Picture this scene.
You’re 11 years old, sitting at your desk at school. You’re learning about obtuse angles, the weather cycle, verb conjugation, or whatever else the department of education deemed valuable at the time.
But none of this matters. Not a single flake of knowledge penetrates your pre-teen brain. All you can think of is how you can cover the distance between your classroom and the table tennis table in the shortest time possible when the bell announces recess.
You have no concern for the damage you’ll cause to school property as you bolt out of the classroom. Nothing will stop you in your single-minded quest to be the first person to the table.
Why is that? What could cause such preoccupation and disregard for the safety of others?
No matter the cost, you cannot let one of the bigger kids get their hands on the one decent ping pong paddle the school has invested in.
You may as well join the chess crowd. Or stay in the classroom and do your homework.
Having to face off against a decent player holding a decent racket while you’re armed with a brokedown, dilapidated, vaguely racket-shaped plank is a death sentence.
No. You will be first to the table. No matter what.
Table tennis is a game infused with subtlety. It can also be mind-blowingly fast, with a point ending less than a second after a serve. Those who know how to play understand the importance of doing the basics right, reading and using spin, and unleashing a power shot at the right time.
They also understand how the right paddle is essential to executing the above – especially as your game develops beyond the early years.
As we’ll go on to discuss further in this article, it’s not just about choosing the “best” on the market. It’s mostly about choosing the best ping pong paddle for YOU. The racket that best suits YOUR style of play.
With that in mind, let’s get down to business. In this article, we list the 13 best ping pong paddles based on a number of criteria from budget to play style, and racket performance.
So, no matter whether you’re looking to stock up your rec-room, or if you’re looking to take another step towards becoming a professional, your next table tennis racket is guaranteed to be listed below.
The 13 Best Ping Pong Paddles in 2021
As I mentioned before, there is no shortage of fantastic table tennis rackets that span the spectrum of cost and performance quality.
We evaluated each ping pong paddle against the expectations of players playing at both amateur and professional levels.
No stone was left unturned. We delved deep into the needs of the ping pong enthusiast and these are our results:
- STIGA Pro Carbon – Best overall paddle
- Palio Legend 3.0 Table – Best paddle for experienced, aggressive players
- Killerspin JET 600 – Best paddle for a versatile playing style
- STIGA Raptor – Best new paddle
- Killerspin JET 800 – Best paddle for long rallies
- STIGA Titan – Lightest paddle
- Butterfly Pro-Line X5 with TENERGY 80 FX rubber – Most elite paddle
- Butterfly 401 – Best value for money paddle
- Killerspin JET 200 – Best paddle for honing your basic playing skills
- STIGA Evolution – Most balanced paddle
- DHS HURRICANE-II – Best paddle for an aspiring professional
- AirBlades Professional – Heaviest paddle
- Killerspin JET 400 – Best paddle to develop your spin game
1. Stiga Pro Carbon – Best Overall Paddle
Performance rating: Spin – 100, Speed – 99, Control – 80.
Paddle weight: 185g
Blade composition: Wood and carbon
The STIGA Pro Carbon has long been considered by many players to be one of the best premade ping pong paddles on the market, and for good reason.
As you could probably tell from the performance ratings, the Pro Carbon is not a paddle for the faint-of-heart. If you don’t have the fundamentals of table tennis sorted in your head and in your muscle-memory, this table tennis racket is going to be very difficult to play with.
However, if you’re an experienced ping pong player who can deal with the amount of power and spin the STIGA Pro Carbon will impart on the ball, then you may just have found your new paddle. Trust me, if you’ve been playing the game long enough to have mastered the fundamentals and you’re still using an inferior paddle, you’re missing out.
The STIGA Pro Carbon’s blade is made out of 5 plies of balsa wood and 2 plies of carbon, rendering it an exceptionally lightweight piece of equipment. The additional rigidity brought in by the carbon layers means that the blade will give you all the power you need, when you need it the most.
The Pro Carbon is designed and manufactured for players who play an offensive style of table tennis, performing best when used aggressively.
The S5 rubber and ACS technologies further enhance the STIGA Pro Carbon’s application as a paddle for power players. The additional elasticity and control that STIGA’s rubber tech brings to the table are unmatched for a table tennis racket in this price range.
