About 6 months ago I got really frustrated. I was looking to upgrade my ping pong paddle and quickly got lost down a rabbit hole of options. So, I began my own personal quest to create the most helpful ping pong paddle buyer’s guide; ever! I wanted to provide the recreational player as well as the serious player everything they needed to know about ping pong paddles. I also wanted to find the best premade ping pong paddles for any type of player. Because if I was confused and having a hard time sifting through all the junk paddles available, others probably were too.
So, that’s what I’ve tried to provide here with my ping pong paddle buyer’s guide. If you’re in the market for a new paddle, but need help sifting through all the options, this article is designed to help you. I’ve created this product guide to help ALL kinds of players across ALL budgets. Whether you’re looking for a paddle under $50 or looking for a paddle designed for spin - I’ve researched it! In fact, I’ve put in over 50 hours of obsessive research so I can thoroughly cover all the options across all the different price points, skill levels and abilities because no two players are alike, and there is no “one size fits all” approach to ping pong paddles.
And finally, this article is designed to help you make an informed decision when choosing a paddle. If I’ve missed the mark and haven’t done that, please let me know in the comments section below.
How I Chose The 12 Best Premade Ping Pong Paddles for 2019
When I began to look for an affordable, recreational paddle of my own, I quickly realized I had a lot to learn. Buying a paddle is easy. That literally takes seconds. Finding, choosing and buying a really good paddle is more involved. But it doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to:
Know where to find the product specs and...
Know how to quickly read them
As I researched ping pong paddles, I come across some interesting facts and learned some valuable lessons.
The first lesson I’ve learned is that despite the game being played casually in rec rooms, basements and man caves all over the world, the game is actually taken very seriously...especially by those that make the equipment. Companies lIke Killerspin, Joola, Stiga and Butterfly all make fantastic paddles. They make table tennis rackets for casual players and advanced players but regardless, they put their heart and soul into those products. So, if you’re looking for the best ping pong paddle for your skill level, shouldn’t you pick from companies that are passionate about it? That’s why I only picked paddles from reputable ping pong focused manufacturers.
Secondly, I thoroughly analyzed the specs of each paddle to find the best fit. What do I mean by that? Well each paddle is rated based on it’s Spin, Speed and Control. We’ll get into more of those specs in a minute but what I did was let those specs guide my research. For instance, if I’m looking for the best table tennis racquets for spin, I need to find blades that have a Spin rating of well over 100. Again, we’ll get into more of what those rating mean below.
Lastly, I looked at the guts of the paddle. The inner workings of each paddle can tell you A LOT! For example, the wood used and how many layers of ply can give you a glimpse into the paddle's performance and what it’s designed to do. In addition, the sponge and rubber used around the layers of wood also matter a lot. So, I chose paddles that had the proper combination of thickness, firmness and tackiness depending on what the paddle is designed to do. If I’m looking for a great ping pong paddle for beginners, then I need a paddle with a thinner sponge and soft tacky rubber. The price alone doesn’t mean the paddle is a beginners paddle. The specifications tell the true story.
In short, I analyzed the specs from front to back so you don’t have to. I’m just a nice guy like that. 🙂
Types of Ping Ping Pong Paddles - There are TWO
Ping pong paddles can be broken down into two different types: Premade and Custom. Beginners typically start with a premade ping pong paddle. However, there are varying degrees of a premade ping pong paddles. So, intermediate or even expert level players can play with any number of elite premade paddles. There are great premade paddles across ALL skill levels but if you find yourself entering real tournaments and wanting more from your paddle, it may be time to jump to a custom paddle. I've covered everything there is to know about custom paddles and how to put one together yourself here.
Premade ping pong paddles are exactly what you’d expect. A blade of wood, a flared or straight handle for grip, some sponge on the wood, and two sheets of rubber capping it off. All packaged neatly premade and ready to go for you. Most premade ping pong paddles come with all these parts but NOT ALL of them do. Some premade paddles you’ll find at your local department store or sporting goods store may be missing the sponge. Beware of these cheapo paddles because you’ve got nothing but basic plywood and thin rubber. These paddles don’t last and are zero fun to play with. Stay away! A good premade paddle is going to have all the necessary parts, made with good, quality material.
Custom ping pong paddles are where you get to select the pieces yourself, cut the rubber and assemble the paddle on your own. Serious players who are beyond casual recreational play typically go with a custom paddle because they want a specific kind of wood for the blade and are meticulous about what kind of rubber and sponge they use. If that’s you, then I highly suggest you read my step by step walk through on how to choose the best materials and put together your first custom table tennis racket yourself.
If you’re not ready for a custom ping pong paddle (most people are not) don’t worry. The 12 paddles I've highlighted are actually the 12 Best Premade Ping Pong Paddles on the market today.
The Anatomy of a Ping Pong Paddle and What You Need to Know
As I said above, ping pong paddles are rated across three main attributes: Spin, Speed, and Control. However, that is a little misleading. It’s actually the rubber used on the paddle that gets scored for these three ratings...technically not the entire paddle. The rubber alone dictates what type of spin, speed and control you get out of the paddle.
