Best Beginner Pingpong Rubbers

They offer a combination of spin, control, and speed

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If you're a new pingpong player, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of rubbers from which to choose for your paddle. To help you cut through the confusion, here are a few great beginner pingpong rubbers and some advice about choosing the one that's best for your needs.

Whatever pingpong rubber brand you purchase, stick to a sponge thickness of 1.5 mm to 1.7 mm, which will allow you to improve your control without sacrificing too much spin or speed. There will be plenty of time to use thicker rubbers once you've developed your own style.

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Butterfly Sriver

Butterfly Sriver is one of the classic pingpong rubbers and a great first choice for any new player. It's hard to beat the Butterfly Sriver for control and the versatility it gives you to attack or defend while developing your game. This is a good pingpong rubber even if you're not a beginner. Fast-attacking players who prefer speed over spin and close-to-the-table hitters will find that the Butterfly Sriver meets their needs.

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Yasaka Mark V

Mark V from Yasaka is another great option for players looking for a first pingpong rubber. This rubber offers a sponge thickness of about 1.5 mm, giving you a paddle that can do it all and won't force you to adapt your game to suit the way it plays. Thicker pingpong rubbers make it difficult for you, as a new player, to control when chopping for spin, forcing you to float the ball, which gives your opponent a distinct advantage. A floating ball—which equates to a lob in tennis—allows your opponent to easily slam back a return.

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Butterfly Flextra

Butterfly Flextra has been around for many years, and with good reason: It has good spin, reasonable speed, and very good control, not a bad combination for a beginner's first pingpong rubber. One Amazon customer gave the Flextra four out of five stars, saying: "I love it for overall control," which is a good description of the benefits of this rubber.

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Donic Coppa Tenero

You might find that the Donic Coppa Tenero is harder to play with at first compared to a pingpong rubber that doesn't grip as well. Sitill, it's the perfect rubber with which to learn. A less grippy (and harder) rubber might allow you to return more balls right away, but if you're not careful, it also can encourage you to develop more of a hitting game with much less spin potential.

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Friendship 729 Cream

Friendship 729 Cream is a typical Chinese-style inverted rubber with a tacky topsheet that gives it more spin than Sriver or Mark V. The sponge on this rubber isn't as elastic as other brands, making it a little heavier and increasing the feel of the ball on the bat, the wooden part of the paddle. The Table Tennis Database gives this rubber a rating of 8.4 out of 10. One reader of the table tennis website described the benefits of the Friendship aptly:

"Good all around rubber that does everything pretty well. A little slow from far back, but if you hit hard enough the ball will still go fast with excellent control."

When you're a beginning player, good control is the best strategy as you develop your skills.