Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Table tennis is the most popular indoor sport in the world. Whether old or young, almost anyone can play table tennis. For this, the right bat is essential, which is available in countless variations. Depending on your needs and requirements, a special version is the right one for you.

Our big table tennis bat test 2022 should help you find the best table tennis bat for you. We have compared table tennis bats with rubber pimples, short and long outer pimples, inner pimples and anti-topspin coverings and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.

Contents




Summary

  • Table tennis bats are available in all price and quality categories, allowing you to play a great game of ping pong, depending on your preference.
  • There are bats for DEFensive (for defensive players), OFFensive (for offensive players) and for ALLround (OFF and DEF) players. The values given when buying a racket “Speed, Control and Spin” will tell you which racket is suitable for which style/player.
  • Furthermore, you can choose your optimal grip shape, your rubber and whether you prefer to buy a complete or assembled racket. While the complete racket is already ready to play, with the second variant you assemble your own blade and rubber.

The Best Table Tennis Bats: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying a table tennis bat

How is a table tennis bat constructed and what do I have to consider when buying one?

A table tennis bat consists of the handle, the bat wood and the rubber. Before buying, you should ask yourself what level of play you are currently at and what type of bat you prefer.

Table tennis bats can be divided into outdoor, hobby and competition bats. (Image source: Markus_Vockrodt / pixabay.com)

The components of a TT bat are the coverings on both sides, the bat wood and the handle (see picture). All three components are available in different designs and materials.

We will explain in more detail what these are and where the differences lie in the separate points below.

There are so-called ready-made rackets, which, as the name suggests, you can buy completely “ready-made”, and there is the counterpart, where you have the racket wood with handle and the desired rubbers put together.

This option is mainly for ambitious players, as well as professionals and upscale club players the means of choice. If you only want to swing the racket from time to time, a ready-made racket is definitely sufficient.

Here, too, there are subdivisions into hobby and professional rackets, which differ in quality and price.

Many beginners make the mistake of buying a racket that is too fast. This usually results in great inaccuracy in the game, as it is difficult to control the ball on the table tennis table.

Sooner or later, frustration sets in because the technique suffers considerably and no progress is made. Therefore, do not listen to advice such as “start with a good bat”, even if they are experienced club players.

Because: There is no such thing as a good or bad racket. What is important is that the racket gives you a good feeling, that it fits well in your hand and that you can play well with it. Don’t look at recommendations, the price or big advertising promises. The racket has to suit you. So it’s best to choose a few bats, in the shop or even ordered, that might fit and do some dry practice.

What types of table tennis bats are there?

Table tennis bats can be roughly divided into hobby, outdoor and competition. In order to meet the different requirements, all bats in the respective range are of different characteristics.

Hobby bats: Table tennis bats from this range are very inexpensive and meet the minimum requirements that one should have for a table tennis bat. They are usually made of simply glued plywood and have a simple knobbed rubber.

Outdoor table tennis bats: Table tennis bats designed for outdoor use are robust and repel moisture and dirt.

Competition bats: The bats intended for professional use are usually individually assembled and accordingly have the characteristics desired by the user. In addition, they are subject to certain standards in order to be allowed to compete.

Which table tennis blades are there and which is the right one for me?

The bat wood does not consist of one piece of wood cut to size, as you might think, but of several layers that are glued together.

Synthetic materials can also be used, but they must not make up more than 15 percent of the racket wood. There are suitable woods with a wide range of properties for each type of game. These are explained in more detail below.

There are three types of players according to which the rackets are classified and built:

  • DEF (Defensive) – defensive player
  • OFF (Offensive) – offensive player
  • ALL (Allrounder)- both and

Defensive woods

Woods that are made for defensive play are usually made of soft woods such as willow, birch or poplar. The ball bounces more slowly on them, so it is possible to play the ball in a more controlled and precise way. In addition, the blade is usually larger than on all-round and offensive clubs.

Defensive players are characterised by standing very far away from the table during rallies. By often waiting for the opponent’s mistakes and acting passively, they make their points. Their stroke techniques consist mostly of undercut elements and less of topspin variations.

