Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Sorin Petroj
This article will help you how to choose a table tennis racket for your needs. Players from different regions use different names for table tennis rackets.
Choosing a table tennis racket is daunting if you don’t know how to pick the right one. Whether you play at a beginner, experienced, or intermediate level, you must consider your style and buy a table tennis racket based on convenient features.
Let’s understand the table tennis rackets and how to choose one according to your style.
Choosing The Blade – Carbon VS. Wood Table Tennis Blade
The blade is the essential part of a racket’s paddle. This is usually wood, but the official regulations allow compressed paper or carbon fiber.
To maintain the standard of a table tennis racket, the blade should have at least 85% of wood with less than 7.5% of additional material having a thickness of around 0.35mm or less.
The difference between wood and carbon is their predictability. Wood is a type of natural material and non-uniform within nature. The wooden blade is unique, and you can get used to wood with time. All blades are at least 85% wood with some carbon fiber and predictability over the paddle.
Ping Pong Paddle – Handle Type
The handle of the table tennis racket comes with a blade. It can be anatomic, straight, penhold or flared, long or short, and covered or uncovered. How to choose a table tennis racket largely depends on the type of handle because everyone has a different hand, so there are also handles that different suit players.
There is no best rule, but there is a rule about which one suits you best. You should feel relaxed when you hold the racket in your hand and, at the same time, be able to keep it firmly.
Who should choose the penhold handle?
A penhold handle is a type of short handle for those players who prefer a penholder grip for their paddles. It is a simple design where the user holds the paddle, similar to the pen.
This design is popular amongst Hong Kong or China table tennis players like Ma Lin. The penhold handle also comes with the variation known as the Chinese penhold grip.
A penhold handle grip allows you to maintain the wrist in a flexible position with extra spin.
This handle will enable you to keep the paddle close to the table. However, ensuring this handle grip makes it difficult to perform backhand spin. With this type of handle, you feel better when blocking the ball and changing sides from forehand to backhand and vice versa.
However, the time has shown that many Chinese players also perform topspins on both sides of the racket with a penhold style of play.
Who should you choose for a flared handle?
Flared handles are a little longer than penhold handles, making them suitable for beginners. It allows the paddle to stay in place within your hand. This is a standard handle you can find at a reasonable price.
Flared handles are suitable for players who don’t change their grips more often and are perfect for players who use front-hand play.
Firstly, this handle gives you great confidence in the table tennis racket and a sense of security when playing. That is why children and beginners need to choose this type of handle.
Secondly, the center of gravity is closer to the handle and is suitable for players who prefer to attack with topspins. Also, the grip is essential, so you should choose the handle that lies primarily in your hand.
Moreover, some players have a giant fist, others a smaller one, so this is a relative issue but flared is suitable for many. As you can see, world-famous and successful players use the extended handle.
Who should you choose for the straight handle?
Flared handles are perfect for forehand shots, while the straight handles are great for players who often change their grips.
The only downside of a straight handle is that it slips quickly in hand, making it challenging for users to control. However, the majority of professionals make use of straight handles.
Firstly, it will be easier for you to change sides from forehand to backhand or after service to get the initiative in the game faster with this type of handle. Europeans often prefer this type of handle, but we believe it should be used when you are already an advanced or experienced player.
Secondly, since you have the security of holding a table tennis racket in your hand, you will not slip or lose control.
Thirdly, you have more joint flexibility. This means that you will find it easier to handle short balls or pimps that depend primarily on the work of your wrist.
Moreover, the handle is more favorable when playing backhand because it allows you to catch the corner better.
Who should you choose for an anatomic handle?
Anatomical handles for table tennis rackets are for high comfort and natural grip within the hand. These are for those players who love keeping the exact grip. They are pretty rare too.
I use this type of handle because it gives me security in my hand, considering that I play in the first league of Serbia. That means I am a player with many experiences, but I am not among the national team and world players.
I recommend this type of handle with the training of 5 times a week and playing on a professional level. If you have mastered all the techniques and strokes during your career but are still not among the best, it can be good for you to make the most of your potential without losing safety due to less training.
However, keeping as many balls on the table as possible with turning and precision is much easier. Also, ball blocks and forehand topspins with a lot of rotation will be effective.