Fun Fact: Did you know that only about 10-20% of a ping pong paddle’s performance comes from the wooden blade? About 80% of how well a paddle performs is based on the rubber used!
The amount of spin a table tennis paddle is able to put on the ball depends entirely on its surface. Spin is generated when the paddle momentarily grabs or hugs the ball, so softer and tackier surfaces are best.
Harder rubbers don’t provide spin. This is why some ping pong paddles have two different sides that play different. This is especially common with custom ping pong paddles. The softer, smooth side (can be red or black) provides the spin or grab while the harder rubber can provide speed and power. Depending on the paddle, you could also have a ribbed or pimpled side that provides the control/grip.
Important Fact: Tacky and Soft Paddle = Great for Spin
The ball speed generated by your paddle is determined by two parts.
1. The Sponge
2. The Rubber
The thicker the sponge the faster the paddle. It’s just that simple. Faster paddles will have a sponge about 2 millimeters thick. Conversely, if you’re looking to slow your opponent down and play a more defensive oriented game, look for a thinner sponge.
The rubber also plays a role in ping pong paddle speed. The universal rule is that harder rubbers play faster while softer rubbers slow the game down (and provide a degree of spin). So, if you play an aggressive style of ping pong, are always on the attack and never pass up an opportunity to hit a game winning passing shot - then a harder rubber may be for you.
Important Fact: Thick Sponge + Harder Rubber = Fast Paddle (Offensive Style)
Important Fact: Thin Sponge + Softer Rubber = Slower Paddle (Defensive Style)
Typically, table tennis rackets with high speed and spin levels tend to have a low control rating. The higher the speed, the lower the control - that’s the best way to think of it. Ping pong paddles with super speed and spin require the player to provide their own sense of control. Essentially, if you’re good enough to play with a racket that has a speed rating of 115, then you’re probably good enough to apply control and defensive tactics on your own without any help from the paddle because you’ve mastered technique and form already.
The rubber on your paddle is what brings the whole thing together. It’s what gives your paddle the rating it gets for Spin, Speed and Control. Good rubbers will last 80 to 100 hours or a year for casual players. If you’re more advanced and play on a daily basis, 6 months is more of a realistic time frame before your rubber “goes dead” or loses its grip. And once a ping pong paddle rubber goes dead, it’s done. You can’t get it back, it’s to time replace it.
How to Choose The Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle For You
Picking your paddle can be a tricky task.
If you’re like me, then you’ll want a paddle that lands somewhere in the middle of all these specifications. I like paddles that have a sponge slightly less than 2mm, have plenty of tackiness for my forehand top spin, and a rubber that is a little on the soft side.
It can be easy to get lost in these paddle specs. It’s the old “paralysis by analysis” idea. But I’m here to tell you, don’t get too consumed but all this. The best way to choose a table tennis racket is to play with it. Take a peek at the rubber thickness. If it’s over 2mm, the paddle is going to play fast. Glance at the spin, speed and control and whatever has the highest number will tell you what the paddle is designed for. If you’re a recreational level of player, that’s really all you need to know at this point.
The good news is, the 12 premade ping pong paddles I’ve highlighted are a great place to start. There is something for everyone on my list regardless of skill level.
Pro Tip: Before upgrading to the next level of a premade ping pong paddle, make sure you’ve given your current paddle 6 solid months of play before moving up. And always make sure the new paddle you’re selecting is truly a level up in play. Too many players purchase table tennis rackets that are actually in the same class as the one their replacing.
The Best Premade Ping Pong Paddles for 2018
Best Recreational Ping Pong Paddle - The Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket
Video Source: Pingpong Ruler
The Stiga Pro Carbon (pronounced “st-eye-guh”) takes home probably my most coveted title of best premade ping pong paddle for recreational players; which represents most ping pong fans. Stiga has jam packed so many advanced, offensive features into this mid-tier paddle but it’s so easy to just pick up and play with.
If you’re absolutely brand new to the game, I suggest the XIOM MUV 5.5S but if you’ve played before and are looking to impress your buddies during your next friendly sessions in your basement, then you must consider the Pro Carbon! It’s got a 2mm thick sponge which makes this paddle fast and powerful - great for someone who’s always on the offensive and looking to put a the point away. That’s what you’d expect from a paddle with a speed rating of 99!
The spin rating comes in a 100, but I think that’s a little misleading. It’s performs really well when you need counter spin, like when your opponent blasts a topspin shot at you and you blast one right back at them. However, spin serves and short spin flicks when closer to the table are not this paddle’s strong suite. Topspin loops can be done but there are other paddles with higher spin ratings and tacky rubber that do this better. But again, those are more advanced shot techniques...we're talking recreational use at the moment.
Speed and control are where this paddle performs the best. It provides the recreational player the power and control they need to take their game up a level while still providing some spin. Until you’re really dialed into mastering technique for advanced shots, this paddle is going to last any recreational player a long time.
Part of this paddle’s staying power is in large part due to the advanced 7 layer build quality. The Pro Carbon from Stiga features 2 layers of carbon ply that give it its lightweight feel and superior response at the net. Five layers of wood and Stiga’s best sponge and rubber combination complete this paddle’s construction.
