Best Table Tennis Return Board in 2022
Whether you’re training to beat your friends, training for a league, or just want to not suck at ping pong anymore, then a table tennis return board could be perfect for you. It’s a somewhat rarer form of training, lots of players might never have even heard of a return board. And yet, they are a great way to supplement your training.
Best Table Tennis Return Board: Yuancllp Return Board
Features & Specifications
- Large 8 rubber coverage
- Easily adjust board angle
- Solid frame
- Easy to move
- Lockable wheels
- Might not cover enough of the table for a beginner
- Can’t be placed on the table for touch play
Our Rating: 7.7
The Yuanclllp ping pong return board features 8 rubbers instead of other boards which often use 6. This means it covers a greater area which helps to prolong rallies. The rubbers attach to a wooden board that connects to a strong metal frame. This is a lot more resilient than what you would likely rig up if you chose to build a return board yourself. You can easily adjust the angle of the board by twisting the fly nuts at either end of the metal frame.
You can also move the board itself rather easily as the frame has 4 lockable wheels. So switching it from the forehand to the backhand side is a very quick job. The manufacturer recommends setting the angle to 80-82 degrees initially if you are a beginner. This gives you time to get used to the return board. Then gradually, as you develop your technique and produce more topspin you close the angle of the board.
Yuancllp provides multiple videos of the return board in action so check them out if their return board interests you.
What is a Return Board?
A table tennis return board or ping pong rebound board is a stationary board that replicates the actions of a player. You place it at the opposite end of the table to yourself and hit the ball into it. The ball rebounds off of the return board and back onto your side of the table. Some return boards sit on the table itself whilst others reside behind the table elevated on a stand. Return boards are great to work on attacking strokes such as loops.
Who Should Buy a Return Board?
Table tennis rebound boards are ideal for players who don’t have training partners. Whether it be you live in an isolated area, can’t find a player your skill level, or simply have a tight schedule, many players find there are times they want to play but can’t. This is where return boards come in. They are the training partner you never had! And they don’t get tired!
Can I Make a Return Board?
You sure can! But to save the hassle it’s a lot easier to buy one. If you’re set on making one you’ll need MDF to act as the foundation of the table tennis practice board, and some rubbers to glue on. To keep it cost-effective you should buy very cheap rubbers such as Friendship Focus II. We recommend you get at least 4. Stick them together onto the MDF board so there are no gaps. You now have a makeshift bat (kind of!). It is then a matter of connecting it to a mechanism so it can’t stand and tilt. There are a few ways to do this and you can get rather creative. We’ve seen people use objects such as monitor stands and tripods, both of which work rather well.
How Do You Use a Return Board?
Most of the time you use a table tennis rebounder to practice you’re driving or looping. If you are a skilled player, you likely produce a lot of topspin on the ball. And this will simply be too much to handle for your opponents to handle if they are beginners. This is why most people use them for looping. Of course, you can also practice other shots as pushing by rotating the board so that the angle is more open.
Limitations of Return Boards
Return boards are nifty little pieces of kit, but they are certainly not without their drawbacks. This is why you don’t see them too often.
The first issue is that they are fixed. They do not move as a regular player would. This means return boards do not adjust their angle or placement mid-point. You set the angle before playing and it’s up to you to keep your strokes consistent so that the rally can stay alive. This means you can’t vary your topspin much at all otherwise the ball will fly over the end of the table or into the net. Similarly, you can’t employ too much sidespin so you have to keep hooks and fades to a minimum.
Another issue with table tennis rebound bards is the repetition. There is next to no variation using a return board which means it can get pretty tedious rather quickly unless you are driven. It could also lead to you developing bad habits such as not resetting to the ready position. There is also the fact that you are probably only training one area of your game, and that’s looping. This can lead to holes in your games — you should only use return boards to supplement your training, not lead it.
Return Boards Vs Robots
Given that robots are the other form of training to use when you are without a partner it’s useful to know how the two compare. Most of the time players will opt for a robot over a return board but that is not always the case.
The main advantage robots have is that they are more versatile. Even basic robots can impart differing levels of spin and speed which allows you to train more elements of your game. They also do not rely on your own consistency. Irrespective of whether you play the ball onto the table it will feed you another. If you miss a shot with a return board while playing table tennis you have to start over with a new ball which is a pain.
Of course, robots do require more balls if you want to get the most out of them, and this costs money. You will likely also end up with balls all over the floor which can be a pain to pick up. If you are using a return board you don’t need anywhere near as many balls, and you can really get by with just a handful if you need to.
Finally, you need to factor the expense of the robot in. If you are going to go for a basic model you usually need at least a few hundred dollars, but you could spend thousands if you want a top model. The cheapest half-decent robot we could find is the IPONG V300. Its features are somewhat basic but it could be a good choice for a beginner on a budget. Return boards, by comparison, are usually less than a few hundred dollars and far cheaper if you build one yourself.
Read more: To check out the best table tennis robots on the market, read our full review.
Table tennis return boards are great pieces of kit to add to your training regiment. They help develop your looping ability which is the foundation of modern table tennis. While we do recommend them, we still feel that robots provide more value. So if you can spare the extra money consider getting a robot. However, if you want to go ahead and buy a return board make sure you also play enough with a training partner. Return boards are effective at developing consistency and technique but they do not emulate match scenarios very well.
Freelance writer. Table tennis enthusiast. Lover of all things online. When I’m not working on my loop game I’m probably binge-watching some fantasy show.