The 7 Best Table Tennis Rubbers in 2022: Buying Guide and Reviews

Table tennis rubbers are critical to your game because they control how the ball behaves with every stroke. But there are hundreds of different kinds and options, and it can be difficult to understand how they work or what to choose for your game.

In this guide, we’re going to help you choose the best table tennis rubbers and recommend you some of our favorites for you to try next.

Featured Products

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best table tennis rubberTenergy 05Best OverallCHECK CURRENT PRICE
best table tennis rubber hurricaneDHS Hurricane 3 NeoBudget ChoiceCHECK CURRENT PRICE
best table tennis rubber evolutionTibhar Evolution MX-PFastest ChoiceCHECK CURRENT PRICE
best table tennis rubber mark vYasaka Mark VBest for Allround StyleCHECK CURRENT PRICE

Table Tennis Rubber Buying Guide

What Is a Table Tennis Rubber?

A table tennis rubber is the rubber surface of your ping pong paddle. It’s the part of the bat that impacts the ball with every stroke. It was first used on a racket in 1901, and then in the 1950s players started adding a layer of sponge between the rubber top sheet and the wooden blade.

When we talk about table tennis rubbers today, we’re often referring to the combination of the sponge and the rubber top sheet. They most commonly come already stuck together, although you can purchase them separately.

What Does the Table Tennis Rubber Do?

The rubber has a big influence on the ball’s speed when you hit it. It can absorb and reduce the speed of the ball slowing down your opponent’s attacks or help you go on the offensive by bringing more power to the ball.

Rubbers also have a big impact on how much spin you can place on the ball. The stickier (tackiness) or grippier the rubber, the longer the contact period with the ball (dwell time) which then allows you to generate different types of spin.

In short, the rubber you use can determine how the ball behaves after you hit it. 

The Three Parts of a Table Tennis Rubber

There are three main parts of a table tennis rubber and sub-categories to consider too. We’ll break down each part below and talk about how this affects the ball and which type of player it might suit.

The sponge layer

As we mentioned earlier, when people talk about a table tennis rubber, they’re not only referring to the outer red and black top sheet, but also the layer of sponge between the rubber and the blade.

As a general rule, the thicker this sponge layer is, the more powerful and faster the ball bounces off of the face of the bat. The thinner the sponge is, the slower and more controlled the bounce will be. The thickness of the sponge tends to vary between 1mm to 2.5mm.

Offensive players will often prefer to play with a thicker sponge (over 2.0mm) as this causes the ball to ping off the bat faster and give them more power. Defensive players tend to prefer thinner sponges or no sponge at all as this slows the ball down.

For table tennis beginners or all-around players, it’s better to use a bat with a sponge thickness of 1.5 to 1.9mm to give you more control over your shots.

The sponge layer can come in different levels of hardness as well. The harder the sponge the more it will bounce off the bat and the more power you’ll be able to generate to get increased speed. The opposite is true as well, soft sponges will slow the ball down and give you more control but less speed.

Sponge Thickness

Speed

Style

<1.5mm

Slow

Defense

1.6mm – 1.9mm

Medium

Allround

2mm – 2.1mm

Fast

Offensive

2.2mm – Max

Very Fast

Offensive+

The rubber top sheet

Sitting on top of the layer of sponge is the rubber top sheet. This is typically red or black in color (although you can get them in all different sorts of colors) and has pimples (which we’ll look at next).

The pimples 

All table tennis rubbers have ‘pimples’ (also called pips) which are little nubs of rubber. They usually point inwards from the flat surface and onto the sponge. Pimples help the top sheet be more responsive and elastic. A distinct group of rubbers has their pimples facing outwards. They can be short, medium, or long and drastically change how the rubber behaves. 

Ping Pong Rubber Types

There are a number of different variations of rubbers, each suited to certain styles. Some suit more attacking players who want more power, while others are better for defensive players who want more spin and control.