This racket does a nice job of bridging the gap between a beginner and amateur player. In my opinion, you won’t find another paddle with this level of build quality at this price point. I love this paddle!
- 2mm sponge and rubber combo for superior speed and power
- 7 py construction for lightweight control and feel
- Great for counter spin power shots
- Rivals some cheaper custom paddle’s performance
- Superior build quality
- Lacks elite topspin forehand and backhand consistency
- Might have too much power for players brand new to ping pong
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Beginners - The Xiom MUV 5.5s Table Tennis Racket
The XIOM MUV 5.5S table tennis racket is excellent for beginners, occasional games, and can help any new player get off to a great start! If you’re just starting to play table tennis, the XIOM MUV 5.5S is an all-around fantastic choice.
The XIOM MUV 5.5S is the best ping pong paddle for beginners because it was designed to be versatile and give newbies a balanced mix of spin, speed and control without overdoing one particular area. This was done with the beginner player in mind from the start. This balanced approach to performance and the materials used makes this paddle ideal for those players who have not hit an advanced level yet. However, this paddle is still approved by the International Table Tennis Federation.
The exact spin, speed and control ratings for this paddle can vary depending on where you look but universally it’s spin and control numbers heavily outweigh its speed rating. This means the rubber is on the softer side and has some tackiness to it for ball grab. The thin sponge also gives this paddle a slowed down sense of control from the get go.
The only negative I found with this paddle is that despite being ITTF approved for tournament play the build quality could be better. When played rigorously on a daily basis, this paddle can wear out close to the six month mark. If you’re a beginner but know you’re going to be playing extensively, you may want to look at something a little more advanced and durable. Like the Stiga Pro Carbon.
Whether you are getting into table tennis yourself or looking for a great gift idea for someone who might enjoy the game, the XIOM MUV 5.5S is an excellent ping pong paddle for beginners and extremely affordable! In fact, if I needed a couple of “starter” paddles on-hand for when friends and family came over, this is the paddle I’d go with.
*Exact Numbers Not Available for this paddle
- Balanced performance across spin, speed and control
- Easy to just pick up and play with
- Approved by the International Tennis Table Federation
- Loses durability and shows wear and tear when used for long periods
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Intermediate Players - The Joola SpinForce 900 Table Tennis Racket
Once you’ve mastered the basics and are ready to move up from a beginner paddle to an intermediate racket, I feel the Joola SpinForce 900 is the best ping pong paddle for intermediate players. Joola’s SpinForce line of paddles combines tournament level blades with high-end rubbers, giving more serious players the ability to execute more advanced shots. It’s a more elite level premade ping pong paddle for those looking to enter competitive play and is ITTF approved for tournaments.
The Spinforce product line (the Spinforce 400, 500 and 900) are known for their spin ratings. The 900 represents the best of the bunch and gives players top of the line spin and speed ratings compared to the 400 and 500 versions (and many other paddles from other reputable companies). In fact, I was so impressed with the Spinforce 900’s ball grab that this paddle also takes home the title of best ping pong paddle for spin too! The grip this rubber has on the ball must be seen to be believed, it’s that good! As you progress with spin and pace, naturally you will have to cultivate your own control, as well. That’s why I feel the paddle is ideal for intermediate players vs beginners. You’ll want to have some basic shot technique mastered when playing with this racket.
When researching the Joola Spinforce 900, I did come across once piece of negative feedback. The main issue was, when used extensively day after day after day - the rubber can begin to peel off or fade. This is called “rubber peel” and it is when the outermost layer of rubber begins to peel or fade like it’s been left in the sun all day. Overall, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you’re willing to invest in an intermediate paddle, you’re probably willing to take care of it as well.
With spin being the focus here, it’s worth noting that Joola is also a sponsor of the US Olympic Team! If you are looking to improve your spin more than other skills, then I say take the Joola Spinforce 900 into serious consideration. This is a reasonably priced table tennis racket for a player who is looking to become more committed to the game.
All in all this is a well-balanced racket, highly comfortable when in hand and has spin capabilities unmatched by other premade ping pong paddles. With these distinctive features, the Joola SpinForce 900 is considered one of the best ping pong paddles for intermediate players.
- 7 layers with carbon plywood and 2MM sponge for elite speed and power
- Joola's "Infinity Rubber" provides maximum tackiness for great spin
- "Max Soft" sponge for optimal ball grand and hold times
- Multilayer design assists in stability, strength and speed
- Great paddle for helping players move beyond beginner level status
- Rubber has been known to peel off after excessive use
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Advanced Players - The Killerspin RTG Diamond TC Premium Table Tennis Racket
When a paddle is given nicknames like “God of War”, “The Beast” or “Excalibur” you know it’s a serious racket. And those names are exactly what fans of the RTG Diamond TC Premium paddle call it! If you’re a true fanatic, and an offensive minded player, then it’s time to bust out the big guns and use Killerspin’s most advanced premade paddle!
