Table tennis or ping pong is a one the most popular indoor sports in the world.
Usually being played between two to four players at a time ping pong, or table tennis as it is also known is played using a table (hence the name table tennis) a paddle and a ping pong ball.
This game is played in the Olympics and many other international tournaments and continues to grow in popularity with millions of people playing the game each and every day.
If you’re new to the game of ping pong then ensuring you have the correct equipment is of paramount importance. You will need to buy a table, paddle, and balls to play with and this guide will review and compare the best ping pong paddles available, the most important tool to any good ping pong player.
If you’re a beginner it may also be likely that you will need to learn the rules of ping pong, in which case we also have you covered.
Whether you’re a complete ping pong newbie or an experienced player, we hope the following buyer’s guide will help shed some light on the different types of paddles available helping you to make the best choice for your needs. The guide also contains details on all of the important aspects you should check before purchasing a ping pong racket to help improve your game.
What is the difference between ping pong and table tennis?
As already outlined above, ping pong is a renowned indoor sport with people from all over the world playing the game.
Firstly to clear up any confusion, table tennis and ping pong really are the same thing, however, table tennis is usually reserved for competition play, with the most important of those competitions being the Olympic games. Ping pong is the friendly version of the game played with friends or family. For this reason, this guide will refer to ping pong but when we do make sure to know we also mean table tennis!
Because of the popularity of the sport, it is probably quite obvious that many companies and brands produce high-quality equipment in order to play the game with.
Aren’t all ping pong bats the same?..No, and here’s why..
There are three main types of the ping pong paddles available and this section break down the difference between each type of bat below:
‘All-round’ ping pong rackets are designed with beginners in mind. This type of paddle suits a variety of playing styles which means it isn’t a specialized bat for any one approach. This makes this type of racket perfect for those learning the game and looking to improve.
You can defend, attack and control the game according to your demands with an ‘all-round’ paddle, and this type of bat will not hold you back in any one area.
Most leading manufacturers use hard piles inside the blades and a softer material outside the blade which may mean you do not generate as much speed with an ‘all-round’ bat as with other paddles but it does mean you can better control and spin the ball on the table, perfect for bamboozling your opponents.
When it comes to playing a defensive game, you will need a paddle with a softer blade. Basically, this means the blade should not consist of a large number of piles. By containing fewer piles the blade becomes more flexible meaning you can get in position to control the ball for more easily, returning the ball and putting your opponent back under pressure.
Defensive paddles also come with a rubber that comprises long pimples to reduce the speed of the ball for a better defense against an aggressive player.
Not everyone believes in spinning the ball and playing a defensive game.
You may be one of those players and aim to get an upper hand on your opponent by hitting the ball with speed and moving them from side to side.
To do this effectively you will need an offensive racket to fit your style of play.
These type of ping pong bat come with thicker rubber so that you can generate more speed with most manufacturers using smooth rubber to help create this power.
Most professional table tennis players competing in international tournaments will use one of these three types’ of bat to play and win games.
Finding the best ping pong paddle to suit your game
Choosing a table tennis racket can be a daunting task, particularly with so many different types and brands to choose from.
Many people new to the sport also get confused with some retailers advertising table tennis paddles as bats or rackets. These all are the same thing and we refer to all three within these guides so you understand there is no difference between them.
Regardless of how good you are, you should aim to find the paddle for your budget, whether you’re playing for fun or to improve your skills.
A ping pong racket consists of three important parts, a blade, rubber and sponge. If these three parts are well made, then the bat is perfect.
The fact you’ve made it this means you are almost certainly interested in investing your bucks wisely, with a top-quality racket top of your agenda. To do this, you must consider a few things before rushing into a purchase.
How long do you intend to use the paddle pad?
This is an important question and must be considered if you want to buy the best table tennis paddle to suit your needs. It is also important because you will find two types of bats on the market, factory assembled and manually assembled.
Factory assembled table tennis rackets are not for you if you want to play the game frequently. Unfortunately, this type of paddle does not always offer a long lasting service and the quality very much depends on the brand you choose.
Depending on the quality of the paddle the rubber installed over the bat may get dry quickly and the performance of the racket will decrease with time, meaning if you’re a serious player who plays for several hours every day you will see a significant drop in your paddle’s performance over time.
