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Best Table Tennis Rackets for Beginners

The Best Ping Pong Rackets For Beginners & Casual Players. Advice From A Qualified Coach

Having played table tennis for over 20 years, and coached hundreds of people just starting their table tennis journey, I can safely say that having the right racket makes a huge difference.

The amounts of spin and speed you can put on the ball are fundamentally limited by the paddle you’re using.

However, you don’t want to use the most expensive racket, or most powerful racket, when starting out or playing casual games with friends. 

You need a racket that balances grip, power, and price. 

Fortunately, I’ve tested a load of premade rackets so let me point you in the right direction.

Comparison of the Best Table Tennis Rackets

Don’t need the detail? Here’s a simple summary of my top recommended table tennis rackets for beginners or casual players.

ImageProductWhy We RecommendPrice
Best Overall
Killerspin JET400

Killerspin JET400

  • Incredible all-round capabilities.
  • Great value for beginners & casual players alike.
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Best Performance
Stiga Pro Carbon +

Stiga Pro Carbon +

  • Delivers incredible speed and power.
  • Use this to end rallies quickly.
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Best Value
DHS 4002

DHS 4002

  • Traditional chinese-style racket with hard rubbers.
  • Often sells for under $35 USD.
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Best for Attackers
Palio Expert 3.0

Palio Expert 3.0

  • Speed and power without being overwhelming for beginners.
  • Playing attacking loops is easy with this racket.
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Best for Spin
Eastfield Allround

Eastfield Allround

  • Easily win points with your serves.
  • Loop and push with heavy spin.
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Best Looking
Airblades 3.0

Airblades 3.0

  • Unique design and look/feel.
  • Great controlled rubbers for casual players.
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Best Intermediate Racket
Killerspin JET800

Killerspin JET800

  • Upgrade your beginner racket for more advanced shots.
  • Make the sport faster and more intense, once your technique is good enough.
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Best 4-Pack
Pro-Spin Essentials

Pro-Spin Essentials

  • Reasonable paddles at a cheap price.
  • Perfect for sports clubs / schools / casual home setups.
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Best Outdoor
Stiga Flow

Stiga Flow

  • Indestructible plastic outdoor paddles.
  • You’re still able to add some spin on the ball.
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Best Japanese Penhold
Butterfly Nakama P6

Butterfly Nakama P6

  • Thicker handle and single rubber suitable for J-Pen players.
  • Butterfly Flextra rubbers brings incredible control.
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In-Depth Table Tennis Racket Reviews

We’ve reviewed a lot of table tennis equipment since we started Racket Insight, and most commonly things have pros and cons that make them suitable for different types of player.

Recommending the best racket is a little different.

A vast majority of intermediate to advanced players will select their blade and rubbers separately before gluing them together. For those players, we have two extremely thorough articles covering all the options:

Most beginners and casual players don’t want to go through all those choices / effort though. Instead, it’s much easier to pick up a premade racket. That’s why all our recommendations in this article are premade rackets.

We’ve already written extensively about the choice if you want to know more about the premade vs custom racket debate.

For coaching beginners, I’m always looking to recommend a racket that’s got all-round capabilities, allowing them to experiment with different shots. 

Even with casual players who aren’t ‘training’, I want them to experience the speed and spin that’s fundamental to table tennis being a fun game to play.

If you currently own a cheap racket from a ‘big brand’ sports store, this is the perfect list of replacements that I guarantee will make table tennis 10 times more fun to play.

Best Overall – Killerspin JET400

Best Overall
Killerspin JET400
  • Weight : 173g
  • Manufacturers Speed: Medium
  • Manufacturers Spin: High
  • Manufacturers Control: Medium-High
  • Sponge: 1.8mm
  • Blade: 5-ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: This is the most well-rounded racket we’ve ever tried, perfect for beginners to start taking table tennis more seriously. It feels great to hold and its quality is high, being from the reputable Killerspin brand.

I’ve personally played with, and written plenty, about Killerspin’s JET400 racket. I truly believe it’s the most well-balanced racket that optimizes cost, speed, and spin for beginners. As soon as I tested it back in 2021, it became the first racket I recommend to anyone who’s new to table tennis.

