Looking for a new racket? You have come to the right place, my friend. Whenever I decide to buy a new racket, I feel a little overwhelmed even when I have experience buying them in the past, so if you’re a first-timer or a beginner, I can relate to you 100%.
I haven’t forgotten you experienced players either because, from the recommendations below, you can find a bat for all situations from beginner to professional.
Before revealing the recommended paddles, it’s important to know what to look at in the racket and understand how different features work with your playstyle. Let’s go through these things quickly, but if you want a more in-depth walk-through on how to choose a table tennis racket, I highly encourage that you read my post!
- How To Choose a Table Tennis Racket
- 1. Best Overall Racket for Defensive Playstyle: DHS HURRICANE-II
- 2. Best Overall Racket for All-round Playstyle: STIGA All-round Evolution
- 3. Best Overall Racket for Offensive Playstyle: Killerspin Jet800
- 4. Best for Racket Beginners: Killerspin Jet 200
- 5. Best Value Racket for Tournament Play: Stiga Pro Carbon Performance
- 6. Best Racket for Penhold Grip: Butterfly Nakama-P3
- 7. Best Racket for Spin Control: JOOLA Spinforce 900
- 8. Best Luxury Racket: Butterfly Timo Boll ALC Blade & Tenergy 05 Rubber
- 9. Best Racket Set for a Family: JOOLA Family Set
- 10. Best Racket for Outdoors: Killerspin Canvas
How To Choose a Table Tennis Racket
There are 4 main aspects to look in your paddle that are blade, rubber, sponge, and handle. Let’s start with the blade.
1. Blade & Handle
It’s important to look at whether a blade is fully made from wood or is mixed with carbon fiber or other materials. If a blade is fully made from wood, it is softer and thus more fit to controlling playstyle. It makes the blade harder if it contains carbon fiber or other materials, which is more towards power and speed.
Blades are often constructed from 5-9 layers which are also important to acknowledge. This plays a vital role in whether the blade is soft or hard and how durable it is.
Finally, a blade’s weight is an important part to look at as well. Generally, blades weigh between 70-100g, and the heavier the blade is, the more power you can generate. Below are great rules of thumb.
- 70-80g blade is generally for defense style
- 80-90g blade is generally for all-round style
- +90g blade is generally for an offense style
These are good rules to keep in mind, but you should also know that everything isn’t always so simple, and other factors determine where the blade is best.
Then there is the handle. Typically, there are 4 main types of handles you should focus on, which are:
- Straight: Straight handle – Fast grip change and racket turn, great for control players
- Flared: Widening handle from the racket to the bottom – Great and confident grip suited for all-round players.
- Anatomic: Small wave or bump on the middle of the handle – Great fit and stability for aggressive hard strikers.
- Penhold: Short handle – Great for players that use the penhold grip and only them.
I would say that, after all, straight, flared, and anatomic handles are a matter of preference because people’s hands are differently built. Still, when it comes to the penhold halde, that is only for people who play using the penhold style instead of the shakehand style.
2. Rubber & Sponge
Then there are rubber and sponge that drastically determine how fast the ball will bounce off the paddle, how many spins it can generate, and how well it can receive strikes.
There are 4 main kinds of rubbers, let’s take a look at them.
- Inverted: Most popular grip with a smooth surface – Great for anything because you can find so many different ones.
- Short Pips: Short pimples visible in the rubber – Great for an all-round and defensive style
- Long pips: Long pimples visible in the rubber – Great for defensive style and receiving opponent’s strikes
- Antispin: Soft sponge and smooth surface – Great for drastic power control and spin deflect.
You should also educate yourself on why table tennis rackets have red and black sides. In short, you can add two different rubbers with different features to the racket, so you don’t need to rely on only one.
Finally before moving on to the best paddles, is the sponge and especially its thickness.
The sponge’s thickness is usually between 1.2mm-2.5mm, and the thicker the sponge, the more speed and power you can generate but the less control and spin you can generate. Below you can see rough estimates:
- 1.2mm-1.6mm sponge: Great for defensive style with control and spin.
- 1.6mm-2mm sponge: Great for all-round style and if you’re a beginner, great middle thickness.
- +2mm sponge: Great for aggressive style with speed and power.
With these things in mind, you should be able to get the racket fit for your needs but remember, if you need further guidance with determining your playstyle, budget, brands you should trust etc. You should check my post about how to choose the right racket for table tennis.
Without further due, let’s bring out the rackets!
1. Best Overall Racket for Defensive Playstyle: DHS HURRICANE-II
My top pick for defensive playstyle is the DHS HURRICANE-II without question. This is the list’s most versatile racket because it has two different rubbers, D555 black rubber, and Hurricane-II red rubber. This racket is a little on the pricey side, but it will be worth the cost if you are serious about your table tennis game.
