A durable paddle that is perfect for both beginners and more experienced players.
Large sweet spot for ease of ball control. Replaceable rubbers for long-lasting use. High speed and power for an offensive playstyle.
Not the best defensive paddle available.
A great paddle for beginners that is lightweight and offers decent power, speed, and control.
Rubber is good for spin generation. Well-rounded power, speed, and control for beginners. Also comes with carrying case.
The sticky rubber means that it requires frequent cleaning.
A paddle that offers versatility in playing style thanks to the unique design.
Blend of speed, power, and control. Good rubber grip for spinning ball. Perfect for intermediate players.
The handle can be too short for some players.
The paddle is perfect for intermediate to professional players, offering good speed and power.
Good amount of power and speed for a better playstyle. Durable rubber is competition-ready and replaceable. Comes with case.
Not a lot of control for beginners.
The paddles has an ergonomic handle design provides comfort for long playing sessions.
Designed for long rallies. It offers comfort and reliability. Rubber material for good power and speed. Blade is peel resistant.
It is slightly heavy.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Any ping-pong player knows that the game’s most important tool is the paddle. Ping-pong paddles come in a wide variety of styles to suit different types of players.
The paddle’s blade determines the power. The rubber determines the amount of spin the paddle can apply. The softness of the sponge depends on your playing style, whether aggressive or defensive.
There’s a lot to consider to find the right ping-pong paddle to up your game.
Ping-pong, or table tennis, has been a popular sport since the early 20th century and is played both casually and competitively. There are a variety of playing styles and grips, which determine the type of paddle you need.
USA Table Tennis has very loose requirements for paddles, which are also called rackets. As long as the paddle is of even thickness, the blade and handle can be any shape or size. Despite this lack of specificity, most blades and handles are of similar shape and size, balancing surface area with weight so players can move and react quickly.
Do you use penhold or shakehand grip? Are you a defensive or offensive player? How important are power and spin to your playing style? You should answer these questions before you purchase a ping-pong paddle.
The blade, which must be at least 85% natural wood, is made of several layers, usually three, five, or seven. The overall thickness of the blade typically ranges from 5 to 10 mm, and the weight generally ranges from 2.5 to 3 ounces.
Some defensive players prefer lighter blades, which move quickly to generate massive spin, while others prefer heavier blades that move slowly but absorb power. Defensive players almost always use softer woods like balsa.
Aggressive players sometimes prefer heavier blades that offer more power, but others like lighter blades that can move quickly. Harder wood lends a better sweet spot for aggressive shots, with a layer of carbon fiber being a popular choice for very aggressive players.
A ping-pong paddle’s handle should accommodate your preferred grip. Shakehand grip or Western handles are longer and rounded, allowing for the popular shakehand grip or the Seemiller grip. Penhold grip handles are shorter and thicker, allowing you to comfortably hold the paddle in the Eastern style.
Handles may also be straight, flared, or ergonomic. This has more to do with comfort than playing style.
The rubber is the part of the paddle that makes contact with the ping-pong ball. While some paddles have no rubber, this is fairly uncommon in competitive play. The rubber should complement your playing style. Rubbers are measured by their tackiness and firmness. Some rubbers are pips out, with rubber stippling covering the surface, while most are pips in (also called inverted or reverse), resulting in a smooth and even surface.
Tackiness determines how easily spin can be applied to the ball. Defensive players prefer highly tacky rubbers, while offensive players may want a less tacky surface. Grip determines how much control you have, allowing for the pinpointing of aggressive shots. Many players prefer a balance of tackiness and grip, which lends to both their defensive and offensive games strength.
The sponge is the soft layer of foam between the blade and the rubber. Sponges vary in thickness, softness, and springiness.
Thin sponges are usually around 1 mm thick and are best suited to defensive play. Sponges around 1.5 mm thick tend to be a good choice for players with an all-around style of play. Thick sponges of 2 to 2.5 mm thickness are springy, adding power and control.
Ping-pong paddles with pips-out rubber, particularly those with longer pips, may have no sponge.
Unfortunately, rubber does degrade over time and can lose its springiness and grip. A paddle left out can collect dust and dirt, shortening its lifespan.
Leaving your paddle on your ping-pong table is a great way to collect dust, which will lead to an uneven surface lacking grip. Ping-pong paddle bags and cases keep your paddle protected from dust and dirt and can prevent bumps and scratches. These bags can also hold ping-pong balls and your cleaning tools.
Rubber can also oxidize, but this can be prevented by covering the rubber with a plastic sheet designed for protecting paddles. You can also use kitchen plastic wrap.
The safest and most reliable way to clean your ping-pong paddle is with water and a sponge. There are special sponges made specifically for the job, but most sponges will work fine. Some players find that regular sponges can leave behind some small particles, however.
Rubber cleaners are available, but when using a cleaning product, you should always check that it does not contain any chemicals that may damage the rubber. Different table tennis organizations may also have restrictions on what cleaners, if any, can be used on paddles.
You should also wipe down your handle after playing to reduce grease and dirt buildup.
Entry-level ping-pong paddles from $15 to $20 are often made from less expensive woods like balsa and have basic rubbers for an all-around style of play. Paddles in this range may work well for beginners, but more experienced players may feel limited by their capabilities. Paddles in this range often have three to five layers of wood.
Paddles from $20 to $40 are likely to be specialized for certain playing styles and have five to seven layers of wood. Rubber surfaces may be extra tacky or grippy. Competitive players can often find paddles in this range.
For $40 to $80, you can get a professional paddle designed for competitive play. These paddles usually have seven layers of wood and may have layers of carbon fiber. They may also come with a carrying bag or other accessories.
A. While most table tennis organizations allow this, they also stipulate that one side must be red and the other black so your opponent can easily tell when you have switched sides. Beginners may find paddles with two different rubbers difficult to learn with.
A. Because testing methods vary from one brand to the next, it’s difficult to compare ping-pong paddle ratings with much accuracy. You can use ratings to compare paddles by the same brand, but otherwise, your best bet is to look at the materials used and read customer reviews.
A. Yes. After several years, the rubber may show signs of cracking and drying out. There are special glues designed for adhering foam and rubber to a ping-pong paddle’s blade, and rubber can be sized to fit any paddle.