Inverted pimples

When the pips are facing inward towards the sponge with a smooth outer surface, the rubber is called ‘inverted’ or ‘pimples-in’. These are the most popular type of table tennis rubber, as they allow for a wider range of strokes and playing styles. Because the ball is making contact with a flat surface (as the pimples are all pointing inwards) the surface area to contact the ball is larger so you’ll get a lot more control over the ball.

We always recommend going for an inverted pimples rubber when starting out as you’ll have more control and can get used to the types of strokes and movement of the ball.

Pimples-out rubber: Long and short

best table tennis rubber pimples

When the pimples are facing outward it’s called a ‘pimples-out’ table tennis rubber. Pimples out ping pong rubbers have less surface area in contact with the ball so they have less friction and grip. This means you’ll have less control over the ball which we don’t recommend for beginners.

If in doubt, go with ‘pimples in’ to start with before trying ‘pimples out’ as you progress.

Pimpled rubbers can come with pimples in different lengths: mainly short or long. Short pimples out have tacky ends with less grip and less friction. These kinds of rubber reduce the effect of incoming spin and are ideal for smashing and blocking.

The other type is long pimples. This slows and reduces incoming spin giving you greater control when returning shots. It can also allow you to reverse the direction of the ball’s spin and create unpredictable spin. Long pimples with little to no sponge are most used by defensive players who want the greatest amount of control. 

Tacky rubbers

Tacky rubbers are a popular inverted type of rubber that is sticky. They have a lot of surface area impacting the ball, with a smooth, slightly sticky surface that allows players to generate heavy spin. The video below shows how tacky a rubber can be. Tacky rubbers, however, pick up a lot more dust and can wear out quicker than others. You’ll need to clean your ping pong paddle rubbers more regularly if you have a very tacky rubber.

Anti-spin rubbers

Anti-spin rubbers are made to have a slippery surface that reduces friction and generates little to no spin. This kind of table tennis rubber will tend to cause the spin to reverse. For example, if your opponent sends a topspin shot at you, returning it with an anti-spin rubber will often have backspin on it. Anti-spin top sheets are usually coupled with a very soft sponge which slows the ball down and is popular with defensive players.

ITTF Approved Rubbers

If you want to play in an official tournament, you’ll need to get an ITTF approved (International Table Tennis Federation) rubber. This requires it meets ITTF requirements.

It has to be the approved colors

The rules of table tennis require that one side of the paddle be bright red, and the other be black. It’s common for professionals to use a different playing style of rubber on each side of their paddle so they can vary the type of shot they want to hit. Players will ‘twiddle’ their bat during play to use the side that best suits the particular stroke they want to hit. This is why the bat has to be different colors so that their opponent can know what sort of shot to expect.

That being said, the ITTF has announced that they will be allowing rubbers of different colors soon so we might find other colors popping up any day now.

It has to be an ITTF authorized rubber

best table tennis rubber ITTF approvedOnly rubbers with the ITTF logo (shown in the image above) are eligible for use during official table tennis tournament play. This means that they’ve reviewed the specifications and it meets all the requirements. However, the list of authorized rubbers updates about every six months, and simply having the logo doesn’t mean that your rubbers are still authorized.

For tournament play, you need to check the list of authorized rubbers on the ITTF website periodically to make sure that your rubbers are still legal. 

The 7 Best Table Tennis Rubbers in 2022

ImageNameBuy
#1. Butterfly Tenergy 05CURRENT PRICE
#2. YASAKA Mark VCURRENT PRICE
#3. DHS NEO Hurricane 3CURRENT PRICE
#4. Butterfly Dignics 06CURRENT PRICE
#5. YASAKA Rakza 7CURRENT PRICE
#6. TIBHAR Evolution MX-PCURRENT PRICE
#7. XIOM Vega ProCURRENT PRICE

Our Top Table Tennis Rubber Reviews

Now that we’ve learned about how rubbers work, we’ll take a look at some of our best-rated table tennis rubbers in 2022. It’s worth mentioning that there are hundreds of rubbers available and you need to think about blade pairing too. Below are a few options that we’ve tried and enjoyed playing with but are not necessarily the best for you and your play style.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to purchase two rubbers, one red and one black for each side of your blade.

