Knowledge of Table Tennis Blade & Top Picks

"I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post."

If you’ve played table tennis for a long time and now you want to create a playing style of your own, you need a personalized paddle from a blade with a rubber.

This article consists of 2 main contents:

  • Learn about the table tennis blade
  • My Amazon Picks: Best table tennis blade

Please click on the Table of Contents for quick navigation.

I. Learn about the table tennis blade

History of Table Tennis Blade

In the early days of table tennis, people only used a single piece of wood to make a blade. Later, it was discovered that instead of using a single thick wood piece, we could put multiple thin pieces into layers to create a blade with a better bounce.

Throughout the development of table tennis blades, it was found that when the wood layers were joined in the same direction as the wood grain, it could create a better bounce than when they were in the reverse direction. Since then, a wood layer of longitudinal grain has been put at the center, then layers of horizontal grain were pressed on both sides, and finally, 2 layers of the vertical grain were packed on both the outer layer’s sides. Therefore, the wood layers are always arranged in odd numbers, which is 3,5,7,9.

The number of wood layers, the thickness of each, the rigidity, and the material proportions combined to form its different characteristics.

A complete table tennis blade composition

According to table tennis rules, a blade has to be made of 85% of natural wood. It’s also allowed to contain additional materials such as carbon, arylate, etc., but they must account for either less than 7.5% of the total thickness or below the range of 0.014″, depending on the lower value.

Carbon is used to make the blade harder and faster, as well as to help it have a larger “sweet spot.”

However, if you are a beginner, then you do not need to care about choosing a blade yet. You just need to use a paddle set with a blade and rubber installed. I also have the article about the best ping pong paddles for beginners, so you could read it and choose a product that I recommend.

If you are an experienced table tennis player and have already developed your own style, you will need to get a blade together with rubber. So let’s read on to learn more about the blade!

Common wood types used to make the blade

  • Ayous wood: It’s lightweight, stiff, and excellent for close-to-table counter drive play.
  • Koto wood: It’s often used in the thin outer plies to increase stiffness and bounce.
  • Bass Wood: It’s most popular because of its low price and the high degree of control it provides.
  • Limba wood: It offers a soft feeling, a high degree of ball grip, and control. Limba is a traditional racquet wood for European players who prefer looping far from the table.
  • Cypress wood (also known as Hinoki): It’s a classic wood for blade manufacturing, favored by Asian athletes who love attack techniques of great speed, a soft feeling, and fairly high speed.
  • Planchonello wood: It’s often used added to the outer layer for great speed, supporting the powerful offensive style.
  • Yellow Aningre wood: It offers a fascinating degree of control, a soft feel, suitable for all-round styles of players.

Additional materials

Some blades use additional carbon, arylate, or titanium layers to create a larger sweet spot (Sweet Spot is the area on the paddle surface where the player gets the best feeling when making shots. It is round and shares the same center with the blade. We can easily determine the sweet spot area based on the ball’s bounce and feel when we drop a ping-pong ball from a fixed height to different parts of the paddle).

  • Carbon-based blades: A carbon fiber layer adds more speed to the paddle, expands the sweet-spot, and provides more stability. Carbon also acts as a reinforcing layer to strengthen the paddle. Hence, most carbon-based blades have a ‘hard’ feel, which is ideal for players with offensive styles.
  • Arylate-based blades: The arylate fiber will reduce the vibration when the paddle makes contact with the ball. Like carbon fiber, the arylate fiber also expands the sweet-spot area to make the paddle more stable. This feature will create a paddle with a “medium” or “soft” feel, suitable for the player favoring topspins.
  • Some high-end blades are made from Arylate Carbon fibers. The speed and large sweet-spot from the Carbon, together with the vibration reduction and “soft” feel from the Arylate makes up the paddles of the highest quality in the current market.

How the blade material affects the paddle

  1. Rebound: The greater the rebound, the faster the ball will go, but control is compromised to some extent, suitable for a fast attack, very suitable for techniques involving top sheet and anti-spin
  2. Tackiness: The greater the tackiness, the easier it will be to create spin, suitable for varied brush technique, but not very suitable for techniques involving top sheet and anti-spin.
  3. Touch feel (from hard to soft): The soft feeling well supports the varied spin loop technique, but the stiff feeling is suitable for powerful and speedy spinny loop techniques. It should be noted that stiff feel is not necessarily associated with a high bounce. For example, the 9-layer Dynapower core is tough but quite compact, making it suitable for traditional anti-spin chop defense.
  4. Control degree (easy to difficult): It’s usually inversely proportional to rebound. However, some new technologies can increase the control degree relatively without sacrificing the rebound, such as TSP’s Relfex PAT System technology.
  5. Ball trajectory curvature (more or less curved): The more curved ball trajectory allows the slow looping technique below the table, the flatter ball trajectory supports the quick close-table attack styles.

