Eastfield is one of the two brands owned by popular table tennis coach Ben Larcombe, who documents his efforts over at Expert Table Tennis.
That makes him an experienced builder of table tennis equipment, so you’d expect the Eastfield Allround to be a good racket. However, we needed to test it out and see how it performs on the table.
Over 10 hours of testing later, and we have our answer. All will be revealed in this Eastfield Allround review.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, this is a great beginners racket for anyone looking to develop a more attacking game.
The standout feature is the tackiness provided by the two Eastfield A-Soft rubbers, which creates incredibly spinny serves that will be tough for any opponent to return.
I enjoyed playing topspin loops with the Eastfield Allround, finding it easy to generate heavy topspin that often won points against beginner – intermediate players.
When you’re ready to evolve into a faster racket, it’s easy to replace one of the rubbers on the Eastfield Allround instead of buying a whole new racket.
Perfect for: Beginners with 0 – 3 years experience who want to develop their attacking game.
We recommend the Eastfield Allround racket to the Controller and All-Rounder styles….
Design of the Eastfield Allround
The first thing to know about the Eastfield Allround is that it’s pre-built, but not factory-made. It’s a subtle but important difference. Because the rubbers have been glued on by hand, they are removable in case you wanted to upgrade or change one (or both) side/s.
Sure, you won’t want to change the racket immediately. However, the ability to adjust your setup in the future without switching to a whole new racket is hugely beneficial.
My Eastfield Allround arrived in a smart cardboard package, which almost felt like I was receiving a gift. Unfortunately, this means there’s no carry-case that comes with the Eastfield Allround, so you may want to buy one to protect the racket during storage and transit.
In fact, my packaging arrived slightly damaged towards the bottom, which was disappointing. Considering how rough shipping products can be, it would be nice if Eastfield used a stronger cardboard.
We’ve listed out the best racket cases at any budget, and highly recommend storing your new racket in a protective case.
There’s a slightly flared handle on the blade, which is listed as ‘5-ply’ wood. I’m willing to guess that it’s mostly Ayous, with a 5-ply wood blade normally suggesting an all-round style of racket.
They’ve chosen to put 2 Eastfield A-Soft 2.1mm rubbers on the blade, in the standard red and black colors.
The most noticeable thing when you take the racket out of its case is the weight. This racket is quite heavy at 187g. Whilst it’s not like holding a hammer, it’s worth being aware that (as a general rule) heavier rackets require more effort to move but generate more power as a result.
- Weight: 187g
- Speed: Medium
- Spin: Medium-High
- Control: High
- Handle: Flared
- Blade: 5-ply wood
- ITTF Approved: Yes
- Sponge Thickness: 2.1mm
Summary: An excellent option for beginners looking to develop an attacking game, whilst still maintaining some control. Very enjoyable to play with once you get over the hollow sound.
Playtesting the Eastfield Allround
The Eastfield team knew what they were doing when creating this racket. From the moment I picked it up, it felt like a comfortable, controllable racket.
The thing that jumped out to me immediately was the tackiness of the rubbers. Trying to rub a finger along the rubber’s surface was difficult with the rubber feeling sticky (Intentionally! That’s called tackiness in table tennis terms).
The problem with relying on tackiness is that the effect can wear down over time, leading to a rubber that’s significantly less spinny than when it came out of the factory. We tested the Eastfield Allround for around 10 hours, and didn’t find the tackiness had degraded too much during our testing.
By the end, we were still able to generate huge amounts of spin.
Our first few hits were also a surprise because the racket makes a funny hollow sound on contact with the ball. It’s not a bad thing, but it was a bit off-putting until you get used to it.
Serving & Returning
The tackiness of Eastfield’s A-Soft rubbers make serving a dream. I was consistently able to deliver high-quality, heavy spin serves into awkward places for my opponents.
This was the only area I really noticed the extra weight on the racket, as it caused a little extra pressure on my wrists as I was snapping through serves. This wasn’t a major issue, but I wouldn’t want to be serving 100 times in a row with this racket.
If you’re already a player who relies on spinny serves, you’ll love serving with the Eastfield Allround.
Returning was slightly more challenging, as the rubber’s tackiness does take hold of your opponent’s spin quite strongly. However, there isn’t a huge amount of speed on this racket so I didn’t have any trouble returning serves as long as I read the spin direction correctly.
Driving and Looping
Starting with playing forehand/backhand drives, I felt that the Eastfield Allround was a good balance between spin, speed, and control. If anything, leaning towards control and lacking out-and-out speed on punch drives.
That makes this a good racket for beginners looking to improve their attacking game, without jumping up to fast catapult-effect rubbers.
I was able to comfortably drive the ball for long rallies, with a relatively low throw angle (the angle between rubber and ball) ensuring my shots were high quality.
Looping was also a huge positive for this racket, mainly down to the tackiness we discussed when reviewing serving capabilities. It’s easy to generate high-quality looping forehands and backhands using the Eastfield Allround.
When looping, I found this racket exaggerated my tendency to come around the ball on forehand topspins, resulting in some heavy sidespin taking the ball away from my opponent. It’s a clear example of needing good technique to make the most of a racket like this Eastfield Allround.
Blocking & Chopping
I would have to say that this isn’t a defensive racket despite the ability to generate strong spin. Despite its all-round tendencies, it’s still too fast for effective defensive shots.
That meant that the chops I was playing needed to have a really soft brushing contact with the ball or it would fly off the end of the table. That’s not an easy technique to develop unless you’re already an intermediate defender.
I was also slightly disappointed with this racket when blocking. Whilst there is good control, the strong tackiness means there is little room for error when blocking high-spin shots. You really need to close the angle of the racket and it took a while for me to adjust for this.
Overall impressions of the Eastfield Allround
I thoroughly enjoyed testing the Eastfield Allround racket, once I’d become accustomed to the hollow sound on contact with the ball.
I was able to pick up plenty of points on my serve because it was so easy to absolutely load my serves with spin. Every opponent I played struggled to return my serves, making this a super effective match strategy.
In attacking rallies, this is a solid racket. You get a good amount of control (as well as power) on your drives and loops, leading to high-quality rallies. As an all-round racket, it does lack the top-end speed to win points outright against more advanced players.
I’d also personally prefer a slightly lighter racket, with the weight becoming noticeable in longer playing sessions or when serving repeatedly. However, that’s a minor complaint. The Eastfield Allround is a great racket for beginners looking to develop a more attacking style.
Alternatives to buying an Eastfield Allround
Our preferred racket to recommend for beginners, this is the best alternative you’ll find for the Eastfield Allround.
The Evolution racket from Stiga is a super light racket with plenty of control for beginners, making it difficult to miss the table.
Palio Expert 3.0
From Ben Larcombe’s other brand, this is a faster racket for players who want to hit the ball hard, even if sacrificing some control.
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