The Best Table Tennis Bats for Beginners & Intermediate Players

As a professional table tennis coach, I’m often asked, “What’s the best table tennis bat for beginners?” It’s an important question. As a beginner, you don’t need to have the best table tennis bat in the world but you do need to have a bat (sometimes called a racket or paddle) that allows you to spin the ball and develop good feeling.

I’ve had players turn up with some awful table tennis bats in the past and the worst thing is that often they’ve paid good money for these useless branded bats. So, I’m going to start by showing you what not to buy before going on to make a few recommendations of my own. Hopefully, I can point you in the direction of a decent bat or two.

To help my European readers, I’ve paid to have this article professionally translated into a few different languages. Please click the link below that serves you best…

This post was originally written in September 2012 but was revised in September 2019 to keep it up-to-date.

What Not to Buy

Dunlop Bats

Dunlop Table Tennis Bat

These are probably the most common bats to turn up at my coaching sessions and are very popular in the UK. The names make me laugh. I’ve seen ‘G-Force’, ‘Nitro’, ‘Blaster’, ‘Blackstorm’, and my personal favourite, ‘Venom Power’.

Dunlop table tennis bats tend to be extremely heavy. Many even have random gaps and holes in the handle, which I can only assume is a desperate attempt to make them weigh a bit less. They normally cost £10-20, which is very cheap, but still, I wouldn’t suggest buying one if you can help it!

Cornilleau Tacteo Bats

cornilleau tacteo 30

These look quite cool as they are made of plastic and rubber. A lot of the kids I coach love them and they actually play ok and are extremely long-lasting. We use them in PE lessons, as other bats generally get ripped to shreds by teenagers. If you’re a school or youth club I recommend buying a load of these!

You’re probably thinking, “These sound great”, but the problem is that you won’t be able to play with them in any competitions. Not even local or school-level ones. If you’re looking to play ‘proper’ table tennis, you’ll need a ‘proper’ bat.

Cheap Premade Branded Bats

timo boll black table tennis racket

These bats are deceptive because the companies are normally able to make the packaging look quite attractive. They use professional players on the cover and often name the bats after them too. Personally, I don’t think this should be allowed as it gives the impression of a premium product.

As a general rule of thumb, I would try to steer clear of any bat that has its rubber covered by a fancy looking piece of paper with a top player on it. I want to be able to see the quality of the rubber and sponge and this looks to me like they are trying to hide it away!

So, I’ve covered what not to buy. Now is time for the interesting stuff. Here are the best table tennis bats that I recommend…

The Best Table Tennis Bats for Beginners

Here are my five best table tennis bats for beginners…

  1. Eastfield Allround Professional Table Tennis Bat
  2. Palio Expert 3.0 Table Tennis Bat
  3. DHS A4002 Table Tennis Racket
  4. Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket
  5. Palio Master 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

I’ll now review each of these table tennis bats in detail.

1. Eastfield Allround Table Tennis Bat

This is by far my favourite table tennis bat for beginners. After all, I spent two years of my life designing and creating it!

Eastfield Sporting Goods Company was started by myself and Sam Priestley in late 2014 as a distinctively British brand producing premium table tennis goods.

By November 2016, the Eastfield Allround was on sale to the general public – we’re perfectionists and it took a lot longer than we anticipated.

We designed the Eastfield Allround Professional Table Tennis Bat to be the perfect racket for players that are learning the game and value control, spin and feeling over raw speed and power.

And this is probably a good time to mention that if you’re a beginner or improver you MUST value control and feeling, over speed and power. Please don’t buy the fastest carbon racket you can find! It will only make it even more difficult for you to learn the game and master the basics.

Anyway… back to the Eastfield Allround!

The Eastfield Allround is a custom racket setup – meaning it’s made up of a wooden blade and two sheets of rubber (that have been glued together and cut by hand, by a skilled member of the Eastfield team).

eastfield allround blade and rubbers

This adds a considerable extra expense to the manufacturing cost of the racket but we believe the handcrafted touch is essential to ensure the product meets our high standards.

