7 Best Ping Pong Paddles for Beginners – That’s a Good Start!

Our detailed comparison of the best ping pong paddles for beginners available in the market today. Pros, cons and FAQ.
By
reviewed
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: June 29, 2021
PingPongAcademy is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
PingPongAcademy is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

One thing most beginners are never aware of is that having the best ping pong paddle makes the whole difference between a loss and a win. You enjoying the game is dependent on the quality of your paddle. Even your techniques and playing style are affected by your paddle. There are hundreds of paddles out there to choose from that even an experienced player can get overwhelmed.

Luckily, we rounded up the best ping pong paddles for beginners to help you make the best informed choices. Some of the crucial features we considered in our review include: blade construction, rubbers, performance ratings, and grip. These features determine the quality and performance of the paddles. For instance, if you want long lasting performance from a paddle, you must give a thorough consideration to its construction and performance ratings.

Top 7 Ping Pong Paddles for Beginners Review 2021

Features
  • Speed: 65
  • Spin: 52
  • Control: 80
  • Blade: 5-ply wood blade with 2mm sponge
  • Handle: concave Italian composite

Other features: 0.3 lbs, drive inverted rubbers with ACS technology, ITTF approved

This is a wonderful combination of quality and affordability. Its performance level is not limited to beginners and it comes in myriad sizes so anyone can use it.

Made with only 5 layers of plywood, the STIGA APEX is one of the best lightweight rackets on the market. You will be able to play match after match without getting bogged down by it.

The STIGA Apex is a perfect paddle for any player looking to improve their control. This is because it utilizes the STIGA ACS proprietary technology that improves control drastically. Also, thanks to this technology, your speed and precision will be better.

The surface of the racket is approved by the ITTF. This should give you all the confidence when practicing as it is something you can use in a tournament. What’s more, the rubber surface is inverted to allow you more control over the ball.

Surprisingly, this paddle delivers a crazy spin for something within its price-range.

Its handle is made with concave Italian composite that offers a comfortable yet firm grip. It is also incredibly durable.

What stands out?

  • This STIGA paddle checks all the boxes as a beginner ping pong paddle. It is affordable, lightweight, slow and controllable. It even employs a technology to help you improve your control as a beginner. It helps you focus on the most important thing as a ping pong beginner; to increase precision in your shots and develop the best stroke techniques.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Some users have complained that the paddle is prone to bending after a couple of uses.
Features
  • Speed: 6.0
  • Spin: 3.0
  • Control: 7.0
  • Blade: 3 layers of Ayous plywood and 2 outside layers of Koto wood, 2mm sponge
  • Handle:patented Slopehand  handle; 3 layers of Ayous plywood and 2 layers of Koto wood

Other features: 1.6 mm of high-end inverted rubber, high-quality case

This is the kind of paddle that you can grow with as an absolute beginner. It is suitable for all skill levels even a professional can make the most out of it.

The racket comes in an ergonomic design that makes it easy to use for hours on end. You don’t have to worry about hand fatigue. Its smooth handle is fitted with high-quality sponge for an ultra-comfortable experience. It also offers a firm grip.

Its rugged build offers a premium ping pong experience and long-term performance. It is made with 5 layers of wood; the middle layers being plywood and the exterior layers being Koto. The two woods offer a great weight balance that allows you to gain control and speed with every hit.

The spin and speed offered by the Airblades is also pretty impressive thanks to its high-end inverted rubber that allows tremendous control.

Another thing that sets the Airblades apart is the high-quality case it comes with. You can easily carry it around from one game to the other without reducing its quality.

Why are we impressed?

  • With a lifetime warranty, you can trust these paddles to offer you superb quality and utility. The paddle offers solid durability and an ergonomically smooth design for your comfort. As a beginner, you will quickly learn to master your spin and gain extreme control with this paddle.

