Whenever I tell my friends that my blade alone cost $180, they cannot believe it. “That’s so expensive for a piece of wood” is the common response.
I’m from Argentina, and the average salary is only around $400-500 per month. My Fan Zhendong ALC blade costs virtually the same as buying food or renting an apartment for a month.
Table tennis isn’t a cheap sport when it comes to equipment, especially if you aren’t from a first-world country or a privileged background.
However, if you can’t or don’t want to spend so much on equipment, you can also build professional-grade rackets for as little as $30, and we have explained how to do so in our guide to saving money when buying table tennis equipment.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are players who want the best of the best out there. They can afford to pay for it, so they might as well get the most expensive equipment out there.
We’ll reveal the cost of the most expensive table tennis blades and rubbers you can buy, and we will create the most expensive table tennis racket possible. Let’s begin!
The Most Expensive Table Tennis Blade You Can Buy
It is wrongly believed that the Zhang Jike Super ZLC is the most expensive table tennis blade available at a retail price of USD $360. Whilst they are one of the best table tennis blades available, there are plenty of table tennis blades you can purchase for more than double that price.
Some blades more expensive than the Zhang Jike are:
The Darker Imperial Hinoki ($416).
This blade is made by Japanese premium manufacturer Darker. They are known for their kiso hinoki blades, and this one is made from 9mm of 400-year-old hinoki trees.
Nittaku Eto Blade 2023 Usagi ($641).
This Nittaku blade is a limited edition blade, of which only 200 were produced. The blade itself is also made from hinoki but it features 2 carbon layers and has a handle made of carbon fiber, which drastically reduces the weight of the blade to just 75 grams. It also features premium artwork on the head of the blade and superb packaging.
However, the most expensive new blade that’s currently in production is neither a hinoki blade, nor is it from a super expensive, exclusive manufacturer. The most expensive blade is actually made by DHS.
When we think of DHS, we usually think of budget equipment, such as the DHS Hurricane 3 NEO, which is just $20-25.
DHS W968 ($900)
The most expensive table tennis blade you can purchase is the DHS W968 (Hurricane Long 5 National) at USD $900 (EUR 825).
This blade is so special because it’s the one Ma Long, the greatest player of all time uses. In fact, it’s custom built to suit his game perfectly.
You can purchase the commercial version, the Hurricane Long 5, which is around $160-170.
DHS often produce multiple versions of the same blade, with the most notable example being the Hurricane 3 NEO which has a ‘National’ version. This allows them to build more premium versions designed for professional players.
Both blades feature the same composition, but the W968 has better materials and build quality. Ma Long actually uses the W968, so, if you want his exact blade, you’ll have to pay more than $800 for it.
However, the W968 is the most expensive blade that’s currently in production. There are even more expensive blades in the second-hand market.
Butterfly Golden Viscaria ($1500)
One of the most sought-after blades in the second-hand market is the Butterfly Golden Viscaria.
The Golden Viscaria is just like a regular Butterfly Viscaria, but it has a golden tag instead of a silver one.
This is a regular Viscaria (which you can find new for around $200):
And this is a Golden Viscaria:
These Golden Viscarias are the same composition as any regular Viscaria, but they’re said to be heavier and more powerful. Most players on the Chinese National Team used golden Viscarias for a long time.
However, these golden tag Viscarias aren’t made anymore, so they can only be bought second-hand.
They are quite hard to find and they’re really special blades, so their prices have shot up over time. Their prices can vary, but they’re usually sold for between (USD) $1000 and $1500.
To sum up, the most expensive table tennis blade currently in production is the DHS W968 at $830, and the most expensive table tennis blade you can purchase second-hand is the Golden Viscaria at $1000-1500.
The World’s Most Expensive Table Tennis Rubbers You Can Buy
The most common misconception is believing that Tenergy rubbers are the most expensive at USD $80 each.
Tenergy rubbers are not even the most expensive Butterfly rubbers ever since the Dignics’ release in 2020. Dignics rubbers are super expensive at USD $94 each, but even then, they aren’t the most expensive rubbers you can buy.
National Hurricane 3 ($100)
The most expensive table tennis rubbers widely available to purchase are actually made by DHS. These are the National Hurricane 3s. Blue sponge National Hurricane 3 NEOs are USD $100.
But not even these are the most expensive rubbers you can get.
The most expensive rubbers you can buy are indeed blue sponge National Hurricane 3s, but not the regular ones.
DHS released some special edition blue sponge National Hurricanes, the player’s edition Hurricanes.
Ma Long National Hurricane 3 ($120)
These are by far the most expensive rubbers available. However, you shouldn’t use them out of the package, or you’d be very disappointed.
The sponge hardness of Fan Zhendong’s rubber is a whopping 42 degrees (Chinese scale). It’s well over 55 degrees on the ESN scale, maybe even over 60. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, here’s a guide on how to understand rubber hardness in table tennis.
These rubbers have to be boosted in order to be used, otherwise, they’d be nearly impossible to play with due to their hardness and low throw angle. You’d need a swing speed even greater than Ma Long and Fan Zhendong!
They need to be boosted in order to soften them and give them speed and a higher throw angle. If you want to learn more about the boosting process, we have written a complete guide on how to boost table tennis rubbers.
For Chinese rubbers, most players recommend utilizing Haifu or Dianchi booster.
Supposedly, the top Chinese players utilize the Haifu National booster. You can grab a bottle of Haifu National booster for $50.
Now that we have our forehand rubber ready, it’s time for the backhand rubber.
Realistically, it wouldn’t be viable to utilize a 42 degrees rubber on the backhand side. It would be too hard.
Top Chinese players utilize either softer National Hurricanes on the backhand side, or Dignics 09c rubbers. Most non-Chinese professional players generally use Dignics rubbers or rubbers from the brand they’re sponsored.
The most expensive backhand rubber that one could realistically use would be a 39-degree National Hurricane blue sponge ($100), also boosted.
The Most Expensive Table Tennis Racket
The most expensive table tennis racket would consist of:
- A Golden Viscaria blade ($1000-1500)
- Ma Long or Fan Zhendong’s Hurricane 3 forehand rubber ($120),
- A National Hurricane rubber ($100) on the backhand side.
- Both rubbers should be boosted for optimal results ($50).
The total cost comes out at anywhere between $1270-1770, depending on how much we paid for our Golden Viscaria and including a bottle of Haifu National booster. We didn’t include the price of the glue.
If you wanted to buy everything new, then the most expensive table tennis racket would be a DHS W968 with the same rubbers. (Ma Long or Fan Zhendong’s forehand rubber, and a softer National Hurricane rubber on the backhand side – both boosted)
The total cost of this setup would be $1030 including a bottle of Haifu National booster and without taking into account the price of the glue.
Conclusion and our opinion
If you asked me, most players wouldn’t benefit from utilizing these rackets, as you should choose your racket according to your level and your playing style.
The most expensive rackets we built would be the perfect rackets for a top-level Chinese attacker, but it’s just the perfect racket for those players and those players alone.
We recommend informing yourself about the subject of blades and rubbers, asking your coach, and trying out different rackets to determine which ones suit you the most.
Many times, players will splurge on very expensive equipment, only to find out that a heftier price tag doesn’t mean the product is inherently better.
What matters is how you perform with the equipment and not its theoretical capabilities, so make sure to set aside a budget and choose something that suits your needs.
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!