The “Perfect” Table Tennis Blade
If you play table tennis for long enough you will almost certainly come across players who appear to be constantly searching for the best table tennis blade and rubber combination. These guys have a nagging sense that their blade isn’t quite right for them and believe that once they find the “perfect” blade their entire game will suddenly fall into place. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case!
The perfect table tennis blade doesn’t exist – even if you spend $400 on the Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC. Please don’t waste your time and money endlessly searching for it. You’ll only be left feeling frustrated and unsatisfied – constantly doubting the quality of your own equipment and with a huge collection of blades that you never use.
So, are we saying that all table tennis blades are pretty much the same and you should simply grab the first one you find? Not at all. You should 100% do your research, read equipment reviews, test out different blades, and try to select one that will compliment your style of play.
Just once you’ve chosen one, stick with it for a few years and concentrate on improving your actual ability instead of constantly changing your table tennis equipment.
On this page, you’ll find:
- Our five favourite table tennis blades for 2021
- Advice on whether to choose a wood or carbon blade
- Links to all of our table tennis blade reviews
The Best Table Tennis Blades
It’s time for our recommendations. These are, in our expert opinion, the five best table tennis blades. Despite being very different blades, all of them have received a five-star rating.
- Eastfield Allwood
- Eastfield Offensive
- JOOLA Rossi Emotion
- Butterfly Timo Boll ALC
- Butterfly Zhang Jike ZLC
And the ordering isn’t random, either. We’ve listed them from the cheapest to the most expensive!
#1: Eastfield Allwood
- The #1 blade for beginners/improvers
If you’re a relatively new player, you should stay away from all of the offensive and carbon blades until you’ve developed your strokes and control. The temptation is to buy a really expensive and fast blade… but that isn’t going to help you learn.
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.
The lack of speed found in this blade means that newer players are safe to combine the Eastfield Allwood with modern fast rubbers and still have plenty of control. This can be a good “next step” once you begin to improve your skills.
- A classic 5-ply allwood allround table tennis blade
- Similar to Stiga Allround and Donic Allplay
- The perfect blade for serious beginners and improvers
#2: Eastfield Ashwood
- The #1 blade for intermediate/advanced players
Eastfield only manufactures two table tennis blades. One for beginners/improvers and the other for intermediate/advanced players.
The Eastfield Ashwood Table Tennis Blade is a classic 7-ply offensive blade offering good speed, exceptional control, and fantastic feeling. English table tennis coach Ben Larcombe has been using it since 2018.
It’s perfect for players that need to generate a decent amount of power in their shots but don’t want to sacrifice control. And it works very well with a wide range of modern speed glue effect rubbers.
We find that it feels like an allround blade when serving, pushing and blocking. That makes it easy to keep your serves short and keep your blocks on the table. But then, when you go for a big loop, it finds a second gear and launches the ball forward with speed you didn’t realise was even there!
- A classic 7-ply allwood offensive table tennis blade
- Similar to the Nittaku Violin
- Great value at only £50
#3: JOOLA Rossi Emotion
- An update to Tom Lodziak’s current blade of choice
We have to admit that we haven’t yet tried out the JOOLA Rossi Emotion blade. But JOOLA are well known for making great quality blades and the online response to the new Rossi Emotion has been super positive.
So, why are we recommending the JOOLA Rossi Emotion? Well, largely because it’s the replacement for the discontinued JOOLA Fever blade that my fellow table tennis blogger Tom Lodziak uses and thinks is great!
The JOOLA Rossi Emotion is a 5+2 carbon blade, but it isn’t crazy fast. It offers something for everyone. Sure, you can create powerful loops with it, but it’s also great at blocking and controlling rallies.
If you’re looking to move from an allwood blade to a carbon blade, this is probably a good one to go for. The price is fairly reasonable too when compared to the popular Butterfly carbon blades.
- Very popular on Megaspin
- Your perfect first carbon blade
- Not too expensive when compared to similar blades
#4: Butterfly Timo Boll ALC
- The most popular carbon offensive blade
It looks like Butterfly are phasing out the Timo Boll Spirit and instead encouraging customers towards the Timo Boll ALC instead. The Timo Boll ALC is basically the updated version of the Timo Boll Spirit. Timo switched from using the Spirit to the ALC himself when it was released.
The reason this blade is so popular with attacking players is that it’s a 5+2 carbon blade that offers a good amount of speed but also isn’t crazy fast or difficult to control.
Sam Priestley (the guinea pig in The Expert in a Year Challenge) played with the Timo Boll Spirit blade for the last six months of his challenge and lots of the English national team have used both the Spirit and ALC in the past too.
