The Best Ping Pong Paddle In 2021: Reviews And Buying Guide

Looking for the best ping pong paddle in 2021? We’ve put together our buying guide for beginners and players looking to up their games and get the best table tennis bat for their needs. Having looked at a lot of the options on the market we’ve selected our most recommended ones which are listed below.

The Best Table Tennis Bats in 2021

If you’re in a rush and want to know which bats we recommend check out the list below. After that we’ll go into detail about everything you need to know when buying a new racket.

Ping Pong Paddle Buyer’s Guide

A lot of new players will often ask us how to choose their paddle and what things should they look for? To help, we’ve written up all our advice below along with some of the basic things any budding player should know about their racket. We want you to make a great choice and have tried to answer as many questions to help you make the right decision. If we haven’t answered you question though feel free to post a comment at the end or get in touch on the contact page and we’ll be happy to help.

The different parts of a paddle

Paddles are made up of four different parts and it’s important to know how each part of the paddle affects the play to help you buy the best paddle for your playing style and experience level. The four parts of a paddle are:

  • The handle
  • The blade
  • The sponge
  • The rubber sheet

Let’s take a look at these parts in a bit more detail and see how they affect your play.

The Handle

Racket handles can come in three different shapes depending on your preference and how you prefer to hold it. These are

  • Flared
  • Anatomic
  • Straight
Flared handles

Flared handles are by far the most popular style of racket grip. They are wider towards the end of the handle to stop it from slipping out of your hand and help you have much better control when hitting the ball.

Anatomic handles

Anatomic shaped handles are wider in the middle. This style helps to fit the handle in your palm and provides you with a bit more stability.

Straight handles

Lastly, the straight handle is the same width all the way from the top to the bottom and allows you to change how you grip the paddle according to the play.

If you’re a beginner wondering which handle shape is best, it’s usually recommended to start with a paddle with a flared grip. You can then try the other types and see which you prefer.

The Blade

The blade of the bat is made out of multiple layers of wood. It can be anywhere from 5 to 9 layers, the more layers that the blade has the stiffer the bat will be. The best quality ones tend to be made of balsa wood which is extra light. Sometimes table tennis blades will have a couple of layers of carbon fiber instead of wood. This keeps the blade strong but lightweight. If you wanted to make your own custom bat then you can check out our post on the guide to table tennis blades here.

The Sponge

In between the paddle blade and the rubber (which we’ll look at next) is a layer of sponge. The thickness of the sponge can vary between 1.2 mm to 2.5 mm. The thinner the sponge is the more control you will have but the less power you will generate when hitting the ball. And vice versa, the thicker the sponge the less control but more high speed shots you’ll be able to make. As a result, a thicker sponge is preferred by more offensive players.

The Rubber

On either side of the blade, on top of the sponge is a layer of rubber which is the surface that will make contact with the ball. There are lots of variations, such as having long or short pimples and having them pointing in or out. These variations can affect the grip and the amount of spin that you’ll be able to generate. For more information check out our guide to table tennis rubbers here.

Rubbers have to be within a certain standard to be used in official tournaments. if they comply they will have an approved by the ITTF label so you know that they’re ok to be used.

Your Playing Style

When you’re a beginner to the game, you’ll want to focus on improving your basic table tennis skills first. You’ll want to choose a bat that is more general and has good control to allow you to focus on honing your shots. As you progress, you’ll develop a style of play and this will affect what sort of bat you’ll go for. Maybe you are an attacking player that likes to go for speed? Then you’ll need a bat that’s fast and lightweight. Or perhaps you’re more defensive in which case you need something to slow the ping pong ball down with more control.

How To Grip Your Racket

Choosing the right paddle will also depend on how you grip the bat. There are lots of different ways to hold the bat but the most popular ones are the Shakehand and the Penhold.

Shakehand grip

The Shakehand hold is by far the most common way to hold a table tennis bat. Almost every player in Europe will play like this and the majority of players in Asia too. It’s called the shakehand because the way you hold the bat is like you’re about to shake hands with someone. In our opinion, it’s the best ping pong grip for beginners.

