How to Choose a Table Tennis Blade

The Complete Guide To Choosing A Table Tennis Blade

Table Tennis blades are the “soul” of your racket.

It is the only part of your equipment that you directly feel, acting as the contact between your hand and the ball. High-level players always emphasize the importance of choosing the correct blade. This is especially true when you’re buying a custom racket instead of a premade racket.

You can (and should) use your blade forever if it’s the right one for you and it doesn’t get broken. Over time, you’ll find that you’ll get to know it really well.

How does understanding your blade translate into playing? You’ll know exactly what went wrong if you missed a shot and you’ll know how much pressure you need to hold the racket with to get the shot you want. 

You’ll start playing as if the blade was your hand. Pretty cool, right?

If this article is useful for you, you’ll also love our total guide to choosing the right table tennis rubber for you.

Table Tennis blade properties

If you get the correct blade, then you can stick any rubbers you want into it and you’ll still be consistent because you know the blade. 

Put normal rubbers on a blade you know how to use and you’ll have a great racket. 

Stick the best rubbers on a blade that you don’t know how to use, and you’ll lose out on a crucial advantage that most of your opponents will have.

Some players change their blade all the time, a common table tennis mistake, so their development stalls. You want to choose a good blade and stick with it.

There are 4 main properties to every Table Tennis blade:

  1. Speed: The velocity at which the ball pings off the racket. More speed means your opponent will have less reaction time but it’ll be also harder for you to control your shots.
  1. Control: How easy it is to use the racket. Placement, variations in speed, ability to soak up energy from incoming shots. All of these are better with controllable blades. Control is, in most cases, inversely proportional to speed. 
  1. Stiffness: Determines how much the blade bends when hitting the ball. More flexibility is better for spin because the blade “gives” more (like a trampoline) and more stiffness is better for hitting and blocking because it is more stable (like a wall). Also, flexible blades tend to vibrate more than stiffer blades. 
  1. Hardness: Determines how easy it is to get spin out of the blade. Soft blades generally give better spin, touch. and dwell time on the ball. Hard blades have crisper contacts for power shots. They’re more direct and accurate. 

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to take into account when choosing a blade. 

Other important variables, not included in the 4 main properties are blade thickness, build quality, weight, handle shape, head size, sweet spot and hand feeling. 

Some variables like hand feeling and handle shape are personal preference. If you don’t know what handle to choose, we recommend going for flared (FL) handles. 

A picture of a Flared handle Stiga Allround Classic..
Flared handle Stiga Allround Classic.

Fortunately, most of the factors that determine playing properties have already been optimized over the years. 

Table Tennis blade composition

There are selected wood types that work best when combined together.

All-wood blades

All-wood blades are the standard blade construction. They have great feeling for the ball and are softer and flexier than their composite counterparts. 

For example, the typical limba-limba-ayous-limba-limba is a tried and true veneer combination that has great spin, touch, flexibility, and sufficient stability. 

A picture of a Limba-ayous composition on my personal blade, the Stratus Power Wood.
Limba-ayous composition on my personal blade, the Stratus Power Wood.

There are probably more than 50 models using this composition, the most popular being the Butterfly Korbel and the Tibhar Stratus Power Wood, both excellent, balanced offensive blades.

A graphic of a 5 Ply All-Wood

The blade above is classified as a 5-layer, all-wood blade. This is because it has no composite layers, its 5 layers are all wooden. 

Composite blades

Other blades have composite layers in their construction. If a blade is classified as 5+2, this means that the blade has 5 layers of wood and 2 composite layers.

According to rule number 2.4.2, the composite shall not be thicker than 7.5% of the total thickness or 0.35mm.

Composites are any material other than wood. Most commonly, they’re carbon layers, often mixed with other fibers, such as arylate, and they’re used to achieve a specific effect. 

Most of these composites make the blade stiffer, more direct, and increase its sweet spot. They add stability to the racket but change its feel completely. Most carbon blades reduce vibrations or even make them disappear altogether.

The most common composites are carbon fiber and arylate-carbon, but new composites are being developed all the time, such as the Cellulose Nano Fiber present on the Butterfly Revoldia CNF, or the Hyper Axylium present on the Xiom Hugo Calderano HAL.

The only objective advantage composite blades have is that they have a bigger sweet spot. 

The sweet spot of a blade determines how much the shot quality is affected when you start hitting further away from the center of mass, that is, the center of your racket.

Composite blades have very big sweet spots because the fibers make the blade a lot harder and stiffer throughout the whole surface. They act as a backbone to the wood layers, you can think of it as the foundation of a house. 

Since the composite fibers reinforce the whole surface of the racket, it doesn’t matter as much with which part of the racket you hit the ball. You can hit the ball nearer to the edge and the racket will still produce a high-quality shot. 

In contrast, if you hit the ball near the edge with an all-wood blade, you’ll feel it immediately. The racket will vibrate in a bad way, and the shot will most likely drop to the net because you hit the ball away from the center of mass. 

A graphic Sweet Spot Comparison

There are also 2 ways to include composites on a blade. Traditional composite blades have the carbon fiber just underneath the top ply. This construction is called outer carbon. 

A graphic of a 5+2 Outer Carbon

Outer carbon blades are composed of an outer wooden layer and the composite layer lies just below. Below the composite layer, there is an inner layer of wood, followed by the core, also wooden.

