Best ping pong paddle reviews and buying guide
If you are in search of the best ping pong paddle out there then this is the article for you, here you will get an indebt understanding of all that needs to be done in order to achieve the best selection of a paddle for your level and style. In addition, we will provide you with a selection of fifteen paddles and all its specs, all this just because we care.
What is ping pong?
Just in case you are new to all things ping pong then, we will help you out. Ping-
pong is a sport with players of two or four. Also known popularly as Table-Tennis, it is played on a net divide board with players using a racket to hit a ball to and fro. It is a fast-paced game with the winning aim of hitting the ball fast enough that your competitor(s) misses his, hers or their opportunity of hitting back.
A game where players need to adjust to their opponents’ gameplay, it is a worldwide organization, beginning in the 1920s, it has become an official game played by both males and females competitively and recreationally.
As an indoor game ping pong is played using a ball of 40millimeters in diameter, an indoor or outdoor table of 9ft long and a paddle is otherwise known as racket or bat made of single or dual side rubber protected laminated wood. There are also many strokes(hits on the ball), grips ( hold on bats) that make up the ping pong game.
Reviews, specifications, pros, and cons of ping pong paddles
Just as promised, we will give you a list of some of the most used ping pong bats available in the market with their specifications, pros, cons, and links to amazon purchase pages.
What Else Do You Need With Ping Pong Paddle?
If You are thinking of being a professional in this field you need some other things that are mandatory. Like ping pong tables without this, you can not play the game, balls are crucial as well, the robot is to take your practice session to the next level, shoes are that material which will be needed for the game rule.
Or if you want to play this game as a good source of entertainment, or want to spend quality time with your family members. Then outdoor could be your preference too. In that case, you need to buy outdoor tables. You can set them in your yards or in the garden or wherever you want, it’s up to you.
Or you can play this game to keep you fit. Do you have ideas about the health benefits of ping pong? Of course, you do. This is really an outstanding game to keep you fit and your family members and friends as well. So you should not miss out on that chance to get a healthy life with this amazing game.
How do I choose the best ping pong paddle for me?
Now that we have a basic understanding of what ping pong is, we can move on to how to choose the right paddle for you.
Ping pong is actually an easy sport to learn, that is probably why it’s played by so many around the world. Knowing the right paddle though isn’t as easy, as there is a vast ocean of things to set right first. Don’t fear we are here to guide you.
The first thing to consider is what play style you fall under. Whether as a professional or an amateur this is important. There are two main play-styles tagged Defensive and Offensive.
Defensive play is basically protecting yourself from loosing, using various skills such as the Lob, the chop, the push, and the block. All these ensure that whatever attack your opponent throws at you, you can safely get out of it first. This style is great for new players.
Offensive style is where a player attacks his or her opponent completely with the aim of knocking him/ her off their game. With styles like the smash, the hit, the counter-hit, the flip and finally the hoop, this is most suited for more advanced players.
Sometimes as a beginner you might be unsure which you fall under, we advise that you take a little practice run with a borrowed bat and possibly have a professional player or an advanced player watch you play and then decide which you fall under.
There is a possibility also that you can fall under both which regularly happens to first-timers, where you end up using bits of both the offensive and the defensive style. Don’t worry, it is still considered a style although not professionally, but you can begin with that and then perfect your style choice.
This is the next step to take. Paddles don’t all dig a hole through your pocket but of course, there are those that are in the higher end of the budget. Once you realize your playing style, you should also consider how far you plan on going in this game. Are you just going at it for recreational purposes, without any interest in advancing farther than your garage or a sports club or friendly matches?
Or are you thinking of going pro no matter how little? Or are you already something of an advanced player but are in search of the best ping pong paddle for you? Well whatever the case may be, it is wise to choose a budget-friendly bat that fits your playing level and is certain of some level of durability, efficiency, and effectiveness. Once you are certain of that much then you can move on to the next step.
The next step to consider is what grip you wish to use. To do this let us give you a rundown on the available Grip patterns in ping pong.
This is by far the most popular ping pong grip in use. It looks very much like a Handshake hence the name, in this grip, the paddle is placed between a player’s thumb and the first finger, with the first finger, kept outstretched on the paddle and the rest of the fingers wrapped around the handle.