Ping Pong Racket Grip Tape
Many players use table tennis rackets having a grip over the handle that offers enough control. More commonly, handle grips come in addition to the paddle, not with a table tennis racket. This grip tape is known as table tennis grip tape.
This is an individual matter, so whoever wants more security or self-confidence when holding a racket in their hand can use grip tape. Professional players generally don’t use it, although putting it on your racket can’t hurt.
I would recommend it to players who sweat their palms more during the game, and then it will come in handy in order not to slip the racket. The other side is that the gripping blade can slow down the transfer of your hand from the service position to the game position, so this should be kept in mind when thinking about putting on your racket handle.
Table Tennis Glue
The rubber of the table tennis rackets is attached over the blade using glue. The specific glue used for table tennis rackets is the new kind known as speed glue. The professionals utilize it before playing any match to enhance the elasticity of the table tennis rackets.
There are several types of table tennis racket glues, but the most important is to use those recommended by the ITTF in competitions. The only kind of glue that is currently legal is the no VOC water-based glue. It is elementary to use, and once you stick the rubbers on the blade, your racket will achieve the full effect for at least six months.
Earlier, faster glues were used, and players glued the racket before each training session, but today this type is modern, making the ball bounce evenly and bounce off the racket for six months.
Ping Pong Paddle – Side Tape
The final thing about the table tennis rackets is their side or edge tape. This seals the rubber edges and covers the blade edges. The thickness of the table tennis rackets depends on the rubber and the blade’s thickness. To add extra power to your table tennis racket, apply a power tape for additional weight.
We recommend side tape to every player because it protects the racket, regardless of your level. Rubbers change over time, but the table tennis blade remains if it is your favorite, and it will be better protected if you use side tape. We often unknowingly and inadvertently hit the table’s edge with the racket, which you can slightly damage each time. This way, the blade will last longer.
Choosing The Table Tennis Rubbers
Rubbers are the second most crucial thing whenever you think about how to choose a table tennis racket. They give power to your game, whether it is attack or defense.
You will improve your game by choosing the suitable rubbers that suit you. Many things need to be taken care of here, like the blade. The most important are the thickness, softness, type of sponge and composition.
You should choose rubbers according to your style of play. For example, if you are a striker, consider whether you play more with topspins or attack with clean balls and blocks from the table. Those players who prefer forehand and backhand topspins should take softer but much faster rubbers. They have better contact when the ball rotates.
On the other hand, players who play more on blocks and forehand and backhand drive balls should take harder rubbers and, simultaneously, faster. We recommend pips-out rubbers for defensive players or those who want to confuse opponents with incorrect ball trajectories.
Should I choose a ready-made racket or assemble it myself?
This is a question that many players ask, but the answer is straightforward. Choose a ready-made racket if you are a beginner or occasionally play table tennis for fun. If you are a more advanced player or a professional, it is best to choose the ping pong blade and rubbers yourself and makes a racket with full potential for your game.
How will I know how to choose a table tennis racket that is ready-made and suits me? Due to that and many other questions, we have published this article and a few more about ready-made rackets.
The most important thing is to look at the blade’s composition, speed, and control and, along the way, the rubbers that manufacturers made with it.
There are perfect ready-made rackets we have described on page 7 Best Ping Pong Paddles Under $ 100, so feel free to look, and I am sure you will find one that suits you. It is essential to know that most ready-made rackets are not as fast as those you make yourself by joining blades and rubbers.
How to choose a table tennis racket for Speed, Spin, and Control?
When buying table tennis rackets, it would be best to consider speed, spin, and control. With the wide range of table tennis rackets, choosing the right racket might be challenging.
To make things easier for you, consider these three essential functions:
1. How to choose a table tennis racket – The Speed
Speed is an essential factor you should consider while buying table tennis rackets. They allow you to hit the ball correctly, at the perfect pace. It all depends on the rubber thickness plus the type which covers your racket.
The thickness of the rubber = Increased speed
The thinness of rubber = Decreased speed.
Another thing is the hardness of the rubber. The harder the rubber you have, the higher the speed and the less control. On the other hand, you get a lot of ball control with the softer rubber.