Because the carbon layer lies just below the wooden layer that contacts the ball, these blades are often very direct and have nearly no vibrations. 

They also feel much harder than traditional all-wood blades. The Butterfly Timo Boll ALC and the Viscaria are both outer carbon blades.

The second way to include carbon on a blade is by sticking it next to the core. This method has been adopted recently and it’s becoming more and more popular.

Inner carbon blades have composite layers attached to the core layer. This means that there are 2 outer wooden layers instead of just one, giving these blades a lot more feeling and a softer touch. They’re the middle ground between outer carbon and all wood blades. 

Inner carbon blades, such as the Butterfly Innerforce ALC or the DHS Hurricane 301 have the stability and the sweet spot of the outer carbon blades but they’re less direct and softer, since the two outer layers are wooden. 

These are great for venturing into your first carbon blade since they have some all-wood and some outer carbon characteristics.

You should also take into account the combination between blade and rubbers. 

If you’re a beginner, we recommend getting a controllable blade but if you glue very fast rubbers to it, it’s going to end up as a fast, difficult-to-control racket regardless. 

Blade handle types

The handle is equally as important as the head of the racket. It largely impacts the hand feeling, the racket’s weight balance and how comfortable the racket feels. It’s crucial to select the right handle.

There are 3 shakehand blade handle types, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. We recommend you try them out and choose the one that feels the most comfortable for your personal racket.

Flared handle

The flared handle is, by far, the most popular table tennis handle. As its name implies, the handle flares when reaching the bottom, so it sits comfortably in the palm.

Almost all amateurs and most professional players use this handle. It’s comfortable, secure and intuitive, given that the vast majority of us learned how to play with pre assembled rackets and those are almost always flared.

Straight handle 

The straight handle is the second most popular handle. Its strength is that, because it doesn’t flare, it allows for greater wrist action. Also, the vast majority of defenders use this handle.

This handle is great for those who want complete freedom of the wrist and don’t mind how the handle feels. Twiddling the racket (turning it around) and performing flicky backhand shots feel much better with this handle. 

I strongly recommend that you try one extensively before buying a straight handle blade. Chances are you’ll prefer a flared handle because that’s the one you’ve always used. 

Anatomic handle

The anatomic handle is the least popular blade handle, but I personally quite like it!

It tries to contour better to the hand than the other handles. It’s wide on top, then it’s thinner in the middle so that you can rest your palm, and then flares on the bottom. 

Few players use this handle and lots of blades aren’t offered in this format. We also recommend you try this one extensively before buying an anatomic handle blade.

The main categories of table tennis blades.

It is also worth mentioning that the top brands when it comes to build quality are Nittaku and Butterfly. 

Tibhar, DHS, Yasaka, Donic, Victas, and Stiga are a step below but they’re still very good.

Blades are divided into 3 main speed categories: OFF (Offensive), ALL (Allround), and DEF (Defensive). 

Remember that the higher the speed, the lower the control. So, if you’re a beginner make sure not to go for something too fast!

Each of these groups contains 3 subgroups, defined by the addition of a plus or minus sign at the end of the denomination, or simply by omitting any signs. 

Taking the OFF category as an example, you can find OFF+ blades, OFF and OFF- blades. 

  • OFF+ blades are the fastest blades in the market. They’re generally very hard to control on touch shots.
  • OFF blades are true offensive blades (a bit slower than OFF+ but faster than OFF-) 
  • OFF- are the most controllable offensive blades. They’re still fast enough for attacking, but retain great control.

The same applies for both the ALL and DEF categories, with the only caveat that DEF- doesn’t exist. The slowest blade category is DEF. The stats of every category are like so (out of 100):


This is, of course, a simplification. There are very fast rackets that retain good control and there are also some slower bad quality blades that are inconsistent even if they’re slower.

You want to get a good quality blade that has great control and hand feeling relative to its speed level. 

For most offensive players, that blade is between OFF- and OFF, sometimes even ALL+.

There are some blades that seem to escape the speed/control rule, such as the Tibhar Stratus Power Wood, the Timo Boll ALC, or the Nittaku Acoustic. These are all very controllable for their speed levels.

These blades receive the most praise from reviewers and are the most popular models because of their great playing characteristics (they have the best designs).

We’re going to recommend blades based on your skill. So before we start, we’re going to define the 3 main playing levels. 

How to determine your playing level

If you’re unsure about whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced player, here’s a quick guide:

Beginner: Top beginners can beat your average Joe almost every time. They can drive and block on both sides but open-ups and loops are still inconsistent (they go in 7/10 times or less). 

If you’re an early beginner, it’s better to play with a good quality pre-made racket such as the Killerspin JET400 before venturing into the world of Table Tennis blades.

Defensive beginner players are starting to find consistency on their pushes, blocks, and chops, but they still find it hard to deal with faster shots and often make unforced mistakes.

Intermediates: They often have 1-3+ years of club training. Offensive intermediates can attack consistently at a medium speed. They often have a stronger side in which they attack with more quality. 

However, they often lack tactical knowledge and make a few unforced errors per game.

There are lots of consistent allround players and blockers in this skill level.

Intermediate defensive players feel comfortable pushing, blocking, and chopping medium-speed shots. However, they find it difficult to deal with variations in spin and speed, and often make errors on the receive.

