What is the best rubber for your forehand? It’s not an easy question! Because choosing the forehand rubber is totally different than choosing the backhand rubber. Here is my recommended list of Top 10 Forehand Rubbers – Fast, Spinny and Powerful. In this list, there are some tacky hard Chinese rubbers that the professional players love using. There are also some new released modern European (ESN) and Japanese (Butterfly) rubbers that suit very well the modern style of table tennis (harder sponge to favor counter-attack style).
Choose The Best Rubber For Forehand
Many players asked me what is the best forehand rubber in table tennis. Is choosing the forehand rubber the same as backhand rubber.
Some coaches proposed new and intermediate players to buy the same rubbers for both sides.
So today, I will show you what are the characteristics of a good rubber for the forehand side? Why Chinese rubbers are good for the forehand side? and finally, I will list the top 10 most popular forehand rubbers which fit very well to the modern table tennis trending.
Which type of rubber do you need for your forehand side?
Forehand attack is not the same as a backhand attack. For your forehand loop, you rotate your body, use the power from the ground and hit the ball with a larger amplitude stroke. While you hit the backhand topspin in front of your body, with a much compact stroke.
So choosing the forehand rubber is totally different than choosing the backhand rubber.
Harder Forehand Rubber
You hit the forehand topspin with a larger stroke, so, therefore, you can impact the stronger force. That’s why the forehand smash and the forehand loop kill is the most powerful stroke in table tennis.
That’s why you need to choose a harder sponge for your forehand side than the backhand side. The rule of thumb is the sponge hardness of your forehand side must be +2 or +3 hardness degree harder than your backhand side.
Always choose Max thickness
Even at the new level, don’t choose too thin rubber. I’ve explained the “secret of the sponge thickness” here. Because too thin rubber will “bottom out” the ball even with a medium force forehand stroke. And due to the ITTF regulation, the overall thickness can’t exceed 4 mm, so always choose the thickest rubber as you can.
Many coaches advise their players to choose 1.9mm to gain control. I don’t agree with this approach. The control comes from the blade. If you rely on the rubber for control, you will make a very bad habit “move up the elbow” while playing the forehand topspin to compensate with the “bottom out”. I’ve seen many many new players have this bad habit. And it’s painful and difficult to correct your bad habits.
The only exception is when using the Chinese rubbers as your forehand side, you should choose 2.15mm instead of 2.20mm. Because Chinese rubbers perform the best with a booster. The booster will expand the sponge, and soften the sponge hardness to 1.5 to 2 degrees. If you choose MAX thickness, the sponge can pass the thickness limit allowed by ITTF, and boosting the too thick sponge will also reduce the consistency (due to the absorption and evaporation of the oil during the time).
The density of the sponge is proportional to the weight of the rubber. You should choose a denser and heavy rubber on your forehand side. The density can relate to the hardness too, but not (always true. Some Chinese rubber, which is light, and hard. And some bad, and cheap rubber which is heavy but not dynamic, not hard enough.
I always recommend my players to choose dense sponge. If you love playing with “spring sponge” (a specific structure of the air bubbles inside the sponge), you should choose a smaller bubble-sponge. Because smaller size bubble will enhance the elastic of the sponge. The air compartments contract on impact and then expand again, imparting additional power on the ball.
Chinese rubbers are in general have a very dense sponge. That’s why Chinese rubbers are very good as the forehand rubber. Some players said that “but Chinese rubbers are so heavy“.
Wrong! the cheap and normally fake sponge is heavy. But the real, in the domestic sponge of Chinese rubbers (especially of DHS rubbers), is not so heavy. The sponge is rather light, but uniform and hard structure. I’ve explained also the main difference between Orange Sponge, and Blue Sponge.
Due to the new plastic ball, it’s mandatory to play with a harder sponge, but a lighter sponge, that’s the main reason, top Chinese player all switch to Blue Sponge.