Blade size

There is no specific regulation for the table tennis paddle’s size for entertainment and competition in national and international tournaments. However, according to statistics, table tennis racquets are usually produced with the following specifications to support the best practice:

  • Width: 5.9 inches
  • Length: 3.9 inch
  • Length with handle: 9.45 ich – 10.25 inches
  • Thickness: 1 inch – 1.3 inch
  • Weight: 70 – 100 grams.

Symbols on the blade

There will be blade type and specifications on each blade,

Type

  • DEF: Suitable for players with defenses from a far distance, help them control the ball closely
  • ALL-: Suitable for players with slice push and defense-dominant style
  • ALL: Suitable for all-round players with many different playing styles
  • ALL +: Suitable for players with good blocking technique, good spin control, and forehand shot advantage.
  • OFF-: Suitable for players with medium offensive defense style.
  • OFF: Suitable for players with an offensive tendency
  • OFF +: Suitable for players with an attack-dominant style.

The blade is harder and more difficult to control than the lines above.

The blade speed increases gradually from DEF to OFF +. And vice versa, the control capacity decreases from DEF to OFF +

Meaning of the abbreviations:

  • DEF: Defensive
  • ALL: All-round
  • OFF: Offensive

Specifications

  • SPEED: scale from 1 to 100 or from 1 to 10. The larger the number, the higher the speed.
  • CONTROL: scale from 1 to 100 or 1 to 10. The larger the number, the higher the control.
  • PLY: the number of layers of the blade. 5W means the racket has 5 wood plies, 3W / 2A / C means the blade has 3 wood plies, 2 Artyle plies and a Carbon ply …
  • WT: the blade’s weight, usually between 70 grams and 100 grams.
  • HANDLES: denoted by FL (Flared), AN (Anatomic) or ST (Straight).

Features to consider when purchasing a blade

1. Speed ​​and Control

These two characteristics are closely related. Usually, beginners should use slow paddles because the slower the blade is, the easier it is to control (high degree of control). A high-speed blade makes it easy to create very fast and powerful shots, but since the blade moves very quickly, you will not have enough time to accurately control the racquet’s angle when responding to a spin serve or a hard hit.

2. Weight

Some blades are heavier than others due to a combination of wood types, the number of layers, and material. Some heavier blades (with slower speed) will be suitable for beginners as the racquet’s weight produces most of the responding force, so players only need to focus on the racquet’s control.

The choice of the blade depends on the player’s playing styles. There are two main playing styles, which are defensive and offensive ones. Defensive players should choose a slow-speed blade due to the high degree of control. That doesn’t mean you can’t take strong shots with slow speed, as it just gives you more control. Offensive players prefer a high-speed blade, as it can produce overwhelming fast and powerful shots.

The blade is classified according to its speed. DEF, ALL-, ALL, ALL +, OFF-, OFF, OFF + describe the blade speed grading, ranging from the slowest (DEF) to the fastest (OFF +). An intermediate level player can start with blades in the ALL range. As your skill and control advance, you can switch to faster blades to enhance your offensive speed.

3. Blade size

Another critical factor is the size of the blade. Defensive players prefer large-surface blades because they want to make the most of the large sweet spot. In contrast, offensive players prefer small blades to minimize air resistance.

4. Handle

The handle is an important factor. The handle type depends on the player’s grip. There are 6 different handle types and 2 popular grip types I write in these 2 articles:

II. Top Picks: Best Table Tennis Blade

There are 3 main playing styles for table tennis: defensive, all-around, and offensive. So, I’m going to list the best table tennis blades according to these three styles.

Best Defensive Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA Chen Defender Straight Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA Chen Defende Straight Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA Chen Defende Straight Table Tennis Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Joola
  • Blade Type: DEF
  • Layers: 7-ply Wood
  • Speed: 6
  • Control: 7
  • Spin: 6
  • Weight: 90 gram
  • Thickness: 7.5 mm
  • Handle: ST

Joola Chen Defender is one of the most popular defensive blades in the world. This blade is named after its designer Chen Weixing, a specialist in world-class defending table tennis. The highlight of Joola Chen Defender is the Enzo glue layer between the two Samba veneers that provides great control and feel of the ball.

Joola Chen Defender is approved by the ITTF, making it a suitable racket for official tournaments of this organization.

Available in Straight on Amazon

Butterfly Hadraw Shield Blade

Butterfly Hadraw Shield Table Tennis Blade

Butterfly Hadraw Shield Table Tennis Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Butterfly
  • Blade Type: DEF
  • Layers: 5-ply Wood
  • Speed: 6.24
  • Control: 8.47
  • Spin: 8.47
  • Weight: 92 gram
  • Thickness: 5.3 mm
  • Handle: ST, FL

The Butterfly Hadraw Shield is a modern blade, consisting of 5 wood layers that make it a little lighter than the classic defensive racket. Moreover, this wider head is ideal for creating more control when dealing with playing off the table. The blade’s design turns it into an optimal choice for touch and long ball drag times. This is an ideal racket for modern-day defenders.

