What to Look for in the Best Ping Pong Paddle
Believe it or not, the table tennis paddle that you use is a considerable factor in succeeding or failing in the sport, regardless of your skill level. This is why the best players take their time to know and understand the specs and features when choosing one, as you should, too.
However, finding the best ping pong paddle is no easy task. It requires a thorough knowledge of your own skills and preferences as well as the technical things you should look for and avoid.
In this article, I listed some of the most important things you should know before choosing and buying a ping pong paddle. I also included reviews of my favorite models along with their advantages and disadvantages. So, keep reading to know more!
How to Choose a Table Tennis Paddle
When choosing the best ping pong paddle, the four most important things to consider are power, control, spin, and playing style. Here’s why:
1. Playing Style
Your playing style in table tennis is the first critical factor in looking for the best ping pong paddle. If you are a beginner, you most likely have not developed a specific playing style yet. So, I recommend that you stick with general specifications and features instead.
For intermediate and advanced players, on the other hand, whether you are a defensive or offensive player and the way you hold your table tennis racket with a shakehand or a penhold will be something to consider.
As your skills improve and develop, you can have the confidence to invest in a higher end model. This will give you an edge concerning power and spin but may be too much to handle for most inexperienced players.
Since higher end paddles are usually more expensive, buying something that does not match your playing style may cause you to waste your money.
Power refers to the speed and forces a paddle has to offer, expressed as a rating out of 100 or 10. Performance ratings regarding power reflect how different models and brands differ during gameplay.
Speed or power is not only determined by the hardness of the material used for the handle and blade of the paddle but the construction and padding between the paddle and the surface as well.
Ping pong paddle blades are pieces of laminated wood that are glued together. Some models have carbon fibers, or fiberglass stuck within the layers for lighter weight and to absorb excess shock or energy. In this sense, the power rating somehow expresses the energy absorption of the paddle while returning a shot.
A higher power rating means less energy is absorbed; thus the bounce and return are stronger. This can affect a player’s control of the paddle and the ball and is not ideal for defensive players. Offensive players, however, could mainly benefit from paddles with the highest ratings.
The quality and adhesiveness of the rubber surface of a paddle play the most significant role in providing a good amount of spin to the ball. The softer and tackier the rubber, more spin can be generated by the player.
Although speed is necessary only for offensive players, the spin is a plus for all playing styles. Defensive players need backspin for chopping the ball while offensive players need maximum spin for faster forehand loops.
Novice players may find it hard to control and get used to a paddle that offers a lot of spins while advanced players prefer more spin to deliver hard-to-return shots to their opponent.
Control is somehow a product of the combination of the first two ratings. A higher spin rating means you have less room for error and less control. Control could also tell about the consistency and accuracy of your shots.
The weight of the paddle, grip, and quality of the rubber, its thickness and stickiness, and the dimples on the surface can all affect control.
Beginners, therefore, should look more control and less speed, while intermediate to expert players could choose the most powerful rackets they can find. Defensive players also need a higher control rating than offensive players.
Unlike spin and power, however, you can improve your control as you play more and your skills develop. So, it is okay if a paddle is hard to control at first.
If you wish to know how to maintain the quality of your table tennis paddle, please watch this video:
Best Ping Pong Paddle Reviews
Now that you know how to choose the best ping pong paddle, here are the best models available to you today. Check out their advantages and disadvantages with respect to your own playing skill and style, and hopefully, these reviews can help you find the perfect paddle!
Best Ping Pong Paddle Reviews
1. STIGA Pro Carbon Ping Pong Paddle
Speed/ Power Rating: 99
Spin Rating: 100
Control Rating: 80
One of the best table tennis rackets in the market, the STIGA Pro Carbon offers some of the latest and most cutting-edge technologies. It uses high-quality advanced materials paired with a thoroughly designed construction for the highest performance possible.
First, it has two layers of carbon for added responsiveness and rigidity without adding too much weight to the paddle. It also features a Shock Dispersion Tube (SDT) which absorbs excess vibration and energy from the ball’s impact straight out of the handle.
Speaking of the handle, this model has an ultra-lightweight balsa wood handle designed for delivering faster swings and improving the player’s reaction time.