For professional ITTF-competition-approved play, ping pong players at that level require paddles with the absolute best specifications, perfect surfacing, extreme durability, and exact precision. The Killerspin RTG Diamond TC Premium racket aims to deliver all that performance in a premade ping pong paddle that rivals many custom made setups! Most premade paddles can’t touch a good custom racket but the RTG Diamond TC comes really damn close!
The RTG or “Ready to Go” paddle uses advanced Fortissimo rubbers for maximum speed and precise accuracy. Ball grip and manipulation is here in droves with Killerspin’s flagship paddle and once you get a hold of the power this paddle is capable of , your ping pong game will soar to heights you didn’t think possible with a premade paddle. In fact, the 7 ply setup (5 layers of composite wood and 2 layers of titanium carbon fiber) give this paddle so much pop, it’s practically illegal!
Aside from all that power, pop, and response you get, I was really impressed with the control produced by this beautiful little paddle. The titanium carbon fiber really gives you an added level of "point and shoot" style of accuracy in the short game. In my opinion, the control rating on this paddle should be scored much higher.
In the end, finding the best premade ping pong paddle for advanced players is a challenge because it's competing with high-end custom blades created from stratch. But, the RTG Diamond TC was designed for that challenge. And if you don't want to meticulously put together a custom paddle, then I highly recommend this paddle.
- The best materials I've ever seen used for a premade paddle
- Incredible speed and power, unmatched in the premade paddle arena
- High-tension Fortissimo rubber rivals many custom built setups
- 2 layers of carbon for strength & 5 layers of beautiful polished wood
- The ideal paddle for the experienced, offensive minded player
- Take times to get used to
- Speed can be a bit much for some players
- It's expensive
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Spin - The Joola SpinForce 900 Table Tennis Racket
It’s all about the spin with this ping pong paddle! The Joola SpinForce 900 racket combines a competition quality blade with superior quality rubber. This design is meant to help players focused on spin improve their game tremendously. If you’re a player obsessed with winning topspin rallies, or want to improve your loops and flicks with more “turn and burn” english on the ball, then the SpinForce 900 was constructed just for you!
Across the world of ping pong paddles, the Joola SpinForce 900 is considered one of the best ping pong paddles for its spin. In my opinion, when it comes to “premade” ping pong paddles, this is THE BEST for spin...at a reasonable price.
What makes it special? Well for starters, the rubber Joola uses is their advanced “Infinity Rubber”. Infinity is a good term for this rubber because the ball grip seen by this paddle goes on forever! What I personally love the most about this rubber is that it’s the maximum thickness allowed by the ITTF. And when you combine that with a sponge that is the softest the ITTF will allow, you’ve got a premade paddle that was tailor made to stop, grab, and return the ball like few other premade ping pong paddles can.
The 2MM sponge used, albeit super soft, does provide really good speed as well. Joola really found the sweet spot here, no pun intended. It’s a great blend of spin and power based on how well the Infinity Rubber and super soft sponge interact with each other. Like I said above, when you have a thick sponge, the paddle tends to play faster. But when you have a thick sponge that is VERY soft and giving combined with a thick, tacky rubber you get a very unique table tennis racket that performs top spin AND power passing shots VERY well!
Because the rubber is so tacky with grip, the paddle does perform surprisingly well defensively too. It can slow down and control your opponent's shots as well. The 7-layered carbon ply give the paddle decent touch but also makes this paddle slightly heavier than most premade ping pong paddles.
Despite being slightly heavier (which some players might desire) the major drawback to the Joola SpinForce 900 is the rubber’s durability. The rubber can begin to peel overtime with this racket. So, all that premium tackiness comes at a price…it doesn’t last forever. It’s great out of the box but it’s long term durability is somewhat lacking.
Lots of premade paddles feature premium rubbers these days. But premade ping pong paddles that also feature super thick AND super soft sponges are very rare. You might get one or the other but never both! This paddle gives you all three: premium rubber, soft sponge and maximum sponge thickness.
This is why the SpinForce 900 is the Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Spin!
- Unique sponge combination: Super Thick & Super Soft for huge spin
- 7-ply design gives you stability, touch and pop
- Boasts Joola’s “infinity rubber” for elite speed and grip
- Fantastic choice for beginner to intermediate players to up their game
- The Infinity Rubber has been know to peel or fade over time
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Speed - The Butterfly Nakama S-1 Table Tennis Racket
Warning -This paddle is for the speed freak! If you want a paddle that is designed from the ground floor up to to blast the ball back at your opponent like a rocket ship, the Nakama S-1 was created solely for you!
Rated higher for speed than most other rackets in this comparison—at 109.5—the Butterfly Nakama S-1 is not a paddle to mess around with if you move slower in a game of table tennis. This racket is for the fastest players out there, who are at least at an intermediate skill level. If you’ve mastered the power forehand and backhand but are looking to get more game winning passing shots from those strokes - then the S-1 should be on your short list of options.