However with this said, this type of bat is usually fine for the normal social ping pong player and if you fit into that mold than it should be your first choice, especially if you only intend to use your paddle sparingly each day, or even just a few times a week.
Of course, whether your plan is to become a professional table tennis player or not, you still want a durable paddle and if you don’t mind investing a little bit more than it may be worth purchasing a manually assembled table tennis racket.
However, as many people play ping pong for recreational purpose and do not compete in tournaments it really does come down to individual preference.
Of course, the manually assembled bats are more expensive than factory assembled rackets so this should be an important factor in your decision. The main reason for this is because manufacturers use more durable materials to produce these paddles. This means you can easily customize different parts of the racket and make it completely unique. It also means you can replace the rubber and maintain your racket for a long time.
It is quite simple to peel off the rubber and install a new one purchased at the local store or online. When you do this, you feel like playing your playing with a brand new bat every time you change the rubber and that’s what makes manually assembled batss a better choice for a long-lasting use.
Do you play a control oriented game, aggressive or depend on spin?
Buying a table tennis racket without consideration for the type of game you prefer to play wouldn’t be something we would recommend.
It is likely you will never find the right racket for you if you concentrate only on the paddle features and not on your individual style of play.
This means you should carefully consider the features of a paddle blade when it comes to speed and power, but constantly consider how those aspects of the ping pong bat will impact your game.
If you are a player who believes in smashing a lot of powerful shots back over the new and enjoy playing a fast-paced game, a bat with a multilayered blade would be the best choice if you’re looking to see improvement in your performance.
If this is the case, ideally there should be five or more layers over the blade for optimal performance. Some manufacturers even produce multilayer blades with additional materials like carbon fiber and titanium carbon but you will get better speed with a lightweight racket.
Supposing speed is not your first priority during ping pong and you instead focus on winning the game by confusing your opponent with spin, you should buy a paddle equipped with tacky rubber.
This would be the best table tennis paddle for you because you would be able to produce more spin and cause even more confusion when your opponent tries to read the flight and speed of the ball.
This type of paddle is also good for those who can spin the ball with pace. So, choose a paddle with high-tension rubber and everyone will be amazed when watching you play.
Of course, it is not possible to try out ping pong paddles when you are buying it online. To ensure you still make the right choice you can check the quality and performance by checking the grades and reviews left by other players.
Many manufacturers endorse their paddles with grades of speed, spin, and control. A grade 10 paddle is the best of its class and this is likely to be more expensive than other paddles. The grading system is a great way to see how a ping pong paddle matches up with similar bat and has made the online purchase of ping pong paddles very easy for the buyers.
Ping Pong is not an easy game to play and beginners will likely learn new skills each and every time they play. Becuase of the difficulty of ping pong choosing the right paddle can be a big help.
In fact, professionals change their rackets according to the type of the game they want to play. You will improve your ping pong skills quickly during the early days of playing. This means you should consider the skills you want to learn now and buy a paddle accordingly.
Do you want to become a professional table tennis player?
Although many readers may just be looking to take up ping pong for fun, some of you may also believe you have the skill and talent to become a professional table tennis player.
Of course, if this is the case then hard work and regular practice are also mightly important. To ensure you can practice around the clock, buying a ping-pong table and setting it up in your home for regular practice is a definite must if you want to get to the very top.
Not only will this be a great source of entertainment at home but it will also help you learn more about the game by playing so often.
When it comes to table tennis bats, you may think that a recreational racket can help you in improving your performance, but that is not going to happen.
The recreational paddles are not durable enough, offer limited features, and just aren’t going to help you compete with the best.
You will have to spend a considerable amount if you want to buy a pro racket and we have listed some important factors that you should consider in order to buy the right paddle if you want to be the best player you can be.
What is your budget?
The main thing you need to consider before buying a ping pong paddle is the price. The price mainly depends on the quality of the materials used to produce the bat and also on the type of paddle, as outlined above.
Recreational paddles do not cost as much as those used by professionals or players who play the game every day so you do not have to worry if you don’t want to break the bank. However, you will obviously have to invest a good amount in the table tennis racket if you want to become a pro table tennis player, so the price of paddles depend very much on your needs with price points available for all types of players.
The top ten paddles we have reviewed below take your budget into consideration so many of the bats we compare won’t cost you an arm and a leg if you just want to have a hit with friends rather than train for the next Olympics!