The 7-ply extra light blade is securely surrounded by a 2mm sponge layer and premium grip ITTF-approved rubber for more bounce, control, and spin. The unique ACS (Air-Capsule System) Technology and the concave pro handle also adds control and performance.
2. STIGA Evolution Performance-Level Ping Pong Paddle
Speed/ Power Rating: 96
Spin Rating: 94
Control Rating: 90
If you think the technologies of the STIGA Pro Carbon are overwhelming, then STIGA Evolution is a cheaper, more beginner-friendly option from the same brand.
The STIGA Evolution is a performance-level table tennis racket that also features some amazing technologies. Like the Pro Carbon, it has a Shock Dispersion Tube (SDT) for vibration and impact absorption through a high-tech composite rod embedded in the blade and handle.
Additionally, Crystal Technology was used to harden the blade’s surface, a design that improves the spin and responsiveness of the paddle.
The nanocomposite technology provides stronger and tighter bonds of the rubber molecules to improve the speed and spin of the ball after hitting the surface. Overall, this paddle has a nice feel as well as great speed and control.
It has a 6-ply lightweight blade covered with a 2mm sponge layer and ITTF- approved rubber, making sure you are always ready for a tournament!
3. Butterfly Pro-Line Professional Ping Pong Paddle
Speed/ Power Rating: 100
Spin Rating: 95
Control Rating: 80
If you are looking for the ideal ping pong paddle for a power play, consider the Butterfly Pro-line Professional! Although it is among the most expensive rackets out there, it has a well-thought-of design that is ideal for more advanced table tennis players.
Professional players prefer this high-end racket because it features a carbon fiber reinforced blade for a larger sweet spot and faster speed compared to an all-wood paddle.
The Balsa Carbo X5 Technology gives this racket a soft feel that elevates its performance in blocking much more effective.
Thanks to the rubber’s grip and Tenergy 80 FX technology in the sponge layer, it offers the perfect combination of spin and speed. This makes it much easier to return serves and block backspins for both defenders and attackers.
4. Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1 Ping Pong Paddle
Speed/ Power Rating: 95
Spin Rating: 90
Control Rating: 80
Next, the Killerspin Jet800 Speed N1 ping pong racket is the one to beat if you are an aggressive player in need of maintaining control over your swings. It is made with a 7-ply wooden blade infused with a double layer of carbon composite material for providing power without adding too much weight.
This dual carbon technology makes the blade more forgiving, easier to manage, and absorbent of excess energy from impact and vibrations. The wooden side tape also enhances the catapult effect of returning a shot.
The combination of the light and strong blade and the ITTF-approved Nitrix 2.0 mm rubbers helps improve the spin and power while the Nitrix-4Z makes it easier to apply heavy spins and counter the opponent’s spinny shots.
Regardless of your hand size and grip, the flared handle design prevents slips even when delivering or countering hard-hit shots. With the Killerspin Jet800 Speed N1, you have a higher chance of giving a competition-level performance in every game.
5. Killerspin JET200 Ping Pong Paddle
Speed/ Power Rating: 60
Spin Rating: 70
Control Rating: 85
Another best-selling ping pong paddle for its simplicity, affordability, and durability is the Killerspin Jet200 ping pong paddle. The 5-ply wooden blade was designed for a basic play that both recreational and novice players will surely enjoy.
Moreover, it has a flexible PVC side tape that does not only protect the integrity of the paddle but also adds to its strength and longevity. In addition to the Jet Basic rubber and lightweight blade, this feature provides fantastic spin, control, and speed comparable to more expensive models or brands.
The quality construction and equal weight distribution along the paddle ensure the reliability and precision of your shots.
With the Killerspin Jet200, you can also play with style thanks to the three different fun color schemes to choose from, namely Mocha, Lime, and BluVanilla.
This model even comes with a memory book where you can keep track of your games and progress.
Based on the specs and features, the best ping pong paddle title clearly goes to the STIGA Pro Carbon. While it is not the cheapest table tennis paddle out there, it is not too expensive either. If you buy it, you get great value for your money.
Not only is it made with high-quality materials but is also manufactured by a well-known and trusted brand. It gives you better control, speed, spin, and a nice “feel”, helping you improve your playing skills over time.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, do check out this page for other similar reviews and buying guides for your sports and fitness needs!