For those of you who are more advanced and wish to buy a customized table tennis racket, you will need to choose a blade and rubber combination that will suit your playing style.
In this post, let's focus on the different types of blades that are available.
When choosing a blade, you should consider the grip style, handle shape, and your play style.
If you are at the stage of buying a customized blade, you likely already know which style you prefer.
Penhold blades only have one type of handle so you don't need to worry about this part if you chose the penhold grip.
Shakehand blades on the other hand have three different handle shapes. The handle can be either anatomical, flared, or straight.
Handles shapes depends on your preferences when holding the blade. The most popular shape is the flared handle. There is no advantage in choosing one shape over the other, just choose the one that is most comfortable for you.
Weight, Ply, Thickness
Blades will generally weigh between 75-95g.
Lighter blades (75-80g) are better for defensive play as you have better maneuverability of the blade.
Heavier blades (90-95g) are better for attacking play as it provides better stability and generates more power.
Blades can come in different # of ply ranging from 1-9.
For those of you who don't know what ply means, it is basically the layers of wood.
eg. 5 ply = 5 layers/sheets of wood
The general rule of thumb for blades is that:
Less Ply (<5) = more flexible = more spin/less speed = good for looping
A more flexible blade increases the trampoline effect that promotes spin.
More ply (7+) = more stiff = more speed/less spin = good for driving/blocking
A stiffer blade increases the speed of the ball for driving shots.
Aside from looking at the number of ply. The thickness of a blade also affects how it plays.
Thin blades ( <6mm ) are good for spin/looping
Medium blades ( 6-7mm ) are good for driving
Thick blades ( 7+mm ) are good for blocking
For an all-round play style, you should go for blades with medium ply (5) and medium thickness (6-7mm) weighing at 80-85g.
For an attacking play style, you should go for blades with more ply (7+) and medium thickness (6-7mm) weighing at 90-95g.
For a defensive play style, you should go for thin blades (<6mm) with less ply (<5) weighing at 75-80g.
Once you have chosen your blade, you are ready to move on to the next step which is to choose a rubber.