Importantly, it’s an incredibly versatile racket that allows you to experiment with different playing styles as you learn what you enjoy about playing table tennis. Drive? Loop? Block? Chop? All can be played to a reasonable level.

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A good-looking racket with plenty of spin

All Killerspin rackets are delivered in a smart cardboard racket case with a whiteboard marker to make notes inside the case. It’s not my favorite, and I’d easily recommend a different racket case, but that’s not what’s important.

The 173g racket itself has a slightly flared handle, 1.8mm sponge, and rubbers that are ITTF approved (so you can play in tournaments if you want!). These JET400 rubbers are able to generate a crazy amount of spin for a racket that regularly sells for under $50 USD.

If you’re upgrading from a casual hard bat that’s been sitting in your garage for years, the first thing you’ll notice is your service game will be 10x spinnier and therefore your serves will be 10x more difficult for your opponent to return.

Get the JET400 if you can

The JET400 sits in Killerspin’s JET range (200, 400, 600, 800). I personally think the JET200 is too basic and limited, so most players will want to upgrade within 6 months. The 600 and 800 offer too much speed and spin for most beginners to handle.

The JET400 sits in a goldilocks zone. I love it, and highly recommend it. Check out my full review of the Killerspin JET400 if you want to know more.

  • Feels comfortable in the hand (not too heavy
    or light).
  • The rubbers generate plenty of spin.
  • Very easy to control all types of shots.
  • Massive upgrade on most home-style
    basic paddles.
  • Could easily last 3-4 years of training.
  • The packaging / case is a gimmick that most
    people won’t use.
  • Lacks a bit of speed for fast-paced play.

Best Performance – Stiga Pro Carbon +

Best Performance
Stiga Pro Carbon +
  • Weight : 158g
  • Manufacturers Speed: High
  • Manufacturers Spin: High
  • Manufacturers Control: Medium
  • Sponge: 2mm
  • Blade: 7-Ply Extra Light Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: Whilst this racket won’t be suitable for everyone, it’s still a very good racket for any player who knows that their game relies on power and ending points quickly. Those 2 carbon layers in the blade are very effective.

If you’re a beginner or improving player whose main focus is on SPEED and POWER then the Stiga Pro Carbon + is likely the right racket for you.

Whilst you can definitely get faster custom rackets, the Pro Carbon + delivers one of the most powerful premade rackets you’ll find. Mainly thanks to the 7-layer blade with 2 carbon layers that generates speed across a large sweet spot.

The ‘advanced’ racket for beginners

Whilst the Pro Carbon + is advertised for ‘Advanced level’ players, this very much isn’t the case. Most advanced players would have custom rackets, allowing much finer control over how the racket performs.

Instead, I see this as the perfect racket for more casual players who want to enjoy playing a fast, attacking game. Think loops, flat-hits, and smashes.

There is most certainly a trade-off with control. Hitting the table consistently with this racket will be tricky without great technique, but when it does hit the table it’ll most likely be a winner.

Is it worth the extra money?

With the Pro Carbon + normally over $100 USD, it’s not a cheap racket for casual ping pong players. However, you’ll struggle to find anything with the same power for cheaper. I think it’s a really fun paddle to play with.

If you’re looking to train, improve and play leagues/tournaments, this is not the racket for you. Save some money, get the JET400 or Palio Expert 3.0 as these won’t have an overwhelming amount of speed.

  • Power, power, and more power.
  • Arrives in a fancy ‘luxury’ cardboard racket
    case.
  • The Pro Carbon blade can be reused with
    new rubbers.
  • Lacks control, making it difficult to hit
    the table.
  • Can be difficult to return high-spin
    shots.
  • Not a cheap beginners racket.

Best Value – DHS 4002

Best Value
DHS 4002
  • Weight : 195g
  • Manufacturers Speed: High
  • Manufacturers Spin: High
  • Manufacturers Control: Very High
  • Sponge: 2.15mm
  • Blade: 7-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: Despite the fact a racket with hard Chinese rubbers isn’t what I’d usually recommend to players I coach, it’s hard to ignore the insane value this racket provides. Just be conscious that you’ll need to work on good technique to get the most out of it.

The DHS 4002 is for you if you’re looking to upgrade your racket without spending too much money, or you want a racket that will help you develop good technique.

