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First I want to say, there is no such thing as the best professional table tennis paddles. The best blade combined with the best rubber and the best sponge cannot make the best ping pong paddles. Players who have their own style often choose their own blade and rubber and then combine them together. So you can’t find the best ping pong paddles, you can only find the ping pong paddles that best suit your playing style.
In this article, I will suggest some professional ping pong paddles used by famous players. I will give you an analysis of their style of play. Hopefully, you find the right one for you
The different parts of a paddle
1. The blade
This includes different types of handles. There are flared, anatomic, straight, and penhold handles. I don’t need to explain what these are because you are not a beginner anymore!
There are many factors to consider about table tennis blade:
- About wood: Ayous wood, Koto wood, Bass Wood, Limba wood, Cypress wood, Planchonello wood, Yellow Aningre wood
- About Additional materials: Carbon-based blades, Arylate-based blades
- How the blade material affects the paddle: Rebound, Tackiness, Touch feel, Control degree, Ball trajectory curvature
- Symbols on the blade: DEF (Defensive), ALL(All-round), OFF(Offensive)
- Specifications: Speed, control, ply, WT, Handle. All scales from 1 to 100 or from 1 to 10
You can see that it is hard to understand table tennis blades. I already wrote another article about the parts of a tennis table blade, but this article will not write again. You don’t need to read it because later I will give an in-depth review of each professional ping pong paddle.
2. Rubber Type
|1||Smooth||This is also known as the “inverted” rubber. Its surface is smooth with an underneath layer of sponge. 85% of people who play on tables in tournaments joined by ITTF use this kind of rubber.|
|2||Short Pips||It is also known as the “pimple” rubber. When you play with this, the short spikes touch the ball. Underneath the short pips is a layer of sponge. Short pips rubber is suitable for these playing styles: lose-to-table, all-around, and defensive styles. Short pips also give more control for beginners who have difficulty playing against spin.|
|3||Long Pips||The pips on this rubber are longer than the short pips one. When the ball touches the pips, it causes them to sink deeper. So these long ones can make an opponent’s spin reversal weaker. In the competition, athletes do not use long pips, or if they do, they only use this rubber for one side of the paddle. It is not recommended for beginners to use long pips because it is more important to learn how to read the spin and improve other necessary skills.|
|4||No sponge||The rubber is like short pips, but it doesn’t have a layer of sponge (kind of like the red thing in the middle). It is good for hitting fast shots with high speed. But it is unpopular.|
|5||Anti-topspin||To make the other player slow down, you need to neutralize their spinning. If you hit the ball, it will not spin much and it will travel slowly. Penhold paddles work well with anti-topspin rubber. Or, players can use it on one side of the paddle, then the other side with a different rubber.|
Rubber’s specifications: Speed, Spin, Control, Hardness. All scale is from 1 to 100
Choosing a table tennis rubber can be as hard as choosing a table tennis blade. The rubber has an important effect on the quality of each stroke and it is used by professional table tennis players. If you are looking for the best ping pong rubber, it is almost impossible to find the best one. Get the best one that is suitable for you.
3. Sponge thickness
Sponge thickness influences the rubber’s speed.
- Thinner sponge: The sponge is lighter and has a woodier feel, thus offering more control.
- Thicker sponge: The weight is heavier, providing more speed and spin while giving a somewhat more cushioned feeling.
Offensive players prefer 1.8 to 2.5mm thickness, while all-around players prefer 1.5 to 2.0mm. Defensive players commonly prefer OX (no sponge) to 1.6mm, and loopers prefer thicker sponges. For choppers, they tend to go for the thinner sponge. Also, developing players or those who need more control should opt for the sponge thickness on the thinner end of the range that goes well with their playing styles.
5 Best professional Table Tennis Paddles: In-depth reviews
If you are looking for a premade table tennis paddles, the next part of the article will disappoint you! Premade ping pong paddles are only for beginners, any professional player can build their own rackets. If you haven’t done this before, give it a try! Trust me, any professional has gone through several build paddles before they find a paddle that works best for them.
1. Butterfly Timo Boll ALC
About Timo Boll Style
Timo Boll was a player who used two wings on his table. He had a type of block that he did instead of just blocking. He was one of the best players when it came to putting pressure on his opponents with spin, especially in the beginning when he used topspin to get lots of spin going.
This man can play well because he does different things. He moves fast and uses his wrist. This helped him a lot in the old days with celluloid balls. These days, with plastic balls, he doesn’t use this as much and instead relies on other techniques like backhand and forehand counter-topspin.
A good example of him using this technique is in his match with Fan Zhendong. He played against a player who was 16 years younger than him. This technique let him save his energy, but he needed to be able to read the opponent’s moves well.
The best blade for countering is a very stiff one. You need to accelerate faster with your stroke. And make sure that you stay close to the table when you do this type of stroke, as it will be most effective.
The ALC with Tenergy makes it really fast to play with. You should only purchase this paddle if you are an advanced player as it is very fast and spinny. This is an expensive setup. But it will help you win more games. I love this blade and it lasts a long time.
