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How to Choose a Table Tennis Rubber

The Complete Guide to Choosing a Table Tennis Rubber

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Like in most other sports, the equipment you use to play Table Tennis has a noticeable impact on the outcome of games and, most importantly, your progress as a player.

Most beginners will feel totally overwhelmed by the huge variety of rubbers available when buying their first custom racket, often upgrading from a premade racket. Heck, even I struggle to keep up to date with all the different brands, types and options. 

Some players even become Equipment Junkies (EJ’s). These players like to change their playing racket all the time in search of the perfect setup.

These players often fail to get better because they’re playing with different rackets all the time, and when they get used to them, they change again.

We recommend using the same racket for as long as you can. You can maximize your rubbers’ service life as much as possible by cleaning them properly. You should also store your racket in a good quality case when you’re done playing to protect your rubbers.

You should be looking to replace your rubbers as many times each year, as you play in a week. So, most players should be reviewing their equipment a few times a year.

In this extensive guide, we will explain how every type of rubber works and the thought process behind how to choose the perfect rubbers for you

We have studied (and played with) every type of Table Tennis rubbers exhaustively, and we’ll help you make the best possible decision for your particular style and level of play.

Summary

There are 4 primary types of rubbers you’ll see people playing with. These are:

  • Inverted
  • Short Pimples (Pips)
  • Long Pimples (Pips)
  • Antispin

Each of these rubber types has really different characteristics, so we’ve constructed a comparison chart to help you quickly understand the different kinds of Table Tennis rubbers you can choose from.

RubbersInvertedShort PipsLong PipsAntispin
Speed8854
Grip9623
Attack9841
Defence7799
Versatility10744
Popularity10773

To assess the popularity of the different types of table tennis rubbers, we also conducted a poll with users of r/tabletennis

Out of the 611 players that answered, 476 play with inverted on both sides (77.9%). 

Of the 135 remaining players:

  • 52 play without any inverted rubbers on their rackets (8.5%), 
  • 41 with short pips on at least one side (6.7%)
  • 35 with long pips on at least one side (5.7%)
  • and just 7 with antispin (1.1%)
Rubber Distribution Graph - Reddit Users

These results are consistent with the fact that the vast majority of players have an offensive style.

If you’re looking for offensive capabilities, look no further than inverted and short pips rubbers. 

Inverted rubbers are the grippiest rubbers so you can attack with dangerous, spinny shots. These rubbers are also the most versatile because of their spin capabilities.

If you like to smash the ball rather than spin it, however, short pips are your best bet. 

We have scored them with an 8 for attack because they aren’t as spinny as inverted rubbers, but their flat trajectory, high speed, and spin insensitivity make them very dangerous on the right hands. More on that later!

If you like to defend rather than attack, take a look at antispin and long pimples. These rubbers are similar in the sense that they have very little grip, even less than short pips, so much so that when you hit the ball, they reverse the spin. 

In practice, if your opponent puts topspin on the ball and you hit it with these rubbers, they’ll return a backspin ball. Spins in Table Tennis are truly surprising. We’ll explain this effect later!

Up next, we’ll go into the specifics of each type of table tennis rubber, starting with the most popular type, inverted!

Inverted table tennis rubbers

Inverted Rubber Examples
Photo: Tabletennis11.com

The vast majority of Table Tennis players use inverted (also known as smooth) rubbers. These rubbers are called inverted because of their “pips-in” structure. They’re “inverted” in relation to pips-out rubbers.

These rubbers are the most versatile. There are inverted rubbers for virtually every level and playing style.

The main advantage of inverted rubbers lies in their high grip. This means inverted rubbers can impart high levels of spin to the ball. 

Inverted rubbers are the most intuitive to use, and you can perform every stroke there is with inverted rubbers.

If you’re a beginner, we recommend you start off using this type of rubber so that your game isn’t limited by your rubber choice. By starting off with controllable inverted rubbers, you can try out every playing style and figure out which one you have the most fun playing.

Two important factors determine how your rubber will play. These are the sponge thickness and the sponge hardness.

Sponge Thickness

The sponge thickness will determine how much speed the rubber will have. If the sponge is thicker, then the rebound effect of your rubber will be greater.

Think of it like a spring effect where the more compression the ball makes on the rubber, the faster it will be pushed out by the “spring” (sponge).

However, thicker sponges weigh more so if you want a light racket we recommend not getting maximum thickness (at least not on both sides).

  • 2.0mm and up if you want fast speeds. 
  • 1.6-1.9mm if you’re looking for added control but still have enough power to attack
  • 1.5mm or less for mostly defensive play.

Sponge Hardness

In contrast, sponge hardness determines how the rubber feels, how it reacts to incoming balls and how easy it is to impart spin.

The harder the rubber is, the more difficult it is to make high-quality shots with it, since the ball doesn’t get into the sponge that easily.

