Published on July 6, 2021 Last Updated on October 25, 2021 by Sorin Petroj
Table tennis equipment is just as important as hard and valuable training. There are basic things you need to have to play table tennis and accessories that are not necessary but can help you improve the quality of the game.
Finally, we will suggest a few tips to make it easier to use table tennis equipment and avoid making mistakes when choosing.
Basics of table tennis equipment
The most important things you need to play table tennis are a racket, a ball, a table tennis table, and clothes.
There are many models of table tennis rackets and tables. For now, we will list the basic criteria that are important to meet the game’s rules.
It is also advisable to have adequate clothing and footwear for the sports hall unless you play outside or in your backyard.
The Table Tennis Racket
The most important piece of equipment is certainly the racket, which is our main means of competition.
Today, there are many different table tennis rackets, but the main criteria are as follows. It is composed of a blade and two rubbers, one of which must be red and the other black. Some blades are either with additives such as carbon.
With rubbers, it should be said that the differences in thickness, types, defensive, offensive, harder, softer, and pips-out rubbers. The type of handle can be straight, anatomical, flared, or penhold. Racket prices range from the cheapest, from $ 10 to the most expensive, over $ 300.
Firstly, pay attention to what type of racket fits best in your hand, by which we mean the weight and shape of the handle.
Secondly, if you are a striker who prefers to play with topspins, choose faster rackets and rubbers of maximum thickness. Depending on the game’s speed, you will choose harder rubbers or play more with rotation than softer ones.
Thirdly, always keep the racket in a case that is also an integral part of the table tennis equipment and re-glue the rubbers every few months to have the full effect of bouncing the ball.
In addition, a side tape is placed around the racket to protect it from hitting the table. This usually happens with pimps or short balls when you can attach them, so it would be good to have side tape to make your racket last as long as possible.
The Ping Pong Table
There are many types of ping pong tables, from those for recreational players to the highest quality and professional. Also, outdoor ping pong tables have been made for the purpose of playing in the backyard.
According to the rules of the International Table Tennis Federation ITTF, the ping pong tables should be 9 feet long, 5 feet wide, and placed 30 inches above the ground.
Firstly, the thickness of the tabletop, which ranges up to 30 mm for the best, is important. This gives you the ability to have a good and accurate bounce of the ball while playing. With a smaller plate thickness, the ball jumps incorrectly and may slip.
Secondly, the table tennis net that separates the two halves of the table is also important. It is also part of the table tennis equipment and can greatly affect the quality of the game. There are many table tennis net manufacturers, but we will list the rules each must meet here.
The height from the table surface to the top of the net should be 15.25 cm. Also, it should be very tight so that the ball does not often end up with “net” kicks. In addition, you can also unfold the ping pong table and pack it when you are not playing, so you should keep this in mind when choosing.
This is also the most expensive investment when it comes to table tennis equipment, but also a very long-lasting one. Once you decide to buy a ping pong table, you can have it for life if you choose and store it correctly. We have described the tables in more detail on indoor and outdoor ping pong tables on the following pages.
The Table Tennis Ball
Without balls, this sport would certainly not be as beautiful as it is, and many other ball sports are.
Some rules have changed during the history of table tennis, including the table tennis ball, which used to be smaller and made of a different material than today.
Earlier, the ball had a diameter of 35mm, and today only those of 40mm is used. The material was celluloid, and today all balls are made of plastic. Those changes happened because table tennis became a very fast game. Due to the interestingness of following sports and fair play in the sense that creativity comes to the game and not just the speed and explosiveness of the balls, the rules have changed.
In addition, there are different types of table tennis balls from different manufacturers, from cheaper ones for training to competitive ones and somewhat more expensive ones.
Training balls can be found for $ 5 to $ 15 per pack of 12 or 15 pieces. Competition balls have a better rebound and tend to last longer. Their range is from $ 20 to $ 40 per pack of 3 or 6 pieces.
Table Tennis Clothing and Shoes
The last of the basic things in table tennis equipment are clothes and shoes.
Some players play recreationally in a tracksuit, but it is recommended that you play in shorts and a T-shirt. There are specially branded T-shirts and table tennis shorts, but here we are talking about the fact that it is important to play in them, regardless of who the manufacturer is.