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • Some users claim that the paddle makes some funny hollow sound when it hits the ball.
RELATED: 8 Best Ping Pong Paddles under $100: Perfect Grip and Speed
Features
  • Speed: 80
  • Spin: 77
  • Control: 82
  • Blade: 5-ply extra light blade, 2mm sponge
  • Handle:concave Italian composite

Other features:  ITTF approved inverted tournament rubber, Crystal Technology

We couldn’t get enough of STIGA and that’s because they have a wide range of high-quality rackets at pocket-friendly price points. It is a fantastic choice for beginners who want to get the hang of the game and younger children.

The STIGA Titan comes in a lightweight build that anyone can easily handle for long periods. It features a 5-ply concave Italian composite handle that offers a secure and comfortable grip.

Its ITTF approved inverted tournament rubber will make you feel like a pro or allow you to dream because the paddle qualifies to be used in a tournament.

The paddle is designed for optimal speed and spin thanks to STIGA’s crystal technology that hardens the blade’s surface and results in increased speed.

The ultra-light Balsa wood and center-ply on the paddle also contributes to its incredible speed and reaction time. Besides that, it offers unparalleled longevity.

Anyone looking to upgrade their paddle as a beginner should consider this as their prime choice as it has good ratings that will improve your game instantly.

What are its best features?

  • Although the paddle doesn’t offer enough power, it offers everything you need to practice placement and technique which is all that matters for a beginner. You won’t have to dig too deep into your pockets for a good grip that allows better controls and spins.

What could be improved?

  • The paddle’s light weight is a hindrance for users looking for power.
Features
  • Speed: 80
  • Spin: 80
  • Control: 85
  • Blade: 5 ply-wood with 2.1mm sponge
  • Handle: flared – concave at the center

Other features:  red and black Yuki 2.1 mm table tennis rubbers, free racket case

This is one of the best upgrade options out there. It offers excellent value for money with everything included in the set. The tournament approved ping pong paddle is perfect for anyone looking to hit hard ping pong shots with spin.

The racket comes in a fairly lightweight body. At least you won’t be getting sore arms after a game. It also features a flared handle grip that reduces slipperiness and offers great comfort.

What’s more, it features a 5-ply-wood blade that helps improve your strokes’ power. The sticky rubbers on either side of the paddle will allow you to have the most impressive hits of your liking.

The racket is designed to help you hone your strokes further while adding speed and spin to your shots.

Moreover, the racket comes with a cover case that will help protect it from heat and sweat thus increasing its longevity.

What makes it stand out?

  • The Butterfly 401 is best suited for intermediate players who have gotten control of their strokes and know how to play on offense and still have a good control of the ball’s speed. An amateur wouldn’t benefit much from it.

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • The paddle’s handle is a little shorter compared to other ping pong paddles and that could be an issue for people with bigger hands.
5.

Killerspin JET200 Ping Pong PaddleBest Recreational Paddle

Features
  • Speed: 6.0
  • Spin: 7.0
  • Control: 8.5
  • Blade: 5-layer wood
  • Handle:flared, reinforced grip

Other features: Jet Basic rubbers, flexible PVC tape, gift-worthy storage case

The Killerspin Jet series is to die for and this particular model is the best you can get your hands on as a recreational player. It is perfect for learning basic strokes and perfecting ball control.

The paddle boasts superior construction. Its blade is made of 5 layers of wood and Jet basic rubbers for solid durability. The rubbers come in black and blue instead of the common red and black. A little uniqueness never hurt nobody.

It also has flexible PVC tape around it for added protection.

In addition, the paddle’s quality construction aims to provide equal-weight distribution that both skilled and amateur players can handle. It will not only give you a superior feel but will also help level up your game by making precise placements and hard-hitting shots.

The racket comes in a convenient portable size, thus perfect for playing on the go.

It is designed to offer a great balance between speed and control. You can quickly grow from a recreational layer to a serious competitor.

