As a professional table tennis coach, I am often asked, “What is the best table tennis bat for beginners?” – And it’s an important question. As a beginner, you don’t need to have the best table tennis bat in the world but you do need to have a bat (sometimes called a racket or paddle) that allows you to spin the ball and develop good feeling.
I’ve had players turn up with some awful table tennis bats in the past and the worst thing is that often they have paid good money for these useless branded bats. So, I’m going to start by showing you what not to buy before going on to make a few recommendations of my own. Hopefully, I can point you in the direction of a decent bat or two.
To help my European readers, I have paid to have this article professionally translated into a few different languages. Please click the link below that serves you best…
- German: Der Beste Tischtennisschläger für Anfänger
- French: La Meilleure Raquette de Tennis de Table pour Débutants
- Spanish: La Mejor Paleta de Tenis de Mesa Para Principiantes
- Italian: La Migliore Racchetta da Ping Pong per Principianti
This post was originally written in September 2012 but was revised in October 2017 to keep it up-to-date.
What not to buy
These are probably the most common bats to turn up at my coaching sessions and are very popular in the UK. The names usually make me laugh. I’ve seen ‘G-Force’, ‘Nitro’, ‘Blaster’, ‘Blackstorm’, and my personal favorite, ‘Venom Power’. How a table tennis bat can have the power of venom is beyond me!
These bats tend to be extremely heavy. Many even have random gaps and holes in the handle, which I can only assume is a desperate attempt to make them weigh a bit less. I guess the most annoying thing with these bats is that you can’t even just rip off the rubbish rubbers and put on some new ones. Well, you could, but because the blade is so heavy the bat is still far from ideal.
At least these bats normally cost less than £10, which is very cheap, but still, I wouldn’t suggest buying one if you can help it.
Cornilleau Tacteo Bats
These look quite cool as they are made of plastic and rubber. A lot of the kids I coach love them and they actually play quite well. They are extremely long-lasting. We use them in PE lessons, as other bats generally get ripped to shreds by teenagers. If you’re a school or youth club I recommend buying a load of these!
You’re probably thinking, “These sound great”, but the problem is that you won’t be able to play with them in any competitions. Not even local or school-level ones, so it’s just not really worth ever buying one. Especially when they cost between £15-£25 each.
Cheap Premade Branded Bats
These bats are deceptive because the companies are normally able to make the packaging look quite attractive. They use professional players on the cover and often name the bats after them too. Personally, I don’t think this should be allowed as it gives the impression of a premium product. I bet the markup on these bats is ridiculous because often they are no better than the £5 Dunlop ones!
As a general rule of thumb, I would try to steer clear of any bat that has its rubber covered by a fancy looking piece of paper with a top player on it. I want to be able to see the quality of the rubber and sponge and this looks to me like they are trying to hide it away. I can say from personal experience that all of the Timo Boll and Zhang Jike Butterfly premade table tennis rackets are no good.
So I’ve covered what not to buy. Now is time for the interesting stuff. Here are the bats that I recommend…
The Best Table Tennis Bats
Here are the five best table tennis bats for beginners…
- Eastfield Allround Professional Table Tennis Bat
- Palio Master 2 Table Tennis Bat
- DHS A4002 Table Tennis Racket
- Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket
- Killerspin JET600 Table Tennis Paddle
I review each of these table tennis bats in detail throughout the rest of this article.
1. Eastfield Allround Table Tennis Bat
This is by far my favorite table tennis bat for beginners. After all, I’ve spent the last two years working on it!
Eastfield Sporting Goods Company was started by myself and Sam Priestley in late 2014 as a distinctively British brand producing premium table tennis goods. By November 2016 the first Eastfield table tennis bat was on sale to the general public – we’re perfectionists and it took a lot longer than we anticipated.
We designed the Eastfield Allround Professional Table Tennis Bat to be the perfect racket for players that are learning the game and value control, spin and feeling over raw speed and power.
