Having the best ping pong paddle can make the difference between a win and a loss. In recent years, the pre-made table tennis racket market has grown a lot. There are literally hundreds of paddles to choose from. Even if you are not a beginner, this can still be a little bit overwhelming.
This guide will teach you what are the most important things that you have to consider when choosing a paddle so that you can pick the best one that fits your current needs. By the time you finish reading this, you will be much better equipped to make a decision.
We looked at the top performing rackets out there and selected the very best 9 of them. It doesn’t matter if you are an attacking player, blocker or chopper, there is a paddle for every type of player on this list.
The manufacturer’s ratings measure the different qualities of a racket on a scale from 1 to 100 or 1 to 10(depending on the company). Because each brand has their own method for coming up with these ratings, they become useless when comparing a paddle with one from another brand. In the table below you will find our paddles ratings which can and should be compared to each other. You can sort by whatever stat you want, so you can find exactly what you need.
|STIGA Pro Carbon||185g (6.5 oz)||9||9||8|
|Killerspin JET 800 Speed N1||190g (6.9 oz)||10||9||7|
|Stiga Evolution||170g (5.9 oz)||8||8||9|
|Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL Tenergy 80 FX||160g (5.6 oz)||10||10||7|
|DHS Hurricane II||167g|
|Palio Expert 2||155g (5.5 oz)||7||6||9|
|STIGA Supreme||140g (4.9 oz)||6||5||9|
|Killerspin JET 600||178g (6.2 oz)||5||5||10|
|STIGA Apex||149g (5.2 oz)||5||4||10|
Table of contents
This is a very comprehensive guide and can be a little hard to navigate. You can use the table of contents below to quickly jump to the section you want.
- How to choose a table tennis paddle
- Player Type
- Racket Parts and how they affect speed, spin and control
- Blade and Handle
- Rubber and Sponge
- Racket Attributes
- Top 9 Ping Pong Paddles
- 9. STIGA Apex
- 8. Killerspin JET 600
- 7. STIGA Supreme
- 6. Palio Expert 2
- 5. DHS Hurricane II
- 4. Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL Tenergy 80 FX
- 3. Stiga Evolution
- 2. Killerspin JET 800 Speed N1
- 1. STIGA Pro Carbon
How to choose a table tennis paddle
You can buy the most expensive racket, but if it does not fit your playing style or current level of experience, you just wasted a lot of money for nothing.
The most important factor when choosing a paddle is knowing what type of player you are. Are you a beginner or intermediate? Offensive player or defensive? This alone will make your choice a hundred times easier. Next, you have to understand how a racket is constructed and how each attribute or material choice affects the overall speed, spin and control. We will go over each one of these concepts one by one.
The level of experience will dictate the best kind of paddle that will allow you to improve at the fastest pace. Because you want to find the best ping pong paddle, I will assume that you want to win more games and improve fast.
If you are a beginner, you will want to get a paddle that will allow you to consistently land the ball on the table. At this stage, you want to work on your fundamentals and develop correct stroke mechanics. Speed and spin are not a priority right now.
Being an intermediate or advanced player, you can perform all the different moves and techniques with enough skill that you can comfortably win games. Now, speed and spin are crucial. An intermediate player should aim to get a paddle that has ratings that are close to the top while advanced players can go ahead and get the best they can afford.
At this level, you also have developed a playing style. If you find yourself attacking a lot or hitting the ball further from the table, then you will benefit from a heavier and faster racket. On the other hand, if you like to play more defensively, blocking your opponent’s shots or chopping the ball, then a lighter, slower and more controllable paddle will be best.
Racket Parts and how they affect speed, spin and control
There are two main parts that make up a racket: the blade(the wooden part, which also includes the handle) and the rubber (which includes the sponge).
Blade and Handle
The blade is typically constructed out of 5 to 9 layers of wood and can include other types of materials like carbon or titanium carbon.
Depending on the number of plies(more equals stiffer) and the materials used(carbon makes the blade more firm while keeping it very light weight) the blade can be flexible or rigid.
A rigid blade will transfer most of the stroke’s energy to the ball and it will result in a faster racket overall. On the other hand, a more flexible blade will absorb some of the energy and make the ball travel slower.
The handle can be of 3 types: Flared, Anatomic or Straight.
A flared handle gets thicker at the bottom to prevent the paddle from slipping out of your hand. It is by far the most popular one. The anatomic one is wider in the middle to fit the shape of your palm and the straight one has the same width from top to bottom. If you are not sure which one to go for, either try some different handles in stores or from your friends, or go with the flared one.
Rubber and Sponge
Depending on the rubber’s tackiness and the sponge’s thickness, you will be able to put more or less spin on the ball. The softness and tackiness of the rubber are determined by the technology used and the different treatments applied when manufactured. A softer rubber will hold on to the ball more(dwell time) which will give it more spin. A stickier rubber, obviously, will also put more spin on the ball.
All of the characteristics mentioned above will give the paddle different amounts of speed, spin and control. Here are some useful things to consider when choosing your paddle:
This one is pretty straight forward, it refers to the maximum speed that you can imprint on the ball. What is not immediately obvious though is that if you upgrade to a faster paddle, you will have to exert less energy to give the ball the same speed as before. Coming from a cheaper racket, the difference will be huge. For example, if you just hold the paddle for a block, the ball will easily travel to the other side, whereas before it would have gone into the net.
The paddle’s ability to generate a good amount of spin is mostly given by the quality of the rubber(the weight of the racket playing a minor role too). The tackier and softer, the more spin you will be able to put on the ball. While speed is crucial only for attacking players, spin is important for most types of players. Offensive players rely on it to perform faster forehand loops while defensive players need it to inflict huge amounts of backspin when chopping the ball.
Control is usually determined by the other two ratings. A faster or spin focused bat will give you less room for error which will result in loss of control. This attribute also tells you how consistent and accurate your shots will be. Beginners should aim for a slower more controllable paddle, while intermediate and advanced can go for more powerful rackets. Ultimately though, unlike speed and spin, control can be improved through player skill. So don’t worry too much if the racket is a little bit hard to control in the beginning.