The paddle distinguishes itself with the personalized memory book in which you can record scores, write personalized messages or collect signatures. It also comes with a gift-worthy storage case.

What stands out?

  • Any recreational ping pong player can make the most out of this racket. Though its rubbers are not ITTF approved, you can get the best playing experience with this paddle.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Anyone looking to become a tournament player would be forced to but another paddle. Also, some users have complained that the racket is somewhat slow and uninspiring.
Features
  • Speed: 92
  • Spin: 88
  • Control: 92
  • Blade: 5 ply Limba and Ayous + 2 layers of soft carbon; 2.1mm sponge
  • Handle:not specified

Other features: ITTF/USATT approved Gambler Wraith rubber, single blue Gambler Competitor paddle cover

Gambler is a popular brand known for its dynamic line of paddles made to match everyone’s style of playing. This professional model is made for spin players who take their game seriously. It also offers excellent value for money because it is just as good as some high-end models.

The Gambler paddle is durably built with 5 ply Limba and Kukui wood. It also has 2 layers of Thermopoly carbon that enhance its speed and stabilization. The thermopoly carbon is its most distinguishing feature as it offers a sweet spot with an extra kick that only carbon can provide.

Another interesting thing about the paddle is that it is professionally glued with edge tape so that you can replace the rubbers when they are worn. The replacement rubbers are available at affordable prices in the USA pro shop.

You can use the paddle in National or International events as it is ITTF approved. It also has mildly aggressive tackiness that emphasizes on controlled attack.

Coming in at 176 grams, the paddle is incredibly lightweight for both an amateur and professional player. This makes it a perfect option who uses spin in their game to achieve the offensive way of winning points.

Why did it make our list?

  • This paddle has all the rave on the internet for being a decent ping pong paddle for the money. Its high-quality hand lacquered blade and replaceable rubber set it apart from others within its range.

What is not ideal about it?

  • So many users have complained that the paddle’s blade is slow. However, as a beginner, speed should not be your top priority.
7.

Palio Expert 2 Table Tennis BatBest for the Advanced Beginner

Features
  • Speed: 6.0
  • Spin: 9.0
  • Control: 10
  • Blade: all wood
  • Handle: flared

Other features: ITTF approved 2.0mm Palio CJ8000 rubbers

Palio is another popular brand with high-quality and affordable beginner ping pong paddles. The Palio Expert 2 is the ultimate paddle for the advanced beginner. It offers a great chance to generate spin as well as a decent speed. This makes it the best option if you want to improve fast.

The most distinguishing feature on this paddle is its premium Chinese rubbers. The rubbers are remarkably sticky and will allow for massive amounts of spin to be generated. Since they are custom built, you can buy them separately and you can even replace them when they are worn.

The paddle is designed to offer a great balance between speed and control. You will have more than enough power to send the ball to the other side effortlessly while maintaining safety and precision in your shots.

With a flared handle, you can forget about sore hands or fatigue after long periods of playing. You also get a carrying case at no additional cost to protect the paddle from dust and water so that it can retain its superb capabilities for a long time.

The racket is ITTF approved; you can play with it anywhere nationally or internationally.

What do we love it for?

  • There isn’t a better beginner ping pong paddle you can get to smooth the learning curve and help you get better results faster. If you are learning to spin and want to continue with it as your main playing style, this should be your go-to racket. It is also reasonably priced.

What were we disappointed with?

  • Nothing could be better with this paddle. It has everything a ping pong beginner needs from a paddle.

Things to Consider

There a myriad of little things that you must consider before choosing a ping pong paddle as a beginner. This segment contains all these crucial aspects, from what makes a ping pong paddle great for a beginner to how to choose the best one out of the multiple options available.

What makes a ping pong paddle great for a beginner?

