Experts’ Picks for the Best Ping-Pong Paddles

This article contains 11 items, 7 of which are on sale!

This article contains 11 items, 7 of which are on sale!

â€Everyone is trying to figure out what they can do at home that isn’t just a NordicTrack or a rowing machine.†â€We’ve always referred to table tennis as a †recessionproof sport,â€TM because it can be played at home. Many of us may still be stuck inside, with our activities limited and our desperation for new hobbies at an all-time high, but there is one sport that no global pandemic can stop: soccer. You must do something in which two people are involved. â€You’d go insane otherwise,†says Sean Oâ€TMNeill, a two-time Olympic table-tennis player and USATT high performance director. All you need is a good table, a ball, and two paddles to play. People who do not have disposable income do not go out, but they still want to have a good time. Ping-Pong (or, for purists, table tennis) is a sport that originated in China. …

According to O’Neill, there are over 1,000 different types of rubber to choose from. The blade (the wood base of the paddle) and the rubber that is attached to it make up a paddle. However, once you’re good enough to worry about things like backspin and drop shots (and, you know, winning), you’ll need to upgrade those hard-plastic paddles that came with your table. Depending on their play style (e.g., fast, all-around, aggressive, defensive), competitive players typically have specific rubber styles for both the front and back of the blade. He claims that â€no other sport has this level of customization.†Any paddle will suffice when you first begin playing Ping-Pong.

We spoke with O’Neill and three other experts about the best paddles for every level of player to help you sift through the plethora of options. Here are their suggestions, which include recreational paddles as well as professional blade and rubber combos for when your game is ready for a stage that isn’t quite as small as your basement.

The best ping pong paddles for recreational use

â€All four of the big-four brands – Stiga, Butterfly, Joola, and Donic – make preassembled, high-end recreational paddles with quality rubber and a nicely balanced blade,†he says. Beginners should use the same rubber on both sides of the blade at first. â€Once you start paying more for rubber, you can get a paddle with more grip, tackiness, and spin, which will help you improve your game. â€That’ll be a good all-around paddle, blade, and rubber,†he predicts. â€For every $10 to $15 increase in price, your paddle will gain more control and spin. Beginners should look for paddles that cost between $25 and $40, according to Will Shortz, owner of Westchester Table Tennis Center (who is also pretty good at crosswords). … †††††††††â€

A couple of Ping-Pong balls are even included in some. The brands our experts recommend sell entry-level products like these to get you started if you’re just getting started and don’t want to invest a lot of money in your paddles.

… It provides you with a lot of spin and speed.†â€The modern game is all about spin, so it is good to get a head start on that,†says John Hsu, a table-tennis coach at Maryland Table Tennis Center. Beginners should get a paddle with smooth inverted rubber, according to him, and the Joola Infinity Balance is â€the highest-quality wood and rubber for the best value.â€

The Stiga Total, according to Judy Hoarfrost, owner of Paddle Palace and a USATT Hall of Fame player, is “a lot of bang for your buck.” â€It’s really good quality,†she says, pointing out that it even has ITTF-approved rubber on it, just in case this Ping-Pong thing takes off and you want to compete with it. â€Stiga is known for its blades,†says Hoarfrost.

The best Ping-Pong paddles for professionals

â€Blades provide different speeds, and different rubbers — there are literally thousands of them — provide different speeds and spins,†says Shortz. To allow for customization, serious blades and rubber are sold separately. The materials you select are determined by your playing style (defensive, offensive, all-around, etc.). â€You want something that will allow you to grow as you start to play more,â€TM Oâ€TMNeill says. You can use a glue like Butterfly Free Chack Glue or Paddle Palace EZ PRO Glue to glue them together. You can also order from Joola or Paddle Palace, who will glue your paddles for you.

… She claims that it is also beneficial to experienced all-around players. For relatively inexperienced players who want to â€step it up to the club and tournament level,†Hoarfrost recommends the Stiga Allround Evolution, claiming it will provide them with â€plenty of speed and spin.â€

It’s designed for a versatile player. Stiga seems to try something new every two years or so. They’ve had rackets that were too big. … … They’ve been exposed to carbon. â€Stiga is known for their handmade approach, and they have done a lot of innovation with technology,†says Oâ€Neill of a professional-quality option with a cool factor. DNA Future M rubber is the new Stiga rubber, according to Hoarfrost.

This Tibhar Stratus Power Wood with Evolution FX-S Blade-Rubber combo is one of the more affordable professional-level paddle combos for a competitive player at the club level or more advanced competition who wants a strong offensive game with good spin. Shortz’s paddle is made by Tibhar, a German company.

â€Some players still prefer wood, but this is extremely rare. â€The farther out you go toward the edge of the paddle, the bigger the vibrations get,†according to Oâ€TMNeill, reducing your accuracy. He recommends using Joola Rhyzm Rubber on both sides of the blade for all-around players. The Fever is made of carbon fiber, and he claims that â€pretty much everyone is going to use carbon at the professional level.†… â€I can experiment with it, and when I show it to my students, they immediately notice that their shots are faster and more crisp. Carbon fiber increases the blade’s speed as well as the size of the sweet spot, which is where you want to hit it for the best feel and control. … The Fever, according to Hsu, is a professional-quality blade at a reasonable price that can be used by advanced players and others.

That extra dwell time gives your shots a little more spin without sacrificing speed when you want to hit shots that are really spinny. The Joola Energon Super PBO-c blade, according to Hsu, is one of the best blades on the market right now. â€If you’re advanced enough to require this paddle, you’re probably also a rubber connoisseur. â€It uses a combination of carbon and zylon fibers to give the wood a little more absorption.

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