Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is one of the most popular racket sports all over the world and having the right equipment for table tennis is incredibly important. Though this particular sport is hugely popular & widely played in South East Asia, it has gained a lot of traction among western countries in recent years. Most people don’t know what table tennis equipment is needed to play this awesome sport or what items can help take their game to the next level. That inspired me to compile the most comprehensive list of equipment for table tennis ever created.
The best part about table tennis is that this awesome sport does not take up a lot of space. All you need is enough room to fit a table tennis table and adequate space to move from side to side behind the table & stretch to recover shots on the sides of the table. In fact, you can even host a weekend tournament at home if you can attract enough ping pong enthusiasts. Whether you’re wanting to become a professional ping pong player, want to be a member of a table tennis club or just want to play socially with fiends and family, you will need to know what equipment for table tennis you have to purchase. I have prepared a table tennis equipment list with all of my recommendations.
The following are the necessary equipment you need to play table tennis:
Best Ping Pong Paddle
Known as ping pong or table tennis paddles, bats or rackets, these are one of the most essential pieces of equipment for table tennis. Simply put, your paddle is the most important weapon in your arsenal, and you want to pick out the best one within your budget.
Unlike other racket sports such as tennis or badminton, table tennis is a relatively compact sport, and so are all of the main components of the sport. Whereas most tennis rackets weigh around 285 – 310 grams, table tennis rackets are usually one third the weight (about 70- 100g).
Most new players getting into the game prefer heavier paddles and transition into lighter paddles as they get more experienced. This is because heavier ping pong paddles provide slightly more ‘hit’ or power on impact with the ball during play.
Ping Pong Paddle Dimensions
According to the current standard rules imposed by the International Table Tennis Federation, there are no limitations on the weight of a paddle. However, there are somewhat standardized paddle dimensions. Ping pong paddles have an average blade length of 6.7” or 17 cm, an average blade width of 5.9” or 15 cm and an overall length between 9.45”-10.25” (about 240- 260 mm).
A regular paddle has two portions, the blade and the handle. The blade is the extended round portion of the paddle with which you hit the ball while the handle is where you grip your palm. While choosing a paddle, what is most important is picking one that goes best with your play style. Some players prefer speed while hitting the ball while other players prefer to put more ‘spin’ on the ball. The blade itself isn’t what determines the amount of spin, it is the rubber cover on the wooden blade that does.
Ping Pong Paddle Grip
Another factor that affects your choice of paddles should be the way you grip the blade. The ‘shake hand’ grip is a method of gripping the ping pong paddle handle where you place your fingers in a way in which you would shake hands with someone. Usually, the fingers wrap around the handle of the blade and the thumb rests on the rubbery part. Paddles made for the shake hand technique have longer handles, allowing all fingers to rest around the handle itself. Even though these paddles aren’t readily available, their prices hover within the 10 to 50 USD range.
The ‘pen hold’ grip is a form of gripping the paddle as if you were holding a pen. This means, the index finger will wrap around one side of the paddle while the other fingers will wrap around the other side. The paddles that facilitate pen hold grips have shorter handles and they will fit snugly within your fingers. The price of pen hold paddles start at a higher price point- at around 25 USD and can go upwards of 75 USD.
Choosing a Ping Pong Paddle
Table tennis paddles come at a significantly varied price point, meaning you need to set up a budget before deciding on which paddle to buy. The paddle you decide on should favor your play style, while also maximizing aerodynamics and swing speed. Even though paddles can be made with almost anything, the wooden portion of the paddle is mostly built up with one to seven layers (piles) of wood, cork, glass fiber, carbon fiber, aluminum fiber, and Kevlar that can be customized for various playing styles. Table Tennis paddles can be as cheap as 10 dollars but can reach up to 100 dollars if you are willing to invest in a higher quality piece of equipment for table tennis. Read our detailed review of the Killerspin Jet 600 Ping Pong Paddle to discover if it’s a good paddle for you.
