5 Things to Know Before Buying a Ping Pong Paddle

When it comes to paddles, there is no “best” ping pong paddle. The paddle that suits your needs all depends on your style of play and the circumstances of the match. What type of paddle you choose is a matter of personal preference and your level of expertise. Here are 5 things that you MUST take into consideration when shopping for a new ping pong paddle.

Fits Like a Glove

The right paddle may not lead you to becoming the next Jan Ove-Walder, but you could be Timo Bell fighting off robotic ping pong machines! Hey, it could happen!

1. Attached vs Detached Rubber

First of all, there are two parts to a ping pong paddle; the blade and the rubber. The blade, as it is commonly referred to as, is the wooden core that is covered by rubber. Serious table tennis players always purchase the blade and rubber separately. By doing so, you allow yourself to create a paddle that fits your style of play. Blades with the rubber already attached are generic, cookie-cutter versions that don’t offer any other benefits aside from giving you one less thing to think about. That may have been a little bit harsh, but you get the point.

2. Paddle Grip

The shape of the paddle that you choose all depends on your grip. Whether its penhold or shakehold, there’s a paddle that is specially designed to fit your hand. The phrase “if fits like a glove” is, well, fitting for this situation.

This picture demonstrates the form of the several paddle grips.

Did you know: Table tennis has been proven to be the best sport for your brain? Find out how here!

3. Number of Plies

Table tennis paddles are made with varying levels of ply ranging anywhere from 3-7 plies of wood. The thicker the paddle, the harder the surface is. This means that your game play will be faster but you may lose a certain amount of control due to the rebound that the wood naturally has. This will influence the direction of return shots more. Thinner paddles are more flexible, offering increased control and slower game play. If you plan on doing a lot of looping, stick to a 5 ply. Blocking and driving? You’ll need more like 7 plies.

4. Harvey Dent

Table Tennis Paddles are available with a single playing side or double sided rubber. Dual-sided rubbers allow you to place a different piece of rubber on each side so that you can switch up depending on the game situation. Basically speaking, a dual-sided paddle gives you more options. Options are always a good thing.

Editor’s Note: For those who are still confused, the title to number 4 is a reference to Two-Face, the popular comic book villan from Batman.

5. The Rubber

Similar to the thickness of your blade, the thickness of the rubber can also affect the way that the ball reacts to your paddle. For instance, a thick sponge provides more speed while sacrificing control. On the contrary, a thin sponge offers more control with slower speeds. As you can see, the thickness of your paddle is really a give and take between two variables; speed and control.

TIP: If you are an offensive competitor, go with a thicker sponge to really get some heat on your shots for an aggressive attack.

Beginner vs Advanced Paddles

You may have heard this tossed around. The reason is that advanced players are more likely to use spin techniques whereas a beginner is just learning the ropes. For this reason, the type of paddle you use will likely change as you gain experience.

As with other things, quality comes with a noticeably weightier feel. This is because good table tennis paddles use a higher grade of rubber and more of it. Likewise, the wood is often very solid, giving off a thud rather than a hallowed knock. These types of paddles facilitate increased spin velocity and overall control.

Joola Spinforce 900 Table Tennis Racket

Recommendeded Paddles

This list is very general in that it’s just giving you an idea of some of the more popular paddles and rubber that may be worth doing some research on. Some popular brands include Butterfly, Donic, STIGA, Avalox, and Friendship. We will be posting a follow up post that will go into more detail about the types of materials used on paddles. Look out for it in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, you can get more tips, hints, and tricks about table tennis by visiting the Ping Pong section of our blog.

Additional Resources:

  1. Buyer’s Guide to Ping Pong Tables