Equipment: What Do You Need To Play Table-Tennis?

Many brands make table tennis equipment. It is crucial to select the equipment that best suits your skill level and play style. There are standards/ratings for table tennis equipment that takes the guesswork out determining the characteristics of a blade (the main part of the paddle) or rubber (the playing surfaces).

Guide To Rubber And Blades

A good blade and rubber are essential for anyone just starting. If one goes too cheap, they may end up with poor equipment that hinders their progress.


A medium-speed blade will allow you to practice ball control, while still playing topspin. According to their speed, blades are indicated in the following manner:

  • Defensive Blades – Slow blades with maximum control. Designed for defensive players such as e.g. Choppers and beginners
  • Allround Blades – A all-purpose blade for the all-around player who can mix offense and defense in equal measures
  • Offensive Blades- are the fastest available and many trade control for speed. Not recommended for beginners

You can make blades from many materials. However, it is required that wood must be the main material. Carbon, arylate, or other materials can be used in the blade’s middle layer, but they can’t be exposed. If your rubber touches the non-wood material, the blade is considered illegal.

You shouldn’t be concerned if you find illegal equipment. You can use them as a training blade until you get a new one, but they can’t be used in sanctioned tournaments.


Two types of rubber can be classified: pimpled or inverted. Pimpled rubber displays many “pips” that protrude from the rubber’s surface, making the striking surface uneven. These rubber are best for defensive play where topspin doesn’t matter as much. You can choose from two varieties of pips, short or long. Short pips have a thickness that is greater than their height, and they are less than 1 mm high. Longer pips are more likely to be equal or larger in length and width. These pips can bend slightly or ‘kink’ slightly on impact with the ball and create many deceptive spins. These long pips can become illegal overtime. Therefore, it is important to exercise caution before buying. Pimpled rubber is mostly used to give variety to table tennis games. It is rare for attackers to use it as their primary surface.

Inverted rubber, also known as smooth rubber, is a sheet made of pimpled rubber which has been turned upside down to expose the flat surface underneath. Nearly all inverted Rubber has a layer of sponge sandwiched underneath. The sponge increases speed and/or control of the rubber, depending upon its thickness and composition. Inverted rubber can produce more spin shots and attack games that are spin-intensive. Many inverted rubbers’ surfaces are sticky, which allows players to get the spin they desire. Inverted should be the primary rubber for beginners, as it is the most effective way to learn today’s best techniques.

Rubber comes with a rating system that measures the speed and spins independently. While there are no standard notations for rubber, many rubber distributors rate speed and spin using different scales. A 100-point scale is the most spinny, while 100 indicates the fastest. The rubber’s ratings are often determined by those who have analyzed them to evaluate their speed and spin. You can ask for advice on a particular brand or test it yourself. You can also test the blades in this manner. Be aware that ratings are based on opinions and will not be machine-tested. Be careful not to take the ratings too seriously. It is important to realize that it will not matter if you get exactly the right rubber until you reach the appropriate level of play.

Nets And Tables

All tables and nets used for table tennis must conform to the regulations. Tables should be nine feet in length, five feet across, and two and one-half to three feet high (floor to the surface). The net should be six inches tall and must extend across the table’s middle and six inches beyond each side. The surface of the table should be a non-reflective, dull color that contrasts well with the oranges and whites of the balls. The most popular colors are black, navy, and green. There are many quality options for tables and nets, with some even exceedingly expensive. While a table and net set that is relatively cheap will work well in most homes, bounce accuracy will differ. A table placed on a carpet or another soft surface will have difficulty matching the precision of one placed on flat surfaces.