Best table tennis bats for intermediate players

When players I coach progress from beginner to intermediate standard, I encourage them to buy a better bat. But what the heck should they buy? There are just so many bats available – all with different levels of speed, spin and control. Plus decisions need to be made about rubber thickness, blade speed and handle shape.

For a player who is buying their first ‘proper’ bat, it can be quite an overwhelming experience. But do not worry, help is at hand. In this blog post, I share the advice I give to the intermediate players I coach (including specific recommendations). I hope my advice helps you too…

[Related: If you are a beginner player, take a look at my blog post ‘Best table tennis bats for beginners‘]

Spin, speed and control

Many beginner players start with fairly basic bats. They’re not too fast or spinny but they do have plenty of control. This is ideal for a beginner. But as your technique improves, you should improve the quality of your bat too. As a general guide, you should be looking to buy a bat which is a little faster and can generate more spin than your existing bat, but still retains good control.

In other words, don’t jump from a beginner bat to a really advanced, super-fast and super-spinny bat. You may find it difficult to control the ball, as the rubbers on these bats are very responsive. Instead you want something in between – faster than your beginner bat, but not as fast as the bats the professionals play with.

Custom-made bat or ready-made bat?

At the intermediate level, it doesn’t really matter if you buy a custom-made bat or a ready-made bat. It won’t be your ‘forever’ bat. You’ll probably use it for a 12-18 months and then buy something better again.

If you want to buy a custom-made bat, you need to choose a rubber for your forehand, a rubber for your backhand and a blade.

The benefit of a custom-made bat is that you can choose any combination. For example, you may want a faster rubber for your forehand (for attacking play) and a slower rubber for your backhand (for all-round play). You can customise the rubber thickness (thicker = faster, thinner = slower) and the shape of the bat handle.

For table tennis geeks, like myself, this level of customisation is wonderful. You can lose hours researching and reading reviews, as there is just so much choice available.

However, this doesn’t appeal to everyone. If spending hours trawling through table tennis equipment websites isn’t your thing, then you should consider buying a ready-made bat (recommendations below).

A ready-made bat usually has the same rubber for both the forehand and the backhand and limited choice on blade, rubber thickness and handle shape. The quality of the bat is good, but there is simply less customisation and less choice available. But if you play a similar style for both forehand and backhand strokes, then it’s fine the have the same rubber on both sides of your blade.

Cost

A intermediate bat is going to cost more than a beginner bat. You’re paying for the extra quality of material. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Typically, a good intermediate bat will cost between £50-£120. From my experience, a ready-made intermediate bat is usually a little cheaper than a custom-made intermediate bat.

Recommendations

There are hundreds of rubbers and blades available to buy and there is no way I (or anyone else) have tested them all. But here are a few blades and rubbers I recommend for intermediate players based upon my own playing and coaching experience.

Blades

  • Buttefly Boll Allround Blade
  • Stiga Classic Allround Blade
  • Andro Super Core Cell Allround+ Blade
  • Joola Mikado Allround+ Blade
  • Tibhar Balsa Allround blade
  • Yasaka Silver All Wood

Rubbers

  • Butterfly Roundell Soft
  • Butterfly Rozena
  • Yasaka Mark V
  • Tibhar Evolution EL-S
  • Andro Shifter Powersponge
  • Donic Vario

If you want to buy a custom-made table tennis bat, you will need to purchase via a table tennis retailer. Take a look at my list of retailers in UK, USA, Europe, Asia and Australia.

You can also buy ready-made bats from table tennis retailers. On their websites look for ‘pre-assembled’, ‘ready-made’ or ‘complete’ bats.

Another good option for ready-made bats is Amazon. The good thing about Amazon is you can read lots of user reviews to help you make an informed choice.

Recommended bats (UK)

Recommended bats (USA / Canada)

BEST-SELLERS: Take a look at my list of the most popular table tennis bats purchased by readers of my website.

Final thoughts

Whatever bat you decide to buy, remember – get something faster and spinnier than your existing bat, but not too much faster and spinnier!

I remember the first ‘proper’ table tennis bat I bought when I played my first league season about 10 years ago. I was intermediate standard, but wanted something fast like the other players in the club. I looked through the catalogue and picked out a very fast rubber for my forehand, a very fast rubber for my backhand and an offensive blade. It was a very quick bat, to help me play fast table tennis.

What happened? I had a terrible season. I just couldn’t control the ball. Yes, my shots were fast, but they weren’t landing on the table! Attacks went long, pushes popped up high, blocks catapulted off my rubber. In short, the bat was too fast for my developing technique.

