6 Ping Pong Paddles Perfect for Everyone From Beginners to Professionals (2024)

Whether you’re playing ping pong in the backyard for fun or looking to up your game for competitive play, a quality ping pong paddle is a must.

What type of paddle you need depends on how you’ll be using the paddle, whether that means casual play in the game room or for more serious bouts against a tough opponent. David Bruce, founder of Racket Insight and a table tennis coach and umpire, says that your skill level is the biggest determinant to consider when shopping for a paddle.

Beginners should focus on features that prioritize comfort and control, like flared handles and tacky rubber. As you get more advanced, look for rubber that provides faster hit and intense spin.

As paddles get more advanced, they often get more expensive. However, there are dozens of affordable options suitable for every skill level.

Using his insights, we’ve rounded up the best ping pong paddles for all types of players, considering the blade, handle, and grip of each.

Our Top Picks

What We Like

  • Lightweight build

  • Added grip for beginners

  • Lots of spin

What We Don't Like

  • Not a great defensive paddle

Labeled as a professional ping pong paddle, we love the Killerspin JET200 because it’s also great for beginner and intermediate players, making it an all-around solid choice. It features a five-layer wooden blade build, plus flexible PVC tape around the racket edges for additional grip for beginners.

The flared wooden handle is easy to grip, allowing you to learn basic strokes and work on ball control. For more advanced players, it allows you to be more aggressive and quick when attacking the ball. During testing, we found the spin possible with this paddle impressive, making your serves harder to return and giving you the leg up on offense.

However, we found that this is not the best pick for defensive players. The paddle comes with a storage box that doubles as protection for the paddle when not in use, plus there’s space for you to keep scores and notes. Three color options are available.

Dimensions: 6 x 6.125 inches | Weight: 6 ounces| Material: Wood, rubber

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What We Like

  • Awesome topspin

  • Great control

  • Helps learn consistency

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy for beginner players

David Bruce, founder of Racket Insight, recommends this paddle because it’s affordable while still being a solid, reliable pick. It’s made with a 7-ply blade, which means it’s a bit heavier than other paddles, but that doesn’t mean this one won’t offer great speed. It’s great for offensive players, as the heavier build allows you to hit higher speeds.

The heavier weight is also great for topspin, making it harder for your opponent to return the ball your way. After you get the hang of playing, this paddle even allows you to play from 6 feet away from the table as your speed increases along with your power.

If you’re just learning how to play ping pong, the heavier build might wear your arm out a bit at first, but the power behind this paddle is great in the long run. Only one color scheme (red and black) is available, but we don’t mind that because of its affordability.

Dimensions: 11.3 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 0.5 pounds| Material (blade and handle): Wood, rubber

  • 6 Ping Pong Paddles Perfect for Everyone From Beginners to Professionals (7)

  • 6 Ping Pong Paddles Perfect for Everyone From Beginners to Professionals (8)

  • 6 Ping Pong Paddles Perfect for Everyone From Beginners to Professionals (9)

  • 6 Ping Pong Paddles Perfect for Everyone From Beginners to Professionals (10)

What We Like

  • 7-ply wooden blade

  • PVC protects side of paddle

  • Regulation size

What We Don’t Like

  • Not for beginners

  • Rubber doesn’t last for heavy play

As a sponsor of the biggest table tennis tournaments in the world, Joola has been a reputable brand for more than 50 years. This Joola paddle has a seven-ply wooden blade combining limba, koto, ayous, and kiri wood for better control, speed, and spin.

The edge tape is made from flexible PVC that protects the side of the paddle from accidental bangs and scrapes, and the thin sponge and tacky top sheet help with spin and control as well. The flared grip helps with increased performance and comfort in the hand, and the paddle is considered a regulation size by the International Table Tennis Federation.Because this is a professional paddle, we don't recommend it for beginners.

Dimensions: 10.47 x 6.73 x 1.14 inches | Weight: 9 ounces| Material (blade and handle): Wood, PVC, Rubber

What We Like

  • Included case

  • Tacky rubbers (helps spin)

  • 5-ply blade helps with decent power

What We Don't Like

  • Paddle is heavy

  • Shorter handle

Great for beginners, the Butterfly 401 offers a decent amount of speed and spin but nothing too powerful, which is great for those just learning the game. It’s made with five layers of wood for the blade, which does help give you a bit of power, and the handle is flared to help with comfort and control. It’s ITTF-approved, and the hard, tacky sponge helps create spin on the ball but not so much speed.

The paddle itself is thick, which does help to generate more power when swinging, but it can weigh you down a bit, especially if you’re just learning. The handle is a bit on the shorter side, so someone with large hands might struggle, but if you have smaller hands, the paddle works great. An included case keeps the paddle clean when not in use and is a great bonus for the price tag.

Dimensions: ‎11.97 x 7.2 x 1.93 inches| Weight: 13 ounces | Material (blade and handle): Wood, rubber

What We Like

  • Shock-dispersion technology

  • Wood and carbon layers

  • ITTF-approved rubbers

What We Don't Like

  • Top heavy

Intermediate and advanced players will like the STIGA Pro Carbon paddle because of its unique build combined with excellent features. The blade is made of seven layers—five wooden, and then two carbon—which adds power to your swings without the added weight of seven full layers of wood.

The flared handle is comfortable in your hand and uses shock-dispersion technology to spread out vibrations when striking, and the rubbers, which are ITTF-approved, use Nano Composite technology to increase spin and speed, meaning this paddle is great for offensive players.

