Are you looking to elevate your table tennis game or perhaps just show your love for somebody through a thoughtful gift? If you are anything like I was when I first started playing over 15 years ago, you might be thinking: "aren't all paddles basically the same?" The answer is no, BUT you are in luck: whether a beginner or experienced amateur, you really only need to look at a few key features when buying a new paddle, and in this article I'll be walking you through exactly what you need to know. By the end of this article, you'll know the absolute best paddle for YOU and your needs, where to buy it, and what to expect from it.
NOTE TO SPEED READERS: If you just want to know what the best ping pong paddle on the market is, and what I personally recommend, it is the Killerspin JET800 below:
Our #1 Table Tennis Racket
- Great value for money
- Fast paddle for aggressive players
- Excellent bounce
- 6.1 x 6 x 0.5 inches
- 9.4 ounces
- 5 plys of wood & 2 layers of carbon fiber
|1||Killerspin JET800||9.7||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|2||Stiga Pro Carbon||9.6||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|3||Stiga Supreme||9.4||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|4||Killerspin Jet 600||9.2||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|5||DHS Hurricane II||9.1||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|6||Killerspin JET200||9||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|7||Butterfly 401||8.3||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|8||Stiga Titan||8||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
Whether you call it ping-pong or table tennis or just play in your basement or in a club, choosing the right paddle can elevate your game to a higher level. But there are many options and many manufacturers on the market, which makes finding the right paddle for you difficult. What we hope to do today is not only show you the best paddles on the market in our opinion, but also give you guidelines for choosing the right paddle for you.
How to Choose the Perfect Ping Pong Paddle
There are a lot of great ping pong paddles on the market, but what is important is understanding what will make the best paddle for you. Nothing is worse than spending money on anything only to find that it does not fit what you need. With paddles, you must first understand your playing style and experience. Then you can understand what the differences in materials and construction in paddles will make in your game.
The primary factor in finding the right ping pong paddle is knowing what style of player you are. If you are a novice player, more likely than not, you are going to want a paddle that is more middle of the road and not made for any specific style since you are likely still developing as a player. As you mature as a player, the grip, whether penhold or shakehand, and if you are a more offensive or defensive player will come into play. Also, many higher end paddles give more power than inexperienced players can handle.
Many experienced players recommend, if you play at a table tennis club, to test out other players’ paddles as there are multiple facets of the paddle that are more for aesthetics and comfort than actual performance. Also, other players’ advice and experience can be helpful in determining what will work well for you. For example, if you were looking at tables, you could ask others at www.bestpingpongtables.review/
How Ratings Work
Performance is measured, depending on the manufacture, on a three component scale with either a 10-point or 100-point scale rating the power, control and spin of a paddle. There is some slight difference between manufacturers in what an individual rating might mean, but you can know what to expect when you see an 8 rating on power no matter who made the paddle.
The first of these ratings, power, reflects not only the hardness of the material used in the blade and handle of the paddle, but the padding used between the rubber surfaces of the paddle and the blade. All blades are laminated wood glued together, sometimes with a thin layer of fiberglass or carbon fibre sandwiched between the layers to provide lighter weight and less absorption of energy. The power rating is more a measure of how much energy the paddle absorbs when returning a shot. The higher the number, the less power the paddle absorbs, providing a much stronger return. A drawback to a higher power rating is that it can come at the cost of control of shots and therefore less preferred by players with a more defensive style. Meanwhile, many offensive players look for paddles rated in the 9s.
Next is control, which reflects how true the paddle strikes the ball, as well as how long the paddle holds the ball when hitting it. This has more to do with the quality of the rubber, thickness of padding, and the direction the pips on the rubber face. As a rule, the tackier the rubber, the more control you will have with your shots, allowing for better placement of returns. As well, a couple of millimeters of foam can provide a lot more control, usually at the expense of power though. Finally, if the face of the paddle has the rubber pips facing outward, it gives you more grip as you strike the ball, usually at the cost of spin. Defensive players prefer high control paddles, although advances in construction have lead to a rise in the control ratings of all paddles.
Finally is spin. Spin again has to do with the quality and installation of the rubber, but also can be improved through a lighter blade. Many players, whether more offense or defense oriented in their styles, will look for paddles that provide spin as it can make returning their shots more difficult. Higher spin paddles will usually have the pips of their rubber facing the blade, allowing for the ball to be struck with a smooth surface. As well, they will be lighter weight, allowing you to have more fine manipulation of the paddle. Even then, most paddles with a higher control rating usually carry a similar rating in spin.
Through using these guidelines, you can find the best paddle for you and understand the criteria we used in determining our top general choices.
Top Ping Pong Paddles
1: Stiga Titan
The first paddle we will look at is the best value of the eight we will rank. The STIGA Titan gives players great control at a comparatively wallet-friendly price, making it great for the newer player. This is a great paddle for players just entering serious play, especially if those players are focusing on defensive play.
The performance of this paddle can mostly be attributed to the blade. The blade of the Titan has a 5-ply all wooden handle that is specially treated to give it more power than other paddles at its price point. Stiga also uses Triumph rubber on the Titan, which is not of the same quality as its more expensive paddles. Also, some users reported durability issues as it was clear that manufacturing quality was not as high as most other Stiga products.
The Stiga Titan is a well-balanced paddle made by a company with a long-established reputation as one of the global leaders in ping pong equipment. While this paddle does not have the same level of materials as their top of the line paddles, the Titan has much of the same technology as the high-end Stiga paddles.
2: Butterfly 401
The Butterfly 401 is another entry-level paddle that is a great first step up for players early in their development. Priced on the lower end of mid-range and rated 8 in both speed and spin and 8.5 in control, the 401 is a good choice for players looking to develop a balanced game while keeping their monetary investment reasonably low.