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. It’s the kind of blade that coaches are always recommending to their young players and has a flared handle for comfort.

The Eastfield A-Soft Rubbers have been newly engineered from the table up to give you an unprecedented level of control. With these soft Japanese-style rubbers, you’re about to play with greater spin and stability than ever before!

It’s ITTF approved (meaning you can legally use it in all sanctioned leagues and tournaments) and features a 2.1mm thick sponge, with 36° hardness. As far as I’m concerned, that makes it the best table tennis bat for beginners!

Buy an Eastfield Allround from Amazon…

Eastfield Allround Table Tennis Bat

By purchasing the complete Eastfield Allround bat, you’re saving £15 (or $20) compared to buying an Eastfield Allwood blade and two Eastfield A-Soft rubbers individually.

2. Palio Expert 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

Palio Expert 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

If you can’t afford an Eastfield Allround, your next best bet is the Palio Expert 3.0.

Palio is a Chinese table tennis brand that specializes in making high-quality and affordable table tennis rubbers and blades. Established table tennis coaches are well aware of the excellent performance of Palio products and have been recommending them to new players for years.

The Palio Expert 3.0, first released in September 2019, is an exclusive collaboration between Palio and Expert Table Tennis. It supersedes the popular Palio Expert 2.0.

This is a great bat for players learning the game and starting out. The blade gives lots of control and great feeling while the high-quality Palio CJ8000 rubbers allow for lots of spin.

Palio gives the Expert 3.0 a 6/10 for speed, a 9/10 for spin, and a 10/10 for control. And, as this bat will likely be your first table tennis bat, Palio even include a free case to keep the bat in!

The Palio Expert 2.0 has been hugely popular and is often the best selling bat on Amazon in the UK. And the Palio Expert 3.0 is even better!

It’s also available, via Amazon, in the USA, Canada, Europe, and India. If you’re looking for a decent table tennis bat at a reasonable price then the Palio Expert 3.0 should fit the bill perfectly. It even comes with free delivery.

Buy a Palio Expert 3.0 from Amazon…

In my opinion, the Palio Expert 3.0 is the best table tennis bat for under £30/$40. For more information check out my complete Palio Expert 3.0 Review.

3. DHS A4002 Table Tennis Racket

DHS A4002 Table Tennis Bat Racket

If you can’t find anywhere to buy an Eastfield or Palio table tennis bat in your country, you’ll have to look at some other brands.

DHS is another Chinese table tennis brand. They produce a wide range of premade table tennis rackets and, as you’d expect, the cheapest ones are pretty useless but the most expensive ones are quite good.

WARNING: I have come across fake DHS rackets and rubbers in the past, and I believe this is a serious problem for the brand (Butterfly also suffer from fakes). As far as I’m aware, DHS and Butterfly are the only brands to have been targeted in this way.

The DHS A4002 is the most popular of the current DHS premade rackets, I guess largely due to the fact that it is actually a half decent racket and very cheap.

You get much better quality rubbers on the A4002 and up (A5002 and A6002) than on the more basic DHS rackets (A1002, A2002, and A3002). For example, the DHS A4002 comes fitted with Hurricane II (red) and G888 (black) – two well-known tacky rubbers.

Personally, I much prefer the softer feel of the Eastfield Allround and Palio bats to the DHS A4002. The DHS premade rackets can be quite heavy and hard, meaning you don’t receive much feedback from the bat and it can be a little more difficult to learn to control the ball. The Eastfield Allround has much softer rubbers than any of the DHS alternatives and that is why it is my first choice for beginners.

You can read my full review of the DHS A4002 here. And you can buy one from either Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com – but please check the reviews to avoid the dodgy sellers of fakes bats.

4. Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket

Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket

I’m normally very quick to dismiss premade table tennis rackets from the big brands but Stiga has actually created a decent one, for a change.

