Table Tennis Equipment: Paddles, Balls, and Tables

  • Date: January 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Table tennis is a fun and exciting sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, to play the game at its best, you need the right equipment. The most important equipment in table tennis are the paddles, balls, and tables.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each of these pieces of equipment and explain how to choose and maintain them for optimal performance.

From understanding the different types of paddles and their characteristics, to tips for selecting high-quality balls and properly setting up and maintaining a table tennis table, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to get the most out of your table tennis equipment.


The table tennis paddle is made up of three main parts: the blade, the handle, and the rubber.

The blade

The blade is the flat, rectangular part of the paddle that comes into contact with the ball. It is typically made of wood, although some paddles may use other materials such as carbon fiber or composite materials. The blade can vary in thickness, weight, and stiffness, and these factors can affect the way the paddle performs.

The handle

The handle is the part of the paddle that the player holds. The handle can be flared, straight or anatomic and each one has different characteristics. For example, the flared handle is more comfortable for long-term use, the straight handle is more versatile, and the anatomic handle is more comfortable for some players. 

The rubber

The rubber is the part of the paddle that comes into contact with the ball. It is typically made of synthetic rubber and is available in different thicknesses and with different levels of grip, speed, and spin. It is applied to the blade with glue.

There are two main types of rubber used in table tennis: pimpled rubber and sponge rubber. Pimpled rubber is a hard rubber that is great for generating spin, while sponge rubber is a soft rubber that provides more control and is better for blocking shots.

The thickness of the rubber on a table tennis paddle can have a significant impact on the performance of the paddle.

The thickness is measured in millimeters (mm) and typically ranges from 1.5mm to 2.5mm. A thinner rubber, around 1.5mm, is generally considered to be faster and more maneuverable, while a thicker rubber, around 2.5mm, is considered to be more powerful and provide more control.

One of the main advantages of a thinner rubber is that it allows for more flexibility in the blade, which can help generate more spin on the ball. This makes it a good choice for players who like to play an aggressive, spin-heavy game. Thicker rubbers, on the other hand, provide more surface area for contact with the ball, which can help with control and power. They are often used by players who want to play a more defensive, control-based game.

It’s worth noting that the thickness of the rubber is not the only factor that affects the performance of a paddle. The type of rubber, the hardness of the rubber, and the way the rubber is applied to the blade are also important factors to consider. However, the thickness of the rubber is a key characteristic that can help players choose a paddle that is tailored to their playing style and skill level.

Tips for choosing a table tennis paddle

When choosing a paddle, it’s important to consider your playing style and skill level. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a paddle:

  • The weight and balance of the paddle
  • The type of handle that feels most comfortable for you
  • The thickness and type of rubber that suits your playing style
  • The blade’s material and shape

One thing that many people may not know about table tennis paddles is that the weight, balance, and shape of the paddle can have a significant impact on a player’s performance. The weight of the paddle can affect the speed and power of shots, while the balance can affect control and maneuverability.

The shape of the paddle can also affect the way it feels in the hand and the way it interacts with the ball. Some players may also choose to customize their paddles by sanding or reshaping the handle or the rubber to better suit their playing style.

Cleaning the paddle

It’s also important to regularly clean and maintain your paddle to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips for maintaining your paddle:

  • Clean the rubber with a rubber cleaner and a soft cloth
  • Keep the paddle in a case when not in use
  • Avoid exposing the paddle to extreme temperatures or humidity
  • Do not leave the paddle in direct sunlight or near a heat source

By understanding the different parts of the paddle, you can make a more informed decision when choosing one, and by keeping it clean and well-maintained, you can ensure that it lasts a long time.


Generally, table tennis balls are made of celluloid or plastic. In international tournaments, only plastic balls are used, while celluloid balls may be used in recreational or beginner play. The manufacturing process begins with a mixture of celluloid or plastic pellets being heated and molded into the shape of a ball. The balls are then cooled, sanded, and painted with a glossy finish.

Tennis table balls usually come in 2 colors, white and orange. The white balls are used for international matches, while the orange ones are used in recreational play. The size of the ball is 40mm and it should weigh 2.7 grams.

Table tennis balls do not necessarily wear out over time, but their performance can degrade due to regular use and exposure to various elements such as heat and humidity. If a ball is hit too hard, it will get worn down faster, and it may even start to look like an old one if you keep hitting it over and over again. They usually show the same performance until they are dented or broken.

Table tennis balls can be recycled, but it is not a common practice as the process is not easy. Because the balls are made of celluloid or plastic, they can be recycled in the same way as other plastic materials.

