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The Best Table Tennis Bats for Beginners & Intermediates: Reviews and Buying Guide!
Last updated 3rd January, 2021

Upon its invention in the early 20th century table tennis—then known as Ping-Pong—was scoffed at as Tennis’ makeshift little cousin. But boy, have we come a long way since then. Table tennis is now one of the most widely enjoyed sports playable at home.

With such appreciation comes nuance, and as any sportsperson will tell you equipment can make a huge difference. The innocent table tennis bat, ping pong paddle or racket—whatever you want to name it—is that piece of equipment.

Pick up one of those default, cheap wooden bats and you may find yourself easily beaten. But pick and choose a bat to suit your grip and playstyle and you may be on to a winner.

Today we’re going to break down the best of them on the market, looking specifically at table tennis bats for beginner and intermediate players.

What is the bat called in table tennis?

UK players are most likely to call it a table tennis bat, but you may also hear them being called table tennis paddles, table tennis rackets and even table tennis rubbers. Across the Atlantic, it is a little simpler with Ping Pong Paddle being the most widely used term. That said, the official term stipulated by the ITTF is racket—meaning you’re safest using table tennis racket.

Top 5 Table Tennis Bats for Beginners

1. Cornilleau Sport 300 Table Tennis Bat

The Cornilleau Sport 300 should be on any absolute beginner’s radar. It provides excellent ball control, speed management and a potential for beginner spins at an absolute steal of a price point. It also should be noted that Cornilleau are market-leaders in the world of table tennis. The racket even features ITTF approved rubber, meaning this is certainly a beginner ping pong paddle you can trust.

Key features:

  • Speed: 6/10
  • Control: 9/10
  • Spin: 5/10
  • Brand: Cornilleau
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Price: £
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

2. Cornilleau Tacteo 50 Turquoise Table Tennis Bat

This attractively dimpled racket is well suited to beginners or casual players looking for a hard-wearing balanced racket. The Tacteo 50 features a specialist Grip+ covering which allows for excellent speed and spin while also being soft and comfortable to the touch. As this specialist covering encapsulates the whole racket it also makes the bat entirely waterproof, meaning it’s built for hard-wearing outdoor use—making it perfect for environments like gyms or schools.

Key features:

  • Speed: 7/10
  • Control: 7/10
  • Spin: 7/10
  • Brand: Cornilleau
  • ITTF Approved: No
  • Price: £
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

3. Palio Expert 3.0 Table Tennis Bat and Case

The confusingly named Palio Expert is a perfectly tailored racket for beginners as it provides users with excellent control of speed and precision while offering opportunity for game-changing spins. Featuring ITTF approved interchangeable rubber alongside a nifty protective case, the Palio Master is a prime level-up from standard bats without breaking the bank.

Key features:

  • Speed: 6/10
  • Control: 10/10
  • Spin: 9/10
  • Brand: Palio
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Price: ££
  • Retailer: Amazon

4. Stiga Royal 3-Star Table Tennis Ping Pong Bat

Stiga are no stranger to high-quality table tennis products, and the Royal 3-Star is no different. Featuring as Amazon’s choice for the best beginner table tennis racket, it is clearly no push-over. Featuring ITTF approved rubbers, a comfortable concave handle and a good combination of spin and speed this racket will provide exciting playmaking opportunities. That said, given it has a notably lower level of control, absolute beginners may struggle to start with but well worth persevering.

Key features:

  • Speed: 8/10
  • Control: 5/10
  • Spin: 7/10
  • Brand: Stiga
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Price: ££
  • Retailer: Amazon

5. Eastfield Allround Professional Table Tennis Bat

The Eastfield Allround ping pong racket is, again, an extremely solid choice for beginners. Offering nearly unmatched levels of control from its sturdy wooden build, beginners will quickly pick up the basics of the game with this bat in hand. What’s more, is with an excellent capacity for spins, this bat will see beginners all the way through their journey to understanding high level techniques of the game. This combination of factors makes it an excellent bat for beginners to transition to higher level play.

Key features:

  • Speed: 6/10
  • Control: 10/10
  • Spin: 8/10
  • Brand: Eastfield
  • ITTF Approved: No
  • Price: £££
  • Retailer: Amazon

Top 3 Table Tennis Bats for Intermediate Players

1. Cornilleau Excell 3000 Carbon Table Tennis Bat

Table tennis giants Cornilleau clearly understand the needs of intermediate players, offering the maximum headroom for speed and spins. This limitless potential will surely help players unleash the best of their intermediate/advanced abilities. With fully ITTF approved rubbers this bat will even be one players can take to championship matches.

Key features:

  • Speed: 10/10
  • Control: 5/10
  • Spin: 10/10
  • Brand: Cornilleau
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Price: £££
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

2. Palio Legend 3.0 Table Tennis Bat and Case

Palio’s intermediate offering differs from the others a little in that they decided to sacrifice a small amount of spin potential to increase the racket’s easy control. This decision may perfectly suit the play style of many players, given that the bat itself will require less getting used to than the other intermediate options listed here. The Palio Legend 3.0 also features ITTF approved rubbers, making it a great choice for those hoping to compete.