The STIGA Pro Carbon’s handle makes use of STIGA’s Shock Dispersion Tube which spreads the physical disturbance of the ball hitting the blade through the entire paddle, minimizing the impact on the player’s hand.
This is one of STIGA’s most popular table tennis rackets and the best seller amongst this manufacturer’s ping pong paddles on our list. Buy the STIGA Pro Carbon if you play at an intermediate level and you’re ready to level up.
In our opinion, the STIGA Pro Carbon is the best ping pong paddle on this list.
- Blade has a larger-than-average sweet spot.
- Incredible speed.
- Rubbers are replaceable.
- Not suitable for those who play defensively.
OUR VERDICT: This is a paddle that delivers a level of power, spin and control that a pro player expects – at a very reasonable cost. This was the paddle we enjoyed playing with the most and awarding it the title of “Best Overall Paddle” was a relatively easy decision.
2. Palio Legend 3.0 – Best paddle for experienced, aggressive players
Performance rating: Spin – 90, Speed – 100, Control – 70.
Paddle weight: 190g
Blade composition: Wood
The first thing worth noticing is that this is the fastest table tennis paddle that we’re reviewing in this article – a fraction faster than the STIGA Pro Carbon.
It’s also the table tennis racket with the largest difference between its speed and control ratings, which is a metric that kinda speaks for itself.
Just in case it’s not clear, let’s spell it out: This ping pong paddle generates insane speed, at the very obvious cost of control.
The Legend 3.0 continues this make of ping pong paddles’ tradition of employing the excellent Palio Hadou rubbers – one of the main sources of the racket’s speed and spin capabilities. The rubbers are kept secure by a wider edge-tape than was used on the Legend 2.0, offering that little bit of extra durability.
Another reason for this racket’s exceptional speed is the manufacturer’s use of a special blend of extremely rigid wood. Yes, the lack of two carbon layers is surprising, given how fast and rigid the paddle is. This speaks volumes for Palio’s research into the wood that was used in blade’s manufacturing.
If you are an experienced table tennis player capable of handling the power that the Legend 3.0 provides, you will absolutely love this wonderful piece of equipment.
However, if you are not, it’s best you consider a different option. It’s critical to master control, shot selection, and placement before climbing onto this stallion.
This is not an easy racket to master, but if you have the skills, you’ll dominate with it.
- Incredibly fast paddle.
- Favors experienced players who play extremely aggressively.
- Incredible value for money, given the high-performance specs.
- One of the heaviest ping pong paddles on our list.
OUR VERDICT: This is another ping pong paddle that delivers what a professional player would expect. It’s best for experienced players who enjoy playing a very aggressive style. The blade is heavy and rigid. The rubber grips exceptionally well. This is our pick for the best paddle for experienced, aggressive players.
3. Killerspin Jet 600 – Best paddle for a versatile playing style
Performance rating: Spin – 90, Speed – 80, Control – 85.
Paddle weight: 175g
Blade composition: Wood
If the extreme speed and power of some of the more aggressive table tennis rackets on this list don’t match your balanced style of play, consider the Killerspin Jet 600. This paddle is engineered specifically to cater for the hard-hitting player who looks to occasionally baffle his opponent with a bit of subtlety.
The Killerspin Jet 600’s blade is constructed from five layers of three different types of wood, making for a thin, lightweight, but dense foundation capable of both precision and power.
On either side of this racket’s blade is the Killerspin Nitrx-4Z rubber – components that remind us the manufacturer didn’t forget about spin when it came to designing this fantastically balanced ping pong paddle. The rubber is famous for having the best grip and is certain to elevate your spin game.
While the handle may be a little on the small side, it’s flared shape and ergonomic design means that you won’t lose your grip when you unleash a power shot.
If you play at an intermediate level and you want a paddle that will help you elevate every aspect of your all-round game, the Killerspin 600 is it. It packs a huge punch without compromising on control and spin.
- Excellent balance in performance.
- Caters for the all-round table tennis player.
- Short handle not best for ping pong players with larger hands.
OUR VERDICT: If you’re looking for a ping pong paddle that helps you elevate every aspect of your balanced playing style, the Killerspin Jet 600 is the paddle for you. It’s our pick for players who employ a versatile playing style. Spin, power, control – this is a table tennis racket that offers it all.