Low to Medium Low Throw Angle
Unlike a backhand stroke, you need a low throw angle in the forehand side. Please note that the “throw angle” is a complicated subject. Because it depends also on your blade (your combination rubber/blade), mostly due to the outer layer of your blade. I will explain it later.
But in general, for the backhand shot, you mostly close the racket more and hit in front of your body, so you need a rather medium-to-high throw angle rubber. That’s why a good backhand rubber is often bouncy, high throw angle, spinny and fast. While the forehand rubber is different, you need to transfer the force and reduce the energy lost, so bouncy is not really necessary. But the low angle is necessary. Because when you use a too high angle, it’s harder to use to develop the full stroke in your forehand loop. The power of the forehand comes mostly from the rotation of your hip, the lower the throw angle, the faster the ball will land on the opponent’s side.
You should watch this video, to understand this. The lower throw angle also increases the “the kick effect” of your forehand. At the professional level, the “kick effect” is very very important!
Top 10 Forehand Rubbers – Fast, Spinny and Powerful
01. DHS Hurricane 3 National (blue sponge)
DHS National 3 rubber is no doubt one of the best forehand rubber. Used by all of the top Chinese rubbers, both Senior and Junior players. Some HongKong players also use Hurricane 3 on their forehand rubbers.
- Name: Double Happiness Hurricane 3
- Sponge hardness: 39-40 DHS degree, 54 ESN degree
- Sponge thickness: 2.15 mm
- Sponge color: Blue
We all want high speed and spinny forehand rubber. Chinese rubbers in general and DHS rubbers are highly recommended as the perfect rubbers for the forehand. But there is a big problem here?
Many players just buy and test a commercial Hurricane neo 3. Due to the tackiness of the topsheet, the rubber can spin easily, but the speed is really lacking.
There are 2 problems:
First, most of you just buy the fake DHS rubbers. You can buy a pack of DHS rubbers, even fake Tenergy rubbers, or Tenergy blades on Taobao. They cost less than 5usd/rubbers. And most of these rubbers are imported to the dealers/online shop around the world.
Second, you are using Chinese rubbers in the wrong way. Every player who play Chinese rubbers on the forehand side, boost their rubbers. It’s impossible to play without using a tuner/booster. Why?
Because the sponge is too dense, too hard. You can’t have enough speed with a too hard sponge. The energy is conserved 100% (no energy lost), but you can’t impact enough of force and convert it into the speed. So you need to “break in” the sponge. You can “break in” using a physical break, and a chemical break. A chemical break (chemical expansion of the sponge by expanding the polymer liaison with the organic oil) is much faster and easier.
Currently, on the market, you can buy the National Hurricane 3 orange sponge (39 Degrees). Most of the blue sponge are fakes. The orange sponge national rubber is sold by the Official store of DHS on Amazon. Here are some reviews:
This is not the same as what the national team uses. There is a general consensus in the table tennis community that national team rubbers are not commercially available and are basically unicorns. You can also cross-check the serial number on the DHS website.
That being said, I bought this rubber for fun to see if it is actually better than the other hurricane 3’s. After adding 3 layers Falco tempo long booster to this rubber and provincial version, I think this one is a bit faster… but this might be explained by the inconsistent boosting process. It is still a good rubber – like other hurricane series if you have the right technique and fast stroke you can get a lot out of it. It is probably better to just buy provincial version though.
Amazing, no wonder Ma Long uses it. Very sticky but no bouncy. Need to be boosted. Great for offensive play.
First of all, all DHS “national” rubbers in the market ain’t the real thing, they are just copies or imitations of the nationals pros use, because, nationals are exclusive for CHN national players ONLY. They are VERY LIMITED. You can never buy those, don’t be HYPED by others who say what are you gonna get is Genuine unless you get it personally from Ma Long, WLQ, etc.
So the issue of what you might buy being fake or genuine is out of the question.
Anyway, all fakes are designed or made after the real ones, so chances are, its properties were copied from no other than the real thing. Which make this indeed still a great rubber.. take it as consolation.
