The cost of table tennis equipment is going up and up. Some rubbers cost £80. Some blades cost £350. Put the most expensive rubbers on the most expensive blade, and the cost is over £500!
Fortunately, there are plenty of more affordable options. IMPACT have recently released a range of blades, which claim to have a premium feel but at prices significantly less than the top of the range blades.
Over the past month, I have been testing out these new blades. There are three blades in the IMPACT PURE range:
There is also another blade released by IMPACT, which I have been testing:
In this article, I give my thoughts on all four blades – how they play, how they feel, and whether they are a realistic alternative to blades four or five times their price.
Before I get into my review, here’s a comparison table of the four blades, detailing speed, control and weight…
|IMPACT Pure Allround||60||85||95|
|IMPACT Pure Energy||85||79||85-90|
|IMPACT Pure Defence||58||90||90|
|IMPACT Precise Light||72||82||75-80|
IMPACT Pure Allround
The IMPACT Pure Allround is a 5 ply blade, using limba and samba wood. Even though this is the heaviest of the blades, it doesn’t feel particularly heavy. The weight is nicely distributed throughout, so it has a nice balance. The handle and the edge of the blade is finished very nicely, so it has more of a premium feel to hold.
How does it play? Well it’s very controlled as you would expect from an allround blade. It’s very good for pushing, blocking and controlling incoming spin. I felt confident of keeping the ball on the table.
It is possible to play a range of attacking strokes – loops against backspin, fast topspin shots, direct drives and smashes. But I had to use good attacking technique to get the speed from my shots. This blade isn’t going to generate the speed for you. If you have plenty of acceleration with your swing and wrist when you attack, then you can play fast attacks with this blade. Serving is good. It’s possible to generate plenty of spin and keep the serves tight over the net. Overall it was a nice blade to play with.
The IMPACT Pure Allround a really good option for a player who has progressed beyond the beginner stage and wants to upgrade from a pre-made bat, to a custom set-up with a higher quality blade, but still wants to maintain high levels of control.
The blade could also be a very good option for an experienced league player who has an all-round game, mixing up pushes, blocks, controlled attacks and occasional smashes.
The IMPACT Pure Allround blade is available to buy from the Bribar website for £42.99.
IMPACT Pure Energy
The IMPACT Pure Energy is a faster 5 ply blade, also using limba and samba wood. This is a tiny bit lighter than the IMPACT Pure Allround, but in reality the difference is very small , and the weight feels the same. If anything the IMPACT Pure Energy feels a little chunkier. The handle is a tiny bit fuller, to accommodate the thicker wood, so if you prefer a fuller handle, then this blade will feel very nice to you. The handle and edge of the blade is smooth, so it is comfortable to hold in the hand.
How does it play? It is certainly the fastest of all four blades. I found it easy to get my attacks deep, with plenty of speed and spin. Looping against backspin is easy. There is a nice arc to the loops – not too high or low – which means I could achieve high levels of consistency. My backhand flick seems to work really well with this blade – that extra speed helping me to counter the short backspin and get enough lift over the net.
I found topspin rallies a little harder with the IMPACT Pure Energy. The handle is a little too thick for my liking. I tend to make grip changes between forehand and backhand strokes and prefer a thinner handle to do this. I found this handle a bit too cumbersome for my grip changes. But many players don’t make grip changes between strokes and prefer the handle a little thicker. If this is you, then you will find this blade very comfortable to play topspin rallies.
Even though this is a faster blade, it is still very controllable. It performs well when pushing, blocking and controlling incoming spin. Overall this is a very good attacking blade, with decent levels of control.
The IMPACT Pure Energy is a good choice for attack minded players, who still want to keep some control. The blade is fast, but easy enough to handle. If you use good technique, your shots will be spinny and penetrating, and your consistency will be high.
The IMPACT Pure Energy blade is available to buy from the Bribar website for £54.99.
Impact Pure Defence
The IMPACT Pure Defence, is a slower, slightly larger blade which is ideal for defensive play. It’s another 5 ply blade, using samba and enso woods. Even though the blade is 90g, once you have put on defensive rubbers (pimples, anti-spin or thin inverted), it feels very light. Once more, the hand and edge of the blade has a nice smoothness, making it comfortable to play with.
How does it play? I have had great joy using this blade. I’m not usually a defensive player, but my chops, pushes and blocks are decent enough and with this blade my strokes were working great. Even with my average chopping skills, I have found it really easy to return heavy topspin attacks, with loads of backspin. The blade helps absorb the energy of the attacks, making it quite easy to return the ball low and keep it on the table. I have surprised myself with some of the chops I have managed. I just can’t believe the ball landed on the table.
Blocking is super easy. I can handle a lot of topspin and once again the blade helps absorb some of the pace. Pushing is great. The slowness of the blade makes it easier to keep pushes short and tight to the net. But with some extra acceleration, deep and fast pushes are easy enough to do. Attack is possible, but you have to commit to the shot. If my opponent pops the ball up, then it’s possible to power through the ball and hit some strong attacks.
Overall it’s a really balanced defensive blade – good for chops and pushes in particular – with a bit of sting when you decide to attack
The IMPACT Pure Defence is a very good choice for any defensive player who needs a slower blade with high levels of control.
The IMPACT Pure Defence blade is available to buy from the Bribar website for £48.99.
IMPACT Precise Light
The IMPACT Precise Light is another blade for attacking players, but lighter than the IMPACT Pure Energy. It uses a combination of balsa, samba and anegre woods. This reduces the weight of the blade to 75g-80g, which does make it feel noticeably lighter. Like the other blades in the IMPACT PRO range, the handle and the edge of the blade is quite smooth, giving it a more premium feel.
How does it play? Great! This is my favourite of the four blades. I really like the lightness of the blade, making it easier for me to keep my elbow in a good position and play effortless attacks without tiring. I have a controlled attack game, so the speed of this blade suits my playing style. There is speed there when I need to play stronger attacks, but for my more controlled attacks, this blade is very reliable. It’s one of those blades where I feel I can’t miss. All my shots seem to land, whether topspin, block, drive, push, smash.
Maybe if you prefer your blade really fast, you will find this too slow. But for controlled attack, this blade works really well. I really liked this blade for serving too. Because it’s lighter, I found it easier to really whip into the ball, getting very nice spin. Overall this is a really decent blade, at a very affordable price. It’s light. It’s precise. It’s good for both attacking play and controlling play.
The IMPACT Precise Light is a very good choice for any attacking player who prefers a lighter blade. It’s probably best suited to controlled-attack, but it could be worth experimenting with even if you prefer power attacks.
The IMPACT Precise Light blade is available to buy from the Bribar website for £49.99.
I have been quite impressed with the new range of IMPACT blades. For a very affordable price, they have produced four blades which have a premium feel. Of course, there are other blades which are faster and use higher quality materials, but they are also much more expensive. If you want a good quality blade, which doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money, then you should consider these.
My personal favourite is the IMPACT Precise Light. When my league season has finished, I will test this some more and maybe this will become the blade I use all the time. I also had great fun playing with the IMPACT Pure Defence. I’ve beaten some good players in practice matches. If I ever decide to become a defensive player, then I’ll certainly start with this blade.
Good blades. Good quality build. Good feel. Well done IMPACT!