4. STIGA Raptor – Best new paddle
Performance rating: Spin – 100, Speed – 99, Control – 80.
Paddle weight: 182 grams
Blade composition: Wood and carbon
If you’re an intermediate or advanced-level table tennis player looking for a paddle that offers you the best opportunity to expand your offensive game, the STIGA Raptor is an excellent option.
This ITTF-approved paddle rates exceptionally highly in both spin and speed but novice ping pong players may find it’s low control rating a little difficult to manage. More experienced table tennis players will no doubt find this a minor challenge to overcome.
The Raptor’s 7-ply blade is composed of five balsa wood layers and two carbon layers resulting in an extremely lightweight paddle that doesn’t sacrifice speed and power.
Being one of the newest rackets in the game, the Raptor makes use of cutting-edge construction technology. Nowhere is this more evident than in the paddle’s rubbers. STIGA’s S5 rubber, the same used in their immensely popular STIGA Pro Carbon racket, employs Nano Composite and ACS technology. This means that the rubber is durable and infused with minute pockets of air – providing some much-needed control.
The sponge utilized in the racket’s blade is of a standard 2mm thickness and is one of the main sources of the paddle’s remarkable spin and speed ratings.
The racket’s handle shape is referred to by STIGA as “Concave Pro” – their term for the paddle’s unique flared grip. Interestingly, the handle is also hollow, contributing to the Raptor’s extremely lightweight nature.
One thing that makes the STIGA Raptor easy to like is how cool it looks. Honestly, this is a table tennis paddle that seems like it’s been put together by a manufacturer who wanted to make a quality table tennis racket that stands out from the crowd.
If you’re a novice player, this may not be the best option for you.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Best for those who play an offensive game.
- Looks awesome.
- Can be tough to control.
OUR VERDICT: What the Raptor lacks in control it makes up for in spin and power. It’s a ping pong paddle with a lot to offer and already has a large fanbase amongst amateurs and professionals despite only being around since 2019. This makes it our pick for the “Best new paddle”
5. Killerspin Jet 800 – Best paddle for long rallies
Performance rating: Spin – 90, Speed – 95, Control – 80.
Paddle weight: 190g
Blade composition: Wood and carbon
While Killerspin is one of best table tennis paddle manufacturers aiming for the recreational table tennis market, its rackets’ quality should not be questioned. The Killerspin “Jet” range spans a spectrum of performance, with the 800 coming up tops and justifying the slightly hefty cost.
The Killerspin Jet 800’s 7-ply blade comprises five layers of premium wood between two carbon layers. This combination makes for a durable, rigid blade capable of imparting some serious speed onto the ball.
This carbon technology also provides you with additional defensive options – helping you absorb and return smashes with greater ease and control.
It’s not only in the blade that the Killerspin Jet 800 racket offers you the chance to expand your offensive and defensive games. The manufacturer’s famous Nitrx-4Z high-tension rubber is one of the best on the market and is great for generating maximum spin.
A feature that not many other table tennis rackets can boast is the Killerspin Jet 800’s wooden side tape that provides unmatched protection for the blade. It also looks really awesome and is resistant to peeling.
The Killerspin Jet 800’s handle offers an exceptional level of comfort. The tapered, ergonomic design results in a superb grip for hands of all sizes. Expect to stay comfortable even during the most intense rallies.
While it may be slightly on the expensive side, the Killerspin Jet 800 is the best ping pong paddle that this Chicago-based manufacturer has to offer and will delight intermediate players who play aggressively.
It’s worth mentioning that this paddle was only very narrowly beaten by the Pro Carbon as the best overall table tennis racket on our list.
- Incredible power and spin.
- Ergonomic handle makes it very comfortable to play.
- Rewards those who play aggressively.
- One of the heavier ping pong paddles on the list.
OUR VERDICT: The Jet 800 is the top table tennis racket produced by Killerspin. It’s a heavy paddle with a flared handle that sits comfortably in your hand. It rewards an aggressive playing style and is our choice for the best performance when used in long, aggressive rallies.
6. STIGA Titan – Lightest paddle
Performance rating: Spin – 77, Speed – 80, Control – 82.
Paddle weight: 159g
Blade composition: Wood
Despite the pedigree of its manufacturer, the STIGA Titan is an affordable, lightweight, ITTF-approved ping pong paddle that offers a lot for beginner table tennis players on a limited budget.
