Comparing The Best Ping Pong Paddles, 2019 (Pros and Cons)

best ping pong paddle

There’s a secret to quickly elevating your ping-pong skills to the next level that doesn’t involve hours of practise.

In fact, if you’ve been trying to improve your game but feel like you’ve hit a glass ceiling, this is probably the reason:

You’re using the wrong ping-pong paddle. And it’s holding you back, big time.

Choosing the right table-tennis racquet is critical in helping your game improve quickly, and as a nice addition, will make playing a whole lot more fun.

The reason is that a bad paddle will mess up your aim, destroy your spin, and in general cause you to make mistakes in the game you normally wouldn’t.

A great ping-pong paddle will immediately change the way your play, and your opponents will notice right away.

The problem is, there are so many paddles to choose from, it’s not always easy to match the paddle to the player. That’s why we spent several weeks reviewing and comparing the absolute best ping-pong paddles.

Lets begin with our top picks:

  NameSpeed ratingSpin ratingRating 
Best Overall
STIGA Pro Carbon991004.9/5Check Price
Read Review
Best Value
Killerspin JET800 SPEED N195904.7/5Check Price
Read Review
Best Budget
Duplex 6 Star80804.4/5Check Price
Read Review
Professional
Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL100954.6/5Check Price
Read Review
Runner Up
DHS HURRICANE-II85934.3/5Check Price
Read Review
T

o arrive at our list of the best ping pong paddles 2018, we tested 19 different models over the span of several weeks. We consulted with 3 ping pong experts, played roughly 87 games of ping pong (ok, that was mainly for fun!), and read over 300 online reviews of people who had bought the paddles and took the time to share from their experiences.

What I’m trying to say is that whatever ping pong paddle you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.

While there are a great many models and brands of paddles to choose from, at the end of the day we’re confident the 5 models we’re covering in this guide are the absolute best ping pong paddles on the market.

Let’s begin.

Best Ping Pong Paddles

Ping Pong Paddle Comparison Chart

stiga pro carbon
Best Overall!

STIGA Pro Carbon

  • 4.9/5 Rating
  • 99 speed rating
  • 100 spin rating
  • 80 control rating
stiga pro carbon

Recommendation

With the STIGA Pro Carbon, speed is everything.

This table tennis racket lets you hit balls fast, giving good control while putting on an amazing level of spin. It wears out disappointingly soon, but considering that it’s the middle of the road in terms of price, its impressive performance has to make this racket our top pick.

Our Rating: 4.9/5

TECH SPECS

Speed rating
99
Spin rating
100
Control rating
80
Rubber
2 millimeter thick premium rubber; ITTF approved
Grip
Shakehand

STIGA Pro Carbon

Who Should Buy

If you’re looking for fast improvement, this is the paddle for you. If you’re an experienced professional than the weight of the racket might not appeal to you, but if you’re new to the game with plenty of talent then you’ll love the way you can control and spin the ball. This shakehold table tennis racket is fitted with ITTF approved rubber, so if you do intend to take your gameplay to tournament level, this paddle will grow with you.Click here for the STIGA Pro Carbon

Review

We’ve been seriously impressed with the performance of the STIGA Pro Carbon table tennis racket. The designers have used specialist nano composite and crystal technology to make the blade super hard, giving incredible speed and spin. The performance ratings are very high (see the tech specs for more details), making this paddle perfect if your skill level is anything up to tournament use.

Despite being made of lightweight balsa wood, the blade of this table tennis paddle feels surprisingly heavy. We were expecting the weight to sit more in the handle than the blade, but this is something that you’ll get used to with a little practice.

We were disappointed by the speed at which this paddle wore out – especially for the price. With everyday use, we found that it only lasted a few months before needing repairs or replacement. Luckily, you can prolong the life of the paddle by replacing the rubber if necessary (which is suitable for tournament play as it’s ITTF approved).

Pros
  • Very fast with excellent spin control
  • Special technology gives a hard blade for increased speed
  • High performance ratings
  • ITTF approved rubber can be replaced
  • Well respected brand
Cons
  • Weight balance sits more towards the blade than the handle
  • Only withstands a few months of everyday use
stiga pro carbon
stiga pro carbon stats
stiga pro carbon handle
stiga pro carbon layers
killerspin jet800
Best Value!

Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1

  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • 95 speed rating
  • 90 spin rating
  • 80 control rating
killerspin jet800

Recommendation

The quality and affordability of the Killerspin JET800 N1 ping pong paddle make it our selection for the top value racket. The manufacturers have made major improvements to the quality of this racket recently, meaning that it still gives tremendous power and control after years of use.

Our Rating: 4.7/5

TECH SPECS

Speed rating
95
Spin rating
90
Control rating
80
Rubber
2 millimeter thick Nitrx-4Z rubber; ITTF approved
Grip
Shakehand or penhold

Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1

Who Should Buy

A great all-round paddle, the Killerspin JET800 N1 shows that this is one ping pong paddle which allows you to put some serious power behind your shots. This makes it great for offensive players who like to dominate a match. The wooden handle is flared, making it comfortable to hold regardless of hand size or grip.Click here for the Killerspin JET800 SPEED N1

Review

The seven ply Killerspin JET800 N1 table tennis racket is thicker and more robust than the STIGA Pro Carbon paddle, so we found that we could lay down some really forceful, controlled shots.

However, while it lets you play hard and fast, this paddle is still very comfortable to use. The flared handle is comfortable for all hand sizes, and the wooden side tape which sits around the blade absorbs some of the impact from the ball. As well as creating comfortable play, this tape also guards against damage, so you can use this paddle for years.

That said, try not to be heavy handed with this ping pong racket. We found that if it knocked against the table, the rubber became damaged fairly easily – although replacement rubber can be purchased for an additional cost.

When you’ve finished using this paddle to dominate a tournament, you can store it in the memory book to protect it further. This book can also be used to collect messages, scores and keepsakes; a nice touch which enhances the overall ping pong playing experience.

Pros
  • Flared handle is comfortable for all hand sizes
  • Wooden side tape absorbs impact and protects the blade
  • 7-ply blade gives good control and power
  • ITTF approved rubber can be replaced
  • Comes with a memory book for storing the paddle and collecting scores and messages
Cons
  • Rubber damages easily when knocked against the tables
killerspin jet800
killerspin jet800 case
duplex 6 star
Best Budget!

Duplex 6 Star

  • 4.4/5 Rating
  • 80 speed rating
  • 80 spin rating
  • 85 control rating
duplex 6 star

Recommendation

Costing less than $20, Duplex have created the best ping pong paddle in the world for low budgets. The price does reflect quality – this isn’t a highly durable product which will last forever – but it’s a good, entry level, all-round ping pong racket for offensive and defensive play.

Our Rating: 4.4/5

TECH SPECS

Speed rating
80
Spin rating
80
Control rating
85
Rubber
ITTF approved
Grip
Shakehand and Penhold

Duplex 6 Star

Who Should Buy

Despite the fact that it’s made with ITTF approved rubber, the build quality of this ping pong paddle means that it wears out frustratingly quickly. As a result, the Duplex 6 Star review found that it’s a good choice for kids, complete beginners or anyone who just wants to fall in love with the game.Click here for the Duplex 6 Star

Review

Just like the Killerspin JET800 N1, this is a seven ply paddle which has good weight to it and which delivers powerful shots. The rubber is ITTF approved, meaning that it’s durable enough to hold up to tournament use, giving good grip throughout.

However, while the rubber itself is pretty resilient, we found that it started to peel off the paddle very quickly. After just a few uses, repairing a racket is not something that we were expecting to do – even for a product of this price.

If this small bit of maintenance is something that you’re expecting (and willing to overlook) then this racket is a great tool for kids and beginners to get in some basic practice. It performs equally well with defensive and offensive play, so you can really use it to build up all-round foundation table tennis skills. It features a weight balanced design – with the majority of the weight sitting right where you’ll hit the ball – so it’s great for polishing up your precision ping pong play.

This isn’t the highest quality of our ping pong paddle reviews, but it’s a great starter. For the exceptionally low price, you can’t go far wrong!

