We all remember unforgettable and exciting friendly table tennis games in a long-abandoned warehouses, noisy and suffocating local bars, in a friend’s basement with an improvised extended table made of regular dining table, or recreational centers where the host or worker of the center would bring a bunch of ragged, broken, usable or unusable table tennis paddles. Some would be without a whole wood en handle, or just with a half-broken, some without rubber in the front or in the back – with just a musty sponge on it.
The game would begin instantly, from the first moment of digging and picking up the best paddle for yourself. Careful observation focused looks at whether there is some sign of the ‘look-alike’ originals, observing height and weight, separating those with terrifying sponges, putting a paddle in hand and swinging with it just to check how it fits in the hand, and to see whether it can produce a quality spin.
Usually, someone who lost the game would have had the excuse that the paddle he chose was poor, lack of quality, produces a bad spin. Sometimes, it would be to the players level of play. But, it would really have logic sometimes. The loser would ask to exchange the paddle with the winner, and in the second game, the racket would have improved the performance of the losing side. A guy with the new tennis paddle would have better accuracy, speed, power, and as a result, he would get a winning combination.
Simply, sometimes it really depends on the quality of a table tennis paddle!
Table tennis paddle design
Table tennis paddle is usually made from laminated wood covered with rubber on one or two sides.
There are two main parts from which a table tennis paddle is designed: the blade (the wooden part, which also includes the handle), and the rubber (which includes the sponge). The handle design can be separated into 3 types: Flared, Anatomic or Straight.
Table tennis paddle has different surfaces on each side for various amounts of spin or speed handling. The rubber coating may consist of pimpled rubber, or it may be composed of a sponge layer, covered by rubber that may have the pimples (pointed inwards or outwards). For example, a player may have a spin-heavy rubber on one side of his paddle, and no spin on the other side. In that way, during the game, he can flip the paddle for different types of returns.
Purchasing table tennis paddle
Regardless of whether you are an amateur, a recreational table tennis player who just wants to have his own paddle, or you want to elevate your ping pong performance to another level, when choosing a table tennis racket you should always take in consideration some of the really important following questions:
a) What is the reason for buying a table tennis paddle?
The first thing to ask yourself is – Do I need it for individual purposes (if I do, for what purposes), or perhaps just to show my love for somebody through a thoughtful gift? If you are buying as a gift, you should take in consideration whether if you are buying for you or someone who is a professional, amateur, beginner, a recreational player, or is just a table tennis fan, and have his own collection of table tennis rackets. The same thing applies to the reverse situation.
b) How much money did you plan to spend (budget)?
Determine the amount of money you are planning to spend. There is a wide range of prices on the market. Some of them will be tolerable, and some of them will make your head explode. The price depends on a variety of reasons, from a quality, popularity on market, design, brands…
c) What performance in the game would you like to improve?
Let’s say that you have already decided to buy a table tennis paddle for yourself, and you would like to improve your game as much as possible. The primary reason in finding the right table tennis racket is knowing what style of player you are, and what aspects of the game would you like to improve – Speed? Spin? Control? Power?
Choose the right one!
All below mentioned table tennis paddles are the best quality recommended for purchasing. It’s up to you to determine to which category you belong to, so you can choose one of them. First, determine the level of your game, and after that agree with yourself what suits you the most for your style of playing, and what would you like to improve.
Let’s make a brand review and divide the brands according to some elementary categories of the players:
As a beginner, you don’t need to have the best table tennis paddle in the world, but to have a paddle that allows you to spin the ball and develop a good feeling for the game. As a beginner you need to take in consideration some of the most recommended ping pong rackets for beginners:
This brand is recognized as a pretty much one of the best quality rackets for beginners, both in America and in the United Kingdom.
The specific characteristic of Palio Expert 2 is that he is a “newborn child” of an exclusive collaboration between “Palio” and “Expert Table Tennis”. Combined from two features – Palio CJ8000 rubbers that are brilliantly and designed to perfectly generate a spin while maintaining control of paddle, and the blade from Expert Table Tennis to improve a grip and the possibility of a more comfortable feeling of holding a racket. This custom bat is specifically designed in the UK for the UK market.
Speed (6/10) – This is not a fast racket, but for the beginners is more than enough. Many players go for fast paddles, wanting to get to the results as soon as possible, but they make mistakes in the first steps. They don’t develop any feeling of control over the ball.