This is a basic racket but it is made with premium components. Hurricane 3 (red) and G888 (black) rubbers glued on either side of a 7-play blade is fantastic value for a racket that often retails under $35 USD.

Not the easiest racket to get the best out of

Both rubbers on the DHS 4002 are relatively ‘Hard’. That is, you won’t find the ball ‘catapults’ on contact. It’s a great feature for maintaining precise control over direction, but limits the amount of speed you can generate.

What you put into your shots, is exactly what you’ll impart onto the ball.

With these rubbers, you’ll need good technique to get the most out of them. That makes the DHS 4002 most suited to players who are getting coaching lessons, watching table tennis YouTube videos, and practicing regularly.

Plenty of positive attributes

The rubbers will arrive with plenty of tackiness, making it incredibly easy to add spin on the ball. It’s an effect that gradually wears off over time, but lasts a few years if the racket is treated well.

Their characteristics also make this racket fantastic at topspin and counter topspin rallies, or for controlled drives/blocks.

Be aware, however, that this is quite a heavy racket (195g) and the G888 rubber isn’t perfect for the backhand side because of how slow it is (albeit can be replaced easily). We’ve also noticed a couple of quality control issues in the past, albeit nothing that prevents using the racket.

Alvaro wrote a fantastic DHS 4002 review for more background on this paddle.

  • Incredible value access to a premium blade
    and rubber combination.
  • The Hurricane 3 is a great controlled rubber
    to help develop technique.
  • A ‘beginners’ racket that is also suitable for
    advanced players.
  • A heavy racket might cause problems for
    anyone with wrist problems.
  • We recommend switching out the G888
    rubber for something like Xiom Vega Europe
    which is more suitable for the backhand.
  • With the price being so low, don’t be
    surprised if there are some quality control
    issues.

Best for Attackers – Palio Expert 3.0

Best for Attackers
Palio Expert 3.0
  • Weight : 174g
  • Manufacturers Speed: Medium
  • Manufacturers Spin: High
  • Manufacturers Control: Extreme High
  • Sponge: 2.2mm
  • Blade: 5-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: Palio’s range of premade rackets are all thoroughly enjoyable to play with, with their design tending towards more attacking playstyles. The thick 2.2mm sponge gives a clear ‘catapult’ effect at the expense of some control though.

I’ve already recommended the Stiga Pro Carbon + in this list, calling out its impressive speed. The Palio Expert 3.0 presents a more all-round attacking racket that isn’t just about all-out speed and power.

Created by Ben Larcombe (of Expert Table Tennis) in partnership with a reputable table tennis manufacturer, Palio, this is a well thought-out racket designed for beginners. This ‘3.0’ is the 3rd iteration of the design and is an improvement over the ‘2.0’ version.

Enjoy the CJ8000 rubbers

There’s a simple all-wood blade sandwiched in between two Palio CJ8000 rubbers. These are Chinese rubbers, styled to feel like softer European rubbers. Especially because the sponge is 2.2mm thick (about as thick as you can buy). That means they’re helping you put speed and spin on the ball with the ‘catapult’ effect.

This racket excels at looping or punching the ball, as they translate your shots into tons of spin and power. You really feel like the racket is helping you get the ball back over the net, which is an unusual feeling if you’re upgrading from a basic racket.

Play an attacking game

This racket is really designed for people to play aggressively and take the game to their opponent. Even when blocking, this racket adds speed to your return and makes it really difficult for your opponent to keep up.

The downside is that this racket is highly responsive to incoming spin. That means you have to be very good at reading the type of spin your opponent has put on the ball, then adjusting your racket angle to counteract this.

As a beginner, that can be tough and will lead to a fair few returns missing the table. That’s the price you pay for being able to have a great attacking game where you can dominate your opponents.

We have a full Palio Expert 3.0 review if you want to know more.

  • Very easy to step away from the table and
    play powerful loops.
  • Feels very comfortable in the hand.
  • Blocks are very effective if you get your
    racket angle right.
  • Comes with a useful fabric racket case.
  • Very difficult to chop or defend with
    this rubber.
  • The blade has a ‘hollow’ sound on
    contact with the ball.