Its’ popularity in the world of western players also earned it the name of western style. Some notable players who have kept to the style are Vladimir Samsonov, Zhang Jike and a lot more in and out of the western player world. The shake hand grip has two shades to it, the shallow shake hand and the deep Shakehand.
The shallow Shakehand grip, while the first finger and other fingers remain in their position the thumb will rest on the blade.
Pros of this method are
- The Shakehand grip gives room to shift the angle of the paddle due to its loose grip
- It gives room to move around the wrist which in turn gives a stronger power and spin to attacked balls
- It is usually the first style beginners feel comfortable with
- Perfect for both a front and a backhand stroke.
The only negative found using this grip is a situation called the cross over point where players are very likely to be indecisive on which hand side to use, front or backhand side, which can result in a losing round for inexperienced players who are not quick enough to make that decision.
And in the deep Shakehand grip, the thumb will rest on the rubber.
- It gives firm hold on the paddle which stops excess movement in a players hand
- Reduces flexibility for players who use controlled strokes when playing
- Good for both back and front hand strokes
- Best style for players who play defensively.
- are the same as with the shallow Shakehand grip
It is the second most widely known style. In this style, the thumb and the first finger is used to hold the bat, with the two fingers placed at the front, while the rest of the fingers are folded behind the bats head similar to how one might hood a pen. There are three types of the Penhold grips; the Japanese/Korean grip, the Chinese grip, and the reverse backhand grip.
The Japanese/Korean grip: in addition to how the thumb and first finger are placed the last three fingers are kept tightly together in a straight upright manner.
- Gives a powerful forehand stroke
- Gives a strong spin and serve
- Good for players who favor a distance play
- Causes movement restrictions
- Difficulty in mastery for learners
- Causes difficulty in delivering a backhand stroke
- Needs players with prowess in foot control
Chinese Penhold: most widely used and extremely popular amongst players in the Asian world. The racket is held by players with the blade facing down, with players almost always standing closer to the table than those who use other styles.
- Perfect for players who play close to the table
- Enables flexible wrist movement
- Ensures powerful attacking serves and strokes
- Perfect for front hand strokes
- There is only one side the forehand side which eliminates the problem of crossover.
- Due to having just one side there is difficulty in performing any backhand movement.
There is also the reverse penholders’ style which is not very widely used. There are also a number of other styles which though do not have as much popularity, are still in use by some players in the ping pong world, such as the V grip, the Seemiller and a host of others.
This is the depth of it all. There is a lot to be discussed here and you can be sure that we will leave no stone unturned.
To begin, most blades come in an inch measurement of 6 to 10, this is from top to bottom. It comprises of 6 parts, the handle, the blade, the forehand sponge, the backhand sponge, the forehand rubber and the backhand rubber. Sometimes you can see a fully assembled paddle but a good number of times they come disassembled.
Assembled paddles tend not to be favorable for advanced players but it can be okay for beginners who are yet to understand the various available combination options. If you have to use a fully done paddle be sure to buy from some of the more renowned names like Butterfly, Stigma or Yasaka. At least you are assured of quality. If you choose to assemble a paddle to your taste then read on.
Handle: the first thing to know when assembling your own racket is the type of handle available and which best suits you. Although there is no specific best handle, there are a number of handles available and it would be wise to try out a few before finally purchasing one.
The best handle should be between 100 to 102 mm long for those who need an average length and for those who enjoy the long handles then 103 to 104 should do fine. Only get the short length handle is you have chosen a Penhold style. There are five main branches of handle: the Flared, the straight, the Chinese, the anatomic, the conic.
The Flared; is the most commonly used to handle. It is thin top and wider at the bottom
- Best suited for players with a forehand play prowess
- Best for a lob style play
The Straight: the round version is the basic style of the straight handle while the square version is a recent addition used by some ping pong production companies. It also comes in a flat shape that is used by defensive or oversized blades.
- It comes as round or square
- Is good for movement between the front and backhand
- Good for backhand power balance
The Chinese Characteristics
- Preferred by Penhold players
- Perfect for serving
- Gives wrist freedom
- Good for forehand attack
- Not good for backhand strokes
The Anatomic: similar to the flared angle it differs only by the bump at the middle that fits the hand
- Good for those who use the hitting technique
- Not good for the lop technique
- Not very good for long-distance play
- Not a popular use
- Good for those using all-round styles
- It gives discomfort for those with big hands.