Even, many players emphasize using the national version. I recommend you just try a commercial one and use the booster. I’ve explained it in this article “the truth about the Chinese rubber“.
Amazing rubber, its a completely different rubber.
->Commercial version is as dead as hell
->Provincial version is where it actually starts playing as it says on the package.
->National is where it is perfection, it plays like a beast, u can rip out topspin that is just beautiful. control is great u can block, push and touch shots.
The orange sponge gives a really good feeling.
It’s due to the effect of the booster, the real Chinese rubber is not hard dead. Many fake hurricane 3 rubbers are really slow. Here is the real story:
Im my club we have a chinese trainor he’s name was Li Qi. They say he’s an ex pro maybe only here in spain I guess. But his forehand is tottaly chinese looper and nothing at all european stlye and it’s quite sure he trained in china.
Well anyway… I am using h3 neo provincial that can buy anywhere. I think it was good and the same as the pro chinese rubber. Then i got bored and see him sitting. I went to him and ask to have a hit on his raket.
It was a crazy Hurricane 3 (cant remember if its neo or not) and yasaka pride. The bat doesnt weight anything compaired to mine. When i touch the hardness of his Hurricane 3 its a lot softer than my trash Hurricane H3.
And you can feel and see the pimps on it when you touch, i think its 38deg (due to the booster).
It is bouncy when you play the ball on the raket, its not tacky at all maybe little i think. I loop arms wide open too and also i’m asian. God it’s amazing it’s fast, spiny and sooooooooo easy to lift the ball.
I try to brush very slowly then the ball has a lot spin. It’s so smoothhhh. I wish i can tell u the felling. It’s like playing with tenergy 05 but much much better than that. I SAID TO MY SELF…… “NO DOUBT THIS IS GENUINE, THIS IS THE REAL NATIONAL EQUIPMENT” when i look at the rubber again… It’s not the same way it printed, look at site prott.cc and click “FOR DISPLAY” it say’s “Ma Long personal rubber” and it cost $9999. It’s ridiculous, and it’s fake!
He told me he change rubber every 2 to 3 months. If i have a chance again i will talk to him and ask him if he still have those used or sell me new one.
It’s been pleassure to swing even a little time with that pure beauty of rubber I will treassure it. Even I have this junk h3 selling in all market I will never let go. Because the rubber corrected me. It does’nt tollerate me (bad moves aint work).
02. Stiga Calibra LT+
If you don’t want to buy fake Hurricane 3 rubbers, I have found another good alternative. It’s the low throw, and long trajectory rubber “Calibra LT+” (check price/ read review). It’s not as spinny as another ESN rubbers (Stiga Mantra H, MX-P, Rhyzm, etc.) or Japanese (Butterfly Tenergy rubber). But it’s very fast and direct (the main characteristic of a good forehand rubber).
- Name: Stiga Calibra LT+
- Sponge hardness: 52 ESN degree (39 DHS degree)
- Sponge thickness: 2.20 mm
- Sponge color: Orange
This rubber is classified as one of the fastest ESN rubber on the market. The topsheet is not tacky as Chinese rubber, hence it’s difficult to make spin at the soft stroke. It’s not for beginners. Many top European players use Stiga rubbers due to its speed, and the grippy topsheet.
Calibra LT Plus has an extra hard sponge (50 ESN degree hardness which is equivalent to 38 DHS Chinese hardness) that ensures tremendous power when hitting. This is an excellent choice for the highly skilled player who demands a professional combination of spin, speed, power and long trajectory.
Here are some reviews:
Massive spin on Forehand attack with the Calibra LT Plus, and I have now switched it to my BH as well! My coach (2500+) loved it so much he switched to it as well!
Compared to other popular forehand rubbers (MX-P, Hurricane 3 unboosted, Tenergy 05), Calibra LT is faster. It’s similar to Tenergy in feeling. Nice catapult, balls sinks into the rubber giving very nice control. Low throw so it’s difficult for the opponent to counter the topspin. Overall this is a favorite rubber for the powerful forehand attack player.
