Over the past few years, I have coached a lot of beginner players. One of the things which helps a beginner player improve is using a decent table tennis bat. A table tennis bat which has good control, but can also generate decent spin too.
For most beginner players it can feel a bit overwhelming knowing which table tennis bat to buy. There is a lot of choice available – some very cheap, some very expensive – all claiming to be better than the rest. It really can be quite difficult working out a good table tennis bat from a rubbish table tennis bat.
So in this blog post, I will give you some honest advice about which table tennis bats are good for beginners, which table tennis bats you should avoid and some specific recommendations on table tennis bats you can buy (plus links to where you can buy them).
Control + spin
I think the most important thing for a beginner player is to have a table tennis bat which has the right balance between ‘control’ and being able to generate some decent spin.
Let’s start with ‘control’. If you’re a beginner player, you will still be developing your technique. It’s best to start with a medium speed table tennis bat, as this will help you keep more balls on the table. It will be less responsive to the other player’s spin and a bit more forgiving if your technique isn’t quite right.
However, you also want a table tennis bat which can generate decent amount of spin – backspin, topspin, sidespin. You need this to be able to play a range of shots – topspins, pushes, chops and devillish spinny serves.
It’s a fine balance between control and spin. If you get a bat whch is too fast it can be difficult to control the ball but you can get lots of spin. If you get something too slow it can be difficult to generate much spin, but it’s easier to control the ball. So you want that middle ground. The medium speed bat, with a medium speed blade and medium speed rubbers.
You should ideally buy a bat with rubbers which have ITTF approval. This means they have been tested by the world governing body, so you will be buying something of decent quality. If it has ITTF approval, you will see the ITTF logo on the rubbers. It’s a quality assurance mark, more than anything else.
Avoid really cheap bats
Generally, you should avoid buying really cheap table tennis bats. These are the bats which usually cost less than £10 / $10. They’re cheap for a reason – the materials used to make the bat simply aren’t very good.
The biggest issue I have with these bats are that they are useless at generating spin. Some of the really cheap bats, play more like anti-spin rubbers. A player will play a drive shot and instead of the ball coming back with a bit of topspin, the ball comes back with no spin at all.
With cheap equipment like this, it’s much more difficult to learn the basic strokes and technique you need to play table tennis, as you have to play exaggerated strokes to generate spin. This leads to bad habits, which will limit the progress a player can make.
A decent table tennis bat for a beginner player will cost in the region of £20-£40 / $25-$50.
So on to my recommendations. The list below are all table tennis bats which I have tested myself and recommend to the players who I coach. My personal favourite (and the one my players seem to like the most) is the Bribar Winning Loop (read review). But all the table tennis bats listed below are very good choices for beginner players.
Recommended bats (UK)
- BRIBAR Winning Loop Table Tennis Bat + Case
- Palio Expert Table Tennis Bat
- Eastfield Allround Table Tennis Bat
- FireBlade ‘Shinai’ – Allwood Table Tennis Bat
- Cornilleau Excell 2000 Carbon PHS Performa 2 Table Tennis Bat
Recommended bats (USA)
- Palio Expert Table Tennis Bat
- Stiga Evolution table tennis racket
- Killerspin JET400 Table Tennis Paddle
- Donic Waldner 700 table tennis racket
- Xiom MUV Prospeed
BEST-SELLERS: Also, take a look at my list of the most popular table tennis bats purchased by readers of my website.
You should do your own research too. All table tennis shops will stock suitable bats for beginners. On their websites look for ‘pre-assembled’, ‘ready-made’ or ‘complete’ bats. If in doubt, contact the shop and ask for their advice.
If you’re a beginner, the most important thing at this stage of your blossoming table tennis career is to buy a bat which allows you to develop good technique, generate some spin, but is not so fast that you keep over-hitting the ball.
A beginner bat won’t be forever. It will probably be good for a year or two depending on the speed of your progress. As you improve, you will need to switch to a bat more suited for an intermediate standard.
If you only ever want to play table tennis for a bit of fun, it’s fine to buy any old rubbish. But if you’re serious about improving, you should avoid the really cheap bats. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but a little extra investment in a decent beginner bat will help you improve quicker.