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Table Tennis Equipment Guide – 8 Good Advices

Buying the first racket is not easy, especially for new players. Many players have spent a thousand dollars just to test their new rubbers. How much have you spent before finding your dreaming equipment?

Therefore, I explain to you the Guide to choosing your first equipment in table tennis. Here are the most common mistakes that beginners made by buying their first paddle. I’ve also presented the best 3 budget rackets for beginners.

I’ve explained the most popular mistakes in terms of technical and gameplay. This article is the list of the wrong choices of equipment.

I won’t tell you the marques of a table tennis racket that you should buy because the racket quality and table tennis evolves with time. Of course, you are new to table tennis, and you may hear about the best equipment nowadays like Butterfly, Stiga, DHS, Donic, Tibhar, Joola, etc. Each year, there are hundreds of new blades, rackets, and rubber are released.

Equipment Guideline – Instructions from Chinese coaches

During my own experiences of coaching, I found that new players often make these bad choices. These are the common mistakes in buying a beginner’s racket. In general, you should choose the best blade, and combine it with the best rubbers that fit your style.

But I want to show you the right way, and some mistakes to avoid when choosing your first racket. New players often make the wrong choice when buying their first equipment.

Racket case of the top Chinese player
Racket case of the top Chinese player

Follow these guidances to have better table tennis equipment!

Watch this video to understand the guidelines:

Guidelines to buy the first racket in table tennis

Watch this video.



1. Upgrade if necessary

In your career, you will change/upgrade several rackets. Based on your improvement, you could choose the faster or harder racket. Some new players just upgrade their equipment because others say that. You should understand your style, and upgrade only if you need to. Like if you lack power, or spin in your shots, then you should upgrade to a faster setup.

DHS Hurricane II nice handle - Upgrade to a faster setup to win more
DHS Hurricane II nice handle – Upgrade to a faster setup to win more


2. Say no to pre-made racket

As a new player, never buy a pre-made racket, with cheap wood quality, and very thin rubbers. This is very bad for your learning. Bad and cheap wood will eliminate all of the good vibrations to your hand. Too thin rubber forces you to open more your racket to spin the ball (which is a very bad habit).

Should I buy a premade racket as my first ping pong racket
Should I buy a premade racket as my first ping pong racket? My answer is: No.

3. Choose the right rubber’s hardness

Never choose a too soft rubber (softer than 40 degrees on your forehand side, and softer than 35 degrees on the backhand side). If you want to improve fast, choose the hardest rubber that you can manage to hit. The harder you choose, the faster you improve. Chinese kids always play with hard rubbers.

DHS Hurricane 2 with 39 degree hardness 2.15 mm is a very good forehand rubber
DHS Hurricane 2 with 39-degree hardness 2.15 mm is a very good forehand rubber (more info)

4. Don’t buy a too light blade

Never choose a too-light blade (Lighter than 80g). The heavy blade is not comfortable to play with at the beginning. But it will prevent you from the bad habit of some players: Hit only by the wrist. Some new players just love playing with a very light blade, because they have a bad habit, (hit with only the wrist). Heavy blade forces you to use your body, and develop the full mechanism of the stroke.

Choose Heavy or Light Racket in Table Tennis
Choose Heavy or Light Racket in Table Tennis? My advice – Choose the heaviest racket that you can play

5. Choose the right rubber’s thickness

Never choose too thin rubber, thinner than 1.8mm. Some coach just asks a new player to play with thin, to very thin rubber (1.5mm). No! Playing with too thin rubber, the new players tend to open more his racket’s angle. Thin rubber makes the ball “bottom out” very soon. So the players need to open more the racket to topspin and to compensate for this “bottom out”. This is a very bad habit. The ball is weak and less accurate. You will not improve fast with this setup.

What is the Optimal Rubber Sponge Thickness in table tennis
What is the Optimal Rubber Sponge Thickness in table tennis? Here is the optimal sponge thickness

6. Slow down but higher quality

Never choose carbon, too hard, too fast blade. Another big problem with new players, they always want “faster, faster and faster”. But they don’t know how to spin the ball.

Chinese philosophy about table tennis

“The blade gives the feeling. The blade is your hand. That is the rubber and your power will give the speed to the ball”.


Understand Table Tennis Equipment | Choose Best Paddle and Rubber

Watch this video.


7. Stick with one set up for at least 6 months

Never change equipment because they tell you this one is better. For each type of blade and rubber, try to stick with them for at least 6 months. Try to discover your equipment. Don’t just buy and try in only 2 hours and conclude. You are wrong! Each type of equipment has its own advantages. Try to figure it out! And understand why you need to change (to have more spin, more speed, low-throw, attack style, more control, etc). Understand your playing style, your technique first, and then change your racket later.

Butterfly Viscaria Composition - Thin ALC blade fast but good feeling and have rather flexible blade
Butterfly Viscaria Composition – Thin ALC blade fast but good feeling and have a rather flexible blade (more info)

8. Focus on feeling and spin

And remember, as a new player, feeling and spin are the most important. My best advice if you want to improve fast in table tennis. Believe it! This message is not to promote any equipment. It’s for you! Based on my own experiences of coaching and playing. So your first equipment needs to provide this information: good vibration, and feeling to your hand.

Liu Guoliang There is no best paddle in the World. The best paddle is the one that fit your style the best. (2)
Liu Guoliang There is no best paddle in the World. The best paddle is the one that fit your style the best

You should also read the common equipment mistakes for new players when choosing their first equipment.

©PINGSUNDAY. Unauthorized use, translation or duplication of this material is strictly prohibited. Link and excerpt may be used, provided that clear credit is given to PingSunday with the specific link to the original content.

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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

9 thoughts on “Table Tennis Equipment Guide – 8 Good Advices”

  1. Hi coach, Are you saying i will improve faster if i use 41 degree hurricane 3 than something like tenergy 05? And should I chose 41 degree sponge from dhs or would it be too hard i am an intermediate player. I have an option to buy 39,40 or 41 degree hurricane so which one should I choose?

  2. Hi!
    I am an intermediate player, and want to improve my game. I do have “ball feeling”, but do not yet have consistent playing technique skills.
    Currently, since about ½ year, I use a Donic Senso Apppelgren Allplay V1 blade (80 grams and about 5.5 mm thick), with Stiga DNA Future rubbers, medium hard, with a 2.1 mm thick sponge.

    Please give me some advice how to improve my game.

    Thanking you,
    Sincerely yours,
    Stefan Bjorklund,
    Gothenburg, Sweden.

  3. Hello coach.

    What combination of Blade and rubber would you recommend for a beginner player that likes the chinese style of play?

  4. Hello coach!

    I have a question to sponge hardness.
    Do you talk about DHS/China hardness or ESN/Europe hardness or BTY/Japan hardness for the sponge?

    Thank you!

    • Hello Coach,
      Thank you for the excellent advice. Can you please provide your thoughts on YASAKA Ma Lin Soft Carbon blade with Rakza X rubbers on both sides? I have a strong BH (solid top spin, flicks, chops) but weak and inconsistent FH. Currently playing with Stiga Pro Carbon but feel the need to have a more control oriented rubber on FH side at least to bring more consistency.

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