Best for Spin – Eastfield Allround

Best for Spin
Eastfield Allround
  • Weight : 187g
  • Manufacturers Speed: Medium
  • Manufacturers Spin: High
  • Manufacturers Control: Extreme High
  • Sponge: 2.1mm
  • Blade: 5-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: The tacky Eastfield A-Soft rubbers make it super easy to add tonnes of spin on to the ball. Even as a beginner, you’ll be able to confuse your opponents with spins they’ll struggle to return.

The Eastfield Allround racket has one main attribute and it’s one that should be interesting to most players: its ability to generate huge amounts of spin.

When I picked up this racket, I started by serving a few balls and was immediately blown away by some of the swerve, dip, and angles I was able to get. This followed into matches, where I consistently won points from people misreading my serves.

This is a racket that will win you plenty of easy points.

Keep your opponent guessing

Putting spin on the ball is the easiest way to win points against any casual or beginner ping pong player. Without the ability to read, or quickly respond, to incoming spin it’s inevitable they’ll miss the table trying to return the ball.

This racket gets its spin from tacky Eastfield A-Soft rubbers that still manage to maintain a good amount of control, as the racket is surprisingly not too sensitive to incoming (or return) spin from your opponent.

Not for defenders

Despite this being an ‘all-round’ racket, it’s really tricky to play good defensive shots. The blade and rubber combination is too fast when chopping, and when blocking it is prone to sending the ball long.

We also noticed an interesting ‘hollow’ sound caused by the blade on contact with the ball. Not a negative, but slightly off putting until you get used to it.

  • Incredible ability to generate spin on
    serves or loops.
  • Good balance of speed and control
    for attacking shots.
  • Very easy to make high-quality and
    controllable topspin shots.
  • Quite a heavy racket at 187 grams.
  • The reliance on ‘tackiness’ to generate
    spin means the effect will reduce over
    1-2 years.
  • I’m not a personal fan of the hollow
    click when hitting the ball.

Best Looking – Airblades 3.0

Best Looking
Airblades 3.0
  • Weight : 172g
  • Manufacturers Speed: Low
  • Manufacturers Spin: Medium-Low
  • Manufacturers Control: High
  • Sponge: 2.1mm
  • Blade: 5-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: No

Summary: I’ve considered the Airblades 3.0 design to be ‘stylish’ but that’s down to personal taste, so I understand it might be polarizing to some. However, there’s no doubt this racket stands out against all the rest. Just be aware it’s not approved for use in ITTF competitions.

Forget about performance for a minute, what if you just want something more stylish than a standard paddle. I mean, every player uses a racket that looks pretty much identical, so it’s worth considering the Airblades 3.0 for its unique look alone.

This racket has a black blade with bright white rubbers. Each rubber is stamped with the Airblades ‘skull’ table tennis logo which is very striking. Your opponents won’t quickly forget playing against you.

Not just about style, there’s substance as well

You might expect the Airblades 3.0 to be a terrible paddle, but that definitely isn’t the case. Whilst it lacks the ability to generate as much speed / spin as most of the other recommended rackets on this list, it’s still a massive improvement over cheap mass-produced rackets.

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of shots I was able to make using this racket. It won’t be making its way into my bag any time soon, but that’s not the point because I’m no longer a beginner.

Unique features across the racket

One other aspect that makes the Airblades 3.0 stand out is the patented ‘slopehandle’ blade design. Their marketing spiel suggests this is more ergonomic and therefore better for long playing sessions.

Yes, the handle is comfortable but it isn’t going to dramatically change your life. I’d say it’s more of a gimmick than actually useful.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the rubbers used aren’t certified by the ITTF. That means you won’t be able to use this racket in tournaments… although I suspect there aren’t many ITTF-certified tournaments being held in your basement.

We wrote up a full review of the Airblades 3.0 if you want to know more.

  • Striking white rubbers with ‘skull’ logo
    design printed on the front.
  • The ‘slopehandle’ ergonomic handle
    is very comfortable.
  • Comes with a hard fabric racket case
    that’s very useful.
  • Great control on shots (due to the lack
    of speed and spin).
  • The lack of speed and spin you can
    generate means this isn’t suitable for
    training.
  • Ineligible for use in ITTF tournaments
    as the rubbers aren’t approved.
  • The design is a bit polarizing, not
    everyone will love it.

