A ping pong paddle is an integral part of your table tennis practice or competition. As such, you need to have a highly functional bat. Much as the market offers numerous brands of bats, not all of them are equal.
That said you might be wondering what the best ping pong paddle ever is. Well, I wouldn’t say there is a particular criterion to single out such a racket. The reason for that depends on your level of skill and type of play you exhibit, among other factors.
Remember that ping pong is a game of tactics. For you to win, you must adjust quickly to your opponent’s style and spin the ball as much as you can. How you position yourself, move and respond is also critical.
Your equipment must also be highly customized to meet such standards. Let it be known to you, that if you walk into any of the sports equipment shops, you’ll get a paddle, probably at the most friendly price. Will it meet the demands of the game?
Let’s look at how you can choose a ping pong paddle
Table Tennis Paddle Basics
Six core pieces make up the ping pong paddle. They include a handle, blade, forehand sponge & rubber, and a backhand sponge & rubber.
Each of these parts has a significant contribution to the function of a paddle. You select them according to your style.
Find Your Perfect Grip
How you hold bat determines how you play. It is, therefore, vital to find a comfortable grip. You can use either the shake hand grip or the penhold grip whichever makes you comfortable. However, the choice you make depends on the grip style.
Some brands design handles exclusively for shakehand players, while others choose to make for the penhold. The shakehand design handle can be straight or flared. You can choose any depending on your taste.
The straight handle is thin and works well for people who like a firm grip. Such handles are prone to slippage if loosely held.
The flared type is an excellent choice for individuals who like holding their bats a little loose. Most professional players usually prefer using the flared handle because it is more comfortable.
Another type of handle is the anatomic handle. The handle has great ergonomic features (curves), making them very comfortable. However, they are not very popular because they exhibit low versatility.
Your play style determines the best type of bat you will comfortably use. Most beginners may not understand their play type, and his might lead to buying the wrong kind of paddle.
Most beginners need to do thorough research to understand the details of the game. As a learner you can pick up the cheapest bat you find in the market – probably plastic or wooden. Such bats are not sophisticated, but they will give you a better experience. One great advantage you’ll get from these cheap plain paddles is that they will teach you how to be precise.
If you feel you are ripe, you can try out the commercial types of paddles before proceeding to competition paddles. Along the way, you will notice that you can buy all these types of ping pong racket at one place. The only difference it’s the standard that they meet.
Besides, you will notice that table tennis is not much about equipment than it is with your technique. A talented player can win a game even with a commercial bat.
So, what are the major styles to learn?
Every player comes in with a unique style and swing, and paddles have been made to suit these styles. Common techniques are:
Attacking/offensive: attacking players are those types of players who smash or hit powerful shots with all the power. The player is very aggressive, thus controlling the games on terms that are favorable to the player. The point is to force the opponent to react a little too late, while you make attacks.
Defensive: in this type of play, the player uses an approach of patience, placement and guile to beat their opponents. In this type of game, the player has to make aggressive actions inefficient. The offender applies tactics like backspins and spins reversals, and will attack as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
Defensive style of play is now to tone down the game. This way, they get enough time to think through their techniques before executing them. Sounds easy, right? But, you have to be as perfect as those playing offensive play.
In such games, you’ll receive stronger shots, especially if you are not great at underspins whenever you receive a backspin stroke.
Controlling play: in this play type, the player chooses to be in control by placing his/her shots carefully. In most cases, they move the opponents side to side.
If you want to identify your style quickly, you’ll have to play numerous games, have your coach or teammates identify your style.
Finding the right blade
Some experts call the blade as the extension of your arm. The blade will determine the power rating of your bat.
Defensive play is better with heavier types of paddles that have a soft rubber while a bat with light and rigid material is efficient for attacking play.
Most blades in the market come with 5 or more layers. Such blades will give you a faster game. Such blade incorporates carbon fiber to make them lighter. So, if you like a fast-paced game then chooses the lighter blades.
On the other hand, all wood blades are heavier, and they always absorb some energy from the ball, thus slowing it down.
Pick Your Rubber
For the rubber, you have to consider the tackiness and firmness. More spin is generated from a softer rubber and a tackier rubber. That implies that, if you want to play a defensive game (slow game) you’ll need a rubber that develops more spin, i.e., soft and tacky rubber while the offensive players will use the firmer rubber.
You can choose to place rubber on one or both sides of your bat. If you place rubber on both sides, you might opt to use different thickness, tackiness and firmness on each side of your bat.
Most professional players usually prefer using different types of rubber with slightly different properties as a means to create versatile strategies.