When the season finished, I bought my next bat. This time I went for an all-round blade, and rubbers with a bit more control. There was an instant improvement. I stopped making so many unforced errors and I was enjoying my table tennis again.

Moral of this story? Just because you’re improving, it doesn’t mean your Ma Long yet! Buy a faster bat, yes, but not too fast! Make sure you still have plenty of control.

Get more table tennis tips

Sign up for my popular table tennis newsletter and I’ll send you table tennis tips, tactics and training drills to help you improve and win more points.

About Tom Lodziak

I’m a table tennis coach, player and blogger based in Cambridge in the UK. Sign up to my popular FREE monthly newsletter and I'll send you tips, blogs, articles and videos to help you improve and win more points. You can also follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my Youtube channel.

35 thoughts on “Best table tennis bats for intermediate players

  1. Hi Tom,

    I read your blog and found very useful information here, but I’m still confused about which bat should I buy.
    Actually I’m looking for a ready made bat with very good spin.
    Recently I’m using ‘GKI XX Offensive’ This bat provide me a very good spin. But I want to improve my game and spin is my strong point. So can you please guide me which bat should I buy?
    If you didn’t find good option with pre-assembled bat then I can also go with the custome one.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Himanshu

      It sounds like you have reached a standard where you should be thinking of buying a custom made table tennis bat. Any of the rubbers I mention in the blog post – Butterfly Roundell, Yasaka Mark V, Andro Shifter Powersponge, Donic Vario – would be a good progression for you. They will help you generate more spin and speed than the GKI XX Offensive.

      Tom

  2. i noticed one of your recommendations for a premade was donic waldner 900. isnt it a recreational racket too. I was just confused because i know that recreational rackets arent good for serious players.

    • Hi Yousaid

      The Donic Waldner 900 is a decent bat for an intermediate player – and a reasonable price. But as a player improves and moves from intermediate to advanced, he/she will need to upgrade to better equipment.

      Tom

    • Hi Steve

      It depends what type of bat you’re looking for. I’m coaching a player who had a very fast bat, but was struggling to keep the ball on the table. He switched to the Palio Master 2 and he found it much easier to control the ball. He can still generate plenty of spin and speed. It’s not as fast as his other bat, but he makes less errors. Take a look of the reviews on Amazon to see what other players say.

      Tom

  3. hi tom,
    i just wanted to ask what is the best pre made racket, for an advanced player, with a price range of $70-80.

    thanks

  4. I have customized bat (Joola carbon plus blade and stag ninja fire rubber both side). I feel Bat is bit heavy and difficult to play shots, spin is good. I am looking for change in rubber. I searched in internet & blogs also with my colleagues, many of them suggested Yasak Mark V rubber and some suggested Donic Blue Fire M2.
    Please advise me which one to buy. shall I buy Mark V onside (red) and Donic Blue fire M2 other side (Black)?

    • Hi

      Both Yasaka Mark V and Donic Blue Fire M2 are decent and popular rubbers. If you know anyone who plays with these rubbers, you should borrow their bat, so you can try them out before you purchase. The benefit of buying two different rubbers, is that you get to test which works best for your forehand and backhand. If you really prefer one over the other, then just buy a second sheet of your preferred rubber.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Tom

  5. Nice article Tom. Does your advice stand with the new plastic ball or should intermediates look for a bit more spin and speed now do you think?

    • Hi Mark

      Good question. I think there is still so much variation between the different brands of plastic balls. I have four brands of plastic balls and they all play differently. I think it will be a while before we have a standard type of plastic ball and therefore a range of bats which are perfectly suited to whatever the standard plastic ball becomes. In the meantime, the bats which were popular before the plastic balls and still the best bats to buy.

      Tom

  6. Hi Tom just bought the Tibhar Powercarbon XT premade bat with Volcano rubbers. Are these rubbers replaceable or are they factry glued. Not wanting to change immediately but for later. Just getting used to carbon tho and finding it mor difficult to create spin. Any suggstions?

    • Hi Frank

      I’m not certain whether this one is factory glued. I have just contacted the company which sells the bat and asked them this question. I will let you know when I hear back from them. Interesting that you have find it hard to generate spin. The Volcano rubbers certainly won’t be as spinny as top-end rubbers, but are a lot better than entry level rubbers. Out of interest, what were you using previously?