But if you have sufficient power, these are the most stable rubbers and the ones that can produce the best top speed and spin. This is why every professional player uses super hard rubbers.

Hard rubbers require you to have great footwork and a lot of acceleration. They aren’t good for slow strokes and they aren’t easy to use

In contrast, it’s quite simple to use softer rubbers. It’s very easy to engage the sponge on most of your shots and the rubber tends to spin the ball almost by itself. 

They are great for players that don’t have as much acceleration or proper footwork since these rubbers can help them spin the ball more easily, be more consistent, and consequently, make them feel more confident when playing.

Learn More: Guide to table tennis rubber hardness.

Confidence is paramount in Table Tennis. You are required to react in splits of a second. There is no time to doubt. 

It’s best to “play it safe” regarding equipment. You want rubbers that you can rely on, and know that when you hit the ball correctly, it is going to land on the other side 10 times out of 10.

If you have rubbers that are too fast or hard for you, you’ll notice that you’ll start attacking less or even stop attacking altogether because you’ll be unsure if the ball will land on the other side of the table. You’ll resort to blocking and playing more passively.

You want to use table tennis rubbers you can master.

If you’re an advanced player, however, you can go for faster, harder rubbers since the playing tempo will eventually require you to move up in speed. 

If you’re a beginner or intermediate player, you can use anywhere from soft to medium-hard rubbers, depending on what strokes you’re better at.

Taking myself as an example, I prefer to use medium-hard or hard rubbers on my forehand because I can hit quite hard, but soft or medium-soft rubbers on my backhand because it’s my weak side and I need easy spin and consistency.

The 3 Types of Inverted Rubbers

Inverted rubbers can be of 3 different types:

  • European/Japanese rubbers
  • Chinese rubbers
  • Hybrid rubbers

Below, we’ll summarise the differences between these types of rubbers, or you can read our detailed comparison of Chinese rubbers against their Japanese and European competition.

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European/Japanese rubbers

These kinds of rubbers are the most popular. They are the fastest rubbers you can find.

European and Japanese rubbers are extremely grippy and have high-tension sponges. They generate spin because of how the topsheet “bites” the ball. 

They tend to be quite dynamic and are great for both topspins and blocking since they have a high “base” speed. You can just block the ball and the ball will rebound off your rubber, sending your opponent quite a fast shot. 

You can also find European rubbers in every hardness range. You can get soft or hard European rubbers.

The main disadvantage of these rubbers is the short game. As these rubbers are quite fast, it can be difficult to receive the ball properly or to touch short since the ball rebounds off the rubber quite easily.

Very fast European rubbers can also be quite difficult to control for most players.

Most rubbers from Andro, Butterfly, Donic, Joola, Nittaku, Stiga, Tibhar, Victas, Xiom, and Yasaka fall into this category.

Chinese rubbers

Chinese rubbers are probably the spinniest rubbers currently in the market. This is because they are sticky instead of relying on grip, like European rubbers. Most of these rubbers can pick up a ball from the table using their tackiness!

Chinese rubbers are usually very hard. This means that Chinese rubbers are mainly used on the forehand side.

Most Chinese rubbers have slower, harder sponges than European rubbers, so beginners can use them, though it could be difficult for them to produce high-quality shots because of the hard sponge.

The main disadvantage of Chinese rubbers, as we said before, is that they aren’t bouncy at all, thus they’re harder to use than most European rubbers

You can’t just block the ball since it will return a slow ball, and you have to attack with force because if you don’t you’ll risk sending a harmless attack to your opponent.

To be able to use Chinese rubbers at a high level, you must have very strong strokes and great footwork.

Chinese rubbers have many advantages over European rubbers. The service and short game are easier due to their stickiness and slow base speed, and they’re generally cheaper than European rubbers. 

They are also very hard to “bottom out” because of their hard sponges and sticky topsheets. The spin these rubbers have can make even the fastest of shots land on the other side of the table, and the hard sponges keep on giving speed, provided your strokes are fast enough.

This is why all the Chinese National Team plays with Chinese rubbers!

DHS, 729, and Yinhe are the main Chinese Rubber makers.

Hybrid rubbers

Hybrids are a new category of rubbers. These rubbers have sticky topsheets like the ones found in Chinese rubbers paired with tensioned sponges, like the ones found in European rubbers.

These rubbers were created to merge the best of both worlds, and some rubbers achieved just that. However, there are players who think that these rubbers aren’t anything special, since some models aren’t as fast as European rubbers nor as spinny as Chinese rubbers.

Hybrid rubbers are generally balanced and have few weaknesses, which depend on the particular model.

The most popular hybrid rubbers are Butterfly Dignics 09c (used by Timo Boll, Tomokazu Harimoto, and more!), Yasaka Rakza Z, the Donic Bluegrip series, and the Tibhar Hybrid series.

