Having a suitable paddle allows you to make the most of your skill and have more chances in winning a table tennis match.

However, not everyone knows how to choose the best ping pong paddle for themselves. They simply go for the most expensive pair, or the best-known brand, and end up wasting lots of money.

This article is a comprehensive buying guide for every table tennis player out there.

Without further ado, let’s check it out!

How To Choose The Best Ping Pong Paddle

Player Type

This is the most important factor that determines your suitable racket.

As a beginner, you might want to practice fundamental steps and develop stroke mechanics. Therefore, a lightweight pair that allows you to put the ball on the table consistently will be ideal. 

There is no need to invest in an expensive racket, as you will not take full advantage of its features. 

Let’s save it for later.

Children play ping pong

When you become an intermediate player, you are able to perform multiple moves and techniques. At this stage, you need a quality paddle that facilitates speed and spin.

Do not hesitate to pay a bit more and go for highly-rated products.

As an advanced player, you probably have your own playing style. Pick up the ping pong paddle that can support your style best.

For example, if you find yourself an attacker who favors long shots, a heavier racket will be ideal. Meanwhile, a defensive player will benefit from a light, slow and controllable paddle.

Racket Parts

Generally, a racket consists of the blade and the rubber.

Blade

The blade is the main component of a paddle, which usually includes the handle. It is typically constructed with 5 to 9 layers of wood with other fibrous materials such as carbon fiber or compressed paper.

To meet competition standards, the blade must contain at least 85% wood; other materials must be less than 0.35mm or 7.5% of the thickness.

Depending on the materials and the number of plies used, the blade can be rigid or flexible.

A rigid blade will facilitate speed, as it transfers most energy of the stroke to the ball. On the other hand, a flexible blade is supposed to absorb energy, thereby slowing down the ball.

Handle

A table tennis player

There are three main types of handles, including straight, anatomic, and flared.

The most common kind is the flared handle. It is thicker at the bottom to provide a firm grip.

Meanwhile, the anatomic handle will conform to the shape of your palm better as it is wider in the middle. The straight type, as its name already suggests, has identical width from top to bottom.

Grip

When choosing a suitable type of handle, you need to take grip, or how you hold the paddle, into consideration.

Penhold Grip

Can you imagine it?

Penhold grip

This type of grip resembles the way you hold your pen. It allows your wrist to be flexible and keeps the paddle close to the table. However, you might find it difficult to apply backhand spin using penhold grip.

There is a short handle exclusively designed for Penhold grip.

Shakehand Grip

Shakehand grip

This is the type of grip widely used by the majority of table tennis players. It involves stretching your index finger over the rubber and keeping other fingers around the handle.

The shakehand grip needs a long handle; either straight, anatomic, or flared will be find.

Rubber

There are two types of rubber coatings allowed in competitions.

Pimpled Rubber

The non-cellular rubber will have lots of pimples on the surface, all of which are evenly distributed across the surface. The density of distribution are from 10 to 30 pimples (pips) per square centimeter.

Sandwich Rubber

This kind of coating consists of a layer of cellular rubber (also known as sponge), and an outer layer of pimpled rubber, which is less than 2mm thick. 

The sponge layer will have a direct influence on the speed of the ball. In particular, thicker sponge means higher speed. Thinner sponge gives you more control as the ball is slow to bounce off.

As a beginner, you will need more control, so a thin sponge layer of 1.5mm is suitable.

Racket Attributes

All of the factors above will affect the racket attributes, namely speed, spin, and control.

Speed

This refers to the speed that you hit ping pong balls. With a faster racket, you will need less energy to reach a certain speed compared to slow paddles.

The speed of a ping pong paddle depends on the thickness of rubber covering the bat. To be specific, thicker rubber will give you more speed.

Spin

Spin is an essential attribute for most playing styles. For example, if you are a defensive player, you need more spin to strike plenty of backspin while chopping the ball.

Like the speed, the rubber will determine the amount of spin you are able to put on the ball.

The thinner and softer rubber allows for more spin.

Control

This attribute will decide the accuracy and consistency of your shots.

There is a trade-off between control and the other two attributes. The more speed and spin, the less control you have.

A newbie should go for a paddle with high control rating first, before moving on to faster rackets with more spin.

Parting Thoughts

Now you know how to choose the best ping pong paddle. 

My last advice is to go to the shop and test the racket yourself. It is the best way to know whether the paddle is suitable or not rather than only reading the product details at home.

Have you got any questions about the topic? Leave them here so I can help you as soon as possible.

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Thank you for reading.