Jim Yang is our site founder. As a pro ping pong player in the past, he's also our main expert consultant. In his spare time, Jim teaches kids table tennis, goes hiking, and read more
Last updated: July 17, 2023
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Choosing the right backhand rubber is a crucial decision for serious ping pong players. The backhand rubber you choose should suit your playing style and give you the performance you need to compete at your best.
For a quick overview, watch this short video in which our expert Jim shares his top three favorites:
When shopping for the best backhand rubber, make sure you consider its class. If you find yourself tending toward more defensive gameplay, you should choose one specifically categorized in that class. Also don’t forget about the speed, and if you’re just starting out, go for a lower speed so you can get used to the game. Higher speeds won’t do you any good if you can’t control or don’t know how to use them properly yet. After reviewing 26 different models we came up with a list of 6 best ones, and the Butterfly Sriver just tops them all.
"This rubber requires more control and experience to wield properly but is an excellent choice if you have a lot of experience. If you can master it, it will be very difficult for your opponents to play against you."
This is one of the most popular rubbers on the market— and has been since its release in 1967! This rubber is affordable and is very reliable, although it has a more retro feel than some of the modern options out there. This is the best butterfly rubber for blocking.
This is a great choice for someone who wants a truly classic feel from their backhand rubber. It’s great for beginners but will also serve you well if you’re a more experienced table tennis player.
What are its best features?
We love how much control this offered us during gameplay. We really felt like we had a handle on our paddle that allowed us to execute perfect shots and really get in the groove with the game. We also love that the product itself is very high quality and really feels like you're playing with some high-end equipment. We think this offers more control than some of the other options on the list, although it sacrifices some speed and spin.
What could be improved?
This backhand rubber hasn't changed much since its debut in the late 60s, and as such, it offers a totally different feel to some of the more modern options on this list. We didn't love that there wasn't as much spin with this rubber, but all in all, that isn't a huge loss— when the spin doesn't come from the product, it has to come from you instead, which helps you hone your technique.
This rubber is beloved by many table tennis players and has proven itself time and time again in professional and casual matches alike. This greatly enhances your short game and makes blocking a breeze. This is the best butterfly rubber for the backhand and the best backhand rubber with tibhar mxp.
This is a great choice for someone who wants a backhand rubber with a high spin rating and for someone who is looking to improve their short game in a casual setting.
Why did it make our list?
We’ve been a huge fan of this rubber since it first came to market in the early 2000s. We love that this rubber offers great tension and has a high spin rating, both of which make your short game a lot better. It’s really easy and almost mindless to block with this rubber, and it’s great for medium distance looping as well. Pushing is pretty easy with this rubber as well.
What is not ideal about it?
This rubber really excels at blocking and looping, but it isn't great for much besides that. We didn't love that this rubber is not a very versatile choice for a wider range of gameplay styles. We also found that serve receive was pretty difficult at times with this rubber, largely due to the high spin rating. While that high rating lent itself to positive things in the short game, receiving serves is difficult because this rubber is sensitive to opponents' spin.
A good medium-soft rubber that allows you to block easily. This is a versatile option and can be used well for forehand or backhand, which might be a pro for some people.
This is a great choice for beginners who are looking for a versatile rubber that can perform for both backhand and forehand play styles. It is also good for more advanced players who are specifically looking for a backhand rubber that offers a lot of spins and a great ball grip.
What are its best features?
We loved how easy it was to produce a lot of spins and really properly grip the ball during gameplay, especially when used as a proper backhand grip. It's good if you like to control the loop, and allows for soft touch shots, short blocks, drop shots, and more with relative ease and finesse. It's a great choice for lifting backspin balls and is also relatively durable. Definitely, the right choice if you consider yourself a controlled attacker.
What could be improved?
If you're not used to executing long pushes, this is a tough rubber to learn with because it produces really spinny pushes in this setting. This is also not the most durable rubber we tested, and you could only get about a solid six months of good hard use out of it before needing to swap it out for new rubber. It's also not the fastest rubber we tested but is still pretty great all around.
This rubber features some of the softest and longest pimples available on the market. If you’re unfamiliar with the effect that pimple length and hardness have on gameplay, longer and softer pimples allow you to produce spins that are very deceptive for your opponent, making them difficult to block or defend. That being said, learning to use and control this rubber is difficult.
This is the best choice for an intermediate to advanced table tennis player and is not recommended for a beginner (it would be unlikely to be very effective for a beginner). This is good if you’re looking for something that will produce effects that are difficult for your opponent to predict.
What makes it stand out?
We like how many spins this rubber offered and also love how easy it was to fool our opponents once we really got the hang of it. It's great for chopping, and you can also easily alternate between hits and rolls as well. This rubber also offers a great amount of spin manipulation, and it's easy to produce a lot of spins or no spin if you really learn to control your swing.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
If you aren't an experienced player, then this rubber will be extremely difficult to get the hang of. It causes a lot of confusing things to happen— or so it seems— when you first start playing with it. After a while and some fiddling, you can start to understand how various shots and maneuvers are affected by the rubber, but you need to be patient and willing to lose a few matches first.
