Whether you’re a beginner player, an intermediate player, or you’re just now considering getting into table tennis, you’ll need to be aware of all the basic equipment required to play.
There’s more than just the paddles, balls, and table to consider, so it helps to know what you should be looking for. The following article will break down all of the basic table tennis equipment you’re going to need, including the paddles, the balls, the table, and the nets.
We’ll also be looking at some of the more advanced equipment, like shoes, robots, storage racks, scoreboards, ball pickers, and carrying cases.
Basic Types Of Tables Tennis Equipment
There are a number of minimum requirements you’ll need to meet in order to play table tennis. As your level of play improves and you want to progress as a player, you’ll be venturing into a wide array of other equipment- but these are the basics.
Table Tennis Paddle
A table tennis paddle, or a ping pong paddle, is what’s used to hit the ball back and forth on the table.
The reason it’s a paddle and not a racquet (or racket) is that paddles are padded with rubber, while racquets have strings stretched across their frame. The table tennis paddle has a wooden frame and a short handle.
Much like with tennis racquets, there are a lot of cheap table tennis paddles on the market whose padding won’t last long. You should be looking for a model that has a frame both strong and sturdy.
An effective table tennis shot should be achievable with minimal energy. The padding is also important- the more firm the padding, the more spin you’ll be able to channel into your shots.
If pre-built models aren’t quite doing it for you, you can order customized paddles tailored to your personal preferences.
The pricing of high quality table tennis paddles can range from less than $100 to more than $500. There are a number of factors that affect the price, including the frame build, the durability, and the quality of the rubber padding.
You should probably avoid the cheapest paddles, as the padding of these may not hold up well to even a few sessions of play.
Table Tennis Balls
Table tennis balls are made with either celluloid or more recently acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which has been used since 2014 due to them being less flammable than celluloid. These small balls are usually either orange or white.
They tend to weigh about 2.7 grams, but their acceptable range according to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is between 2.6 to 2.77 grams.
They are designed to be lightweight enough that you can hit them with minimal energy. Most table tennis balls have a diameter of 40 millimeters, but the acceptable range is between 40 to 40.5 millimeters.
Table Tennis Table
The biggest and most expensive piece of table tennis equipment is the table. It looks like a small version of a tennis court, with a net dividing two courts and the lines marking the area of play.
Smaller tables do exist, but in professional table tennis they must be nine feet long, five feet wide, and standing 30 inches high.
The table can be made from a number of materials, just so long as the ball bounces nine inches after being dropped from a foot above the table. Indoor table tennis tables tend to range from between $200 to $400.
Outdoor table tennis tables have the exact same dimensions as indoor table tennis tables, but there are some differences in the design to ensure they can withstand outdoor conditions, like rain and wind.
They tend to have an undercarriage of galvanized steel to improve their strength and durability. For this reason, outdoor table tennis tables tend to be pricier than indoor tables, with prices that range from $300 to $500.
Net And Post
The quality of the net and the post are just as important as the quality of the table. The net, held up by posts, is the divider of the table’s two courts.
The thickness of the net is between 16 to 25 millimeters, and is six feet long and six feet wide. There should be a white tape across the upper surface.
Nets tend to range from $20 to $100. Unlike with paddles, lower-end nets tend to do the job well enough. Nets of a higher quality tend to only be required for games at a professional level.
More Types Of Table Tennis Equipment
Now that we’ve covered all the basic equipment required to play table tennis, let’s move on to some of the other equipment. This is the equipment you might end up acquiring if you want to progress to a more advanced level of play.
Table Tennis Shoes
The most important factor when it comes to table tennis shoes is comfort, but if you’re playing at a competitive level, you’ll need shoes that allow you to change direction quickly and react in time to fast shots.
There are many companies that design athletic apparel specifically for table tennis, and this includes shoes. The best table tennis shoes will be lightweight but sturdy, and made with breathable material for maximum comfort over long periods of time.
The soles of table tennis shoes should be flexible but have a firm enough grip, so players can move quickly without losing their balance. The cost of table tennis shoes tends to be similar to the cost of regular tennis shoes, if not slightly higher.