With Tenergy balls used to drop a lot while counter topspin, but with The Calibra LT it hardly drops (due to the longer trajectory). Try to out for your self.
Very fast and decent speed. One of the best rubbers Stiga has produced in a while. Not for beginners. Excellent rubber. I find many of the ratings here to be exaggerated but not for this one. It is super fast, super spinny with great control. Definitely a long trajectory, as advertised, so great from mid and long distance from the table, but not bad from close to table.
03. Tenergy 05 Hard
With the new poly ball, players need a harder and harder sponge. That’s the reason why Butterfly release the new Tenergy 05 Hard rubber (check price 1/ check price 2/ read review). I’ve made a review article of this new Harder version.
For most of the player, Tenergy 05 Hard fit very well on the forehand side. Because you hit harder on your forehand side than your backhand side. Tenergy 05 is more powerful, and a spinnier than the normal version.
Many pro players (non-Chinese) use Tenergy 05 Hard rubber on their forehand side. Advantage: reliable topspin, very fast, spinny and high curve rallies.
04. Stiga Mantra H
Stiga Mantra H (check price/ read review) is an upgrade version of the Stiga Calibra LT+. The main problem of Stiga Calibra LT+ is the topsheet durability. During around 1-2 month, the Calibra LT+ topsheet lost the grippy. While Mantra H topsheet is more grippy and it lasts longer (more than 6 months).
- Name: Stiga Mantra H
- Sponge hardness: 50 ESN degree (38 DHS degree)
- Sponge thickness: 2.20 mm
- Sponge color: Orange
Stiga Mantra H is one of the best backhand rubber. It’s very consistent and linear. However, it’s not as fast as Calibra LT+. It’s due to the higher throw angle of the Mantra H. So if you love spinny, consistent forehand topspin, then Stiga Mantra H is a powerful and consistent forehand rubber.
The hard sponge creates a classic feel (linear feel for the forehand) with extreme attacking possibilities. Very high speed and effectiveness from a short distance. Excellent blocking abilities in close to table action.
Stiga Mantra H has a hard sponge – 50 degrees ESN hardness, which is equivalent to 38 degrees Chinese hardness. Hard rubber fits very well on the forehand side. The topsheet is very durable and linear. A good alternative for tacky Chinese rubber.
05. XIOM OMEGA ASIA
Xiom Asia (from V to VII) (check price/ read review) has a very hard sponge, combined with a very elastic rubber and very adherent. Thanks to the Dynamic Friction technology that has evolved to better synchronize with the harder sponge, you will be able to develop an extremely powerful game for your forehand attack. This rubber gives a lot of spins, suited for Asian forehand attacking style.
- Name: Xiom Omega Asia
- Sponge hardness: 52.5 ESN degree (39-40 DHS degree)
- Sponge thickness: 2.30 mm
- Sponge color: Black
Xiom Asia is a very good forehand rubber. It provides linear feeling, with a low to medium throw angle. Excellent for hitting, loop kill, who has powerful forehand attack.
This is a fast rubber with a hard sponge. Don’t use it with stiff blades. You can use Stiga Rosewood XO for good vibration and fit very well for forehand.
OMEGA V Asia is geared towards attackers who emphasize hard loop drives and counter-topspin. The elastic topsheet and harder sponge make this rubber a top choice for professional level close and mid-distance play. If you like Chinese style, Xiom Omega Asia is a good alternative for Hurricane 3 Neo and Nittaku H3 Neo (unboosted). Highly recommended.
06. Haifu Shark 3
Haifu Shark 3 (check price) is a factory pre-tuned rubber. This is a good Chinese forehand rubber. The national version of the rubber but you couldn’t find it anywhere despite living in China. The Shark 3 and Shark Speed play almost the same but it seems to me the training version is a bit more of high quality.