      Tom

      • Tom
        Thanks for your prompt response re manf brand of Tibhar Powercarbon XT bat as I couldnt find it anywhere on the Tibhar websites. Further under description no mention of opportunity for replacement of rubbers to retain bat. Previous bat using Friendship 729 rubbers. Have to admit that my particpation is rcreational but competitively!! Perhaps lack of spin ability due to my poor technique. Would carbon layer make a difference to spin?
        Regards Frank

  7. Hi Tom,

    I am an intermediate player and trying to develop my self, what do you think about Timo boll ALC bat, is it good for my stage now, and which do you prefer timo boll ALC or ZLC as I care about spin and control more than speed in time being

    thanks in advanced

    • Hi Hisham

      Both blades (Timo Boll ALC and Timo Boll ZLC) are fantastic, but they are more suitable for advanced players. They are very fast blades. If you play at the intermediate level and are more concerned about control than speed, I’d go for the Timo Boll Allround blade. As you improve from intermediate to advanced, then you can certainly think about upgrading to Timo Boll ALC or ZLC. But for the time being I’d go for a blade with less speed and more control.

      Tom

      • Hi Tom,

        Thank you so much for your replay, I will definitely take your advice and go for Timo Boll Allround blade.
        as I want to improve my playing in the right way, and proper track.

        thank you again

        Hisham

  8. Hi Tom
    Just bought the killerspin jet600 racket and am still wondering if a made the right choice, i really like to attack but also want control of the ball. Do you think it is going to help me improve my play??

    • Hi

      Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Every time I buy a new rubber or blade I usually have doubts whether I bought the right one! I think the Killerspin Jet600 is a decent choice if you like to attack with control. Play with it a few times and fingers crossed it will help you play better.

      Tom

  9. Hi Tom,

    Can you please help me out with the bat that i should use now as i am very confused on that part.
    I have playing constantly since the last 2 years with GKI KUNG FU. my strong points are back hand smash and chop as i am a defensive player. Still don’t have gud command over my forhand top spin but i am working on it.
    can you suggest me a good bat according to my style of play or any customized one would also help ?

    thanks in advance

  10. Great post Tom! I used to play at school 12 years ago and since then played a few times. I still retain quite a lot of my old skills though. I would consider myself an intermediate, although an allrounder, may be a bit more on the defensive side as I tend to simply return the ball quite a lot and tend less to aggressively respond. So, allround and may be leaning slightly to defensive. I have been researching and am confused between the Stiga Evolution, Palio Expert/ Master/ Legend. From what I read, Legend is a very fast bat and I’m more likely to land the ball out of the table using it. Master and Expert seem to be good choice. But Stiga Evolution also has good reviews and many more in number than Palio! Still, which out of these mentioned rackets would you recommend? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I understand I need an allround racket that is not too defensive or too fast?? I don’t intend to enter competitions but play more for hobby/ recreation purpose. Though I absolutely love TT so buying a cheap racket would be my insult to myself!

    Regard!
    Zorba

    • Hi Zorba

      As you like to play a little more defensively, I’d probably recommend the Stiga Evolution bat. All three of the Palio bats – Expert, Master and Legend are more suited to players who try to play more attacking. The Palio bats may be too bouncy for your playing style. However, if you want to develop your game and play more spin attacks, then Palio would be the way to go. One final thought – for your playing style you should also consider the Eastfield Allround bat. This may be ideal for you. It has excellent control. You can read my review here.

  11. Hi Tom,

    I used to play til 6 yrs ago ,have won school and college titles . want to improve my skill , i have an offensive forehand with lots of power and spin and a weaker backhand which is more in defensive side. I play a very good chop in both fore/backhand which i rarely used as i prefer offensive style. Advice me suitable racket .

    • Hi Suraj

      If you prefer to play offensive style, then you should get an attacking racket. You could try using Yasaka Mark V rubbers. You will be able to generate speed and spin, but they offer a bit more control compared to the very fast rubbers. Here’s a link to reviews.

      Tom

  12. Hi tom my rubber of my palio legends 2 are done so i buy a dhs 3 neo for my fh and a donic baracuda for my bh. Do you think i make a good choice

    • Hi Dom,

      I think the Donic Baracuda rubber will be a good progression from the Palio Legend 2. DHS Hurricane Neo 3 will feel quite different to the Palio Legend, so may take a bit of getting used to. It’s a good rubber, but it is very different to what you have been playing with. But it’s all about trial and error. Give it a go. If you don’t like either rubber, you can always try something else!

      Tom

        • Hi Dom

          The main difference is the sponge hardness. DHS NEO Hurricane 3 has a harder sponge. The ball will bounce lower when it hits the rubber. Palio Hadou has a little more sponge, so the ball will bounce a little higher when it hits the rubber.

          Tom

  13. I have been playing for 18 months now and i have a butterfly wakaba 2000 andpd I am thinking of buying a new one please suggest me something. And I am a offensive forehand player anddefensive at backhand. I was thinking about donic coppa jo gold at th and yasaka mark v at bh and a carbon ply or killerspin jet800.

Leave a Reply