Here a few of my personal favorites that you can take a look at before deciding on one:
Best Ping Pong Balls
Well you definitely can’t have a game of table tennis without a ball which is why it’s another vital piece of equipment for table tennis. Ping pong balls or table tennis balls are spherical polymer balls fabricated specifically for the sport. Prior to 2015 ping pong balls were made of plastic compounds called celluloids, but the fact that celluloids are highly flammable meant that in 2014 the International Table Tennis Federation decided to discontinue the use of celluloid ping pong balls. Table tennis balls are very light, which means you get extra spin when hit correctly.
Size of a Ping Pong Ball
The international rules specify that the game is played with a sphere having a mass of 2.7 grams or 0.095 ounces and a diameter of 40 mm (1.57 in). These balls were 38mm in diameter up until the 2000 Summer Olympics. However, any ball within those dimensions will not do. There are standardized tests and approval quotas that each ball must go through before being verified as playable. Rules imposed by the International Table Tennis Federation stipulate that each ball must bounce up to a height of 24 cm to 26 cm when dropped from a height of 30.5 cm on a standard steel block. This means they have a coefficient of restitution of 0.89 to 0.92.
Ping Pong Ball Weight, Dimensions and Color
Table tennis balls now have a matte finish which means they are very visible on every table. The color of the balls are however decided on the basis of enhancement of visibility on each table. For example, white balls are chosen for blue or green tables whereas orange balls are chosen for grey tables or tables made of cement. These balls are very lightweight, meaning they can be easily manipulated in speed and direction of spin depending on the material and stroke used to hit the ball. The faster the spin rate, the more you’ll see the ball spinning after a bounce. Your choice of balls should be heavily dependent on the surface you play your games on, since a white ball won’t be very visible on a light gray table. Usually the balls are manufactured in either white or yellow color.
Ping Pong Ball Star Rating
Ball quality varies, and the quality can be figured out by the number of stars imprinted on the ball. High quality balls have 3 stars while the lowest will have 1 star. 3 star balls are durable and harder, which means they will last longer and are used for official tournament play. 1 star balls are softer, meaning they will be bouncy and break very easily. A good set of table tennis balls can be bought for around 10 USD. The balls should be stored in cool places and away from extreme heat to maintain the best quality.
Here are a few of my recommendations to start out with:
Ping Pong Table
While you may not always need this to play if you’re going to a table tennis club to play, but this is a vital piece of equipment for table tennis if you’re practicing at home or playing socially with friends & family. A ping pong table is one of the most expensive things you’ll need to buy to get started in the sport, but a table tennis table is a lifetime investment. This means you’ll never need to spend on another table again if you look after it, and the only expenditure will be on small repairs.
Dimensions of a Ping Pong Table
A ping pong table looks similar to a smaller version of a tennis court, with line markings and a net distinguishing the play area. The table is about 2.74 m or 9.0 feet long, 1.525 m or 5.0 feet in width, and 76 cm or 2.5 feet high with any continuous material. However, the table material must produce a uniform bounce. This is about 23 cm or 9.1 inches when a standard ball is dropped onto it from a height of 30 cm or 11.8 inches. The bounce factor is about 77%.
What are Ping Pong Tables Made Of?
The color of a table tennis table must be uniformly dark or uniformly light with a matte finish, since this will influence the color of the ball chosen to be played with. The table is divided into two halves with a net in the middle. While this net and the posts that come with it can be bought separately, the dimensions are fixed. With a height of 6 inches, this net is usually black with white trim, but these colors can vary. For official play, the International Table Tennis Federation only allows wooden tables or its derivatives. Concrete or steel tables are found in public spaces, but are not allowed by the Table Tennis Federation for tournament play.
Tables can be bought for as little as 40 dollars, but with higher price comes higher durability and better overall feel. Some tables found online can even be multi-functional.