Penhold grip

Example of a Chinese Penhold Grip by Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Penhold Grip is a lot less common but is used by some Asian players in China, Japan and Korea. It allows for a very attacking style with players being able to get good power and a lot of spin in the forehand shots. It does have some weaknesses though. It does make it quite difficult for players to be able to hit backhand topspin shots.

What are the paddle ratings?

Each paddle’s performance is usually rated out of 100 (or 10) depending on how well they perform in three different categories. Those categories are:

  • Speed
  • Spin
  • Control

Depending on your playing style you might want to have a paddle that has a high rating in one category over another. So the right bat for a more defensive player for example, may not be the right one for an aggressive player. It may also change as you improve your game. One thing to mention though is that these ratings are decided by the paddle manufacturer and so can be quite biased. We tend to take them into consideration but with a pinch of salt. You’re much better off reading reviews of players who’ve actually tried them out than believing everything the manufacturer tells you.


It’s quite self-explanatory but if a paddle has a quick speed rating it will be easier to strike the ball faster. If you’re an attacking player that stands a bit further back from the table and likes to hit smashes then you’ll want to choose a paddle that can generate a lot of power (a thicker sponge and more plies). What you gain in speed though you will sacrifice in control.


Players that want to be able to generate more spin when they hit the ball will want to choose a paddle that has a lot of grip. This is usually down to the rubber and quite often players will have one side of the bat with a different rubber to the other which allows them to choose depending on what style of shot they want to hit.


As a beginner, the most important attribute of a paddle should be ball control. Speed, spin and power will come later once you become more experienced but for now, you need to focus on getting the ball to go where you want it to.

Keeping Your Paddle In Good Condition

Once you’ve purchased a great paddle, it’s really important to keep it in the best possible condition so it doesn’t wear out too quickly and you get the best games possible. There are two ways we recommend to do this.

Carrying Case For Your Ping Pong Paddles

One of the best ways to keep your paddle safe is by storing it in a case. This will stop it from being damaged by dust, water and getting knocked accidentally when not in use. Some rackets don’t have great durability and can be quite fragile so it’s worth having a safe storage option. Check out our guide to the best cases for your paddle here to learn how professional players care for theirs.

How To Clean Your Paddle

From time to time you’ll need to clean the rubber on your paddle to get rid of dust and stains. This way you’ll be able to keep generating good spin and maintain the tackiness of your rubber. You need to be careful though as if you use the wrong thing you can end up really damaging your paddle and having to buy a new one. Before you start scrubbing away make sure to check out our guide to cleaning a ping pong paddle here to make your rubber last longer.

Paddle FAQs

Before we move on to our paddle reviews we thought we’d cover a few more common questions we get asked.

Q. Is there a difference between the red and black side of a ping pong paddle?

A good question! The answer is it depends. A professional player will use a different rubber on each side of their paddle and the reason they’re different colors is so their opponent can know which side they’re using and therefor what type of shot to expect.

Q. Are expensive ping pong paddles worth it?

Absolutely! But, more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. It all depends on your ability. If you’re a beginner then there’s not point buying a very expensive paddle as it won’t be suitable for you. But, if you’re an advanced player then absolutely you should spend a bit more as the quality of the paddle jumps massively when you move up the price range

Q. What is the Best Table Tennis Paddle For Beginners?

It’s hard to say exactly which paddle is best for beginners. But, what is easy to say is that you need to go for one with a high control rating. Beginners need to go for a slower a paddle to allow them time to learn the skills needed to level up their game.

Top Table Tennis Paddle Reviews

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to consider before purchasing a paddle we’ll move on to our table tennis racket reviews. We’ve tried to include a range of prices so there’ll be an option what ever budget you have to spend on your new paddle. We hope these reviews will make choosing your paddle a bit easier.