Best Intermediate Racket – Killerspin JET800

Best Intermediate Racket
Killerspin JET800
  • Weight : 178g
  • Manufacturers Speed: Very High
  • Manufacturers Spin: Very High
  • Manufacturers Control: Medium High
  • Sponge: 1.8mm
  • Blade: 7-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: This racket represents a speed upgrade on the highly recommended JET400 paddle. This will unlock faster forehand and backhand shots, allowing you to win more points as long as you can control the added speed.

Have you purchased one of the other beginner paddles before, and want to ‘upgrade’ so you can maximize speed and spin on your shots? Then you’re probably wanting to get a custom racket.

However, if you don’t want to worry about choosing individual rubbers and blades, the Killerspin JET800 is a great option. It’s a significant upgrade on the recommended JET400 racket without a crazy increase in price.

7-ply blade makes generating power easy

One aspect I like about the JET400 (with the same rubbers) is that the speed isn’t very fast. Having a slower racket makes it easy for beginners to be consistent and develop good technique.

With the JET800, you’re getting a 7-play blade with carbon layers that add some real speed. It’s ideal for players who want to push forward with a more attacking style, killing off rallies before they even start.

Not for beginners

With added speed comes less ‘control’. This isn’t a paddle for someone who wants to sit back and defend, or anyone who isn’t consistently getting the ball on the table already.

If you’re worried about the speed, it’s always possible to buy the JET400 and replace the blade when you’re comfortably playing as an ‘intermediate’ player. That’s one bonus with all products we’re recommending – the blades and rubbers are reusable unlike the cheap rackets you get from big box retailers.

  • Impressive speed thanks to the dual
    carbon blade.
  • Feels comfortable in the hand (not
    too heavy or light).
  • The rubbers generate plenty of spin.
  • No need to think about a custom
    selection of rubbers/blades.
  • The increased speed comes with an
    associated loss of ‘control’.
  • As with all Killerspin rackets, the
    packaging is a bit of a gimmick.

Best 4-Pack – Pro-Spin Essentials

Best 4-Pack
Pro-Spin Essentials
  • Weight : TBC
  • Manufacturers Speed: 
  • Manufacturers Spin: 
  • Manufacturers Control:
  • Sponge: 1.8mm
  • Blade: 7-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: No

Summary: Any spin and speed you can generate will be limited by these rackets, though they still represent an upgrade on most other ‘4-pack’ options. At such a cheap price, Pro-Spin have delivered a great value option where performance is less important.

Good paddles do not come in a 4-pack. Ever.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I recognise that some people just want to buy a set of paddles to keep at home for casually playing with mates. In that scenario, you don’t need to worry about having the ‘best’ paddles.

So, let me point you towards the Pro-Spin Essentials pack that provides reasonable paddles at a really cheap price.

The best of a bad bunch

As a keen player and coach, I want players to have the best equipment they can get their hands on. However, it’s an approach that only applies to people who are playing to compete and improve.

For everyone else, I just want them to avoid those terrible cheap paddles sold at places like Walmart. There’s no spin, no speed, and no fun in those.

Instead, these Pro-Spin Essentials are a nice balance of price and performance.

Perfect for home and office play

With these rackets, you’ll still be able to generate some spin on the ball and start to work on your technique. Most complete beginners will be impressed by this as it adds a really fun dimension to the game.

When you can get a pack of 4 rackets for under $40 USD, it’s the perfect price point for shared or social spaces. It’s not the end of the world if these get damaged or are ‘misplaced’ every now and again.

  • Generates reasonable spin.
  • Reasonably priced for social
    clubs / workplaces.
  • Comes with 8 balls to get you started.
  • Quality control can occasionally
    be hit and miss.
  • Not enough spin or speed to
    develop proper technique.

Best Outdoor – Stiga Flow

Best Outdoor
Stiga Flow
  • Weight : TBC
  • Manufacturers Speed: Medium Low
  • Manufacturers Spin: Medium Low
  • Manufacturers Control: High
  • Sponge: N/A
  • Blade:Polypropylene and glass fibre
  • ITTF Approved: No

Summary: Designed for a very specific job - to withstand being left outside and rough usage, these are a great option for anywhere with a permanent outdoor table. 

Similar to the previous Pro-Spin rackets, you’ll never find outdoor paddles that have comparable speed and spin attributes to our top recommended rackets.

