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AirBlades 3 Review

We Played With The AirBlades 3.0 – Is It A Good Beginners Table Tennis Racket?

AirBlades produce genuinely unique table tennis rackets. Gone are your traditional red and black rubbers, replaced by a dazzling white background with the AirBlades logo stamped on top.

It’s a design that’s bound to be polarizing.

You’re probably here because you lean towards loving the design, but want to know if the racket’s performance matches its looks.

We bought the AirBlades 3.0 racket to review, testing it thoroughly for hours of both training and matchplay.

AIRBLADES 3.0 REVIEW SUMMARY
The Airblades 3.0 is a racket designed for social / casual players. The brash white design is an acquired taste, whilst the racket’s slopehandle shape is a unique gimmick that restricts players to using a shakehand grip.

With moderate spin and speed capabilities, this racket does provide plenty of control to help people enjoy longer rallies.

There’s no doubt the Airblades 3.0 is a good upgrade from the cheap bats that pervade garages / homes worldwide, however it would prove limited for anyone looking to take their table tennis game to the next level at tournaments.

Perfect for: Social players looking to upgrade from their cheap rackets, looking for something unique and fun.
Serve
Drive
Loop
Block
Chop
Benefits
Great control when returning shots.
Unique design will grab attention from any opponent.
Reasonable ability to generate spin.
Slopehandle is great for anyone who struggle when playing for extended periods.
Comes with a hard racket case.
Drawbacks
Lack of top-end speed when playing aggressive shots.
Unable to generate large amounts of spin.
Ineligible for use in tournaments due to lack of ITTF Approval.
2.8

Ace

Recommended Playstyles

We recommend the Airblades 3.0 to casual players without a clearly defined playing style:

Recommended Playstyle -The-All-Rounder

Design of the Airblades 3

The AirBlades racket stands out amongst a sea of rackets that all look exactly the same. The rubber’s bright white coloring is a jarring differentiator that some people will love, whilst others will hate.

One of the laws of table tennis is that players aren’t allowed to wear white (or majority-white) colored clothing. The theory being that it’s hard to differentiate a white ball on a white background.

That’s why it’s odd to see a racket designed with white rubbers. Later in this article, I’ll talk about whether the color impacts your opponent, but it’s important to know upfront that this racket isn’t ITTF certified.

That means you would be unable to play with the racket in any official tournaments / competitions.

AirBlades 3 Racket
Front image of the AirBlades 3.0 Racket

The blade is made of a simple 5-ply Ayous wood structure. This is a good structure for an all-round blade, with Ayous being one of the most common types found in table tennis rackets.

However, the blade is notable because it provides the Airblade’s other main point of differentiation – the handle. It’s shaped in a curved ‘ergonomic’ design that is intended to fit your hand better. They’ve even patented it as the ‘slopehandle’ design.

As a player who has grown up playing with flared handles, this is a hugely different feel. In the hand, it feels comfortable and rests nicely in your fingers.

AirBlades 3 Handle
View of the AirBlades ‘Slopehandle’

Whilst not a problem for me, some people have reported this handle isn’t suitable if you have larger hands. I can definitely see this being true, although I haven’t been able to find a large-handed person to test it out for me!

At just 172g, this is a lightweight racket. Just like the grip, this is great for any player who struggle with their hands getting tired during long playing sessions.s

The racket is delivered in a smartly designed, protective, hard case. It’s easy to zip and unzip, with the racket fitting snugly inside. There’s no doubt it provides good protective cover when storing or transporting your racket.

AirBlades 3 Inside Package
Packaging that comes with the AirBlades racket
AirBlades 3 Package
Storage case that comes with the AirBlades racket

However, I normally prefer racket cases that have space for multiple rackets, or balls, scorecards etc. That’s personal preference though, and you can check out our favorite table tennis racket cases for more options.

Specifications
AirBlades 3.0
  • Weight: 172g
  • Speed: Not Provided
  • Spin: Not Provided
  • Control: Not Provided
  • Handle: Slope
  • Blade: 5-ply ayous wood
  • ITTF Approved: No
  • Sponge Thickness: 2.1mm

Summary: A great improvement on your cheap basement rackets, with a unique design that stands out from the crowd.

Playtesting the Airblades 3.0

I must admit that my expectations were quite low at the start of our testing. The fact the Airblades 3.0 isn’t designed like a traditional racket made me skeptical of its performance.