#1. The Killerspin Jet 800 Paddle

  • Ratings – Speed 9.5, Spin 9.0, Control 8.0
  • Blade – 7 ply blade with 5 wood layers + 2 carbon layers for lightweight competition level performance
  • Rubbers – Nitrx-4Z rubber with 2.0mm high tension sponge
  • ITTF approved? – Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $$$ (Check current price)
  • Rating – 9.9/10 (Read our full review here)

Our top choice right now is the Killerspin Jet 800. It’s a fantastic pre made paddle made with a 7 ply layer blade, two of which are carbon fiber for maximum power without being too heavy.

We loved the Killerspin Jet800, especially the design. We thought it was one of the nicest looking table tennis paddles that we tried. We especially liked its burnt wood, flared handle which was very comfortable in the hand. But it wasn’t just a good looking paddle, it performs very well too: Its ratings are Speed: 9.5, spin 9.0 and control 8.0 making it a very formidable racket and a great option for offensive players looking to generate a lot of power when you need it.

The rubber on the Killerspin Jet800 is the hugely popular Nitrx-4Z, is a high-tension rubber which is approved for official tournaments. It provides fantastic grip helping you to deal with whatever your opponent gives you while simultaneously being easy to control and generate a lot of spin when you hit the ball. Highly recommended for us (but not for beginners).

#2. The STIGA Pro Carbon

  • Ratings – Speed 99, Spin 100, Control 80
  • Blade – 7 Ply extra light blade with carbon technology for power
  • Rubber – S5 with 2mm thick sponge layer
  • ITTF approval– Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $$
  • Our rating – 9.8/10 (STIGA Pro Carbon Review)

Having looked at and reviewed a lot of ping pong paddles our second choice is the STIGA Pro Carbon.

It’s made with a 7-ply blade (two of which are carbon to keep it lightweight) giving it a lot of power and speed. The STIGA Pro Carbon table tennis racket has a speed rating of 99, 100 spin and control rating of 80. This means that it’s one of the fastest paddles you can get and we absolutely loved playing with it. It’s got a huge sweet spot that made connecting with the ball and hitting more winners a lot easier.

The only thing we’d mention is that, if you are brand new to table tennis and haven’t played before this might not be the best ping pong racket for you due to its lower control rating. When you first start out you want to pick a bat that has a high control rating to help you learn how to hit the ball. But, once you’ve got the hang of that, we think the STIGA Pro Carbon could be a great choice and an ideal upgrade to take your match play to the next level.

#3. The DHS Hurricane II Paddle

  • Blade – DHS Hurricane II blade with 5 ply-wood
  • Rubbers – G555 black rubber / Hurricane II red rubber
  • ITTF approved? – Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $$$$
  • Our rating – 9.7/10

One of the more expensive rackets that we looked at the DHS Hurricane II is a premium ping pong paddle that is aimed at the intermediate player looking to take their game to the next level.

Compared to some of the other paddles we looked at it doesn’t have the best power and speed but the spin was insane. It’s unique from the other bats we’ve looked at as each side of the paddle has a different style of rubber. On one side (red), it has the pimples in and on the other side (black) it has the pimples out. This allows you to switch your style of play mid-game just by twisting the paddle.

While it may be a little on the pricey side, if you’ve got the budget to spend a little extra we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this incredible racket. One thing to mention though is that the rubber smells pretty bad. You might need to find something to mask the smell of fish… Even so we think the DHS Hurricane II is one of the best paddles on the market today.

#4. Killerspin Jet 200 – Budget Choice

  • Ratings – Speed: 6.0, Spin: 7.0, Control: 8.5
  • Blade – 5 ply extra-light layers of wood with flared handle grip
  • ITTF approved? – No, can NOT be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $
  • Our rating – 8.7/10 (Killerspin Jet 200 Review)

Next is the cheapest TT racket on our list, the Killerspin Jet 200. It’s made up of 5 layers of extra light ply wood. It has a flared grip handle, the most popular type of grip and we think it could make a great choice for someone brand new to table tennis looking to dip their toe into the sport without breaking the bank.

