The Yinhe Mercury 2 is one of the most popular Chinese rubbers, and it’s easy to understand why. You just need to have $5 to spare and you can get a brand new sheet.
Table tennis rubbers are very expensive. Most players use rubbers around the $40-80 price range. For the price of 1 Dignics rubber, for example, you can get over twenty Mercury 2s.
That’s why, before reviewing the Mercury 2, I was somewhat skeptical about it. Could a rubber this cheap be any good? I playtested it extensively to find out the answer to that question.
Perfect for: Beginner and intermediate attackers, all-round players, and defenders. 0-10 years of playing.
Alvaro brings 7+ years of playing experience. He’s tested 20+ rubbers for Racket Insight and his style is The Controller.
Blade Used: Stratus Power Wood
Rubber Thickness: MAX
Hours Tested: 10+
We recommend the Yinhe Mercury 2 to players who want to utilize a very controllable, versatile and spinny rubber for any kind of playing style.
Design of the Yinhe Mercury 2
The Yinhe Mercury 2 comes in a high-quality sealed package. I was quite surprised by the quality of the packaging as it’s delivered to the same standard of rubbers 5, 10, or even 20 times its price.
Inside, we can find the rubber. We bought the Mercury 2 in black, as Chinese rubbers are said to be tackier in their black variants (although the real difference between red & black rubbers is only small).
Another thing that surprised me about the packaging is that the rubber came with a protective film. Lots of expensive rubbers don’t come with a protective film, and to see one at this price point is very positive.
I was also very pleased with the sponge Yinhe chose for this rubber.
From the moment I grabbed the rubber, I noticed that this wasn’t a typical Chinese rubber.
The cream sponge on the Yinhe Mercury 2 is quite elastic. It’s what I’d expect to find on a European rubber.
Speaking of hardness, this rubber comes in 3 different variants, soft, medium, and hard.
The variant we bought was the medium hardness one, and I think it’s the one to go for if you’re planning to use it on the forehand side.
The Mercury 2’s hardness on its medium hardness variant is 36-38 degrees on the Chinese scale.
I think that 36-38 degrees are an accurate measurement. While playing, it behaves like a medium-hard, elastic rubber, around 47 degrees ESN. It feels a bit softer than it is.
As in every review, I tried to rub my fingers across the rubber, but I couldn’t! My finger stuck to the rubber the moment I pressed on it.
According to Revspin, this rubber is “medium tacky”. I have to say this wasn’t my experience with this rubber at all. See for yourselves:
The Mercury 2 is extremely tacky, and it can pick the ball up from the table for 3-7 seconds.
The Yinhe Mercury 2 weighs in at 51 grams. It’s a relatively heavy rubber, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I’d very much prefer a $5 rubber to be on the heavy side than to be light and flimsy.
Playtesting the Yinhe Mercury 2
This rubber’s performance was a huge surprise to me.
The combination between its topsheet and its sponge works perfectly to create a versatile, spinny medium-speed rubber.
The Mercury 2’s topsheet is as tacky as they come and is paired with an elastic sponge.
The sponge on the Mercury 2 reminds me a lot of the cream sponge present on the Mark V, though the Mercury 2 is a faster, more elastic rubber.
The Mercury 2 plays somewhat similarly to the Rakza Z, actually. Both rubbers are known for their control, versatility, and ease of use.
In terms of hardness, the Rakza Z and the Mercury 2 feel exactly the same to me.
The Mercury 2 is like a 15% slower, tackier, and lower-throwing version of the Rakza Z.
Driving and looping
Driving and looping is an area of strength of the Mercury 2, but I can say that this rubber is quite strong at everything. I couldn’t find many weaknesses in this rubber.
Drives are very safe and the Mercury 2 has a neutral feel to it. It feels elastic but not very lively.
Driving and looping with the Mercury 2 instills a sense of confidence in the player, so you feel like you can’t miss.
This is primarily due to the Mercury’s speed levels. You’ll get what you put into the shot, so you never overshoot the table because it is too fast, but it’s also not slow.
If your swing speed is average, then you won’t get much power on the ball, but you also won’t miss. However, if you charge into the ball with speed, then you can get high-quality shots with this rubber.
I can get a lot more quality with the Mercury 2 than with many of the rubbers we’ve reviewed thus far, with the Mercury 2 being by far the cheapest, other than the 1-cent Huieson Thunder.
The Mercury 2 is great for looping. I can confidently say that I could use this rubber on my forehand side.
As you can see, the Mercury 2 can pack a punch when power looping and it doesn’t bottom out easily because of its hardness range.
If you hit hard, you get tons of quality. If you don’t, then you won’t get much speed or spin on the ball.
This is the main difference between the Mercury 2 and most European rubbers.