Our Recommendations

Beginners or All-Round players with an undefined style

We recommend controllable European rubbers such as Yasaka Rakza 7 soft, Donic Baracuda, Tibhar Vari Spin, Victas VJ > 07 Regular, and most rubbers that are branded as “allround” or “controllable”.

Beginners or All-Round Players
Xiom Vega Intro

The Xiom Vega Intro is the perfect example of a beginners rubber, with superb touch and control. Read our full Xiom Vega Intro review for more information.

  • Weight (Cut): 49g
  • Speed: Medium-High
  • Spin: Medium-Low
  • Control: Very High
  • Tackiness: Slightly Tacky
  • Hardness: Medium
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Sponge Thickness: 1.8mm, 2.0mm, or MAX

Explore more of our recommendations for the best table tennis rubbers for beginners.

Beginner and Intermediate players who want to develop an offensive style

We recommend offensively capable yet controllable rubbers such as Yasaka Rakza 7, Rakza 7 soft, Donic Baracuda, Donic Bluefire M2 or M3, the Xiom Vega line, or Andro Hexer Grip.  

Beginner to Intermediate with Offensive Style
Yasaka Rakza 7

Attack your opponent consistently by utilizing this balanced European offensive rubber that's ideal for all levels of play.

  • Weight (Cut): 50g
  • Speed: Medium
  • Spin: Medium-High
  • Control: High
  • Tackiness: Slightly Tacky
  • Hardness: Medium-Hard
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Sponge Thickness: 1.8mm, 2.0mm, or MAX

 

We also recommend the Rakza 7 as one of the best table tennis rubbers for blocking.

You can also choose DHS Hurricane 3 Neo if you want to go the Chinese rubbers route. Just be warned that you’ll need great footwork and technique to make good use of them.

Advanced offensive players wanting maximum spin and speed

For advanced players, we recommend both Butterfly Tenergy and Dignics ranges, Tibhar Evolution MX-P, Fastarc G-1, and Donic Bluestorm. These rubbers are often used by professional players all over the world.

Advanced Offensive Players
Butterfly Dignics 09c

There's no doubt that Butterfly's latest generation of rubbers delivers on an incredible balance of spin, speed and control for offensive players. If you're looking to take your game to the next level, you can't get much better than the Dignics 09c.

  • Weight (Cut): 50g
  • Speed: 13.0
  • Spin: 13.0
  • Control:
  • Tackiness: Medium Tacky
  • Hardness: Hard
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Sponge Thickness: 1.9mm or 2.1mm

We recommended Dignics 09C as the best forehand rubber in table tennis. It’s power and versatility is not to be underestimated.

Note that some advanced players and most professional players boost their rubbers with special chemicals such as Falco Tempo Long booster and Haifu Seamoon booster.

Defenders who want an inverted rubber to balance their game

If you want to play as a defender, you’ll most likely use long pips on your backhand side, so you’ll only have 1 inverted rubber, the one on your forehand.

Most modern defenders will need to attack on their forehand side so that their opponents have to be wary and are under some urgency to attack the defender because if they don’t, they will be attacked at some point.

If you want to attack on your forehand side, just go with a regular offensive rubber like Rakza 7, Donic Bluefire, or even Tenergy if you’re advanced.

We recommend using Rakza 7, Tibhar Vari Spin, or Victas VJ > 07 Regular if you want to be able to attack and also chop on your forehand side.

If you just want to chop, push, and block, you can go with purely defensive rubbers such as Nittaku Moristo DF, Butterfly Tackiness Chop, or any slow rubber 1.5mm thick or less.


Short pips table tennis rubbers

The opposite of inverted rubbers is short pips. They look like this:

Essentially, they are inverted rubbers turned upside down. The main advantage of short pimples is that they don’t have as much grip as inverted rubbers.

You might ask yourself, why is having less grip an advantage? While these rubbers can’t produce as much spin as inverted rubbers, they also absorb much less spin

This makes it a lot easier to deal with any kind of incoming spin. The rubber isn’t affected nearly as much by the spin your opponent imparts on the ball. You can just hit through it and block spinny shots almost effortlessly.

Receiving serves, counter hitting, driving, blocking, all of those strokes are more effective with short pips. 

If you’re a player who doesn’t need the extra grip inverted rubbers provide, we strongly recommend trying out short pimples. 

If you like to hit the ball rather than spin it, give them a try! Short pips can be used either on the forehand or the backhand.

Using short pips on one side and inverted on the other is a great combination because you’ll spin the ball on the inverted side and smash it with the short pips.

This creates a devastating effect. Your opponents will be confused because when you hit with the inverted rubber they’ll have to block a heavy topspin ball and when you hit with short pips they’ll have to manage against rapid, flat, no-spin shots. 

It’s very difficult to deal with proficient players who use this style.

