The Best Ping Pong Paddles

Best Ping Pong Paddles

Ping pong is one of the most popular games around, and it offers hours of fun. An essential part of the game is the paddle you use. Now, while ping pong paddles might look the same, there are loads of models around, and you must choose the right one for your needs.

In this guide, we’ll look at the types of ping pong paddles available, discuss what you should look for when choosing one, and reveal our top five ping pong paddles on the market.

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Our Top 5 Ping Pong Paddles For 2020

We’ve searched for the best ping pong paddles in 2020 and narrowed our list down to the top five. Each of the paddles has its list of advantages or disadvantages, but regardless of whether you’re an offensive or defensive player, you’ll find a racket that suits your needs.

STIGA Pro Carbon

Ratings Out of 100
Speed99
Spin100
Control80

You can think of the STIGA Pro Carbon as the Meryl Streep of ping pong paddles (yes, it’s that good.) If you want to play like a pro, then this tournament style paddle is ideal for your needs. The 7-ply paddle features S5 rubber and 2mm sponge, giving it a sturdy, yet comfortable feel.

It’s designed to absorb vibrations, giving you absolute power and control when you play. We should mention here that the Pro Carbon is explicitly intended for shakehand grips so that penhold players won’t find the paddle useful at all.

While the paddle is excellent for seasoned players, beginners might find it too difficult to use. The rubber increases the speed in which you hit the ball, so newbies should concentrate on improving their control before investing in this paddle. For professionals, it can be a bit slow, but unless you’re planning on competing in the Olympics, you should be fine.

Overall, STIGA has created a cost-effective solution for players that want to increase their speed and put more spin on the ball.

What We Like:

  • Absorbs vibrations
  • Balsa wood-center increases your speed
  • Concave Handle for easy play

What We Don’t Like:

  • Beginners might struggle to use the paddle

Butterfly Pro-Line Hand Assembled Racket

Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5 Pro-Line Table Tennis Racket - ITTF Professional Ping Pong Paddle – Carbon Blade Assembled with Tenergy 80 FX 2.1mm Red and Black Table Tennis Rubber
  • PROFESSIONAL TABLE TENNIS RACKET: This ping pong racket is for players that want to attack and need a touch of control to dominate opponents. ITTF approved for table tennis tournaments
Ratings Out of 100
Speed100
Spin95
Control80

Ok, so beginners and recreational players won’t want to spend over $200 on a ping pong paddle. Still, we’ve added Butterfly’s Pro-Line model to the list because it’s everything a professional could want in a ping pong paddle. The paddle is assembled by hand, which means its construction is of superior quality.

Butterfly also doesn’t skimp on the materials they use either. Tenergy 80 FX 2 rubber allows players to achieve maximum speed and control their spin. The handle offers comfort and control, which means you can make the most of your game.

This paddle is only for advanced players, due to the quality of the rubber. The sheer speed makes it so difficult to control, and if you don’t have superior skills, the paddle will work against you instead of with you. 

What We Like:

  • Supreme quality rubber to improve speed
  • Tournament quality paddle 
  • Hand-made 

What We Don’t Like:

  • Very expensive
  • Only suitable for professionals 

STIGA Apex

Ratings Out of 100
Speed65
Spin52
Control80

If you’re a newbie to the ping pong world, then there’s no better paddle than the STIGA Apex. Made from five layers of extra light plywood, the paddle has a light feel but is heavy enough for you to feel in control. The concave handle means you can hold the paddle efficiently, and the rubber is high-quality.

What we love about the Apex is it’s specifically for beginners, so you don’t need to worry about a lack of control when you’re fine-tuning your game. At such a low price, it’s the perfect paddle to practice with until you need a more advanced racket. 

Intermediate and advanced players will find the paddle too slow for their needs, and it lacks enough spin to perform complex shots. One drawback is the durability of the paddle. The rubber will start to peel off with heavy use, but at such a low price, it’s not an issue.

Overall, we love this paddle and would recommend it for beginners. Will it make you a superstar ping pong player? No. But, it will help you develop your skills and learn how to control the ball.

What We Like:

  • Lighter than most beginner rackets
  • Perfect for beginners  
  • Great for control

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not good for advanced players
  • Durability can be an issue 

Killerspin Jet 800

Killerspin Jet 800 Table Tennis Paddle, Professional Ping Pong Paddle, Table Tennis Racket with Carbon Fiber Blade, Nitrx Rubber Grips Ping Pong Balls, Memory Box for Storage – Red & Black
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE EQUIPMENT: Professional table tennis paddle provides exceptional grip on ball strikes and heavy spin on serves during ping pong play
Ratings Out of 10
Speed9
Spin9
Control7.5

Similar to the Pro Carbon, Killerspin’s Jet 800 lives up to its name. If speed and spin are what you’re looking for, then you’re in the right place. Made from 7 layers of wood and two carbon layers, the racket packs a lot of power with each hit. It’s also a lightweight racket, so if you hate a heavy feel, you’ll love the Jet 800.

The best part of this paddle is the premium rubber that comes with it. Even professional players will be impressed by the Nitrix-4z and its surface with grips. Still not sure if the paddle really is that good? Olympic champion Chen Qi uses the Killerspin Jet 800, so you know it’s high quality.

Like many paddles we’ve seen on this list, it’s not ideal for beginners due to its power. The handle is slightly longer than most other paddles, which can be challenging to get used to. If you like more control with each shot, then it might not suit your needs. 