Pros
  • Durable rubber keeps its grip after extensive use
  • Suitable for offensive and defensive play
  • 7-ply blade gives good control and power
  • Very low price (under $20)
Cons
  • Rubber peels off the paddle very quickly
duplex 6 star
duplex 6 star play
duplex 6 star side
duplex 6 star handle
butterfly balsa carbo
Professional!

Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL

  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • 100 speed rating
  • 95 spin rating
  • 80 control rating
butterfly balsa carbo

Recommendation

This might be the most expensive of our ping pong paddle reviews, but it’s worth the price as it delivers the best professional performance on the market. The quality of the craftsmanship – along with the speed and spin that it delivers – brings a professional piece of kit to your home.

Our Rating: 4.6/5

TECH SPECS

Speed rating
100
Spin rating
95
Control rating
80
Rubber
Tenergy 80-FX rubber ; ITTF approved
Grip
Shakehand.

Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL

Who Should Buy

The spin and speed that you get from this shakehand ping pong paddle is too intense for beginners, so it’s ideal for advanced players who are looking to step up to professional level. The performance of this racket will take some getting used to: expect long shots which will take you further away from the table.Click here for the Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL

Review

This Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5-FL review is one of only a few which features a reinforced carbon fiber design as opposed to using wood alone (the other example which uses carbon fiber is the Stima). As well as being lighter in weight, this offers extremely high quality and durability for fast, powerful shots. You might have to pay a big outlay for this product, but its quality will outlast the other models.

The rubber doesn’t let the side down: it’s just as high quality as the rest of the paddle. This Tenergy 80-FX rubber is a popular choice among professional players, and it’s no surprise because it delivers serious speed and spin. We found the rubber to be so effective at deflecting the ball that we were forced over five feet away from the table to hit every shot precisely.

Professional sportspeople need finely tuned equipment – no standard, mass-produced items will do – so you can expect the same high level of individuality with this racket. This is because the handle is available in straight, flared and anatomic variations, letting you choose the most comfortable option for your grip and hand size.

Pros
  • Carbon fiber construction is high quality and powerful
  • Tenergy 80-FX rubber gives incredible speed and spin
  • Three different handle variations are available (straight, flared and anatomic)
  • Professional quality and performance
  • Butterfly brand is top of the line
Cons
  • Very expensive (over $200)
butterfly balsa carbo
butterfly balsa carbo logo
butterfly balsa carbo side
butterfly balsa carbo handle
dhs hurricane ii
Runner Up!

DHS HURRICANE-II

  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • 85 speed rating
  • 93 spin rating
  • 80 control rating
dhs hurricane ii

Recommendation

Our runner up for the title of best professional ping pong paddle is the DHS HURRICANE-II, which combines high quality with control. This blade isn’t as fast as the Butterfly X5-FL, but it does allow a focus on precision and defense.

Our Rating: 4.3/5

TECH SPECS

Speed rating
85
Spin rating
93
Control rating
80
Rubber
New rubber designed for 2000 Olympic Games,
Grip
Shakehand and Penhold

DHS HURRICANE-II

Who Should Buy

This DHS HURRICANE-II review uncovers a ping pong paddle that’s very well made, but it isn’t customizable. As a result, it comes close in terms of quality and performance to professional paddles, without the extra expense. It’s great for serious, skilled table tennis players who aren’t quite ready to turn professional.Click here for the DHS HURRICANE-II

Review

The first thing that we noticed about the DHS HURRICANE-II after taking it out the box is that the rubber is noticeably tackier than any of the other paddles we’ve reviewed. This gives the blade much more control over the ball than we were expecting, although it isn’t as easy to pick up speed as with the STIGA Pro Carbon or the Butterfly X5-FL. By cleaning the rubber after play and replacing the protective plastic, you can keep the blade tacky for longer.

Like the STIGA Pro Carbon table tennis racket, this model from DHS is made from five layers of wood. Although this isn’t as thick or strong as some of the other options we’ve covered, this paddle is surprisingly heavy. This is just one more feature which helps to give every shot power and control.

One disadvantage with this paddle is that we noticed a fairly strong smell when it was new. This was unpleasant but tolerable, but luckily it wore off quite quickly.