The main disadvantage is that short pips are quite limited in their capabilities when compared with inverted rubbers. You can’t attack low balls since short pips don’t grip the ball, and they’re a lot less forgiving than inverted.

Oftentimes, inverted players slightly mishit and the ball will still go in, due to the rubber’s inherent spin. These kinds of shots almost always go out if you’re playing with short pips since the trajectory is much flatter.

The ball doesn’t drop on its own. The trajectory is almost completely flat, so you have to hit when the ball is rising or at the top of the bounce, or else the ball will fly out.

2021 Doubles World Table Tennis champion Mattias Falck is known for his relentless short pips forehand attacking style. Another very well known short pips attacker is penholder He Zhi Wen

There are also some world-class defenders such as Hou Yingchao and Yuto Muramatsu who prefer to chop with short pips because they don’t absorb as much spin as inverted rubbers but can impart more spin on their own than long pips.

Some short pips are known as spinny short pips, such as Nittaku Moristo or Yasaka Rakza PO. These pips are good for everything. You can hit better than inverted and you can still loop, albeit with less spin.

Others are more “traditional” short pips, such as Butterfly Speedy P.O. and 729 563. These pips are not as grippy, so the effect of hitting through spin is even more pronounced, though you can’t loop with them at all.


Long pips table tennis rubbers

Long pips are nothing like the rubbers we mentioned before. If you’ve played against them, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

They are similar to short pips, but the pimples are taller. They look like this:

Have you ever hit a Table Tennis ball so that it bounces first on the floor, then hits a wall? If you have never done it, try it now!

When you initially hit it, the ball will bounce on the floor and it will have topspin. But when it comes back to you after hitting the wall, it’ll carry backspin! 

The wall has very little grip, so the ball maintains that topspin it initially had. The spin is unaltered, but the ball is now coming back to you. 

The rotational axis of the ball is unchanged, but the direction in which it’s traveling is the opposite. That’s the difference between topspin and backspin.

The videos Greg Letts has in his article about long pips are of great help to understand this concept

Long pips work exactly like the wall. They reverse the spin on the ball, and they add some of their own, because of the bending effect of the pimples. 

If you hit topspin against long pips, the ball will come back as backspin. If you hit backspin, it will come back as topspin. The same concept applies to both sidespins.

So who should use long pips?

Long pips are mainly used by 2 types of players: Defenders, and Pushblockers.

Defenders use long pips because they’re easier to chop with than inverted. If the opponent topspins against long pips, the spin will be automatically transformed to backspin, due to the LP’s nature.

They chop the ball to add some spin of their own, creating incredibly difficult balls for their opponents, since the more spin attackers put on the ball, the more backspin they’ll receive from the defender. 

The main disadvantage of these rubbers is that they’re dependant on the spin that the ball is already carrying. 

This allows the opponent to push the backspin ball to get an easy topspin ball back that they can attack, then push back the backspin return, so on and so forth.

This is why it’s recommended for defenders to twiddle their rackets (change the hitting side) so that when the attacker pushes the ball to the pips, they can change to inverted and push it back with even more backspin, instead of returning an easy topspin ball with long pips.

The other players that make good use of long pips are Pushblockers.

These players tend to block the ball back to their opponents and benefit from the passive backspin the ball gets when blocking. 

If you’re “a wall”, and you prefer to confuse your opponents with tricky spins while moving them around rather than moving too much yourself, we recommend trying this style out. 

Lots of older players adopt this style because it allows them to stay competitive, even if they can’t move as well. This style relies on great touch, superb placement, and smart tactics. 


Antispin table tennis rubbers

Antispin Rubber Example Racket
Photo: Butterfly Super Anti

Antispin rubbers are essentially inverted rubbers that have little to no grip. Because of this, they work quite similarly to long pips.

Most antispin players play close to the table and use their antispin to set up opportunities to attack with their forehand. 

Andrea Aschi is a great example of this style. He uses his anti to force mistakes and weak returns, which he attacks with his forehand. He forces a lot of mistakes by blocking the ball short and low over the net with his antispin rubber. 

The problem with antispin is that it’s not very effective to use it 2 times in a row. They have the same flaw as long pips (if the opponent pushes to the anti, they return an easy, slow topspin ball that their opponent can attack).

This negative effect is even worse with antispin rubbers because they are smooth rubbers. They don’t have the unpredictability that long pips have when they bend.

The main advantage of antispin is the control that they have, and most antispin rubbers reverse more spin passively than long pips, but it isn’t as easy to add more spin as with long pips.

We recommend antispin for players that aren’t comfortable or don’t like attacking with their backhand and have good forehand topspin strokes, especially good open-ups, since they’ll need to be lifting backspin almost every point.

They’re a great tool to break up your opponent’s tempo, force some easy mistakes, simplify serve receive, and create opportunities to attack. 