This paddle stands out in how long it lasts. Most users reported that the rubber maintained its tackiness for much longer than typical paddles at its price point and the blade is constructed well enough to hold up to the beating that equipment in offices and rec rooms normally faces.
Where this paddle comes up lacking is in its play balance. Most entry-level paddles offer much more control than the the Butterfly 401. As well, the handle is smaller than average, making it a difficult paddle for players with larger hands to use.
3: Killerspin JET200
Another great entry-level paddle is the Killerspin JET200. Priced close to the Stiga Titan and Butterfly 401, this is another good choice for the player just beginning to get more serious about their play. While this paddle lacks the power of the Stiga Titan, its control is slightly better.
Killerspin is a relative newcomer to ping pong equipment, but they have already earned a reputation of producing high quality and aggressively styled equipment at a good price. While the wood in their 5-ply blade is not treated in the same way as the Stiga Titan, the blade does hold up well to play as few users reported any issues with breakage.
One area where the Jet200 stands out is in the quality of its rubber. Their rubber tends to be fresher than that of its competitors, giving this paddle more control without compromising much spin compared to other paddles at their level. While its speed rating of 6 is a little low for a professional grade paddle, for players focused on control and improving their games, this paddle is a great choice.
4: DHS Hurricane II
Our next choice is more expensive than these entry-level paddles, but is a great choice for those who use a shakehand, or Asian, style of grip on their paddles. The DHS Hurricane II is a professional-caliber paddle, which makes its higher price point of a little more palatable for its target market.
With DHS being a Chinese company, obviously their paddles are going to be geared more towards an Asian style of play. The sweet spot on this paddle is closer to the front of the paddle and the rubber is given a slickness that allows for greater spin. As well, the weight of this paddle gives players a feeling of control over the paddle that many paddles lack.
If there are drawbacks to this paddle, one is that the rubber tends to lose its tackiness quickly and many users prefer lighter paddles. Still, especially for players that want a lot of spin in their game, the DHS Hurricane II is a great choice.
5: Killerspin Jet 600
An intermediate paddle which borders almost on an advanced level paddle, the Killerspin Jet 600 packs a lot into a paddle that just barely reaches a higher end price. This is a tournament-level paddle at a price accessible to a player whom is still refining their game.
The 5-layer construction of the Jet 600 gives it solid power while keeping its weight light for great control. But where this paddle stands out in its rubber. The high tackiness and quality of the rubber gives it the ability to counter spin and return with its own spin.
The issue that many purchasers of this paddle reported that its power and speed take some getting acclimation. As well, the handle construction tends to make even slight adjustments in your grip much more dramatic in how the paddle feels and responds. Even then, the Jet 600 is an incredible paddle for its price and a great choice for those looking for their great premium paddle.
6: Stiga Supreme
Another intermediate-level paddle, the Stiga Supreme offers a great lightweight paddle for players looking to step up their games without splurging on a much higher-priced paddle. This paddle is great for reactive players looking to focus on defensive play, especially if they are facing players who prefer to play with power.
Where the Supreme stands out is in its 6th ply in its blade. While most paddles at this price point are still five-ply construction, Stiga adds their Tube Technology to a middle layer, reducing the weight of the paddle significantly and allowing for faster play.
If there are drawbacks to the Supreme, they have to do with its struggles to produce a lot of power. This limits how far back players can play from the table, which if not for the lightweight allowing for quicker reaction, would make this paddle detrimental to more defensive players. Still, its combination of lighter weight makes it a great paddle for players focusing on returns and defense over offense.
7: Stiga Pro Carbon
Stiga’s selection for the intermediate-level player is our next paddle. The Stiga Pro Carbon (review) begins to get into some of the more sophisticated construction that you see in higher-end paddles, but being priced around the upper middle range, is still reasonably enough for a player who is getting more serious about their play.
The Stiga Pro Carbon uses a 7-ply blade, with two of those plies being carbon fibre. This makes the paddle a more rigid when returning shots as well as reduces the weight. In spite of this, the Pro Carbon provides top level spin, garnering a rating of 10, which is impressive for a paddle that plays as light as this one. As well this blade gives a 9.9 in speed, making this racket a great choice for those wanting a more offensively-aligned game.
The impressive thing with the Pro Carbon paddle is that it gives professional quality play at nearly a quarter of the price of a professional-caliber paddle. Unfortunately, much of that quality tends to degrade as the rubber degrades, but most users reported that the speed remained and may require replacing the rubber after a couple of months of play. Still, at this price, the Stiga Pro Carbon makes for a great intermediate paddle.
Best Choice: Killerspin JET800
In our opinion, the best paddle on the market right now is the Killerspin JET800. While clearly priced among higher end paddles, the JET800 provides top-line offensive and tournament-level performance. This paddle is the choice of many top professional players including almost every top American player and Chinese gold medalist Chen Qi.
The Jet 800 has a 7-ply wooden blade with carbon fibre layers added for extra durability and return power, giving it a 9.5 rating in that category. As well, its light weight makes allows players to not give up their ability to return while its high-quality, specially treated rubber gives this paddle a strong spin rating for an offensively-aligned aligned paddle.
If there is a drawback to this paddle beyond its price, it would be that it is quite a step up from most paddles. Many users reported a learning curve in getting used to this paddle. Nevertheless, while the JET800 is the most expensive paddle in this review, you clearly get what you pay for as this paddle is both durable and nearly unparalleled in its performance.
Whether you want to dominate just your basement, or want to be the king of your ping pong club, with a little knowledge, you can determine the best ping paddle for your game and your budget.