This is one of the slowest rubbers on the market and is also pretty hard, creating a lot of spin on serves, chops, and pushes. This rubber excels for defensive gameplay and can also be used for attack shots when the user is skilled enough.
This is best for someone who wants to emphasize their defensive gameplay and who has a good eye for controlling spin when necessary. This rubber is ideal if you prefer the chopping defensive style and can generate a lot of friction and drag.
Why are we impressed?
We loved how great this rubber was for our defensive gameplay. It generated a lot of spin on our serves and pushes and was similarly spin-heavy when we chopped as well. It was possible to use topspin attacks if you really applied yourself and had some experience under your belt, but it would be challenging to control if you were a beginner.
What negatives must you be aware of?
We didn’t love that it took a while for us to get the hang of using this rubber, and we didn’t love that you needed a lot of experience to really feel like you knew what you were doing. It was incredibly slow, which was nice in some instances but overall didn’t align with our preferred play style. It produces a lot of topspin at lower speeds, even when serving.
This rubber is fast and offers great spin. It works well for any skill level and is relatively durable— lasting up to 8 months before needing to be replaced. Spin and control are excellent with this model, and grip is easy as well.
This is great for someone who wants a rubber that will perform well regardless of player skill level. This is well balanced and is easy to control and get the hang of. If you’re more skilled, you can execute more advanced techniques with ease using this rubber.
What do we love it for?
We love how fast and spinny this rubber was, making it an excellent choice for close or mid-table play while maintaining great control and ease of handling. Looping and hitting are easy to execute with this rubber, and overall we found it to be a great choice for offensive gameplay. The throw angle is medium for this rubber and is fairly intuitive. Great for speedy smashes and control over opponent shots.
What were we disappointed with?
One of the things we didn't love about this rubber was the fact that it was pretty difficult to get a good grip on a plastic ball using the rubber. It's not a great choice if your play style is more defensive and you don't enjoy smashing or flat hitting. The top sheet durability is also a bit lacking and would need to be replaced more quickly if you were executing a lot of heavy topspin hits.
Choosing the right backhand rubber is important for maximizing your skill and getting the most out of your table tennis game. Using the wrong rubber can affect your gameplay more than you realize, which is why you should always pay close attention to the rubber you use on your paddle. Forehand rubbers should be very hard and possibly tacky, while backhand rubbers are better when they are softer. This buying guide will help you find the very best backhand rubber for table tennis.
What Do You Need Backhand Rubber For?
Backhand rubbers and forehand rubbers are not created equal, and you need a different type depending on your playstyle preference. One of the reasons that these are not interchangeable is because your forehand shots employ a harder and longer stroke than your backhand stroke.
When choosing the proper backhand rubber for your game, you should consider a few key factors that have a huge impact on your playing
Trusted SourceChronicle of a Changing CityTHE ROOSEVELT ISLAND TABLE TENNIS PROGRAM was the idea of George Braithwaite, who has lived on the island for 35 years and was inducted into the Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 1989. Mr. Braithwaite, 64, known as “The Chief,” played on the United States team that fostered “Ping-Pong diplomacy” with China in 1971. This month, he used his diplomatic skills to broker an agreement to create a Ping-Pong program at Sportspark, a gym near the tram. When Mr. Brathwaite, who has a taste for dapper warm-up suits, walked into the gym on Wednesday night, the clack-clacking from a half-dozen games stopped, and the players watched reverently as he showed off his deadly serve, vicious volleys and fast-twitch top-spin returns. “We want to see what kind of talent we have on this island,” he said.
and on your ability to improve. Some of the most important factors that we looked at and compared were class, style, speed, spin, hardness, and material. All of these can have a big impact on your paddle and your strokes, so you shouldn’t overlook any of them.
The class of a backhand rubber basically refers to the situations that that particular model excels in. Some of the backhand rubbers on this list, for example, are classified as defensive rubbers, while others are all around. You should choose the class style based on your playstyle preference.
If you find yourself tending toward more defensive gameplay, you should choose one specifically categorized in that class.
The style describes the style of material used, especially for the surface or rubber top sheet. The Yasaka Mark V, for example, blends natural and synthetic rubbers and is one of the very first models to do that during manufacturing. Comparatively, the Andro Rasanter R42 is a medium soft sponge style, meaning that the sponge beneath the rubber top sheet has a hardness of medium-soft, making it great for defensive gameplay and backhand strokes.
Another factor to consider is speed. Some of the backhand rubbers are faster than others, and the amount of speed you want will depend largely on how you like to play and what you’re comfortable with and able to control. Some people equate high speeds with being better when it comes to many sports, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
If you’re newer to the sport and don’t have much experience, you’ll definitely need to consider something with a lower speed. Higher speed rubbers don’t offer any benefits if you don’t have the control or technique to back it up.