Table Tennis Robots
These are machines that shoot out table tennis balls, so you can practice without needing another player. Table tennis robots are a great way to improve your level of play.
You can adjust the frequency of the shots, the shot placement, the speed of the shots, and the machines can also shoot them with spin in the same way that actual players would.
You can also set the machine to shoot balls at random, which would match the unpredictable nature of professional players.
Tilting the head of the robot will allow you to receive serve shots, if those are the shots you’re eager to practice playing off.
Certain robots even have a net funneling system so you don’t have to pick up all the balls once they’ve been shot.
A storage rack allows you to keep your paddles and other equipment organized. This allows for quick, easy access, and will also keep your equipment in better condition than if they’re just laying around.
They tend to be made with either nylon cloth or mesh, when it comes to holding tennis balls. Paddle holders come in steel, wood, or plastic. You can mount many storage racks on your wall with screws.
The majority of storage racks will carry a maximum of five paddles and seven balls. They tend to range from $25 to $40.
Table Tennis Scoreboards
When you’re not playing professionally, it can be very easy to lose track of the score, especially if both players aren’t keeping count. It’s a fast paced sport, so a scoreboard can be very handy, allowing you to focus purely on the game in play.
Most scoreboards have cards that are flipped with every point won, but there are some digital scoreboards that have both manual card flipping and sensors that can detect changes to the score.
Another cheap and possibly free option is downloading a scoreboard application on your phone.
Physical traditional scoreboards usually range from $15 to $35, while the digital devices will be closer to $250 to $300. If you’re looking for a scoreboard with a sensor, this will cost more.
If you’re not playing at a professional level, though, card scoreboards should do just fine- so long as you remember to update them.
If you’re playing with a lot of balls, it can be time consuming to pick them all up once the match is over. A ball picker will do the work for you.
It’s essentially a device that has a net and a detachable handle that allows you to collect table tennis balls with ease. The amount of features available in table tennis ball pickers can vary, but prices tend to range from $20 to $45.
To protect your table tennis paddles and table tennis balls, you might want to consider getting a carrying case, especially if you’re playing professionally and touring.
The case will be molded to fit your paddles and balls securely. This will prevent wear and tear, as well as damage to the paddle from moisture, dust, and sunlight. The prices of carrying cases usually range from $10 to $25.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Basic Types Of Table Tennis Equipment
What Kind Of Rubber Is Best For Table Tennis Paddles?
There are two permitted types of rubber when it comes to the padding of table tennis paddles. The first, ordinary pimpled rubber, is a single layer of non-cellular rubber. This rubber can be either natural or synthetic, and the evenly distributed ‘pips’ have a density of roughly 10 to 30 in every square centimeter.
The other kind of rubber is sandwich rubber. This is a single layer of cellular rubber, sometimes referred to as the ‘sponge’. It’s covered with an outer layer of ordinary pimpled rubber, and this layer is under two millimeters thick.
The difference between this rubber and ordinary rubber is that a thicker sponge will generate more speed, while a thinner sponge will allow for more control.
Why Do Table Tennis Paddles Have One Red Side And One Black Side?
The different sides of table tennis paddles often each have a competitive advantage. For instance, the black side of the paddle might have rubber that allows for more control, while the red side might allow for less control but more spin. This lets the player switch sides depending on how they want to hit the ball.
In professional table tennis, players are actually allowed to inspect the rubber of their opponents’ paddles to see what kind of spin they could be expecting.
Conclusion: Basic Types Of Table Tennis Equipment
There are a number of basic types of equipment required to play table tennis, including the balls, the paddles, the net and the posts, and the table.
The quality of table tennis paddles varies the most- make sure you’re not buying paddles with low quality padding, as they won’t last long before you’ll need to replace them.
With this equipment you’ll be able to play table tennis at any level, but if you’re serious about progressing in the sport, you might consider other types of equipment, including shoes, robots, storage racks, scoreboards, ball pickers, and carrying cases.
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