Offensive woods

The opposite is the case with offensive blades. Here, hard woods such as walnut, mahogany or beech are used, which make the game faster and are therefore more suitable for offensive players.

Aggressive topspin play with a lot of speed from predominantly short distances to the table characterise the attacking player. While the defensive player reacts, the offensive player takes the initiative and acts.

All-round woods

This type represents the golden mean. Here, hard and soft blades are skilfully combined so that a very high pace of play is possible without having to forego the controlled “feel for the ball”.

The all-rounder masters all offensive hitting techniques, but acts with significantly reduced risk. Rotation-rich, well-placed topspins as well as blocking and counter-attacking are used alternately.

Swing behaviour

One aspect that is decisive for the playing characteristics of the racket wood is its vibration behaviour. High-frequency swinging blades accelerate the ball very strongly, whereas low-frequency swinging blades slow the ball down slightly or accelerate it less.

The frequency depends on the veneer material, the blade size (the smaller, the higher the frequency) and the width of the blade bridge (light, uncovered part of the club, between the grip and the rubber). A large bridge leads to a higher frequency and therefore more speed.

Head-heavy or balanced rackets

A further distinction in the choice of racket is given by the weight shift of the racket. Head-heavy clubs, as the name suggests, are heavier in the face than in the grip, so that more pressure can be exerted on the ball. Balanced clubs, on the other hand, distribute the weight evenly and thus allow more flexibility in the wrist.

Conclusion

Nowadays, only hard or soft wood is rarely used exclusively, the mix makes the difference. For example, the veneer core is often made of light and soft abachi or balsa, one or more blocking veneers are made of hard or harder woods such as walnut or wenge, and the outer veneers are made of softer woods such as koto, limba or abachi.

The fineline technique has also proved its worth. Many thin strips of veneer are glued together, which significantly increases the playing quality. This is also a popular option for the handles.

The forehand and backhand are usually made of the same material. Contrary to common assumptions, the sides are not differentiated on the basis of the black and red sides, but on the basis of the manufacturer’s emblem. Why? The emblem always marks the forehand of the racket so that it disturbs the players’ palm.

If a beginner is faced with the choice of which wood characteristics are the right ones, we would always recommend the all-round racket. With this racket, you can practise all types of strokes and variations and find out which playing tactic suits you best.

A bat that is too fast or too slow can quickly dampen your enjoyment, and that is something that should be avoided as much as possible.

Which table tennis handles are there and which is the right one for me?

The handle, which is sometimes also counted as part of the bat, is usually made of wood. Over the years, several shapes have crystallised, which we would now like to explain to you.

  • Concave: The most common grip shape.
  • Anatomical: The 2nd most popular grip shape
  • Concave: Concave, anatomical or conical grips are popular with offensive players because they adapt well to the hand and thus facilitate fast play. They are easier to fix at the end of the grip and therefore less tiring to hold.
  • Straight: Although straight grips are rather rare in comparison, they are very popular with defensive players. With this type of grip, the player can easily vary and turn the racket better and faster in his hand if the rubbers of the forehand and backhand are different in nature.

For a few years now, rackets with vibration-damping properties have been gaining ground. Since the ball exerts vibrations at the moment of impact on the racket, which travel to the grip and thus cause the hand to tire more quickly, some manufacturers have reacted and put rackets with hollow, foam-filled or specially coated grips on the market.

“WRB” (Weight balance-Rate of recovery-Ball sensitivity), “vibration damping”, “honeycomb”, “RAG”(Round-About-Grip), ASG (Anti-Shock-Grip) or AVS (Anti-Vibe-System) are just a few names that indicate such a grip.

In competitive sports, unpainted grips have become the norm because they absorb hand sweat better and slip less in the hand.

As with wood and rubber, it is important to find the right grip for you. It must feel good and be loose and relaxed in the hand. Here, too, it is difficult to listen to recommendations, because every hand and playing technique is individual.

What table tennis rubbers are there and which is the right one for me?

The rubbers seem to represent the ultimate point in terms of “optimal table tennis bat”. This is because the rubber has the greatest influence on the speed and rotation (spin or spin) of the table tennis ball.

