Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
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Last updated: December 29, 2023
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If you are just getting started in the world of table tennis, you might think that all rubbers are the same. That is, unfortunately, completely false. Finding the best table tennis rubber for your playing style is key so that you can maximize your abilities.
The first thing you should look for in any table tennis rubber is a set that has both a red and black side since this is required for any tournament play. It is also a good idea to look for rubbers that are made by trusted manufacturers, which is all you will find on our list. The last thing that you want to do is purchase sub-standard rubbers, as this will lead to a worse playing experience and a lot more expense in the long run. We also looked for models of different thicknesses, since this will directly affect the speed, control, and spin of the ball while you play.
If you are looking for the best overall table tennis rubber, then this is a great place to start. This is a fantastic option if you are an offensive player. Thanks to the overall hardness of the rubber and the density of the sponge, you are able to get a very high level of speed and spin with each of your shots. It also comes in lots of different thicknesses, which will allow you to tweak the speed and spin to fit your offensive game.
These are also quite durable, thankfully. Since these rubbers are meant to be played with an aggressive approach, they are bound to endure lots of punishment. Even with this in mind, they should last for a good long time. In fact, they have been found to last much longer than other rubbers on the market today.
Since these rubbers are made to be used in such an aggressive manner, it should come as no surprise that they are ITTF certified. They are perfect for advanced players that love to enjoy extremely competitive games.
What are our favorite features? The pro-tension rubber is a nice touch. This rubber has a slightly tacky feel to it, which means that the ball sticks for a bit on contact. This allows the player to put as much or as little spin on the ball as they wish, making for an intuitive playing experience.
What could be better? The only real issue for this set of rubbers is that, due to their design, they are not for every skill level. A beginner would not be able to utilize them to their fullest potential, mostly because they are not as easy to control as other rubbers.
While many of the premier rubber manufacturers focus on a particular type of player, this company chose to design a good all-around model that will work well for multiple skill levels. Whether you are just getting into the world of table tennis or you are an accomplished player with years of experience, this is a good set of rubbers to check out. It has a great speed level and spin rating, which provides you with plenty of power to keep your opponents on their toes.
Even though this model has a high speed and spin rating, it manages to do it without sacrificing control. With a control rating of 9.4, it is very easy to understand why these rubbers work so well for both defensive and offensive players. This high rating is also why this rubber is such a good option for a beginner since it provides them with the control they need to focus on fundamentals without frustration.
Why are we impressed? This set of rubber is quite thick. This thickness helps to provide its overall power while also making it quite durable. The company has manufactured these ITTF approved rubbers to last for a good long time, so whether you play often or infrequently, you won’t need to worry about them breaking down on you.
What negatives must you be aware of? The only issue with these otherwise wonderful rubbers is that they are quite expensive when compared to other models. This might be a bit of a limiting factor considering that you need to use them for a year or so to get your money’s worth out of them. Thankfully, however, they do also come with a 30-day warranty that would allow you to return them if you are not fully satisfied with them.
When it comes to getting a new set of rubbers for your table tennis paddle, it might not be a bad idea to go with a brand that has been around for a good long time and has built up a great reputation. That is where this model comes in. These ultra-fast rubbers are great for someone with an offensive game plan, as they have the second-highest speed rating of any model on our list. Plain and simple, the ball will fly from your paddle with these installed.
They also offer a very high level of spin as well. This is thanks to their inclusion of the company’s high-tension technology and extremely tacky rubber. The extra level of the grip allows you to put a great amount of spin on your shots, which will make it that much harder for your opponent to return your volley.
What do we love it for? While this rubber is, overall, a fast-playing model, you can change the speeds based on the thickness that you decide upon. If, for instance, you decide to go with a thinner rubber, you will get a slower speed and vice versa. These choices make it easier to get exactly what you want out of your ping pong paddle.
What were we disappointed with? The only downside to these otherwise excellent rubbers is that they are not very durable. This is especially the case if you choose to go with a thinner version. Even if you are very careful not to set them down on the rubber or hit them against the table, they will probably not last for a full year’s use.
If speed is the name of the game for you when you are playing table tennis, then you should definitely check these rubbers out. They are, by far, the fastest of all the different models that we looked into. In fact, no other rubbers on our list got close to their speed rating of 16, making them a great option for advanced players who know how to handle a ton of speed in their game.
As you would expect from a set of rubbers with such a high-speed rating, these rubbers also give you the chance to really put a lot of spin on your shots. This is thanks to the overall tackiness of the rubber. It is so tacky, in fact, that you need to make sure that you don’t set them down on any surface, as they will very quickly pick up dust and dirt.