How to choose tennis table balls

When selecting table tennis balls, remember to choose high-quality balls that are approved by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Look for balls that are made of celluloid or plastic, are the standard size and weight, and have a glossy finish. Some tips when selecting high-quality balls are:

  • Look for balls that are made of celluloid or plastic
  • Check the standard size and weight
  • Look for balls that have a glossy finish
  • Look for balls that have been approved by the ITTF
  • Look for balls produced by reputable manufacturers
  • Look for balls that have received positive reviews from other players

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when selecting high-quality table tennis balls. Keep in mind that it is always best to use balls that are approved by the ITTF for official tournaments and matches.


Table tennis tables are an essential piece of equipment for any player or enthusiast of the sport. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, having a quality table that is suitable for your needs can greatly enhance your playing experience.

There are two types of table tennis tables: indoor tables and outdoor tables.

Indoor tables should not be used outside because are not typically designed to be waterproof and may be exposed to rain or other elements. Outdoor tables, on the other hand, are designed to withstand the elements and are typically made with waterproof materials such as aluminum and synthetic materials.

Differences between indoor and outdoor tables

When it comes to differences between indoor and outdoor tables, one of the main distinctions is the level of durability and weather resistance. Indoor tables are typically made with wood or a combination of wood and synthetic materials, and are not built to withstand the elements.

Outdoor tables, on the other hand, are constructed with weather-resistant materials such as aluminum or synthetic materials, which makes them more durable and able to withstand exposure to sun, rain, and wind.

Even if you have an outdoor table tennis table, you have to take special care to protect it from the elements. This includes:

  • Cover it when not in use: Invest in a high-quality table tennis table cover that is designed to protect your table from the elements. This will keep your table dry and free from debris when it is not in use.
  • Keep it level: Make sure that your table tennis table is level at all times. Uneven surfaces can cause the table to warp and make it more difficult to play on.
  • Keep it clean: Regularly clean your table tennis table to remove dirt, dust, and debris. Use a soft cloth or brush to gently wipe down the surface of the table.
  • Store it indoors: If possible, store your table tennis table indoors when it’s not in use. This will help to protect it from the elements and prolong its lifespan.
  • Protect the legs: Use leg covers or caps to protect the legs of your table tennis table from damage and rusting. This will help to keep the table stable and secure when in use.
  • Seal any cracks: If you notice any cracks or chips in the surface of your table tennis table, seal them immediately to prevent water from seeping in.
  • Check for warping: Regularly check for warping on the surface of the table. If you notice any warping, take steps to correct it immediately.
  • Keep the wheels in good condition: Regularly check the wheels of your table tennis table to ensure they are in good condition

Setting up and maintaining a table tennis table

When setting up a table tennis table, it’s important to make sure that it is level and stable. The table should be placed on a flat surface, and the legs should be adjusted so that the table is perfectly level. If the table is not level, the ball will not bounce correctly and the game will be hindered. Once the table is set up, regularly check that it remains level and stable.

To maintain a table tennis table, you have to keep it clean and free of dust and debris. This can be done by wiping it down with a damp cloth, and then drying it thoroughly. The table should also be protected from direct sunlight, as the sun can cause the surface to fade or become damaged. If the table is being stored for an extended period of time, it should be covered to protect it from dust and other debris.

Finally, remember to always keep an eye on the wear and tear of the table. Any cracks or damages to the surface should be repaired or replaced immediately to ensure the table remains safe and functional. Regularly checking and maintaining the table will ensure that it lasts for many years and continues to provide a great playing experience.

The net

Last but not least in your table tennis setup is the net. The net should be perfectly centered on the table and the tension should be adjusted so that it just passes over the table when hit.

The net is the thin strip of material that separates the two halves of the playing surface. It is typically made of a lightweight and durable material such as nylon or cotton, and is suspended by posts on either end of the table. The height of the net is 15.25 centimeters (6 inches).

You should always check the net tension before a game. The net should be tight enough that the ball just passes over it when hit, but not so tight that it is difficult to hit the ball over. Adjusting the net tension is usually a simple process and can be done using the net posts or a tension adjustment knob.

Note that it can play a role in the trajectory and spin of the ball, as the ball will react differently when it hits the net. It is also worth noting that for regulation table tennis, the ball is supposed to pass over the net, and not through it, if the ball goes through the net it is called a net ball.


Table tennis is a great sport to play, and having the right equipment can make a big difference. Setting up and maintaining your table tennis table correctly is essential for getting the most out of your game. Ensuring that the table is level and stable, cleaning it regularly, protecting it from direct sunlight, checking the net tension, and repairing any cracks or damages will help to keep your table in top condition for years to come.

With a little bit of care and attention, you’ll be able to enjoy hours of fun with friends and family alike!

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