There is a huge scope in terms of material, shape, thickness etc. pp., which is difficult to grasp as a layman. What exactly is behind this, we want to explain to you in the following.

Shapes of coverings

Generally speaking, two types of table tennis surfaces can be distinguished:

  • Rough rubbers: Pimples on the outside
  • Smooth rubbers: Pimples inside (backside)

Pimples outside

  • “Short” pimples on the outside (pimple length < approx. 0.9 mm)
  • “long” pimples on the outside (pimple length approx. 1.3 mm to approx. 1.8 mm)

With the short pimples outside, the covering is made of firm and hard rubber. The backing layer is thick and the sponge is extremely firm.

These conditions ensure that less spin is generated because the grip of the surface is lower. At the same time, the racket is less sensitive to the opponent’s spin. Powerful shooting and counter-attacking are the strengths of the “short nubs”.

The long pimples on the outside, unlike the short ones, are made of soft and flexible rubber. The backing layer is thin and the sponge is soft. Many long nubs are also available in a spongeless version, called orthodox (ox).

The result of these characteristics is that the grip becomes very variable due to the sliding ball contact surface (long pimples have low stability on ball contact). Like the short pimples, they are insensitive to opponents’ spin strokes.

The disadvantage is that “cut” balls can be played less or not at all. In combination with an inner pimple rubber with good grip, the result is an effective structure.

Inside pimples (backside)

Smooth rubbers are the most used rubbers of all. Here, the pimples of the covering face inwards and the smooth surface faces outwards. Depending on the type of rubber chosen, the ball playing characteristics can be varied:

  • Natural rubber produces an extremely fast, but less grippy surface
  • Synthetic rubber, on the other hand, produces a slower but more grippy surface

Backside rackets are very versatile. With them, you can give the ball a lot of rotation. With a thick sponge base (over 1.7 millimetres) they are perfect for spin attack and blocking, but with thin (1 to 1.5 millimetres) sponge thicknesses they are also perfect for undercut defence.

Combi rubbers (backside and pimples outside)

The combination of both rubbers is also often found. It has become less dangerous since the racket sides have to have different colours. Nevertheless, when used correctly, it can bring tension into the game.

Pimple and sponge thickness

The total rubber thickness must not exceed 4 mm, the pimple rubber thickness two millimetres. However, since most pimples only have a thickness of 1.6 to 1.7 millimetres on the inside, this leaves 2.3 to 2.4 millimetres for the sponge rubber.

Offensive rubbers Defensive rubbers
Significantly thicker and faster sponge Thinner tempo-absorbing sponge
Highly elastic rubber surface (for maximum spin and speed) Soft, mostly sticky surface (for maximum undercut)

So the following applies: The thicker the undercut sponge (maximum 2.5 millimetres), the faster the maximum possible ball speed. The more adhesive the surface, the higher the maximum ball speed.

Speedglue

If you are a professional or club player who is an aggressive attacker, you will be familiar with the term speed gluing.

In this case, the rubber coating of the racket is glued to the wood just before the start of the game in order to achieve higher speed and more rotation. The special adhesives make the rubber more grippy, elastic and topspin-friendly.

For hobby players and less ambitious players, this technique is not necessary. Apart from the time and cost involved, there are also very good pre-glued rubbers or more durable versions that do not have to be renewed before every game.

Conclusion

You can find out which racket is best for you by deciding whether you are more of an all-rounder, an offensive or a defensive player. The three values of speed, control and spin, which go up to 100 on most manufacturers’ scales, give a good first indication of what the racket or rubber can and cannot do.

Type of player Recommended rubber values
Defensive player Low tempo values, high control values
Allrounder Spin and tempo values balanced, control value can be lower
Offensive player High tempo values, high spin values

Where can I buy a table tennis bat?

Basically, you can buy bats, like almost everything, on the internet or in a shop directly. While you only have to google “table tennis bats” on the Internet and you will get numerous addresses, you can differentiate between specialist shops and department stores such as Real.

If you want a large and good selection and competent advice, you should definitely choose a specialist shop. They are very knowledgeable about table tennis and table rackets and dry practice is also possible without any problems.

