The right table tennis paddle can be tailored to your style of play or pre-assembled. Most professional players pay hundreds of dollars to get the perfect blade and rubber, but luckily you don't have to, and why would you if you're not interested in a career on the tour circuit. For the casual player, a pre-assembled paddle should do the trick just fine and these best picks were chosen along two very specific and crucial components, the rubber and the blade.
The rubber is that spongy layer on either one or both sides of the racket and for the purposes of this list, we selected only double sided models. Double-sided foam is better suited for players who aren't professionals and these rackets all come with smooth rubber, which afford greater control on the ball. That makes it easier to put it where you want and the stickier the rubber, the more spin you can achieve.
The thickness of the rubber is a matter of personal preference, the thicker it is the more speed you get, the thinner it is the more control you'll have. You might want to try a few out but the rackets on our list stay within the sweet spot of 1.8mm-2.1 mm which affords a good amount of both.
The other component, the blade, is just as important and you want something that uses a number of layers in its composition, Five ply is commonly preferred by most players but you can find as much as seven. Much like with the rubber thickness, blade thickness also affects ball performance with thinner blades offering better control and thicker blades offering up more power. Now that you know all the vitals, give our five Picks a look and then try a few out to find the perfect balance that's right for you.
Approved by the International Table Tennis Federation, this paddle from Killerspin offers a top-flight professional paddle at a price better suited for the amateur. With spin and control ratings in the 7s and 8s, this paddle is for the budding player who wants to take their game to the next level. Read Full Review
Killerspin has made the JET200 for giving players some killer spin on the ball. The blade is 5-ply wood, comes with a 1.8mm sponge and measures 5.9mm thick for a racket that’s all about delivering powerful spin while maintaining firm control. The rubber isn't overly tacky but the JET200 has been built for just enough grip to hold the ball for that split second impact and deliver it back at your opponent with speed and precision, especially on topspin forehands. This paddle is aggressive and lightweight, but best of all, it's priced affordably enough to let burgeoning players enjoy its advantages at a price of around $30.
Cornilleau's paddle is built for speed and equipped with a perforated handle designed to improve the blade's overall center of gravity for greater energy transfer to the sweet spot. This is also one of the more rigid paddles on the list, so you'll get more power behind your shot. But all this speed and strength isn't enough if you can't control the ball with deadly precision, and this paddle is all too happy to oblige you there as well. Read Full Review
Every component of the Excell 3000 has been carefully considered and designed to help make your shot response quicker with greater stability and accurate precision. It all starts with the 5-ply wooden blade that uses carbon inserts which add stiffness to the paddle. Then, a 2mm thick covering of Fast Sponge backing is laid down beneath Cornilleau's ITTF approved Performa 2 rubber. These three elements combine to add speed on your topspin and power to every shot.
Perhaps even more remarkable is the Excell's handle, which has been perforated with two circular channels running through it. These modifications provide better handling and performance by pushing all of the energy of your blade into the head of the paddle. This feature, combined with the perpendicular positioning of the fibers in each ply of the blade itself, results in a paddle that affords you maximum control alongside all that speed and strength. This paddle truly is a triple threat.
JOOLA's table tennis racket brings professional level quality to a recreational use paddle that is better suited for intermediate players. This pick brings speed to your game with a greater concentration on ball control and power. With ratings in the 10's for spin and speed, you know this is a fast piece of hardware that is built for the offensive player. Read Full Review
The Rosskopf Classic is an advanced paddle that uses a 5-ply wooden blade with a flared handle and 2.0mm soft sponge laid under JOOLA's ITTF rated "4 You" inverted rubber. The 4 You is an offensive-minded rubber that has inverted pips and a smooth, sticky top surface that brings higher spin and top speed to your shot. This also affords improved control, even in a paddle that feels heavier than some of the other picks on our list. You'll feel the difference after just a few games and despite the steep price, retailing around $100, this is a great racket for any emerging player who thinks they're ready to take their game to the next level.
Butterfly makes the list with an affordable paddle built for speed and spin control. There's a lot to like about this best-seller, pre-assembled and aimed at the mainstream market, the company has built the 401 for the player who is still honing their skill and wants a product with more form and function than something found in a cheap paddle and ball set. Read Full Review
The 401 is a shakehand paddle made of Butterfly's usual high quality wood and is layered in a 2.1 mm sponge, giving you enough control and spin on the ball without alienating the offensive player who likes having speed on their side. The blade has been enveloped in the company's Yuki rubber on both side, offering enough of a sticky texture to get some real power and spin on the ball. The handle they slapped on this one is a bit shorter than usual which might require an adjustment period for some players as they acclimate to the length. Maintenance on this paddle is key, otherwise the rubber might lose some of it's sticky texture, so make sure to store in in the included cover when the games are over.
Stiga rounds out the list with their pro-quality Pure Color Advance, a racket that puts an emphasis on offense and does it with visual panache. It's a lightweight paddle that offers excellent control especially on returns and blocks. You can get some terrific looping backspin on the ball with extra power and speed to boot. Read Full Review
The Pure Color advance is certainly one of the more eye-catching choices on the list, equipped with a 5-ply blade with concave handle and the rubber they use on the 3 Star line, this is a racket for the beginner and intermediate players alike. That 3 Star rubber produces strong spin and elevated control. Using Stiga's ACS technology the rubber is made up of numerous microscopic air-capsules which keep it lightweight while still providing the right combination of elasticity and control. Stiga has also given it their Crystal tech which hardens the surface of the blade for increased speed and velocity combined with precision and control for accurate placement of your shot.