Let’s start with the rubber. Nakama’s most popular and successful rubber is their “Sriver” rubber. And it is the focal point to the S-1’s performance. This is a 1.9MM “hard” rubber created to offer table tennis gurus an unmatched sense of speed and power from a premade racket. Add in carbon to the blade itself and you’ve got even more pop with extreme “point and shoot” performance. The carbon also improves this paddle’s sweet spot but the don’t get it twisted - this paddle is not meant to be forgiving in the control department.
Speaking of control, the lack of control is by far the biggest complaint with the S-1. Most bouts of negative feedback concerning the Nakama S-1 can be traced back to the fact that beginner level players jumped the gun and tried it out too soon. This is NOT a beginners racket. Flicks and loops will literally leap off of this paddle, so inexperienced players will undoubtedly have a harder time with this beast.
The overall feel for the Nakama S-1 is very good. It will feel good and ergonomically correct in any players hand thanks to it’s perfectly weighted design and superior balance. It’s like holding a lightweight samurai sword with an engine strapped to it. You instantly know it was meant to cut up the competition. That's why I feel the Nakama S-1 is the best premade ping pong paddle for speed.
- Insane speed AND power for the experienced player
- Sriver Rubber and 1.5MM sponge = the ball LEAPS off the paddle
- Beautifully crafted carbon layers for a large sweet spot
- Simply too much speed and power for newer players
- I wish Nakama would incorporate a few more "control" oriented features
Editor’s Update: If you’re looking to go bigger and badder, there is a paddle worth mentioning. The Kilo7 SVR from Killerspin is the company’s lightest and fastest paddle EVER! It barely out ranks the Nakama S-1 in speed but comes with more bells and whistles like 13 layers of state of the art wood, fiberglass and carbon fiber. If you’re willing to pay a premium price for a premium paddle, this also is one to consider.
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Control - The Joola Team Master Table Tennis Racket
Video Source: Joola USA
Take control of your game and enhance the the fundamentals needed to take the next step with the Joola Team Master table tennis racket. The Team Master is, in my opinion the Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for control because it’s crafted for players looking for improvement. If you find yourself looking to venture out beyond the safety of basic serves and return shots but need more consistency when trying loops and flicks - then the Team Master is your racket!
Don’t ask me why it’s called the “Team Master”. You certainly don’t have to be on a team to enjoy this paddle. But I do know this, the 1.8MM sponge is used to slow down the ball. Remember, the thicker the rubber, the faster the paddle. Anything around 2.0MM is meant to be quick, powerful and responsive. So at 1.8MM, Joola purposefully used a thinner sponge to give the player more control. That’s a huge reason why Joola has been able to obtain a Control rating of 90 with this racket.
Fun Fact: The Team Master is the ONLY paddle I’ve ever seen with a Control rating of 90. Ever! That alone makes it the Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle for Control freaks!
Joola uses what they call their “Tramp” rubber and it’s a good rubber for the money. It doesn’t do one thing really well - it’s just consistent and dependable. The Speed and Spin ratings for this paddle come in around 75 each depending on where you look. I’ve seen Spin numbers closer to 80 for this paddle but at the end of the day, that’s splitting hairs. Speed and Spin stats anywhere below 80 automatically boost Control specs - great for people looking for more control on advanced shot techniques.
The 5-ply wood used has a decent response and pop to it and the handle is very comfortable thanks to the Ergo Grip exclusive to Joola. All in all, if your looking for the best premade paddle for control and a consistent response as you improve your skill level, then my opinion it’s the Joola Team Master.
- 1.8MM spong to slow things down
- Tramp rubber for added consistency
- 5-ply wood for pop and touch
- Concave handle with an ergonomically designed grip
- Five bonded layers of plywood
- Approved by the International Table Tennis Federation
- Not ideal for those looking for spin on flicks and speed on loops
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle Under $50 - The Stiga Evolution Table Tennis Racket
Video Source: PingPong Ruler
The STIGA Evolution table tennis racket is a delightful balance between quality, innovative features, and a reasonable price. It's even got some great features built right in...for a racket so inexpensive, this is rare.
The STIGA Evolution racket introduces an exciting new technology in the "Shock Dispersion Tube" system. This new SDT technology utilizes a high-tech composite rod that is integrated into the handle and blade. This tube allows energy and vibration created from contact with the ball to be transferred through the tube and out of the handle in the form of sound energy, which improves speed, control and feel.
This new shock dispersion tube (SDT) technology uses a composite rod that runs through the center of the blade all the way down into the handle. What this does is is transfer the energy or more specifically vibration created after an aggressive hit, down through the composite tube and out of the paddle. When you eliminate vibration, you improve ball response speed and greatly improve touch/control. Less vibration is just easier on the arm too.
The STIGA Evolution offers high-end performance at a low cost, making it my top pick for the best ping pong paddle under $50. If you want a table tennis racket that is ITTF approved, way better than a cheap paddle you could find at a retail store, but you also don’t want to break the bank, then the STIGA Evolution would be my recommendation to you.
However, let’s be clear. This is not a table tennis racket meant for advanced or professional players. The chief complaint about this paddle is that if played with extensively, it can wear out. In some cases, kind of quickly too. By “wear out” I mean handle breaks. A snapped handle is probably the most common paddle break I’ve heard of across all ping pong paddles, so it can happen to any of them. But in the case of the Evolution, more serious, everyday players with advanced skills have seen this paddle’s handle give way and snap from time to time. So just be cognizant.