Spin is greatly affected by a lot of other factors, but namely is affected by the hardness of the sponge, which we will talk about next. If the sponge you’re using is extremely hard, it will offer a lot of spin at high speeds, but not as much for low speeds. The same is true in the opposite circumstance. When your sponge has a lower hardness rating, it will offer a lot of spin at lower speeds, but not as much at higher speeds.
The sponge hardness is how firm the sponge on your backhand rubber is. If the hardness rating is low, the corresponding sponge will be soft (which is typically a better choice for backhand rubbers). If the hardness rating is high, it is a harder sponge and is probably not a great choice for backhand strokes. When the hardness rating is low, it also means that the sponge is less dense, and therefore produces a lot of spin at low speeds.
The Butterfly Tenergy 05, which was our Premium Pick, is the best energy rubber for the backhand and is soft enough to offer spin at low speeds and still maintain a lot of control. The XIOM Vega Def, which was our best backhand rubber for blocking, is a lot harder, which makes it more difficult to control, especially for beginners.
There has long been a debate about the difference in performance between red and black rubber for table tennis, and for a good reason. Despite the fact that the red and black rubbers are both made using the same sponge hardness and density, there is a difference between the two. Namely, this difference is that the red rubber is a lot less tacky than the black rubber. This has to do with the fact that different materials are used during the manufacturing process.
On average, red rubbers typically spin less and are a bit faster, which is one of the reasons that professionals tend to go for black rubber on their backhand and red rubber on their forehand. One notable exception to this, however, is that professional Chinese players
Trusted SourceCan the US and China ping-pong their way to peace again? - CNNPlayers from the two nations will join in the mixed doubles competition in the World Table Tennis Championships in Houston this week to mark a milestone in sporting and diplomatic history. Fifty years ago, Chinese leader Mao Zedong invited the US table tennis team to China. The series of friendly matches that followed helped break the ice ahead of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s groundbreaking and secret trip to China months later — which led to President Richard Nixon’s opening to the then-reclusive giant and ultimately put it on the path to today’s rising superpower status.
tend to prefer black rubber on their forehands.
One of the best ways to keep your rubber in good shape is by making sure you replace it as soon as you need to. Certain strokes styles of playing can wear out a rubber more quickly than others, and this makes it crucial that you monitor the condition of your rubber and make sure to adjust and swap it out if necessary. Shots with a lot of topspin, for example, tend to cause more wear and tear on rubber than other types of shots, so if your playstyle tends to favor topspin shots, you may need to observe your rubber condition more carefully and thoroughly than you otherwise might. You should also make sure to clean your rubber on a regular basis, which will prevent the dust from altering the surface of your rubber. This is easy enough to do and just requires simply wiping down the rubber with a damp cloth.
Yes, you can easily change the rubber on your table tennis racket by yourself. To do this, you’ll need to be sure to have a replacement rubber and the recommended glue adhesive on hand to do the job correctly. To change the rubber, you’ll simply need to peel back the old rubber from the edge of your racket, pulling from one side to the other rather than top to bottom. Then, coat the back of the new rubber sheet with a thin and even layer of glue. Before pressing it onto the racket, you should make sure the glue is slightly dry and only tacky to the touch. Once it reaches this state, apply it to the racket and use a roller (like a rolling pin) to firmly roll the rubber onto the racket.
While there were a ton of great options to choose from during our research, we managed to sum it up to these six choices for you. Of these, our favorites were the Butterfly Sriver, which was our Editor’s Choice, the Butterfly Tenergy 05, which was our Premium Pick, and the Andro Rasanter R42, which was Best Value. Each of these three choices was superb, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. The Butterfly Sriver, which is the best butterfly rubber for blocking, is flexible and classic. The Butterfly Tenergy 05 is great for enhancing your short game, and the Andro Rasanter R42 is great for offensive play. Whichever one is right for you, we hope you enjoyed our list of the best backhand rubbers on the market today.
Chronicle of a Changing City
THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND TABLE TENNIS PROGRAM was the idea of George Braithwaite, who has lived on the island for 35 years and was inducted into the Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 1989. Mr. Braithwaite, 64, known as “The Chief,” played on the United States team that fostered “Ping-Pong diplomacy” with China in 1971. This month, he used his diplomatic skills to broker an agreement to create a Ping-Pong program at Sportspark, a gym near the tram. When Mr. Brathwaite, who has a taste for dapper warm-up suits, walked into the gym on Wednesday night, the clack-clacking from a half-dozen games stopped, and the players watched reverently as he showed off his deadly serve, vicious volleys and fast-twitch top-spin returns. “We want to see what kind of talent we have on this island,” he said.
Can the US and China ping-pong their way to peace again? - CNN
Players from the two nations will join in the mixed doubles competition in the World Table Tennis Championships in Houston this week to mark a milestone in sporting and diplomatic history. Fifty years ago, Chinese leader Mao Zedong invited the US table tennis team to China. The series of friendly matches that followed helped break the ice ahead of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s groundbreaking and secret trip to China months later — which led to President Richard Nixon’s opening to the then-reclusive giant and ultimately put it on the path to today’s rising superpower status.