need to be aware of-
- Thick Rubber
Ping pong paddles come in different thickness variants. If you want hard speed as you prefer attacking style of play, then make sure your rubber thickness is around 2mm to 2.5mm.
- Pimples out
Ping pong paddles come with pimples facing inwards or outwards. You will be striking the ball with the pimples facing outwards for the defensive style. The length of the pimples will decide on your defensive style of game. If you want to control the ball and prefer defensive style, then you must choose the rubber with pimples having a thickness of 1mm to 1.5mm.
- Reverse Rubber
The reverse rubber is the pimples in rubber and is best suitable for the counter-attacking style of play. Those who love hard spins can prefer reverse rubber paddle. The rubber thickness can go from 1mm to 1.5mm.
10 Best Ping Pong Paddle Review
When you have got the gist of how to choose a compatible ping pong paddle, we have gathered a list of 10 best ping pong paddles that you can avail from the market. These blades are put on the list after considering the above mentioned specifications like playing style, beginner or an advanced level player and much more. Herein are the 10 best ping pong paddles to look for.
#1 STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket
The ergonomic design and its capability to fit into your palms comfortably make it one of the best paddles you can avail for. You can play for hours without feeling any discomfort and to your surprise, your palms will not form any blisters as well. However, it is not a cheap as other ping pong paddles, but this improved model will help you experience the perfect gameplay.
STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket uses the rubbers authorized by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and therefore, you can see the ITTF logo appear on its rubbers. The paddle is made according to the rules and regulations set by the association and are used by the professionals for playing in competitions and tournaments.
It doesn’t come under your ‘under $20’ budget, these are highly expensive. A single paddle can cost you around $50.
#2 STIGA Evolution Table Tennis Racket
STIGA has been a renowned ping pong paddle manufacturing company and their paddles are known for its design and ergonomics. The STIGA Evolution is an elite performance paddle used by the professionals as well as rookies.
The user will have a better control over the racket due to its flaring handle. Moreover, you can actually feel every strike you make with this paddle. It avoids unnecessary slips and allows the user to have a control over the nuance.
It stands tall on the performance rating. Out of 100, it received 90 for control, 94 for spin and 96 for speed. It is composed of ITTF approved rubber for tournament play but can also be used for home plays. The blade is composed of 6-plys (all natural wood) which gives it a better stroke play. The latest inclusion in the STIGA Evolution Racket is its shock dispersion technology, giving the user more control over the racket.
It will cost you around $49-$94 for this paddle.
#3 Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1 Table Tennis Paddle – Ultimate Professional Ping Pong Paddle with Carbon Layers Pared with Specially Designed Memory Book
If you are looking for a professional grade ping pong racket, then Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1 is the one meant for you. Those who love the aggressive or offensive style of play can avail this paddle has guarantees exceptional power along.
Don’t go for the looks, it may not be aesthetically pleasing but it is designed to for powerful stroke play. The never seen before seven complementary wooden layers covered with two carbon layers makes it a perfect paddle for hard hitters.
The ITTF approved Nitrix-4Z high tension rubber helps the player with increased gameplay and it genuinely increases the spin and speed. The premium carbon technology makes the entire blade what you call a ‘sweet spot.’
The introduction of carbon has made the Killerspin JET 800 paddle lightweight.
It will cost you $58 for a single paddle.
#4 Killerspin JET200 Table Tennis Paddle
This is the second cheapest table tennis racket sold by the company branded under the JET series. This ping pong paddle focuses on the needs of those who see table tennis as a recreational activity.
It is not meant for the professionals but those who love to play ping pong in their free time can purchase this paddle. This paddle sport cheap 5 ply blade and its rubbers are not ITFF approved. The paddle is uninspiring and very slow the user will struggle to get the required spin.
It will cost you somewhere around $34-$38 for this paddle.
#5 STIGA Titan Table Tennis Racket
Another very pleasant racket for the beginners, STIGA Titan is best suitable for those who want to learn the sport and improve their skills in a short duration.
People prefer the STIGA Titan as it offers them great balance and control over the paddle. The ball just seems to be going wherever you hit it.
