Robert is a professional journalist who’s also a freelance writer in his free time. He loves science-fiction stories and documentaries about UFO. Robert is also planning to write his own science-fiction novel in the nearest future.
Gary has been playing table tennis for as long as he remembers and is a winner of numerous regional and a few international tournaments. In his free time, Gary loves jogging and camping with his wife and two kids.
Last updated: December 20, 2020
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If you’re a table tennis enthusiast, you’ll know how important it is to use the right paddle. Winning depends on two things, your individual skill and whether or not you’re using the best table tennis rubber on your paddle. In today’s article we’ll be looking at five of the most popular table tennis rubbers to use for your paddle. Another focus point in our review will be the features that you should consider when picking your favorite table tennis rubber.
We’ll be looking at features like thickness of the rubber, which is important because it impacts ball speed. Then there will be features like the color, which matters because if you’re planning to compete professionally, there are color regulations to consider. Other necessary features to think about include speed, spin and sponge density. All of these are imperative because they determine the kind of game you’re going to have. In our handy buyers guide we will discuss the main product features as well as answer a few most frequently asked questions. The table tennis rubbers we’ll be reviewing are listed in the comparison table below.
This table tennis rubber is the first model in the Tenergy range and boasts spring sponge technology. This means the sponge itself maintains its amazing feel while at the same time generating a top speed and spin. This will give you the edge when it comes to playing offensively in play, close as well as far from the table.
This table tennis rubber is regarded as having the highest spin rating in the whole product range. If you play using the looping style, the power and spin from this rubber sheet will be a dream come true. It also makes it easier to hit those aggressive shots with a higher throw angle and still have your ball land on the table.
Regarded as the best table tennis rubber in the world, this brand is used by many World Table Tennis Champions. With a speed of 13.0 and a spin of 11.5, this is definitely worth checking out!
What we Liked Most: Our favorite feature of this product is the high tension produced by this rubber. Because of the increased tension, energy is transferred back into the ball. This feature makes the butterfly table tennis rubber so popular!
What we Thought Could be Better: The rubber can be a too bouncy for beginners.
Known as being one of the first brands to blend natural and synthetic fibers, this table tennis rubber has been around for more than two decades. This model is ideally suited to aggressive players who prefer fast techniques close to the table. With a sponge hardness of four, it’s definitely suited to beginners as well!
With a speed of 8.0 and a spin of 8.2, many table tennis players enjoy the capabilities offered by this rubber. The novice or intermediate players will easily be able to return a good ball with a beginner’s technique. Another advantage is the durability offered by the rubber. You’re guaranteed to have many hours of gaming with this quality product!
This is also regarded as the best table tennis rubber for a chopping style. It allows you to quite effectively chop a fast ball from your opponent, giving you the competitive edge.
What we Liked Most: We enjoy that this rubber can be paired with hard surface carbon blades. This gives a dramatic increase in power.
What we Thought Could be Better: This rubber can be too sticky for a novice player. It will impact they type of spin. A new player will require some time to adjust.
This table tennis rubber is ideally suited to players who prefer a fast, topspin attack style. In fact, some experts claim it’s the best topspin rubber table tennis rubber out there.
The distinctive combination of a NEO sponge with the Hurricane 3 rubber gives players stable and fast attacks. This drastically maximizes striking potential. Players who prefer a high speed, strong spin and low fast loop style, will adore the DHS NEO Hurricane 3.
This rubber and sponge combo is a firm favorite with the Chinese National Table Tennis team. The tacky rubber that gives you a controlled spin-offensive play might have something to do with that!
With the pips facing inwards, players get more controlled play. This makes it great for loop styles.
What we Liked Most: The special glutinosity creates a stable and a much higher speed arc. This makes countering your opponent’s fast balls much simpler.
What we Thought Could be Better: The rubber is slightly heavy. When you hit the ball hard using the edges, the rubber starts coming lose.
Regarded as the best offensive rubber for table tennis, this model is loved by players who enjoy the offensive playing style. With a speed of 12.5, the player is guaranteed to have a fast game.
The Red Power Sponge (RPS) technology increases the ball/paddle contact time. This means an aggressive topspin opening is done with much more precision. Expert players have the opportunity to feel the right amount of pressure at the table and away from it. Regarded as the best offensive rubber table tennis has to offer, this is a must have for any experienced player!
What we Liked Most: With this table tennis rubber we like the modification of the pip geometry. This gives the rubber more flexibility and therefore the ball also has extra energy. This makes a return serve to your opponent so much more powerful.
What we Thought Could be Better: The sponge is porous which means it doesn’t stick down properly. Since you’re only able to use water based glue, it doesn’t hold very well.
This choice of ping pong rubber is regarded by professional players as the best choice for competitions. For this reason, it’s USATT and ITTF approved for national and international play.