Table tennis shoes are completely different from others for other sports. They are made so that they do not slide so much. At the same time, your foot is light in them so that you can move faster. Soles are the most important when choosing table tennis shoes.
That’s because they are made to be flexible so as not to lose balance. Also, shoes still protect you from injury. If you play in different shoes not intended for this sport, you can seriously worsen your footwork.
Prices range from 40, 50 dollars up to 150 dollars, which are the most expensive. One pair of table tennis shoes lasts an average of a year unless you are a professional who trains twice a day, then they last a little shorter.
Accessories for table tennis equipment
The accessories that need to fill your table tennis equipment are desirable but not necessary. It should only make your training and matches easier.
- Table tennis glue
- Water bottle
- The bag
- Ball holder
- Net gages
- Ball picker
- Table covers
- The barriers
- Umpire scorers,
- The most important but also the most expensive, Table Tennis Robot.
Table Tennis Glue
You only need this accessory the first time you glue your racket if you choose a special blade and rubbers. If you are buying a ready-made racket, then you don’t even need glue.
There are various table tennis glues, but the rules have changed over time, as with other table tennis equipment. Earlier, faster glue was used, and players glued rubbers every workout.
Today, however, the rules are such that different glues are used. Because of that, the racket effect of the ball bounce lasts for a full six months.
When choosing the glue, it is important to get sponges and a sponge gripper in the package. This allows you to apply the glue correctly on the surface of the blade and rubber. Then when it dries, it is important to use either a roller or by hand to properly distribute the rubber on the blade to keep the surface smooth and clean.
You can see more details about how to glue a table tennis racket on the following page on our website: How to assemble a table tennis racket?
You can also find more detailed information about various types of glues, their characteristics, prices, and manufacturers on the following page: Best Table Tennis Glue – Top 5.
In our opinion, a table tennis towel is one of the important accessories because players sweat a lot during the game, especially those on a professional level. During training, wear a towel every time. So, between exercises, use it to wipe yourself, and along the way, it is a good way to take a break.
You can use other towels you have, but those intended for table tennis are made to absorb water and sweat better. When it comes to matches, the towel is very important for one special reason. According to the rules of the ITTF, for every 6 points, you have the right to use the towel and take a short break.
Many players, and I will tell you that from experience, almost everyone does it. The reason is that even though you may not need a towel at that moment, you gain precious moments to think about the next point. It can also be a good tactic to stop an opponent if he makes a big series of points in a row.
This is especially important for players who train a lot and whose training is longer than an hour. Through play, you lose a lot of fluids and can become dehydrated if you do not drink water occasionally. That is why, in our opinion, a water bottle is listed as an addition to the table tennis equipment.
Especially on hot summer days, it is recommended to have a bottle of water with you at every training or match. As with towels, drink a little water between sets or between workouts. This will mean a lot to you at the end of the training because you have not lost any fluid from your body.
If you want to keep your table tennis racket as long as possible, it is recommended to have a rubber cleaner. It consists of a rubber foam cleaner and a care sponge.
Occasionally apply foam to the rubber and rub slowly with a sponge to clean the rubber nicely and extend its lifespan. Another thing is that the effect of contact with the ball will last longer if the rubber is carefully and occasionally cleaned.
Rubber cleaners can be found at very affordable prices, and in any case, they help maintain the racket. Consider this only as an addition to your equipment if you have really invested a lot in your racket, so it would be bad not to clean and maintain it.
Table Tennis Bag
It is important to take all your table tennis equipment with you in your bag. Both in training and tournaments, bags are extremely important. In order to save the racket and other equipment, it is important to keep it in a holster and a bag.
When you change T-shirts between matches at a big tournament, it would be good to put them in a special part in the bag. On the other hand, a racket, shoes and a towel in another special part. High temperatures or water can damage your racket, and at the same time, it is nice to have a bag like a real athlete.
There are many types of table tennis bags. Firstly, from smaller ones for training to large ones where you carry a lot of equipment. Secondly, the prices are very affordable, so we recommend each player to have at least one bag that they will keep only for table tennis.
This is not necessary, but it is nice when the players keep their balls in the holder. The same goes for a bag because the balls are wet or mixed in a bag with a t-shirt and shoes. After that, it may not have the same effect when playing.