7 Best Ping Pong Paddles for Beginners - That's a Good Start!Here are some of the things that will make a ping pong paddle great for you as a beginner:

Budget

A ping pong paddle for a beginner should be way cheaper than a model for professionals. You actually don’t have to buy the paddle your favorite professional uses. At least not yet. You can find a pretty decent paddle at a reasonable price and it would offer all you need as a beginner player.

Lightweight

As a beginner, you don’t want to be burdened by a heavy paddle. You will experience fatigue and soreness if you practice for longer periods. Straining your arms might make you give up early before you start enjoying the game or just affect your performance generally.

Easy to Use

A beginner-friendly ping pong paddle is easy to use and familiarize with. It is designed to help you learn ping pong techniques easily without suffering any learning curve.

Spin, Speed and Control

For you to master the basic ping pong techniques, the paddle should be able to offer decent speed and control. Control is especially crucial for an amateur. Choose a paddle with an ergonomically designed handle that provides a good feel and balance to your hands. If you have a secure grip on your paddle, you will have better control of it, which in turn will improve your skill.

How to choose the best ping pong paddle for a beginner player

7 Best Ping Pong Paddles for Beginners - That's a Good Start!When pondering over ping pong paddles it is helpful to consider a few crucial aspects. One is knowing you playing style and skill level. You also need to know the parts of the paddle so that you can choose one that suits your playing needs with ease. Here are some of the aspects that you must consider:

Performance ratings

The first thing you will notice when looking for a ping pong paddle is a ratings system. There is no standardized rating system for ping pong paddles. The ratings are usually given by the manufacturer.

Most manufacturers will provide clear performance levels for their paddles which will be numbers on a scale ranging from 10 up to 100. Speed, control and spin are the most commonly displayed performance criteria. It is almost impossible to compare the performance of different paddle brands just by looking at these numbers.

Instead of looking at these numbers, experts recommend that you look at the detailed specifications separately. You can compare the weight, handle, blade and rubber thickness of the paddles to get one that suits your needs.

Size and weight

The dimensions of the paddle should be a top consideration for any beginner. Choose a paddle that fits your hand well and wouldn’t weigh you down. For instance, if you have big hands, you don’t want to go for a paddle with a short handle. You want to choose a paddle with a reasonable weight. You shouldn’t feel fatigued or sore after long hours of playing.

The size and weight of a paddle is mainly determined by the materials used to make its blade.

Construction materials

Paddles are made of different kinds of materials. The most common material used to make the blade is wood. Most blades consist of several layers of wood. The lightweight models are mostly made from plywood.

Paddles also consist of sponges, between the rubber and the blade. Sponges come in 3 ratings: thick, medium and thin. A thicker sponge makes a faster attacking paddle while a thinner one makes a great defensive style paddle.

Rubber is another material used to make paddles. Rubber is rated according to tackiness and firmness. A soft tacky rubber produces more spin thus great for an attacking game. Firm rubber produces less sin thus great for an attacking game.

Type of rubber

The side of the blade that hits the blade must be covered with rubber evenly. There are 2 main types of rubber used: sandwich rubber and ordinary pimpled rubber. The pip or pimpled rubber can be natural or synthetic. It should have evenly distributed pimples and they can face in so that you hit the ball with them or out so that they face the sponge.

The sandwich rubber is a single layer of cellular rubber covered with a single layer of ordinary pimpled rubber. The thickness and density of the cellular rubber (sponge rubber) affects the speed of the paddle. The thicker the sponge the more the speed and the thinner the sponge the more control it offers. As a beginner, you’d be better off with the paddle with more control.

You can also have a 2-faced rubber which consists of 2 different rubber coatings on each side of your paddle.

Essentially, if you are buying anything rather than a low-budget addle, look out for the ITTF logo on the rubber. This means that the rubber on the paddle meets the ITTF competition standards. It will save you the pain of going through the whole rubber technicalities. Another thing that really matters is the color of the rubber. It should be black one side and red on the other so that your opponent can be able to tell which side you are using.