Control (9/10) – What makes him different from the other paddles is maximum control over him. You will be able to make some incredible shots, and still, keep the ball on the table, just a little above the net.
Spin (8.5/10) – One of the characteristic features of this paddle is also his ability to produce a good quality spin. What makes his spin so special is his “Palio CJ8000” rubbers which enables good spinning of the ball.
Price (8/10) – The Palio Expert 2 is priced around 29.99£ in the UK, and 39.99$ in the USA. It certainly isn’t the cheapest racket out there but then for the price, maybe one of the best that you can get.
II) Bribar Winning Loop
This brand of a table tennis paddle is aimed towards advanced beginners and has an impressive reputation among ping pong players. The Birbar Winning Loop paddle is a mixture of the same brand JOOLA. The rubbers for both forehand and backhand are JOOLA Zack, appreciated German-made rubber with a very high level of control and spin. The blade is a JOOLA Falcon Medium, a light-weight wooden blade which offers lots of control. This brand is most recommended in the UK, but players from the USA are using it as well.
Speed (6/10) – The paddle is not so fast, and if you have a very passive style of playing, this may not be the best suit for you. If your movements are too slow, you probably won’t get much from the paddle.
Control (8.5/10) – As the rubber-blade combination is not too fast, it’s quite easy to deal with incoming spin and keep the ball on the table. While being offensive, the paddle is also good in keeping the ball low at the table, as well as incredibly easy to block topspin.
Spin (9.5/10) – Interesting fact about this paddle is that you can easily generate a lot of spins. So to say, as much as any professional paddle. The paddle is very nice to serve with. It’s easy to keep serves low, and you can get a nice amount of spin.
Price (8.5/10) – As for the price, at the current moment it’s varying somewhere between 36.99£ and 54.99£ in UK, which is maybe even really good price that you can get for this quality.
This level of play could not be characterized as a beginner, but not as an intermediate. It’s somewhere in the middle. There are some more facets needed to match the player from the starting level to the middle one, and there is a table tennis paddle for that level.
III) Stiga Evolution
The Premium rubbers and Stiga Evolution blade are the perfect combination for beginners on the step to become intermediate players. With the Stiga Evolution blade that has Shock Dispersion Tube, and The Premium rubbers that make higher levels of speed and spin makes this racket a ‘control maniac’.
Speed (7/10) – While this is not the most powerful table tennis racket out there, it’s no underestimating either. For the beginner, the speed can sometimes look like uncontrollable, but as soon as you get used to it, it gradually becomes a beast in your hands.
Control (10/10) – Like any other sport, control plays a major role in success. Fortunately, this paddle was created with that exact feature in mind. Rubbers, Shock Dispersion Tube, Concave Pro handle makes this racket in top of the ‘control freaks’ among paddles.
Spin (8/10) – The blade is made out of 6 plies of light wood, on top of which, sits 2mm of sponge. With countless microscopic air bubbles, this premium rubber enables a very decent spin.
Price (7/10) – The price range varies from 40$ to 120$ in the US. Although it might be not affordable for every wallet, this price is somehow in the middle of the price range. Maybe you can get a better paddle for the same amount of money.
Players who regularly take part in local competitions and have had a high degree of success. These players possess very good fundamentals but lack the experience and certain aspects of their game, such as speed, power, stamina, killer instinct, gameplay.
The Eastfield offensive table tennis paddle brand is a mixture of The Eastfield Ashwood 7-ply blade and The ITTF approved Eastfield A-Pro 2.1mm rubbers which together provides fantastic speed, spin, and control.
Speed (7.5/10) – A-Pro is a European-style new generation rubber. It’s not too fast to lose control and rocket table tennis ball in the sky. It can generate huge amounts of spin, without being too sensitive to incoming spins. Actually, the Eastfield offensive paddle is not among fastest table tennis rackets. You would need to extend your stroke, and use a bit more physical power to produce more speed.
Control (10/10) – An ultimate control. You don’t need to have a big technique to keep the ball on the table. Blocking is almost a piece of cake. You have a feeling that you can block the whole day.
Spin (8.5/10) – The serves, sidespins, and backspins are almost unpredictable. They can go just a bit over the net. Although the ball is not fast as it should be, it’s still not recommendable for the intermediate level to be incredibly fast. The key point is to generate topspin.
Price (8/10) – At this point, the price for the paddle is 49.95£ which is maybe a bit overrated. In a defense of that price, the bat is made really well, so you could have plenty of use of it.