Novice players should almost always look to master the fundamentals of table tennis before prioritizing speed and spin. Placement and basic technique is everything at the start of your ping pong journey. That’s why a paddle like the Titan is such a great racket to begin with.
The blade consists of 5 plies of balsa wood padded with 2mm of inverted tournament rubber atop 2mm standard sponge. The blade is hardened using STIGA’s Crystal Technology, providing a slight improvement in speed over entry-level table tennis rackets.
One of the first things a novice player will notice after switching to the Titan from a cheaper table tennis paddle is the handle. The concave shape combined with STIGA’s WRB technology means that this may very well be the first time a new Titan owner will experience this level of balance and control with their paddle.
While numerous superior premade paddles exist on the market and on this list, there are few that boast the all-round capabilities, pedigree, and low cost of the STIGA Titan.
This is the right paddle for a player who’s just starting to think about taking things a little more seriously, making it an easy product to recommend for enthusiastic beginners.
- High level of durability.
- Very affordable.
- Not suitable for ping pong players above novice level.
OUR VERDICT: Players who start getting close to a professional level understand the importance of choosing a ping pong paddle that compliments your playing style. If you’re a player who enjoys sticking close to the table to control the pace of the game from this position, the STIGA Titan is the paddle for you. It’s the lightest paddle we reviewed, making it great this playing style.
7. Butterfly Pro-Line X5 with TENERGY 80 FX rubber – Most elite paddle
Performance rating: Spin – 100, Speed – 100, Control – 70.
Paddle weight: 160g
Blade composition: Wood and carbon
While this Butterfly Pro-Line table tennis paddle does ship fully assembled, it’s not a true “premade” paddle like the other others on our list.
Butterfly’s Pro-Line range ping pong paddles are all hand-assembled by the manufacturer according to the customer’s specifications.
This particular table tennis racket consists of the following components:
Balsa Carbo X5 carbon blade. This extremely lightweight balsa wood core blade is sandwiched between two high-quality carbon plies. It weighs in at 70 grams and is rated by the manufacturer as being a predominantly offensive blade, while still providing enough control and spin to be considered one of the most balanced blades on the market today.
Tenergy 80 FX 2. 1 rubber. Unlike the other table tennis rackets on our list, the Butterfly Pro-Line’s rubber adds an extra 0.1mm of rubber. This 2.1 mm thickness results in tremendous power which is perfectly balanced out by the softer FX sponge.
Make no mistake about it, this is the most elite paddle on our list of rackets. Expect power, speed, and control like nothing else we’ve covered here. The Butterfly Pro-Line Hand-assembled X5 with TENERGY 80 FX rubber plays like a paddle used by professional players.
This level of bespoke performance comes at a serious cost, though. Literally. Expect to pay more than double the next-most expensive ping pong paddle on this list.
However, as with many other things in life, you get what you pay for and this is certainly the case with this superb, professional-level table tennis paddle.
- Hand-crafted for an unparalleled experience in power and balance.
- Professional-level ping pong paddle that suits an attacking style.
- Removable rubbers.
- The most expensive racket on our list of the best table tennis paddles.
OUR VERDICT: Being the only hand-assembled paddle on our list, the Butterfly Pro-Line X5 with TENERGY 80 FX rubber offers a level of quality that’s just a notch above the rest. This table tennis racket is our pick for the “Most Elite Paddle” on the list.
8. Butterfly 401 – Best value for money paddle
Performance rating: Spin – 80, Speed – 80, Control – 85.
Paddle weight: 165g
Blade composition: Wood
As is obvious from the ratings above, the Butterfly 401 is a table tennis paddle that offers an excellent balance of performance qualities. Even though they may seem to be on the low side, these are fantastic specs for the low cost of this excellent paddle.
The blade of the Butterfly composed entirely of wood. That’s right. 5 layers of wood, no carbon resulting in a paddle that weighs only 165 grams. The amount of rigidity and the racket’s speed in the absence of carbon is quite remarkable.
The first thing you’ll notice about the 401, aside from how light it is, is the rubber’s grip. This comes from the manufacturer’s use of Yuki rubber – an exceptionally sticky surface that somehow doesn’t destroy your sense of control.