Best Outdoor Ping Pong Table
Outdoor ping pong tables are predominantly used by players who play table tennis socially with friends and family. The fact that outdoor table tennis tables remove the need for a big enough room to accommodate a ping pong table make these tables very popular for households. Ping pong is a very sociable game to play with friends after a long day at work or while enjoying a family barbeque. It’s important to buy a outdoor ping pong table that will withstand the outdoor conditions. This is why it’s important that if you plan on playing ping pong outdoors that you buy a outdoor ping pong table because it will be made of weather resistant materials.
We’ve done the necessary research to bring you our recommendations of the best outdoor table tennis table:
Indoor Ping Pong Table
Table Tennis Federation tournaments are held indoors, so professional table tennis players play on indoor ping pong tables. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a pro to play on an indoor ping pong table. Indoor ping pong tables are not only found at TTF sanctioned tournaments or table tennis clubs, but are found in thousands of homes around the world. All you need is a room or a garage big enough to accommodate a table tennis table with the dimensions we mentioned above & you’re able to play this great sport with friends, family & ping pong enthusiasts in your area.
Here are my recommendations for the best rated indoor ping pong tables:
Ping Pong Table Cover
A ping pong table cover is precisely what the name suggests, it is used to cover your ping pong table in order to protect your table from damage. A ping pong table cover is placed over your table to be a barrier between your table and the elements so that it protects your most expensive piece of equipment for table tennis. Your ping pong table is your biggest financial investment in the sport & it makes complete sense to protect your investment by covering it in order to keep it in pristine condition for when you want to play a game of ping pong.
Take a look at my recommendations of the best ping pong table covers:
Ping Pong Table Top
In order to enjoy this amazing sport, you don’t have to purchase a complete table. Though I would recommend purchasing complete ping pong tables, a great way to reduce the cost of buying the most expensive piece of equipment for table tennis, a ping pong table, is by choosing ping pong table tops.
What is a Table Tennis Conversion Top?
A table tennis conversion top is another name for a Ping pong table top. These are literally just the tops of table tennis tables. With ping pong table tops, you can turn your regular flat surface tables into table tennis tables. You won’t need to separately buy the bottom section of the table tennis table because your regular table already has table legs.
The biggest benefit of ping pong table tops is that you don’t require a separate room to accommodate a table tennis table. When you want to play, you can put the top over your regular table and enjoy a few games, and when you are done, you can take it off and put it aside. This way you will not have to dedicate a particular space of your house to keep the table tennis table. Very convenient, right?
Here are my recommendations of the best ping pong table tops:
Ping Pong Net
The net is an instrumental part of playing table tennis and is another essential piece of equipment needed for table tennis. Some tables will come pre attached with nets and posts. However, with continuous play it’s probable that your net will get damaged, torn, or wear out. So having a backup table tennis net never hurts. Some public tables will even come with permanent steel or concrete nets.
Ping Pong Net Height & Length
But if you’re looking for a private game, or even looking to turn other tables into de facto playing spaces; buying a net with posts is the way to go. Table tennis nets are made of stretchy nylon material. The net is 6 inches(15.25 cm) in height, 6 feet(183cm) in length which extends six inches(15.25cm) beyond the table itself along with the posts. There will be attachable washers or clips (extendable) at the bottom of the post you can use to attach the net to the table itself.
Choosing a Ping Pong Net
A bad net won’t necessarily make your ping pong game unplayable, but it’s very frustrating when you have to keep adjusting the net after every couple of points. Add in the aesthetic factor and you’ll want a decent quality net that looks good, so that it compliments the overall look of your ping pong table.
The bottom of the net must be as close to the playing surface as possible. The net should be tight enough that it stops the ping pong ball when it needs to, but gives an equal chance to players on both sides of the table if the ball hits the very top of the net. What I mean by that is that sometimes a ball will hit the very top of the ping pong net and drop down & other times it hits the top of the net and drops over onto the other side of the table. Spin, speed & trajectory should determine that & the net needs to make it a fair contest for all players. Table tennis nets start as low as 10 USD and go as high as 20 USD.