To make up for this, we liked the addition of two ping pong balls which are included with the paddle. This little touch lets you start playing immediately, sweetening the deal and making the racket good value for money.

Pros
  • Tacky rubber gives power and control
  • Very well made
  • Two ping pong balls included with the paddle
  • Professional quality and performance
  • Butterfly brand is top of the line
  • Durable
Cons
  • Has a strong, unpleasant smell when new
  • Not a fast blade
dhs hurricane ii
dhs hurricane ii case
dhs hurricane ii front
dhs hurricane ii handle

Elevating Your Game: How To Choose The Best Ping Pong Paddle

The Definitive Buyer’s Guide

ping pong paddle buyers guide

What Is A Ping Pong Paddle?

Also known as a racket or a bat, a ping pong paddle is a tool used for playing the competitive sport of table tennis. Different variations are available, but it’s typically made up of a straight or flared wooden handle affixed to a solid wooden (and sometimes carbon fiber) blade.

The blade is covered with rubber to allow technical, highly skilled shots. Often featuring dimples or pimples, the rubber is red on one side of the blade and black on the other side. This difference is regulation, purely to prevent one player from tricking their opponent with a different type of shot.

How To Choose Your Ping Pong Paddle

As a beginner, you can get away with any basic ping pong paddle – but when there’s virtually no difference in price, why not go for quality instead?

Whether you choose to invest in a long-lasting paddle from the start or whether you wait until you grow in experience and skill, it’s important to put some effort into finding the best table tennis racket brand for your needs.

Here are some of the features to look out for:

Ping Pong Paddle Power

Most of the best pro ping pong paddles come with performance ratings, helping you to assess how the paddles compare during gameplay. Power (or speed) is one of these ratings: it’s usually given as a score out of 10 or 100. With performance ratings, higher numbers represent a higher level of that feature, so a power rating of 99 (as with the STIGA Pro Carbon paddle) is virtually the best ping pong paddles 2018.

Ping Pong Paddle Control

Control is another one of the performance ratings which you’re likely to come across when looking for the best ping pong paddle for the money. This takes into account the quality and grip of the rubber, especially its thickness, tackiness and the direction of the dimples. If you have a defensive playing style, look for a high control rating.

Ping Pong Paddle Spin

The last performance rating to consider is spin. In general, if a paddle gives a high level of control, it also provides plenty of spin. While complete novices might struggle to lay down lots of spin, experienced players look for a paddle with lots of spin as the shots are more difficult for an opponent to return.

Style Of Gameplay

The style of gameplay refers to whether you’re more of an offensive or defensive player. We’ll cover this in more detail later, but for now it’s important to realize that your playing style will affect which is the best ping pong paddle in the world for you. Look at the performance ratings: offensive players will want a high level of speed and power; defensive players will need plenty of control; a high spin level can be beneficial to both playing styles.

What Are The Official Dimensions Of A Ping Pong Paddle?

The laws of table tennis (the name they give to the official rules) say that a table tennis racket ‘may be of any size, shape or weight but the blade shall be flat and rigid’. However, most paddles are roughly the same size, measuring six inches wide and ten inches long including the handle.

Stricter rules come in with the thickness of the blade, where at least 85% must be made from natural wood. Additional layers (within the blade) can be made from other materials including carbon fiber or glass fiber.

There are also guidelines regarding the type and thickness of rubber which can be adhered to the sides of the blade. Depending on whether you’re using ordinary pimpled rubber or sandwich rubber, it must be two to four millimeters thick. In addition to this, you must make sure that one side of each blade is red while the other side is black.

Look for paddles which are ITTF approved: only these rackets will guarantee that all official tournament requirements and guidelines are being met.

What Are The Important Features Of A Ping Pong Paddle?

Provided that it fits within the rules, the rubber is an important feature which has a serious impact on performance and gameplay. The best ping pong paddle for speed is the Butterfly X5-FL which is fitted with professional level Tenergy 80-FX rubber, a popular choice amongst professional players. Regardless of the quality of the rubber, it will wear out over time (especially if you’re a regular, prolific player), but many paddles allow the rubber to be removed and replaced when it wears too thin. Most of our paddles meet this requirement, including our top pick.