What makes it stand out? These rubbers are, thankfully, quite durable. Since they have a MAX rating for their thickness, this should come as no surprise. Even if you play with them extremely often, you shouldn’t have a tough time keeping them in working order for a whole year. Of course, due to their tackiness, you will have to clean them regularly to keep them functioning correctly.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? As you might have guessed, the biggest downside for these rubbers is that they are not all that accessible for beginning players. Their speed and spin ratings make them very difficult for an untrained player to utilize properly, though they do have a relatively high control rating as well.
One of the biggest issues with getting into any new hobby, no matter if it is hiking, bowling, or table tennis, is that buying the right equipment can be quite expensive. If you are just a beginner, you don’t want to shell out a lot of money on rubbers that you probably won’t be able to utilize correctly anyways. That is why these are such a nice set. They are relatively inexpensive and provide lots of control so that an inexperienced player can get more comfortable with using the proper technique until they are ready for more advanced rubbers.
What are its best features? Something that really helps to make these such a good value purchase for a new player is that, unlike all of the others on our list, this set comes with two different sets of rubbers. This, of course, means that they will last you for a good long time. In fact, if you take proper care of them, you should easily be able to utilize this one package for about two years. This should provide you with plenty of time to work on your skills.
These are also very good overall rubbers, in that the speed, spin, and control ratings are all very similar. This makes it much easier for an inexperienced player to practice good technique since you won’t need to worry about the volleys getting too fast for your liking.
What could be improved? The only issue that we found with these rubbers is that they only come in one thickness. While this is certainly not a deal-breaker, it might limit how much use you get out of them once you have determined the type of playing style you want to utilize.
This company is well-known for making high-quality rubbers for table tennis, and this model is no exception. What really makes these stand out from the pack, however, is just how many different thicknesses you can choose from with them. They come in five different thicknesses, which will allow you to get the just the right feel on your paddle so you can play the game the way you want to.
Why are we impressed? The sponge for these rubbers is something that helps them to stand out from the crowd. It is very hard and yet quite flexible. This combination makes it extremely durable and provides enough cushion to give you the control you need to play the game your way. Since the sponge is so hard, it allows for a good amount of speed without giving up the control you need to drop your shots right where you want them.
What negatives must you be aware of? The only area of concern for these rubbers is with the thinner versions. If you choose to go with one of these thinner rubbers to gain a bit more control over your shots, you will need to be as careful as possible to maintain them so that they won’t break down on you too quickly. This is, thankfully, relatively easy to do, so long as you don’t set them down too often on the surface of the rubber or hit them against anything. This is also not a concern with the thicker iterations, so you might want to stick with them rather than the thinner versions.
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through all of the key details that you need to consider to get the best table tennis rubber for your playing style. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those if you need any further clarification.
Features to consider when choosing table tennis rubber
In a market as saturated with options like this one, you need to be sure that you have a clear understanding of what you want and what you need. In this section, we will lay out, in detail, exactly what to look for to get the perfect ping pong rubber so you can dominate the competition.
Speed, spin, and control ratings
The first thing that you will want to take into consideration is the different ratings that come with each type of rubber. This includes the speed, spin, and control ratings. Depending on the type of playing style that you employ, you will want to look for a higher rating in the different categories so that the rubber plays to your strengths. Of course, if you are just getting started, it is probably a good idea to stick with an all-around style of rubber, which will have very similar ratings across the categories.
If you are looking for a good starter rubber, then the Kokutaku 868 Spin Power is a nice option. This rubber has very similar ratings across all of the categories, making it a great choice for anyone that is just a beginner. On the other hand, if you are looking for more speed and spin to fit your aggressive playstyle, the TIBHAR Evolution MX-P is a fine rubber to try out. If you happen to play a defensive style of table tennis, then the Killerspin Fortissimo will give you the control you need to place your shots right where you want them.
Something else to keep in mind in regard to the speed and control of your volleys is the sponge density. Basically, the denser the sponge is, the harder and faster your hits will be. With a less dense sponge, you will not be able to get to faster speeds, but you will have a higher level of control over where the ball goes. The density of a sponge is usually measured in something called shore scale, which is a measure of how hard something is. This can usually be found on the front of a rubber’s packaging. The higher the number, the harder the sponge.