Here are a few highly recommended ping pong nets from my side, take a look before making your choice:
Best Table Tennis Blade
A table tennis or ping pong paddle is made up of 2 parts, a blade & 2 rubbers. The blade is the solid bat which is constructed out of wood and other materials such as glass fiber & carbon fiber. There are rules which dictate what percentage of a blade can be made up of materials other than wood, but serious tournament players will know what combination of materials will be most effective for their playing style.
For beginner or social table tennis players it’s a good idea to use a blade made entirely of wood because although a blade which has carbon or glass fiber as part of it’s composition is great for power, you have much less ‘feel’. Good quality blades are made up of 3, 5 or 7 layers of wood and the type of wood also determines how your ping pong paddle plays.
The great advantage of choosing a good quality blade is the fact that you can tailor make your paddle depending on your own playing style. The right blade in combination with the correct rubbers can allow your game to improve at a much faster pace.
Take a look at my recommendations of the best table tennis blades:
Ping Pong Rubbers
Table tennis rubbers are the material that line either side of the paddle blade. These rubbers provide grip on the ball as well as control the speed at which you can hit the ball. Different types of rubber provide different advantages. Some provide higher speed while others provide more spin. Rubbers can be distinguished with thickness and also by their types of seam. A thicker rubber is used by more offensive styles of players. It will provide more bounce and will ease the impact of the smash and will give you more speed from your shot. Generally thinner rubbers give a table tennis player more control.
Types of Ping Pong Paddle Rubber
Based on seam or surface, there are four main types of rubber: smooth, short pips, long pips and anti-top spin. Most professional players use smooth rubber, as this type of rubber provides the most spin. There is a layer of thin sponge under the rubber that eases the blow. Short pip or pimpled rubber are used by players who prefer a non-spin hard hitting type of gameplay. This type of rubber may or may not have layers of sponge underneath. Long pip rubbers have longer pimples that help counter the spin of the opponent. This is preferred by players who have a traditionally defensive playstyle. Anti-top spin rubber is slow and counters spin and is usually used on only one side.
The rubber on either side of a paddle cannot be the same color. One side has to be red while the other side has to be black. Rubbers can be bought for around 10 Dollars currently.
Here are a few of my recommendations:
Ping Pong Paddle Case
While you could use a bag to store your paddles, that would probably hurt the integrity of your equipment for table tennis. Ideally, your ping pong paddle case should help you protect the property of your paddle and should protect your paddle from any damage that might occur to your paddle. A paddle case isn’t essential, but will help you increase the longevity of your paddle.
Types of Ping Pong Paddle Cases
There are usually two types of cases that can be easily found on the market. The first one is an oblong paddle case while others are rectangular shaped and have greater width for storing multiple paddles. Most players prefer the oblong one as it mirrors the shape of the paddle itself. Most cases will have a foam lining on the inside.
Depending on the price; the quality, the layering and seaming of the lining will change and provide you with varied degrees of protection. Once you get a case, the probability of the paddle rubber peeling away or the paddle wood from chipping gets significantly lower. Also, extreme sunlight or coldness may also harm the integrity of the rubber which can be avoided with a good case. The lesser used, rectangular cases are sturdier but a lot heavier. They contain more than just a paddle, as they can also store balls and other equipment.
Cost of Ping Pong Paddle Cases
A ping pong paddle case doesn’t necessarily need to be too expensive, but it’s a good investment to protect your ping pong paddles. Prices of decent paddle cases range from 10 USD to 30 USD currently, but you can go higher if you don’t want to compromise on quality and you have the necessary budget.
Here are a few of my top pics for good ping pong paddle cases on the market:
Ping Pong Paddle Cover
If you’re looking for more compact alternatives to paddle cases, paddle covers are the way to go. Paddle covers are generally small plastic sleeves that serve a purpose similar to paddle cases. They protect the paddle itself from extreme conditions, protecting the integrity of the rubber material. Once again, paddle covers aren’t essential, as they will only protect the rubber portion but not provide any protection to the wooden part. But if you’re just going to the local table tennis club or public play facility, a compact solution might just be enough for you to throw your paddle in the cover.