Available in Flared, Straight on Amazon. Made in Japan

Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive

Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive Blade

Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Victas
  • Blade Type: DEF
  • Layers: 5-ply Wood
  • Speed: 3.45
  • Control: 8.5
  • Spin: 7.2
  • Weight: 84 gram
  • Thickness: 5.0 mm
  • Handle: ST

Like Hadraw Shield, Victas Koji Matsushita is designed with 5 layers of wood. However, material experts at Victas succeeded in reducing this blade’s weight to just 85g, offering outstanding balance and lightness.

This is why some players say that the speed of the blade might get a bit faster than expected, its blade type might be ALL- instead of DFF. That being said, you need to think carefully before using this blade with long pimples.

Comparison table: Best DEF Table Tennis Blade

Joola Chen Butterfly Hadraw Shield Victas Koji Matsushita
Producer Joola Butterfly Victas
Blade Type DEF DEF DEF
Layers 7-ply wood 5-ply wood 5- ply wood
Speed 6.0 6.24 3.45
Control 7.0 8.47 8.5
Spin 6.0 8.47 7.2
Weigh 90g 92g 84g
Thickness 7.5 mm 5.3 mm 5.0 mm
Handle Straight Straight, Flared Straight
Shop now Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Amazon

Best Allround Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA Rossi Allround Flared Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA Rossi Allround Fared Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA Rossi Allround Fared Table Tennis Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Joola
  • Blade Type: ALL
  • Layers: 7-ply Wood
  • Speed: 4.5
  • Control: 6.0
  • Spin: 6.5
  • Weight: 88 gram
  • Thickness: 6.1 mm
  • Handle: FL

Joola Rossi Allround has 7 layers of wood, and so it is an ideal blade for precise, controlled strokes ranging from block, counter, and topspin to smash.

Joola has produced this blade with a consistent unchanged veneer composition. The Abachi ply, with a stunning design, gives allround players a great feel, great ball control.

Available in Flared on Amazon

STIGA Allround Classic Table Tennis Blade

STIGA Allround Classic Table Tennis Blade

STIGA Allround Classic Table Tennis Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Stiga
  • Blade Type: ALL
  • Layers: 5-ply Wood
  • Speed: 4.67
  • Control: 8.67
  • Spin: 7.0
  • Weight: 85 gram
  • Thickness: 5.4 mm
  • Handle: ST, FL

The Stiga Allround Classic was first produced in 1967 and since then, about 1 million rackets have been sold. It’s an impressive statistic for an Allround blade. The balance between speed, control, and consistency is the strongest point of this blade.

The Stiga Allround Classic is perfect for players of any level who want a racket that supports every stroke they wish to make.

Available in Flared, Straight on Amazon

GEWO Hybrid Carbon A Speed Allround Plus Table Tennis Blade

GEWO Hybrid Carbon A Speed Blade

GEWO Hybrid Carbon A Speed Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: GEWO
  • Blade Type: ALL+
  • Layers: 5 + 2
  • Speed: 8.9
  • Control: 10.0
  • Spin: 7.0
  • Weight: 80 gram
  • Thickness: 6.0 mm
  • Handle: ST, FL

This is an ALL+ type blade. So the difference of this blade is that the sweet spot is stabilized for greater reliability and accuracy. This blade creates accurate attacking power even in critical situations.

CFL Technology and Hybrid Carbon X / Speed ​Off provides incredible directional stability, especially in rallies with high-speed. Using GEWO Hybrid Carbon A Speed – Allround Plus Table Tennis Blade will bring an exciting thrill to allround players.

Available in Flared, Straight on Amazon

Comparison table: Best ALL Table Tennis Blade

Joola Rossi Allround Stiga Allround Classic GEWO Hybrid Carbon
Producer Joola Stiga GEWO
Blade Type ALL ALL ALL+
Layers 5+2 5-ply wood 5+2
Speed 4.5 4.67 8.9
Control 6.0 8.67 10
Spin 6.5 7.0 7.0
Weigh 88g 85g 80g
Thickness 6.1 mm 5.4 mm 6.0 mm
Handle Flared Straight, Flared Straight, Flared
Shop now Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Amazon

Best Offensive Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA K5 Flared Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA K5 Flared Table Tennis Blade

JOOLA K5 Flared Table Tennis Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Joola
  • Blade Type: OFF
  • Layers: 5-ply Wood
  • Speed: 7.0
  • Control: 5.0
  • Spin: 6.0
  • Weight: 85 gram
  • Thickness: 6.0 mm
  • Handle: FL

The manufacturer, Joola, has described this blade as:
The JOOLA K5 Table Tennis Blade is a 5-ply blade capable of achieving great feel and vibration control with JOOLA’s Rag Technology. The JOOLA K5 is one of JOOLA’s bestsellers.