It isn’t cheap, and you’re advised to stay well clear of their other four beginners rackets (Apex, Titan, Supreme, Evolution), but their top of the range Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket is actually quite nice to play with and, therefore, I have included Stiga in this post.

The Stiga Evolution is an ok bat (you can read my full review here) but the Stiga Pro Carbon is the only Stiga racket I would recommend. The blade and rubbers are much closer to what you would expect from a professional racket and it’ll allow you to learn to play with proper spin strokes and techniques.

It’s pretty expensive though and if you are willing to spend $75 on a racket you might be better off looking for a cheap custom set-up.

Your other option would be to save yourself $35 and buy a Palio Expert 2.0, which I believe is a better racket anyway. For more information please read my Stiga Pro Carbon Review.

5. Palio Master 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

Palio Master 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

If you’ve been playing for a little while and are looking to add some extra pace to your game then the Palio Master 3.0 is a great option. The soft CJ8000 rubbers are still very forgiving, but the blade will give you a bit more power than the Expert 3.0.

The Palio Master 3.0 is a very good all-rounder, perfectly balancing speed and control. It was actually the bat used by Sam Priestley for the first six months of The Expert in a Year Challenge.

Palio gives the Master 3.0 table tennis bat an 8/10 for speed, a 9/10 for spin, and an 8/10 for control.

Buy a Palio Master 3.0 from Amazon…

The Palio Master 3.0 is ideal for players with a few months of playing experience and decent ball control. For more information check out my Palio Master 3.0 Review.

The Best Table Tennis Bats for Intermediate Players

Here are my three best table tennis bats for intermediate to advanced players…

  1. Eastfield Offensive Professional Table Tennis Bat
  2. Palio Legend 3.0 Table Tennis Bat
  3. Killerspin JET800 Ping Pong Paddle

These are all quite a bit faster than the beginners bats above, so I wouldn’t recommend them to players with less than one year of playing experience.

1. Eastfield Offensive Table Tennis Bat

If you’ve been playing with a bat like the Eastfield Allround for a year or so, it might be time for an upgrade. The Eastfield Offensive could be the perfect next bat for you!

The Eastfield Offensive was released in November 2018 and is aimed at intermediate and advanced-level table tennis players.

In fact, this is the racket that I’m currently using – and I’ve been playing table tennis for over 20 years! Harrie Austin-Jones (my podcast co-host) is using it too and playing really well with it. He’s only been playing for just over two years.

The Eastfield Offensive is made up of the Eastfield Ashwood blade and two sheets of Eastfield A-Pro rubber.

A-Pro Rubbers & Ashwood Blade

The ITTF approved Eastfield A-Pro 2.1mm rubbers provide fantastic speed, spin, and control.

A-Pro is a European-style new-generation rubber with a medium-hard black sponge. It’s fast, but not too fast. It can generate huge amounts of spin, without being too sensitive to incoming spins.

Overall, it was designed to be as fast and spinny as possible whilst still maintaining lots of control – to help you keep your shots on the table.

The Eastfield Ashwood 7-ply blade offers exceptional feeling and feedback. It’s called ‘Ashwood’ because ash is the hardwood that makes up the outer layer of the blade.

It’s a 7-ply all-wood blade without any carbon layers. This makes it fast but not crazy fast. You can go for big loops without the fear of blasting everything off the end of the table! It also has a very comfortable rounded flared handle. It feels great in my hand and allows me to hold it very loosely.

For more information, you can read my full review here.

Eastfield Offensive

Buy an Eastfield Offensive from Amazon…

By purchasing the complete Eastfield Offensive bat, you’re saving £30 (or $40) compared to buying an Eastfield Ashwood blade and two Eastfield A-Pro rubbers individually.

2. Palio Legend 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

Palio Legend 3.0 Table Tennis Bat

The Palio Legend 3.0 isn’t quite in the same league as the Eastfield Offensive but it’s much cheaper and still nicely combines spin with power.