With its extra tacky Hybrid rubber, the Gambler Nine Ultra Tack is ideally suited to players who favor a sticky surface to hold the ball. It also has better pip geometry. For this reason it’s viewed by some as the best long pips table tennis rubber on the market.
With the increased tack players can yield a deadly spin and still create a fast shot. The sponge in 1.7 and 2.1 options increase versatility and spin.
What we Liked Most: With these table tennis rubbers, you can easily produce a fast and low arc bounce. It makes the overall spin so much better. With this in mind, this makes the Gambler Nine Ultra Tack the best table tennis rubber for spin and bounce!
What we Thought Could be Better: Despite advertising that it’s very tacky, we found the tackiness to be lacking. It could in fact be tackier for serves.
What we liked:
Generates strong topspin
What could be better:
Tackiness makes it hard
Not available in all areas
Things to Сonsider
To a novice table tennis player, one paddle looks pretty much like another. But, a little known fact to beginners is that there are actually many differences when it comes to paddles. The type of rubber and blade determine the speed and spin of the ball. Choosing the right type of table tennis rubber will enable you to create your own unique style when you play. Let’s have a look at the components of a table tennis paddle. This will give you some direction in the selection process.
Why do I need a table tennis rubber and what are its parts?
Are you venturing into the entertaining world of table tennis? Knowing what parts make up your paddle will also teach you what’s necessary and what can improve your game.
Sometimes the paddle is referred to as a bat, and sometimes a racket. But, whatever you decide to call it, it’s made of three basic components.
Let’s discuss each one as well as its importance:
Blade: The wooden part of a table tennis paddle is known as the blade. According to regulations, at least 85% must be made of natural wood. The flat area on the paddle is for striking the ball. The weight influences your choice of style. Different blades give players the opportunity to adapt their playing styles.
Rubbers: Rubbers are the “fabric” that covers each side of your paddle. This rubber not only provides various degrees of grip on the ball, but also helps you develop your table tennis style. Should you wish to enter competitions or play in tournaments, you will have to choose rubber that is approved by the IITF. To maintain the required level of consistency within the sport, one paddle side must have red rubber and the other black. Professional players use both sides to incorporate attacking and defending styles into their games.
Glue: Glue is used to attach the rubber to the blade. The required glue is a water based application which must be free of harmful chemicals and compounds. The rubber needs to remain firmly attached to the blade, so it’s important to follow instructions precisely to achieve this. It’s important to remember superglue is not a viable option. Different types of glue affect the speed of the ball, so you want to use a reputable brand. Ensure that the best glue for table tennis rubber is used to avoid damage to your rubber. Always have some glue handy as you never know when your paddles’ rubber may come loose.
Features to consider when choosing a table tennis rubber
Using a table tennis paddle with the proper features to suit your skill set will go a long way to improving your game. Whether you are a looper, fast spinner or prefer a combination of styles, there’s definitely a table tennis rubber out there for you.
Let’s look at few features that you should consider when you’re making a list of your favorites. Studying the different features and the results they yield will go a long way towards improving your game.
There are three main types of table tennis rubbers. Let’s have a look at what they are and why they’re important:
Inverted rubber: This type of rubber is the most common used in pre-assembled tennis rackets. The pips face toward the blade. This means the side touching the ball will be smooth. This kind of rubber always has a sponge under the surface. The thickness of the sponge impacts the speed and control. The popular Butterfly Tenergy 05, reviewed on our list is a good example of the inverted rubber type. This is also the type of table tennis rubber that a beginner should start with.
Short-pips rubber: Having a rubber with short pips means the pip will point outward. This causes the pips to have direct contact with the ball. A player who uses this type of rubber does so to cut the spin strategy from the game which is great for defense. This technique is usually adopted by more experienced players.
Long pips rubber: This type of rubber has a long pip pointing outward from the surface. This will contact the ball directly, and the long pip will produce an unpredictable spin toward the opponent. This is very hard for your opponent to predict and therefore counter. This is also a style famously used by players with some experience.
When it comes to choosing the best ping pong rubber sizes, it’s important to realize that thicker sponges result in better play for offensive styles. This would be 2.0mm or more. Examples of this on our review list include the Gambler Nine Ultra Tack with a 2.1mm size and the DHS NEO Hurricane 3 with a size of 2.1mm and 2.2mm.
Rubber sizes in the 1.9mm and 1.5mm range are used to create more control. The DHS NEO Hurricane 3 on our review list has a starting size range of 1.7mm and 1.9mm.
Sponge density is important because it effects how deep the ball sinks into the sponge. Thicker sponges are more effective for players who prefer a topspin style. Thicker sponges are also good for blocking and defending.
Medium sponges are suited to near-to-the table play. Thinner sponges are best for defending styles where heavy spin is the play of choice. The sponge catches the ball and slows it down. How much it slows down depends on the density on the sponge. The Gambler Nine Ultra Tack on our ping pong rubber review list has a sponge hardness of 6.0.