This paddle doesn’t have the best speed; however, the spin and control are over the top, and the best part is that you can easily switch the side during a game and take advantage of both rubbers. As the rating show: control 80, spin 94, and speed 87, this racket is also fit for an all-around playstyle.
This racket will dampen your opponent’s strikes because it’s made from 5-ply wood without any carbon layers in it, which makes it softer than the ones that are mixed with it. Thus, your spin game will be taken to the next level! Also, the flared handle makes turning the paddle fast and confident. Oh, and it’s approved for competitive play if you play at that level!
In addition to the great paddle, it is shipped with a gift box, paddle case, wrist guard, and two 3-star DHS ping pong balls! One thing to vary is that reportedly, it has a strong odor when unboxing, so if you’re sensitive to strong smells, you should keep this in mind. All in all, this is one of my personal favorites!
2. Best Overall Racket for All-round Playstyle: STIGA All-round Evolution
STIGA Evolution is the perfect fit for an all-around playstyle. Because many beginners and slightly experienced players should use an all-around racket, we found the best one from the affordable category!
Despite its relatively low pricing, it is approved by the ITTF for tournament play. What is like most about this racket is that it’s great in terms of control, spin, and speed. All of them are strong but not as strong as they could be.
Another really cool thing about Stiga evolution is that it has shock dispersion technology (SDT), which means that the handle is constructed to absorb vibration and transfer energy out of the handle. This will improve speed, control, and the overall feel of the racket.
This paddle is great for beginners and even intermediate players; however, if you are experienced and want a professional all-around paddle, I suggest that you take a look at Butterfly Timo Boll Off Proline, for example.
3. Best Overall Racket for Offensive Playstyle: Killerspin Jet800
This is where things get exciting! The Killerspin Jet800 is the choice if you want to strike hard and accurately! This is possible thanks to the 5ply-wood + 2 carbon blade with 2.1mm sponge which allows really fast and accurate strikes. The 190g weight has a part to play in power as well.
Also, you can add a great amount of spin with the Jet800; however, the control is somewhat hard to master, so if you are a beginner, I wouldn’t advise such an aggressive paddle. Thus an all-round paddle would be best for you.
This paddle isn’t from the cheapest end, but it certainly isn’t the most expensive on this list, so this is a great choice for a player that is looking for a great racket. Killerspin Jet800 is also ITTF approved for tournament play to use this for recreational use and professional use.
I am amazed by the looks of this paddle because the dark wood and elegant design are simply breathtaking. Also, Jet800 comes with a personalized memory box where you can write tales of your victories or a note if you were to gift this paddle. This racket is definitely a great choice for offensive table tennis players.
4. Best for Racket Beginners: Killerspin Jet 200
If you’re a recreational player or a total beginner, the Killerspin Jet200 is a go choice for many reasons. First, it has great value, meaning that it’s affordable yet of great quality. Also, the ratings (control 85, spin 70, speed 60) are great for beginners because it doesn’t have too much speed and power to throw you off your game.
The 5-ply wood blade and flared handle make sure that it indeed isn’t too powerful, yet it is durable and comfortable to hold from.
The Jet200 comes in 2 different colors: BluVanilla, Mocha, and Lime, so if you don’t like one, there are two more chances to please your eye. Personally, the Blue color is amazing for my eyes! Also, the personalized memory box and affordable price make it a great present for a beginner table tennis player.
Definitely the best racket for beginner table tennis players that wants to improve with certainty and style.
5. Best Value Racket for Tournament Play: Stiga Pro Carbon Performance
The STIGA ProCarbon is our go-to choice for tournament racket because we wanted to take the optimal mix of affordability and quality.
This racket is meant to destroy your opponent with power because a 5+2 blade made out of wood and carbon is hard enough on its own to powerful strikes, but when the S5 2mm rubber is added to the blade, you have guaranteed power.
Spin and control aren’t forgotten either, which is ensured by the semi-tacky rubber, although some people have reported that it loses its tackiness quickly. The shock dispersion tube on the handle absorbs vibration and transfers energy out of the handle, which guarantees control and a confident feel to your game.
This racket is also lightweight, allowing you to react to your opponent’s moves much faster than with a heavy racket. Despite its lightweight, its construction, sponge, and carbon layers ensure that it is powerful and durable. This racket is ITTF approved for tournament play, and it’s the best of its kind when thinking of both quality and affordability.
6. Best Racket for Penhold Grip: Butterfly Nakama-P3
For you penhold grip players, I haven’t forgotten about you! Butterfly Nakama P-3 is a great choice even if it’s on the slightly expensive side; the quality and the improved game follow!