Ping pong paddle covers are never a bad investment as they provide you a compact solution to wearing out issues for your table tennis paddle. Ping pong cases and paddle covers will also add aesthetic value to your game and you can’t go wrong with one.
Ping pong paddle covers are one of the cheapest pieces of equipment for table tennis out there, and thus will also act as a good alternative if you don’t want to invest into a paddle case. Prices of decent ones can be lower than 5 USD. But prices increase with aesthetics and lining quality.
Here are a few of my personal recommendations for the best ping pong paddle covers on the market:
Ping Pong Paddle Holder
A pong pong paddle holder is a great piece of equipment for table tennis which is used to store your table tennis bats. Some ping pong paddle holders also store ping pong balls which means that the table tennis paddles & balls are kept safely. Keeping your ping pong paddles & balls in one place means that they are easily accessible at a moment’s notice when you get the urge for a quick table tennis game. Some ping pong paddle holders can also be a great feature and add to the visual appeal of a home’s game’s room, entertainment room or man cave.
Here are our recommendations of the best ping pong paddle holders:
Ping Pong Paddle Cleaner
Ping pong paddles are your weapon of choice when you’re a table tennis player and keeping this piece of equipment for table tennis in tip top shape is vitally important. If you’ve been playing ping pong for a while you will realize that a new table tennis paddle seems to perform better than an older paddle. Keeping your ping pong paddle in tip top condition will be definitely help your game and that’s why we’ve recommended ping pong paddle cases & covers.
Ping pong paddle covers & cases will keep your paddle protected, but keeping your paddle clean from dirt, dust & grime prior to placing it in your case or cover is important to prolong the life of your ping pong paddle. Using a proper ping pong paddle cleaner will keep your ping pong rubbers in the best condition possible which will allow you to play your best.
Take a look at my recommendations for the best ping pong paddle cleaners:
Table Tennis Glue
This might come as a surprise to some people out there. You may wonder, ‘Why in the world do I
need glue to play a sport?’ Well, I have a very good reason behind that.
In fact, glue is essential and you should not attend a competitive tournament without some glue in your table tennis accessories bag.
The rubber you see on table tennis paddles are glued to the blade. In most cases, good quality paddles won’t have the rubber coming off in a short space of time, but it is still a possibility. In a situation like this, changing the paddle is definitely a solution, but you might not want to change the paddle because you might become accustomed to the ‘feel’ of that particular paddle.
I have seen players losing a flurry of points right after changing their table tennis paddle, so it really is an issue. However, if you have table tennis glue then you can easily stick the rubber back on the paddle once the round is over.
This way you get to play with your favorite paddle, which increases your chance of winning.
These are the table tennis glue options I would recommend for you:
Ping Pong Clothing
Like every other sport, dressing appropriately is vital for table tennis. Some people think that what they wear does not affect their performance, but in fact it does. If you play the game wearing something uncomfortable, you will not be able to perform well because your clothing will keep bothering you. That’s why dressing appropriately should be given priority.
If you are playing the game during humid weather, you should choose clothing that has breathable fabric. Polyester is the most common fabric that is seen in table tennis players’ clothing. Almost all the table tennis players wear polo t-shirt styled shirts, regardless of their gender. On the other hand, if you play during the winter, you should go for cotton because it gives a bit more protection against the cold weather. However, it is not that important because most games are played indoors in an air conditioned facility.
Male players usually wear quick-dry nylon shorts to play table tennis, while female players can go with shorts, skirts and skorts.
It is recommended to avoid long or baggy pants regardless of where you play. These pants make it quite difficult to move swiftly and might cause you to lose the match.
Here are my recommendations for men & women table tennis players:
Mens Table Tennis Shirts