Forehand and backhand rubbers
Forehand and backhand rubbers refer to the different ways a player hits the ball with their back and forehands. When you hit the ball with your forehand, you hit the ball harder and with a hard stroke. A backhand hit is much shorter with a quicker stroke. This is what is referred to as “hard rubber.”
Experienced players often select hard rubber for the forehand side and softer rubber for the backhand side. The technique is different for both, so it would be a particular preference according to your style.
Experts recommend beginners use the Butterfly Tenergy 05 which is listed in our review list and a very popular ping pong paddle rubber.
Rubber sheets have different ratings of speed. Speed is generated by the thickness of the sponge which is measured in millimeters (mm). A thicker sponge stores a higher amount of energy.
If you’re a new player, the best size will be between 2.0mm and 2.2mm. Our review list features the DHS NEO Hurricane 3 with a speed of 2.1mm and 2.2mm. The Gambler Nine Ultra Tack also has a speed of 2.1mm. Both of these ping pong rubbers are ideally suited to beginners.
Spin refers to the action that allows a player to hit a table tennis ball hard whether the ball is low or below the net and still land it on the table. Different types of rubber affect the spin of the ball. More experienced players prefer rubber sheets with long pips which reverse the opponents spin.
Simply put, as a beginner you’re looking for a spin with a lower number. A lower number tends to provide more spins at lower speeds. An example of this on a review list is the YASAKA Mark V with a spin of 8.2. For more experienced players, the DHS NEO Hurricane 3 has a spin of 12.0 and is regarded as the best ping pong rubber for spin.
Control is not something that is actually measured on your table tennis paddle. It’s associated with the skill of the player. Simply put, control is the opposite of speed and spin. This means as speed and spin go up, control must go down.
Defensive players usually use paddles that offer higher control. Players who prefer offensive styles make use of a combination of high a spin and speed. DHS NEO Hurricane 3 on our review list offers players better control in their game.
Color Regulations and ITTF approval
Prior to 1986 professional table tennis players used two paddles. One paddle would have two sides of black rubber, and the other would have two red sides. This meant that to have a different style of play they would require two different paddles. Players were not able to have two different rubbers on one paddle. The player would then alternate between paddles during the game. It was near impossible for opponents to anticipate the type of ball a player was sending their way.
In 1986, the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) changed the rules to create more consistency in the game. This means that each paddle has a one red side and one black side. Players can still select the type of rubber they want to use for each side, but at least the opponent has some idea of the type of ball that is being sent their way.
For instance, they will know if it’s a loop or a fast spin because of the color of the paddle the player is choosing. Rubbers that aren’t either red or black are not in accordance with the ITTF regulations.
It’s important to establish which table tennis rubber will suit your skill level. That will ultimately determine the right one for you. All the table tennis rubbers that we have reviewed are below $100 in price. The DHS NEO Hurricane 3 usually retails for less than $20. It should then be relatively easy to find the best ping pong rubber type in your price range, even when shopping on a budget.
Deciding who the best manufacturers of table tennis rubber are depends on whether you’re going to play professionally or just as a hobby. Professional table tennis players agree, one of the best to use is the Butterfly Tenergy 05. You can read all about this exceptional brand in our product review.
Experts agree there are two options to choose from if you’re a beginner:
Butterfly Sriver: This is one of the most popular ping pong rubbers used by new players. It offers a superb combination of spin, control and speed.
Yasaka Mark V: The sponge thickness on this rubber is 1.5mm which lets you learn the skillful art of chopping. This gives you better control of the ball. For more detailed information on this product, refer to our product review.
Maintaining the rubber on your table tennis rubber is actually very easy. All you need is a standard kitchen sponge and warm water. Simply dampen the sponge and gently wipe the surface of the rubber until the dirt particles oosen. Don’t scrub as this will damage the rubber.
We hope our detailed table tennis rubber reviews have been helpful in narrowing down your favorites. If you’re still undecided, let’s recap our top three.
Our editor’s choice, the Butterfly Tenergy 05, which earns itself an impressive 10 on our scale, is everything you’ll ever need in a table tennis paddle rubber. Our favorite point about this rubber is the extra tension produced by this quality rubber. Increased tension causes energy to be transferred back into the ball, making it perfect for high spin.
Our best value pick, the YASAKA Mark V, scored a 9.8 on our rating scale. We enjoyed that surface carbon blades can be paired with this rubber. This gives a huge boost to the power of this rubber.
Our third favorite is the DHS NEO Hurricane 3, which we rated at 9.6. This rubber is regarded as the best table tennis rubber for looping.
We hope you’ll use the information in our table tennis rubber guide to consider all the features that need to be reviewed before making your decision. With all this data available, you’ll be able to purchase the best table tennis rubber for your paddles. You’ll be playing like a pro in no time!