If your swing speed is not too fast, then you won’t be able to get pace on the ball.
I can’t help but wonder how this rubber would perform with a layer or two of booster. If you want more information about the process and the outcome, we have written a guide to boosting in table tennis.
If boosting the Mercury 2 enhances its playing characteristics, then we could have a fast, spinny offensive rubber for just $5.
Even when unboosted, the Mercury 2 is very good at looping. I didn’t notice that I was lacking power when countering far from the table
As you can see, my shots traveled with good quality.
What I didn’t like about the Mercury 2 was countering close to the table.
Its throw angle is medium, but it’s quite flat. I kept overshooting the table over and over again.
I also tried countering with my Fastarc G-1 to make sure I was hitting the ball correctly, and I got most of my counterloops on the table.
When countering close to the table, this rubber gives very little margin of error, since the rubber doesn’t get the ball up and down as fast as grippy rubbers.
Countering is a lot easier with ESN rubbers such as the Fastarc G-1.
As for open-ups, the Mercury 2 worked perfectly fine.
However, to generate good quality open-ups, one has to play actively. You can’t just use your forearm and expect a high-quality shot, as you could do with an ESN rubber.
You won’t get much quality on your open-ups if you don’t swing your racket fast enough, but you’ll find it hard to miss the table, which is always good when opening up.
If your swing speed is sufficient, then you’ll get good spin on your open-ups with the Mercury 2.
Serve and receive
Serving and receiving is very good with the Mercury 2.
Due to the Mercury’s tackiness, it’s very easy to keep serves short and low to the net. I think it’s the best rubber I’ve ever tried for serving short and low.
When I tried serving with this rubber for the first time, I couldn’t get the ball over the net. Once I adapted, my serves stayed as short and low as they’ve ever been.
I didn’t give the Mercury 2 a 5/5 rating on serves because it isn’t as easy to load serves with spin.
Receiving with the Mercury 2 is a dream come true. You can play safe and high-quality flicks and pushes. Flicking isn’t hard because the Mercury 2 is not a bouncy or very hard rubber.
Touching short is effortless. Short pushes stay very short and low to the net because of the Mercury’s tackiness.
Pushing long is also very good, and you can control the depth of your pushes with ease.
Blocking and chopping
Blocking with the Mercury 2 was great.
The Mercury 2 has lots of control and a good feel for blocking. I felt like I could block hard-hit loops a lot more easily than with bouncy ESN rubbers.
The downside to this is that it’s hard to compromise opponents with your blocks. It’s quite easy to block but my blocks weren’t that dangerous.
I would say that chopping is the main strength of the Mercury 2. To this day, the Mercury 2 is the best rubber I’ve ever tried for chopping.
Chops are quite spinny and stay low to the net. I’m not the best chopper, far from it, but I could chop a lot more consistently with the Mercury 2 than with any other rubber I’ve tried. Chops can be loaded with tons of spin if you graze the ball correctly.
Yinhe Mercury 2 vs DHS Hurricane 3 NEO
The speed level of the Mercury 2 is around that of the Hurricane 3 NEO, but I could note some differences between the two.
The Hurricane 3 feels much harder during play, and it’s a lot harder to use than the Mercury 2.
The Mercury 2 plays very well, and it’s not hard to use at all.
I can say that the Mercury 2 is noticeably faster on medium gears than the Hurricane 3 NEO, but it doesn’t have the top-end power that the Hurricane has.
If I had to choose, I’d use the Mercury rather than the Hurricane since it’s a lot safer and more consistent to use.
Alternatives to the Yinhe Mercury 2
The Yasaka Rakza Z is a higher quality, slightly faster, higher-throwing and spinnier version of the Yinhe Mercury 2.
The Donic Baracuda is another controllable offensive rubber. It’s very spinny and considerably faster than the Mercury 2.
Overall reflections on the Yinhe Mercury 2
As you can tell, I was blown away by the Yinhe Mercury 2.
If you told me the Mercury 2 cost $40, I’d believe you. The Mercury 2 is a great rubber because of its versatility, its control, and its ease of use.
I would recommend this rubber to a very wide spectrum of players, as every stroke played with this rubber is very good, except for counters close to the table and flat hits.
The Yinhe Mercury 2 has no business being this cheap, and I could use it myself if I wanted to cut costs on rubber changes, especially when boosted.
If you want to purchase the Yinhe Mercury 2, then I’d recommend getting its medium hardness variant for the forehand side and its soft variant for the backhand side.
I had lots of fun in my testing of the Mercury 2 and I’ll start recommending it from now on.
The Mercury 2 shows you don’t need to spend a fortune to get high-quality equipment, and that’s why it is so popular.
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!