Top Ten Best Ping Pong Racket Reviewsb
The sheer amount of choice available to you when it comes to choosing a ping pong paddle is both a good and bad thing. Obviously, the competition between brands mean quality remains high while costs are kept low. However, the amount of choice can also mean you don’t even know where to start when comparing and reviewing bats. To make your task a little easier we have reviewed the top 10 best ping paddles below so you haven’t got to spend hours trawling online to find what you’re looking for.
1. MAPOL 4
The MAPOL 4 Star ping pong racket is a great choice for those who want better control of the ball during games of table tennis.
With this option, you also get two paddles in a set, perfect if you’ve recently purchased a table at home and need more than one bat.
The actual bat offers a large rubber face with 2mm thick sponge and a 7-ply wood blade.
It is slightly heavier than other ping pong paddles reviewed in this round up, which may suit players who like to play power shots back at their opponents.
This weight is offset by comfortable handles meaning you can play for hours without having to stop. The thickness of 7 plywood blade is perfect another reason why the handle is so comfortable. With this not only can you hit effective power shots but you should be able to defend better and also notice a much greater control over the ball, allowing you create angles across the whole table with your shots.
This should be your first choice if you want to improve your performance like a pro table tennis player without breaking the bank.
You also get a carry bag for free with this set of tw bats meaning you can transport and store the rackets easily.
- Comfortable handles make this racket a great choice for any level of ping pong player.
- Inexpensive and high-quality rubber is used over the paddle making it extremely cost effective.
- This paddle can be used for both recreational purposes and tournament play.
- Heavy handle and may not be suitable for younger children learning the game, in which case a lighter option would be a better choice.
2. STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket – Double
The Stiga Pro Carbon Double pack is a great choice if you’re looking for two high quality ping pong paddles.
The pro carbon racket is a great choice whether you’re a beginner or even advanced player and is comprised of two carbon piles making the paddle more rigid and allowing you to produce more speed than with normal paddles. This is excellent for getting the upper hand over your opponent.
This top-tier paddle has become the first choice of many pro players who enjoy hitting the ball from farther back, simply because of the speed that can be generated with this paddle but that should stop those of you that are new to ping pong being put off from purchasing this bat.
With the Stiga Pro Carbon you can generate maximum power and increase the speed for loops, smashes or loop kills, all excellent shots to have as part of your ping pong armory.
- Manufactured with ITTF approved rubber meaning this paddle can be used in tournaments.
- Performance-level racket that offers carbon technology for more power and speed. The ratings of speed are 99, control is 80 and spin is 100.
- We found you may not always get enough control for backspin and chops, however that is player dependant.
3. Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1
An amazing professional grade table tennis paddle, the Killerspin JET800 offers incredible power.
Professional table tennis players we spoke to agreed that the Killerspin Jet800 is one of the most balanced table tennis bats produced by Killerspin.
The paddle may look simple, but the manufacturer has designed it to meet several requirements for a range of players.
The bat offers a dual layer of carbon composite material in the blade, therefore reducing the weight.
You can become a great table tennis player by using this paddle, simply because of its high-quality design. It comprises Killerspin’s patent ITTF approved Nitrx-4Z rubber which offers increased control along with impressive grip, just two features that are likely to help ping pong players of all skill levels.
- The Killerspin JET800Y includes a carbon-induced blade and high-quality ITTF approved rubber meaning you can generate some impressive spin, confusing your opponents in the process.
- Although it is strange to say, at first this paddle does give off a fish-like smell, however, this fades with use.
- It is also priced slightly higher than other rackets reviewed however this is due to the quality of the materials used in the design process and the performance is worth the price tag.
4. Killerspin JET200
Another product from Killerspin, the Jet200 is one of their best selling paddles.
The bat offers five layers of high quality wood and performance rubber.
Built for professionals, the paddle can be just as easily used by intermediate and advanced players and often leads to rapid improvements if you’re new to the game and begin using this paddle.
The main reason for this is because the paddle allows you to generate real power, offering complete control over the ping pong ball and producing some great spin in the process.
Killerspin designed this paddle with equal weight throughout the handle and blade to provide greater balance and we loved every second we spent testing this paddle.
- Produced by Killerspin to offer ultimate control and speed.
- Offers a five-layer plywood blade along with a flared handle for perfect grip.
- 30-day warranty with this paddle.