There are more handle types like the Donic Dotec handles that are very comfortable almost like the anatomic handles. It is very suitable for those hat suffered injuries to the wrist. And there are special shapes that come in all sorts of weird styles but can be beneficial to those who suffer varied disabilities. As an added advice if most rackets available to you seem too small at the handle, you can use a grip tape for a better feel.
Blade: most professional blades are 85% natural wood with an allowance of bits of carbon or glass fiber or compressed wood, every added material cannot exceed 7.5% of a total thickness of 0.35mm. But starters can always use non-professional blades and as they advance can decide which quality of blade suits their game style.
Some blades are made of plastic or little wood compositions, though not suited for professional use, they can be very useful for beginners who want to try out the ping pong game for the first time.
Composite blades are made more for the speed and consistency and less of the spin of the ball and its feel. This doesn’t mean that one cannot find a composite blade that is on par with the spin and feel capacity of a wooden blade and there are those wood-based blades that are also similar in the consistency and speed of composite blades, it all relies on which blade you can find.
Forehand and backhand sponge: rarely available separately from the rubber the sponge can come alone and making a choice depends on your grip and play style. There are a few measurements available for sponge, 1.8mm, 2.0mm, 2.1mm, 2.2mm, 2.3mm or max.
The sponge is used to compress ( when a ball pushes down the sponge) and to store energy ( when the sponge bounces back the ball). Sponges ranging at 1.6 to 2.5mm are used mostly by offensive players and those 1.5 to 2.0 are used by all-round players, while the OX meaning no sponge to 1.6mm is mostly used by defensive players. For new players, it is advisable to use a thinner sponge
The Rubber: most times comes pre-attached to the sponge, but if you have to choose which rubber then you need to know the available types and their uses. The ping pong rubber is a major determinant as to how well you play and there are two main types of rubber sheets the inverted and the pimple.
The inverted rubber sheets are also called the smooth rubber sheets because the pimples or otherwise called pips (the sort of spiky tops of the rubber) are hidden inside the sponge thereby showing off the smooth side.
It provides the most spin, good for hits and lops, all around and defense players. There are two types of inverted or smooth rubber sheets: The tacky or sticky rubber and the Anti-Topspin. Their difference is in their spin generation and grip.
Anti-Topspin: it has a smooth surface which gives little and slow spin and speed. It is also used more for the block technique. It also has little friction which only nullifies spins created by the opponent, with its ability to reverse the balls’ spin the anti-spin gives its players the benefit of disorienting the opponent since it is still a not so popular type of rubber.
Also beneficiary in slowing down a ball, it also gives control to players who use the chopping technique. Their weak attacks make them more used as a backhand piece.
Tacky or Sticky rubber: used best in ensuring ball spin basically because of the tackiness in the rubber that meets the ball. This means that there is a direct correlation between how tacky the rubber is and how many spins the ball will have.
The higher the rubber tackiness the higher the spin and the lower the tackiness of the rubber the lower the spin. This makes it perfect for lop and spin techniques, however, there is a negative to this type of rubber. That being that players need to figure out the amount of energy the opponents’ ball is spinning with and how much the impact on the players racket the ball will cause, with this knowledge players can determine the best angle to use.
The next type is the pimpled rubber which shows off the pimpled side of the rubber and hides the smooth side. Popular among beginners this type is further divided into two the short pimple and the long pimple
The short pip: their pimples are broad with a little stick its bumpy surface is most times used as a means of not creating a lot of spin in the game since it has little friction. When there is no underlying sponge to the short pip rubber it is the referee to as Hard Rubber.
Short pip is used a lot by players who stand closer to the table, all around and defensive players. Short pips give control and work well for the smash and block techniques. Because of its ability to reduce the ball spin, it is perfect for performing return serve as long as the player knows the right angle and power to use.
Long pips: they contain longer pips than the short pips. They are long and thin and are widely used by defensive players. They slow down and reverse the spin played by the other competitor. Best suited for a defensive player, offensive players find it hard to play with it, this makes it a popular choice for single side use. But just like the anti-spin rubber, they can cause disorientation to the opponents.
