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The table tennis buying guy simplified – by Racketlon SA

Consider your budget, playing style, level of play, brand preference, what you would like to achieve in your game ie; more power, more control or a mix of both. Once you’ve answered these questions you will be closer to choosing your ideal bat setup for YOU.

Budget: Prices vary, not only with brands and various models but also different shops. Shop around as you are bound to see that not all are created equal. Choose a store specialises in table tennis like and are able to give you the best advice. Service during and after your purchase is also vital. More expensive doesn’t always mean better, we are all individuals and have different needs.

Level of play: Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced, do you play once a week or 5 times a week. Do you play socially or competitively?. If you not going to play often, don’t waste too much money on a bat, but if you playing more then you need to get the best possible bat to suit your game, no expense spared, you are worth it.

Brand preference: We all have them, our experience with a particular name sticks with us, we have good experience with a certain brand why change?, bad experiences may persuade you not to choose the brand again. Stick with what you know or trust the experts. A good store tend to stock quality items, they stay away from brands that don’t meet their satisfaction, and once in a while even a brand can come up with a model that just does not cut the cake. That model should not be sold or marketed full stop. At Racketlon we know from experience, customer feedback and extensive research what NOT to buy. We only stock the best Tibhar, Donic, Andro, Butterfly equipment for you to be sure of your brand choice.

What are you looking for: More power, more control?. Are you a defensive, all-rounder or attacking player?, maybe a lighter bat will suit you best which is easier for blocking or a heavier bat for more accelerated power. Not sure?, choose a medium weight bat with all-round rubbers to develop your game and ensure correct strokes. We will dive into more detail shortly.

Hobby bats are for beginners to intermediate players and are preassembled with a blade and 2 rubbers. Generally the more control a bat has the less speed and the more speed it has the less control it has. The more control a bat has the better it is to use against very good players. So a faster is not always better. The Tibhar Balsa Light is a great all-round bat with good speed and good control.

For custom built bats we recommend for intermediate to advanced players who want to take their table tennis to the next level. You need to choose a blade and 2 rubbers (1 red and 1 black). At Racketlon we assemble your custom bat for free when you purchase the whole setup, we also lacquer the blade to prevent fibres being stripped when you end up changing your rubber. We then glue the rubbers and edge-tape your bat to protect the rubber and blade from chipping.

 

We have standardised the categories for blades into:

1)      Speed

2)      Control

3)      Weight

4)      Orientation

5)      Material

6)      Stiffness

 

We have standardised the categories for rubbers into:

1)      Control

2)      Speed

3)      Spin

4)      Orientation

5)      Hardness

 

Blades:

1)      Speed – Our ratings go from 3+ being the slowest most defensive blade Tibhar Defense Plus ideal for the absolute defender. Right up to the fastest 101 rating for absolute attacker like Donic Black Devil at 10- and Tibhar Samsanov Carbon at 10. Then anything inbetween would be an All-Round blade like the Tibhar Texo ALL at 7- and Tibhar Balsa at 7+.

2)      Control – Our ratings go from 10 which is the most control, again in the Tibhar Def Plus and then to the least control 6- in the Tibhar Triple Carbon. Anything in-between such as Tibhar Nimbus ALL with 9+ contol and Andro Treiber H at 7+

3)      Weight – Our ratings go from 75 grams for extra light blades which allow more control to 9g grams for more attacking power behind the blade.

4)      Orientation – Our ratings are DEF, ALL-, ALL, ALL+, OFF-, OFF, OFF+.

5)      Material – Material range from simple 4 ply wood to 7 and even 11 ply layers of wood ranging from balsa, kiri, Koto, cypress and carbon in-between. Carbon allows for a much more quicker springier reaction from the ball only found in attacking blades like Tibhar White Sword and Tibhar Black Carbon.

6)      Stiffness – Our ratings are flex, ave, stiff and very stiff. The softer or flexible blades are characteristic of defensive blades offering more feel and touch whilst stiffer blades offer quicker reaction and and harder shot play.

 

Extra info:

Blade handles are divided into 3 distinct types, all very similar with slight difference.

Anatomical – The least popular, double flared with thick part in the middle.

Straight – Popular amongst all styles of play and defenders, ideal for twiddlers

Flare or concave – They allow a loose grip with less risk of bat slipping out of the hand. Ideal for loopers.

 

Rubbers:

1)      Control – Our ratings for control 8 like the Andro Blowfish short pimple and Tibhar Aurus Sound at 10 to least control rubbers Donic Barracuda at 6. Anything in-between for good average control like Donic Bluefire M2 at 7 and Tibhar Evolution EL-P at 9 is ideal.

2)      Speed – Our ratings vary from fastest 10+ Tibhar 1Q to slowest Tibhar Grass D-tec at 4+. Anything in-between like Donic Bluefire M3 at 9 and Tibhar Evolution FX-P at 9 is also ideal.

3)      Spin – From the highest spin possible 10+++ Donic Bluefire JP 01 Turbo and to the least spinny Donic Baracuda Big Slam and Andro Blowfish short pimple rubber at 8.

4)      Orientation – Def, ALL, OFF

5)      Hardness – Harder rubbers have less dwell time and come off bat quicker so are therefore faster, softer rubbers offer more feel, more contact time and suitable for All-round game.

 

Extra info:

Rubbers come in various thickness. The thicker the rubber the more spring it will have and therefore faster 2mm, 2.2mm and even 2.3mm, whilst a thinner rubber has less spring and more suited to all-round and defence. These come in OX (no sponge), 1.7mm and 1.9mm.

You may also have heard of inverted rubbers, these are standard rubbers that we have just discussed. The less popular but still used pimple rubbers have the rough pimply side on the outside of rubber creating an opposite spin effect of the ball, ideal for defensive player looking for absolute control and trouble effect  and they come in short pimples or long pimples.


We hope we have made it slightly easier for you to select the most suitable and ideal setup for you, but it is possible you will experience some trial and error or you may love your bat immediately or it may take you some time to get used to it. This is normal but at least we on the right path to getting you the most enjoyment out of this wonderful game. And as always, we are here to give you expert advice.


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