Advanced players: They have at least 4 years of consistent training under their belt and you can’t push long to them or else they’ll attack consistently. Advanced offensive players can attack with more speed and spin than intermediates and don’t make many unforced mistakes.

Advanced allround players can play with immense spin and they almost never make unforced errors.

Advanced defensive players are good at reading spins and they know how to deal with them. Their chops are consistent and loaded with spin, and they can return shots that few other players can.

Side note: You’ll notice that the difference between beginners, intermediate, and advanced players, regardless of the playing style, is consistency

Consistency is king, and for that, you need a reliable blade

Timo Boll playing Table Tennis
Photo: ETTU

German player Timo Boll played with almost the same blade for 25 years (Viscaria, Boll Spirit, then Boll ALC) until his recent change to Primorac Carbon. 

In this article, we’re going to help you choose the right blade for your level and style of play. Let’s begin with the most popular type of blade: Offensive blades.

Offensive blades

A picture of a Butterfly Viscaria.
Butterfly Viscaria (OFF)

Offensive blades, as their name suggests, were designed to put your opponent under pressure. However, there are many ways to attack the opponent and, consequently, many different types of blades for each of these styles.

The 3 main offensive player archetypes are:

  1. Loopers (offensive spinners)
  2. Complete Offensive Players
  3. Hitters

We’ll identify the types of offensive blades each player type needs.

Loopers (offensive spinners)

These players like to spin the ball and attack before their opponent. They love doing 3rd ball attacks and hitting powerful shots. If they’re on the back foot, then they try to counter topspin and re-gain the initiative. 

Loopers should look to get flexible blades. Speed depends on the skill level. 

For example, a beginner looper should get an OFF- or even ALL+ flexible blade such as the Nittaku Violin, Yasaka Sweden Extra, Butterfly Primorac, or the Stiga Offensive Classic. 

A picture of a Nittaku Violin.
Nittaku Violin (OFF-)

They should pair their blades with spinny, controllable rubbers.

An intermediate looper can keep the “beginner looper” blades and upgrade their rubbers.

You can even use them all the way to becoming an advanced player. Just swap the rubbers out for faster ones and you’re good to go.

If they want to change, they should go with an OFF- or OFF blade such as the Tibhar Stratus Power Wood, Nittaku Acoustic (Ma Long’s blade of choice until 2007!), Stiga Infinity VPS V, or the Butterfly Korbel.

A picture of a Butterfly Korbel.
Butterfly Korbel

If they prefer carbon blades, they can go for the Butterfly Innerforce ALC, the DHS Hurricane 301, or the Donic Waldner OFF World Champion 89. 

Carbon blades are more direct, have bigger sweet spots, and tend to mute vibrations. 

The blades in the last category should be used until advanced level (so essentially forever).

If very advanced players feel they need more speed, they can go for blades such as Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition, Butterfly Viscaria, Butterfly Timo Boll ALC, Donic Original Carbospeed, or the DHS Hurricane Long 5. 

A picture of a Butterfly Timo Boll ALC.
Butterfly Timo Boll ALC (OFF)

Be aware that these are not necessarily a better choice until you get to very advanced levels though.

Complete offensive players 

These players often loop more than hit. The difference between them and loopers is that they aren’t afraid of blocking and performing short counters. 

Pure loopers prefer overpowering their opponent and attacking first. Complete offensive players read the situation and mold their game to accommodate. 

They might push long so that their opponent attacks first, then active block, counter, or engage in short distance rallies. They’re a bit more allround in nature than loopers, though still clearly offensive.

They feel comfortable at backhand to backhand rallies and are solid, consistent players, though they tend to have a bit less firepower than pure loopers.

These players should use the same blades as loopers, since they’re controllable, have good spin and hand feeling.


These players often smash the ball on their forehand side and punch it or block it on their backhand side. Lots of them use short pips on one side to help with their flat hits. Currently, the best hitter in the world is Mattias Falck

Their strategy mostly consists of serving topspin or no-spin, then smashing the ball afterwards. Most hitters also have a reliable open-up, which they use to set up opportunities to flat hit the following ball.

Hitters should get stiff, stable blades that don’t bend on impact, such as the Stiga Clipper, the Butterfly Primorac Carbon, or the Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition.

A picture of a Stiga Clipper .
Stiga Clipper (OFF)

For these players, we’re going to assume they’re intermediate and up. We think beginners should try to spin the ball rather than flat hit it. 

Hitters are players who are talented at smashing the ball. They don’t hit it because they don’t know how to topspin, but because they’re very good at it. 

Offensive players are a mix of these categories. Most offensive players are a mix of loopers and complete offensive. There aren’t nearly as many hitters as there are loopers.

Try to think about what describes you best, both in playing style and level, and choose your blade accordingly. 

Allround blades

Allround blades were designed for players who mix attack with defense. Most of these players use heavy spins and good placement combined with great consistency to beat their opponents.

These blades are medium to medium-slow in speed but have excellent control and hand feeling. 

There are 2 main allround playing styles:

  1. Offensive allround players
  2. True allround players

Offensive allround players

Offensively oriented allround blades were designed for players who have a varied playstyle, but attack more than they defend. 

They’re also good for players who only attack, but they value placement and control over speed. 