This racket is optimal if you love incredible speed and spin, which it can do. Sriver rubber and a 1.9mm sponge, make sure to add speed and spin to your strikes. The control isn’t so great on the con side, but as a penhold style player, you are probably already used to it.
The straight and comfortable penhold handles are surprisingly good in the hand, and you can feel confident holding the racket. It’s not surprising that a racket of this quality is also approved by tournament play by the ITTF.
Finally, what’s great about this penhold racket is that it has a much longer blade than a traditional shakehand which is what a proper penhold style paddle should have because it’s better for the user. In conclusion, this racket is a marvel for penhold players.
7. Best Racket for Spin Control: JOOLA Spinforce 900
If you are a friend of spin and that’s how you like to do things, then the JOOLA Spinforce 900 Is an amazing choice. With the ratings of 78 control, speed 105, and an incredible 112 spin, you can generate spin like never before.
What I really like about this racket is that even when it is a heavily spin-focused racket with a maximum sponge thickness of 2.2mm, it can generate great amounts of speed and power, which only enhances the effect of your spin.
A 2.2mm sponge is fit for great speed on its own; however, Spinforce 900 has a 7-plywood carbon blade that makes it even faster. The flared handle will be beneficial for both forehand and backhand strokes, so your options are limitless.
Finally, this racket is ITTF approved for tournament play so that you can take things to the next level in competitions as well. The only con about this racket is that it isn’t from the cheapest end, but don’t worry because the JOOLA Spinforce series also has a cheaper 300 model!
8. Best Luxury Racket: Butterfly Timo Boll ALC Blade & Tenergy 05 Rubber
If you have money to spend and you require a professional piece of table tennis heaven, then the Butterfly’s Timo Boll ALC Blade & Tenergy 5 Rubber’s are what you need. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to assemble it because it will be assembled for you!
When it comes to Tenergy 5 rubber, it is one of the most famous and praised by professionals, as it should. It’s a 2.1mm spring sponge, and high tension rubber is best suited for offensive all-round players regardless of whether you like to play near or far away from the table. If you’re a fan of loops, Tenergy 5 is what you need.
The Butterfly Timo Boll ALC blade has 5-ply of wood and 2-ply of Arylate-carbon (ALC), which weighs 86g and has a reaction rating of 118 and vibration rating of 103. This blade is designed for speed and heavy spin strokes without forgetting control. This blade has an anatomic handle that fits most hands perfectly, giving a confident feel.
Keep in mind when handling such a racket with a delicate rubber such as energy 5, it’s good to use a protective film and a racket case whenever traveling with the racket. Also, the price is high, which is why it is listed as a luxury item. This Butterfly’s racket is a dream for all table tennis players!
9. Best Racket Set for a Family: JOOLA Family Set
Big families who want to do something fun and memorable together, I haven’t forgotten about you! This JOOLA’S Family Set has it all required to play ping pong with the family.
This set is included with light-weighted rackets made from 5-ply wood; therefore, they don’t generate too much speed, making it easier for the whole family to enjoy the game, regardless of skill. Oh, the handles are flared, so it’s comfortable to hold on to. The control on these rackets is top-notch, and when it comes to durability, the rackets are protected with edge tape, so the rubbers, sponge, and blade are well protected.
This set comes with orange and white 3-star ping pong balls 5 of each and a portable carrying case to hold them all in a neat and clear package. Also, the carrying case can be attached to a table tennis table quite nicely.
This set is perfect for families because it has everything that is needed and it comes at an affordable price!
10. Best Racket for Outdoors: Killerspin Canvas
Sometimes you need to take table tennis outdoors, and there are many hazards for the racket, such as moisture, high temperatures, and debris. Enter, Killerspin Canvas that has been designed to withstand these conditions!
This racket is the most durable on this list, and for a good reason. It’s weather-resistant, and you can take and leave it outside without the slightest worry about breaking it (if you don’t intentionally try). The racket is made from plastic and durable hard rubber, which is a great combination for good control and spin!
If a racket is an outdoor model, it doesn’t mean that it is of low quality because you can have as good a recreational game with this as with an indoor racket. However, it does differ from professional rackets because it isn’t meant for tournament playing, neither is it allowed.
Great bonuses for this racket are that it has two colors: Black and Cherry red. It is also really affordable, and it comes with a personalized memory box, so it fits perfectly for a gift. Outdoor table tennis hasn’t ever been more enjoyable than with this racket.
I hope this article gave you value and that you got at least a step closer to your dream racket. I’m positive that here you can find a vast majority of needs and categories, but these certainly aren’t all the great rackets out there! My personal favorite is the DHS Hurricane-II because it is versatile, and it fits my playstyle. I sincerely hope that you find your favorite fitting to your personal table tennis skills!