"What paddle should I get if I just started playing ping-pong?" - this is the question I get asked most of the time by my beginner clients. So, I decided to write a little guide post for you guys to help to choose your first equipment.
If you are just giving a try to see if you will like table tennis and would like to purchase a beginner's paddle, I would recommend to start with either Killerspin or Gambler brand paddles.
This paddle has a good grip and a bounce on the blade which makes it very helpful to learn initial technique of the game. Gambler pro gives you basic minimum need to help you learn table tennis technique properly. It has a good grip and soft controlling bounce which is all you need to have when you just have just started to learn. It costs $40 and you can buy it here.
Killerspin Jet 200.
Killerspin Jet 200 is a similar paddle to Gambler Pro, it has may be a little bit more tackiness on it to start with. This paddle as you can see has a blue color rubber which is now approved by ITTF. It is a bit cheaper than Gambler Pro and it comes in a price of $34.99 on megaspin.net. Here is the link to get one here.
Killerspin Jet 400 Smash N2
This paddle is a bit higher end of entry beginner paddle. It has a good grip and a good speed. It is all wood blade gives a good control for a beginner when they just starting to learn table tennis. You can get it for $54.99 and here is the link to consider.
These 3 paddles will last probably about 6 month and by this time you will probably know if you are in table tennis or not. Usually, rubbers wear out in 6 months and the next step could be either replacing rubbers for a new professional once or getting new blades as well.
Once you determined that you love table tennis and would like to take more private lessons and really see how far you can go in this sport, it is the time to start considering entry level professional paddles.
In table tennis professional paddles comes with rubbers separate from blade (the wood part). You will need to assemble and glue them together, which can be on its own fun project. If you don't know how to glue you can ask online shops to glue it together for you. The blades will last at least 2 years and rubbers about 6 month depending on how often you play. So here is my list for entry level professional blades:
Yasaka Ma Lin Soft Carbon
As the name of the blade says, it is soft blade with a good control and feeling. It has very thin layers of carbon which gives a good speed and sweet spot. Having thin layers of carbon makes this blade not as hard but it is still has a good speed of carbon. It is a really good blade with very affordable price to start with. You can feel softness of the blade in your strokes and it can give you better control and feeling of the ball in your games. It is really good for all around style to start with. It does a great job in blocking and at the same time playing offensive loops. If you are interested to purchase you can get it here for $49.99.
Xiom offensive S
Xiom offensive is a good control blade. It has a good speed but it is not too much that it affects your ball control. It is 5 ply wood. The blade has a wide and somewhat flat handle. If you like wider handle this can be a good fit. You can purchase it through this link.
Primorac is a Butterfly brand blade. It has a decent speed and has a very high level of the vibration meaning you can feel the ball very well. It is good for all around style and even offensive style. It is all time classic good wood blade. I think it can be a really good fit for a beginner level player. You can purchase it here for $69.99.
Stiga Clipper CR WRB
Stiga Clipper CR WRB blade is one of the most popular wood blades between young and adult athletes. It is 7 ply wood has a good feel of the ball and has a high speed to help with getting some punch in the game style of the player. It has a good price and very popular blade. You can get it for $76.95 here.
Butterfly Maze Advance
If you are looking for something lighter in weight, then Butterfly Maze Advance can be a good fit for you. It has a higher speed compared to Primorac Butterfly wood blade. It can be good in blocking and looping as well. The light weight of the blade can be a good fit for athletes who are young or someone who just like to play with lighter blade. You can get it for $73.99 here.
Timo Boll Spirit
Timo Boll Spirit is one of the advanced level blades that I added to this category of entry level professional blades for its cheaper cost compared to all other carbon blades. It has 5 ply wood and 2 ply ALC. It is very popular combination among professional players who like to have good speed in their loops and also have a good feeling in their block and short game. This blade is a higher price range from all of the previous blades that I recommended but it is advanced level very good blade. Often younger athletes might need that extra speed in their game so they can hit their ball with more energy. In those scenarios having faster well balanced blade as Timo Boll Spirit can be a really good choice. If you are okay to spend more for your blade, I would recommend to get this one. This blade is popular among top pro level players, and it can be your blade that can suit when you beginner, intermediate or advanced. You can buy it here for $134.99.
Now after you chose your blade, time to get the rubbers on your blade. There are European tensions rubbers and tacky hard rubbers. One of the most popular tacky hard rubber producers is Chinese DHS table tennis brand. The tension rubbers and tacky rubbers are very different from each other. The main difference is that DHS rubber or tacky hard rubber doesn't have much bounce when you hit the ball and it is very sticky. It takes a few weeks to break through the rubber then it can have more bounce.
On the other hand, tension rubbers from their name already you can guess they are very springy and bouncy which helps your balls to land on the table with less effort than DHS. When you are beginner, you can try any of those and figure out what you like best along the learning process. Of course, there are other styles of rubbers for example, various combination of pips out rubbers and anti-spin rubbers. I will not cover them today because I think a player needs to decide with a coach after some learning process of table tennis what style of a player wood fit the best for him or her. So here is my good and affordable beginners rubbers guide:
Xiom Vega X
Xiom Vega X, affordable and good performing rubber. Has a good speed and does not overthrows the ball when you just started learning table tennis. I have been recommending this rubber to my beginners. It is a very well balanced in the amount of tension it has, which allows you to understand how to control your ball while you are just started learning table tennis technic. If you are interested you can get it here.
DHS Hurricane 3 Neo
DHS Hurricane 3 Neo is a rubber that is very tacky and has a less bounce than tension rubbers which helps to focus on generating more spin not as much speed. It has a good control for blocking and learning all the strokes. It is less forgiving rubber than tension rubbers and requires to have a good technic. I would recommend for beginners who would like to spend less finances on the rubbers and is a big fan of Chinese style playing. You can buy it here for $21.95.
The Rozena rubber is a tension rubber that has a sponge that is a bit softer than Tenergy rubber. It has a good control and spin and more linear trajectory of flight of the ball. It has a good affordable price. It can be more helpful to start with this rubber for the student to have a better control in learning their strokes. It is still fast rubber it is just not as fast and spiny as Tenergy which makes it more comfortable for learning beginners compared to Tenergy. You can buy it here for $39.99.
I hope this was helpful to get you started with your table tennis adventure. The important thing is to choose one combination of blade and rubbers and work on your technic by taking private lessons with coach. Avoid shopping for too many rubbers and blades in an effort of finding perfect match because it may not be helpful to improve your game.
If you want to learn more about rubbers here is my article on my top 5 favorite rubbers https://www.coachyoku.com/post/my-top-5-table-tennis-rubbers-review.
I hope it was helpful, take care and have fun playing table tennis.