How To Find Best Ping Pong Paddle
Around the world and in different circuits terminology for the ping pong paddle varies. While the laws of table tennis refer to the paddle as a racket, we are going to use the term ping pong paddle, or simply paddle. This is one of the most common terms for the device that you use to hit the bal. Other terms used include:
- Table Tennis Racket
- Table Tennis Bat
- Ping Pong Bat
- Ping Pong Racket
- Table Racket
- Table Bat
- Table Tennis Paddle
The number one factor in any sporting equipment is that it is comfortable for you to use. You want a paddle or racket (depending on the terminology that you want to use) that feels right for your hand. It should also feel like a natural extension of your hand when you are swinging it.
If your paddle is not comfortable, it will be hard to make it feel like it is part of your body. It will also be harder to learn to use. Our bodies naturally reject anything that doesn’t feel comfortable or proper.
When it comes to sizing there are very few rules. According to the official rules of table tennis, there are no requirements for size or weight. However, the blade of the paddle must be both flat and rigid. Whatever the paddle is made of must be at least 85% wood or more.
Despite the lack of specific size requirements, almost all paddles are about 6 inches across and ten inches tall, including the handle.
The most popular reasons for changing the size of the paddle is for the size of the player. Some larger players like smaller paddles while some smaller players like larger paddles. It can also be the reverse. It really depends on personal preference.
Choosing a Handle
There are four different types of ping pong paddle handles that you can choose from. Each style will give you a different feel when holding the paddle.
It doesn’t get more basic than the straight handle. This style of handle has nothing to hold your grip there but there is also nothing to bump against your hand or make you feel uncomfortable. This style grip is common on defensive paddles or large paddles.
The anatomic handle is designed to be anatomically comfortable with your handle. It has a small bulge where the curve of your palm would be. There is also a flare at the bottom of the handle. Players who prefer a natural grip like this style of handle.
The flared handle is a variant of the straight handle but at the bottom becomes flared. This handle style is preferred by people who like the straight feeling with a little something extra to keep it in the hand.
Donic Dotec Handle
The Donic Dotec handle is a variant of the anatomic handle. Instead of having the bulge though, it is curved and is thinner at the top than at the bottom. A handle such as this is often favored by those who have wrist injuries.
Specialized or Custom Handles
There are a variety of other handles out there that are considered specialized or custom. They aren’t used by enough players to become popular or are used by only a small subset of players. A great example of this is paddles that are designed for those with disabilities. Some of them are even gimmicks.
Texturing of The Grip
Some players like to have texturing on the handle of their ping pong paddle. This can take the form of special indentations or raises on the handle. It can also take the form of other materials laid over the handle such as rubber or alternative woods.
Hinoki Wood Vs Non-Hinoki Wood
A lot of players opt to have hinoki wood for their ping pong paddles. This wood is heavier but gives players a softer feeling compared to other options. The two biggest benefits to this type of wood is greater spin and a longer dwell time. Other types of wood might be suitable for those who like less power and more control.
Choosing Rubber Pros and Cons
Rubber can alter the spin of the ball when you hit it. Pips towards the blade allow for more spin. You can get a wide variety of textures on your paddle and picking one is up to you and your style.
Although extremely rare among professional players, you can also get paddles without rubber. You can also opt to only have rubber on one side of the paddle.
Don’t forget to decide how much of a sponge you want under your rubber. Thicker sponges allow for a harder hit, thus returning the ball to the sender with more speed. Thinner layers take the speed down several notches, allowing for a more technical game play.
Ready-Made Vs. Custom Paddles
If you are playing table tennis for fun with your friends there is no doubt you just want read-made paddles. However, for those who are interested in more competitive play, they have options.
The two options you have are ready-made paddles and custom paddles. Ready-made paddles are brand names that are available for anyone to order. They are stocked by a company and each one is made the same.
Custom paddles are those which are made to order. Most custom paddles are designed specifically for a user. Both styles of paddles have their benefits. Decide which one is right for you with the information below.
Ready-Made Paddle Benefits and Cons
- Relatively in expensive
- Replacements available should you need them
- Testing to ensure reliability and performance
- Can try them out first
- Generic in appearance
- Not everyone can find one they like
- Can spend a while in the packaging while wood deteriorates
- Corner cutting and lesser materials are known to be used
- Most are not designed for competitive play
Custom Made Paddle Benefits and Cons
- Custom made paddles are what the pros go for
- Exact paddle that you desire
- Can change everything except for the 85% wood requirement
- Custom texturing
- Great for people who have injuries or disabilities as they can be tailored to accommodate them
- Custom made paddles can’t be tested beforehand
- Tend to be expensive due to the build time and materials
- Require time to make due to being constructed by hand
- Built for one play style may need a new paddle for a new style
Player Built Paddles
Some players also opt to create their own paddles. You can buy the individual elements separately. That includes the blade, handle, and rubber padding. Buying the parts separately gives you an opportunity to develop a paddle that works for you.
Manually (Hand) Assembled Paddles Vs Machined Paddles
There are two different ways for a paddle to be made. Machined paddles are the most commonly produced paddles. These are paddles that are pumped out by a production machine and assembled by one too. These are more cost effective and are also easy to replaced. Manually assembled paddles are put together by hand. That means someone has put time and care into assembling your paddle. It is also likely to be tested and assembled well.
Buying a ping pong paddle is an easy decision for someone who just plays during their spare time but for anyone who wants to compete, the decision becomes a lot harder. You want to get the paddle that gives you the advantage. You also want to get one that feels right for you. Now you can with this guide.