It is lighter in weight and comes under your ‘under$30’ category. Its blades are composed using the crystal technology. The crystal technology makes the blades harder and stiffer. Thus, you can enjoy attacking ping pong.
For faster gameplay, its uses the ACS technology; where it uses the perfect blend of outstanding control and maximum elasticity. That is, you can feel the ball hitting the racket and along with the feel of the strokes.
Its ply is composed using the Balsa technology which makes the paddle even lighter.
It is currently under the offer period. That means you can avail it for approximately $30.
#6 DHS HURRICANE-I Tournament Table Tennis Racket
It is somewhat different from the ping pong paddles we discussed earlier in this article. That is, DHS HURRICANE-I is a penhold or shakehand style paddle. Only professionals use this paddle due to its popular and somewhat complicated grip.
Those who are strong on their backhand will feel immense pleasure while playing with this paddle. Those who are professionals know how to handle these types of paddles.
On the other hand, no beginner or a rookie will enjoy playing with it because of its handling and you might not get the gist of how to position it while playing.
This type of ping pong paddles is mostly preferred by Asian players. The DHS HURRICANE-I are preferred by those who follow a defensive play.
The reason why it is best suitable for the defensive style of play is that it can garner some tricky spin.
You can purchase this professional level paddle for $123.
#7 STIGA Performance 2-Players Table Tennis Set
The STIGA Performance paddle is one of the cheapest ping pong paddles available on the market. It can be your ‘budget paddle’ and that too comes with a 2-player set.
The paddle sets are USA Table Tennis (USATT) approved and you might find it difficult to find a ping pong paddle at this price that comes with an ITTF approved rubber.
Those who are new to the sport and want to get the deep understanding of it can purchase this paddle. Well, it is not a high-quality paddle used by the professionals but you can enjoy the game pretty much with it.
You can purchase it for $15 only from Amazon.
#8 Killerspin JET600 Tennis Paddle
This is another shakehand or penhold style ping pong paddle. Unlike the JET800, the JET600 variant is made for the beginner to intermediate level players. It is light in weight but a little too expensive for a beginner level racket.
Killerspin is known for its profound ergonomics and you can see it in JET600 as well. This beautifully designed penhold ping pong paddle is worth spending money for.
However, due to its unique holding style, not everyone will like playing with it. The professional players prefer this type paddles as they become used it. If you are a beginner, I will not recommend you to purchase it for two reasons – its price and handling style.
You can practice on the western style paddles first before moving to the penhold version.
You can purchase this amazing piece of ping pong paddle at $74.
#9 STIGA Supreme Table Tennis Racket
Appreciated for its ability to control spin, the STIGA Supreme ping pong paddle fits those credentials which say intermediate or beginner.
The blade is composed of 6 layer ply along with future inverted rubber thickness 2mm. It is the lightest paddle in this category which is made from enhanced Crystal technology. That is, the user can enjoy its lightweight structure along with play some hard hitting shots.
On the other hand, the blades are composed of microscopic air-capsules that allow the player to make intended spins with superb controls.
You can purchase this ping pong paddle at $39 which is a decent price range.
#10 Butterfly 401 Shakehand Table Tennis Racket
Well, you can say that it is not the best ping pong paddle available in the market under its price tag, but people often prefer Butterfly 401 Shakehand paddle due to its compatibility.
It is not easy for a beginner to handle this paddle with perfection but still, its firm grip provides a better gameplay to the users. It is a moderate ping pong paddle with average attributes. If you are not a regular player, then you can purchase it.
However, unlike other paddles which are lightweight, the Butterfly 401 paddles are slightly heavier. But, it works in the user’s favor as it provides a certain angle to make clean shots.
You can purchase it for $29 from Amazon.
As we have covered all the necessary aspects of how to choose a best ping pong paddle, the mentioned ping pong paddles will give you a certain indication of what you are looking for.
Choosing a ping pong paddle is not an easy task, you have to go through all the statistics and attributes before choosing the one. The reason why it is recommended to analyze every paddle is that if not chosen wisely, it can affect your game.
Moreover, the budget is also an important factor that needs to be kept in mind while purchasing a paddle. In the product review section, we have covered almost every ping pong paddle of every price range and of different types. It can help you to analyze it on a bigger scale, take out on a bigger scale, and do your own research.