Lots of beginners also benefit from using these blades before moving to something faster.

These blades are a bit slower than OFF- blades, but they’re still fast enough to attack. With fast rubbers and good technique, these blades can hit winning shots while retaining excellent touch and control.

They’re like offensive blades but slower and more controllable. This gives them an edge over offensive blades on the serve, receive, and blocking shots.

In this category, we can find mostly flexible, ALL+ blades. 

The best offensively-oriented allround blades are the Yasaka Sweden Extra, the Stiga Allround Evolution, the Nittaku Violin, and the Nittaku Septear Lead. 

A picture of a Stiga Allround Evolution.
Stiga Allround Evolution (ALL+)

Both Nittakus are marked as OFF- but are a bit slower than most blades in their category and have amazing control.

We recommend all of these blades for beginner offensive players and controlled attackers of all levels. 

True allround players

Control-oriented allround blades were designed for players who play equal parts attack and defense, or for those who need more control to produce very high spin shots.

These are a lot slower than offensive blades. While it’s definitely possible to attack with these blades, it’s unlikely that you’ll surprise anyone with speed.

You can surprise your opponents with spin, though. 

A strategy of opening up with tons of spin, then smashing the high return is definitely viable with these blades. 

These blades excel at serves, touch play, spin shots, and blocking. They’re incredibly versatile.

They’re also great for anti and long pips rubbers since these blades absorb lots of energy from incoming shots. 

The best control-oriented allround blades are the Stiga Allround Classic (the most popular blade ever, with over a million sold!), the Yasaka Sweden Classic, and the Donic Appelgren Allplay.

A pciture of a Yasaka Sweden Classic.
Yasaka Sweden Classic (ALL)

The slowest category of Table Tennis blades is defensive blades.

Defensive blades

Defensive blades are for players who defend more than they attack.

These players will try to force mistakes out of their opponents with heavy chops, usually using long pips on their backhand side. 

There are 3 types of defenders: 

  1. Modern Defenders
  2. Classic Defenders
  3. Long Pips Pushblockers

For these styles, there are special blades.

Modern Defenders

Modern defenders defend more than they attack but they have a versatile style. 

The best modern defender of all time is Olympic Silver Medalist Joo Se Hyuk.

The problem with classical defenders (the original defensive style) was that offensive players could get comfortable attacking them and moving them around.

In the 1900s it was effective to play as a classical defender because there wasn’t as much technology in blades and rubbers. Carbon blades didn’t exist, nor did tensor rubbers.

As time progressed and this equipment was invented, it was clear that at the higher levels of play, classical defenders were sitting ducks for offensive players.

Thus, the modern defensive style was invented. If defenders didn’t attack, the attacker would always have the initiative. Modern defenders came to change that.

Modern defenders will, on most points, let their opponent attack first, then set traps (variations in spin, placement, twiddling the racket) to force mistakes and come in for the kill with forehand and backhand attacks.

If they’re having success chopping, then they’ll stick to that. If not, then they will start attacking first. 

Versatility is the strength of modern defenders. 

The best blades for modern defenders are the Butterfly Joo Se Hyuk, the Donic Defplay Senso, the Victas Yuto Muramatsu, and the Victas Koji Matsushita.

A picture ofA a Victas Koji Matsushita.
Victas Koji Matsushita (DEF)

Classical Defenders

Classical defenders almost don’t attack. They are incredibly good at pushing, chopping, and reaching for hard balls, so that’s what they do. One of the best classical defenders of all time is Koji Matsushita.

They win matches by simply returning the ball more times than their opponent. 

They force mistakes from attackers by variating spins on their chops and pushes, often twiddling their racket to get the maximum backspin possible. 

They are very good at keeping pushes and chops loaded with backspin and low over the net and they’re incredibly consistent, so it’s very difficult to beat them!

Even if this style isn’t viable for the top 0.1%, it is for the rest of us, and, in my personal opinion, this is the most entertaining style to watch! 

It’s also very fun to play like this, and crowds love it when there’s a match between an attacker and a classical defender.

The following blades are perfect for classical defenders: Tibhar CO-S-3 Defence, Butterfly Hadraw Shield, Donic Defplay Classic, Dr. Neubauer Barricade, and Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive 

A picture of a Donic Defplay Classic V3
Donic Defplay Classic V3 (DEF)

They can also use the blades meant for modern defenders, however, they’ll lose just a little bit of control.

Long Pips Pushblockers

These players are great at blocking and pushing with long pips on their backhand side. Most of them play with their backhand covering as much of the table as possible. 

They will use placement and reversal from their long pips to put opponents in difficult situations and force mistakes out of them.

These players are most commonly found in the intermediate levels. 

Pushblockers can use the blades we recommended for classical defenders since the behaviour they’re looking for is the same as classical defenders: the slowest speed possible to absorb incoming attacks.

A picture of a Tibhar CO-S-3 Defence
Tibhar CO-S-3 Defence (DEF)

And with that, we conclude the informative part of this article!

Up next, I’m going to tell you my personal recommendations for every style and level of play.

Summary: Our blade recommendations 

I’m going to give 3 recommendations for every type of player. These 3 blades were selected among hundreds of models by players and reviewers as the best blades in the market. 