The handle is another feature which comes in several different variations. Flared (FL) and straight (ST) handles are the two most common types among beginner and professional table tennis players. As the names suggest, straight handles are the same width the whole way down their length, while flared handles get wider at the bottom. Anatomic (AN) handles aren’t as common as the other types, but they do feature an ergonomic curve to make them fit in the palm of the hand comfortably. There is no right or wrong answer to which is best – the best ping pong handle is down to personal choice and what feels most comfortable to hold.

Most budget ping pong paddles are pretty basic, with few variations or opportunities for specialization. However, as your skill level grows, you’ll probably start looking for something that suits your individual playing style and hand size. If you turn professional then you’ll want to spend big bucks on a completely customized ping pong racket, but the options that we’ve covered give a good balance between price and individual performance for intermediate players.

What Styles Of Ping Pong Paddle Gameplay Are There?

Playing style and grip are two aspects which, together, make up the style of gameplay.

As we’ve already touched upon, playing style refers to whether a table tennis player prefers to attack or defend. Offensive players like to play hard, putting in power, speed and topspin to make their shots difficult to return. Defensive players, on the other hand, prefer to use plenty of control to play chop shots.

The grip refers to the way in which you hold the paddle. Penhold and shakehand are the two most common gripping techniques, although shakehand is by far the most common of the two. This is because penhold (where you grip the handle between the thumb and index finger with the paddle pointing downwards) is very difficult to play backhand. This weakness is eliminated with the shakehand technique, where you use the same hand position as when shaking hands with another person.

As you move around the ping pong circuit you will come across both gripping techniques, but shakehand tends to be more popular in western countries while penhold is usually the style of choice in Asia.

What Type Of Ping Pong Blade Should You Choose?

As we’ve already seen, paddles can be any shape or size, but most blades are around six inches in diameter with a four inch long handle.

The best ping pong paddle for spin should have inverted dimples in the rubber to create a smooth surface against which the ball can bounce. In addition to this, offensive players should look for a hard paddle to give plenty of power.

Blades which are covered with textured or tacky rubber (or rubber which has dimples pointing outwards) are best for defensive players who want lots of control. The extra texture grips the ball for slightly longer than a smooth surface, allowing you to place your next shot carefully.

What Type Of Ping Pong Paddle Handle Should You Choose?

Flared handles are the most common among professional ping pong players due to the fact that they’re so comfortable to hold. While straight handles are also popular, they’re the same width the whole way down their length, making them prone to slippage. Featuring an ergonomic curve, anatomic handles are also comfortable, but they aren’t as popular as they offer less versatility.

Your choice of handle should be based on your personal preference, depending on your playing style and the handle style that you find most comfortable to hold.

How To Choose Your Ping Pong Paddle Rubber

Most ping pong rubber is covered with tiny dimples, but the main variation between paddles is whether the dimples are pointing inwards or outwards.

Pimple rubber has the dimples pointing outwards. This texture gives the rubber an increased surface area and greater friction against the ping pong ball, meaning that there’s improved grip when compared to other types of rubber. This is the rubber of choice if you’re looking for serious control.

Rubber which has the dimples pointing in is sometimes called reverse rubber. This is the most popular type of rubber as it provides a relatively smooth surface to try lots of different shots and techniques.

Regardless of which type of rubber you choose, you should always make sure that it’s ITTF approved for use in competitions and tournaments.

What To Watch Out For When Buying A Ping Pong Paddle

When you’re comparing the best table tennis rackets, you should pay close attention to all the features we’ve covered so far. However, across the board, the most important aspect of the best table tennis racket is quality. Good quality equipment leads to fast improvement and good results, so avoid cheap quality as far as possible as it will need replacing too soon. The correct design will not cut into your hands or cause injuries, so choose wisely!

As well as focusing on quality, look out for reputable sellers. If they have a good turnover and positive feedback, they must be doing something right. If something seems too cheap to be true, it probably is, so avoid backstreet sellers. Ask your table tennis friends where to buy ping pong paddles in your area.