The selection is even bigger on the internet than in the shop, but in the end you have to help yourself except for the descriptions.

However, so-called test cases are a great thing. You simply pick out a few rackets and try them out at home in order to decide which one you want. Just google it, you will find many suppliers.

How much do table tennis paddles cost?

The cost of table tennis bats varies just as it does for all other sporting goods. There are “cheap bats”, there are ready-made bats for professionals, there are relatively inexpensive woods and rubbers to be glued, and there are expensive versions of both.

Good TT rackets that are suitable for club sports are available from about 60 euros. Ready-made rackets, which are offered for about 25 euros in various sports shops, are sufficient for the hobby sportsman, but are definitely not professional rackets.

If you look for ready-made bats in special table tennis shops, you will find them for about 40 euros. Here, the dealer glues the rubbers onto the wood himself. For beginners, you can already buy complete bats for 30 euros.

Good ALLround blades without rubbers are available for as little as 20 euros. If you add the ALLround rubbers, which cost about 15 to 30 euros per side of the racket, the price for a self-assembled racket is between 50 and 80 euros.

Should I rather choose a ready-made bat or a custom-made table tennis bat?

Depending on what you want from a table tennis bat and how much money you plan to spend, there are different options. You can get a ready-made bat for little money. It is well suited for beginners and is also sufficient for hobby use.

For a player, the right choice of racket is of great importance because it can effectively support one’s own playing style. (Image source: Huskyherz / pixabay.com)

But if you plan to play more professionally, it can be worth investing more. Individually assembled bats adapt exactly to your ideas of the ideal table tennis bat. The choice of wood, handle and surface is entirely up to you.

Decision: What types of table tennis bats are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between five types of table tennis bats:

  • Table tennis bats with knobbed rubber
  • Table tennis bats with short outer knobs
  • Table tennis bats with long outer knobs
  • Table tennis bats with inner knobs
  • Table tennis bat with anti-topspin coating

Due to the texture and type of surface, the bounce of the balls and the feel of the bat are different. Therefore, there are advantages and disadvantages with each of these types of bat or rubber. Depending on the type of player and preference, there are advantages and disadvantages for each table tennis bat.

The following section briefly explains the differences between the various types so that you can decide for yourself which bat is right for you. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of these types are explained in more detail and clearly compared.

How does a table tennis bat with pimple rubber work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The classic pimple rubber is the first rubber that was used to cover a table tennis bat. This so-called sandwich rubber consists of a textile layer to which a rubber support layer with pimples is glued. The pimples close conically with the backing layer.

Advantages
  • High spin
  • necessary in special tournaments
Disadvantages
  • Very rare

The rubber has the greatest influence on the rotation and flight speed of the table tennis ball. It enables the player to move the ball to the opposite side of the table with the necessary spin and, ideally, to score points with the right serve.

How does a table tennis bat with short outside studs work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A table tennis bat with short outer knobs differs only minimally from a bat with classic knob rubber. The biggest difference is under the backing layer, as the studs do not end on a textile layer but on a sponge backing.

Advantages
  • Fast counter-attacking play
  • ball contact time shortened
Disadvantages
  • Produces less spin

This gives the pimples more room to move. However, the pimples must not exceed a length of 0.9 millimetres. The racket characteristics of a rubber with short outer pimples are very similar to the racket with a pimple rubber cover.

How does a table tennis bat with long outer studs work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A table tennis bat covered with a rubber with long outer knobs differs from a rubber with short knobs in several ways. Instead of hard rubber, a soft and pliable rubber material is used here for increased grip.

Advantages
  • Offensive and defensive
  • Variable grip
Disadvantages
  • Pimples bend easily

However, the backing layer, which in this case also consists of a sponge, is much thinner and the pimples do not run conically, as is the case with classic pimples, but cylindrically to the backing layer. The pimple length must be between 1.3 and 1.8 millimetres.

How does a table tennis bat with inner pimples work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A tennis racket that is equipped with inside pimples is also called a racket with backside coating. This is the type of racket that is very common in private homes. It is good for amateurs and beginners because it is easier to control the ball.