Overall, if you’re just playing for fun, the reviews of the STIGA Evolution table tennis racket are fantastic across the board. Stiga has packed some great features into this budget paddle, like the 2MM sponge for speed. The 6-ply wooden blade makes it very light and easy to play with and does of a good job of balancing the speed from the 2MM sponge - giving it good touch and control. Like other paddles on my list, it’s more offensive minded but it’s a breeze to pick up and play with all around.
- Shock Dispersion technology for vibration control and touch at the net
- 2mm sponge for speed and response
- Light 6-ply blade perfect for newer or younger players
- My overall “Budget Pick”
- Handle breaks can occur after long, aggressive use
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle Under $100 - The Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket
Video Source: Blazin'Blades
As you’ve noticed, the Pro Carbon shows up on my list again. It’s already my favorite recreational paddle as I’ve already highlighted but it also takes home the prize of best ping pong paddle under 100 dollars. And that title is every bit as impressive as best premade recreational paddle because there are literally hundreds of table tennis rackets to choose from under $100. I’m not kidding, hundreds.
But what sets the Stiga Pro Carbon apart is the speed this racket produces. If you like to take a little risk during your game, and always look to put points away, then you have to give this paddle a try. The 2MM sponge and S5 rubber allow the ball to literally leap off this paddle. And if you’ve mastered a few basic shots, like a topspin loop - look out, you’re going to really fall in love. The passing shot power on this paddle, especially if you’re still flirting with beginners status, is impressive. Any newer player will immediately notice the improved response from this paddle compared to what they’ve played with before.
This is the paddle most players choose when realize their generic “no sponge” junk paddle really isn’t doing them any favors. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good paddles under $100. The Killerspin Jet 600 and Jet 800 are good options as well. Even Stiga makes other quality paddles below $100 that I looked extensively at but; I kept coming back to the Pro Carbon because of its value.
What I mean by value is that despite its advanced design and specs to match, it still plays like a paddle that was meant to help grow an improving player. The speed rating of 99 is outstanding but it’s control rating is underrated. The Pro Carbon, despite it’s high-end 7-layered design still is a very forgiving paddle. It looks and feels like a paddle way beyond its price point. Really, the only thing this paddle doesn’t do well is elite spin for advanced players looking to master spin serves, flick and loops producing massive spin. But, that’s what a semi pro, tournament level player would say. The average joe will get enough spin out of this paddle.
Again, it comes back to value. The Pro Carbon table tennis racket is an ideal marriage of innovative paddle technology and quality materials; at an affordable price. Few paddles offer spin, speed and control with 2 layers carbon ply and 5 layers of wood - at this price point. The Stiga Pro Carbon is my best ping pong paddle under $100, no questions asked.
- S5 rubber and 2mm sponge for superior speed and response
- Carbon and balsa wood construction for lightweight performance
- “Super dispersion tube” absorbs vibration & transfers energy
- Very good control for a speed focused paddle
- Experienced players may want more precise spin
- Plays better closer to the table
- Loops from underneath the table back up over the net require extra effort
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle Under $150 - The Killerspin Kido 7P Table Tennis Racket
Video Source: Killerspin
If you’re the type of player that has moved beyond the traditional recreation racket, is now entering more serious levels of play and maybe even dabbling in tournaments, then you may want to try the Kido 7P from Killerspin. The Kido series is Killerspin’s bridge between it’s recreational style Jet series and it’s ultimate professional grade Diamond series.
The Kido 7P utilizes a lightweight wood for bounce and Nitrx 4Z rubbers for good speed and superior spin - giving the paddle a total of seven layers working in harmony with one another to achieve excellent balance. In fact, the 4Z rubber will give any budding amateur a real advantage in topspin to topspin rallies. I will put it to you this way, if you play frequently in your basement with buddies or round robin tournaments with coworkers at work; this paddle will allow you to out topspin the competition. Period. It’s this paddle’s strong suite.
Killerspin advertises this paddle as the ideal option for the thriving player moving towards an advanced skill level. And I’d have to agree. If you’re primarily an offensive player, then you’re going to love the sweet spot this paddle gives. It’s also got a respectable mixture of control and spin as well. In fact, players moving from a purely recreational level paddle marvel at the amount of power this paddle generates without sacrificing control. You can tell Killerspin had the player who’s “transitioning” in mind when they designed this paddle. It truly is a great “tweener” racket if you find yourself wanting more performance out of your standard racket.
Now, it should be noted that there are two versions of this paddle, and it’s easy to get the two confused. The two are, the Kido 7P which I’m recommending, and the more expensive Kido 7P Premium. The Kido 7P Premium gives you superior speed and spin due to it’s advanced Fortissimo rubbers. But, if you’re willing to spend the extra cash to get some of Killerspin’s best rubbers, then you might as well go “all in” and fork over the money needed for a Diamond series paddle like the RTG Diamond TC Premium I’ve already highlighted. But, if you’re looking for the Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle Under $150, then the Kido 7P is it!