Summary: Which table tennis rubbers should I choose?

In conclusion, we recommend inverted table tennis rubbers for most players, however, short pips, long pips, and antispin are very effective for certain scenarios.

To sum up, we recommend:

For beginners who don’t have a defined style and allround players: Controllable, moderately spinny inverted rubbers. Thickness between 1.6 and 2.0mm

For beginners who want to develop an offensive style: Controllable attacking inverted rubbers. Thickness between 1.8 and 2.0mm

For intermediate offensive players: Attacking inverted rubbers, but not excessively fast so that you don’t lose out on control. Thickness between 2.0mm and MAX.

For advanced offensive players: It’s up to personal preference, but most players use fast, hard inverted rubbers. Recommended thickness: MAX

For players who prefer hitting rather than spinning: Short pips. Thickness depends on player level and personal preference.

For defenders: Spinny inverted rubber on the forehand side, long pips with sponge on the backhand side. You can also try chopping with short pips.

For pushblockers: Control rubber on the forehand side, long pips on the backhand side, without sponge.

For players with a strong forehand but weak backhand: Offensively capable inverted rubber on the forehand side, and a controllable, soft inverted rubber on the backhand side. It might be worthwhile trying short pips, long pips, or antispin on the backhand, depending on which strokes suit the player more.

For players with a weak forehand but strong backhand: Controllable spinny inverted rubber on the forehand side, offensively capable inverted rubber on the backhand side. It might be worthwhile trying short pips on the forehand side if they are good at hitting the ball.

We hope we could help with your decision! Table tennis rubbers are quite a complex topic, so make sure to ask any questions you might have in the comments below and we’ll try to answer them!

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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: Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC | Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09c | Backhand: Butterfly Rozena
Playstyle: The Controller

40 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Choosing a Table Tennis Rubber”

    1. Hello Anthony,

      The J-pen grip works a bit different given that you need to use the same rubber to hit on both sides. This means you can’t choose a rubber that’s too soft or you’ll lose power on your forehand.

      J-pen players are usually either blockers, hitters, loopers, or a mix of those three. You can’t go wrong with versatile, balanced rubbers such as the Rakza 7. If you’re an advanced player, then you can choose a faster rubber such as the Rasanter R47, the Fastarc G-1, the Evolution MX-P, or even one of the Tenergies.

      1. Anthony sébastien Rochefort

        Hi,

        I have been playing with the Fastarc G-1. But i feel, i need a little extra sidespin. Do you know anyone using hybrid rubber with a Jpen. I am thinking Tibhar hybrid K3 or rasanter C53 (not sticky but close for what i understand)

        Thank for your answers

        1. Hello Anthony,

          Fastarc G-1 is quite a spinny rubber. If you want even more spin, you could think about Dignics 09c or Tenergy 05, for example. I don’t have experience with those rubbers you mentioned, sorry. We’ll try to review them in the future.

          However, I do think that if you want more spin, you should look at adding more speed to your swing before trying to change equipment. Fastarc G-1 is more than good enough.

          Cheers,
          Álvaro

  1. Nice recommandation !
    You just forgot to include rubber hybrids in your different player categories. We do not know if it can be suitable for a beginner for example.

    1. Hey Equaaz! Glad you appreciated the article.

      Hybrids can be suitable for beginners, but it depends on the characteristics of the rubber. Hence, we were aiming at recommending characteristics rather than a specific type of rubber. We’re currently working on updating all the recommendations based on player style, so stay tuned and that will hopefully cover your scenario as well.

  2. Hello!
    I’m starting to play table tennis and doing alright since I’ve been playing sports and big tennis for a long time already. Now I’m ready to move to my first custom setup. Having read you articles I almost made my decision except for one thing that I am not certain about. Should my forehand rubber be tacky and backhand less tacky or vise versa? You recommended getting vistas regular for a beginner, I was about to order it and then I found out that it’s almost not tacky at all. Should I in a his case get something tacky and softer for my backhand on my new Donic Allround Classic or Donic Walder Carbon?

    Thank you

    1. Hello Alex,

      Most table tennis players will not use tacky rubbers on their backhand side. Tacky rubbers are usually less bouncy, so they require larger strokes to generate power.

      The backhand loop is a shorter stroke than the forehand loop, and most players will play backhand to backhand counters on their backhand side. Because of this, it is preferable to have a non-tacky rubber so that the ball rebounds a bit faster off your racket and you can get power on your shots even if you don’t produce as much force yourself. In short, non-tacky rubbers are better at shots that don’t have as much acceleration.

      Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the forehand rubber can be either tacky or non-tacky, it doesn’t have to be tacky. Lots of professional players use the Dignics 05 and the Tenergy 05 and they’re non-tacky.

      Tacky rubbers on the forehand side are mainly used by Chinese players, who have a different technique from European players. Lately, lots of European pros have been using hybrid rubbers on their forehand side, but historically they’ve always used grippy rubbers.

