Table Tennis (more commonly known as Ping Pong) is not just an Olympic sport played by a small group of people. And it’s certainly not a game for failed tennis players either. In fact, the games are totally different in every way, that it’s kind of strange that it’s even called table “tennis”.
As a social and recreational sport, it’s one of the 10 most popular ones in America. Schools and community centers are increasing the availably of ping pong tables all the time. And kids and adults are playing the game more than ever.
The cool thing is that to get started or become a more advanced player, doesn’t cost much at all. You really don’t need much more than a paddle and a few balls, and of course a playing partner.
With such a simple set up, a lot of people just head out and get the absolute cheapest paddle they can find. This can be a huge mistake, as it won’t just limit your game play. Ideally, you want a product that will last and of course stand up to the beating it will get once things get a bit more competitive.
On this page, you’ll find extensive information about the best ping pong paddle options available for beginners, intermediate and even professional players. All budgets are catered for and you’ll get detailed performance info on each one.
So, keep scrolling and find the ideal solution for your level of game, and get your new paddle delivered in a matter of days.
Our Top 10 Ping Pong Paddle Recommendations
The following list contains some of the most popular options and there is a suitable one for everyone from absolute beginner to advanced amateur and pro. Prices range widely, so the easiest thing to do is pick something in your budget range.
As always, you do get what you pay for. So, if your budget can stretch a bit, then you’ll get a lot more fun out your investment.
#1 - Killerspin JET200
|| Excellent Choice For Drastic Game Improvement||4.5 stars out of 5|
#2 - STIGA Pro
|| Professional Carbon Table Tennis Racket||5.0 stars out of 5|
#3 - STIGA Evolution
|| Great Choice For Intermediate Players||4.5 stars out of 5|
Table of Contents
- 1 Our Top 10 Ping Pong Paddle Recommendations
- 1.1 1. Killerspin JET200: Excellent Choice For Drastic Game Improvement
- 1.2 2. STIGA Pro: Professional Carbon Table Tennis Racket
- 1.3 3. STIGA Evolution: Great Choice For Intermediate Players
- 1.4 4. Sport Game Pro Ping Pong Paddle: Excellent Beginner Choice
- 1.5 5. Thunderline 6 Star Premium: Great Performance For The Money
- 1.6 6. Kettler Advantage Indoor: Great For Family Fun At Home
- 1.7 7. Duplex 6 Star Ping Pong Paddle: Great Price For Advanced Beginners
- 1.8 8. Butterfly 603: Advanced Intermediate Option
- 1.9 9. Franklin Sports Industry Deluxe: Very Cheap But Won’t Last Long
- 1.10 10. King Pro Table Tennis Racket: Cheap Option For Starting Out
- 2 What Features You Need To Focus On
- 3 Conclusion
Killerspin is another very common brand name in the table tennis world. It’s a cool name and you’re pretty much always guaranteed a great product. The Jet200 is one of their mid to high end products. If you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate player then you will gain a lot from this paddle.
The blade is designed with 5 layers. This is 2 less that professional ones, but it’s not really going to be something you can tell the difference of. The rubber is pretty tacky to give you some decent spin. Not top of the range, but enough to put your opponents under pressure.
The handle is very comfortable to hold. Even if you spend many hours playing with friends and family it won’t feel uncomfortable or sweaty.
From a weight and balance point of view it is a little bit on the heavy side. This will impact the speed performance, but it does boost the control rating. As an intermediate player, control is probably one of the most important factors to consider.
For what you get it’s really reasonably priced. If you’ve been looking for a way to improve your game play then this is a great option to consider.
- Blade design with 5 layers of ply making it light and sturdy
- Rubber design provides good spin
- Reasonably priced for beginner players looking to improve
- Very comfortable handle design
- Performance rating is Speed: 60, Spin: 70, Control: 85
- Speed rating is a bit on the low side
- It’s a bit heavy and not perfectly balanced
Stiga is one of the leading companies in the table tennis world. If you’ve ever watched professional tournaments on TV or even at the Olympics, then you’ll have noticed this brand name a lot. It’s a Swedish company, and similar to all other Swedish exports, you can expect top quality and workmanship.
This Pro Carbon model is one of their flagship choices, and you won’t regret spending the extra money. If you’ve played the game for a while or have started entering competitions, then this is your go to paddle. The rubber is officially approved and certified by the ITTF so you won’t have to worry about being compliant with rules.
Two of the blade layers are made using carbon materials. These are exceptionally light and provide great stiffness and speed. Compared to other choices out there you will realize the lightness as soon as you hold it.
