It’s no secret that table tennis paddles can get really expensive as you build your way up to advanced gear. To get a bat with the most spin and speed, manufacturers have to push the boundaries of what is possible by testing new technologies. Clearly, this is not cheap.
Some of us may wince at the prospect of spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on a bat. But if it helps make you a better player, isn’t spending a couple of hundred extra bucks worth it? It’s hard to put a price tag on this and it will vary greatly from person to person.
For this article, we have compiled the three most expensive ping pong paddles you can build today if you so choose. This means we will be excluding the likes of the Nittaku Resoud which has been discontinued. Nicknamed the “Violin Blade”, the Resoud took decades to create using violin string technology. Back in 2015, it retailed for around €3,000 ($3,500+).
All of these bats are also ITTF approved. This means no mini bats, or unbranded gold ping pong paddles, only the real stuff!
The Most Expensive Ping Pong Paddles in the World
Setup 1: Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC (Chinese Penhold) with Butterfly Dignics 05 — $787.97
The first setup features the Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC blade. This is the most expensive blade available right now. It is the first blade made with Super ZL-Carbon. It is said to have a huge sweet spot and promotes power whilst maintaining control.
What is interesting about this blade, in particular, is the huge cost differential between the Chinese Penhold and standard version. As of the time of writing, the Chinese Penhold is a staggering $599.99, whereas the standard variant is $399.99. Both are incredibly expensive, but I fail to see what merits the $200 increase. They are exactly the same blade except for the adaptation for the penhold grip.
Dignics come in as the most expensive rubber today. Think of it as a new and improved Tenergy. Available in the same number formats as Tenergy (05, 64, 80) except for 09C. All clock in at the same price of $93.99 per sheet. That’s $14 more expensive per sheet than Tenergy. Undoubtedly, Dignics is an amazing rubber, but whether it warrants the price tag is highly debatable.
Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC Bat Deal
If you want to get your hands on the Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC (non-penhold version) but aren’t so set on Dignics as your rubber of choice, perhaps this bundle may interest you.
Megaspin offers the blade paired with two sheets of Bryce HighSpeed as a package deal. Bryce HighSpeed is another super Butterfly rubber priced at $62.99. As of the time of writing, the total cost is $525.97 with 10% off its original price — a welcome saving for such an expensive ping pong paddle.
Setup 2: Butterfly Mizutani Jun Super ZLC With Butterfly Tenergy 05 — $559.97
Next up we have the Butterfly Mizutani Jun Super ZLC at $399.99. Priced the same as the standard Zhang Jike Super ZLC, it is also part of the same Super ZLC series. There are a few different blades available at this price point.
Being a member of the Super ZLC series, there is a similar focus on a large sweet spot with high speed and control. The Mizutani Jun Super ZLC is slightly faster, marketed as offensive+, whereas the Zhang Jike Super ZLC is just offensive. We are talking a game of margins here; both are excellent blades and the only notable difference is a slight increase in pace and differing designs.
The most famous rubber to date, you know what you are getting when you purchase Tenergy. An elite rubber capable of pushing your game to the highest level possible.
All of the Tenergy range come in at the same price of $79.99, at the time of writing. Besides 05, you’ve got T05 Hard, T64, T80, T25, and T19 to choose from. There are even FX versions available of the older rubbers to give you even more options to choose from.
Setup 3: Butterfly Harimoto Innerforce Super ZLC with Butterfly Bryce Speed — $559.97
The third and final setup of this list uses the Butterfly Harimoto Innerforce Super ZLC as the blade of choice. This means that all three of the most expensive blades are a part of the super ZLC series. Hardly surprising, as it is the latest and greatest technology Butterfly has developed.
The Harimoto Innerforce Super ZLC is classed as an offensive blade just like the Zhang Jike Super ZLC, although reviews suggest it is slightly slower. Again, I expect the difference between the two is hardly noticeable. They both cost the same amount at $399.99, at the time of writing.
As the final rubber of choice, I have paired the blade with Bryce Speed. Butterfly recommends coupling it with Dignics 05, but it has already featured on this list. Bryce Speed is a great rubber, having used it personally for a few years. It’s a step above most rubbers in terms of pace whilst also fairly spinny. Bryce Speed costs $79.99 per side.
Why are These Paddles so Expensive?
Do you know what every item on this list has in common? Butterfly.
Butterfly is well-known for charging a premium for their products because they are the biggest name in the table tennis industry. As with all industries, there is always that one company that charges a level above the rest.