You should also keep in mind the number of training per week. If you are an average player who trains several times a week, you cannot take too fast rubbers because you will not be able to hit the balls on the table.
While on the other hand, if you are in a big workout, we recommend rubbers as fast as possible, giving you both speed and control.
2. How to choose a table tennis racket – The Spin
Like speed, the rubber thickness over the paddle also affects how many spins it will put over the ball. The higher the thickness of the rubber, the extra spin it will generate.
Thicker rubber = Higher spin
Thinner rubber = Lower spin.
Another thing about spins is the combination of the wood blade with softer rubbers. If you want to play with a lot of rotation, we recommend a table tennis blade, for example, Xiom, that does not contain carbon fiber and has softer but thicker rubbers.
For example, if your blade contains 100% wood and has 6 or 7 layers, this allows for better spin rotation. Players who are world-class and whose priority is speed use carbon blades. This happens because the wood has more elasticity than carbon, and thus you can add more turns to the ball.
Wood = More spin
Carbon = Less spin
3. How to choose a table tennis racket – The Control
The paddle’s design of the table tennis racket determines how much control you’ll have over the ball.
There is a complete trade-off between spin, control, and speed. The higher your power, the lesser your reel and speed will create. The beginner should seek an increased control rating and gradually move to increased speed with extra spin and further progress.
Thicker rubber = Lesser control
Thinner rubber = Higher control
Moreover, remember that players at the beginner’s level benefit more from great paddle control with thin rubber of around 1.5mm. If you are an intermediate player, you can progress by having a thick rubber to achieve master control and start adding spin and speed to your game.
How to Choose a Table Tennis Racket – FAQs
What colors must table tennis rubbers have?
According to all the table tennis rules, one black and one red rubber must be. So, if you are not buying a ready-made racket, be careful when ordering different colors of rubbers.
Otherwise, you will not be able to play in competitions. As for the thickness or model of rubber, they do not have to be the same, but you can combine them. Many players use attacking rubber on the forehand and pips-out on the backhand to cushion the game and confuse the opponent.
They must also have different-colored rubbers so the opponent can recognize the difference.
How do I choose a table tennis racket for a child who has just started playing?
This is a fundamental question that parents or coaches should pay attention to. Table tennis coaches know what is best for children, but many parents think that the most expensive racket is immediately the best, so they make a big mistake at the start.
Children starting to learn the basic moves in table tennis should have a slower and lighter racket. They are just learning the basics and must have reasonable control over the ball and, secondly, not injure themselves or spoil the technique.
So, as a conclusion and advice to all parents, consult a coach and take your child on a slower racket until he progresses. You will quickly change to faster and harder later when he has already learned all the moves technically well.
How often should I change my table tennis racket?
This an essential question to remember when considering how to choose a table tennis racket.
In general, it is the choice of each of us, but it is not good to change often. The reason is that you get used to not only it but also your reflexes, technique, and coordination. By changing the racket, especially the blade, you have a different feeling and control, and then you will perform certain moves differently.
We recommend a change when you learn all the basic moves and another possible change when you strengthen physically and progress to the extent that the old racket no longer gives you the maximum. You can change rubbers more often, depending on how you have gone.
If you play the same and train at the same pace, it is recommended that you buy the same rubbers that you only had, but new ones because the old ones are worn out. Many top players do not change their table tennis blades from the moment they become famous until the end of their careers.
How to Choose a Table Tennis Racket – Conclusion
We have listed a detailed overview of things you should look for while purchasing rackets. Look for a handle, blade, grip tape, side tape, speed, spin, control, and glue.
I hope this article has helped you better understand the essential factors when choosing a table tennis racket. Also, we hope you know how important it is to get used to the racket and train before you decide to change blades and rubbers.
When you give your complete training and do not make significant progress, it is time to change the table tennis racket.
Firstly, think about what type of player you are and at which level to choose what suits you best.
Secondly, the type of racket is for each individual separately. It suits faster, more complex, and with a straight handle racket for some people. However, for others, it suits more slowly, softer, and with flared handle racket.
All the information you have learned is the one that the best table tennis players in the world have in mind when choosing their racket. Lastly, customizing the ping pong paddle based on your choice will help you play at an intermediate or professional level.
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