The rubber sits atop 2.1mm of sponge, the added 0.1mm resulting in a bit more speed than any other paddle within the 401’s price range.
Despite its high control rating, the 401’s blade construction and extremely tacky rubber do take some getting used to. Expect this paddle to offer somewhat of a learning curve, especially since it’s aimed at table tennis enthusiasts who are just starting to play a little more seriously.
An ambitious player won’t see the above as too much of a challenge, though. Enjoying the benefits of a paddle’s strengths often means that you have to come to terms with the accompanying drawbacks. Trust me, this paddle isn’t uncontrollable by any means.
- Ships with a free case.
- Extremely affordable paddle.
- Superb tackiness on the rubber for excellent spin generation.
- Sticky rubber surface needs frequent cleaning.
OUR VERDICT: No other ping pong paddle on this list offers the level of performance that the Butterfly 401 does at that modest a price. While it accentuates control, there’s more than enough offensive capabilities to make it a terrific paddle for beginner and intermediate players. It’s our pick for the best value for money paddle.
9. Killerspin Jet 200 – Best paddle for honing your basic playing skills
Performance rating: Spin – 70, Speed – 60, Control – 85.
Paddle weight: 182g
Blade composition: Wood
On the topic of affordability, let’s move on to the top-selling table tennis racket on our list: the extremely popular Killerspin Jet 200.
Choosing this ping pong paddle is an absolute no-brainer if you’re on a very tight budget. Just bear in mind that affordability comes with some understandable trade-offs.
This table tennis paddle is super affordable but if you come up against an equally skilled ping pong player with a superior paddle, you are going to struggle.
While the Killerspin Jet 200 offers control that matches some of the more “elite” ping pong paddles on our list, it is seriously lacking in the speed and spin department. Which is fine when you’re just getting started and prioritizing the mastery of your basic table tennis skills.
In fact, if this is the space that you find yourself in, there are few ping pong rackets on the market that’s going to be better for you than the Killerspin Jet 200.
The blade is constructed from Killerspin’s standard 5-ply all-wood base. It’s the only Killerspin paddle on our list that doesn’t sport the manufacturer’s ITTF-approved Nitrx-4Z rubber – one of the main reasons it lacks the power of other table tennis rackets. Having said this, you can still expect the rubber to generate a reasonable amount of spin.
- Right for those who play at a beginner level.
- Available in a number of cool colors.
- Excellent control rating.
- Non-ITTF approved rubber.
OUR VERDICT: Not all table tennis rackets on this list are for professional players or those aspiring to get to that level. The Jet 200 is a paddle that offers just the right amount of spin and speed while prioritizing control. This makes it our choice for the ping pong paddle that’s best for honing your basic playing skills.
10. STIGA Evolution – Most balanced paddle
Performance rating: Spin – 94, Speed – 96, Control – 90.
Paddle weight: 170g
Blade composition: Wood
With performance ratings that are not only exceptionally high but also very close to one another, the STIGA Evolution is the most balanced ping pong paddle on our list.
Scoring an impressive combination of ratings, it’s easily one of the top-selling table tennis paddles amongst intermediate players. If you want a paddle that’s going to give you as good a chance as any to land the ball on the table, look no further.
The STIGA Evolution is all about control.
There’s little innovation in the paddle’s blade by STIGA’s standards. 6 plies of lightweight wood make it a relatively standard table tennis racket from this perspective.
To a lesser extent, the same could be said about the paddle’s rubber. Sitting on top of the usual 2 millimeters of high-quality sponge, the professional-grade lightweight rubber that pads the Evolution has been specially modified to balance spin and control.
It’s in the handle that we find what really sets the Evolution apart from other table tennis rackets. Aside from boasting STIGA’s standard “Concave Pro” grip-shape, this remarkable ping pong paddle employs a Shock Dispersion Tube in the handle. This feature absorbs the impact of the ball and then disperses it evenly across the entire paddle, further contributing to its excellent overall control.
The Evolution’s weight distribution may take some getting used to, though. Many players have remarked on how “top-heavy” the paddle feels due to the difference in weight between the blade and handle.
Having said that, most serious ping pong players who appreciate the balance and control that the Evolution offers will have no problem coming to terms with its unique weighting.