Whilst the products they produce are fantastic, they are obviously adding a buffer because of their name, and well, they can. People have proven time and time again they’ll happily pay the inflated price. Whether it’s wanting the best quality, or to flaunt the “designer name”, the fact remains. People will pay.
Irrespective of the market price, Butterfly products are expensive to make. The blades for instance consist of alternating layers of wood and carbon. Clearly, testing, refining, and creating such blades takes a lot of time and money.
Are These Expensive Ping Pong Paddles Worth the Money?
There is no question Butterfly is a front-runner in regards to rubbers and blade quality. The question is whether they are worth their steep price tag.
To better answer this question, we need to separate blades from rubbers and analyze what Butterfly’s competitors are producing.
Are the Most Expensive Blades Worth it?
First, let’s take a look at blades. This is where Butterfly truly shines in the premium price tag zone. They have a plethora of blades available for hundreds of dollars, where other brands have just a few.
In fact, the 3 most expensive blades, besides Butterfly, are the JOOLA Vyzaryz Trinity, the JOOLA Energon Super PBO-c, and the JOOLA Vyzaryz Hybrid. Costing $274.95, $269.95, and $249.95 respectively, as of the time of writing. A lot less than what Butterfly charges.
Interestingly, Butterfly and JOOLA are the only two companies to offer blades on Megaspin that exceed the $200 threshold.
But where JOOLA sells just 4, Butterfly sells 30. There really is no comparison deciding who the premium supplier is. Butterfly’s top-end blades cost far more and they overwhelm JOOLA by how many they produce.
When we then compare this by overall blade ratings from reviewers, we see lots of cheaper options that rate the same as the more expensive Butterfly blades.
Data courtesy of revspin.net
As you can see, there are a lot of blades ranked 9.7 and 9.6 overall. The Jun Mizutani Super ZLC is such a blade. But look at the costs on the right. The Mizutani blade is twice that of most of the others.
Considering the subjectiveness of reviewing, I would argue all of these blades are somewhat level with each other in terms of quality. Therefore forking out around $150 extra doesn’t seem worth it.
Are the Most Expensive Rubbers Worth it?
When we compare the top-rated rubbers, we see a similar story.
Butterfly’s two most popular series: Tenergy and Dignics, are nearly twice that of its main competitors. A total of 26 rubbers cost more than $60, and 21 of these are produced by Butterfly.
Data courtesy of revspin.net
In terms of reviews, Dignics 80 is the only Butterfly rubber to break into the top 10. Yet no rubber even comes close to the price of Dignics within that range.
As before, I largely consider anything within the top 20 to be on par with one another. So the extra $35 or so seems a little wasted.
Expensive Rubbers vs Expensive Blades
Now that you know there are other great options besides the most expensive paddles, there is only one question left to answer. If you can only afford to go big on one, which would it be? Rubber or blade?
That’s a tough one. But here is my take.
I’m pickier when it comes to choosing rubbers so I am stricter with what I purchase. As an aggressive looper, I need the fastest, spinniest rubbers going. And I am willing to pay a premium to get that. With a blade, I’d ideally like it to be super quick as well, but I’d settle for less than the best if it meant getting my precious rubbers.
However, if you find a good blade and take care of it for years, even the most expensive blades are well worth the money. I switched to the Timo Boll ALC, gosh, around 7 years ago now. Best. Decision. Ever.
At the time I was reluctant to spend $184.99 on a blade. But the blade ended up helping evolve my game, I took care of it, and even now so many years later, I have no plans to switch.
The Bottom Line
The 3 setups listed in this article are amazing ping pong paddles. Right up there with the best. But do you need them to be a great table tennis player?
Of course not.
Don’t get sucked in by the most expensive equipment expecting them to be the best. They often aren’t. Conversely, don’t make the mistake of scrimping on your ping pong paddle as it will only hurt your game.
Your best bet is finding a middle ground where you get the greatest value for money. Although expensive, Butterfly’s Arylate-Carbon Blades really are fantastic, and I have no trouble recommending them. If you buy one, look after it.
And as for rubbers, I’ve found the $35-$50 range to offer incredible value for money. I am particularly fond of Andro, Tibhar, and Donic. Just remember to only spend whatever you can afford, and choose equipment that suits your style.
And hey! If you have the money to burn on the most expensive table tennis paddles, feel free to go for one of the setups we listed. Whilst pricey, they are pretty much the absolute pinnacle of table tennis paddles.