With a 6/10 rating for speed and a 7/10 spin rating, the Killerspin Jet 200 doesn’t pack the greatest punch but what it lacks in power it makes up in control with an 8.5 out of 10 rating. The rubbers aren’t the best quality and users reported that they wore out quickly. Also, it’s not approved by the ITTF either so you won’t be able to use this paddle in tournaments but for the cost that’s to be expected. It does come with a nice gift box so could make a good present for a beginner player.

If you’re very tight on funds and can’t afford to spend a penny more, then we’d recommend trying out the Killerspin Jet 200. It’s not the best table tennis racket but is still a high quality, cheap ping pong paddle that will let you learn the ropes before you make a larger investment in some of the more advanced ping pong paddles available.

#5. STIGA Evolution Paddle

  • Ratings – Speed: 96, Spin: 94, Control: 90
  • Blade – 6-ply light blade with a sponge that’s 2mm thick
  • ITTF approved? – Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $$
  • Rating – 9.3/10 (STIGA Evolution Review)

The STIGA Evolution is another strong contender for top table tennis racket from well known make STIGA. Like the STIGA Pro Carbon, it is an approved racket that is made up of a 6-ply light blade with premium rubber and 2mm thick sponge. If you’re looking for a paddle to take you from novice player to intermediate while maintaining speed and control over the ball then the STIGA Pro Carbon could be a great paddle to try out. 

Its ratings are Speed 96, Spin 94 and control 90 so it’s not as powerful as some of the other options but it makes up for the lack of spin and speed with good control.

One of the things we liked about the STIGA Evolution is how light it feels compared to some of the other rackets available. It has what they call Shock Dispersion Technology (SDT) which essentially means they’ve hollowed out the handle. This is why it feels lighter but, if you’re an attacking player you probably will want something that packs a bigger punch and has a bit more weight behind it to smash your shots home. It’s not for everyone but we liked it.

#6. The STIGA Titan Table Tennis Racket

  • Ratings – Speed 80, Spin 77, Control 82
  • Blade – 5 Plies extra light wood blade with 2mm sponge
  • ITTF approved? – Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $$
  • Rating – 8.9/10 (STIGA Titan Review)

In at number four is the STIGA Titan which is a fantastic option for beginners looking to upgrade their paddle to something with a bit more power and spin as they level up to intermediate ping pong players.

As you’ve probably seen from our line up, world renowned TT brand STIGA make some of the best ping pong paddles in the world and are known for making a very high quality table tennis racket. The STIGA Titan Paddle is no exception and is one of their top selling products. The all wood blade is five plies with a 2mm inverted sponge (which is pretty thick) that means you can generate some decent amount of speed and spin without sacrificing too much in the way of control.

If you’re looking for an affordable but versatile table tennis racket, then the STIGA Titan is definitely one to consider.

#7. Palio Expert 2.0 Paddle

  • Ratings – Speed 6/10, Spin 9/10, Control 10/10
  • Rubbers – Palio CJ8000 with 2mm sponge
  • ITTF approved? – Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $
  • Rating – 9.3/10 (Palio Expert 2.0 Review)

Last, but by no means least is this fantastic paddle from collaboration between Expert Table Tennis and Chinese brand Palio. They’ve joined forces to produce a great series of rackets for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. The Palio Expert 2.0 is a great choice for beginners as it’s got great control without sacrificing everything in terms of power and spin. It’s has a rubber which is approved by the ITTF, which you can replace when they wear out, are the very popular Palio CJ8000. They’re known for soft sponge and tacky topsheet, a great combo for generating spin on your shots.

Palio have two other rackets in their series which are designed with intermediate and advanced players in mind. For intermediate players they have the Palio Master 2.0 which has a good balance between speed and control ratings, then for more advanced attacking players they have the Palio Legend 2.0 which has a lot less control but a lot more spin and speed. It definitely deserves a mention when talking about the best paddles!

