In the game of table tennis, each player has to adjust and adapt to the playing style of their opponent. A beginner can quickly catch on and learn how to change up their style and positioning in order to counter the shots of their opponent. As a player, you’ll develop your own serving style, playing preferences, and the types of serves you’ll rely on to earn those points. But many new players don’t realize the importance of the type of paddle they use and how it can impact their serve. The best ping pong paddles will complement your playing style, add more power to your serve, and can have a positive impact on your performance.
Fortunately, paddles are highly customizable. As a new player, you may find yourself changing up the type of paddle you use as your skill level progresses, and you learn which type and style suit your game the best.
When it comes time to shop for a new paddle, you’ll have plenty of features to choose from including the rubber, grip, and blade. But all of these options can make it difficult to narrow down your choices and find a paddle that has exactly what you’re looking for. Fortunately, many manufacturers produce paddles that are ready to go and models that are designed based on the most common playing styles. Choosing one of these models can help you find the perfect paddle that will take your performance and serve to the next level.
I’ve reviewed many of the best-selling models on the market. Many models simply didn’t have what it takes to make it onto my top seven list. But after weeks of research, I found the seven best models on the market. Each model is designed with a certain playing style and skill level in mind, but every paddle offers the type of solid performance all players are looking for. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that will show you some of the most important features, what skill level each paddle is designed for and other important information that can make it easier for you pinpoint which type and style will work the best for you and help you grow as a player.
Ping Pong Paddles Comparison Chart
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|STIGA Pro Carbon|
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|Spin and speed||7.2 oz||Wood and carbon fiber|
|Idoraz Table Tennis Paddle|
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|Killerspin JET Set 2 Paddles|
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|Killerspin Jet 800 Paddle|
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|Speed||9.4 oz||Wood and carbon fiber|
|Joy.J Sport Paddle|
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|Speed and spin||10.4 oz||All-wood|
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For Spin-MightySpin Hurricane Table Tennis Paddle Ping Pong Paddle
This paddle earned top marks for the amount of spin it generates. This model is designed for the serious player who wants a paddle that can consistently deliver up the types of serves that will keep their opponents guessing. It also comes with a free E-book that features tactics that can take your game and your serve to the next level, working to improve your precision and speed. The manufacturer offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee, so you can give this top-selling paddle a shot, risk-free.
If you’re looking for a model that can help you deliver killer spin, dishing up those serves that will have you wiping the floor with your opponent, then you’ll appreciate how this model can improve your spin, speed, and control. This paddle is perfect for the serious player. It features an easy-grip handle and a larger hit area, and improved side spin, topspin, and backspin, thanks to its Super Spin rubber. This model is ITTF tournament approved and weighs in at just eight ounces.
- ITTF approved
- Weighs eight ounces
- Flared handle style
- Low price
- Super Spin rubber
- Not recommended for beginners
- Reduces control
This Hurricane paddle is all about helping the player generate more spin so they can deliver up a serve that delivers some serious spin, which will keep an opponent on their toes and unable to determine what your next move will be. So, if you’re looking for a paddle that will keep your competition guessing, this model by Hurricane is it. However, with this type of spin, you’ll be sacrificing some control, which is why this model is not recommended for beginners. Only an experienced player will know how to serve up a controlled spin serve using this paddle.
For Beginners-STIGA Pro Carbon Performance-Level Table Tennis Racket
The STIGA paddle is designed with the beginner in mind and can give them the type of edge they need during a match, to get one over on their opponent. It offers an impressive ninety-nine-speed rating, a one hundred spin rating, and an eighty control rating. It features a seven-ply blade design and has a reputation for the light, comfortable feel it offers. The sponge measures in at two millimeters and comes with S5 rubber. This model is also ITTF approved. The carbon fiber and wood blend work to keep the paddle’s weight down while increasing its durability. The addition of carbon will also result in a more powerful serve with just the right amount of spin.