#1. Butterfly Tenergy 05 — Best Overall

best table tennis rubber tenergy 05

best table tennis rubber Tenergy 05

Specifications:

  • Speed — 93
  • Spin — 94
  • Control — 84
  • Hardness — Medium-hard
  • Thickness (mm) —1.7, 1.9, 2.1
  • Our rating — 9.9

Pros:

  • High spin
  • High speed
  • Strong catapult effect

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Hard to control

If you’re looking to try out a new rubber then we highly recommend you take a look at the Butterfly Tenergy 05. It’s used by players such as Timo Boll and is favored worldwide by players looking for a fast high-tension rubber to play with.

Tenergy 05 was one of the first rubbers to use ‘Spring Sponge’ technology that gives the ball a longer dwell time and therefore allows you to get a lot more spin on the ball. We currently use it on our forehand and love how easy it is to generate topspin. You can also purchase Butterfly Tenergy 05 FX (check price here) which is a little lighter, slower, and has a softer feel than the regular version. Conversely, Butterfly Tenergy 05 Hard is also available (check price here) which is even faster and heavier, so it better suits hyper-aggressive players. We think this is more suited to forehand than backhand.

If you’re an offensive player who likes to generate topspin and fast pace then check out the Tenergy 05. We doubt it will disappoint you. it is one of the best ping pong rubbers you can get. Just remember you need to be playing at an advanced level, this isn’t one for beginners.

#2. Yasaka Mark V — Best for Allround Style

best table tennis rubber yasaka mark v

best table tennis rubber yasaka mark v

Specifications:

  • Speed — 80
  • Spin — 82
  • Control — 87
  • Hardness — Medium
  • Thickness (mm) — 1, 1.5, 1.8, 2, Max
  • Our rating — 8.8

Pros:

  • Controllable
  • Affordable
  • Long-lasting

Cons:

  • Not lively enough for attackers

No list of the best table tennis rubbers would be complete without mentioning the Yasaka Mark V. It’s probably the most used table tennis rubber in the world and since its introduction over 3 decades ago, it’s been used by the best table tennis players in the world and beginners alike.

We feel that it is an ideal option for beginners building their first custom paddle (we recommend going for a thinner thickness), but is also very popular with advanced players who want to retain good control and reasonable spin.

The Mark V is an incredibly durable rubber that will last a long time, and while it’s not the fastest one we’ve played with, it’s one that we highly recommend, even for offensive table tennis players (just get a thicker version). It is one of our favorite allround backhand rubbers.

#3. DHS Hurricane 3 NEO— Budget Choice

best table tennis rubber dhs hurricane 3 neo

best table tennis rubber hurricane 3 neo

Specifications:

  • Speed — 84
  • Spin — 92
  • Control — 89
  • Hardness — Medium-hard
  • Thickness (mm) — 2.1, 2.15, 2.2
  • Our rating — 9.1

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Superb looping in high gears

Cons:

  • Tacky rubbers can take a while to get used to
  • Poor at flat smashing

Up next we have the DHS Hurricane 3 NEO which is a very popular classic Chinese rubber. It has a particularly tacky top sheet on top of a hard sponge which is standard for the Chinese style of play. As a result, it’s a great choice for players who like to play topspin shots and want good control when placing the ball.

When it comes to speed the DHS Hurricane 3 NEO is very receptive to your stroke. If you play a slow, passive shot it will be slow, but if you use more power it reacts to your input and the result can be a lot of speed.

The downside is that you’ll have to work a lot harder to create this speed, so it can be tiring and not easy to play with for beginners. We’d say the DHS Hurricane 3 NEO could be a good option for players who like to play close to the table and don’t want to spend a fortune as it’s a very reasonable price.

