Which Table Tennis Racket To Go For, Pre-Made or Custom-Made (Self-Glued)?

Pre-Made v Customized Table Tennis Rackets

Looking to understand the benefits and disadvantages of going for a custom-made, self-glued table tennis racket as opposed to a pre-made one? Here’s an exhaustive guide for the pros and cons of both options.

When you are just starting out playing table tennis as a beginner it’s only natural for you to buy the best racket based on online reviews or guides about factors to consider before purchasing a racket as a beginner.

Typically it’s when one has some sort of experience with playing table tennis and understands some of one’s game does the question pop up; should one go for a self-glued and customized table tennis racket or is it better to buy a pre-made one right off the shelf?

However, to give you a head-start even as a beginner, we have tried to explain the aforementioned. Let’s start things off with describing the difference between a pre-made and a custom-made table tennis racket.

What’s the Difference between a Pre-Made or a Custom-Made Table Tennis Racket?

A pre-made racket is very simply a table tennis racket you buy off the shelf (or an online store) based on the brand and specifications. These are made in bulk by the company manufacturing it and are ready to play as soon as you buy it.

A custom-made racket or one which is self-glued needs one to purchase the various products associated with it separately and then re-assemble the pieces to make one’s own table tennis racket.

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Advantages of Opting for a Pre-Made Racket

There are multiple factors to consider before choosing a table tennis blade for customization; the blade speed, its weight and plies.

Then, you need to understand the kind of rubber you prefer, and there are four main varieties of rubber which can be glued to your blade. These include Smooth, Short Pips, Long Pips and Anti-Topspin.

And once you have your combination right, you need to use an ITTF-approved glue to stick the rubber to the blade correctly and get started with your table tennis.

If you thought doing all of the above was an easy task, you have had it coming.

For a beginner who is looking to understand his/her game, adding these multiple variables make no sense. Which is why to avoid the amount of time spent in customization of a table tennis racket, it makes way more sense to opt for a pre-made racket which suits your style.

The other factor to look at is the cost to assemble a racket.

A pre-made racket is nowhere as expensive as a customized, self-assembled table tennis racket. Add the consistent need to keep gluing the rubber to the racket only adds to the costs associated with playing the game if one is using a customized racket.

And this is not even mentioning the effort which is required to make the racket if you are not going for an off-the-shelf option.

It’s a skilled task to build a racket for table tennis from scratch and not too many are particularly adept at it, which leads to them having to take professional help or spend far more time than is needed in customizing a table tennis racket.

Advantages of a Customized, Self-Glued Table Tennis Racket

Now that you know all about the advantages of using a pre-made table tennis racket off the shelf, it’s pertinent to understand why should one still go for a custom-made racket? Such a racket is obviously costlier and takes that much more time, effort and skill, isn’t it?

Well, there are multiple reasons why table tennis players opt to glue their rackets with the rubber. We have an exhaustive list of the advantages associated with a customized, self-glued table tennis racket.

Better Overall Quality

The chief reason why table tennis players opt to customize their own rackets is to ensure they get the best quality equipment possible. A table tennis racket is everything, it’s their weapon and for a player playing at the highest level, it makes sense to understand every nook and corner of their own rackets.

Non-customized rackets are bulk-produced without taking an individual’s specifications into account. Not so with a self-glued racket.

Players can choose the thickness of their blades and rubber and the quality required, and even the glue they want to use.

Some of it might not afford a player too much advantage but as I always say – table tennis players are probably the most particular sportspeople I have seen and every tiny change in their equipment could potentially lead to major changes in their play – or at least satiate the mind.

At the highest level, you don’t want to come back from a game thinking an underwhelming performance was down to a poorly-made racket instead of analyzing one’s own game.

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Rubber Selection of Own’s Choice

This is bit of a continuation of the aforementioned point. A customized racket allows the player to choose the best possible rubber for his/her racket.

Now, there are multiple types of rackets based on one’s game play. There are four main types of rubber:

  • Smooth
  • Short Pips
  • Long Pips
  • Anti-Spin

And depending on one’s game, a player could choose either or a mix of these rubber types for the forehand and backhand.

This might not be easily possible with a pre-made table tennis racket.

Blade Can be Upgraded

Standalone table tennis blades have particular characteristics associated with them and once you know which blade suits your style the best, you can opt for that and with age, tweak around your requirement till you get everything right.

Rubber Can be Upgraded without Changing the Racket

This is not too different from the blade change. In fact, instead of needing to buy a new racket as is the case with pre-made table tennis rackets when the rubber wears off, it makes a lot more sense to just change it.

While there’s extra effort involved in this, the biggest advantage in just changing the rubber of a customized racket is you can do that at any time without worrying about needing to wait till the racket’s totally finished.

In case of pre-made rackets, a player will need to toss the entire racket away if the rubber began to wear off – it’s not easy to replace just the rubber of a pre-made racket with a new one.

Conclusion on Whether to Use Pre-Made Table Tennis Rackets or Customized Ones

If you are just starting out or not quite reached an intermediate level yet, then it’s best to use pre-made rackets and try out multiple different ones to understand what works best for you.

As you age as a table tennis player, and begin to understand your game it’s best you make your own customized rackets. However, make sure you understand it comes at a higher cost and will need you to go through learning how to glue your rackets.

What you could do as an intermediary or better player is to get your rackets glued in by a local sports store for the first few times before attempting one on your own.

Alternatively, you could check out our step by step guide [with a video] on how to glue the rubber on to the blade here and get a custom-made racket made.

Stan Boone

I am the editor of Racket Sports World. I love my tennis, pickleball and most of the other racket sports played around the world and started this blog as my way to help other racquet sports fans even as I learn, explore and improve by connecting with them. Tweet at https://twitter.com/StanBooneTennis.

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