- Very well suited to players who play a defensive game.
- Total control with little sacrifice in other performance areas.
- “Top-heavy” balance may take some getting used to.
OUR VERDICT: There isn’t a single ping pong paddle on our list that offers spin, speed, and control ratings all within 6 points of each other while at the same time scoring in the 90s for all three. The STIGA evolution screams balance. It has everything a serious player wants to maximise every aspect of their game. The title of “most balanced paddle” is one of the most important on a list like this, and the Evolution deserves it more than any other.
11. DHS Hurricane II – Best paddle for aspiring professional players
Performance rating: Spin – 95, Speed – 89, Control – 82.
Paddle weight: 167g
Blade composition: Wood
The DHS Hurricane II is as close as a fully premade paddle is going to get to a professional-level table tennis racket. This is a world-class paddle that’s right for table tennis players at the upper end of intermediate-level. The price-tag may alienate some budget-conscious players, but for those willing to pay a little more than average, this paddle delivers.
One of the main differentiators between the DHS Hurricane and other table tennis rackets is the variable surface texture between the paddle’s two sides. The red rubber side has a “dimpled” texture, while the black side is smooth. This allows a quick-thinking player to switch between a side that will aid them in generating or suppressing spin.
This unique design feature is one of the main reasons this ping pong paddle is so popular amongst intermediate-level players wanting to take table tennis more seriously.
- Capable of generating a huge amount of spin.
- Extremely high build quality.
- Ships with paddle-cover and Landson wrist support.
- Rubber needs frequent maintenance to retain stickiness.
OUR VERDICT: Without any doubt, this is the table tennis racket you need to invest in if you are ready to take the step from being a serious intermediate player to one who has their eyes set on the big time. It’s light in weight and it’s performance ratings are fantastically balanced, with a slight bias towards spin. This is our pick for the best paddle for aspiring professional players.
12. Airblades AB-6000 6 Star Paddle – Heaviest paddle
Performance rating: Not available
Paddle weight: 194g
Blade composition: Wood
Something that becomes immediately obvious as you pick up the Airblades AB-6000 6 Star Paddle is that you’re either going to love the shape of the handle, or you’re going to hate it.
The consensus amongst table tennis players who have tested this racket seems to be that the more often you switch your grip during a match, the more likely you are to fall in the latter category.
Not all ping pong players switch their grip that often, though, and those players report an unmatched level of comfort when holding what is the heaviest ping pong paddle that we’re reviewing.
While this table tennis racket offers a very good balance between speed, spin, and control, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not currently approved by the ITTF. So, if you’ve got an official ping pong competition coming up, you should definitely seek out another option.
The AB-6000’s all-wooden blade is constructed out of 5 layers of wood. The middle three from Ayous and the outer layers from Limba. The latter lends a “softer” feel to the paddle’s performance that results in greater control – a big advantage for less experienced table tennis players.
The blade is also quite heavy, in fact, this is the heaviest ping pong paddle that we’re reviewing in this article. If you’re a player with strong wrists and lots of stamina, you’ll be able to enjoy the full advantages this offers.
- Unique ergonomic grip provides great comfort for certain ping pong players.
- Hefty and extremely durable.
- Excellent balanced performance.
- Logo on the blade is distracting and has a different texture to the surrounding area.
- Non ITTF-approved. Not ideal for pro players.
OUR VERDICT: Some players are all about overwhelming their opponent with speed. And few things lend as much power to a ping pong paddle than a heavy blade. And weight is one thing that the Airblades AB-6000 6 Star racket has in abundance. It’s the heaviest paddle on our list.
13. Killerspin Jet 400 – Best paddle to develop your spin game
Performance rating: Spin – 90, Speed – 70, Control – 80.
Paddle weight: 182g
Blade composition: Wood
While the other Killerspin ping pong paddles on our list focus on speed (Jet 800), balance (Jet 600), and affordability (Jet 200), this model aims at serious recreational players who prefer a more defensive style of play.
If you prefer to play closer to the table, the Jet 400 may well be the best option for you. It’s also the right paddle for players that have just learned the basics and want to take their game to the next level.
At 182 grams, it’s a heavier paddle than most. It’s also quite sluggish in the speed department. So be aware that this is never going to be a paddle that you’ll dominate the opponent with.