#4. Butterfly Dignics 05

best table tennis rubber dignics 05

best table tennis rubber dignics 05

Specifications:

  • Speed — 89
  • Spin — 94
  • Control — 87
  • Hardness — Medium-hard
  • Thickness (mm) — 1.9, 2.1
  • Our rating — 9.1

Pros:

  • Very spinny
  • Newly developed rubber
  • Last for a long time

Cons:

  • Overpriced
  • Fragile sponge 

Up next we have Butterfly Dignics 05 which is the most expensive table tennis rubber on our list. It was released in 2019 as a high speed and spin rubber that uses the same inverted pimple shape as the Butterfly Tenergy 05, but with an advanced Spring Sponge X technology that has more elasticity, allowing you to generate even more spin and speed for very attacking players. This rubber is not for beginners and will really catapult the ball off the face of the racket and is not easy to control at all.

It’s above average when it comes to durability so you won’t be replacing these too often, but the downside is the price which is very expensive. It can start a costly habit switching to Dignics but if you have the budget and like its style, we recommend you give it a try as the reviews from players are very, very good.

#5. Yasaka Rakza 7

best table tennis rubber yasaka rakza

best table tennis rubber rakza 7

Specifications:

  • Speed — 90
  • Spin — 89
  • Control — 93
  • Hardness — Medium-hard
  • Thickness (mm) — 1.8, 2, 2.2
  • Our rating — 9

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Unreactive to incoming spin
  • Feels very controllable given its speed
  • Lasts a long time

Cons:

  • Not the fastest or spinniest rubber

Another great rubber is Yasaka Rakza 7 from the same Japanese table tennis brand as the Mark V. It’s a fast and spinny medium-hard rubber that grips the ball well and has more control than some of the other rubbers. If you don’t like the catapult effect of rubbers like Tenergy and Dignics then you’ll probably like this one. It’s a great choice for non-professional players.

Yasaka Rakza 7 is also at a very affordable price point. The only real downside is that it is not as fast or spinny as the most offensive rubbers on the market. But it does come mighty close and it’s pretty durable so we feel it should be on your radar.

#6. Tibhar Evolution MX-P — Fastest Choice

best table tennis rubber tibhar evolution mx-p

best table tennis rubber evolution mx-p

Specifications:

  • Speed — 95
  • Spin — 93
  • Control — 7
  • Hardness — Medium-hard
  • Thickness (mm) — 1.8, 2, 2.2
  • Our rating — 9.3

Pros:

  • Unrivaled speed
  • Very spinny
  • Fairly unreactive to incoming spin

Cons:

  • Hard to control
  • Factory boost fades after a month or two

If you wanted to try something similar to Butterfly Tenergy 05 but at a cheaper price point, then we’d suggest taking a look at its rival, the Tibhar Evolution MX-P table tennis rubber. Since its release back in 2012, Evolution MX-P has been a very popular option for players looking for high speed and spin without losing all sense of control over the ball.

MX-P stands for max power and if you’ve tried these rubbers then you’ll understand why. It’s very, very fast and without the Tibhar branding, you might mistake it for a Tenergy 64 rubber. It’s also available in a few other models like the Evolution MX-S (Max spin), or if you like a harder rubber perhaps check out Evolution MX-P 50 which has a very hard sponge.

The one downside is the durability of MX-P which is a little bit below average. What is most noticeable is the decline in the factory boost which occurs after just a month or so. Despite this, we still think Tibhar Evolution MX-P is worth checking out.

#7. Xiom Vega Pro

best table tennis rubber xiom vega pro

best table tennis rubber xiom vega pro

 

Specifications:

  • Speed — 86
  • Spin — 88
  • Control — 89
  • Hardness — Medium-hard
  • Thickness (mm) — 1.8, 2, 2.2
  • Our rating — 9.3

Pros:

  • High levels of control
  • Has a lot of gears
  • Plays in a linear fashion which makes predicting placement easy

Cons:

  • Not quite as fast or spinny as the top offensive rubbers
  • No catapult effect means it suffers far from the table

Last, but by no means least is the Xiom Vega Pro which is a highly durable and affordable table tennis rubber for those looking for an offensive or allround option for their game. It’s a lot more controllable than the high speed Tenergy rubbers, so is much more suited to an intermediate player who doesn’t like the catapult effect that some fast rubbers give.