They will last longer and always be clean if you put them in the ball holder after each training. There is another type of holder, and that is the ball box. It serves to keep the balls at the height of the table and next to the table while you play.
This is especially important for coaches but also for players in training. Then you don’t have to collect one ball at a time every moment. Just hold several balls in the ball box and train the exercise at full speed until you have used up all the balls.
You can see an example of such training in the video below, where I personally train with my friend and do exercises with balls from the ball box.
All the umpires in the world use the net gauge to measure the height of the table tennis net before the start of any competitive match.
Its purpose is to check that the mesh is well tightened and that it meets ITTF standards. As we said before, the height of the nets should be 15.25 cm. So, the net gauge is placed and see if it is correct. It’s not bad to have with you in your bag. For example, when you train to check the net to make sure that the height is good.
That way, you will always get used to a good height and adjust your exercises and points accordingly. This is the cheapest addition to table tennis equipment, but it is not insignificant.
On the contrary, many matches where one point decides the winner end with a point close to the net. For example, even happens that the ball does not pass by 1 mm. Well, that millimeter is important when the grid is properly measured with a net gauge.
These are very important products for big pieces of training. Coaches mostly use ball pickers but also players who work with a lot of balls to help them collect.
It is important to have a ball picker to make it easier for you to collect the balls and keep your back from bending every time you take the ball off the floor. They have an ergonomic shape and a piece of net. That allows you to take a lot of balls off the floor at once and put them back in the box.
This, first of all, speeds up your training because you do not waste time picking the balls. Secondly, you save your back and do not get tired further. They also have an affordable price, and it is not bad to have them as an addition to table tennis equipment.
It is especially important to have a table cover if you use an outdoor ping pong table.
They are more exposed to the sun and rain, so they should be preserved and covered to last longer. Table covers are not used in a sports hall where you train every day or even twice a day. That’s because you are nonstop active, and the tables are inside.
However, if you play in your backyard or don’t often play, there is a possibility of dust gathering on the tables, then it is important to have a table cover. Their most important characteristic is water resistance.
That is why they are made of weather-resistant nylon and have handles and fasteners. Zippers on both sides allow fastening if the wind blows, thus opening when you want to play table tennis.
Table Tennis Barriers
Barriers to preventing the ball from going to another court are most important when the sports hall has multiple tables lined up for play. They mark your part of the field where you play. Also, they often prevent the ball from going to the next table to disturb other players.
In large tournaments, 40, 50 table tennis barriers are used to indicate the brands that produced them. Their construction is usually made of steel pipe and solid PVC with foil to protect them from scratches or cracks.
Table tennis would not be interesting if there were no competitive spirit and, of course, counting points during the match.
That’s why umpire scorers are relatively small in size and display points, sets and preferably have time-out add-ons. Firstly, they are very light and can be worn anywhere.
Secondly, when unfolded, they have the shape of a triangle that is placed on an umpire table.
Table Tennis Robot (Partner)
The table tennis robot is included in the accessories because you can practice without it, but if you can afford to have it, believe me, it will help a lot.
When you don’t have anyone to train with or want to improve your game, a robot will mean a lot to you. It is a machine that is placed on a table tennis table. Throws balls according to the program you specify. This can improve the footwork because it is tireless.
Firstly, it contains a robot head, a remote device, and a net that collects the balls.
Secondly, you can set the time, frequency, speed, and places where the ball will arrive.
Thirdly, it is easy to set up and remove from the table so you can take it anywhere. Besides, they are quite expensive but worth the investment, because once you take them, you will see that you will always want to play table tennis with them.
There are ordinary table tennis robots that range around $ 500, and the most expensive ones are over $ 2,000. The difference is in the way and the options they provide.
Cheaper variants do not have a collection net and do not have a lot of programs for various exercises. You place them on the table and throw balls from there. Their other name is desktop robots.
These most expensive models have a lot of options and digital wireless remote controls. You can also memorize the exercise you practice and repeat it every time you train. They can throw ordinary balls, topspins, pimps, and even serve. Who has the opportunity to buy, I recommend that they take a table tennis robot and thus significantly improve their game by practicing with it.
Advice on using table tennis equipment
Here are some tips when choosing table tennis equipment to ease your doubts. In addition to our list, we think that users should also have support and advice when deciding to buy.
Choosing rubbers and blade
The first and foremost thing about choosing a table tennis racket is to choose the right rubbers and blade that suit you. Liu Guoliang once said that “the most expensive blade is not the best, but the one that suits you.”
Therefore, you should keep in mind what type of player you are, attacker, defender, play more on ball control or pimp. Look at blades according to composition, speed, control, and handle shape. You can see more about that choice on our page: How to choose a table tennis racket?
As for rubbers, there are thicker, thinner, faster, offensive, defensive, and pips-out rubbers. And here, you need to pay attention to what style of play you have. If you are a striker, look faster and thicker rubbers if you are defensive, softer, and slower.
Of course, pips-out rubbers are specially intended for passive players who want to confuse their opponents with the effect of shortening the ball. See descriptions and features of the best table tennis rubbers on our next page: Table Tennis Rubber Reviews.
Which shoes, T-shirts and towels should I choose?
Firstly, table tennis shoes can greatly affect your training and matches. That is why it is important to choose light, soft ones, and when choosing a number, do not take the ones that are correct for your number so that they do not tighten you and so that you do not get blisters on your fingers.
In my experience, it is best to take shoes half number size bigger than usual because they will tighten over time, and your foot will be loose, and you will easily move around the table along the way.
Secondly, the t-shirts of mostly table tennis companies are all good and easily absorb sweat. The only thing that is important here is not to take white ones for matches because that is forbidden due to the interference of the ball, which is also white.
In terms of size, we think you should feel comfortable in them. A higher number would not be valid because it will bother you, and too small a number is harmful because it will tighten you when turning from forehand to backhand and vice versa.
Moreover, towels are an important thing as we said, so it would be good to take one of medium size.
Which table tennis table and balls should I choose?
Firstly, the table is a big investment that happens to many, maybe once in a lifetime.
Therefore, carefully consider the purpose for what you need. Do you need an outdoor ping pong table for competitions if you are a club owner or training in a small sports hall? The thickness of the tabletop is the most important thing that determines the price of the table so that you can read more about it on our pages in the Tables section.
Secondly, balls are not a big investment, but there is a big difference between training and competitive ones. If you are a coach and work with children, you should know that they can often tread balls. That’s why you need training balls in larger quantities. And if you are a professional and often go to tournaments, it is better to take more expensive and better quality balls.
They will last longer, but you will have a real competitive effect in training with them. These are balls that are marked with three stars regardless of the manufacturer.
How important is table tennis equipment to me?
It is just as important as proper training and warm-up. With the right choice of equipment, you automatically raise your level of play, mobility, and good feeling.
It doesn’t matter if you play on a worse table tennis table with constantly cracking balls and a racket that is not good for your style of play. It can damage your technique, reflexes, and the feeling that you are powerless even though you have quality. That is why it is important to warm up well before each training session or match so that you do not injure yourself.
Secondly, it is important that you do the exercises correctly and technically improve your game.
And thirdly, it is important to choose the equipment that suits you best, which is long-lasting. You don’t want to invest money in equipment constantly, so make sure you find what you need when choosing.
How and when to use a table tennis robot?
Since this is the most expensive investment, we paid little attention to choosing and using robots. Use it as an addition and enhance your workouts. Never use it nonstop without playing with players.
A robot is a machine that gives balls perfectly, but the human factor and points are something completely different. You should practice with a table tennis robot the exercises you miss in matches. The next move is where the robot can help you the most because he doesn’t make mistakes and can share balls at high speed that players can’t otherwise.
If you have chosen one of the more expensive robots, then take advantage of all its possibilities. Adjust the exercises and save them in memory. After that, play that exercise once a week, and you will see that you will improve the speed and strength of your strokes over time. When using, always make sure that it is well and firmly placed on the table first. Then provide a sufficient number of balls so that the robot does not work in space.
And lastly, measure each time how much you work or the number of balls. That way, you will always have a clear picture of how tired you are and how much you have ordered.
We hope that you are sufficiently informed when choosing table tennis equipment and that you will enjoy this wonderful sport.