The result of this is excellent performance ratings. Speed and spin are close to 100, which is exactly what you want in order to really improve your ball handling. The downside is that the light weight does make control a little bit more difficult. For pros that is not an issue, but if you’re a beginner, then this is probably not the best option.
You’ll also notice that the balance of this model is very favorable. It will feel completely natural in your hands. Overall this is certainly the best ping pong paddle you’ll be able to invest in.
- High performance professional design for better control
- Rubber is officially approved making it suitable for competitions
- Carbon fiber makes it lighter for more power
- Blade is made of 7 layers with 2mm sponge
- Excellent weight balance favors point of contact
- Excellent performance rating with Speed: 99, Spin: 100, Control: 80
- Not ideal for beginners as control performance is a bit low
- It will cost you a bit extra
Another excellent option for those really looking to get to the higher competitive stages, is this Evolution model. It’s not quite as high tech as the Pro Carbon model above, but it’s still a great choice. It will certainly boost your performance with some excellent ratings.
Spin and speed are both in the high 90s, which is just a little less than the Pro Carbon. But you gain a lot more control with this option having a rating of 90. That means that if you’re not a full out professional player, you will have the benefit of maximum speed and spin, without losing that control element.
As with all the Stiga products, the rubber is fully ITTF approved for use in amateur and professional tournaments. You won’t have to be concerned about being compliant as you’ll always have that stamp of approval.
The blade itself is made of 6 layers of ply giving it a great rigid feel. At the same time, it keeps the weight down which is why you get the high speed rating. This is a crucial part of improving your game play, and will really help you keep up with even more advanced players.
The overall balance of the paddle is very well designed. You will feel the very even distribution, and it will favor the sweet spot for ball striking. This is also why it scores so well for the control rating.
- Performance grade design for advanced players
- Rubber is fully ITTF approved for use in competitions
- Blade is made of 6 layers of ply
- Performance: Control: 90, Spin: 94, Speed: 96
- Excellent balance of weight makes it feel more natural
- Rubber could be a bit more sticky
- Not the most comfortable grip handle
If you’re new to ping pong, but don’t want to go for the absolute cheapest option with little features, then this is a very affordable option to take. The performance ratings for this are great and will really make a difference when you start getting the hang of the game.
The blade is made with 5 layers of ply wood, which is great for speeding up your game a bit. Once you get used to playing and have mastered a bit of the hand eye coordination, then you can really improve your game with a higher speed rating. And the more layers you have with less weight, the better the speed will be.
The surface of the rubber is very tacky and will provide a huge amount of grip. The result is a very high spin rating. And at this price range, you’ll struggle to find better spin. As a beginner, it can be difficult to get spin on the ball, so this will help you a lot.
The control rating is also in a reasonable range of just under 80. For beginners that is plenty, and only once you get into really high speed and spin playing, is a higher control rating important.
The main downside is that on the defensive control side it’s a little bit lacking. If you do encounter players a lot better or faster than you then you could struggle a bit.
- Great for beginners trying to improve their game
- Blade is made of 5 layers of ply
- Rubber surface is very sticky for easier spin
- Ratings: Spin: 91, Control: 79, Speed: 82
- Very nice design makes it stand out a bit
- Lacking a bit in speed, but that shouldn’t be priority for beginners
- Defensive control is not the best
Next on our list is this Thunderline option which is right in the mid-range price option. If you’ve been playing for a while and would classify yourself as an advanced beginner then this is the best table tennis paddle to bring you to the next stage. While practice is the best way to advance to the next level, your equipment needs to keep up as well.
First of all, you might be interested in taking part in some official competitions. To do this you have to make sure that the paddle and especially the rubber is fully ITTF approved. Otherwise you could be in breach of tournament rules.
One of the things you want to see when you get better is to increase your ball speed. It’s something that comes naturally with experience. But it’s enhanced by the specific blade design. This Thunderline one has a total of 7 layers of ply that are very light and stiff.
The result is a larger sweet spot that can boost your ball speed. With a speed performance rating of 88 you’re almost in the region of professional grade. But you’re nowhere near the price level that would come at.
The spin rating is 90, thanks to very sticky rubber, which will help you deliver more precise spin to put your opponents under more pressure. And the control rating of 86 is pretty good for a product in this price range.
On the downside, you do need to be aware that if you’re going to be using every day for practice and very often for competitive events, then it might not last that long. If that’s the case, then you might want to consider spending a little bit more.
- Good solution for beginners trying to get to the intermediate level
- Fully authorized by ITTF for use in competitions
- Blade consists of 7 layers of ply for more stability
- Performance is Spin: 90, Speed: 88 and Control: 86
- Very sticky rubber gives excellent spin
- Not durable enough for regular competitive use
- A little on the heavy side
Kettler is one of the leading companies in the table tennis world and you’ll see their tables in a lot of places. They have excellent track records for both tables and paddles, which is not surprising from a German company. You’ll always get something that will last a long time, which is what you want when it comes to family fun.