You can play with the paddles that have red and green colors like the Killerspin JET200 Ping Pong Paddle, or black and black on both sides, only you wouldn’t be allowed to enter any competition with it.

Grip/Handles

7 Best Ping Pong Paddles for Beginners - That's a Good Start!The grip or handle of a ping pong paddle is attached to its blade. Different addles come with different types of handles. It can be short or long, flared or penhold, covered or uncovered, straight or anatomic. It is up to you to choose one that suits your needs.

Paddle handles are usually shortened to AL (Anatomic), ST (Straight) and FL (FL).  So, which is the best handle for you? If you like a penhold grip, then you should go for the penhold handle. It feels like holding a pen and it is highly preferred for its ability to keep the paddle close to the table. It also allows the wrist to remain flexible. Its only drawback is that you cannot apply backhand spin.

The flared handle is a bit longer than the penhold handle and is a fantastic option for beginners it helps the paddle stay firmly in the hand. It’s the most common type of handle especially in the low to mid-priced paddles. If you use the front-hand play predominantly, the flared handle should be your prime pick.

Straight handles are made for players who change their grips. Most professional player prefer straight handles. As a beginner you want to avoid this because it is likely to slip off your hands, thus hard to control.

If comfort is your main priority consider getting an anatomical handle. They are designed for player who maintain the same grip and they feel more natural in the hand. Flared handles are more available compared to anatomic handles but they both offer comfortable grips.

Also, be sure to go for a round shaped handle over a square one because it allows you to quickly flip your paddle around when changing grips. It also feel better in the hand because its edges are curved.

Blade Style

This is the main part of the paddle. Blades are mostly made of wood but the ITTF allow the infusion of other material like carbon or compressed paper. For a paddle to meet the competition standards its blade must consist of 85% of wood.

Blades can be made of 5 or more layers of wood. 5 ply and 7-ply blades are the most common. Most manufacturers use soft woods, hardwoods and composite materials to build a high-performance paddle.

If you are looking for precision, speed, stability, and a uniform bounce from a ping pong paddle, go for one made with some carbon fiber like the Gambler Custom Professional Table Tennis Paddle. On the other hand, if you want a good spin and better control, then go for a paddle made with 100% wood.

Accessories

Ping pong paddles don’t come with many accessories. The most common accessory included in a paddle set is a carrying case. Though some brands like Killerspin go out of their way to include a memory book in which you can record your scores or get an autograph from your favorite professional.

Brand

There are particular brands that offer excellent beginner-friendly paddles like STIGA, Killerspin and Butterfly. They are high-quality and offer excellent value for money. Consider paddles from such popular brands as they are made with your needs as a beginner in mind.

FAQ

The only difference is the color. The colors help your opponent know which side you are using to hit the ball.

You should clean your paddle after every use.

Clean it after use. Fight the temptation to use it to smash hard objects. Don’t use detergents when cleaning it and store it properly its case after cleaning.

This depends on how frequent you play. If you are a serious player who trains at least 2 times a week, then it should last you about a year.

Our Verdict

Any ping pong player deserves a high-quality paddle. The quality of the paddle affects your playing style and techniques as well as your ability to enjoy the game. With all the options on the market, it can be daunting to choose the best ping pong paddle for a beginner. We have provided neat tricks and hints on how to choose one that suits your needs and budgets. Most importantly we reviewed the best rated paddles that money can buy.

Top on our list is the STIGA Apex Performance-Level Table Tennis Racket. It is incredibly affordable and offers high-level performance. It is perfect for the amateur of ping pong enthusiast. Our premium pick, the AirBlades AB-5000 Professional Ping Pong Paddle is a great choice for the advanced beginner.

Our third choice, the STIGA Tournament-Quality Titan Table Tennis Racket is the best paddle you can get for spin and speed. Its superior construction and ITTF approved rubber makes it one of the best ping pong paddles for beginners with different styles of playing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *