I receive a lot of emails from table tennis players asking me to recommend the best table tennis blades for their style of play. Clearly, I should have written this blog post years ago!
When you first start playing table tennis, I recommend buying a decent premade table tennis racket. However, at some point, you will need to transition from your premade bat to a custom one… and this where things get a little more tricky.
Once you enter the world of custom table tennis rackets you’re exposed to hundreds of ITTF approved rubbers and thousands of potential blade options. How do you know which combination to select? And how do you glue it all together? It’s a bit of a minefield.
It’s my hope that this article will help you to understand a little more about the best table tennis blades and give you the confidence to select your own. I’ll also be recommending lots of different blades for certain styles of play.
This post was originally written in June 2016 but was revised in August 2019 to keep it up-to-date.
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” one 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 equipment.. 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
And with a huge collection of blades, you never use…
So, am I 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.
Wood Blades vs Carbon Blades
Before I start with my personal table tennis blade recommendations, there’s one last point I’d like to make…
Many players are unsure whether to go for a wood or carbon blade.
A wood blade is made 100% from wood. These are also sometimes referred to as “allwood”. A carbon blade has a combination of wood and carbon – usually 5 layers of wood and 2 layers of carbon.
Carbon blades are generally faster than wood blades and give the player less control and “feeling” over the ball. If you’re a new player, a carbon blade might make things a little difficult for you. Starting out with an allwood blade is a better idea.
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!
I started off with a couple of wood blades, moved to carbon blades after playing for about 7-8 years, and now I’m back playing with an all-wood (no carbon) 7-ply blade.
In fact, I’ve been playing table tennis for over 20 years and during that time I’ve only had five different blades (if you’re interested; Joola Legend, Joola K5, Stiga Tube Carbo, Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit, Eastfield Ashwood).
Treat them well and table tennis blades will last a very long time. There’s really no need to be changing them every few months – like you might do with your rubbers if you’re playing a lot.
The Best Table Tennis Blades
It’s time for my recommendations. Here are, in my opinion, the five best table tennis blades…
- Eastfield Allwood
- Eastfield Ashwood
- Joola Fever
- Butterfly Timo Boll ALC
- Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC
And the ordering isn’t random. I’ve listed them from the cheapest to the most expensive!
1. Eastfield Allwood Table Tennis Blade
- The #1 blade for beginners/improvers
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re a relatively new player you should stay away from 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.
Instead, have a look at a classic allround wood blade like the Eastfield Allwood. These kinds of blades have been used by improving players for years.
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’s modelled on classic allwood blades of the past, such as the Stiga Allround and Donic Allplay, and is perfect for serious beginners or intermediate players.
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.
Unfortunately, the Eastfield Allwood blade is currently totally out of stock. In the meantime, here are a couple of decent alternatives…
- Stiga Allround Classic…
- Donic Appelgren Allplay…
2. Eastfield Ashwood Table Tennis Blade
- The #1 blade 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.
I’ve been using it myself for the past 18 months now and Harrie Austin-Jones (made famous by The Expert Table Tennis Podcast) has been using it for just over a year.
It’s perfect for intermediate/advanced 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.
I 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!
Buy an Eastfield Ashwood blade from…
3. JOOLA Fever Table Tennis Blade
- Tom Lodziak’s current blade of choice
I have to admit that I’ve never used the JOOLA Fever blade myself. But I did grow up using JOOLA blades as a kid, so I know they make really great quality blades.
So, why am I recommending the JOOLA Fever if I’ve never used it? Well, basically because my fellow table tennis blogger Tom Lodziak thinks it’s great!
The JOOLA Fever 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.
Buy a JOOLA Fever blade from…
4. Butterfly Timo Boll ALC Table Tennis Blade
- The most popular carbon offensive blade
Before I switched to using the Eastfield Ashwood I had been using my Timo Boll Spirit blade for about five years.
It looks like Butterfly are phasing out the Timo Boll Spirit and instead encourage 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 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 I know that a lot of the English national team have used both the Spirit and ALC in the past too – including Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford.
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 couple of years.
Buy a Butterfly Timo Boll ALC blade from…
5. Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC Table Tennis Blade
- The world’s most expensive table tennis blade
If money is no object, the Zhang Jike Super ZLC is 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.
Buy a Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC blade from…
Other Popular Table Tennis Blades
There are plenty of other great table tennis blades that didn’t make it into my top five list. Here are a few more wood and carbon blades.
- 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. Buy from Tabletennis11.com (€54.90).
- 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.
Summary: The Best Table Tennis Blade
There are so many potential table tennis blades to choose from that it’s really difficult to know where to start. I hope that this rather long blog post has given you a few ideas. Once again, here are my recommendations…
- Are you a beginner? If so, don’t worry about custom blades. Instead, buy yourself a decent premade table tennis racket. Something like a Palio Expert 2.0 will be fine.
- Are you looking for your first custom racket? If so, grab yourself an allwood allround blade. My favourite is the 5-ply Eastfield Allwood blade.
- Are you an intermediate player? If so, the 7-ply Eastfield Ashwood blade should be perfect for you. It’ll be a step up in terms of speed but it still has amazing control and feeling.
- Are you an experienced offensive player? If so, you can’t really go wrong with a carbon Butterfly blade. Something like a Butterfly Timo Boll ALC should be good.
- Is money no object? If so, you should go for the $400+ Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC. It’s probably the best table tennis blade in the world – or at least the most expensive!
- Do you want to have the same blade as me? In that case, you’ll want to buy the Eastfield Ashwood blade. I’ve been using it for the past two years now and I love it.
As I said at the start of this post, I would definitely recommend trying out other people’s blades and bat combinations before making a decision.
But remember, buying an expensive new blade isn’t going to turn you into Ma Long. It isn’t a magic pill for instant success. You need to put the work in and do the training. You can find out more about that on my table tennis coaching page.
Don’t spend years searching for the best table tennis blade. It’s a wild goose chase without a goose!
Thanks for getting this far! And I wish you every success with your journey to table tennis expertise.