One of the most popular table tennis bats for beginners is the Palio Expert 2. This is the bat I often recommend to beginner players who I coach. It has a very high rating on Amazon and is the most popular bat choice for readers on my website.
As there is a lot of interest in this bat, I thought I would write a review. I also have a Palio Expert 2 table tennis bat, which I sometimes use in coaching sessions with beginners. As I’ve had many hours of playing time with the bat, I feel well placed to give my expert view.
So here’s my thoughts. First, let’s look at the positives.
1. Great control
The Palio Expert 2 is very easy to play with. Yes, the bat is faster and spinnier than the really cheap table tennis bats (which cost less than £10), but it is not so fast and spinny that it is uncontrollable.
This is essential for beginners. When you’re learning to play table tennis, you’re technique and touch obviously won’t be fully developed. You need a bat which gives you some margin of error if you’re stroke isn’t quite right. The super fast and spinny bats are very unforgiving – get the stroke or timing slightly wrong and the ball just flies long, high or wide. The Palio Expert 2 is much more controllable.
I sometimes coach with my Palio Expert 2 bat and I do notice a difference with the control compared to my usual Butterfly Tenergy 05 and Yasaka Rakza 7 rubbers. When my technique isn’t quite right with Tenergy 05 and Rakza 7, the ball tends to miss the table. But with the Palio Expert 2, the ball lands on the table much more often.
Of course, the solution is to have better technique. But this takes time, especially for beginners. So as you’re learning to play it’s nice to have a bat which helps you out when you don’t quite get your stroke right.
2. Spinny rubbers
Even though the Palio Expert 2 is slower and more controllable than a top range bat, you can still generate plenty of spin.
The rubber is very tacky, so it really grips the ball. With this bat you’re able to do spinny serves, heavy backspin pushes, and some pretty decent topspin shots. I like to do lots of loops against backspin balls when I play and this is surprisingly easy with this bat, considering the cheap cost compared to my usual bat.
So this is a table tennis bat which can grow with you. If you’re a beginner, you may not be able to play all the strokes yet, but hopefully you’ll be learning how to do them. You’ll be able to do any stroke with this bat, when the time comes, and this bat will help you develop from a beginner player to an intermediate player.
3. Not too slow, but not too fast
The Palio Expert 2 has the right amount of speed. Compared to really cheap and dead bat it will feel fast. Compared to a top of the range bat it will feel slow. The speed of this bat is somewhere in the middle. You can hit fast shots, but it doesn’t feel uncontrollable.
I found it quite easy to get some good speed on my shots. I had to use a little more physical power to achieve the same speed as my usual rubbers, but it has enough oomph to satisfy any beginner player.
So if you like to play fast shots you will be able to, without feeling out of control.
4. Good bat for developing correct technique
Most very cheap bats (under £10) have very dead rubber. It’s difficult to generate much spin with these bats – or you have to really exaggerate your strokes to get anything out of them. As a result, players who use the really cheap bats for too long often develop poor technique to compensate for the poor quality rubber. They then struggle to progress onto a better quality bat as it plays very different to the cheap bat.
The great thing about the Palio Expert 2 is that it is easy to develop good technique when using it. The bat is not an obstacle to your progress. It will help you become a better player.
When you improve to an intermediate level you will need to upgrade to a faster and spinnier bat, but it’s not going to feel massively different. It will be an easy transition.
When I coach with this bat, I completely forget it’s not my usual bat after a few minutes. When I switch to my other bat, it really isn’t a massive difference.
The price of the Palio Expert 2 is very good (at time of writing you can buy the bat for £30 on Amazon). Ok you can find cheaper bats, but on the whole, they’re not very good. And there are many more expensive bats, some of which cost over £300!
When you’re a beginner, you don’t need to spend loads of money on a table tennis bat. The really expensive bats are likely to be too fast to control, so won’t actually be very helpful.
But you don’t want to spend too little either. The really cheap bats are cheap for a reason – they’re not very good. If you spend a bit more by buying a Palio Expert 2, you get much better quality rubbers and a free bat case! £30 is very reasonable. It’s not going to break the bank and you will have something decent to play with.
Let’s look at the negatives. I’m really struggling to come up with anything!
I suppose if you’ve played with a very cheap bat for a long time, you’ll probably find the Palio Expert 2 much faster and it may take you a while to adapt. But it’s only £30 so it’s not an expensive mistake if you don’t like it.
And if you already play at an intermediate standard, you’ll probably find the bat too slow, so it won’t be the best choice for you.
But for the beginner player, it really is a very good choice.
So in summary, the Palio Expert 2 is a great table tennis bat for beginner players. It’s easy to control the ball, but you can still generate plenty of spin and speed. This bat will make it easy to develop correct technique and when you upgrade it will be an easy transition. The price is great. I fully recommend.
As well as a written view, I’ve also recorded a video review. This video includes the same views as those expressed in the article above, but also includes footage of myself playing with the Palio Expert 2 table tennis bat against my robot. Enjoy!