Attacking Players

For beginner attackers, we recommend ALL+ / OFF- blades such as Yasaka Sweden Extra, Nittaku Violin, and Butterfly Primorac.

For intermediate attackers, we recommend OFF- / OFF blades such as Tibhar Stratus Power Wood, Nittaku Acoustic, and Butterfly Innerforce ALC.

For advanced attackers, we recommend OFF / OFF+ blades such as Butterfly Viscaria, Butterfly Timo Boll ALC, and Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition.

For hitters, we recommend OFF / OFF+ blades such as Stiga Clipper, Butterfly Primorac Carbon, and Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition. 

If you’re intermediate, go for the Clipper. If you’re advanced, you can go for any of the 3.

All-Round Players

For offensive allround players, we recommend ALL+ blades such as Yasaka Sweden Extra, Nittaku Septear Lead, and Nittaku Violin.

For true allround players, we recommend ALL blades such as Yasaka Sweden Classic, Donic Appelgren Allplay and Stiga Allround Classic.


For modern defenders, we recommend DEF+ / ALL- blades such as Butterfly Joo Se Hyuk, Donic Defplay Senso, and Victas Koji Matsushita.

For classical defenders and pushblockers, we recommend DEF blades such as Butterfly Hadraw Shield, Tibhar CO-S-3 Defence, and Donic Defplay Senso.

I have made sure to include at least 1 blade below $50 for every type of player. All of these are excellent blades.

That concludes our Table Tennis blades buying guide! We sincerely hope we could help with your decision.

What is your current racket? Was your blade on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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With our advice, you'll be winning more matches in no time.

The Controller

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

Blade: Tibhar Stratus Power Wood | Forehand: XIOM Vega X | Backhand: XIOM Vega X
Playstyle: 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

34 thoughts on “The Complete Guide To Choosing A Table Tennis Blade”

  1. Prajjal Chakraborty

    My daughter 15 yrs,started with plain rubber now for last 5 yrs playing with spectol (FH) and Hellfire-x OX long pips(BH).plz suggest correct racket. From India..

    1. Hello Prajjal,

      A very good blade for your daughter’s playing style is the Dr. Neubauer Matador. However, it depends on how much speed your daughter wants her racket to have. I assume she’s a long pips blocker close to the table who flat hits with her forehand side.

      If she wants more offensive potential she can go for something like a Dr. Neubauer Matador Texa Carbon or if she wants more control with her pips she can go for a more defensive blade such as the Victas Koji Matsushita.

  2. I consider myself advance beginener level player. I find your reviews most helpful to decide, which guides someone best possible way. Based on your review i want to buy All+/OFF- blade. Confused between Yasaka Ma Lin soft Carbon and Sweden extra. Carbon model extra large sweet spot would be better, providing similar control in this case? Or shall i stick to Sweden extra. Please help

    1. Hello Tanmoy! Glad you liked our guides and reviews.

      Both blades would be fine. I would personally go for the Sweden Extra since I think the feeling of that blade is superb, especially when you play topspin shots. You can get lots of spin on the ball with the Sweden Extra. I had one myself and it was a very nice blade.

      As for the Soft Carbon, the carbon fibers will add stability to the blade and increase its sweet spot but take away some of the feeling and flexibility from the blade.

      For a beginner, I’d say the characteristics of the Sweden Extra are a bit more suitable, but both blades are very controllable and either of them would be an excellent choice.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful article
    I consider myself an Intermediate-beginner with more consistent BH

    Can you recommend a set up for my current level with the follow items (I would like a lighter set up if possible).
    I can mix and match components 🙂

    Blades + pre-made
    – Palio Expert 3
    – Stiga pro carbon
    – Zhang Jike ALC

    Red: Donics R1 blue sponge max
    Palio Ak47 red
    Nittaku Hammond Z2

    Black: Donics T1 max
    Yakza 7 soft

      1. Olá ÁLVARO,
        Obrigado pelas recomendações, são muito úteis para quem precisa de ajuda.
        Aproveito para pedir uma opinião sobre o combo Tibhar Stratus Powerwood + FH: Evolution EL-S 1.9mm-2.0mm + BH: Evolution FX-P 1.9mm.
        O meu filho tem 12 anos, mas parece que tem 16 pelo seu tamanho. Ele iniciou apenas agora os treinos de tenis de mesa num clube.
        Como ainda está no início, é cedo para definir uma raquete indicada e ao gosto e forma de jogar.
        Mas ele quer muito comprar a sua primeira raquete e que se adapta a sua inexperiência.
        A sua opinião é importante, agradeço já a disponibilidade.

        1. Hello Fernando! I’m glad you find the article useful 😁

          If your son just started training in a club and he doesn’t yet know what style he wants to play, then I think he should use a high-quality premade racket for the time being until he decides how he wants to play.

          The combo you mentioned is quite markedly offensive so it isn’t going to suit him if he wants to pursue a defensive style, for example.

          If he decides to go for an offensive style, then the Stratus Power Wood with those rubbers sounds fine. I haven’t tried the EL-S nor the FX-P but according to Revspin they aren’t too fast so that combo should be fine.


    1. Hello Nguyen, I’m glad you found our guide useful 😄

      As for the blades you have, I would probably stick with the one that comes with the Palio Expert 3. The Zhang Jike ALC is a fast composite blade, and I wouldn’t advise using it until you have at least around 2-3 years of training experience. The ideal choice would be one of the blades we recommended in the article, such as the Stratus Power Wood, the Butterfly Primorac, the Yasaka Sweden Extra, etc.