- Name: Haifu Shark III
- Sponge hardness: 38 DHS degree
- Sponge thickness: 2.15 mm
- Sponge color: Red
The Haifu Shark is quite similar to Yinhe/Galaxy Moon Speed but it has more power, speed, spin and requires more perfect technique. The topsheet is more elastic making it more suitable for flicks. I would recommend this rubber for those who play with Hurricane-like rubbers on their forehand. The rubber is practically a good all around attacking rubber for your forehand side.
07. TG Skyline 3
Another good DHS Chinese rubbers are TG Skyline 3 or Hurricane 2 rubbers. They have a lower throw angle than the Hurricane 3 rubbers. So it fits better on the forehand side. However, using Hurricane 2 is more demanding than the Hurricane 3 rubbers.
- Name: DHS Skyline 3
- Sponge hardness: 39 DHS degree
- Sponge thickness: 2.15 mm
- Sponge color: Orange/Blue
You can have a very fast killing forehand shot, but more unforced error. So it depends also on your style: control topspin or powerful loop kill style. Skyline TG (Technology Generation) 3 continual and dense attack. Skyline 3 rubber made with new technique has quicker attacking power with loop drive.
Wang Hao is using the TG Skyline 3 on his forehand side.
TG3 Neo is good for mid-distance looping attack play style. Similar to DHS H2 with Nittaku sponge, slightly hard. Need to use booster to the best performance. Very good for block over the table and loop attack at a middle distance like penholder players.
Another alternative is the DHS Hurricane H2 rubber. This rubber is one of the hardest rubber you will play with. You need to “break in” the Hurricane 2 rubber by using the booster.
08. Sanwei Target National
Sanwei Target National (check price/ read review) is a very good forehand rubber. Very tacky topsheet which is similar to both Hurricane 3 and Haifu Whale 2 rubbers. Topsheet is softer than Hurricane 3 on top of a hard and lively sponge.
Faster than the commercial DHS Hurricane 3 with the same level of spin. For most Chinese rubbers, the black one is the tackier one and the red is the harder one. As the upgraded version of model Target, the Target National is a better choice for 40+ new plastic ball.
The topsheet is very tacky. This makes Target National a fast but controllable rubber. It picks up the ball from the table for a couple of seconds. The DHS rubbers are not as tacky as Sanwei Target.
- Name: Sanwei Target National
- Sponge hardness: 39-40 DHS degree
- Sponge thickness: 2.15 mm
- Sponge color: Blue
You can use Sanwei Target National or Moon Pro. Both are excellent Chinese rubbers available for under $25usd. These rubbers give what you put in (very linear), so both speed and spin potential are brought out by the player.
Sanwei rubbers have a large diameter and thick bottom pimple structure. So it’s a fast rubber to hit close to the table. It suits well the fast attack forehand style. This is supposed to be a Tenergy 25 clone from Sanwei.
09. Fastarc G1
Nittaku Fastarc G-1 (check price 1/ check price 2/ read review) is an offensive forehand rubber. It’s made in Germany. One of the best forehand rubber with a medium throw angle like Rasant. The topsheet is rather tacky which helps to topspin the ball easily.
The Nittaku Fastarc G-1 rubber is “Fast” with an “Arc”! A power topsheet with a built-in tension power sponge produces the ideal combination of ball speed and ball arc – an outstanding powerful spin ball.
G-1 means “Grip First”. The rubber isn’t the fastest but it’s fast enough. It isn’t the spinniest but it’s really good. The control is out of this world and if you are a half decent player, this will give you the margin you need to really build your confidence and play the strokes properly.
10. Tibhar EVOLUTION MX-P50
MX-P50 (check price) is the new version of Evolution MX-P for the Plastic ball. The sponge hardness is about 50 ESN degree. This hardness fits very well for the forehand side. The normal MX-P version is one of the best rubber for the backhand side. MX-P50 has a lot of power. The topsheet is sensitive to humidity, and not very durable.