This particular set consists of 4 paddles, which is the maximum you’ll be able to have around a table. It’s a great way to have a game of doubles going with your kids. It also includes a storage bag for safe keeping. This is important to avoid damage.
You also get some balls included to get started as soon as your package arrives. The only thing to keep in mind is that the balls are pretty low quality. They are not likely to last very long. So, you might want to add a few extra ones to your order.
The handle is very easy to grip and feels very comfortable. This is important for beginners as well as kids with smaller hands. If the grip doesn’t suit then you can quickly get sore hands and even blisters.
The rubber on both sides is designed as pips-in which helps beginners to more easily control the ball. But if you are a quick learner then you might outgrow this design very fast. But such a small investment we wouldn’t worry too much about it.
- Ideal set for family fun with 4 rackets
- Easy grip handle helps kids and beginners
- Pips-in rubber gives players more control
- German made quality for longer lasting fun
- Storage bag and balls are included
- Better players will quickly outgrow these
- Balls are not the best quality
This Duplex 6 Star is actually a set of two paddles, which makes it ideal to either have a backup or if you want to get some family fun going. It’s not the absolute cheapest option, but with the specs you get it’s actually a very good deal.
So, if you’re a beginner who loved playing the game a lot, then you will have the advantage of playing with the same type of paddle for a longer period of time. Even if the first one starts to get damaged or lose its stickiness.
At the same time, you won’t have to worry too much about it falling apart to soon. It’s built very well and will last you a long time. Just make sure that you get a case as well. Most damage actually happens when they are being transported, rather than when they are in action.
The design and materials are all fully ITTF approved. That means you can use them in competitive events without any concern for breaching rules. At this price point that is an excellent stamp of approval.
That package also includes 3 balls which are of surprisingly good quality. Most of the time balls are added in just to attract attention. And they fall apart within a few minutes of use. These are actually pretty decent quality for such a low price.
The downside is that the spin rating is a bit on the low side. Not a priority for a beginner, but you could outgrow this quickly when you start having more control over the ball. Intermediate players will also find it a bit on the heavy side, which will slow down ball speed.
- Set of two paddles so you have a backup one as well
- Very well weighted to help with better ball control
- Very durable design is ideal for beginners to learn to play
- ITTF approved design and materials
- 3 reasonably good balls included
- A little bit low on spin performance
- A bit heavy for intermediate players
Butterfly is another leading brand name in the world of ping pong tables and accessories. And this 603 model is one of their best products and most suitable to the advanced intermediate player. It does come with a bit of a price tag, but that will pay off in the long run.
The rubber is very tacky which helps to improve the spin rate. For both offensive and defensive moves this can be a huge advantage to help you get more spin allocated. The speed rating is not quite as high, but at 80 that is a pretty good value to help you get more speed on the balls.
The overall blade design is very light weight and very well balanced. The result is a great control rating of 85. You’ll find it a lot easier to hit the sweet spot on the paddle every time.
If you’re at advanced playing stage of your game then you’re probably going to be entering tournaments. But even in just friendly practice, it’s important to be fully compliant with the rules. And you’ll be glad to know that this paddle is fully ITTF approved for competitive use.
This option also includes a free carry case, which is a great extra. With experience, you’ll learn that most damage happens when your gear is in transport rather than in actual game play.
The main downside to mention is that the handle is a bit on the narrow side. If you have a larger than average hand, then this might not feel too comfortable.
- Very tacky rubber on both sides provides great spin
- Performance: Control: 85, Speed: 82, Spin: 90
- Very Light design to help with better control
- Fully ITTF approved for competitive play
- Free carry case is included to keep it safe
- A bit limited for defensive play
- Handle is a bit narrow even for average size hands
Of all the products, we found this to be one of the cheapest. If your budget is very low then you really won’t find cheaper than this. But you have to be aware of a few things that make this not the best option. Even if you’re a beginner.
The rubber is unique in that one side has pips-in and the other pips-out. For beginners this is fine, as you can use this to learn different styles of play. You also get a little bit of ball spin, so that you can experience this at an early stage.
The handle is comfortable and won’t cause strain, even if you play for longer. But the downsides are also important to understand. Yes, it’s cheap, but you will quickly find that it’s also not the most durable.
Within a few months or even weeks, depending on how much you play, there will be a lot of signs of wear. You will also not be able to use it to enter competitions as it is not certified as ITTF approved.