The rubber can be smooth or have dimples. The dimples may be facing inwards or outwards (pimples). Such rubber has more exceptional texture and surface area giving friction against the table tennis ball. This results in an improved grip. You can choose this rubber if you want to control the game seriously.
When the dimples face inwards (reverse rubber) it gives a relatively softer surface. Such surface is great in applying various versatile techniques and shots.
The point to note is that, whichever rubbers you choose to ensure that it meets the ITTF standards.
In a paddle, the sponge is found between the rubber and the blade. They are usually rated as thin, medium or thick. When the sponge is thicker, typically 2mm or more, it is excellent for attacking paddles while thin sponges are great for defensive players.
Tip: sponge and rubber thickness influence the weight of a bat.
The bottom line,
The best ping pong paddle ever is packed with the features stated above. So, you need to consider each carefully. Looking at these factors, you’ll realize one factor affects the other one.
What to Watch Out While Buying a Table Tennis Bat
By now we have looked at critical parts of a bat. When you embark on shopping for a ping pong bat, you need to put these feature as a priority. These points will summarize into “quality”. A high-quality table tennis bat will give the best play according to your specifications.
For starters, the material that makes the paddle must be long-lasting and approved by the ITTF. While the casual play has no rules and will allow playing with rackets that do not have rubber and sponge, tournaments will require standard bats. It is, therefore, good practice to use the standard type of rackets.
Check the design; the correct model of a bat will not cause injuries to your arms. Poor designs always tend to cut into your hands. It implies that you should have a comfortable grip on your paddle for you to play effectively.
Before you start looking for a bat to buy, I bet you must have tried a few. Besides, you might have seen some recommendations. Reviews and recommendation usually come from the first-hand experience. Therefore, you need to put a heavy weight on these factors. If a seller has many positive reviews, you can consider their products.
In summary, consider:
- Comfortable grip
- The reputation of the seller
Taking care of your paddle
You pay a high price to have the best ping pong paddle ever. I bet you wouldn’t want it to be destroyed within a few weeks of use. So, care is essential for not only longer lasting paddle but to make it retain its performance at the top.
Always ensure that your paddle is free of foreign materials. Any foreign material like dust can give inconsistencies in your play. Besides, they induce some dullness to your bat. You can clean using;
- Water and sponge
- Rubber cleaning solutions
- Toothbrush method if your bat has pimples
- Do not use detergents to clean
- Keep your paddles covered when not in use
- Wipe the handles too because they get dirty
Featured Best Ping Pong Bats
Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL
This is not a paddle for beginners. It offers explosive speed (100 ratings) and spins (95 ratings), while the control has a score of 80. If you buy this type, it might take your time to get used.
You should look for Clear and Unbiased Facts about Best Custom Ping Pong Paddles. So you can make sure you are getting the best ping pong paddle possible.
That aside, this is a lightweight and durable bat considering it is created from a reinforcement of carbon fiber. The outstanding feature is that it will offer powerful shots.
The rubber is the premier quality Tenergy 80-FX rubber for exceptional speed and spin. This rubber is effective in deflecting the ball.
- High-quality and powerful construction
- Comes with three handle variations – straight, flared and anatomic
- Premier quality Tenergy 80-FX rubber for explosive speeds and spin
- Highly Priced
Duplex 6 Star
As an entry-level ping pong paddle, Duplex 6 Star performs reasonably well when it comes to practicing. It has a very resilient rubber though it wears out astonishingly faster than expected. Such a feature has made it be rated as best for beginners and kids.
The paddle comes with speed and Spin rating of 80 and a control rating of 85. The design of the bat is unique, i.e., weight balanced design. The weight is concentrated where you’ll hit the ball
Much as the bat wears out quickly, it is an excellent piece for both offensive and defensive types of play. As such, you can make it your companion in building your ping pong skills.
- Works for both offensive and defensive play
- Offers good control
- Very affordable
- Durable rubber
- Rubber peels off quickly
Ping pong paddles fall into two broad categories, i.e., beginners and expert bats. These two bats will carry different features considering the use they will put into. For instance, advanced players are much quicker and have mastered the game. As such, they will need a versatile and faster paddle.
However, in each category, the quality and performance should be excellent. Quality greatly determines how you play your game. In cases of poor quality, you might not be able to perform techniques or even control the ball.
Professional players use rackets that are highly rated in terms of speed, control and spin. So, the best ping pong paddle ever must meet the laid down standard that governs table tennis. In most cases, players look at the price.
Most entry level rackets come at a meager price considering the slightly low quality as compared to the professional level paddles that are quite pricey.