- Name: Tibhar Evolution MX-P50 (for Plastic ball)
- Sponge hardness: 50 ESN degree
- Sponge thickness: 2.20 mm
The fastest version of the EVOLUTION series. The strong integrated tension and the hard sponge favor the tense trajectories and the very powerful game. Thanks to the highly elastic rubber, the spin is excellent.
MX-P50 has a hard but very fine sponge. The topsheet is similar to MX-P and FX-P. But the speed is higher, a lot of spins like MX-P. The trajectory is lower and fits very well to the forehand powerful forehand topspin. This version should already be used by more than 50% of the players Tibhar pros players.
Remarkable other good forehand rubbers:
Many players confirm that the best forehand rubber they have tried including Rasant Powergrip, Rasant, tibhar Aurus, Yasaka rising dragon, Xiom Omega 4 pro, Xiom Omega 5 Asia, Hurricane 3 neo, Skyline TG3 neo, Fastarc G1, etc.
4 types of Forehand Attacking Style
Conclusion! Which is the best forehand rubbers in table tennis?
Choosing the right forehand rubber is not easy. I know. Because it depends also on your style, on your winning conditions. So here is my recommendation, based on my coaching experiences and testing many combos of players.
Firstly, you should know which is your forehand style? There are mainly 4 forehand styles:
- Topspin machine
- Topspin first, finish next
- Speed first, spin after
- Quick and fast counter
1 – Topspin machine style:
If you have a solid technique, good footwork, good physical strength, and you love playing Chinese rubbers, I will recommend you choose the DHS rubbers. It’s so joyful to play with Chinese rubbers with tacky topsheet. You will get the real feeling of your forehand. It’s the secret that top Chinese players rarely make the unforced error on your forehand side. The power comes from the ground, the feeling and the spin come from the sticky topsheet. Choose DHS Hurricane 3 Blue sponge or cheaper alternatives.
2 – Topspin first and finish next:
If you love the feeling of the catapult effect on your forehand side. You are not so consistent, not a topspin machine. You want to finish the point as soon as possible, one slow loop and the next forehand is like smash, loop kill. I recommend you choose something with a catapult effect. Choose MX-P50: the mixed feeling of speed, spin, and catapult.
3- Deep topspin (speed first, and spin after)
This forehand style can be also called “European forehand style” (in the eye of a western coach). To win the ball, player attack first with speed and deep placement, and the next ball is mixed of speed and spin. Many ESN and the next generation of ESN fit very well this style.
I recommend you choose Stiga Calibra LT+ for speed, and Stiga Mantra H 2.1mm (for higher spin). The topsheet of the Mantra H is the advanced version of the Calibra LT+ (fast, low throw, long trajectory but less consistent due to less spin).
4 – Quick attack and counter
If you win the game more with the speed and counter (Japanese trending style). Like Koki Niwa forehand counter and block, or Tomokazu quick counter close to the table on both backhand side, and forehand side. I recommend you choose the Butterfly Tenergy 05 Hard, or the Tenergy 25. Tenergy 25 is the hardest sponge of Tenergy series, but the pimple is too big and less spin. While Tenergy 05 Hard is the upgraded version of Tenergy 05 for the new plastic 40+ ball. So I recommend you choose Tenergy 05 Hard on the forehand side for this style. You need to be aggressive in every shot, hit, counter hit on the bounce close to mid-distance.
You should read
Coach EmRatThich was born in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1983. He started playing table tennis at the age of 8. After finishing his Ph.D. in Paris, University Pierre Marie Curie (Sorbonne University) in 2011, he is now a table tennis coach in a small club in France (about 153 players). Interested in table tennis coaching for a global audience, he founded pingsunday.com, one of the best online coaching programs for table tennis players. Using the Chinese coaching philosophy, his table tennis lessons are free, which allows many table tennis players to improve fast. He can speak English, French, Vietnamese, and a little bit of Chinese.