      I’d probably use the Rakza 7 soft on the backhand side and the Donic R1 on the forehand side.

  4. Hi, thank you for this very informative guides!!
    i just decided to play TT again and I ordered Yasaka Sweden Extra paired with Rakza 7 and Rakza 7 Soft.

    Sadly, the seller said that they can;t proceed with my order because the last YSE sold out and will take weeks to stock up. He offered me Butterly Falcima (with a little bit of top-up, of course)

    I’m not familiar with Falcima and i don’t know if its a better deal for a beginner. I haven’t played Table tennis for 30 odd years and my skills is all over the place, maybe close to no-existence.

    Any review on Falcima or if its suitable with Rakza 7/7Soft?

    1. Hello Arthur,

      Butterfly Falcima is perfect for aspiring offensive players. However, if you’re saying that your technique is all over the place, then probably Falcima with Rakza 7 and 7 soft would be a bit too fast.

      Even if it’s a controllable setup, it’s still quite offensive in nature. If you’re still getting to grips with table tennis after many years and your skills are still a bit rusty, then I’d personally go for a high-quality premade blade before going into custom rackets.

      Falcima is suitable with those rubbers but it’d probably be a bit too fast for you at this time.

      1. Thanks Mr Alvaro for your insights.

        I thought of getting slower rubbers to match it, but you’re right. Falcima is still an OFF blade and it is still a fast blade. Better polish up my basics first with Palio Expert/Master 3.0 than getting messed up with fast customs.

        Thanks again for sharing your complete guide and your insights!!

  5. went back to tabletennis after decades. Used to play a lot since I was a kid, never took classes but I have been a good ranked tennis player, been holding any kind of racket (except padel, I don’t wanna go to hell), I can use most of the spins on both sides, at 50 decided to get into a class with serious coach and I am getting some satisfaction. I consider myself as beginner/intermediate .The coach defined me as “competitive” meaning I could begin to attend few tournaments. Bought a Stiga Offensive classic and Mark V rubbers, 2.0 on both sides. I like aggressive playing but I am big and heavy, somehow I felt I wanted some extra control so I am trying a Yasaka Sweden Defensive with a Galaxy Mars 2 medium 2.2 fh and a Gewo Mega Flex Control 2.0 bh, I wanted some more control especially when I have to generate power from slow balls.

    I was expecting the Stiga/MarkV a bit slower and the Yasaka a bit faster. Satisfied by both in different ways, though I am playing the Yasaka increasing power gradually before switching back to the Stiga.

    I am not tempted by fancy carbon stuff, I bought blades and rubbers after few weeks of study, but I remain in doubt I could get somehow some more proper equipment…? or maybe not, especially over rubbers my knowledge is limited to tutorials and articles I have found.

    1. Hello Dario,

      Stiga Offensive Classic with Mark V on both sides is a great racket for a beginner. If you find it a bit fast, then there’s no need to upgrade to anything else.

      If I were you, I’d train with that racket for some time until you feel it’s time to move up in speed. Then you can upgrade to something like the Yinhe Mercury 2 or even the Yasaka Rakza 7. I wouldn’t change the blade.

  6. Hi Alvaro
    Great article, one of the best I’ve ever read!
    I’m an ‘older’ lower league player who has been playing table tennis for a number of years. I’ve always used Chinese Penhold grip but can’t seem to find the ideal combination of blade and rubbers. I’m an attacking player and although I haven’t mastered reverse backhand, I like to have two rubbers on the blade so that I have options.
    I’m currently using a Nittaku Ludeack but would it be worth me upgrading to a Nittaku Violin penhold and if so what rubbers would you recommend? Thanks.

    1. Hello David,

      Thanks for your nice words! I’m really glad you liked our article 😁. As for your question:

      The Nittaku Ludeack is actually slightly faster than the Violin. If anything, the Ludeack is the next step up from the Violin, so I don’t think that you should change to the Violin unless you want less speed and more control.

      As for rubber recommendations, it’d be easier for me to help you if you told me your current rubbers and what you want from your next rubber choice (more control-more spin-higher arc, etc.)

      My favourite rubbers for lower-league players are the Yinhe Mercury 2, the Yasaka Rakza 7, and the Yasaka Rakza Z for the forehand side.

      For your RPB, you could go for something like the Xiom Vega Europe.

      Those would be my recommendations for an early intermediate offensive player. Again, if you could give me more details about your current rubbers, I could probably be able to help you more accurately.


  7. Hi Alvaro

    Thanks for your reply. I’ve decided to order a Nittaku Acoustic penhold blade and think I’ll try Nittaku C1 rubber with Nittaku S1 on the other side. Would you agree?
    While I’m waiting for it to arrive I went back to my Joola Roskopf Emotion blade this week fitted with Xiom Vega Europe & Yasaka Rigan which I felt had much better control than my Nittaku Ludeack.
    I’m hoping that the new Acoustic blade, which I know you like, will be a good choice!
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hello David,

      The Nittaku Acoustic is slightly slower than the Joola Rosskopf Emotion, and around the same speed as the Ludeack.

