As a new ping-pong player, the number of rubbers out there to choose from when trying to pick your first ping-pong rubbers can be overwhelming.
To help you cut through the confusion, here are nine great beginner ping-pong rubbers (and some good advice about choosing beginner rubbers), as recommended by our table tennis forum. I would recommend that you stick to 1.5mm to 1.7mm sponge thickness when using these rubbers for the first time - this will improve your control without sacrificing too much spin or speed. There will be plenty of time later on to use thicker rubbers once you have developed your own style.
Butterfly Sriver is one of the all time classic ping-pong rubbers, and is a great first choice for any new player. It's hard to go past Sriver for control, and the versatility to attack or defend while developing your game.
As forum member bes writes:
My #1 choice for a beginner rubber is tougher, but I think Sriver 1.5 or 1.7 is a good choice. It is pretty fast for a beginner rubber, but is consistent enough to make up for it.
For those interested, I've now added a full review of Butterfly Sriver.
For those interested, I have added a full in-depth review of Mark V here.
As forum member qizilbash writes:
I learnt and improved using Butterfly Flextra, which I guess plays like a docile Sriver; good control with reasonable spin and speed for a beginner.
It's harder to play with at first than something that doesn't grip as well, but I think that's perfect rubber with which to learn, as it forces you to learn and makes it more effective.
Less grippy (and harder) rubber might allow you to return more balls right away, but if you're not careful, it also can promote the development of more of a hitting game with much less spin potential.
When I coach, I like to build things on spin that will be the foundation of a much higher level game later.
As forum member AGOODING2 pointed out, the less bouncy Chinese rubbers such as Friendship 729 Cream can be used in slightly thicker sponge thickness (up to 2.0mm), since they aren't as fast as the European style rubbers. Even so, a 1.5mm thick Friendship 729 Cream rubber will do the job very well.
Juic Driva Smash Ultima, Japanese topsheet, perhaps a little grippier than Sriver. Sponge is "small cell" meaning it feels soft, but is less springy even when glued, more like a hard sponge. That means it doesn't get too bouncy when speedglued. Very predictable at any speed of impact, you can do everything with the rubber. Often cheaper than other brands.
9. Juic HirubiaForum member bes writes:
My #2 (and a dark horse) choice for a beginner rubber is Juic Hirubia. Even in 2.0mm thickness, it has excellent control. It is about as spinny as Sriver, but a couple notches softer and slower. Like Sriver, it is fast enough and spinny enough to be compatible with most any style.
10. Some Good AdviceForum member Ludwig14 writes some good advice for all beginners looking for new ping-pong rubbers:
A beginner should start with a thinner sponge, 1.5 mm up to 1.8mm, combined with a control inverted surface or an allround short pips out like 802. The rubber should not be too grippy and not be too fast. Only that choice enables the learning of all possible strokes and playing an allround style, that everybody should start with before deciding what way to continue. The thinner sponge keeps the speed down a little bit and is more controllable, the not too grippy surface does not react too violently to incoming spin.