  • All-round/Offensive blade
  • RAG technology for added feeling and increasing dwell time
  • Medium touch and vibration
  • 5-ply wood blade composed of Samba Yellow, Limba Nature, Samba Nature

Available in Flared on Amazon

Butterfly Timo Boll ALC

Butterfly Timo Boll ALC

Butterfly Timo Boll ALC

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Butterfly
  • Blade Type: OFF
  • Layers: 5W + 2ALC
  • Speed: 8.78
  • Control: 7.91
  • Spin: 8.38
  • Weight: 86 gram
  • Thickness: 5.8 mm
  • Handle: AN, ST, FL

Butterfly Timo Boll ALC was a blade by which Timo Boll ordered exclusively from Butterfly according to his play style. This blade, paired with Tenergy 05 rubber by Timo Boll, helped him successfully defend the European champion title in 2008.

Needless to say, the blade’s specifications and the success of Timo Boll guarantee the effectiveness of this blade.

STIGA Clipper CR Table Tennis Blade

STIGA Clipper CR Table Tennis Blade

STIGA Clipper CR Table Tennis Blade

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Stiga
  • Blade Type: OFF+
  • Layers: 7-ply Wood
  • Speed: 7.0
  • Control: 7.0
  • Spin: 8.0
  • Weight: 95 gram
  • Thickness: 6.4 mm
  • Handle: ST, FL

A famous blade used by many Asian athletes. The front of the racket was completed with UV rays, and the CR system helps speed up the edge properly (approximately 21% compared to regular a Clipper Wood)

Some players who have experienced Timo Boll and Stiga Clipper CR say the Stiga Clipper CR brings “a more powerful feeling.”

This product is made in Sweden. Available in Flared, Straight on Amazon

Comparison table: Best OFF Table Tennis Blade

Joola K5 Timo Boll ALC Stiga Clipper CR
Producer Joola Butterfly Stiga
Blade Type OFF OFF OFF+
Layers 5-ply wood 5W + 2ALC 7-ply wood
Speed 7.0 8.78 7.0
Control 5.0 7.91 7.0
Spin 6.0 8.38 8.0
Weigh 85g 86g 95g
Thickness 6.0 mm 5.8 mm 6.4 mm
Handle Flared AN, FL, ST  Straight, Flared
Shop now Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Amazon Buy it on Amazon

Best Penhold Table Tennis Blade: YASAKA Ma Lin Carbon Handle-Chinese Penhold

YASAKA Ma Lin Carbon Handle-Chinese Penholde

YASAKA Ma Lin Carbon Handle-Chinese Penholde

Buy it on Amazon.com

Product Highlights:

  • Producer: Yasaka
  • Blade Type: OFF
  • Layers: 5W + 2 Carbon
  • Speed: 8.84
  • Control: 8.76
  • Spin: 8.97
  • Weight: 85 gram
  • Thickness: 5.7 mm
  • Handle: Penhold

Another blade named after a famous player who is also the most renowned penhold player: Ma Lin

Some of the outstanding achievements of Ma Lin:

  • 1999 Men’s World Championship 2nd Place
  • 2000 Men’s World Cup Champion
  • 2002 ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals Men’s Singles Gold
  • 2003 Men’s World Cup Champion
  • 2004 Athens Olympic Games champion doubles (with Chen Qi)
  • 2004 Men’s World Cup Champion
  • 2005 Men’s World Championship 2nd place
  • 2006 Men’s World Cup Champion
  • 2007 Men’s World Championship 2nd place
  • 2007 ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals Men’s Singles Gold
  • 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Men’s Singles champion and Men’s Team champion.
  • 2009 Men’s World Championship 3rd place
  • 2010 Men’s Team World Championship, gold medal.

(According to Wikipedia)

Other players talk about YASAKA Blade as a blade: Fast, thin, reliable, smashings are great. It’s also light, and you can really feel the ball on the blade.

If you need to improve your playstyle, then a blade which is used by the most famous player is a perfect choice.

Summing up,
It’s hard to say which blade is the best. Because the best blade for me may not be the best one for you. We only choose the blade that best suits our own style. In this article, I only listed 10 blades representing the three play styles: Defensive, Allround, Offensive, and the most famous penhold blade.

If you are still left with some confusion, let me know about your situation right away. With my experience, maybe I will be able to give you some suggestions for your further consideration!

Thanks for reading!

Brixton Johansson