Buying a bat

Confused by all the catalogues?

I quite often get asked about "what rubbers should I buy?" Well there are certainly loads to choose from and if like me, you have received 5 different catalogues in pre season, then it is certainly confusing. Well for what it’s worth here are my tips:

  1. All rubbers have a great marketing blurb in their description. However there is a fairly basic rule of thumb, the faster they are the less control they will have, regardless of the write up and scores.
  2. Spin is as much about technique as it is the rubber. If you don’t naturally spin the ball a spinier rubber won’t change that, other than it will react to your opponents spin more.
  3. Highly engineered (and sometimes very expensive) tension rubbers are very fast but without the right technique can be very difficult to use if you don’t have a heavy topspin shot. Be careful with these.
  4. Even if you buy the same rubbers and blade as you had last season the bat will perform differently. You need to persevere with any new bat. Do not be tempted to put it back in the bag and get the old one out.
  5. Experts say that rubbers should be replaced after 50 hours of playing time. For casual players like us this is roughly a season but in my opinion they will last for at least 2 seasons if looked after. High tension rubbers will drop in performance quite quickly if they get tired.
  6. Avoid premade bats – expensive poor relations to making up your own
  7. Do not buy anything from high street retailers. I would recommend specialist companies like Bribar, Teesport or Jarvis. They all provide excellent service, advice and will make the bat up (highly recommended). Martin Peek & Paul Burgess are both Bribar agents and can get extra discounts. For example Joola’s new Rhythm rubbers are £29.99 -£32.99 (£4-£5 cheaper).
  8. Clean your bat after every match and buy some rubber protectors. Baby wipes are a good cheap substitute for the more expensive specialist cleaners on offer.

Rubbers I have tried and liked:

High Tension: Stiga Calibra, Butterfly Tenergy, Donic Bluefire, Joola Maxxx, Andro Rasant. All these have very similar performances in my opinion. I loved Tenergy but was less enthusiastic about the price & lifespan. Most recently I have used Tibhar 5Q VIP and I would say it was similar. The latest rubber being used by the UK No.1 is Tibhar Evolution MXP.

Some good value rubbers are the Friendship and Double Happiness ranges. Butterfly Sriver and Tackiness are old favourites for the all-round player but there are cheaper alternatives. Hurricane 3 is half the price of Tackiness but very similar.

Tacky rubbers are good for lifting chop, producing spin and control as the ball dwells longer on the surface but will not have the explosive power of tension rubbers and need careful care as they pick up dust and lose their effect.

I have found the following website useful in the past as it is based on independent reviews by players of various rubbers.

If you need any help just ask me next time you see me,


Thorntons Table Tennis