      Using grippy or tacky rubbers on your forehand side is down to personal preference. I’d advice sticking to grippy rubbers because they’re generally easier to use and most coaches will teach the western technique.

    1. Hello JD,

      It really depends on your level and playing style. If you’re a beginner, you can go for rubbers like the Vega Intro or the Vega Europe. If you’re an intermediate-level player you can go for rubbers such as the Rasanter R42 or the Xiom Vega X. If you’re an advanced player, you can go for any of the Tenergies or the Tibhar MX-P.

  3. Hi I found your articles on blades and rubbers very informative. I have recently taken up table tennis after a 35 year hiatus, I would say I’m an all rounder/offensive player with a decent forward (loop) and I tend to be more conservative on my back hand. My old set up was a Stiga 2000 blade and shriver D13 on both sides, after some advice I have restarted using my old blade using Nittaku Factive 1.8mm and Xiom Vega 1.8mm on my forehand. Can you advise my next steps in terms of blade and rubbers and in which order you would suggest I upgrade, many thanks and loving being back playing again

    1. Hello John! Glad you found the articles useful.

      If you like your blade and rubbers, then no need to change them. It’s important to know your racket well and if you’re feeling comfortable with your current setup then there’s no need to fix what’s working well.

      Whenever you’re looking to upgrade your racket, you should keep in mind what you want out of your new setup, sometimes you’ll want more speed, more spin, more control, a different throw angle, etc. If you don’t know what you want about a future setup, then the best course of action is keeping your current racket, and if you want, you can try out rackets from people you know so that you get an idea of how different equipment plays.

      If I were you, I’d probably up the thickness in your next rubber change. If you want more performance out of your racket while keeping a similar feel, you can purchase a MAX Nittaku Factive and a MAX Xiom Vega (by the way, it’d be useful to know what Vega you use as the Xiom Vegas are all very different). This will give you more speed while keeping the same blade and rubbers. However, bear in mind that your racket will be 5-10 grams heavier, so that’s something you’ll need to adapt to.

      A good upgrade from the Nittaku Factive would be something like the Xiom Vega X but it’d be considerably faster. You could go 1.8mm Factive –> MAX Factive –> 2.0mm Vega X, or 1.8mm Factive –> 1.8mm Vega X. As for the backhand, if you mostly push and block, it depends on which Vega you have. If you have the Vega Europe, then that rubber is perfect for an all-round backhand style.

      Cheers!

        1. Vega Intro is more of a control-oriented rubber, even more so at 1.8mm. A very good upgrade would be the Yasaka Rakza 7, for example.

  4. I especially enjoyed the section about those with pimples on the outside as I’m not very familiar with them, so thanks for this article!
    Question: Let’s say I’m playing with “normal” rubbers for 10 years now. How long would it take me to switch to pimple rubbers and be actually good at it?

    1. Hello Kilian!

      Thanks for the nice words. How long it takes for you to switch to pimples and get good at it depends on many factors.

      Firstly, it depends on what you call “good”. Secondly, it depends on how many training hours and coaching you get per week. And thirdly, it depends on how talented you are with pimpled rubbers.

      Pimpled rubbers are a bit of a strange thing because most beginners and lower intermediate players really struggle to play against them. Chances are that if you’re playing in the lower divisions and you slap a long pimple rubber on your backhand side, your rating points will shoot up instantly. I’ve seen this happen time and time again.

      However, in the upper divisions, it becomes really, really hard to make long pimples work. There are hardly any long pimple players in the top ITTF ranks because using long pips isn’t as effective in more advanced levels of play.

      I’d say that if you want to get good at using long pimples, you have to get a lot of coaching and put in the time and effort. How much time depends on how good you want to get and how talented you are. The more time you put in, the better you’ll get.

      Long pips are very different from inverted rubbers, so if you want to make the switch, you’ll have to change your tactics and your whole playing style will change as well.

      I’d say that after 3-6 months you’ll probably be decent with them, and after a year or two you’ll know your long pips well.

      It’s a hard question to answer because it depends on many things.

      Cheers!

  5. I have Yinhe T11+ and Mark V AD rubber on both side. I am learning FH loop and BH loop.
    Till now my game is simple, BH I chop and block and mildly open the rally. FH is weak and I am building my loop and top spin to have a good attack. Else my game is just returning via BH.

    I have recently added Rakza 7 Soft on FH and that has improved my looping on FH. I tried it on BH but its to fast to control. I am looking for some option for my BH.

    I want to improve on BH Loop and brushing the ball and also play chop on BH to place ball on different part of table so need some good spin and control. Also I need to build BH looping and brushing the ball. So what should I use on BH. Also is Rakza 7 soft on FH a good choice ? Pls advice

    1. Hello CK,

      If you’re having good results with the Rakza 7 soft on the forehand side, then I’d stick with it. What matters most is that you feel comfortable with your equipment. Yinhe T11+ is a very fast, stiff, and hard blade so it makes sense that a softer blade like R7S gives you more control, spin, and dwell time.