- Best for beginners and intermediate players, but the Jet800 may be more suited to advanced and professional table tennis players.
5. Killerspin JETBlack
By this point it probably seems like Killerspin is eager to provide the best solution for all types of ping pong players, regardless of skill or experience and you would definitely be right.
If you defend more than you attack, the Jet Black is a great paddle for you and has been designed to improve performance whilst looking great.
It features 5-ply wood blade is perfect to gain control and play with a cool and calm mindset.
The Killerspin Jet Black should be your first choice if you are an intermediate player and is equipped with ITTF approved Nitrx 4Z rubber. In other words, you can use it in any tournament you want.
- A control oriented table tennis paddle.
- Almost guaranteed to improve your defense.
- Stylish design with a black sleeve racket case.
- Not designed for the beginners
- Quite lightweight meaning it can take some getting used to.
6. Duplex 6 Star
Some consider the Duplex 6 Star a slightly expensive paddle but its features more than make up for its price, and we trailed this bat more than any other while putting this article together.
Promoted as the ideal paddle for both beginners and experienced players it offers a wooden blade and handle with the weight equally distributed between these two parts for enhanced performance.
We found that with this paddle you can send the ball back quickly after receiving it on your side, whether it was hit at you with pace or spin.
However although the rubber used on this paddle is durable it is not approved by the ITTF meaning it is a great choice for practice but unfortunately can’t be used in tournaments.
- Balanced design offers better control with precision.
- Durable and high-performance rubber is used to improve the life of the paddle.
- Some buyers have found it to be quite expensive for the performance it offers which means there are better alternatives available.
7. STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket – Single
This review is for the single version of the Stiga Pro Carbon ping pong paddle, so as not to cause confusion with the already reviewed double paddle pack above.
If you’re buying the racket as a gift and would like one yourself to play with friends the double pack works out more cost effective.
If you are looking for a reliable performance level ping pong paddle, we still recommend you choose the Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket.
This paddle provides the buyer with ITTF approved rubber meaning it can be used in any table tennis tournament you want.
Perfect for hitting quick shots without applying a lot of power, the carbon technology generates speed by itself, making it a great choice for beginners.
Not only can this paddle produce speed but it can spin the ball effectively and you will face no issues related to control.
- Robust blade and durable rubber improve the life of the paddle.
- You can return the ball faster with the carbon technology and score more points against your opponent.
- Hitting backspin and chops are not always a natural choice with this paddle.
8. STIGA Pure Color Advance
A colorful, attractive and very cost-effective table tennis paddle, built by Stiga for both beginners and recreational players.
This paddle comprises 3-star rubber and a 5-ply blade with 1.5mm thick sponge.
It is endorsed as the best paddle for the beginners because it doesn’t generate too much speed and it doesn’t spin excessively, meaning you can keep your shots under control.
In simple words, you can say that it is a durable paddle perfect for having fun at home with friends.
- Equipped with 3-star rubber
- Available in a range of stylish colors
- Great control regardless of your skill level
- Stiga has designed the Pure Colour Advanced only for the beginners and it doesn’t offer any special feature for enhanced speed or spin meaning advanced table tennis players may benefit more from one of the other paddles reviewed in this roundup.
9. STIGA Evolution
Yet another great ping pong paddle designed and built by Stiga. All the paddles manufactured by the brand are ITTF approved meaning you can use them in tournaments making them ideal for advanced and professional players.
The Stiga Evolution is a performance level ping pong paddle and comes with 2mm thick premium rubber.
In addition, you get a 6-ply blade which is also equipped with a shock dispersion tube offering better control and enhanced speed.
- Comes with all the trademark features of Stiga ping pong paddles including shock dispersion technology.
- Slightly expensive and not designed for those new to the game.
10. Slyspin Rapture
Slyspin has designed this paddle with intermediate players in mind. This means if you’re looking to improve your table tennis skills and take your game to the next level then this could well be the bat for you.
The Slyspin rapture offers greater control along with the capacity for spinning the ball and returning it back with greater speed.
- Considered as the best ping pong paddle for the beginners to intermediate players because of its 6.0mm thick blade, designed with carbon technology.
- Equipped with poplar wood-made handle with the weight is effectively distributed between the blade and handle.
- Some buyers have reported that Slyspin Rapture is not a durable enough for their needs, however, we did review it extensively and didn’t find this to be the case.