However, what the Jet 400 lacks in speed, it makes up for in control and spin. This is the paddle to use if you’re a defensively-minded player who’s comfortable frustrating your overly-aggressive opponent into making a mistake.
Aside from sporting a non-standard 1.8mm thickness of rubber (one of the main reasons for its lack of speed), the Jet 400 has a pretty standard construction. It’s got the 5-ply all-wooden blade. It’s got Killerspin’s famous Nitrx-4Z rubber (the same material used in Killerspin’s more advanced paddles). It’s got a flared handle for a comfortable grip.
Essentially, this is a paddle that offers defensive players at the top end of the “beginner” level everything they need to start taking their table tennis a little more seriously.
What’s more, is that it comes at a very reasonable price, so if you’re just starting out, this paddle is the right investment for you.
- Very affordable price for a quality table tennis racket.
- Excellent choice for recreational players.
- Great control and spin.
- May be on the heavy side for novice players lacking stamina.
OUR VERDICT: If you’re starting to feel comfortable with the fundamentals of table tennis and want to specifically focus on using and countering spin without sacrificing control, look no further than the Killerspin Jet 400. It’s our pick for the table tennis racket that’s ideal for helping you develop your usage of spin.
How to Choose the Right Ping Pong Paddle for You
It may be really tempting to simply choose the most expensive paddle that falls within your budget, assuming that the more expensive a paddle is better its performance will be and the better you’ll play.
In reality, things are a little more complex than that. There are several factors that should drive your decision.
Yeah, there definitely is a correlation between cost and performance quality, but in the world of table tennis equipment, “performance” can mean a lot of things.
Weight up the Paddle’s Performance Ratings Against Your Skill level
Fortunately, table tennis paddle manufacturers use a normalized system when indicating how a racket performs in three main areas: spin, speed, and control.
Each table tennis racket’s performance level in one of these three areas is indicated by a value out of a hundred – the higher the number, the more of that particular quality a paddle will deliver.
In most cases, a paddle paddle that delivers a very high value in one or two of these performance areas compromise somewhat on the third. Although this is by no means a hard and fast rule; there are exceptions.
Ideally, you’re going to want a paddle that scores highly on speed and spin. This will allow you to not only impart the maximum amount of either of these things onto the ball but also counter your opponent’s offensive game more effectively.
However, as said before, a paddle constructed in a way that maximizes these two performance areas often comes at the expense of control. And do not think that this is something you can overcome without difficulty. In fact, most novice players will find playing with such a paddle a massive obstacle to them learning the fundamentals of table tennis.
When you’re just starting out, your number one priority should be to land the ball on the table as consistently as possible. Returning the ball and placing it in a spot where your opponent has the smallest chance of getting to it should be the first skill you focus on.
As your game progresses and you get more skilled, you can learn how to use spin and speed to bring a new, more effective level of offense into your style of play. Initially, however, focus on the basics. That is why a paddle constructed in a way that maximizes control is always a better bet for a beginner.
On the other hand, if you’ve been playing for a long enough time to start feeling like your paddle simply doesn’t give you the offensive options you want, it may be time to start sacrificing some of that control in favor of more power and spin.
This is a spot that most players will find themselves in on their ping pong journey. No matter how hard you flick your wrist or swing your arm, you simply can’t seem to get the ball past your opponent. You’re making very few unforced errors, but you just can’t get the winner in.
This is an exciting time for you.
It is time to invest in a more aggressive piece of equipment.
Paddle Weight and How it Should Compliment Your Playing Style
The weight of the paddle is mostly something that intermediate-level players will concern themselves with, although it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re just starting out.
As another very broad rule, the paddle’s weight is going to determine two things: the ease with which you can get yourself into the correct position for a specific shot and the amount of power you’ll hit the ball with.
The lighter the paddle, the better you’ll be at positioning. The heavier the paddle the more power you’ll generate in your shot (although bear in mind that a number of other aspects of the racket contribute to power and speed).
Ideally, you’ll want to play with the heaviest racket that suits your style of play. And this is why we say that weight is mostly just a concern for intermediate to advanced-level players. When you’re just starting out, you don’t quite know this yet. Don’t worry, though, it’ll reveal itself to you organically as you keep playing.