Key features:

  • Speed: 10/10
  • Control: 7/10
  • Spin: 9/10
  • Brand: Palio
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Price: £££
  • Retailer: Amazon

3. Stiga Royal 5-Star Table Tennis Pro Carbon Ping Pong Bat

Providing the highest potential for speed and spin, the Stiga Royal 5-Star is a fantastic option for offensive players. This is particularly true due to the Royal 5-Star’s 5+2 ply blade and touch carbon technology combining to provide that extra kick to achieve incredibly high-level techniques. As with the other intermediate rackets mentioned here, the Stiga has full ITTF approval, making it a great choice for intermediate and competitive players looking to achieve the highest level technique.

Key features:

  • Speed: 10/10
  • Control: 4/10
  • Spin: 10/10
  • Brand: Stiga
  • ITTF Approved: Yes
  • Price: ££££
  • Retailer: Amazon

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Buying Guide

Across the board, there are a handful of features anyone looking for the perfect table tennis bat will want to consider. Here we’ll consider two key parts of this: the parts of the table tennis bat themselves and what specifically to look for when you’re looking at products.

The Parts of a Table Tennis Bat

The Blade

The blade is the heart of any ping pong paddle. It is the firm wooden portion of the bat which gives it its strength and shape, along with the sport’s iconic ball-racket click.

The blade will always be a flat and connected to the handle where you’ll be holding the bat.

The weight and material of the blades influence the desired style of play—be it offensive, defensive or all round. This will often also have a profound effect on the overall control players have over their bat.

Generally, there are two shapes of blade to suit the two dominant styles of grip—the shakehand grip (common for western players) and the penhold grip (common for Asian players).

The Handle

As the essential point of contact between the player and the racket, the handle’s main function is to provide comfortable control.

As mentioned above, the handle will vary slightly depending on the racket’s desired grip—penhold or shakehand.

The Rubber and Sponge

Rubbers cover the paddle area on each side of the blade and will be where the ball contacts. Rubbers must be approved by the ITTF to be used in professional tournaments.

The firmness and amount of grip the rubber holds can dramatically change the playstyle. There are four key types of rubber.

What to Look for When Buying

1. Experience of Player

The first major consideration is that of experience. Beginner players may find it hard to play with super-fast and super-spinney paddles, while experts will feel restricted by slow spinless ones. As such, considering how much exposure the player has had to the game is key in selecting the correct bat for them.

As a rule of thumb, beginners will favour control over speed and spin while intermediate or expert players will favour the opposite.

2. Indoor or Outdoor Play

Durability is worth considering before any purchase. As such, if your table lives outside and you want your bats to as well, it is worth considering fully waterproof paddles to get the best life out of them. That said, as most of the top-quality rackets are not wholly weather resistant, if you’re looking for expert level play you’ll need to ensure your bat doesn’t get left out in the rain!

Don't forget to take a look at our Top Outdoor Table Tennis Tables blog too if it's playing in the great outdoors that you're after.

3. Your Budget

Budget is the first and last thing we think about with any purchase. As such it’s valuable to always ensure you’re not spending too much or too little on any purchase. Do remember that forking out a little extra now for a reputable brand or higher-quality product may in fact save you a bunch in the long run!

Ping Pong Balls

Ping pong balls obviously also have a huge role to play in the feel and fun of the sport of table tennis. As such, choosing the right ball for your game can be as important as choosing your bat—if not more as it affects both players!

Our top two recommendations are:

  • For beginners: Pro Spin 3-Star Table Tennis Balls. This is due to the large volume of high-performance balls perfect for both indoor and outdoor tables.
  • For intermediates: Cornilleau P-Ball ABS Evolution Table Tennis Balls. Yes, it is Cornilleau again with their excellent ITTF-approved balls. The accurate shaping and high quality of these balls is almost unmatched in the consumer sphere, while the large box brings the price of each ball to well under £1 ($1).

Conclusion

Who knew ping pong paddles would be so complex? Well, I suppose the entire table tennis community did.

When you’re looking for your perfect racket remember to weigh up the defining playmaking features of control, speed and spin against your (or the intended player’s) skill level to make sure you’ll have the greatest potential of play possible.

If we were going to provide two solid recommendations we would suggest the Palio Expert 3.0 for beginners and the Cornilleau Excell 3000 for intermediate players.

But that said, each table tennis player is unique and has a preferred play style. As such, if you’re an especially keen player quickly heading toward intermediate or expert we would certainly recommend getting your hands on some of the intermediate rackets before making a purchase—as you have to love your racket!

Affiliate disclaimer: on some or all of the products above, we receive a small commission if you make a purchase via our site. This does not impact the price you pay, but it allows us to keep helping people by writing these reviews, so thank you!


Tom
Co-founder at Mancaves HQ

A true man cave enthusiast. When he isn't trawling through Instagram looking for new ideas, you can find him navigating through the streets of London.