The best ping pong paddle
Ping pong is extremely popular for obvious reasons. It's easy, it's accessible, and most of all, it's fun. However, if you want to play your best, you'll need the best equipment. That's why it's important to have a good set of ping pong paddles to keep your game on point. You might think that all ping pong paddles are the same, but that's not entirely true. Sure, they all have a similar shape, but that's where the similarities end. Weight, material, handle-length, and feel are just a few of the factors you need to consider when buying a set of paddles.
Read on if you want the best advice on choosing a new set of ping pong paddles. We even included reviews of some of our favorites. Our top pick, the Killerspin JET200 Table Tennis Paddle, will have both beginners and experts beating their opponents with ease.
Considerations when choosing ping pong paddles
A ping pong paddle blade should be made from 85% or more natural wood and have multiple layers. Three, five, and seven are the most common number of layers for most paddles. They're usually between five and 10 millimeters thick and weigh between two and a half to three ounces.
The handle of your ping pong paddle should work for your preferred grip style. Shakehand grip and Seemiller grip handles are usually long and rounded. Those intended for use with the Penhold grip are thicker and shorter. You should know what grip style you favor before choosing your paddle.
The flat surface of most ping pong paddles are covered with rubber. Although some paddles are made without rubber, they're not common in competitive play. Rubber is measured both by its firmness as well as by its tackiness. Firmer rubber gives you more power, and tackier rubber allows more spin to be applied to each shot.
The sponge is the foam that rests in between the rubber and the blade. Sponges come in different levels of softness, thickness, and springiness. The thinner the sponge, the more suited it is for defensive play. Some paddles that have pips-out rubber have no sponge at all.
Storage case or bag
Some ping pong paddles come with their own carrying cases. The more elaborate ones can even serve as memory books, with space to record scores, collect signatures, and have people write personalized messages. Others come with simple bags for toting all of your ping pong equipment.
If you want your ping pong paddle to express your personal style, then buy one that gives you different color options. Some models come in as many as eight or more different colors, so you can make a serious style statement while enjoying your next game of ping pong.
Most ping pong paddles cost between $15 and $80. A $15 ping pong paddle is usually made from cheaper wood, like balsa. For $40, you can expect to purchase a paddle made from five to seven layers of high-quality wood with an extra-tacky rubber. For $80, you can find a professional quality paddle. They may even include layers of carbon fiber and a carrying bag.
Q. Can I replace the rubber on my ping pong paddle?
A. Yes. Most ping pong paddle rubber will wear after a few years of use. You can purchase new rubber and foam to apply with a special glue. The rubber can be cut to fit any paddle size and shape.
Q. Do the spin, speed, and control ratings truly matter when choosing a ping pong paddle?
A. They only matter to some extent. Unfortunately, testing methods from brand to brand vary greatly. This means you can't be sure what testing protocols each brand is using. The best way of assessing a paddle is by reading about the materials and construction, in addition to reading consumer reviews.
Ping pong paddles we recommend
Best of the best: Killerspin's JET200 Table Tennis Paddle
Our take: A fun and versatile paddle for newbies and experts alike.
What we like: Five-layer wood body is durable. PVC tape protects paddle's edges.
What we dislike: Some users complained that paddle head was "wobbly."
Best bang for your buck: MAPOL's Four-Star Professional Ping-Pong Paddle
Our take: As light in your hands as it is on your wallet.
What we like: Only weighs 0.6 pounds. The flared handle is comfortable, and the paddle has a 60-day money-back guarantee.
What we dislike: The foam peels after some use.
Choice 3: Jebor's Professional Table Tennis Paddle
Our take: Stable paddle for recreational and professional use.
What we like: Seven-layered cottonwood construction is rugged. The handle is corrosion resistant.
What we dislike: Blade rubber can wear after a short time.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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