- Great option for intermediate to advanced players; ideal tweener racket
- Perfect for aggressive, offensive minded players
- Performs fantastic during topspin rallies
- Elite craftsmanship at a great price
- Unique, balanced performance across spin, speed and control
- Long periods of intense play can lead to handle cracks or even break
Best Premade Ping Pong Paddle Under $250 - The Killerspin Diamond TC Premium Table Tennis Racket
Based on the price point I’ve outlined here, it’s no surprise that Killerspin’s top-of-the-line premade paddle tops our list once again. The RTG Diamond TC Premium Racket is the Lamborgini of premade ping pong paddles because of the “nothing but the best” approach Killerspin used when assembling this giant. Killerspin designed the RTG Diamond TC Premium table tennis racket for professional International Table Tennis Federation competition-approved play and it shows based on the materials they’ve chosen to use.Anchoring the paddle’s pro level performance are two Fortissimo rubbers which are it’s foundation for speed and spin. This racket is not for beginners, but rather for the determined player and its focus is power and speed. Killerspin specially made the Diamond TC RTG table tennis racket for ping pong players who love a dynamic, super-speed game. The minute you wind up and return a ball with this thing, you just know it’s built to crush dreams, induce tears and put points away. It’s bad ass. Plain and simple.
Aside from the top tier Fortissimo rubbers, Killerspin did a beautiful job sandwiching 7 layers of composite wood and titanium carbon fiber to give the paddle touch, pop and control rarely found from a premade paddle.
One thing I found interesting was the fact that the Diamond TC Premium is a custom fabricated, pre-assembled racket manufactured by Killerspin—not a third party. It’s a home grown behemoth offering the best of the best for those seeking a “ready to go” premade paddle.
If you’re an advanced, competition level player who hasn’t ventured out to a custom paddle yet but wants the best premade ping pong paddle under $250 - then give the Killerspin RTG Diamond TC a try. You might never go back.
- The best materials I’ve seen used for a premade paddle
- Incredible speed and power unmatched in the premade paddle market
- High-tension Fortissimo rubber rivals many custom built setups
- Two layers of titanium carbon & five layers of beautiful polished wood
- The ideal paddle for the experienced, offensive minded player
- Takes some getting used to
- Speed can be a bit much for newbies
Best Ping Pong Paddle Set - The Killerspin JetSet 4
Finding the best paddle set to accompany your table is not exactly an easy task. Sure, I could have made it easy and just found the cheapest four paddle set that comes with balls and just called it good. But what good would that have done you? You can easily head off to your local sporting good store or even large department store and find an inexpensive paddle set. But, I knew there was a better way.
Do you have to spend $100 on a paddle set when all you’re looking to do is stock your rec room with some decent paddles when family and friends come over? No! But finding the cheapest option isn’t always the best option either. That’s when I found the Killerspin JETSET 4 ping pong paddle set.
Now, Killerspin actually makes three different versions of their four paddle/six ball arrangement. There’s a budget option in the JETSET 4 Classic. The middle tier option in The JETSET 4 (featured here) and the premium option in the JETSET 4 Premium.
After carefully analyzing all three versions, I believe the JETSET 4 or middle tier option is the best because it gives you a good product at a good value without giving you anything more than what you need. The only difference between the standard JETSET 4 and the JETSET 4 Premium is the rubber Killerspin gives you.. Otherwise the paddles are the same. And if all your looking to do is provide a decent paddle to family and friends when its “party time” then I believe the JETSET4 is the best paddle set around.
Killerspin advertises that this paddle set is a great way to “protect your nicer” paddles from less experienced players or kids. That’s brilliant marketing if you ask me and it gives you an idea as to what they were trying to do when they created this racket set.
Like all paddles, overuse can lead to rubber peeling or busted rackets...specifically around the handle. If you’re going to play every weekend and plan to use one of these paddles as your primary racket, then don’t expect them to last a full year. These are designed to be well made extra paddles for the household that has frequent guests to their rec room or game room.
The specs for the four paddles are fairly rudimentary. 5-ply wood and Killerspin’s basic rubber (a step up from the JETSET 4 Classic version). Durable PVC Tape outlines the paddle and sponge to give the paddle a professionally designed look. Other paddle sets simply won’t look this good. When you go with reputable a ping pong paddle company like Killerspin to stock your game room with extra paddles, you’re getting a better made product. It’s that sample.
- A four-paddle set that makes it easy to play doubles during gatherings
- Includes six ping pong balls
- Flared handles at the neck offers an ergonomic grip and comfort
- Blonde wooden handles with Killerspin logo for a professional look & feel
- Heavy long term use can lead to peeling rubbers and snapped handles
- Low Spin and Speed specs - not idea for the more seasoned player
- My Top 4 Honorable Mentions -
I had to list four additional premade paddle options. Consider these four as the top runners up or honorable mentions that didn't make the Top 12. But, they're very much worth mentioning here because they are great paddles! They are from proven manufacturers, popular amongst the ping pong paddle community and will give any recreational to intermediate player a fantastic opportunity to improve and enjoy the game even more. Here are my Top 4 Honorable Mentions...