Advantages
  • Perfectly suited for beginners
Disadvantages
  • Not for professionals
  • Moderate ball control

The construction is the same as for a rubber with short outer pimples. The only difference is that the backing layer is glued on in reverse. This means that the pimples are located between the sponge underlay and the backing layer.

How does a table tennis bat with anti-topspin surface work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The anti-topspin rubber is also one of the rubbers with inner pimples. This rubber has an inelastic and low-grip backing layer and wide, short pimples. A soft and tempo-absorbing sponge underlay ensures good control of the ball.

Advantages
  • Defensive racket
  • Good ball control
Disadvantages
  • Advanced players only
  • No longer as readily available

This racket is especially suitable for players who follow a defensive tactic and are already very advanced in table tennis. Nowadays, however, this rubber is no longer used so often and is increasingly being replaced by the rackets with long outer pimples.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate table tennis bats

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to evaluate and compare table tennis bats. This will make it easier for you to decide which bat is best for you and guarantee many years of playing fun.

These include:

  • Suitability of the bat in terms of playing level and type of game
  • Construction of the racket and handle as well as the weight
  • Speed, spin and control
  • Features

Below, we’ll take you through the factors so you can decide for yourself what might be important to you and what might be less so.

Suitability of the racket

If you want to buy a racket, it is first of all interesting for you to know for which level and type of play the racket was created.

Ultimately, the remaining values in the product specifications already give an indication of whether the racket was built for competition, club sport or recreational fun. Depending on the quality of the materials used, it can be classified in these three categories.

So first of all, you need to be clear about what you want to use it for. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to buy an inexpensive to medium-priced product first.

A further classification results from the player’s style of play. Whether you are offensive, defensive or an all-rounder will become clear quite quickly during the game. If you use a lot of topspins and take the initiative, you are an offensive player, if you like to stand further away from the table and block attacks and work with undercut balls, you are more of a defensive player.

If you like to do both, you guessed it, the all-rounder blade is for you. Especially for beginners we recommend the golden middle, because the values of speed and ball control do not vary so much here and are controllable.

Characteristics – weight, grip, rubber

The weight, the shape of the grip and especially the rubber and its thickness are also very important. The lighter the racket, the more agile your wrist. The grip shape should be the one that suits you best. The rubber, on the other hand, should be made for your type of play (OFF, DEF, ALL) and have a good thickness for you.

The topic of weight is not easy to explain. Many advise that the pure racket wood without rubbers should not exceed the 100 gram mark. On the other hand, for many it should not be too light, because the feel of the bat suffers.

Since only the total weight is given for the ready-made rackets and we have only listed this type in our selected articles, it is difficult to say exactly how heavy the wood and how heavy the rubbers are.

In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether the racket feels good and is playable or not. Our complete rackets vary, as a guideline between 160 and 200 grams total weight.

The same applies to the shape of the grip. Whether concave, anatomical, straight or conical (see “Which table tennis grips are there and which is the right one for me?” above) – the one that suits you best is the right one. However, it is often the case that the handle is concave, which is the most common and therefore probably also the most popular handle shape.

It is important to know whether the rubber is smooth (pimples on the inside) or rough (pimples on the outside). The smooth one is the most popular. All our rackets come with this type of rubber. Another decisive factor is the thickness. 1.8 millimetres is a good standard. Anything thicker is of higher quality and more expensive. Anything below that is more of a pure leisure racket.

Speed, spin and control

As a rule, the racket values Tempo (ball speed), Spin (ball rotation) and Ball Control are marked on the racket in a scale of ten. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but is still easily comparable in percentage terms.

Here it is an advantage if you already know whether you are an offensive, defensive or all-round player. As mentioned above, a racket with high speed but low control values is of little use to a defensive player. The reverse is also true, of course.

For a beginner, it is absolutely advisable to take an all-round racket that tends to have better control values than speed values. This is the only way to keep the fun going. If the ball is too fast and difficult to control, it can be a hard task for a layman.

Features

Some clubs come with supposedly bombastic add-ons and features. This can be an adjustable balance point or a carbon fibre reinforcement in the blade, for example.