The sponge and rubber are both determinates of the spin; which refers to the spin of the ball when a loop technique is used. It is highly reliant on many factors other than the rubbers spinning rate, with its sensitivity to strokes played and the speed of the incoming ball.
Speed refers to the swiftness of the ball, which also relies on more than one factor like the blade or the thickness of the sponge and the technique played. It is also used to determine the efficiency of one rubber to the other, it also refers to the rate at which the ball goes back at forth the players.
and control of the ball which is based on the thickness and hardness of both, to get a good control you would need to give up on one of spin or speed. Players who play defense games are more likely to use rubbers with slow speed while offensive players go for the high-speed rubbers. Note that the more speedy a rubber can get a ball to be, the harder it will be to manage.
Sponges with higher thickness give better speed and spin while giving more paddle weight and a cushion feel and those with more thinness give better control while giving a feel of wood and lightweight.
Other things to consider when choosing the best ping pong paddle are the
Glue: thought the most time come side by side the rubber, still if you have to buy them separately ensure that you buy a professional rubber glue which is water-based. They should come fully packed with the cleaners. Some glues have been speculated to support the speed of the ping pong rubber. There are two types of glues used by ping pong players, the quick glue sheets and the water-based ping pong glue.
Side tape: also known as edge tape, is used to improve the ping pong rackets balance and reduce the possibility of early rubber peeling. Set around the edge of the ping pong bat, this piece of equipment can be used to cover only the wooden part of the bat or the wood an edge of the rubber. Although not a compulsory accessory it is still popularly used by players because of the cosmetic finishing is gives to their paddles. The tape can be as wide as 12mm and can be used to hide rough bat edges and poor rubber gluing finishes.
Grip tape: they are used to give firmness and control to the ping pong handle. Used less by professional ping pong players, the grip tape is still regarded as an accessory to the paddles. It also ensures that new players don’t have their rackets sliding about their hands when playing. The grip tape also works as a cosmetic attachment to a players paddle, since they come in various colors, favorable to each players style
Why are ping pong paddles two colors?
There are two approved colors of ping pong rubbers; red and black. The reason for this began quite a while ago when ping pong advanced from being just a leisure sport to a competitive sport played by many internationally. Back then, in the beginning, players, in order to win, would use various rubbers of the same color with the hope that they can confuse the opponent into not knowing which side had more speed or spin force, which was quite effective.
In time the ITTF international table tennis federation came to the conclusion that rubbers must be made of two separate colors so that opponents can get a clue on which side of the bat does better and at what. To create fairness in both sides the rule was approved and only
rubbers with the ITTF log on them.
Do ping pong paddles make a difference?
Most professionals have made a clear statement that getting the right mix of paddle assortment can lead to better performance while playing and the truth is that yes, they are right.
Various accessories to the racket have varied impact on how the game might pan out. With the right settings, you can have a more effective and dominant paddle to that of your opponent. Getting the right rubber and sponge that works well with your playing techniques ensures that each move you play goes just as you planned or better.
Paddles made for a defensive player who uses more of the chop or lob techniques won’t work right for an offensive player who uses the smash or loop techniques. Rubbers that have less spinning power will be ineffective to defensive players and more useful to an offensive player.
The sponges serve as an improvement in the way the balls will react and counter react, getting this phase right gives the player better spin and serve to make each play a powerful and possibly winning move.
While the blade and handle give comfort and control to players, ensuring that you can effectively execute your desired play while also supporting your defensive style and counter moves. The different handle types not only ensure comfort but also has a preference for some playing styles and techniques.
Short handles are better for Penhold players and longer handles are favored by those that play the Shakehand style. Bigger handles are better for those with big palms and some players prefer smaller handles that can be made into their size with the use of grip tape. Although ping pong is more about player’s skills and techniques since a very good player can use any type of bat and still probably win, yet it isn’t a fine choice to use any paddle out there, getting the right paddle will give you a fair edge when playing.
In the end in addition to player’s skills and agility, the right paddle works well to improve a player’s personality as well as his or her chances of being the Victor at the end of a match.
What is the best Ping pong rubber then?
