When you first start playing ping pong it’s best to use a premade paddle but once you improve and start developing your own style, you might want to transition to a custom made paddle that suits you and your game better. In this post, we’ve listed what we think are the best table tennis blades available on Amazon. Let’s take a look.
The Top Ping Pong Blades in 2021
|#1. Butterfly Viscaria Blade||CURRENT PRICE|
|#2. Butterfly Timo Boll ALC Blade||CURRENT PRICE|
|#3. Butterfly Petr Korbel Blade||CURRENT PRICE|
|#4. Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC||CURRENT PRICE|
|#5. YASAKA Ma Lin Extra Offensive||CURRENT PRICE|
Table Tennis Blade Buyer’s Guide
Once your table tennis game begins to improve and you become an intermediate to an advanced player you might find that the normal pre-made ping pong paddles available don’t quite suit your style of play. It’s then that you’ll want to consider building your own racket to fit your playing style. There are literally thousands of combinations of different types of rubber and blade that you could use and it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve put this brief guide together to help navigate custom-built paddles and hopefully, it will assist you in making the right decision when it comes to buying the best ping pong blade to suit your style of play.
Why build your own paddle?
Once you have developed some basic table tennis skills, it’s common for players to shift from a premade paddle to a custom made one that suits their gameplay and style. Some bats are made to suit offensive style players while others are built with defense in mind. As you improve you’ll find that your game changes and you’ll want to try different things. By choosing a table tennis blade and rubbers you can personalise your racket according to your own preferences and the amount of power and spin you want to generate in your shots. You can then change the rubbers whenever you want.
Different types of table tennis blades
Like pre-made paddles there are a few different types of blades to consider and they fit into three buckets.
The all-round blade is better suited for players who have maybe just started experimenting with custom-built blades and want to try different combinations of rubbers to see what they want to play more with. These blades will usually feature hard inner and soft out plies and will tend to be medium speed to allow players to have good control.
If you have plenty of experience and are more of an advanced player who likes to go on the offensive then you’ll want to get a blade to match. Blades built for offense will tend to have hard outer plies to bring lots of power and speed to the players shots.
For players with a defensive style, you might want to choose a blade with flexible plies to slow the ball down and neutralize your opponent’s shots.
Different Table Tennis Blade Handles
When choosing a blade you need to make sure you get the right kind depending on how you hold a table tennis bat.
This blade style is for the players who prefer to grip the paddle like a pen. This paddle features a thick and short handle. It is a blade that you hold between your forefinger and thumb and it is very popular with Asian players. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages with this style of grip and it isn’t recommended for beginners.
The shake hand style grip is more popular with western players. It’s called the shake hand as you grip the handle like you’re shaking hands with someone. This style is a lot more flexible and it allows you to play a full range of shorts comfortably and so is recommended for beginners.
Flared, anatomic and straight handles
Then you can also get shakehand blades in three different styles of handles.
- Flared – Flared handles are probably the most popular style that gets wider towards the end of the handle to stop it from slipping out of your hand
- Straight – Straight handles are as the name suggests, completely straight to allow you to change how you grip the bat mid-game and give you more options
- Anatomic – Anatomic shaped handles get wider in the middle so that they fit comfortably in your palm
We recommend trying out the different types of handle to see which one suits you but if you’re unsure it’s best to opt for a flared grip.
Choosing table tennis rubbers
Once you’ve got a table tennis blade that you like you’ll need to choose some rubbers. There are a number of different types in lots of different thicknesses that again will affect your shots and can suit different styles of players. It’s common for players to use two different rubbers, one on each side so that they can choose which side to hit with depending on what type of shot they want to hit mid rally.
If you’re looking at buying some rubbers then check out our post on what we think are the best table tennis rubbers in 2021 here.
How to make your own custom paddle?
Once you’ve got a good table tennis blade that you want to use and you’ve chosen which table tennis rubbers you want to try, then you’ll need to assemble your paddle. You’ll also need some table tennis glue to stick the rubber to your blade. But the glue that you need to assemble your bat is not just any other glue. It’s specifically made to enhance the performance of rubber and the speed at which it drives the ball away.
Before 1980, players used different types of glues to increase the speed of their shots. But then it was found to be harmful to the player’s health. After the 2008 Olympic Games, the ITTF banned all types of glues other than water-based ones. We recommend picking up one of the two glues below.
If you need a hand putting your paddle together then this video below shows the steps to take when building your blade but we’ve also got a more in-depth guide on replacing table tennis rubbers here.
Table Tennis Blade Reviews
Now we’ll take a more in depth look at some of the blades we recommend and who they might be suited to.
1. Butterfly Viscaria Blade
As you’ll see from our list of recommended table tennis blades, Butterfly holds almost all of the spots. Our favorite one though is the Viscaria. It’s made using a combination of five wood and two arylate carbon fiber layers to make it considerably lightweight (around 90 grams) while still packing power and control. We were surprised at how large the sweet spot was and it’s a lot bigger than all-wood blades that we’ve played with.
It has a compact head that we loved for hitting quick counter looping returns and it could be a good option if you’re an offensive player as you can also generate a good amount of spin due to its moderate dwell time. It’s available in two handle styles: flared and straight, so make sure you get the right one depending on your preference.
2. Butterfly ALC Timo Boll
Another blade to consider is the Butterfly ALC Timo Boll which is another 7 ply blade that has the same five wood and two arylate carbon fiber layers as the Viscaria. It was designed by a partnership between Butterfly and three-time European champion, Timo Boll. The result is this fantastic blade that combines large amounts of power and speed as well as allowing you to generate heavy topspin without losing too much control. It’s available in three handle styles: Anatomic, flared and straight so again, make sure you get the correct one.
3. Butterfly Petr Korbel Blade
The Petr Korbel blade from Butterfly is an all-wood five-ply blade that has been hugely popular with players since the 90s when it first came out. Unlike the two blades above, it doesn’t have any carbon fiber plies giving it a medium/hard touch that produces good topspin and looping shots. It’s got a large head (158x152mm) but we found the sweet spot to not be as big as some of the other blades in our round-up but is still a very reasonable blade for the money and could be a good entry-level option for an intermediate player transitioning to custom blades. The other thing to mention is that we found the handle a little small so we wouldn’t recommend it for players with larger hands as you might find it a bit uncomfortable.
4. Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC
Up next is the Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC which is a 7 ply blade that uses five wood plies and two ZLC fiber plies. ZL Carbon is a combination of both carbon fiber and ZL fiber (ZYLON) that is woven together to provide a strong, flexible and lightweight blade. It’s hugely popular with players who want to generate power and be precise with their shots. Weighing in at around 90g it has a huge sweet spot that we’re sure you’ll enjoy playing with and it’s available in three handle types: Straight, anatomic and flared.
5. Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive
Finally, we have this blade from Yasaka: the Ma Lin Extra Offensive. It’s a collaboration between table tennis brand Yasaka and the former Olympic champion Ma Lin. It’s a five plies all-wood blade that feels very stiff and stable allowing you to hit good blocking shots and has a pretty large sweet spot that you’ll enjoy playing with. It’s not super fast but it’s still enough to generate some good power to suit offensive players and it weighs in at around 90g. We’d say it’s more of an all-rounder blade that could be a good option. It’s available in multiple handle styles: straight, flared and anatomic and there’s also a penhold grip version available.
So to sum up, we liked the Butterfly Viscaria and think this is one of the best blades for the money. It’s incredible flexible and so should suit a good range of players depending on their style and which rubbers you like to use. You won’t be disappointed. Click below to check its availability and the best price.