This is a great blade for advanced/elite-level players. But if you’re a beginner/intermediate player, perhaps start with something a bit slower and then you can progress to something like a Timo Boll ALC after a few of years of training.
- As used by German table tennis legend, Timo Boll
- Perfect balance between speed, spin and control
- Works perfectly with rubbers like Tenergy 05
#5: Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC
- The world’s most expensive table tennis blade
If money is no object, the Zhang Jike Super ZLC is certainly the blade for you!
Coming in at just under $400, this is the world’s most expensive table tennis blade. But, if you believe the reviews, it’s probably the best table tennis blade in the world as well!
The Zhang Jike Super ZLC is crazy fast but has a huge sweet spot and feels amazing to play with. I guess that’s what you’d expect when you drop $400 on a blade.
The only complaint I can find about it is that the throw angle is quite low, so you’ll want to pair it with rubbers that have a high arc – typically spinny rubbers with a fairly hard sponge.
If $400 sounds like an absolutely ridiculous amount of money to spend on a table tennis blade, don’t worry – it is. While the Zhang Jike Super ZLC is certainly a very good blade, you definitely don’t need to spend that kind of money in order to get something nice.
- The most expensive table tennis blade
- Excellent power and control at the same time
- The very first blade to use Super ZL-Carbon technology
Wood Blades vs Carbon Blades
Many players are unsure whether to go for a wood blade or a carbon blade. Wood blades are made 100% from wood. These are also sometimes referred to as “allwood”. A carbon blade has a combination of wood and carbon – often 5 layers of wood and 2 layers of carbon.
Carbon blades are typically faster than wood blades and give the player less control and “feeling” over the ball. These days, the majority of professional players will use a carbon blade. But remember, most of these guys have been training their table tennis skills for 20+ years. Just because Zhang Jike uses an absolute rocket of a blade doesn’t mean you should!
If you’re a new player, a carbon blade will definitely make things difficult for you. We would recommend starting off with a premade racket (like the Eastfield Allround or the Palio Expert 3). Then after a year or two of training, you might be ready to progress to a faster wooden blade (such as the 7-ply Eastfield Ashwood). Finally, you can transition to a carbon blade (if you’d like to) once you’ve been playing for several years, have mastered the various techniques, and had some competitive success.
Here are some other wood and carbon table tennis blades you might like to check out…
Stiga Allround Classic: Probably the most popular blade of all time with over 1 million sold! It was first released back in 1967 and is still hugely popular today.
Donic Appelgren Allplay: Another classic Swedish allround table tennis blade that has sold a huge number of units. It’s a little bit faster than the Stiga Allround Classic but it is still very much an allround blade.
Butterfly Primorac: A classic Butterfly allwood offensive blade that has been around for over 20 years. It isn’t as fast as some of the modern carbon blades available but is still a great choice.
Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive: A 5-ply allwood offensive blade. Similar to the Butterfly Primorac but faster and harder. This one has been very popular for many years.
Stiga Infinity VPS V: Another offensive allwood blade. This one was developed by Stiga in collaboration with top players from the Chinese national team.
Tibhar Stratus Power Wood: A 5-ply allwood offensive blade with a fantastic combination of speed, control and feeling. Definitely, one to try if you like allwood blades.
DHS Power G7: An allwood 7-ply Chinese blade that comes recommended by Ma Long. A great option for offensive players on a budget and one of the most popular blades on Revspin!
Donic Waldner Senso Carbon: This is a 3+2 carbon blade and isn’t as fast as some of the others. It is based on the popular Donic Allplay, just with added carbon for extra speed.
Butterfly Viscaria: This one is a favourite on the table tennis forums and was famously Zhang Jike’s blade of choice. In many ways, it is quite similar to the Timo Boll Spirit but, if you believe the hype, is even better.
Stiga Carbonado 145: A new 5+2 carbon blade from Stiga that is produced in Sweden and features a completely new style of carbon, never before used in table tennis.
Yinhe T-11: A great value 5+2 carbon blade with a balsa core. This blade is fast and super light. It’s great for loopers you like to stay close to the table.
Tibhar Drinkhall Powerspin Carbon: I couldn’t finish without mentioning Paul Drinkhall’s carbon blade. It’s a complete rip-off of the Butterfly arylate carbon blades but quite a bit cheaper.
DHS Hurricane Long 5: This is the blade of Ma Long (the 2017 World Champion). A really top quality carbon blade for aggressive loopers. The best DHS has to offer.
The Most Popular Table Tennis Blade
Unsurprisingly, a lot of players want to use the same table tennis blade as the legend Timo Boll. That’s made Butterfly’s Timo Boll ALC one of the most popular table tennis blades ever. Even TableTennisDaily’s video review on YouTube has almost half a million views! Check it out below.