There is no yes or no answer to this question. The only answer would be that the best rubber is that which fits your play style and your techniques. Now you have a more than basic knowledge of the types of rubber, their uses and their pros and cons, after making your choice on the play style you want to use, you can decide which rubber suits your personality and fit it into your equipment.
All these are things you need to know before you choose the right best paddle for you.
Buying guide to the get the best ping pong paddles
Ping pong has become a widely played sport around the world with players of all ages and gender and with the ease of learning and a relatively cheaper cost of equipment (that is in relation to other big-name sports) the ping pong market is at its peak.
Buying a paddle is the most personal part of a ping pong game, as it reflects who the players are and their gaming techniques and prowess. Most players have taken great care to buy the right paddle for their gaming needs and why shouldn’t you too?
Whether you are a new player, an advancing player, an already advanced player or a pro you will be in need at some point in time of paddle purchase or change. If that is so then you this guide is for you. Here are the major things to keep in mind when buying a paddle.
Cost: as a very crucial point, this lets you know what exactly you are willing to get. If you are budget tight then you should keep in mind that you cannot get some of the best qualities with a limited budget, a bat-like a Butterfly balsa Carbo x5- FL, is a top-notch pro paddle and won’t come budget-friendly.
So if you wish to get the very best quality and durability you should be open to a budget of $200 and more But again the ping pong sports has a bat for all and one can find bats of $60 and bellow like the Stiga Evolution which can be gotten for around $40-50.
Pre or assemble bats: would you prefer a pre-assembled bat or would you prefer buying a completely unassembled bat. Remember that buying a pre-assembled bat means that there might be things you don’t like about it and might not be able to change immediately or at all.
If you can live with that then ensure you buy from producers with some reputation in the ping pong world, try Yasaka or Stiga or Butterfly or Killerspin. All these are reputable and you can at least be assured that they won’t want to pull down their name with inferior products.
If you choose to assemble a bat yourself then be prepared to take on some work and trust me when you are done, you will be glad, lookout for a good rubber, sponge (if the sponge isn’t already attached to the rubber), blade, glue and handle. Best to go for the same product.
Blade: when buying a blade alone ( this is if you choose to assemble your own paddle) lookout for the following specs if you decide to go for a composite blade over an all-wood blade.
If it is a blade made of a single material then look for those that have one of these Carbons ( most times black), Zylon ( yellow in color), Kevlar ( blue in color), Aralyte ( cream in color) or fiberglass ( most times dyed but naturally clear colored). If it is a mixed material composite blade then look out for Carbon and Aralyte, Carbon and Kevlar or Carbon and Zylon.
Playstyle: buy only paddles that favor your play style in relation to the handle, blade, and rubber. Ensure that you know beforehand your playing style, defense or offense, and your grip preference, shake a hand, pen grip, V grip or others. Once you are certain about that, then your shopping would be a lot easy.
Review: just to give you some more confidence in your buying choice, check out the product you wish to buy beforehand. There are a number of reviews showing complete detail of many ping pong paddle products. Look out for the pros and cons and then the specifications and lastly customer reviews and see how well you can manage that product, if it suits you and how best to keep it long-lasting.
It’s less advisable to buy new named products especially when you are budget tied or when you plan on using it professionally, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Stick to those who have stood the test of time and those that might even offer some warranty.
Once you have done all these checks you are certain to be purchasing the paddle for you and if done right you just might land yourself a signature paddle.
What is the best ping pong paddle to buy?
With ping pong, there is no seemingly best thing for all players only more preferable choices. There are too many things to consider from player’s comfort to a player’s style and grip. The popular bat then is one that has the right weight for you, which will enable you to swing it around freely.
The best bat is one that has the most favorable grip to you, that gives you control and agility while ensuring comfort. The best bat is the one that has the best rubber for your play and handles for your style. Whatever suits your personality and style best is the best ping pong paddle to buy.
Ping pong is a fun game for all and whether you choose to play it professionally or for fun with friends there is no harm in getting the best ping pong paddle for you. But whatever choice you end up with be sure that you think through all that you need and pick that which covers all your wishes or at least the basic need.
After purchase remembers to change out the rubber once it begins to wear out and for those who end up buying a grip tape be sure to have them changed regularly as they all assist you to be a better player. For new players, it’s fine to experiment a little with different paddles until you advance so much that you are certain of what you want in your paddles.