As table tennis players, it’s important to take good care of our equipment and supplies. An important piece to the puzzle is to know how long a piece of equipment will last and how to know when to change it.
In this article, I will walk you through how long a table tennis blade lasts, what makes them wither away, and when you should replace one.
Before I get ahead of myself, how long do table tennis blades last?
Depending on the materials used and the density of the wood, a table tennis blade lasts 1-2 years on average. Generally, defensive lightweight blades last the shortest because the wood is softer and less dense when compared to offensive rackets with harder and denser wood which makes them last longer.
That being said, they last far longer than rubbers, for example. Also, some people don’t change their blades really ever because they feel comfortable playing with it, so as soon as you feel that something is off and it’s because of your blade, it’s time to replace it but more on that later.
Now, let’s take a deeper look at what affects the lifespan of a blade?
- What affects the lifespan of a blade?
- Does a table tennis blade make a difference?
- What makes a good table tennis blade?
- How do you protect a table tennis blade?
- When should I replace a table tennis blade?
- Should I seal my table tennis blade?
- My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
What affects the lifespan of a blade?
4 main things determine how long do blades last. Let’s start with the materials.
Table tennis blades are mainly made out of wood; in fact, the TT rules require that a racket is made 85% out of wood.
The remaining 15% can be many materials such as carbon, fiberglass, titanium, kevlar, or aluminum. Other materials are mixed with wood to make up certain characteristics for the blade.
For example, powerful rackets often have hard materials between the wood plies, such as titanium or kevlar. Defensive blades, on the other hand, can be made 100% out of wood.
The reason why material affects a blade’s lifespan is how well it will absorb moisture from the air and how soft the wood is. The softer the wood is, the faster the blade will go bad. A defensive racket that has 100% of softer wood naturally goes bad faster than an offensive racket with 85% harder wood and layers of kevlar in between.
All table tennis rackets are crafted from plies. Plies are thin layers of material that are stacked up one another to create a blade. In most cases, blades have 5-9 plies (layers).
If a blade is made from other plies than wood, the other plies are usually marked with a + mark. For example, if a blade has 5 wooden plies and 2 fiberglass plies, it is marked as 5+2.
Plies don’t directly affect a blade’s lifespan; however, the material and plies have a drastic effect on what kind of a blade it is (defensive, all-round, offensive), which ultimately has an effect.
For example, if a blade has only 5 wooden plies, it weighs less, making it thinner. This makes it easier for the moisture to get to the whole racket. However, if a racket has 5 wooden plies and 2 carbon plies, it will be thicker and have plies made out of different materials that are stronger towards moisture. This makes it really hard for the moisture to get into the whole racket over time.
The weight of the blade is often in correlation to whether the blade is defensive, all-round, or offensive. The denser the wood, the heavier the racket gets, and dense wood is for powerful offensive blades.
Again, offensive blades last longer than defensive blades because the wood is denser, making it more durable and resistant to moisture than softer wood.
Many people make the mistake of instantly thinking that powerful rackets are better because they often cost more; however, this isn’t because of the speed. This is because harder woods and other materials often used in offensive blades cost more than softer wood.
The weight of a blade is often shown in grams. Below is a rule of thumb for how heavy a blade is defensive, all-round, or offensive.
- 70-80g – Defensive Blade
- 80-90g – All-round Blade
- 90-100g – Offensive Blade
Again, the weight itself doesn’t determine how long the blade will last; however, heavier blades often are made out of harder wood with other layers of hard materials that have a say in the blade’s lifespan.
4. How do you treat the racket
Last but not least, the way you treat your racket has a way to reward or punish you for it. If you keep your racket in a racket case, it is shielded from most of the moisture and temperature that would drastically affect the condition of the blade, so I highly recommend getting one if you don’t already have one.
Second, the amount you play table tennis will naturally show in the racket. The more you play, the faster a racket will wear out, as does all things in life. That’s not something to worry about tho because blades are made to be used in table tennis.
Does a table tennis blade make a difference?
Most people think that they can make a complete difference to their game by only changing the rubber. However, that’s not the case at all. In fact, a blade has many times over more effect on the game than rubber.
A table tennis blade has a big difference in the characteristics of the racket. The material used, amount of plies, and blade weight will determine whether the blade is more fit for defensive, all-round, or offensive playstyle. The spin, speed, and control will be different by these factors.
That being said, be sure to choose your blade really careful because if it doesn’t fit your playstyle, you can’t fix it by only changing the rubber.
What makes a good table tennis blade?
What is good in your eyes? Is it a good blade that focuses on control and spin instead of speed or vice versa? Think about that and follow these guidelines to determine the best table tennis blade for you.
As a rule of thumb, if you are a defensive player, focus on blades that have softer wood and 5-7 plies with a weight below 85g. If you are an all-round player, 5+2 plies with a weight of 80-90g will be great. For offensive players, 7-9 plies of hard material and weight of +90g are recommended.
So, in a nutshell, the heavier the racket with more hard plies will have a focus on the speed and power, whereas softer materials with fewer plies and lighter weight are optimal for spin and control.
How do you protect a table tennis blade?
Have you ever hit your racket to the table, and from between the rubbers, a chip of blade has come off? I have, and it really sucks… Luckily! There is a solution.
To protect your table tennis blade, you should use side tape, which is applied to the blade part of the racket between the rubbers. This way, when you accidentally hit your racket on the table or floor, it won’t hit the blade, which would splinter or otherwise damage the blade.
Applying side tape, or other known as edge tape is a really cheap and easy way to protect your blade. I personally always have one intact.
When should I replace a table tennis blade?
In short, you should change your table tennis blade as soon as you notice a decreased performance when you play. You should examine your blade thoroughly when you change your rubber and see if the color and hardness have degraded. If so, you should replace your blade.
This can be really hard to know and examine when the rubber is intact, so if you don’t feel that the blade really has gone bad, you can wait until you change your rubber or rubbers which should give you a better idea .
Should I seal my table tennis blade?
Sealing or varnishing is a process where you coat your blade with a blade lacquer that will protect the blade from tearing and moisture.
Generally, you should always seal your table tennis blade with a proper varnish. This helps to protect your blade from tearing and splintering when you replace your rubber. Also, sealing a blade will slow down moisture penetration which increases the lifespan of your blade.
I have a comprehensive guide about blade varnishing that I highly encourage you to read. The bond between a blade and a rubber is often extremely great because of the strength of rubber glue. This is why splintering and damaging a blade when replacing the rubber isn’t a rare occurrence, so varnishing is really important.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.