Obviously, a harder sponge is also going to give you a higher speed rating as well. This can be seen in a rubber-like the Sanwei Target National. This set has a very high-speed rating, thanks to the density of its sponge. Something else to keep in mind with a harder sponge is that, though they reduce control, they will last longer than a softer model, simply because it takes longer for them to become compressed through playing.
Much like sponge density, the thickness of rubber will greatly affect the speed and spin of the ball when you hit it. The thicker the rubber, the faster the ball will, and, vice versa, the thinner the rubber, the slower the ball will go. Basically, anything over 2 mm in thickness will be much faster than a rubber that is less than 2 mm in thickness. Keep this in mind when you are shopping for your new set so that you can quickly determine whether it will be the right speed for your needs.
Some manufacturers will also offer up a style of rubber that comes in different thicknesses so that you can tweak it to fit your needs. For instance, the Butterfly Sriver can be purchased in a wide variety of thickness levels so that you can get the one that works best for your playing style. Some others, however, like the Sanwei Target National, only come in the maximum thickness possible. This, of course, means that they are always going to be quite fast rubbers.
Forward or reverse pip
Another key factor that you need to keep in mind when buying a new ping pong rubber is what type of pip you want to use. The pip, or pimple, on a tennis rubber, can be short or long, depending on your playing style. Shorter pips are better for more aggressive players, while longer ones fit better with a defensive style of play.
Most manufactures produce reverse pip rubbers since these provide a uniform paddle surface. More advanced players might like to use a forward pip rubber since they can then alter their volleys based on the situation and where they hit the ball.
How many sheets are included?
Since these rubbers will not last forever, it is a good idea to look for a package that has more than one rubber included. That way, you will not have to shell out quite as much money in the long run. Of course, these rubbers also last for about a year, so unless you know for sure that the set you are buying is the one that you want to use for multiple years, it might not be a bad idea to get a set with only one rubber included.
Of all the different rubbers we looked into, the only one that comes with multiple sheets is the Kokutaku 868 Spin Power. All of the other rubbers only come with one sheet, making them a better buy if you are just getting started and are not quite sure you know what you want in your table tennis rubber.
Color of the sheets
The color of the sheets can either be extremely important or not at all. It will completely depend on where you intend to do your playing. If you want to just play in your basement with your friends, then the color of the rubbers will not have an impact on the game. Conversely, if you want to play in a sanctioned tournament, you will need to make sure that you have a black and red rubber on your paddle.
Table tennis rubbers nowadays generally play differently depending on the side you are using. The reason for the rubbers being two colors is to allow your opponent to change their style of play against you. This rule was instituted years ago when the first dual-sided rubbers were introduced since they were giving players unfair advantages since their opponents couldn’t tell how the ball would react when the colors were the same.
The only sanctioned type of glue for the competition are water-based glues. These glues work quite well and are also very easy to clean up, especially if you accidentally put a bit too much on. They are also much easier to remove and get prepared for placing a new rubber on your paddle. Voc glues can also be used as long as you are just playing at home. These glues work very well, but they are trickier to clean up if you put too much on at a time.
As a rule, rubbers should usually be replaced every year or so. Of course, this will depend on how often you play and the density of your sponge. If you have a softer sponge, for instance, you will probably need to replace it at least twice a year since it will get compressed much more easily than a denser one. You will also need to replace your rubber more often if you play more often. If you play multiple times a week, every week, you will need to replace the rubber when it starts to show signs of wear. Of course, if you are only playing on occasion, you can probably go a bit beyond the standard year before you need to replace the old one with a new one.
While you might think that you can clean your rubber with a gentle bit of cleaner and some water, that is not actually the case. All you need is some warm water and a damp sponge. After the sponge is wet, slowly wipe away any dirt and debris from the paddle. You need to make sure that you do not scrub at the dirt, as this will just force it deeper down into the rubber. If there are stubborn stains or oil on the paddle, make it wet with the sponge and allow it to soak in for about 5 minutes before lightly wiping it away.
Wrapping It Up
Out of all the different rubbers that we looked into, the TIBHAR Evolution MX-P was our favorite overall. These rubbers are great for experienced players and provide lots of speed and spin control with each volley. If you are looking to step up your table tennis game, we highly recommend you give them a try!
The Killerspin Fortissimo is the best all-around table tennis rubbers that we found. They provide plenty of speed and spin, while also allowing for a lot of control. This makes them a great option for offensive and defensive playing styles.
If you are looking for the best table tennis rubbers, then the Butterfly Tenergy 05 is a great option. They will allow you to be as aggressive as you like, thanks to their high-speed rating and extra dense sponge.