#8. STIGA Raptor Paddle

  • Ratings – Speed 99, Spin 100, Control 80
  • Blade – 7 plywood and carbon layers with 2mm sponge
  • ITTF approval – Yes, can be used in official tournaments
  • Price – $$$
  • Rating – 9.6/10

A good contender and alternative to the STGA Pro Carbon is the STIGA Raptor. It’s a very similar model to it too with a 7-ply blade (with two carbon and five balsa wood layers) that means it’s very lightweight but still packs enough power to generate loads of speed and spin with a massive sweet spot. The main difference is the handle which is a Concave Pro grip and sits very comfortably in your hand. It’s of course got the seal of approval from the ITTF as well so you’ll be able to enter official tournaments.

While this is definitely a high end table tennis paddle we’d say if you’re taking your tt games more seriously it is definitely worth the investment in this great quality product.

#9. The Idoraz Ping-Pong Paddle

Another paddle making waves on Amazon is this paddle from Idoraz. While they’re not a well known brand, Idoraz have made a paddle that surprised us greatly. It’s got a strong blade with five layers of wood allowing you to generate a good amount of speed and spin. On either side of the blade are 2mm thick ITTF-approved rubber layers so you’ll even be able to enter official tournaments. We found the flared handle comfortable too and it sat comfortably in the hand and didn’t feel like it was going to slip. This paddle features ratings of 99 speed, 93 spin and control 90 so we wouldn’t recommend it for complete beginner players as they might struggle to keep ping pong balls under control. As an added bonus feature that we appreciated it comes with a paddle carrying case included. This way you can keep it safe and prevent it from getting damaged.

It’s definitely a contender for beginners looking to become more experienced players but having a limited budget for their table tennis paddle. What’s more, Idoraz are offering a 30 day guarantee so you can try out this paddle and if you don’t like it send it back, no questions asked.

#10. Butterfly 401 Shakehand Paddle

  • Ratings – Speed 8.0, Spin 8.0, Control 8.5
  • Rubbers – Butterfly Yuki Rubber with Soft 2.1 millimeter sponge
  • ITTF approved? – Yes, can be used in official tournament play
  • Price – $$
  • Rating – 9.2/10 (Butterfly 401 Review)

Having tried a lot of different paddles over the years we really enjoyed playing with the Butterfly 401 Shakehand paddle. It’s a good allrounder and we found we could really get some spin going with its tacky rubbers. It’s got a 5 ply wood blade with 2.1 mm sponge and uses the Butterfly Yuki rubber on both sides that we thought was reasonable considering it’s one of the cheapest ITTF approved paddle we could find.

It gets really good reviews and is popular with beginners and even more advanced players due to its speed and spin rating, a good all round paddle. Considering the price point we think it’s very good value and definitely deserves a place in our top 10 paddles but there are much better options (like the Killerspin Jet 800) if you have a little more budget to spend.

Conclusion: Which One Should you Buy?

We hope that’s helped give you an idea of what to look for when looking for the best ping pong paddles. It can get very overwhelming looking through all the different options available and so we’ve tried to focus in on a few of the top choices.

It’s hard to say which is the best one though as it really depends on you. Defensive players will want to look for something with lots of spin that isn’t as fast to slow the ball down. Where as aggresive players will want to go for the power.

We own a lot of different table tennis rackets, but our favourite is the Killerspin Jet 800. In our opinion, it’s one of the best pre-made table tennis paddles on the market and will definitely help you to up your game to the next level. 

If you’re interested in buying it you can check the current price of our most recommended paddle, the Killerspin Jet 800 here.

Eugene Sandoval

Eugene Sandoval

Eugene (Gene) Sandoval has been one of those guys who spent too many hours around ping pong tables in high school. However, soon enough, Gene understood that there is more to ping pong than having fun. That is how he started a journey that made Eugene one of the experienced semi-professional ping pong players in the United States. As the founder of the PingPongRuler, Eugene spends most of his time surrounded by ping pong tables and research. He always has this knack for coming up with new ping pong strategies and telling the good and bad equipment apart.

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