The JET800 by Killerspin
Some consider the Jet800 to be the best ping pong paddle for recreational players. In fact, the Stiga Pro Carbon (my pick for top recreational paddle) and the Jet800 are two of the most popular paddles for people looking to take their game a little more seriously. When someone is looking to buy their second paddle and move beyond pure beginner status, it often comes down to the Jet800 or the Pro Carbon.
For those that don’t mind a heavier paddle in hand, and have a natural swing for power, the Jet800 will undoubtedly make a great choice. The Nitrx-4z rubbers provide ample spin and the premium 7 layers (2 carbon + 5 wood) give you great power. It's a 2MM "high tension" sponge so it's meant to play fast. Again, it's an offensive style paddle meant to speed up your game, not slow it down.
The singular potential drawback to this model is its weight. For players who are unfamiliar with these paddles, there is a noticeable heft in-hand. However, if players can tolerate a short adjustment period, soon they won’t notice the slightly heavier materials.
The Butterfly 603 Table Tennis Racket
With improved specs over its previous models, Butterfly’s 603 still utilizes the same flared handle and 2.1mm rubber we’ve come to expect from other paddles in the Butterfly lineup. Speaking of rubber, it is this paddle greatest feature!
The Butterfly 603 makes it on my runner up list because of it’s Wakaba rubber. Wakaba rubber is tacky for superior spin and speed, giving players more control over the ball and allowing even newbies the ability to slow down the game and dictate pace.
This will allow you to more accurately put topspin or backspin on your serves or returns. However, other paddles in this price range tend to offer a higher measure of speed, and that combined with the paddle’s relatively short handle means this paddle’s target audience could be somewhat limited.
A carrying case and racket cover come with the 603 paddle, which is an unexpected touch at this price point. This is a nice touch I just don’t see all that often. The Butterfly 603 carries an ITTF approval stamp, and its manufacturer enjoys a positive reputation throughout the world of table tennis.
The 603 sits perfectly in the middle of Butterfly’s paddle lineup as the ideal table tennis racket for someone moving from an entry level paddle to a more serious paddle without spending hundreds of dollars. In fact, many players rave about the rubber that Butterfly uses on this paddle and claim it’s the best rubber used for an intermediate focused bat.
The DHS Hurricane II Table Tennis Racket
DHS is another brand that caters to professional level players, so its DHS Hurricane II delivers performance and durability. However, the manufacturer does not openly disclose ratings in line with the system other paddles use, making it difficult to compare specs. So, I really had to search hard to find accurate ratings for Spin, Speed and Control for the DHS Hurricane II. However, I was able to find them.
Regardless of specs, one look at the Hurricane II and it’s apparent this is a serious paddle for the serious player.
With DHS’ reputation for producing professional-grade paddles for international ping pong players, the Hurricane II is practically a steal in comparison with similarly equipped paddles...especially at this price.
The exceptional spin on this paddle is due to its relatively slippery rubber, this is unique for a non-custom paddle. It meets the highest standards demanded by the game’s top pros that incorporate massive amounts of spin in their game.
If you’re moving from a good recreational paddle to a more sophisticated paddle designed to deliver touch and exceptional english on the ball, then the DHS Hurricane II is a fantastic choice! If I had to chose a runner up for best ping pong paddle for spin - the DHS Hurricane II would be it.
With a high-grade carbon-balsa wood combination, the Pro Power paddle earns its name from a competitive power rating. Built for speed and pop off the paddle's surface the Pro Power is a great tweener option (in between beginner and intermediate level of play).
Although it suits players who focus on a strong offense, the paddle is also very well balanced. PRO XP-1 high tension rubbers offer tactical spin capabilities, and the lightweight design is comfortable in almost any sized hand. Not to mention, in all black - it just looks cool. If Batman had a ping pong paddle on his utility belt, I bet this would be it...It's that cool looking!
Beginning recreational players may find that managing the speed and power of this paddle poses a slight challenge at first, since learning to let the paddle do the work requires conscious effort.
For professional level players, the Pro Power gets you awfully close to the perks of a custom paddle, without investing the time and money in one. Are there better paddles on the market than the Pro Power? Absolutely. But, they’re easily double the price.
For those looking for more Control there is the Pro Control paddle as well. Take the same design elements but add specs designed for the control oriented player in mind and you’ve got the Pro Control. There is a little something for everyone here!
My Final Thoughts
If you've got a paddle that you absolutely love but don't see it in this article, leave a comment below. I'd love to know what people are playing with and why!
If you're looking for that next great ping pong paddle and don't necessarily have the time or patience to go the custom route, I highly suggest you choose a premade ping pong paddle. As you can see from our thorough, expansive list, there is a premade ping pong paddle for anyone regardless of your skill level or budget.
I firmly believe you can get elite performance and a ton of fun out of a premade ping pong paddle. Sure, custom paddles are great but if you're like me, and don't want to go that route, then I want to make sure you're set up to choose the best premade ping pong paddle for your specific needs.