Some players like to stick close to the edge of the table to give their opponent less time to react to whatever shot they play. Obviously, these players have exceptional reflexes and they need a paddle to compliment this style of play. That’s why they typically choose something very lightweight. However, as I mentioned before, depending on the paddle’s construction, this could have an adverse effect on its speed rating.
Other players prefer to stand further back from the table. This gives them more time to set up the shot they want to play and allows them to use raw power to overwhelm their opponent from a distance. These types of players need a piece of equipment that allows them to hit the ball with as much power as possible.
For them, it’s a simple matter of physics. The heavier the paddle, the harder the ball will travel. And since they’re further away from their opponent, they have more time to adjust. For them, trading off maneuverability for power is very feasible.
But table tennis is a game of subtlety and guile. Most advanced players don’t choose one style of play and stick to it religiously. There’s a lot of middle ground that good players will want to explore. For this reason, there are rackets that offer an excellent balance between these styles of play.
If you’re finding that your style of play needs a differently weighted paddle, read our reviews above to find out which is the best ping pong paddle for you.
Paddle Components and Construction
When assessing your options and reading our reviews above to find the right paddle for you, it’s important to understand how its construction affects its performance. What a racket is made from and how these components fit together affects its performance ratings as well as its weight – the two most important considerations for someone in the market for a new piece of equipment.
The table tennis paddle consists of four main components:
The blade is the round, flat surface onto which the sponge and rubber are mounted.
The blade is typically composed of a number of layers, or “plies” of wood and, in some cases, carbon. Most quality premade blades consist of anything between 5 to 9 plies.
The more layers of wood that are used and the presence of carbon affects the blade’s stiffness. As a general rule, the stiffer the blade, the higher the paddle’s speed rating.
The blade is one of the main contributors to the paddle’s overall weight. If the blade consists of two or more layers of carbon, it’s going to be lighter than a blade that is an equal number of wooden layers.
The edge of a blade can also be protected with side-tape. Many paddles ship with side-tape already attached, but if yours doesn’t, it’s a good idea to extend your blade’s durability by investing tape.
This is the soft layer between the blade and the rubber. The thickness and type of sponge have a very real effect on the paddle’s performance. Usually, this component is between 1.2mm and 2.1mm thick.
A thin layer of sponge typically means that the paddle will play with more control, while a thick layer results in a greater speed rating.
Experienced, offensive players tend to go for a thicker layer of sponge, while novices are advised to select a paddle with a thinner layer.
This refers to the soft, sticky outermost layer of the racket’s blade.
Since this is the component that makes contact with the ball, the rubber is an absolutely critical component to assess when investing in a new paddle.
The material that the rubber is made from has an effect on the paddle’s speed rating. However, it’s mostly in the stickiness (or tackiness) of the material as well as its texture that determines the amount of spin that the paddle can produce and counter.
Learning how to use and counter spin is one of an intermediate player’s most important skills. And having a paddle that offers the maximum capacity to do this is critical to a player’s success.
With the exception of one of the rackets on our list above (the Airblade AB-6000), all of the rackets we reviewed have a “flared” or “concave” handle.
This means the paddle curves inwardly in the middle, with a wider top and bottom.
This is by far the most popular shape for a premade paddle since it offers the most flexibility and results in the most secure grip.
The other two most common handle shapes are “anatomic” and “straight”.
The anatomic handle is similar to the flared shape, with the exception that there is an outward “wave” shape in the middle of the handle. Many players feel that this handle shape results in a better, more comfortable, grip.
Straight handles are less common and look exactly as the name suggests. It is typically used by advanced players who want to change their grip on the handle in the middle of a point. It offers more flexibility but comes at the cost of comfort.
It may sound like a cliche, but trust us when we say that the right paddle is not the one that has the highest performance ratings.
Nor is it the lightest or heaviest.
Nor is it the paddle with the most advanced impact dispersion technology.
The “best paddle” is the paddle that suits you and your skill level and style of play best.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of these two things yet, you’re likely to be a novice player. In this case, err on the side of caution and opt for a paddle that offers excellent control.
If you know your way around a table and you’re looking to take a step into a more competitive sphere of play, take our reviews seriously and choose the racket that compliments you, not the most popular make or the one that costs the most.
Do the research on yourself and your needs. Then make a decision.
Trust us, it’s worth the effort.
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