And finally, the rubber surface is one of the hardest we have found. The result is very limited spin and ball control. It will work fine for just getting used to the game, but you’ll likely find yourself looking for a replacement very soon.
- Pips-in and out rubber on different sides
- Handle is very comfortable to hold
- Very cheap price makes it a decent option for beginners
- Very hard surface that lacks spin and control
- Not very durable material if used a lot
- Not usable for competitive playing
Most total beginners don’t pay a lot of attention to any of the features. Cheap ping pong paddles will work fine for a few weeks of playing. But if you start getting better quickly, then you’ll out-play your paddle very quickly.
King Pro have an option that is ideal for the beginner and available at a very reasonable price. And even if you start to improve quickly, it will work very well for quite a long time.
The main thing it will do is give your ball speed and spin a bit of a boost. It’s not spectacular with rating of 80 for each. But for this cheap price tag it’s still quite impressive. As a result, you’ll play faster balls and will find it easier to apply spin to catch out your opponents.
The downside is that the control rating is a little low. This might seem like a bad rating for a beginner, but to be honest, a much higher rating won’t immediately make you a better player. You’re better off focusing on your game play and getting more practice in than trying to rely on paddle specs.
The included carry case is a nice touch. It’s very important to keep your paddle safe as they can quickly break or split. Also, keeping the rubber dry at all times will help to keep it nice and sticky.
Bottom line is, if you’re completely new to the sport, then this is a great option. If you’ve played for a while already and are no longer a total newbie, then maybe look to invest a few extra Dollars.
- Handle easily absorbs sweat to avoid slipping
- Excellent choice for beginners with a limited budget
- Will boost your ball speed and spin
- Performance: Spin: 80, Speed: 80, Control: 70
- Cary case included to help keep it safe
- Due to the higher spin rate, beginners might struggle a bit with control
- Some advanced beginners will outgrow this option
What Features You Need To Focus On
Unless you’re a professional player or have many years of competitive experience you might find it difficult to figure out what makes the best table tennis paddle. What makes this even more confusing is the fact that different companies use different marketing language to describe the same thing.
In this section, we will highlight the main features you should focus on to not get tricked by clever marketing. When you use this information in your decision process then you’ll have a much higher chance of making the right choice.
The blade is essentially the large round part of the paddle. It is usually made using very light weight wooden materials. These are layered in a way to give maximum stiffness while remaining very light. You really don’t want something that is too heavy, even as a beginner.
The more layers you get the better the performance will usually be. High end models will have 7 layers of ply. And some options will use highly specialized materials like carbon to provide extra stiffness without adding weight.
Such professional products are quite expensive though. Unless you’re really advancing into competitive playing, you won’t really need to invest that much. For intermediate players 5 layers are probably going to be enough. It’ll pay more to choose an option with a higher spin rating.
Once you get into advanced levels, you will want to focus on 7 layers to get the extra speed.
The handle is very important and it really has to cover two things. First of all, it has to be comfortable to grip. It’s not good enough to just be a wooden handle, but needs to be shaped in a way that doesn’t cause your hand to get tired too quickly. You can make minor adjustments using grip tape like you’d see on tennis racquets.
It also needs to avoid getting slippery when your hands get sweaty. If that happens, then you’ll lose total control, and it can even slip straight out of your hand.
Most professional players will even go as far as getting fully personalized grips to suit the size of their hands. This is not something that amateurs need to worry about though.
You might also find some paddles out there that look very strange. Most likely they are penhold designs for players that hold the paddle not like a tennis racket but rather like a pen. If you don’t know what suits you better, then stick with the standard type.
The rubber is one of the most important aspects when it comes to spin. The stickier, or tacky it is, the more spin you can create on the ball. Professional ping pong paddles will have spin ratings that are upwards of 95 and for many players the spin is more important than the rest of the ratings.
Even as a beginner it’s important to start learning how spin affects the ball. So choosing something with at least a bit of tacky feel will pay off as you become more advanced.
The sponge, or foam layer, is the layer that sits between the rubber and blade. This absorbs the impact of the ball, but also is responsible for some of the ball acceleration. Beginner and entry level paddles will have a layer about 1.5mm thick. Where higher end ones will go to the limit which is 2mm.
There are strict rules around the sponge layer set by the ITTF. If in doubt, always check whether a paddle is fully approved or not.
This concludes our ping pong paddle reviews and at this stage you should have all the information you need to make a final decision. You can go ahead and check out the price link buttons for the products above and also check out the ratings at Amazon.
There are many different types of paddles out there, so the main question is what level are you at and what are you willing to pay. If you can’t find something suitable here then chances are you might need to get a custom design. But customized products will cost a small fortune. So, you’d want to make sure you’re heading into some serious competitions before you go down that road.