And this is probably a good place to mention that if you are a beginner/improver you MUST value control and feeling over speed and power. Please don’t buy the fastest carbon racket you can find. It will only make it even more difficult for you to learn the game and master the basics.
Eastfield vs Palio
The Palio bats (recommended below) are great entry-level table tennis rackets and have been very popular over the past few years. However, one problem that has kept reappearing is the way the rubbers and blade are assembled.
Palio is a big Chinese table tennis brand with thousands and thousands of bats to glue together. Because of this, they use machines to glue and cut the rubbers and sometimes the machines don’t do a perfect job. This has led to some customers receiving a racket where the rubber begins to peel off from one of the edges – which is far from ideal if you aren’t an expert at regluing table tennis rubbers.
The good news is… that will never happen with an Eastfield bat!
All of our Eastfield ready-to-play bats are custom racket setups (made up of a blade and two sheets of rubber) that have been glued together and cut by hand, by a skilled member of the Eastfield team. This adds a considerable extra expense to the manufacturing cost of the racket but we believe the handcrafted touch is essential to ensure the product meets our high standards.
When you do want to replace the rubbers, you will then be able to carefully peel them off (topsheet and sponge together) allowing you to upgrade to faster rubbers but keep your trusted Eastfield Allwood 5-ply blade. And the quality of the blade is exceptional…
The Eastfield Allwood Table Tennis Blade is a classic 5-ply allround blade offering medium speed, exceptional control, and fantastic feedback. This blade makes it easy to loop, smash, and attack. But is also perfect if you want to block and control the ball, even chop.
It is modeled on classic allwood blades of the past, such as the Stiga Allround and Donic Allplay, and is perfect for serious beginners or intermediate players. It’s the kind of blade that coaches are always recommending to their young players and has a flared handle for comfort.
If you are looking for something that is easy to use but doesn’t lack the quality of more advanced options, this is the blade for you!
The Eastfield A-Soft Rubbers have been newly engineered from the table up to give you an unprecedented level of control. With this soft Japanese-style rubber, you’re about to play with greater spin and stability than ever before.
It’s ITTF approved (meaning you can legally use it in all sanctioned leagues and tournaments) and features a 2.1mm thick sponge, with 36° hardness. As far as I’m concerned, that makes it the best table tennis bat for beginners!
By purchasing the complete Eastfield Allround bat, you’re saving £15 (or $20) compared to buying the blade and two rubbers individually.
2. Palio Master 2 Table Tennis Bat
Palio is a Chinese table tennis brand that specializes in making high-quality and affordable table tennis rubbers and blades. Established table tennis coaches are well aware of the excellent performance of Palio products and have been recommending them to new players for years.
The Palio Master 2, first released in November 2015, is an exclusive collaboration between Palio and Expert Table Tennis. It’s a great bat for players learning the game and starting out. The blade gives lots of control and great feeling while the high-quality Palio CJ8000 rubbers allow for lots of spin. It’s the perfect all-rounder, and was even used by Sam Priestley for the first six months of The Expert in a Year Challenge.
Palio gives the Master 2 table tennis bat a 8/10 for speed, a 9/10 for spin, and a 8/10 for control. And, as this bat will likely be your first table tennis bat, Palio even include a free case to keep the bat in!
The Palio Master 2 has been hugely popular and is the best selling bat on Amazon in the UK. It’s also available, via Amazon, in the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. If you are looking for a decent table tennis bat at a reasonable price then the Palio Master 2 should fit the bill perfectly. It even comes with free delivery.
In my opinion, the Palio Master 2 is the best table tennis bat for under £30/$40. For more information check out my complete Palio Master 2 Review.
3. DHS A4002 Table Tennis Racket
If you can’t find anywhere to buy an Eastfield or Palio table tennis bat in your country you’ll have to look at some other brands. DHS is another Chinese table tennis brand (formerly known as Double Happiness). They produce a wide range of premade table tennis rackets and, as you’d expect, the cheapest ones are pretty useless but the most expensive ones are quite good.