      If you felt like you had more control with the Rosskopf Emotion, it’s probably because of the Xiom Vega Europe and the Yasaka Rigan, which are very tame and moderate in terms of speed.

      Fastarc C-1 and S-1 are both considerably faster than Rigan and Vega Europe.

      I’d advise using rubbers that you feel comfortable with, as the most important thing is being confident in your game and your ability to put the ball on the table consistently.

      If you feel comfortable with Vega Europe and Rigan, I’d say you should stick to those. I’d see no reason to change rubbers and you’ll have a quality, spin-based controlled offensive racket if you were to pair them with the Acoustic.

      If you want something more offensive on the forehand side, what I would do is to buy something a bit faster but still controllable like the Yasaka Rakza 7, Yasaka Rakza Z, or the Donic Baracuda on the forehand side, and keep the Rigan or the Vega Europe on the backhand side.


  8. Hi,
    Firstly, this is a wonderful article.. Helped me understand my own game in reflection.. Thank you so much for it !!
    I am an Intermediate player, who loops (FH), flicks(BH- but not consistent) and mainly tries to finish by smashing/ hitting…. I prefer the bat to be on the heavier side & I like the handles from Stiga or Butterfly.
    Can you pls recommend the blade that would bring a little more control to my game but at the same time remain fast as I play mostly closer/mid to the table..
    I am tempted to go with Stiga Clipper CR or a Butterfly Innerforce Layer ALC or Butterfly Primorac Carbon.
    Also recommended rubbers that would suit my style and the blades.. Thanks in advance..

    1. Hello Gautham! I’m glad you liked our article 🙂

      It’d be much better for us if we could know what you’re currently playing with. I always recommend that you shouldn’t change all of the components at the same time, because that way you’ll have no feeling with your new racket and you’ll feel like you’re playing with an object rather than an extension of your arm. Your racket should feel like home to you, and it won’t be that way if you change everything at once.

      I recommend that you change one thing at a time so that you can see the effect that the change has on the whole setup. If you have a racket and you change its forehand rubber, that’s already a very big change that you have to get used to, same with the backhand rubber, and it’s an even bigger change if you change your blade and keep the same rubbers.

      If you want more control I’d rule out the Butterfly Primorac Carbon as this is a very fast, stiff, and hard blade. Stiga Clipper CR and Innerforce Layer ALC are also relatively fast blades and it depends on what you’re playing with now whether you’ll get more control from switching to those blades.

      Some great rubbers for intermediate level loopers are the Xiom Vega X, Rasanter R47, Butterfly Rozena, Donic Baracuda, Fastarc G-1, Fastarc P-1, all of these are solid rubbers that are hard to go wrong with.

      If you could tell us your current setup we could help you further.


      1. Thanks for your response Alvaro.. Strangely your response was not reflecting in my browser and hence the delay in replying, apologies for that..
        Currently I have Donic Waldner Senso Ultra Carbon with combination of Donic Acuda P2 & P3.. The blade seems to be very light.. When I held my friends bats Stiga or Butterfly I felt really comfortable especially with the anatomic handles.. Its probably more about what is comfortable than the quality of the blade.. I get what you are saying, 1 step at a time to understand my own game and progress gradually..
        So would moving to Stiga Clipper or Butterfly Innerforce Layer ALC be the right option for me?

      2. Hi Alvaro,
        I had replied to your response on 13th April, but I dont see it here.. Hence responding to you again, hopefully this one sticks..
        Firstly thanks for your response and I get your point that I need to take it one step at a time & test it out..
        I have been using Donic Senso Ultra Carbon with Donic Acuda P2 & P3 on it.
        With that being said & to bring in more control to my game (without losing much speed), would Stiga Clipper CR or Butterfly Innerforce Layer ALC be the right choice? Thanks in advance..
        Gautham S.G.

        1. Hello Gautham,

          You couldn’t see your reply because David and I approve or reject our reader’s comments to avoid spam and troll comments. They aren’t posted instantly on the site. Of course, we approve every table tennis-related comment. This process can take a few days, I hope you understand.

          As for your question, it also depends on what you’re looking for in a blade. The feeling will of course be different and you’ll need some time to adapt. It is relatively hard to retain a different feeling when switching blade manufacturers, especially when it comes to composite blades.

          The Clipper is a great, classic offensive blade. It has a good woody feel, it’s stiff but not too hard, so it’s good for both hitting and spinning. It was really popular in China and it was used to win world championships back in the day. If your game is a mixture of looping and hitting, then you can hardly go wrong with it.

          Thing is, you’d be going for a 7-ply blade with no carbon when you’re coming from a carbon blade. The feeling will change drastically, and the playing characteristics as well. The sweet spot will be smaller, the head size is bigger, the weight distribution will be different, etc.

          As for the Innerforce, you’d be going from regular carbon to ALC, which does feel different. The good thing is that you’d be going from a composite blade to another composite blade so you wouldn’t have a smaller sweet spot. It’s more of a looper’s blade but it’s still good for hitting.

          These two blades are excellent blades, to be fair. I think you can’t go wrong with either. If I were you, I’d just pick one of the two and just keep it forever.