      If you want something a bit faster for the backhand but not as fast as the Rakza 7 soft, you could try the Neottec Hinomi S, the Friendship Focus 3 Snipe, or even the Yinhe Mercury 2 if you can find its soft variant.

  6. Hello Álvaro!

    Thank you for your great insights! My son (10yo) is developing very fast and competes a lot already. He practice in a club 4 times a week with older players. He have a good forehand loop, loops on backspinn balls etc. Backhand is still weak but is geting better. He is offensive and he uses a Stiga Energy Wood V2 blade Xiom Vega Europe on BH and Donic Baracuda on FH. The BH rubber is fine and I think he can continue with this rubber. Blade is great too. The Donic Baracuda forehand rubber is good in many ways BUT its a little bit slow.. The Baracuda has great spin and arc and puts the ball on the table but at his level is too slow and I can´t find a rubber with the same spin and arc accept for Tenergy 05 and it´s to difficult to use. What rubber would you sugest for his FH? Kind regards /M

    1. Hello Mattias!

      Thank you for your nice words and for reading our articles 😁

      If Baracuda is a little bit too slow and Tenergy is too fast, I would recommend something in the middle. If you want something with a high arc, then probably Fastarc G-1 is the best alternative. Xiom Vega X is my current rubber of choice, it has great control, speed, and spin, it’s also between the Baracuda and the Tenergy 05 but its throw is not as high.

      Fastarc G-1 sounds like the correct choice in your situation, though it’s quite a bit faster than the Baracuda. If you want something a bit faster than the Baracuda and a bit slower than the Fastarc, again, I’d recommend Vega X, but it’s not as high throwing as the other rubbers. It’s still medium-high throwing and very safe and spinny so I’d still recommend it to you. We have reviews for all of these rubbers on our website if you want to check them out.

      Cheers!

      1. Thank you very much! Xiom Vega X sounds very interesting! How is the top sheet on Vega X, is it thin and a bit soft? Does it let the ball to dig in even on slower shoots. I have a little bad experience with G1 myself because top sheet i quite stiff (I think!). Rakza 7 is 47’5 but its feels softer than G1 when you play with it. Could be the top sheet but I am not 100% sure. Thanks!

        1. Álvaro Munno

          Hello again Mattias!

          I’m like you, I also don’t really like Fastarc G-1 all that much. I felt like it was a really good rubber but not for me.

          Vega X isn’t like G-1. The topsheet isn’t as stiff and it allows you to take speed out of shots and the ball digs into the sponge when going for open ups, chops, or touch type shots. The Vega X is similar to the Rakza 7 in that respect, but it’s a faster and higher throwing rubber than the R7.

          The Vega X is in between Rakza 7 and Fastarc G-1 in terms of speed and throw angle, with R7 being the slowest and lowest throwing one and G-1 being the fastest and highest throwing one of the bunch.

          I’m still using Vega X on both sides, it’s a great rubber, it’s cheap and very durable. I highly recommend it.

    1. Álvaro Munno

      Hello Steve,

      The best inverted rubber to use against long pips is one that gives you confidence when you use it. Professional players use top tier rubbers such as National Hurricane, Tenergy or Dignics, but if a beginner were to use these rubbers, they’d struggle against long pips because they wouldn’t have the proper skills to use them when dealing with awkward balls.

      There is no clear answer to this question as it varies from person to person. It also depends on which strategy you want to use when playing against long pips. Some players like to powerloop and end the point outright while others like to beat long pips with placement and control.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

  7. Hi, im looking for forehand hard rubbers with low to medium throw angle. Until now i try rasanter r53, bluestorm pro, bluestar a1 and tibhar k3 but all these rubbers i feel like they have big catapult effect. Im looking for something more linear. So what do you recomend? Thx

    1. Álvaro Munno

      Hello Cosmin,

      Dignics 05 is probably what you’re looking for. You could also take a look at Rakza Z extra hard for a slower hybrid option.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

  8. I’ve read your article several times but still feel somewhat confused about committing to a purchase.
    I am mid 50s male and started playing again 2 years ago after a 35 year hiatus!
    I am a lower league level player with a strong forehand but defence/chop backhand.
    I was looking at getting a bat fully made up from customtabletennis.co.uk
    I am thinking Tackiness chop (1.5mm) and Xiom Vega Europe 2mm) for the rubbers. Does that sound ok ?
    I am a bit lost on the racket choice though. Appreciate any help.
    Many thanks
    Neil

    1. Neil,

      Tackiness chop is for defence with inverted rubber. If you like the feel of chopping with inverted rubbers, tackiness chop is fine, otherwise you can try long pips which are more popular and arguably better for chopping.