However, outdoor paddles have a very specific job. They need to be very strong to withstand the weather and be used in a (relatively) harsh environment. 

These aren’t just paddles that “can be used outside”, these are designed to live outside and be used by people who aren’t going to care for them. Effectively, they are designed to be indestructible.

Plastic paddles designed to last

These Stiga Flow paddles come in a 2-set alongside a few outdoor balls that are also harder to break.

Each paddle is made of “thermoplastic elastomers” or simply plastic to us normal people. This makes them shock-resistant and very difficult to break. There are no rubber or wooden parts to damage.

Don’t expect performance

The characteristics of these paddles are so different to a normal table tennis racket that it seems wrong to even compare them. Expect very minimal speed and spin generation, making it so pushes and chops are the main shots you can play.

Compared to other outdoor paddles, these are very well made and come from a very reputable table tennis brand, Stiga. Worth considering if you’re buying for a school, social club, or campsite.

  • Fully plastic design makes them
    very durable.
  • Designed to withstand any weather
    when left outside.
  • 2 rackets for under $60 USD is
    good value.
  • Comes in multiple different colours.
  • Very minimal spin and speed
    capabilities (the downside of any
    outdoor racket).
  • Feels quite heavy in the hand.
  • The outdoor balls will inevitably
    get lost, so buy some spares.

Best Japanese Penhold – Butterfly Nakama P6

Best Japanese Penhold
Butterfly Nakama P6
  • Weight : 179g
  • Manufacturers Speed: Extreme High
  • Manufacturers Spin: Medium High
  • Manufacturers Control: Low
  • Sponge: 1.9mm
  • Blade:5-Ply Wood
  • ITTF Approved: Yes

Summary: This is very much an introductory Japanese Penhold racket, built to provide a lot of control as you learn proper technique. It’s worth buying if you’re transitioning into a J-Pen grip, or if you’ve just always held your racket ‘that way’.

Every racket I’ve mentioned so far is designed primarily for Shakehand players, the most common grip across the world. However, it’s importantly not the only grip.

Japanese penhold is still popular, and requires a different style of racket to play properly. The handle is much thicker, and there’s a wider gap between the handle and the rubber for your fingers.

Most importantly, there’s only rubber on one side. The grip means you only have a forehand anyway!

Flextra is a very controlled rubber

The single rubber is Flextra, which is highly rated for good reason. It’s got exceptional control which pairs well with the blade that has a very large sweet spot.

It’s very easy to hit consistent shots with good spin using this racket. However, you’ll find yourself struggling to get significant amounts of speed. This is definitely designed for beginners in mind, where getting it on the table is more important than hitting winners.

Trust in Butterfly

It’s very hard to go wrong with a Butterfly racket. They’re always of high quality, and designed for players looking to take their table tennis seriously.

In this case, however, they do say that the glue used to build this pre-made racket is industrial and therefore it would be difficult to take the rubber off if you wanted to reuse the blade. That’s disappointing, but not a deal breaker.

  • Thick handle and single rubber
    designed for the Japanese
    penhold grip.
  • Flextra rubber with soft sponge
    has great control.
  • Carbon Fiber blade has a large
    sweet spot.
  • You’re unable to replace the rubber
    as it’s stuck with industrial glue.
  • Can only be used with the Japanese
    Penhold grip.
  • The Flextra rubber will be too slow
    for more advanced players.

Beginner’s Table Tennis Racket Buyer’s Guide

When you speak with advanced table tennis players, they’ll describe their racket as “an extension of your hand”. It should feel connected and in-sync with the shots you’re playing, matching your playing style perfectly.

As a beginner, how could anyone possibly understand what that means or feels like?

That’s why we’ve mainly recommended all-round rackets as part of this guide. These rackets won’t always be perfect for you, but they are perfect for learning the sport and discovering how you want to play.

If you’re still looking for some more guidance, or you aren’t able to get our recommendations in your country, here are the key factors you should look at when buying a new table tennis paddle.

Premade vs Custom Rackets

Premade rackets are designed for beginners who either don’t want the hassle of selecting 2x rubbers and a blade separately, don’t know what to pick, or don’t want to construct their paddle.

Effectively, premade rackets are great for convenience. They’re perfect for beginners and casual players who are just getting into the sport. Once you’ve been playing for a few years, you can always upgrade to a custom racket that suits your playstyle. 

