The 3 Different Types of Ping Pong Paddles

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In the world of ping-pong, you learn new things every day, whether it is about the game or its elaborate equipment. This sport carries a world of elements, and they all hold significance. Thus, you cannot ignore them.

Such is the case with ping-pong paddles; they come in multiple types and have unique traits that can affect the gameplay heavily. With the right paddle and enough practice, it’s easier to dominate the game. However, it is imperative to understand what the paddles types are and what they entail.

This sport has complicated strategies like spin, speed, or game pace, and paddles play a huge role in almost everything. So today, in this article, we will be discussing different types of paddles and what they are all about.

1. Sponge Paddles

Sponge Ping Pong Paddles

Taking over the paddle domain, sponge became an integral part of many paddles as they evolved. The rubber casing in the paddle’s blade features sponge sheet beneath it. Players get the choice of the magnitude of sponge thickness they want that profits their gaming style.

However, research shows that the thicker the sponge layer, the more spin can be generated. Alternatively, a thinner sponge offers easy control while blocking during play.

Sponge thickness measures in millimeters and you can decide the hardness level. The friction between ball and sponge battles is very high. This equates to better, faster, and accurate shots.


The incorporation of sponges in paddles resulted in many improvements. It enables players to have better spin abilities. Those who favored aggressive and fast gameplay can benefit the most from this kind of paddle.

It also provides more control and space for refining and understanding the grip, which is why this type of paddle is often recommended to newcomers.


The blend of rubber with sponges does carry some limitations. As it offers super-fast gameplay, it can render things very tricky, and players require a lot of practice to get a grasp of this paddle. This also means changing strategies and working hard to attain maximum advantage out of sponge paddles.


The price range of sponge paddles is affordable and starts from $20-$40. However, it depends on how many millimeters of sponge is incorporated as that affects the price level. Our best two picks for sponge paddles are Butterfly Timo Boll 3000 Shakehand and Senston Ping Pong Paddle, which comes with additional accessories.

2. Hardbat Paddles

Hardbat paddles are a unique type that has nothing to do with sponges. Instead, they utilize short outward pips on the blade. This enables decreased strike speed and empowers players with less spin as compared to sponge paddles. 

This basically means slower shots with highly strategic gameplay instead of a fast one. A hardbat paddle can easily win points if the player either hits right at the opponent’s armpit or makes them change positions. 

Hardbat paddles also enable shallow shots with wider angles. Moreover, due to lack to sponge, this paddle generates more sound that distracts the opponent, which can be either annoying or effective depending on the situation. 


Hardbat paddles are a tremendous option for making final and instant changes in the wrist position. This can make the ping-pong ball go the other way and unsettle the opponent. 

Moreover, they can land the ball deeper to sway the opponent’s angle and is rather easy to control than sponge paddles owing to its mild speed and spin.


The modern ping-pong game relies heavily on spin and speed, where players have to initiate fast-paced games. Hardbats are not precisely the right fit, and although many players prefer it, they struggle with spin strategies.


The price range of these paddles is around $12-$20, and they are not very easily found ever since sponge paddles took over despite being the choice of many. Nonetheless, our top picks for these paddles are both from STIGA – Stiga Hardbat and Stiga Hardbat Premium.

3. Sandpaper Paddles

Albeit old schools, sandpaper paddles dominated the game for quite some time and remain relevant to the game. These paddles comprise of modern wood-like paddles and then got a fine sandpaper covering.

Before rubber technology took over, sandpaper reigned supreme. As these have no sponge support, they can deliver a good blow with a very satisfying sound. 

The sandpaper paddle nature staves off a player from succumbing to underhanded tricks and strategies to win the game. These paddles enable non-attacking style gameplay, which translates into a defensive game. This ultimately leads to longer points.


Sandpaper paddles reduce the spin and the speed of the ball and are lightweight. This makes the rallies lengthier, and more dragged out, giving the players much needed time between every shot. This advantage gives you more leeway into deciding what position is best for returning your opponent’s shot.


With old school sandpaper paddles, you cannot strike the ball as fast, which means no topspin for you. Moreover, the friction between the ball and paddle is even less, so the paddle cannot grab the ball as firmly as a sponge paddle can to enable quick shots. These paddles are also prone to damage after long usage.


Combining performance and budget, sandpaper paddles range from $7-$12. These paddles are still a favorite of many for recreational gameplay, and our picks are Champion Sports PN2 Table Tennis Paddle and Olympia Sandpaper Face Table Tennis Paddle.

Final Words

In a sport as complicated and fast-paced as ping-pong, players need all the help they can get. You cannot go about randomly purchasing equipment. They need proper consideration and time before you decide which material works best for you.

Paddles are critical because they can make or break the game for you, refine your shots to play a smoother and quality game. Every player’s goal is to carry a paddle that supports their grip well and helps in improving the skills and performance.

As we covered the paddle types, it is crucial to understand they all offer certain advantages and disadvantages, so you should opt for the type most suitable to your gaming style and strategy.

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Bradley Anderson
Bradley Anderson
Bradley Anderson hails from the northwestern United States and brings nine years of professional table tennis experience to SportsDean. He began playing as a child in local table tennis leagues and continued playing through college, where he founded and coached his own players’ association, the Table Tennis Teamsters, in 2011.

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