WARNING: The one thing to be a little wary of with DHS products are the fakes. I have come across fake DHS rackets and rubbers in the past, and I believe this is a serious problem for the brand (Butterfly also suffer from fakes being manufactured in China). As far as I’m aware, DHS and Butterfly are the only brands to have been targeted in this way.
The DHS A4002 is the most popular of the current DHS premade rackets, I guess largely due to the fact that it is actually a half decent racket and very cheap.
You get much better quality rubbers on the A4002 and up (A5002 and A6002) than on the more basic DHS rackets (A1002, A2002, and A3002). For example, the DHS A4002 comes fitted with Hurricane II (red) and G888 (black) – two well-known tacky rubbers.
Personally, I much prefer the softer feel of the Eastfield Allround and Palio bats to the DHS A4002. The DHS premade rackets can be quite heavy and hard, meaning you don’t receive much feedback from the bat and it can be a little more difficult to learn to control the ball. The Eastfield Allround has much softer rubbers than any of the DHS alternatives and that is why it is my first choice for beginners.
You can read my full review of the DHS A4002 here. And you can buy one from either Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com – but please check the reviews to avoid the dodgy sellers of fakes bats.
4. Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket
I’m normally very quick to dismiss premade table tennis rackets from the big brands but Stiga has actually created a decent one, for a change.
It isn’t cheap, and you’re advised to stay well clear of their other four beginners rackets (Apex, Titan, Supreme, Evolution), but their top of the range Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket is actually quite nice to play with and, therefore, I have included Stiga in this post.
The Stiga Evolution is a fairly good bat (you can read my full review here) but the Stiga Pro Carbon is the only Stiga racket I would recommend. The blade and rubbers are much closer to what you would expect from a professional racket and it’ll allow you to learn to play with proper spin strokes and techniques.
It’s pretty expensive though and if you are willing to spend $75 on a racket you might be better off looking for a cheap custom set-up.
Your other option would be to save yourself $25 and buy a Palio Legend 2, which I believe is a better racket anyway. For more information please read my Stiga Pro Carbon Review.
5. Killerspin JET600 Table Tennis Paddle
Killerspin is a fairly new American table tennis brand that has really focused on the recreational ping pong market. They have even labelled their bats/rackets “paddles” to appeal to the basement US audience. Their paddles aren’t cheap but they are well-made, and the best ones are actually pretty decent too.
They have eight different models (JET100 – JET800), which I think is a little bit excessive myself. They could probably trim this down to the JET300, JET400, and JET600 and scrap the others.
The Killerspin JET600 is my favorite from the collection and is actually quite a decent racket – I would avoid the cheaper Killerspin rackets, though. The JET600 features two ITTF approved 2.0mm high-tension Nitrx-4Z rubbers and quite a nice quality wood blade.
Despite it being one of the best-selling paddles on Amazon.com, I have to admit that I don’t love it. To me, $70 seems like a lot of money for this kind of racket and the Amazon reviews are far from all positive. I would recommend saving yourself $10 and opting for the Eastfield Allround instead.
Conclusion: The Best Table Tennis Bat
So there we have it! Which bats to buy and which ones to avoid at all cost. Don’t be deceived by the big brand names, like Butterfly, because premade table tennis bats are really not their area of expertise.
- In my opinion, the best table tennis bat for beginners is the Eastfield Allround.
- If you are on a tighter budget, the best budget racket is the Palio Master 2.
- If you can’t buy an Eastfield or Palio in your country, a genuine DHS A4002 is the next best thing.
Have you had any experiences with really good or bad beginner premade table tennis bats? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below if you would like to share what you think is the best table tennis bat.
Finally, if you are a beginner looking for advice regarding bats or other equipment I’d be happy to help. Don’t get ripped off or fooled by fancy packaging. Feel free to contact me before you spend your money. You can message me on Twitter or Facebook.
And if you’d like to start improving your table tennis and see some rapid results, can I nudge you in the direction of my email newsletter? You can find a link to sign up below. Subscribe and you’ll receive exclusive tips and advice that will help you to improve your game and start your journey to becoming an expert at table tennis!