Most intermediate to advanced players will have selected their blade, and two (often different) rubbers separately. This allows them to have the most suitable equipment for their game, although finding the perfect fit requires some experimentation that can become quite costly.

If you’re not sure what type of blade or rubbers you would want, I’d advise sticking to the premade rackets recommended in this list.

Player Style

Each table tennis paddle has characteristics that make them suitable (or unsuitable) for certain playstyles. For example, a defender doesn’t want an incredibly fast paddle that makes their chops uncontrollable.

If you’re a total beginner, you aren’t going to have a playstyle yet. It’s still a time for you to experiment with different shots, so you need a versatile racket that doesn’t prevent you from playing anything from chops to smashes.

That’s why we recommend an all-round racket (the JET400) as our top pick.

If you want to understand what your playstyle is most likely to be, take our table tennis player style quiz. It should give you some indication of what kind of player you are.

Control vs Speed

Control and speed are inversely correlated, so you’ll often find that highly controlled rackets are slow whilst high speed rackets have terrible control.

You do find fast rackets with good control, or slow rackets with bad control, but it’s difficult for manufacturers to battle the laws of physics on this one.

As a beginner looking for a new table tennis racket, you don’t want to end up too far on either side of the spectrum. Pick a racket that has a moderate speed, which often equates to good control.

Don’t trust the numbers manufacturers provide to compare rackets. These are made up numbers. Instead, we recommend reading pre-made racket review to understand how current players have felt when playing with a racket.

Sponge Thickness

Table tennis rubbers come in a variety of different sponge thicknesses, all the way from no sponge up to around 2.2mm. Some sponges are thicker than that, but this means compromising on the thickness of the rubber topsheet which is rarely seen.

I recommend that beginners look to purchase rubbers in the mid-range of between 1.8 and 2.1mm.

Having a thicker sponge provides more of a ‘bounce’ or ‘catapult’ effect on the balls as it sinks deeper into the rubber on contact. This can help the generation of power and spin, which beginners often struggle with, although it can mean the loss of some control.

Thicker rubbers are generally used by offensive players who value speed, whilst thinner rubbers are often used by all-round or defensive players who value control. That’s why a mid-range thickness is a good balance between the two.

Spin (Tacky vs Grippy)

This is a complicated topic that we’ve written thousands of words on. Fundamentally, most rubbers sit within one of two camps: Tacky (Chinese / Japanese rubbers) or Grippy (European rubbers).

Grippy rubbers create spin by mechanically “biting” the ball on contact as it sinks into the rubber’s surface. In contrast, tacky rubbers create spin through stickiness applied on the rubber’s surface.

Tacky rubbers tend (but not always) to have thicker sponges alongside very hard rubbers, with the hard rubbers making it difficult to generate power unless your technique is very good.

Then you have ‘Hybrid’ rubbers that use both techniques to generate friction on contact. These are becoming more and more popular worldwide as they can cancel out the downsides of either grippiness or tackiness.

As a beginner, I’d recommend looking for European Grippy / Hybrid rubbers. These will give you the highest margin for error even if your technique isn’t perfect.

Budget

If you’re paying under $20 USD for a racket, it’s unlikely to be any good. I was even hesitant to recommend the Pro-Spin rackets in this article because I know they’re just not very good compared to the other recommendations. However, they’re the right option in the right circumstances.

If you’re looking for the best table tennis paddle for beginners, you’re going to need to spend between $40 and $100 USD. If you spend any more, you’re likely to end up with a racket that’s too difficult to handle. Don’t waste your money. 

The Best Ping Pong Racket For Beginners

This has been a marathon 5,000+ words exploring the world of table tennis paddles. If you’re a beginner or casual player looking for your first racket, I hope this guide has provided you some good direction.

After playing with a bunch of rackets myself, and coaching many beginners with different rackets, I’m confident that the Killerspin JET400 is the best option for a vast majority of beginners.

It’s a comfortable racket, with the ability to generate good speed and spin whilst maintaining strong control. It works fantastically as an all-round racket that allows you to experiment with different playstyles.

Oh, and it’s super reasonably priced. As a bonus, it also makes a great present with the gimmicky display case. I’m a huge fan.

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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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