Vega Pro is for those looking for lots of spin in their shots but if you’re looking for more control check out Xiom Vega Europe which is softer with even more control — an ideal choice for emerging players who are refining their strokes.

What Rubber is Used for Table Tennis?

About 85% of players use inverted rubbers or pips-in category. It’s also called smooth. However, you can also find short pips, medium pips, long pips, and anti-spin.

What is the Best Rubber in Table Tennis?

Tenergy 05 is one of the best rubbers you can buy because it feels great in our hands, and this is also echoed by the rest of the table tennis community — a top rubber for the offensive style. If, however, you play more of an allround game, we feel that Mark V is a better choice. Ultimately, the best rubber for you will be high-quality and suit how you like to play.

Which Table Tennis Rubber Has the Most Spin?

As it stands, Butterfly Dignics 09C and Donic Baracuda are among the spinniest rubbers you can buy. But there are lots of really spinny rubbers out there, and what is considered the spinniest rubber again, will vary from person to person. 

Which is the Fastest Table Tennis Rubber?

Two rubbers that are at the top of the speed rankings are the Donic Bluestorm Z1 Turbo and Tibhar Evolution MX-P. Evolution MX-P in particular made waves in the community upon its release. To learn more about this rapid rubber click here.

Opinions also differ when it comes to speed. There are tons of rubbers that are really fast because the sport is becoming increasingly quick.

What Rubbers Do Pro Table Tennis Players Use?

While the most popular rubbers like Tenergy 05 are commonly used by pros, we also see a lot of obscure, or perhaps even lower-quality rubbers in their hands. The takeaway here is to when you find a rubber you like, go with it! 

What is More Important the Blade or Rubber?

For most people, I would say it’s around a 70/30 split in favor of the blade. It’s the main part of the bat you hold and it acts as an extension of your arm. Therefore, it needs to feel natural and comfortable. 

However, the 70/30 figures would reverse if I had my blade of choice with an anti-spin rubber. This is because this type of rubber would completely prevent me from playing my style. 

How Many Types of Table Tennis Rubbers Are There?

There are around 30 main table tennis rubbers manufacturers and each has many rubber lines often consisting of 4 or 5 different rubbers to cater to specific preferences. But there are tons of options!

Is There a Difference Between Red and Black Table Tennis Rubbers?

Almost always there is no difference between the black and red sides.  The need to distinguish between the two rubbers came about when players would employ two different rubber types, e.g. inverted and anti-spin with the same color. They would twiddle their bat frequently which made it impossible to tell what spin the ball had. 

However, I should note, that for a very select few rubbers there may be very minor differences between the black and red sides. Often relating to longevity, or perhaps spin. 

Summing up

There are hundreds of different types of table tennis rubbers and there is no ‘best’ rubber for table tennis. Only the best table tennis rubber for your particular playing style, ability, and what feels right for you. But knowing all of the top-rated rubbers certainly helps you make an informed decision.

With this in mind, when looking at rubber reviews, try to hone in on the style of the reviewer. Do they mirror your own and like the rubbers they are reviewing? In this case, the rubber could be a good fit.

As for our favorites, we like Butterfly Tenergy 05 because of its offensive nature, and we feel that advanced players should definitely try out. It’s a real speed and spin demon and you’ll notice its quality instantly. For an even faster rubber, we recommend Tibhar Evolution MX-P which is unreal and certainly not for beginners!

If you’re looking for a more all-round rubber that is a bit more forgiving, try out Yasaka Mark V or Xiom Vega Europe.

Make sure not to neglect blades as well. They are just as important to get right as rubbers. And your rubber will feel very different from one blade to another. So it’s important to get the pairing right. Given you’ll either be testing your rubbers on different blades or replacing your rubbers yourself, it’s a good idea you know to replace them, we have a guide for that too.

Alex Horscroft

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.