What makes a table tennis blade worthy of being called a classic? The number of blades sold? The fact that it is popular blade among high level players, or should that be average players? Or a ping-pong blade that is still in demand many years after first being produced?
Well, perhaps it can be any or all of these things - or maybe a blade is a classic when many players consider it to be one! Thinking along those lines, I called for our About.com Table Tennis forum members to name the blades they think are classics, and here are 10 blades that they considered met the criteria for household status.
My own personal table tennis blade of choice at the time of writing, the Timo Boll Spirit uses an Arylate-Carbon layer to give a great balance of speed with a soft touch that gives increased dwell time when topspinning. Very popular among loopers the world over. Oh yes, apparently some top German player called Timo Boll uses the blade as well.
You can check out my own review of the Timo Boll Spirit here.
The Butterfly Primorac Carbon was popular throughout the 1990's with players trying their first carbon style blade, as well as many top players. Noted for being fast and stiff, it remains a popular choice with aggressive players today.
A classic OFF blade 7-ply that uses a layer of foil to help increase ball control. Used and loved by 1991 World Champion Jörgen Persson.
A classic table tennis blade loved by loopers around the world, this blade has power while retaining good control. Apparently the Yasaka Gatien Extra was used by Jean-Philippe Gatien of France to win the European Top 12. No guarantees that it will do the same for you, but if you don't, it won't be the blade's fault!
A classic by any definition, the Stiga Clipper is one of the most popular attacking table tennis blades found around the world. A fast blade with good control, this blade has been a favorite of many high level players for many years.
For more information about the Stiga Clipper, check out the forum thread discussing the Clipper's pros and cons.
Considered to be one of the classic beginner blades, the Stiga Allround Classic's mix of excellent control with good speed has proven to be a winner for over 20 years.
7. Nittaku KVT
According to our forum members, the Nittaku KVT blade is a soft but fast table tennis blade, that is used by many of the top US players.
8. Juic Kalinic
The Juic Kalinic blade has good feel and control, and has proved to be popular among new players as their first real table tennis blade. Prising their hands off the Kalinic so they can try a new blade in subsequent years can be difficult.
A light blade with good control, it is recommended by members of our forum as a great looping blade for beginners and advanced players. The price doesn't hurt either.
10. JOOLA K series
The Joola K series uses a special layer in the handle grip, which is supposed to improve the feel of the blade (acting as a 'sensory expander' - gotta love those marketing people!), improving touch and control. The K series are popular in Europe for this reason.
Regardless of the marketing hype, the designers must have done something right, since the K series have obviously impressed some of our forum members. I've heard good feedback on other JOOLA blades from people whose opinion I value, so I don't see why the K series should be any different.