How To Choose Your Table Tennis Racket

Top tips to help you choose your ideal table tennis racket. Which one is best?
Part one - The basics

 By Martin Hughes
 Owner and Editor

Part One  |   Part Two  |   Part Three  |   Part Four  |   Part Five

 

Table Tennis Racket

When you're looking to buy a table tennis racket you'll probably find that you're faced with a bewildering choice of different rackets and therefore not know which one you should buy.

So how can you make the right choice?

Well, all you need is a little insider knowledge so that you can make an informed choice.

And knowing what makes rackets different from each other means that you'll be able to choose the one that's most suitable for YOU.

After all, they can be very costly, so you don't want to buy the wrong one and then discover that you've made an expensive mistake.

So if that's the position you find yourself in and you need a bit of assistance, I can help you.

You see, I've been playing and writing about table tennis since 1971 and I've built up a wealth of knowledge about choosing table tennis equipment so, in this five-part series of pages about the racket, I'd like to share that knowledge with you.

So let's take a closer look at the basics first and discover what you need to know before you choose your table tennis racket.


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Racket, paddle or bat?

Depending on where you live in the world you may call them table tennis rackets, table tennis paddles, table tennis bats, ping pong rackets, ping pong paddles or ping pong bats ... but we're all referring to the piece of equipment that you use to hit the ball.

However, the official Laws of Table Tennis refer to it as a table tennis racket, so I'll be using that term throughout this web site.

If you use the term ping pong you may also be interested in my article about the difference between table tennis and ping pong.


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Can a table tennis racket be of any size?

The official rules of table tennis state that a racket can be of any size, shape or weight, but the blade must be flat and rigid and made of at least 85% natural wood.

However you'll find that most rackets are all very similar in size - about 15cm (6 inches) across and 25cm (10 inches) long including the handle.


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What is a racket?

A table tennis racket is made up of two distinct parts.

1) A wooden blade which incorporates a handle...

Table tennis blade

 

and...

2) table tennis rubbers which are affixed to each side of the blade using water-based glue and then trimmed to fit the blade.

The most common type of rubbers are "sandwich rubbers" where the top rubber and sponge underneath are combined into one sheet.

Table tennis rubber

 

Here's a side view of a racket showing the wooden blade with sandwich rubbers affixed to each side of the blade.

Table tennis racket composition

 

Note: Some players use rubbers with no sponge underneath, including the traditional "hardbat", but these are much rarer than sandwich rubbers.

So, now that we know the basics, let's take a look at how to choose your ideal table tennis racket.


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Ready-made or a customised racket

There are two basic choices available when buying a table tennis racket.

You can either buy a ready-made, pre-assembled racket, or buy the individual pieces and make your own customised racket.

1) Ready-made, pre-assembled rackets

Ready-made, pre-assembled rackets are suitable for players who...

  • are just starting to play table tennis, or
  • only play occasionally, or
  • only play as a fun social activity
Ready-made, pre-assembled racket

Ready-made, pre-assembled rackets are often available in your local sports store but I wouldn't recommend buying one from there.

The main problem with buying this type of racket from your local sports store is that you don't know how long it's been in the packet, and table tennis rubbers deteriorate with age and exposure to light, even if they've been kept in a sealed packet.

So I'd recommend that you buy online from a supplier who has stock which is more likely to be sold and replenished more frequently.

Almost any ready-made, pre-assembled racket will be sufficient for a beginner or casual player, but I'd recommend that you buy a recognised table tennis brand such as Butterfly, Donic, DHS, Joola, Nittaku, Stiga, Tibhar, TSP or Yasaka.

I'd also recommend that you don't pay in excess of $50 (£40) for a ready-made, pre-assembled racket.

Here are my recommendations for pre-assembled rackets...

Ready-made, pre-assembled racket

 

But if you're serious about playing table tennis, you'll need to buy a...

2) Customised racket

Customised rackets are more suitable for players...

  • who have been playing table tennis for at least a year, and
  • intend to keep playing regularly in order to improve their skills, and
  • want to play competitively

Buying a customised racket is a specialist purchase, and it's extremely doubtful that you'll be able to buy the individual pieces required to make your own customised racket from anyone other than either a specialist table tennis supplier, or a large company like Amazon.

As I said previously, I'd recommend that you don't buy table tennis rubbers from a non-specialist table tennis supplier because you don't know how long they've been in the packet, and table tennis rubbers deteriorate with age and exposure to light, even if they've been kept in a sealed packet.

I'd also recommend that you buy a recognised table tennis brand such as Butterfly, Donic, DHS, Joola, Nittaku, Stiga, Tibhar, TSP or Yasaka.

Here are my recommendations for rubbers...


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What style of play do you use?

Before you can decide which customised racket is best for YOU, you'll first need to consider your style of play.

If you're just starting out, then you don't need to be too concerned with this. Just buy a ready-made, pre-assembled racket.

But if you're progressing from a ready-made, pre-assembled racket to a customised racket, you'll need to consider your style of play.

Do you have an attacking / offensive style of play or are you a more defensive type of player?

Maybe you're neither one nor the other - perhaps you've developed a counter-attacking style?

However, the vast majority of players will initially have an "allround" style of play.

So, when you've considered the style of play you use, you'll be ready to move on to the next stage.

So we'll explore these issues further in Part Two - what type of table tennis blade do you need?

 

Part One  |   Part Two  |   Part Three  |   Part Four  |   Part Five


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MORE PAGES ABOUT
CHOOSING YOUR TABLE TENNIS EQUIPMENT
For more information, tips and recommendations about table tennis equipment, take a look at my other articles...

Table Tennis Rackets (paddles / bats)

 

Table Tennis Tables

 

Table Tennis Nets

 

Table Tennis Balls

 

Table Tennis Shoes

 

Table Tennis Robots

 

Table Tennis Manufacturers/Suppliers

 

Interviews with Table Tennis Manufacturers/Suppliers

 

Recommended Table Tennis Equipment

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AllAboutTableTennis.com (AATT) is completely free to use.

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This web site receives thousands of visitors every day and therefore, to keep it completely free to use, advertising and affiliate links appear on this web site.

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