Timo Boll Equipment
- Blade: Butterfly Timo Boll ALC
- Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09C
- Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05
2. Butterfly Zhang Jike ZLC
About Zhang Jike playing style
Zhang Jike’s serve is unpredictable and not always easy to read. He is most famous for his reverse pendulum short serve, but he also does well using his backhand flick and the spin on the ball. He has good footwork and knows what to do with a lot of different things.
It is noticeable that he would play with a backhand-oriented game plan against big forehand loopers like Ma Long or Fan Zhendong. He would keep his opponents in their backhand corner and go for down-the-line blocking winners as the opposition steps around to use a forehand loop, or just pile up the pressure
Zhang Jike has a lot of mental strength. His ability to win points in big competitions when there is pressure is clear to everyone.
The Butterfly Zhang Jike ZLC with Tenergy 64 is one of the most expensive paddle setups on this list. The Butterfly Zhang Jike ZLC is a good pairing for an attacker player who wants to overwhelm their opponents with speed. Tenergy 64 is one of the fastest rubbers in the Tenergy line. It has a direct style. It is also very spinny, but it is not as good as Tenergy 05.
The Zhang Jike ZLC is faster than the ALC. It is hard to control as a result. Only players who are very good at controlling their racquet will be able to use it effectively.
For this paddle bundle, you receive both Tenergy 64 sheets in 2.1mm thicknesses, and the Zhang Jike ZLC comes with a flared handle.
Zhang Jike Equipment
- Blade: Butterfly Viscaria FL
- Forehand: DHS Hurricane 3 National (black)
- Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 80 (Red)
3. Butterfly Kong Linghui
Kong Linghui playing style
Kong Linghui’s style was believed to be modeled on the top European players of the late 1980s through to the late 1990s, namely the Swedes Jan Ove Waldner and Jörgen Persson, who won the World Championships in Dortmund in 1989 and Chiba in 1991 respectively.
Both players used a shakehand grip and played games that were good overall. They played close to mid-distance from the table, on both backhand and forehand sides, strong in both attacking and blocking – they had excellent receive of service techniques.
A Butterfly Kong Linghui Special is a special type of blade that is made out of carbon. It is very light, so you can control it easily. The wood feels really soft, so you can feel the ball well.
But to me, I do not like this blade because it is too soft. The ball sticks to the blade for too long, and it does not make the puck fly off of the blade.
There’s good control, but the speed is simply not enough. I recommend that if you are better, you get something harder with more speed. This one simply cannot produce high-quality shots such as with ALC or ZLC.
Kong Linghui Equipment
- Blade: Butterfly Kong Linghui
- Forehand: Butterfly Sriver-FX
- Backhand: Butterfly Bryce High Speed
4. Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive (Penhold)
About Ma Lin Playing Style
Ma Lin uses the penhold grip. He is an aggressive player who likes to serve hard and fast, so he can get the ball back quickly. He also likes to push hard when receiving, and then attack quickly with his third ball.
In addition to possessing a solid backhand block, Ma Lin also uses the reverse penhold backhand (RPB), an innovative stroke utilizing the underside of the blade which allows a penholder to produce topspin from both wings.
Ma Lin has many different ways to win a point. His most dangerous weapon, however, is his consistent forehand loop and it often ends the point quickly. He is also good at serving and his serve is one of the best in the world. It involves bouncing back onto the net instead of going straight off onto the table.
This blade is good for the offensive player. It is fast, but you can still control it. I found that it gave me good balance when attacking from both wings. It was also able to counter loop from close-mid distance well.
Because the blade is very hard, it will not bend. That means that if you do not hit the ball in the middle, you will still get a good result. It also feels nice to play with.
A blade is the player’s weapon for hitting the ball. It will give you more power for loops and counter loops, which are hits that go up in the air. But it will also give you better control close to the net for touch play, which is when your hits are gentle or lighter.
Ma Lin Equipment
- Blade: Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive
- Forehand: DHS NEO Skyline TG2
- Backhand: Butterfly Bryce Speed FX
5. DHS Hurricane Hao 3 (N656, Penhold)
About Wang Hao playing Style
Wang Hao uses a penhold grip. This means that he is good at attacking and defending when he is on the table. The freedom of his wrist helps him to gain spin on the forehand side.
Most professional pen-hold players use the same side for their backhand shots. Wang Hao uses the opposite side for almost all of his backhand shots. People used to think that it was wrong when he first joined the national team, but now most people like it when he does this.
This is a 5-ply blade that is made of wood. It has good power and great control. It is definitely a must-try for penholders with RPB
Speed variations can be controlled. Dwell time is very good. It’s a great pen to try if you’re a holder and you can afford it, but there is one downside: the price.
Lots of control, good power. The best arc gives the most accuracy. It’s the blade that Wang Hao can beat Ma Long with. When you hold it, you can feel like Wang Hao. Penhold never dies!!!
Wang Hao Equipment
- Blade: DHS Hurricane Hao 3 (N656)
- Forehand: DHS Neo Skyline III Blue Sponge
- Backhand: Butterfly Sriver top sheet on Bryce sponge
The best professional table tennis paddles that we’ve discussed in this post are staples of the game, and they’re used by some of the most famous players on the planet. Whether it is for practice or competition, these high-quality and durable paddles will last you through many hours on the court with their handles designed specifically for each player type as well as their weight distribution systems which provide control during gameplay. Shop now!