- Carbon fiber blade
- Excellent spin
- ITTF approved
- Only earned an eighty control rating
If you’re looking for the latest in paddle tech, this model delivers. It offers better than average spin and speed, however, this tends to sacrifice how much control a player will have with return shots, yet the control rating is still significantly higher than what you’ll find with competing paddles. This is a great buy for the beginner who wants to have the advantage over a more skilled player.
For Control-Idoraz Table Tennis Paddle
This paddle can improve a player’s control over serves and return shots. It features ITTF approved rubber and has a high control and spin rating. This model can offer the type of balance many pros are looking for and has a ninety control rating, a ninety-nine-speed rating and features a 2.0-millimeter rubber coating. The large grip allows for extra spin, while the smooth handle design promotes ultimate control over the amount of spin you generate. If you’re looking for a paddle that can provide plenty of control for faster shots, then you’ll appreciate this model’s durable, sleek design, and comfortable grip.
- ITTF Approved
- Improves control
- 0-millimeter thick rubber
- Comfortable grip
- Weighs in at 11.2 ounces
- Not recommended for beginners
If you need a paddle that offers improved control and power, this model comes loaded with the latest in paddle technology. The manufacturer also offers a thirty-day guarantee so you can return the paddle if you’re not satisfied with how it performs during a match.
For the Money-Killerspin JET Set 2 Table Tennis Paddles
Pro-quality paddles often come with a higher price tag. But if you’re looking for a paddle for a beginner, or you want to upgrade the gear you have for your home ping pong table, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for a decent upgrade.
This combo package includes three ping pong balls and two paddles, so you’ll get more bang for your buck. The paddles are great for beginners who are learning basic strokes and those who want to perfect ball control. These paddles are not designed for pro use but will be a great choice if you have a table at home and need to upgrade the stock paddles that came with it. The blades on the paddles consist of five layers and come equipped with black rubber, which offers excellent response. Each racket also features a thick layer of PVC tape for added protection and improved durability. The flared handles are perfect for beginners. In terms of how the manufacturer rated the paddle, it earned a 6.5 for power, a 5.5 for spin, and a 5 for control.
- Low price
- Includes two paddles
- Flared handles
- High power rating
- Not ITTF approved
- Not recommended for pros
This set includes two paddles with high control, spin, and power rating. These paddles are not ITTF approved and they do offer a heftier weight, which can make them a good choice if you’re looking for a paddle that’s designed to boost your serving and return speed. However, the durable design, comfortable grip, and low price make this set a good choice for recreational use.
For Speed-Killerspin Jet 800 Table Tennis Paddle
This latest paddle by Killerspin is built for speed and features a seven-ply blade design that consists of carbon fiber and composite wood, which results in more aggressive play and improved speed and control. This model is ITTF approved for competition use and is recommended for pros. The Nitrx rubber on the surface of the blade not only provides an exceptional grip on the ball, but it allows you to strike heavy and offers improved spin and control. The rubber is designed to control the direction of the ball, while the lightweight, durable design improves speed and hitting power.
- Carbon fiber and wood design
- Improved speed
- Seven-ply blade design
- Not recommended for beginners
- Lower control rating
This paddle may not be the best choice for the beginner since the paddle’s high-speed rating ends up sacrificing how much control the player will have over a shot. While this will work for an experienced player, the beginner will need a paddle that offers a higher level of control which will allow them to return a serve easily. Overall, the paddle’s superior construction combined with the thick rubber coating makes it almost unstoppable, in the right hands.
For Intermediate Players-Joy.J Sport Professional 9-Ply Wood Table Tennis Paddle
This paddle is specifically designed for intermediate and advanced players. It offers a ninety-speed rating, a ninety spin rating, and an eighty control rating. The lower control rating makes this model a bad choice for the beginner who’s in need of a more forgiving paddle. This model is perfect for players who have an offense style. The paddle itself is designed to retain decent control while generating more spin and speed. The nine-ply wood design improves power, especially compared to lower-priced models that feature the standard five-ply design. The rubber surface comes in at 0.8 millimeters, with a 2.2-millimeter high-elastic sponge. The paddle is approved by the ITTF and will give the experienced player the type of explosive speed needed to take on highly skilled opponents.
- Lightweight design
- Improved speed and spin
- Nine-ply design
- Thick rubber coating
- 2-millimeter elastic sponge
- Not designed for beginners
This is a paddle designed with the experienced player in mind, offering a more comfortable grip and improved serving power. The paddle will take your performance up a notch, allowing for faster speeds and the type of spin you need to serve up in order to keep your opponent guessing.
For Professionals-AirBlades Professional Ping Pong Paddle
This is a high-performance paddle that’s designed with the professional in mind. The ergonomic slope of the handle will promote longer use, as well as user comfort. The five-layer ayous plywood design improves the paddle’s durability, allowing it to easily handle extreme temperatures, without warping. The inverted rubber coating and two-millimeter sponge offers better than average control over every serve and return. However, while the manufacturer claims this model is top of the line and perfect for professionals, the five-layer design is definitely a big drawback, especially considering lower-priced models designed for beginners and intermediate players offer a seven to nine-layer blade design. Weighing in at twelve ounces, the paddle is somewhat heavier compared to leading models. This increased weight can have a negative impact on both speed and spin.
- Ergonomic handle
- Made out of ayous plywood
- Inverted rubber coating
- Five-layer blade design
While many pros can definitely enjoy improved power with this paddle, the five-ply design takes away from the its durability, while the hefty weight can significantly reduce a player’s speed and spin. In the right hands, a player can deliver challenging serves and returns, but the lack of durability here will mean you can anticipate replacing this paddle in a matter of months.
Ping Pong Paddle Buyer’s Guide
The ping pong paddle consists of four core pieces:
Each of these pieces can be chosen independently, to create a paddle that’s designed specifically to support a player’s style. But if you’re looking for a ready-made paddle, then you’ll still want to keep an eye on these specs when you’re checking out the leading models on the market.
As I mentioned earlier, the type of paddle players choose is more about their personal playing style. Each player will have their own swing and style, however, there are some models that are designed with general playing styles in mind.
What type of player are you? Are you an aggressive player that’s constantly on the attack and offers up pretty powerful shots? Are you more of a defensive player who uses patience and strategy to beat their opponent? Is control more of a priority? Do you often choose your shots very carefully?
If you’re new to the game and not certain about which category you fall under, pay closer attention to how you play during your next match. You can also ask a coach, your friend, or even an opponent how they would categorize your playing style.
What type of grip do you use to hold a paddle? Many players will use the standard shake hand grip. However, there are some players that will use the pen hold grip. You’ll want to choose a paddle that supports your specific grip-style. Many paddles are designed for players who use the shake hand gripping style and are available in straight or flared handle styles. Choose the straight or flared style based on your personal preference. The flared handle models tend to be more comfortable for players who use a loose grip, while the straight grip handles are slightly thinner and a better option for players with a firmer grip.
Most paddles will have a rounded handle, that’s curved at the end. The roundness feels great in the hand and allows the player to flip the paddle quickly when they’re changing their grip and offers improved control.
The blade of a paddle is the large flat surface and it’s what will determine the paddle’s power rating. A model that has a lighter blade that’s made out of very rigid materials is designed as more of an attacking paddle, while a heavier model is made out of softer materials and is a better choice for a defensive player.
If you often find yourself in a fast-paced game, then you’ll do better with a blade that features several layers of material. A lighter model will also suit you best, so choose a paddle that’s made out of light, yet rigid materials.
An all-wood blade is the best choice for the defensive player. This type of blade is designed to absorb some of the ball’s energy, which will work to slow down the pace of the game.
The rubber is usually measured based on firmness and tackiness. A rubber that offers more tackiness generates more spin. Rubber that’s softer can produce less spin. So, if you’re looking for a paddle that’s perfect for a defensive, slow-paced match, then you’ll want a softer rubber. You’ll need a firmer rubber if you have an attack playing style.
The sponge is the thin layer that’s placed between the blade and the rubber. The sponge often comes with three ratings:
A thicker sponge usually results in an attacking paddle that’s faster. A defensive player will want to use a paddle that has a thinner sponge.
Paddles are made out of a variety of materials. The biggest difference between the wood and carbon paddle is predictability. Wood is non-uniform in shape since it’s a natural material. Basically, a paddle that’s made out of wood will be more unique, and with practice and time, you’ll learn all of the paddle’s quirks and become used to how to handle it. While all paddles must be made out of eighty-five percent wood, a small amount of carbon fiber can be added to enhance the paddle’s predictability. Choosing a model that’s made with carbon fiber will result in improved speed, uniform bounce, stability, and precision.
However, there are also benefits that come with using an all-wood model. This includes:
- Improved control
- Improved spin
Choosing the Best Fit
Shopping around for ping pong nets, tables, and balls isn’t based on a player’s playing style, instead, when you shop for this other type of ping pong gear, you’ll often go with equipment that’s regulation size and weight. But when you’re shopping for a ping pong paddle, it’s more a matter of your unique playing style and finding a paddle that can complement it. Obviously, this can make finding the right paddle more difficult, especially if you’re new to the game and not really sure what your strengths and weaknesses are, what your style would be categorized as, or which type of paddle can offer the type of weight and feel you’re looking for.
The simplest way to compare paddles is to look at all of the specs and compare the handle type, weight, blade composition, and rubber thickness, in order to find a model that works for your playing style and skill level. Don’t simply pay attention to how the manufacturer rated the paddle since some may claim the paddle has a high rating for control when in reality it comes equipped with the wrong type of rubber and sponge.
How Paddles are Rated
The best ping pong balls are rated based on their size, weight, spin, and bounce, so it may not come as much of a surprise that the paddles are rated as well.
The way a paddle’s performance is measured can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, in most cases, the manufacturer will rate the paddle using a scale of one to ten or one to one hundred and rate the paddle on spin, control, and power. There will be a small difference between each manufacturer in regards to what the rating may mean, but you’ll know what to expect when you see a model that has a nine power rating, regardless of the manufacturer.
The power rating refers to how hard the material used in the handle and blade is, but it can also refer to the padding that’s used between the blade and the rubber surfaces. Most blades consist of laminated wood that’s been glued together, sometimes with carbon fiber or a thin layer of fiberglass that’s been sandwiched between the layers in order to provide a paddle that absorbs less energy and one that weighs less. This rating will indicate how much energy is absorbed when you return a shot. The higher the power rating, the less power the paddle will absorb, which results in a much stronger return. The biggest drawback for a model with a higher power rating is that it can mean it offers less control, which is why it’s not preferred by players that have a defensive playing style. Offensive players will prefer paddles with a higher power rating.
Control is the next rating you’ll want to pay attention to and it refers to how true the paddle can strike a ball, in addition to how long it can hold the ball upon impact. This will typically have a lot to do with the direction of the pips on the rubber face, the quality of the rubber, and padding thickness. The tackier the rubber, the more control the paddle can offer, which will allow for better returns. Additionally, a few millimeters of foam can also improve a paddle’s control, however, this is often at the expense of power. If the face of the rubber pips happens to face outward, the paddle will provide more grip as you hit the ball, but this will be at the cost of spin. A defensive player will prefer a paddle that offers optimal control.
Spin will have to do with the installation and quality of the rubber, yet it can also depend on the weight of the blade. Most players, whether defense or offense-oriented will prefer a paddle that offers more spin since it can make it easier to return a difficult shot. Paddles with a higher amount of spin will often have the pips facing the blade, which will allow the player to strike the ball using a smoother surface. These paddles are usually lighter, which allows for improved manipulation. On average, paddles that have a high control rating often have a higher than average spin rating as well.
Whether you’re an experienced player or you’re new to the game, the best ping pong paddle will be a model that feels good in your hand and one that can work with your strengths. If you’re choosing one of the ready to go paddles in my list, then you’ll want to pay attention to the type of player the paddle is designed for, what type of handle, blade, grip, and rubber it features, and how it rated in terms of power, spin, and control. Each of the models in my best-of list has what it takes to enhance a player’s performance, but not every model will be the best choice for every player since a person’s playing style will be very unique.