      Vega Europe on the forehand will probably lack some power if your forehand is strong. The rubber choice also depends on your blade, so it’d be nice to know what you’re using. It’s usually hard to go wrong with rubbers such as Xiom Vega X or Butterfly Rozena.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

  9. Hi Álvaro,

    Firstly, thanks for all your articles explaining blades, rubbers etc.. They are very helpful and informative.

    I would rate myself as relative beginner, although improving through regular practise/matches.
    I play penhold (C-Pen), and am looking to move from an inexpensive pre-made bat to getting a separate blade and rubbers. Although I’ve normally played C-Pen with the “front” of the racket, I’m now starting to develop a Reverse Penhold Backhand, so am looking for rubbers on both sides of the bat.

    Would you have any advice on rubbers to consider? The blade I am thinking of would likely be a Yasaka Sweden Guardian (or similar), more focussed on control and producing spin rather than outright speed.

    Many thanks for any advice you can offer.

    1. Hello Conrad,

      Sweden Guardian will be too slow for an offensive player, even if you’re a beginner. I’d go at least for Sweden Extra.

      As for the rubbers, Mercury 2, Rakza Z, Rakza 7, Vega Intro, are all great options.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

  10. Hi!

    I started playing table tennis recently, some 5 months ago. I started off with a racket I could borrow from a friend, but got recommended to try a faster racket by another player, as I seem to have quite an offensive game. I like returning balls hard and attacking from the onset if possible, my forehand is quite strong with topspin and my backhand is getting better as well. I am currently also practicing to maintain my patience/composure when an opponent doesn’t give much opportunities to attack, so control is also important to me.
    I tried that racket and it felt way better. I can only borrow it as the guy himself keeps it as his backup racket, so I decided to go and get my own setup.

    From the guide regarding blades, I have come to the conclusion that I want to go and get me a Yasaka Sweden Extra blade, as it is suited for a beginner with an offensive style, it is well available in shops in my country and it’s really affordable.

    As for rubbers, I am a bit lost. I have tried out a blade with Yinhe/Mercury Milkyway or something like that on the forehand (I don’t even know the exact name, sorry), 2.2 mm thick and the with soft foam. On the back there was another (61 Seconds Eagle) with the same thickness and foam. These felt nice but the Milkyway felt better for me, so I was intending to buy two of those for my blade, but this guide made me hesitate..
    Are the above rubbers Chinese and therefor less suitable? I found out that they are a lot cheaper than the ones that should be suitable for me in this guide (like the Yasaka Rakza 7).

    Could you try to explain why the rubbers from this guide would be a better choice? If I read the guide, it seems quite logical, but the rubbers I tried felt fine as well..

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Jens,

      I’d recommend you get a Stratus Power Wood or a Petr Korbel over a Sweden Extra. I recommend not changing blades often, and if you’re improving and training quite a bit, it might be worth it to go for a more offensive blade that’s still controllable with controllable offensive rubbers over an all-round blade.

      You can definitely go for the Milky Way rubbers, in fact, we really liked the Yinhe Mercury 2 and we recommend them for beginners very often. If you found something you like, definitely go for it, what’s most important is that you feel confident in your racket and that you’re having fun.

      If I were you, I’d go for a Korbel or a Stratus plus 2 of the Yinhe rubbers you liked.

      Cheers,
      Álvaro

      1. Hi Álvaro,

        Thanks for the quick response! I didn’t expect to get the advice to pick another blade as the Sweden Extra seems to be a very good fit for beginning players. But I understand your reasoning as well. Luckily the Power Wood and Korbel are about the same price range as the Sweden Extra so no hard nuts to crack there 🙂

        I will follow up on your advice and pick one of those and I will go for the Yinhe rubbers.
        Thanks again for the advice and quick response!

        1. Hey Jens,

          Yes, the Sweden Extra is indeed a very good blade for beginners. However, if you’re an offensive player and you’re training at a club looking to improve, it’s more worth it to go for a blade which you can use for years.

          If you went for the Sweden Extra, you’d know that it’d need to be replaced once you reach an intermediate level, whereas you can keep the Korbel/Stratus for longer without sacrificing too much control. The price thing was also deliberate, I made sure to mention blades among that price point, another good choice would be the Nittaku Acoustic but that’s way more expensive.

          Cheers!
          Álvaro

          1. Hi!

            Back again with a question, hope you don’t mind!

            The Mercury rubbers I want are not really easy to get. I can get a pair of Razka 7 rubbers at a reduced price. Would you recommend to go for the Razkas over the Mercurys in this case?

            Regards,
            Jens

          2. Hey Jens

            The Rakzas are fine as well. They’ll be a tad faster but they’re still very controllable.

            Cheers,
            Álvaro

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