          I would personally go for the Innerforce as Butterfly has a better reputation than Stiga nowadays in terms of build quality. It’s also a more modern, composite blade and it has a bigger sweet spot. It’d be the better choice if you train 3+ times a week and you have high ambitions to improve. But others will appreciate the woody feel of the Clipper as well, which is probably a bit easier to play and a more “standard” blade.

          If the handle is very important to you, I’d try them out beforehand if I could. Stiga has two FL handles (Master, and Legend). Master is thinner while Legend is quite thick. I don’t know about the anatomic handle.

          Also, make sure that you’re asking your shop for a specific weight. If you want a heavier blade, ask for one that’s around 87-90 grams, as you don’t want to get anything too light and have the same problem again, or something too heavy (95 grams +) and have another problem with that.

          1. Thanks a ton Alvaro.. I get it now..
            I just happened to try 2 bats last night – Stiga Clipper and Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition. The Tibhar Samsonov was really comfortable and felt very nice. I was able to loop well, felt I was in much more controll and was able to hit where exactly I wanted to without missing much. It is indeed one of your recommended blades 🙂 which I will be going with. I do get your opinion about the larger sweet spot on the Innerforce ALC blade, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out, nor do we have any shops here in Dublin where I can actually hold & feel it (online is the only option). The Tibhar Samsonov’s weight seems to be in the range that you recommended. Thank you for all your valueable inputs, really appreciate it. I will definitely recommend your article to anyone who is looking to change their blades/bats.

  9. Hello,
    Can you give me recommends for the following blade’s options:
    1. dwell time for good topspin
    2. high speed for fast topspins
    3. carbon fiber, I don’t like vibration

    Will Innerforce Layer ALC and Ovtcharov Innerforce ALC fit my parameters?

    And wich rubbers should I use for this setup?

    1. Hello Dima,

      Of course, those two blades are excellent for the playing style you’re mentioning. It’s also worth it to consider the regular Viscaria or the Fan Zhendong ALC.

      With the Viscaria and the Fan Zhendong, you’ll have more speed for fast topspins and less vibration but you’ll have less dwell time. With the Innerforce blades, you’ll have more dwell time but a bit less speed and a bit more vibration.

      However, the Innerforce is already a superb blade and used by many high level players, including pro players. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these blades if you take table tennis seriously, you stick with them for a long time, and you’re a high enough level of player to handle them.

      Whether they’re the right choice or not depends on how much you train, what level you are, what style you have, and what your ambitions are.

      Rubbers to use are relative. You can go with controllable tensors such as the Vega X, ESN rubbers such as the MX-P or Rasanter R47, Tenergies (05, 19, 64, 80), or even Dignics (05, 09c).

      If you’re going to change the blade, I’d recommend that you keep the rubbers that you’re using now. Changing the blade is a huge thing and if you also change your rubbers it can become counterproductive.

        1. I hope you like it!

          All of those Butterfly composite blades are superb for offensive players who train frequently and take the sport seriously. They do have their differences but they aren’t that drastic. It’s just a matter of picking one, getting used to it and using it for years IMO. They are all great blades 😁

          1. IS Innerforce alc.s is similar to innerforce alc with just a bit slower? I m coming from Sweden extra and I d like a blade with better sweetspot but I m scare about the speed of alc

          2. In the end, I bought Timo Boll ZLF + T05 both sides, instead of Innerforce Harimoto ALC. The package will arrive in a couple of weeks and I’ll try it.

          3. Álvaro Munno

            That’s a wonderful racket Dima, now it’s time to just train with it. Don’t change it!

  10. This is the best article on the internet! I read so many formus and here everything is nicely summarised! Keep it up! Awesome job!!!

    I also recommend visiting website and read reports there to know by how many times some popular blades are faster/slower in compariosn to each other.

    But what is still a mystery for me is blade/rubber combinations. let me explain. With new ball 40+ I see that producers make blades thicker to reduce vibrations and hence less flexible. European/Japanese rubbers become less spinny but more grippy. Chinese rubbers became even better than before.
    However for chinese rubbers flexible blades were recommended for a very long time. But now the chinese play not only with long 5(which indeed gives a lot more dwell time at strong strokes than usual blades, check reports) but they also play with viscaria and even stiga clipper. The last 2 are stiff and do not provide as much dwell time as long 5 at strong strokes.
    Also looks like harder top layer helps to activate hard chinese sponge. However, long 5 and clipper do not have hard top (koto for example) and still good with chinese rubbers. It also became clear that the second layer defines the soft/hard feeling of the blade.

    For european rubbers stiff blades were recommended for a long time. But i played recently with a stiff all blade (donic waldner allplay) with tensors (rasanter 42fh and xiom omega vii europe on bh) and it was awful. I also tried it on ma lin extra offensive and it was slightly better but still bad control in comparison to chinese rubbers (mercury 2, battle 2 boosted, h3neo, donic bluegrip c2(hybrid rubber)).

    Now I have a big confusion what should be paired with what. Old advice to pair 1)soft rubber with stiff blade and 2) hard rubber with flexible blade is obviously not working as blades are not as flexible as before and chinese players play with stiga clipper/viscaria

    1. Álvaro Munno

      Hello Jack,

      If you’re talking about Chinese penhold (the most popular penhold grip), then I would recommend the Falcima CS. Other faster options would be the SK7 Classic CS or the Chinese Real CS, but if you’re a beginner, the Falcima would be the ideal choice.

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