I wanted to be proved wrong, but the Airblades 3.0 didn’t quite do enough to impress me.

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The ‘Slopehandle’

Firstly, I want to talk about the handle. I believe it’s trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist for a vast majority of players. It’s meant to make holding the racket for long periods more comfortable, but discomfort isn’t a common problem to solve.

During our testing, I found the handle comfortable but I didn’t notice any significant differences to a normal flared or anatomic handle. Unless you suffer with grip difficulties, the handle won’t provide you any noticeable benefits.

The handle also limits you to playing with a shakehand grip due to the shape, so this racket isn’t suitable for anyone using a penhold grip variation.

White Rubbers

I already spoke about the fact these rubbers mean the Airblades 3.0 is ineligible for ITTF events. If you’re hoping to compete in more serious competitions with the racket, you’ll find plenty of tournaments won’t allow it.

Practically, the bright white rubber design has very little impact on the playing experience though. I didn’t have any issues tracking the ball playing against the Airblades racket.

The only design advantage is that you have the words ‘deadly accurate’ printed in a place your opponent will see it mid-rally. Maybe that will give you a psychological advantage. Maybe not.

Now, let’s get into the playing experience.

Serving & Returning

I was able to generate a moderate amount of spin when serving, giving my opponent some trouble getting their returns on the table. It’s definitely not a super tacky or grippy rubber, but you can definitely produce some good serves.

Returning serves felt easy with the Airblades 3.0 as the rubber reduced the impact of my opponent’s spin. I was able to comfortably push serves back consistently, although I struggled more when trying to play attacking returns.

This rubber is definitely an upgrade from traditional ‘basement’ rackets without being too fast or spinny for a beginner to handle. This allows beginners to develop the right technique and feeling for high-spin serves.

Driving and Looping

I felt that looping was the area where the Airblades 3.0 performed weakest. There’s a lack of speed and feeling in the racket when playing more aggressive shots, which results in quite weak loops if you’re playing a few steps back from the table.

For more advanced players, this is normally described as a racket not having a lot of ‘gears’. That means the power you generate is directly correlated with how much power is on your shot. So, to hit a winner you need to put a lot of power into your shot.

When playing a driving shot, the Airblades still feels slow but controlled. For a beginner, this can be useful as it’s hard to hit over the table. Similar to playing a loop, the racket demands that you help it out and put in more power than you might expect to get the ball over the net.

Blocking & Chopping

Probably my favorite part about this racket was how it behaves on more defensive shots where speed and spin are less important.

I found it easy to block attacking shots, with many of my returns dropping short on the table and forcing my opponent into playing a push/flick instead of another loop. Without an elastic effect to handle, I was able to comfortably position blocks anywhere on the table.

Whilst this isn’t a ‘defensive’ racket (I would suggest long pips for anyone playing The Defender style), it’s very comfortable to play with when chopping. I wasn’t able to get a huge amount of spin on my chops, but they were travelling low over the net and proving difficult for my opponent to win points against.

Overall impressions of the Airblades 3.0

My personal opinion of the Airblades 3.0 was that the racket is more style over substance.

For anyone looking to buy the Airblades racket, there are two things you should be thinking about:

1. This racket is mainly suitable for beginners / garage players who want to level up from the terrible rackets you can buy at most general sports shops.

2. You will stand out playing with this racket, with a design that is bound to attract attention whenever you get it out of the case.

I was surprised by the amount of spin, and quality, that I was able to generate with this racket. It’s certainly not a bad racket.

However, I do think there are better choices on the market for anyone who’s looking to take table tennis more seriously and play competitive matches.

Alternatives to buying an Airblades 3.0

Killerspin JET400

Killerspin JET400

Our favorite beginners racket, with a great balance between control, spin, and power. Even intermediate players enjoys it. 

Stiga Evolution

Stiga Evolution

If you’re still learning to master basic techniques and want a racket with incredible control, consider the Stiga Evolution.

Palio Expert 3.0

Palio Expert 3.0

A great racket for players who already know they want to play with an aggressive, attacking style.

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The Controller

David's been playing Table Tennis since he was 12, earning his first coaching license in 2012. He's played in national team & individual competitions, although he prefers the more relaxed nature of a local league match! After earning his umpiring qualification in England, David moved to Australia and started Racket Insight to share information about the sport he loves.

Blade: Stiga WRB Offensive Classic | Forehand: Calibra LT | Backhand: Xiom Musa
Playstyle: All-Round Attacker

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