When it comes to table tennis, you can get off quite cheap with the full equipment, or it can really make a dent in your wallet. However, a piece of rubber that can cost even $100 is quite a bit of money, so why are table tennis rubbers so expensive?
In this article, I will teach you everything there is to know about why rubbers are expensive, why other table tennis equipment can cost a lot, should you invest in expensive gear, and more! Before I’m getting ahead of myself, why are rubbers so expensive?
Table tennis racket’s rubbers are expensive because of the design, manufacturing process, logistics, brand, and profit margin. The costs vary depending on the product’s quality, brand, supply, and demand. When a new rubber is released, its demand is high to be sold at a higher price.
These are basic business 101, but when it considers rubbers, our interest focuses on it more. Now, I need to explain each factor further individually to get a good picture of what is going on behind the scenes and why some rubbers are more expensive than others.
Read also: Is Table Tennis Expensive?
- Why are table tennis rubbers so expensive?
- Are expensive table tennis rubbers worth it?
- When should ping pong rubber be replaced?
- What is the most expensive rubber?
- My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Why are table tennis rubbers so expensive?
6 main reasons affect the rubber’s cost and why certain rubbers cost way more than some. This is because more time, money, and effort have been poured into the expensive ones. Let’s take a closer look at the beginning, design.
Everything starts with the design process. Each manufacturer and brand have its own team that test, design, and plan how to get the next best rubber. This can include the pimple structure, rubber tension, sponge hardness, tackiness, overall quality, and looks.
The more expensive the rubber is, the more time and money it may have used in the designing phase, increasing the price.
Think about it, if months of resources are used in the designing phase instead of slapping some piece of rubber to the blade, of course, the cost will increase.
2. Manufacturing process
After designing and testing, it’s time to manufacture the rubber. Again, depending on the complexity and design of the rubber, this can take only a little time and effort, or it can require a complex production process that drains more resources, employee power, and care which will again increase the price.
Logistics is pretty much the same in all rubbers, so it won’t widen the price gap between expensive and cheap rubbers. However, it will increase the pricing on both.
Depending on the manufacturing location, it needs to be shipped into storage, where it is sent to orders and physical table tennis shops that sell rubbers. There will be slight differences depending on the means and length of the travel.
Also, rubbers are delicate things, so it needs to be sure that over the journey, the temperatures and moisture percentages are just right for the rubbers, which requires planning and equipment.
This is where the big differences come in. There are various table tennis brands whose products you can use. If the product is from a reputable and famous one such as Butterfly or a lesser-known such as Gambler, the price differences can be quite remarkable.
However, the trust and quality that a reputable brand is over the top, and it has been so consistently for years and years offering the best because that’s the only way to get to the top. Thus, buying from a reputable brand is something I would highly recommend.
5. Supply and demand
Supply and demand take place in table tennis rubbers as it does in all things. Let’s take an example here.
If a well-known brand launches their new rubber, but there is limited stock, this will result in low supply and high demand, increasing the price.
However, if a lesser-known brand launches their new rubber with a huge stock of them but only little demand, this will force the sellers to sell them at a lower price.
This is why reputable brands can often ask for higher prices from their products than brands that don’t have a well-known name in the table tennis world.
6. Profit Margin
Summing up the 5 reasons above, that is the cost and expectations of the performance of the rubber. Now, the manufacturer and selling brand need to determine what percentage they wish to keep as profit.
Again, this can drastically vary between brands. For example, if a rubber manufacturing process costs $20, it has a great difference whether the sellers take a 5% cut, which would be $1 in this case or 30% which would be $6.
Are expensive table tennis rubbers worth it?
Different people often say different things about whether expensive rubbers are worth it. However, in my experience, they are worth it up to a certain point, and those who often say that they aren’t are beginners. For the seasoned and skilled players, it is easily recognizable what kind of rubber is used.
Many things are better than inexpensive rubbers (in most cases); however, some brands and rubbers are just expensive for the sake of it, but if you do even a little bit of research, you will see rubber names coming up proven to be great. Now, let’s take a look at what is often better at inexpensive rubbers when compared to cheap ones.
1. Pimple structure
There are 4 main kinds of rubbers: inverted, short pips, long pips, and antispin rubbers. All of these are built differently, and there are differences between each of these rubbers as well.
For example, a cheap inverted rubber has less design and testing behind its pimple structure. In contrast, a quality inverted rubber has a well thought and designed pimple structure which will drastically affect the overall play, feel, and control.
2. Rubber tension
Rubber tension is a vital part of every rubber, and often when you pay a heftier price, you get a better rubber with a better, reliable, and lasting tension.
3. Sponge hardness
Sponge hardness is where the differences in quality are easily seen as well. In more expensive rubbers, the sponge is more bouncy, and it will remain so for longer periods of time, whereas in cheap rubbers, the sponge can be of low quality and quickly lose its properties.
Tackiness is known for all table tennis players, especially those who love spin. The same pattern repeats itself because, with inexpensive rubbers, the tackiness will hold its tackiness longer, whereas, in cheap ones, it can quickly fade.
Finally, expensive rubbers often last longer in all their features, so ultimately, the choice is yours whether you want to constantly change bad rubbers or use a great one that lasts longer.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about rubbers that cost $100 but more like decent quality rubbers that you can get for $30-$40, such as Yasaka Mark V.
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When should ping pong rubber be replaced?
You should change your rubber when you can sense it has lost its features, such as tackiness, hardness, and reliability. You can notice this by sliding your finger against the rubber to see if there is resistance, striking a ball to see spin, and smashing to see if it still has its former power.
What is the most expensive rubber?
The most expensive rubber at the moment is Butterfly Dignics 05. This rubber has a speed of 135, spin of 120, and hardness of 40. However, the most expensive rubber often changes when a quality brand releases its newest quality rubber.
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.
There is much going on behind the scenes of a table tennis rubber. It’s kind of funny when you walk into a shop and see a small piece of rubber that can cost quite a bit, and it has all different kinds of procedures and miles behind it. I hope that this article was useful to you and you can now better understand why rubbers cost what they do.