Whether you need this is up to you. Here, as so often, opinions differ. Some find certain things indispensable and quality-enhancing, others dismiss them as “gimmicks” that you don’t need for a good game.

One thing is clear: it is not the racket that makes the player a professional, but the professional that makes the racket. A Timo Boll plays better with a 3.50 euro racket than a beginner with a 200 euro racket.

Facts worth knowing

Are there ping pong bats for children?

Unfortunately, it happens far too often that children play with adult paddles. Even if it is not serious for a garden match and occasional play, it is even more so for club players.

Because the grip is too big for a child’s small hand, the game suffers. Regripping”, i.e. switching from forehand to backhand and vice versa, is so much more difficult and cramping is often the result. For this reason, there are special children’s rackets. The handle is smaller and so is the blade. However, this is only so minimal that you don’t have to be afraid of not hitting the ball.

The weight is also much lower, because the smaller blade means that there is less rubber, which is what makes up the weight. While a normal adult racket weighs about 85 grams, a child’s racket weighs only 75 grams. A small difference with a big effect. Your child will thank you for it.

The construction of the racket is the same as that of the adult counterpart. The quality of a junior racket is therefore in no way inferior.

Why are the sides of the racket red and black?

Since 1 July 1986, only bright red and black may be chosen as rubber colours at international events. As a result, almost all ITTF-certified rackets are only available in red and black. But why actually?

The reason is quite simple. In earlier years, some players took advantage of all the loopholes that the regulations had to offer. When it didn’t matter if the sides were coloured differently, some players used different rubbers with the same colour so that it was impossible for the opponent to react.

Did you know that table tennis was first played at the 1988 Olympic Games?

Roy Evans had been campaigning for table tennis as an Olympic sport since 1967. In 1977, the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) changed its rules to make them compatible with the requirements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after which table tennis was officially recognised by the IOC. In 1981, the IOC decided to organise table tennis events for the first time at the 1984 Games.

Now when the two-colour was introduced, again some found another loophole and made one side red and one orange, similar colours that is. This was also incredibly difficult and late for the opponent to recognise.

In the end, the ITTF decided on red and black, a high-contrast combination. This meant that the unfair differences were a thing of the past and the game was won again according to skill and tactics.

How do I care for my TT racket?

If you clean your ping pong racket after every match, you will benefit from an above-average durability as well as a high level of player comfort.

Depending on the degree of contamination and the type of rubber, there are special cleaners, sometimes also from the same manufacturer of the racket. In the case of coarse dirt, a leather cloth is often sufficient to remove the visible dirt for the time being (especially in outdoor matches).

If you want to clean the racket more thoroughly, special liquid or foam-based cleaning agents are recommended. Spin spray is also an advantage. To protect the racket from external influences or damage, an extra cover or case is always advisable.

Regardless of maintenance, players who use their racket intensively should change the rubbers regularly. Whether they do this themselves or go to a specialist dealer is up to each individual.

How does my racket “pull” again?

First of all, an explanation of the term “grip”. If a racket has grip, i.e. it gives the ball rotation, then it “pulls” the ball. If you don’t notice directly in the game whether the ball is still “pulling”, there are simple tricks that can help you, as shown in the following video.

To get it to grip again, it is often enough to clean it thoroughly (see point above). If that doesn’t help either, it might be advisable to change the rubber.

Famous German table tennis players

Germany is one of the strongest nations in table tennis, behind Asian countries such as China or Japan. Over the years, many Germans have made it to the top of the world.

That’s why we’ve put together a small table showing the careers of 3 well-known and successful German table tennis players.

Timo Boll Jörg Rosskopf Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Date of birth 8 March 1981 22 May 1969 2. September 1988
Career status Active Career end Active
Playing hand Left Left Right
Style of play Offensive Offensive Classic
Highest world ranking position 1 4 1
Greatest successes as an individual player 7x European Champion, 13x German Champion, 2011 World Championship bronze medallist, 2x World Cup winner, 19x Pro Tour/World Tour winner 8x German Champion, 1x European Champion, 1x World Cup winner 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist, 2x European Champion, 1x World Cup winner, 1x German Champion

Picture credits: Brett Hondow / pixabay.com

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