The paddle’s sponges are 2 mm thick, which also works for offensive players on the attack, and microscopic air bubbles in the rubber further increase speed and control. While we love the features that make this paddle fast with lots of spin, it also means this paddle isn’t great for beginners, but more so designed for intermediate and advanced players.

Dimensions: 10.5 x 6.5 x 2 inches | Weight: 6 ounces| Material (blade and handle): Carbon fiber, rubber

What We Like

  • Included carrying case

  • Four paddles included instead of two

  • Set is great for beginners and advanced players

What We Don't Like

  • Paddles aren’t ITTF approved

  • Paddle handles are small

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, or just looking for a decent ping pong set for your game room table, this set from JP WinLook is a winner. It comes with four ping pong paddles (two red, two black), eight ping pong balls, and a portable case to carry everything in—a perk for travelers wanting to play some games on the road. The paddles have a five-layer wooden handle design, plus a flared handle to help with control while adding comfort.

The medium-soft sponge offers a nice amount of spin and speed but nothing too advanced for beginners. The included balls are ITTF-approved. We love that this set comes with four paddles rather than two, so more friends and family can get involved in a game. Plus, the carrying case is great for storage or taking the set on vacation.

Dimensions: 10.75 x 2.72 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material (blade and handle): Wood, rubber

Final Verdict

We love the Killerspin JET200 Table Tennis Paddle because it works well for all types of players and comes with a lightweight build that’s great for learning ping pong and refining your technique. The DHS 4002 is also a great option overall for its affordability coupled with its ability for spin and speed.

What to Look For When Buying Ping Pong Paddles

Skill Level

Try to find a paddle that works well for your skill level, whether that’s beginner, intermediate, or professional.

“Your paddle should be optimized for your own play style, allowing you to more easily play your most common shots (e.g loop, drive, block, chop),” says David Bruce, founder of Racket Insight and a table tennis coach and umpire.

“For beginners who aren't sure of their desired playstyle, I recommend opting for an all-around paddle that is strong on all types of shots.”For an all-around great paddle suitable for all levels of play, our best overall pick, the Killerspin JET200 Table Tennis Paddle is great, as is the STIGA Supreme Performance-Level Table Tennis Racket, our best under $100 pick.

For advanced players, consider our best professional option, the Joola Infinity Balance - Advanced Performance Ping Pong Paddle. It's regulation size and has seven layers of wood in the blade for optimal control and spin.

Blade

The paddle’s blade plays a big role in how it will handle and affect your game. If you like a quicker game, try to find something an option made with carbon fiber, as this will make things speedier. The STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket, our best under $100 pick, is a great choice.

Offensive players might want an all-wood blade, as seen in our best under $50 paddle, the Butterfly 401 Table Tennis Racket Set, as this helps absorb some of the ping-pong ball’s energy and allows you to have better control and spin.

Handle

Ping pong handles can be flared, straight, penhold, and anatomic. The most common handles are flared and straight, with flared being preferred for players who use their front hand and don’t switch up their grip. A straight handle might work better for someone who does switch up their grip, and straight handles are what advanced and professional players use more often.

All of the options on this list have flared handles, including the paddles in our best set, the JP WinLook Ping Pong Paddles Set. These are the most common and preferred grip for players of all levels. Therefore, they are universally used and available.

Rubber and Sponge

On the outside of the blade is the rubber and sponge, which affect the ball’s speed and spin. Rubbers are measured by tackiness and firmness, and sponges are measured by thickness. A tackier rubber, seen in our best professional option, the Joola Infinity Balance - Advanced Performance Ping Pong Paddle, will give you more spin, and a firmer rubber will give you speed.

Thicker sponges also give more speed, while a thin sponge gives you more control. The STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket, our best under $100 pick, has a 2 mm sponge, which is extremely common and a great measurement to look for when shopping.

FAQ

  • Are hard or soft ping pong paddles better?

    Hard and soft paddles both have their advantages and disadvantages and what works best for you might not work for another player. A softer paddle creates a “spring” effect on the ball, which maximizes spin, speed, and feel, according to Bruce.

    “It will take more practice to become proficient with a softer paddle as you'll need time to get used to the catapult effect.” On the other hand, a harder paddle helps you with control, as it's easy to predict what’s going to happen to the ball after contact with the paddle. Bruce recommends that beginners choose a paddle that is in the middle and then upgrade their paddle once they're clear on their playing style.

  • Are lighter ping pong paddles better?

    A lighter racket is great for anyone with wrist or mobility issues, but a lighter racket means slower shots, unless you can swing hard. Bruce recommends a paddle that weighs between 5.5 to 6.5 ounces for beginners.

    A heavier paddle allows for generating more power and speed. However, you don't want to be giving yourself an arm workout. Bruce recommends avoiding very heavy paddles. “Stick with the sweet spot around 6 ounces.”

  • Is a thick or thin sponge better for table tennis?

    Thicker sponges are softer, generate more spin, and impart more speed at the expense of control, according to Bruce. Ping pong sponges are normally between 1.5 mm and 2.6 mm thick, with the most common thicknesses being 1.8 mm, 2.0 mm and 2.2 mm. Some rubbers will say “max” thickness and this is because the sponge and topsheet can't be thicker than 4.0 mm. Bruce recommends a thicker rubber, as this will allow you to generate more spin/speed on your shots.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Amanda Ogle, who researched dozens of ping pong paddles and considered factors such as speed, spin, weight, ability level, and build. Amanda is a freelance writer covering an array of lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Southern Living, and more. She has been freelance for 7 years, and before that was an editor at American Way magazine.

Our Experts:

  • David Bruce, founder of Racket Insight and a table tennis coach and umpire
  • Julia Fields, associate editor for The Spruce

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