Look for:

  • Quality, quality, quality
  • A comfortable grip
  • A reputable seller
  • Recommendations

Custom Ping Pong Paddles

Professional table tennis players use custom made paddles, but these are a lot more expensive than any of our suggestions. It takes a lot more time to research and make the different features of a custom ping pong paddle, so they’re not great if you need a quick, instant solution. Here, we’ve chosen the best ping pong paddles for the money, but we’ll be looking at custom ping pong paddles in a separate article.

Ping Pong Vs Table Tennis

There is no difference between ping pong and table tennis – technically, the terms can be used interchangeably. However, in common use there is a preconception that table tennis is more of a professional, competitive sport, while ping pong is more of a hobby or a game. The ITTF uses the term ‘table tennis’ when discussing the sport in an official capacity.

How To Hold A Ping Pong Paddle

Penhold and shakehand are the two most common ways to hold a ping pong paddle.

The penhold grip involves holding the handle between the thumb and forefinger with the blade facing downwards. The popularity of this technique is decreasing due to its weakness with backhand shots, where the wrist has to twist into an awkward position.

The shakehand grip is the most common way to hold a table tennis racket – the hand is positioned as if shaking the hand of another person. This technique offers comfort and control for all shots, whether forehand or backhand.

What Is The Difference Between The Red And Black Side On Ping Pong Paddles?

Many professional ping pong players do use different types of rubber on their table tennis rackets, with one side being for offensive play and the other side being better suited to defensive shots. However, the exact rubber depends on each player’s individual choice.

The color itself does not have any relevance. The difference is merely for visual purposes, so that an opponent can anticipate which type of shot is being played depending on which side of the paddle is being used. If the racket was the same color on both sides, it would be easy for a player to flip the paddle without their opponent noticing.

Official Rulebook Racket Requirements

There are strict rules regarding the thickness of the rubber and the composition of the materials used to make up table tennis rackets. When it comes to size and shape, the requirements are pretty open, stating that a paddle ‘may be of any size, shape or weight but the blade shall be flat and rigid’.

Ping Pong Paddle Cleaning And Maintenance

Cleaning your ping pong paddle is of the utmost importance if you want to maintain its performance for as long as possible. This is particularly true for very tacky blades where dirt and dust build up, reducing how effectively you can control the ball.

All you need to give your table tennis racket a good clean is some simple soap and water. Press and wipe your paddle gently so as not to damage the rubber. For deeper cleaning you can buy special table tennis cleaning sprays, and some paddles even come with protective covers and cases to keep the paddles in tip top shape for as long as possible.

Top Table Tennis Racket Brands

If you have a big budget to blow and if you’re looking for professional quality, the best ping pong paddles are custom made, not featuring any particular brand.

However, our best ping pong paddle brand is STIGA, the name behind the Pro Carbon paddle. Offering excellent performance and value for money, this is our top pick. There are many variations between other brands, so the top ping pong brand is the one that makes the best paddle for your needs!

Ping Pong Paddle Videos

Whether you want tips on improving your ping pong technique, jaw-dropping inspiration from some of the most memorable table tennis matches in history or just some entertaining trick shots, there are thousands of videos online to get you started.

Now is time to take a break and watch a great video on how to choose the best ping pong bat:

Heres a fun video showcasing some ping pong paddle skills:

View this post on Instagram

How to use a Spinner ♻ #accuracy @pongfinity

A post shared by WAVE \: (@wave.tv) on

Even dogs are interested in table tennis:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXwORBYjPFI/

Conclusion

There is quite a difference in terms of quality, performance and price between entry-level ping pong paddles for beginners and the high quality equipment that’s used by professional sportspeople. As a result, it’s important to put time and effort into researching all the options to choose the best ping pong paddle for you. The quality of a ping pong paddle really will make a massive difference to your game play, so with this guide and a little research you can find the best ping pong paddles for the money and for your family’s needs. When entry-level and professional ping pong paddles sit at such similar price points, it makes sense to go for the higher quality option at a reasonable price.

Our ping pong paddle reviews might help – then let us know which one you choose and how it performs!

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