What We Like:

  • Used by Olympic champions
  • Nitrix-4z rubber  
  • Great for speed and spin

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Difficult to control

JOOLA 4 Player Set

Sale
JOOLA All-in-One Indoor Table Tennis Hit Set (Bundle Includes 4 Rackets/Paddles, 8 Balls, Carrying Case), Multi, One Size (59152)
  • JOOLA - AN OLYMPIC TABLE TENNIS BRAND TRUSTED FOR 60+ YEARS: Launched in the 1950s, JOOLA has been the proud sponsor of the biggest tournaments in the world, Including the Olympics, World Championships, and US Open. Equipment designed for all levels.
Ratings Out of 100
Speed33
Spin34
Control93

Finally, a set of paddles that focuses on control. OK, so JOOLA isn’t for the pros, but if you’re looking for a cost-effective ping pong set, then you can’t go wrong with JOOLA’S four-player set. It comes with four paddles and eight ping pong balls, so you get a lot for your money.

With a straight handle, three-ply veneer, and smooth rubber, the paddles aren’t made for professional use, but they’re excellent for recreational play. If you have a ping pong table in your home or college, you can save money on balls because they come with the set.

Even with heavy use, the paddles can last a long time, but in a pack of four, you might find one rogue racket. Overall, JOOLA’S four-player set is excellent if you enjoy playing ping pong, but they won’t make you a pro!

What We Like:

  • Cost-effective
  • Great for beginners
  • Ping pong balls included

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor speed and spin
  • Not suitable for professional use

Why Does Choosing the Right Ping Pong Paddle Matter?

On the surface, table tennis seems like a simple game, but it takes a lot of technique to perfect your skills and become a master. One of the most important aspects to consider is the paddle you use.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll soon learn the importance of adjusting your position, and the way you hold the racquet to counter your opponent’s shots. Once you move beyond the ping pong paddles you see in bars, and that comes with tables, you’ll discover a whole world of models, shapes, and sizes.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Ping Pong Paddle

There are plenty of ping pong paddles around, but the one you choose should reflect your needs and playing style. Let’s discover what you need to look for when choosing a ping pong paddle.

What’s Your Playing Style?

If you’re a novice, then you probably don’t have a playing style. In this case, you should start with a general paddle until you develop your game. As you grow as a player, you’ll notice that the way you hold the paddle is central to the type you choose. In general, there are two grips: shakehand and penhold.

Shakehand Grip

Shakehand is the most popular grip in Western countries, but it’s sometimes used in Asia. The name comes from how someone holds the paddle, which is similar to a handshake.

There are two types of shakehand grip, which depends on how you place your thumb. The deep grip is where you place your thumb on the rubber. A Shallow grip is placing your thumb on the shaft of the paddle.

As you progress in your game, you’ll learn which grip is best for you, but it depends on if you want more control or you like flexibility. Deep grips mean you have a stable hold of the paddle, but shallow grips give you more flexibility.

The Penhold Grip

The penhold grip is used in Asia, and different countries have their formation of the grip. In its basic form (as you can probably guess), the penhold grip refers to someone holding the paddle as they would a pen.

While there are different versions of the penhold grip, the racquets usually come in a Chinese or Japanese form. If you play like a pro, then you’ll want to explore the penhold grip more.

Offensive or Defensive?

As with most sports, ping pong centers around two playing styles: offensive and defensive. You’ll know your style if you’re a regular player, but beginners might take some time to figure it out.

However, some rackets are designed explicitly for offensive or defensive players. If you’re a player that likes to put a lot of spin on your shots or appreciate a fast game, you should look for paddles with a high-performance rating.

Rubber Type

The rubber is an important aspect of any ping pong paddle, so you should consider your needs. The tensile strength defines whether the rubber will increase your speed, but it isn’t a make or break situation.

Put simply, yes, the quality of the rubber you use matters, but it won’t make you a better player. Buying the most expensive rubbers is useless if you lack the skills to win games.

The Blade

The solid part of the paddle is called the blade, and you mustn’t underestimate its importance. Offensive players should choose light materials, with five layers of light-carbon or even titanium. This will improve your game and allow you to attack with less effort.

Defensive players benefit from all-wood blades, because they absorb the shock of the ball, meaning you can change the pace of the game. Slowing the game is beneficial if you’re facing an offensive player because it gives you more control.

The Sponge

The sponge is the middle of your racket, meaning it lies between the blade and rubber. You’ll be able to choose from thin, medium, and thick. Your playing style will define which sponge is suitable for your needs.

Offensive players should choose a thick sponge, measuring at least 2mm. Defensive players are better off with thinner sponges.

FAQ’s to Help You Decide

If you’re still unsure about which ping pong paddle is right for you, we’ve put together some answers to the questions you might have.

Question: Is there an ideal ping pong paddle?

It all depends on your experience! Some paddles are designed for beginners, while others are for more advanced players. It’s essential to choose the right one for your needs and think about how you’ll use the racket.

Question: How do I know my playing style?

You’ll get to know your playing style with time. Some people are naturally more offensive, while others are defensive. As you gain experience and develop your skills, you’ll find that your style falls into place.

The Bottom Line

Whether it’s for recreational purposes or you want to become a pro, ping pong is a fantastic way to improve your reactions and hand-eye coordination. So, now you know what to look for in a ping pong paddle, it’s time to start shopping.

Remember, that ping pong is a game of great skill, but it’s also a lot of fun. Once you know what your playing style is, you can increase your skills and develop your game.

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