Whereas the Palio Expert 3.0 and Master 3.0 have soft CJ8000 rubbers, the Legend 3.0 features the harder Palio Hadou rubbers. These are a little more difficult to control but are able to give maximum spin and power to any player with good forehand and backhand loop technique. They play very similar to the Hurricane series of DHS rubbers.

The Palio Legend 3.0 blade is a nice piece of kit and even has a couple of carbon layers. When combined with the Hadou rubbers you get a bat that is really good value at under £40!

Palio gives the Legend 3.0 table tennis bat a 9/10 for speed, 9/10 for spin, and 7/10 for control.

Buy a Palio Legend 3.0 from Amazon…

The Palio Legend 3.0 is ideal for “improvers” and intermediate players looking to upgrade their racket to something a bit faster. For more information check out my Palio Legend 3.0 Review.

3. Killerspin JET800 Ping Pong Paddle

Killerspin JET600 Table Tennis Paddle

Killerspin is a fairly new American table tennis brand that has really focused on the recreational ping pong market. They have even labelled their bats/rackets “paddles” to appeal to the basement US audience.

Their paddles aren’t cheap but they are well-made, and the best ones are actually pretty decent too. They have eight different models (JET100 – JET800), which I think is a little bit excessive myself.

The Killerspin JET800 is their top-of-the-range ‘paddle’ and my favourite from the collection. It features two ITTF approved 2.0mm high-tension Nitrx-4Z rubbers and 5+2 layer wood and carbon fiber blade.

Killerspin is very popular in the USA but I don’t think their JET800 Paddle quite measures up to Eastfield’s Offensive Bat. The Killerspin Nitrx-4Z rubbers just aren’t of the same quality. They aren’t professional-level offensive rubbers.

The Best Table Tennis Racquets in India

If you live in India you may have discovered that it’s difficult to find high-quality table tennis equipment. Lots of the bestselling bats and racquets from the USA and UK aren’t available in India. Instead, you are left to choose from a selection of budget GKI and Stag premade racquets that lack spin.

mellonta sports

Fortunately, the Palio Expert 2.0, Master 2.0, and Legend 2.0 racquets are now being sold by Mellonta Sports!

These Palio racquets are a little more expensive than most of those sold by GKI and Stag, but once you play with them you’ll notice the difference in quality and performance immediately.

Mellonta Sports have also just started stocking the Eastfield Allround racquet too!

The Best Table Tennis Bats in Australia

Eastfield table tennis bats are now (finally) available in Australia!

As are the brand new and improved Palio 3.0 rackets (Expert, Master and Legend)…

There aren’t many specialist table tennis brands/retailers in Australia but OOAK TT Shop does a brilliant job at sourcing top quality table tennis equipment from around the world. They sell a wide range of pre-made and assembled table tennis bats for all levels of player.

Conclusion: The Best Table Tennis Bats

So there we have it! Which table tennis bats to buy and which ones to avoid at all cost. Don’t be deceived by the big brand names, like Butterfly, because premade table tennis bats are really not their area of expertise.

  • In my opinion, the best table tennis bat for beginners is the Eastfield Allround.
  • If you’re on a tighter budget, the best budget racket for beginners is the Palio Expert 3.0.
  • And if you can’t buy an Eastfield Allround or Palio Expert 3.0 in your country, a genuine DHS A4002 is the next best thing.
  • For those with a bit more experience under their belt, the Eastfield Offensive is a great table tennis bat for intermediate to advanced players.

Finally, if you are a beginner looking for advice regarding bats or other equipment I’d be happy to help. Don’t get ripped off or fooled by fancy packaging. Feel free to contact me before you spend your money. You can message me on Twitter or Facebook.

And if you’d like to start improving your table tennis and see some rapid results, can I nudge you in the direction of my email newsletter? You can find a link to sign up below. Join The Expert Table Tennis Academy and you’ll receive exclusive tips and advice that will help you to improve your game and start your journey to becoming an expert at table tennis!