If you search for a table tennis racket who have really good performance, then Idoraz should be your choice. Idoraz has robust construction and thick ITTF improved rubber which makes this table tennis paddle perfect for high-level game-play. Also, the construction is 100% made of wood, which is more enjoyable for grip, speed, and control.
Speed (9/10) – This paddle weighs 0.4lb meaning handling and using it is one easy experience, which also influences on speed. Highly rating for speed with perfectly balanced frame makes Idoraz a best ping pong paddles for intermediate players. Since this kind of speed is not recommended yet, although you are on an intermediate level, maybe the best practice for your speed is to start playing with Idoraz.
Control (7/10) – Because of his speed performance, Idoraz is not easy to control. Rating for control on Idoraz table tennis paddle is 7, and that’s because of the mixture of 2.00 mm rubber coating and weigh 0.4lb. The control of the play is slightly lower than others, but with this table tennis racket, you can improve your control.
Spin (9/10) – The rubber has plenty of grips to put a spin on the ball, while the easy handle of the table tennis paddle helps us to have easy control over the spin.
Price (10/10) – You can get Idoraz table tennis paddle for a very low price. Believe it or not, it’s 40$ at this moment. Don’t let the price fool you. Although when they say that “when you don’t know what is good, you know what is expensive” sometimes isn’t always advisable to rely on this folk proverb.
As a professional, you probably have a long-standing experience in the table tennis game, as well as participation and perhaps medals from many tournaments. You may want to bring your game to the maximum, and you want to find the right table tennis paddle for you.
Butterfly 603 Shakehand is a pre-made table tennis racket. He has a Wakabba rubber on both sides, and his heaviness is due to 5-ply wooden blade which gives more power and gives you the advantage to adapt to every single style of your opponent. Also, the flared handle makes the grip a lot easier, and simpler for rotation. It leans more towards aggressive and offensive players.
Speed (9/10) – His speed is almost perfectly in balance with the other features. If you are a beginner, you can easily lose control over it, but if you are experienced a bit, you can get the best out of him. 2.1 mm rubber coating gives him his speed performance ahead of others.
Control (8.5/10) – Due to his heaviness it’s not easy to control this monster. The ergonomics of the butterfly 603 paddle is well designed to offer a superior grip and comfort while playing, which makes control a lot easier.
Spin (9/10) – As much as any professional design, the 2.1 mm rubber coating gives him an edge over other competitors. Quick-spinning balls flying fast just above the net with such precision that it throws on the troubles and the best table tennis players.
Price (10/10) – The price range is from 60$ up to 200$. No matter the range of your budget, you should always aim for quality instead of quantity. When manufacturers were designing 603 ping-pong paddle, they had in mind to make a quality paddle that could be affordable for all the professionals who were interested in making a table tennis career.
VII) Stiga Pro Carbon
It might be that you already know this, but Stiga is one of the most compelling tables tennis manufacturers out there. The blade of the racket is built from 5 plies of balsa wood and 2 of carbon, for a total of 7 plies. This combination gives the Pro Carbon a lot of power. This is perfect for attacking and offensive players.
Speed (10/10) – Stiga Pro Carbon has an incredible and exceptional speed. His Concave Pro handle mixed up with 2.0mm sponge makes this paddle incredibly fast and accurate. The science behind Stigas Pro Carbon speed is crystal technology – STIGA’s unique process that hardens the surface of the blade, increasing the speed.
Control (8/10) – Players who are looking for control-oriented paddle will not find it here. You just can’t have a powerful and fast paddle that is at the same time easy to control. His weight of 0.41lb makes this paddle hard to control.
Spin (9.5/10) – Stiga designed the S5 rubber specifically for aggressive players. This gives the rubber elasticity, and at the same time keeping it very light. The fact that it has a thick, 2.0mm sponge, gives it a catapult effect, which contributes to the paddle’s maximum amount of spinning.
Price (8.5/10) – The strange thing about the current price of this paddle is that it varies from 64$ to 640$. When you decide to buy this, you should be cautious if that is original or not.
Although you may not like the answer to the question of which racket to choose from all of these – in the end it all comes down to it “to which it suits the best.” Regardless of the ratings, the expert’s ratings, the estimates from other users and players, before each purchase, it would be best if you take the racket in your hand and feel it passes, and even try it for a while.