As a player with a defensive playstyle, many people are curious about my blade. Defensive playstyle is not as popular as offensive playstyle, so people are quite interested in it. Some players even want to switch to a defensive style and add long or short pips to their blades to learn blocking or chopping. So sometimes, they may ask me what the best defensive table tennis blade is.
Many players lack systematic training from a young age, making it difficult to surpass those who began professional training as children while playing the same offensive style. Choosing a defensive playstyle could be a shortcut for many players.
Despite the scarcity of defensive players in important international games, many amateurs are not used to this style of play. With the right equipment and practice, however, you may be able to beat many of your peers who play offensively.
The question now is, what kind of blade should you choose for a defensive table tennis game? In this blog, I will introduce you to several blades I have personally tried and selected for your consideration. Now let’s have a look.
Best Defensive Table Tennis Blade
Joola Chen Weixing CWX
Joola Chen Weixing features a larger head size, providing a greater sweet spot and improved control. The blade has a 5+2 structure and provides a good balance of speed and control. The outer layers are made of Koto wood, which offers a hard and dense surface for improved speed and power, while the inner layers are made of Kiri wood, which provides a softer feel and greater control.
Chen Weixing was born in China in 1972 and started playing table tennis at a young age. He moved to Austria in 1995 and began representing the country in international competitions.
Chen is known for his unique defensive playstyle, which features a combination of chopping and blocking techniques. He has won several titles throughout his career, including the 2002 European Table Tennis Championships in doubles and the 2007 European Champions League with his team. His highest ranking was 14.
I am not sure if you have watched the games of Chen Weixing. Actually, his playstyle differs greatly from that of another well-known chopper, Joo Sae Hyuk. Unlike Joo, Chen rarely chops with his forehand and instead favors using it for counter loops.
On his backhand, he employs long pips for chopping. Chen also frequently switches paddles and utilizes super-fast active blocking with his backhand to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm during play.
The Joola Chen Weixing blade is designed specifically for Chen’s unique playstyle, but in my experience, it may not be suitable for everyone. The large head and weight of the blade can take some time for players to adjust to.
Additionally, the blade’s speed is relatively fast, comparable to some offensive blades(could be an OFF-). If you prefer a slower blade, there are other defensive blades available that may be more suitable. These blades are typically lighter and slower, providing greater control, and are more suitable for you.
Pros of Joola Chen Weixing
- The blade’s larger head size provides a greater sweet spot, allowing for more precise shots and improved control.
- The combination of koto and kiri wood layers, along with a twin black/cloth layer, provides a balance of speed and control that is well-suited to modern defensive playstyles.
Cons of Joola Chen Weixing
- The blade’s larger head size and weight may not be comfortable for all players, particularly those who are used to lighter blades.
- While the blade offers a good balance of speed and control, it may be too fast for some players who prefer a slower, more defensive style.
Tibhar Balsa Def 25
If you find that Joola Chen Weixing is a little bit fast for the defensive playstyle, I recommend Tibhar Balsa Def 25. It combines balsa wood and fiberglass layers, providing a lightweight, making it a flexible blade with excellent control. The blade is also slightly larger than standard blades, which increases the sweet spot and provides more surface area for blocking and chopping.
The Tibhar Balsa Def 25 is an excellent choice for players who prefer a slower, more controlled defensive play style. The lightweight construction of the blade, along with the combination of balsa wood and fiberglass layers, provides excellent control and precision for players who prioritize defensive posture and technique.
The Tibhar Balsa Def 25 is constructed with 5 ply all-wood and weighs approximately 75g. It offers a decent speed that allows for effective counterattacks with the forehand. While the blade may not be as offensive as the JOOLA Chen Weixing, it offers greater control and allows players to use long pips or short pips on the backhand side.
Overall, the Tibhar Balsa Def 25 is an excellent choice for players who prioritize control and versatility in their defensive play.
Pros of Tibhar Balsa Def 25
- Lightweight: The blade’s weight of approximately 75g makes it easy to handle and maneuver.
- Excellent control: The 5-ply all-wood construction provides excellent control for defensive play styles.
- Larger sweet spot: The slightly larger blade size increases the sweet spot, providing more surface area for blocking and chopping.
Cons of Tibhar Balsa Def 25
- Limited power: The lightweight construction of the blade may not provide enough power for players who prefer a more offensive play style.
- A little bit expensive: The Tibhar Balsa Def 25 is a relatively expensive blade compared to other defensive blades on the market.
Butterfly Blade Diode V
Fans of Joo Sae Hyuk are likely familiar with the now-discontinued Butterfly Diode blade. Joo Sae Hyuk used this blade before becoming famous, and the subsequent release of the Butterfly Joo Se Hyuk blade looked almost identical to the Diode. This illustrates Joo Se Hyuk’s preference for the Diode and its importance among Butterfly’s chopping blades.
Although this blade is no longer available in the market, it is still considered one of the best defensive blades due to its classic and essential nature. Table tennis enthusiasts can only obtain it through secondhand markets nowadays.
The Butterfly Blade Diode V has a reduced weight and increased elasticity, resulting in improved fault tolerance. This makes it more elastic than other chopping blades and is ideal for choppers who prioritize offense in their play style.
Constructed with five layers of wood, including hard outer layers, the Diode V allows for a modern defensive game while still generating enough power for attacking hits. Two layers of Arylate-Carbon fibers provide a balance of flexibility and rigidity, resulting in improved speed and control.
Pros of Butterfly Blade Diode V
- Balanced speed and control: The Diode V provides a good balance of speed and control, making it ideal for offensive players seeking versatility.
- Increased fault tolerance: The reduced weight and increased elasticity of the blade result in improved fault tolerance.
Cons of Butterfly Blade Diode V
- Not easy to purchase nowadays
Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive
The Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive is a table tennis blade designed for defensive players seeking a high level of control and precision in their game. It features a unique 5-ply construction, with two layers of soft Kiso Hinoki wood that provide excellent control for defensive shots.
In fact, Victas has launched a series of blades named after Koji Matsushita, a renowned Japanese defensive player and the current chairman of the T League.
As Japan’s first professional table tennis player, Matsushita won numerous titles, including four singles and seven doubles championships at the All Japan Table Tennis Championships.
The concept behind the Matsushita Koji blade series is to cater to all defensive players by offering a range of blades based on their style.
This series comprises four blades: the Victas Koji Matsushita, which emphasizes a balance between offense and defense; the Victas Koji Matsushita Offensive, which prioritizes offense; the Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive, which emphasizes defense; and the Victas Koji Matsushita Special, which places a strong emphasis on offense and features two layers of carbon fiber.
The Koji Matsushita Defensive is a table tennis racket prioritizing a balance between offense and defense. The surface of the racket uses hard silver wire wood to suppress elasticity, providing a unique level of stability. It is well-suited for athletes prioritizing chopping and players struggling with shot control.
Pros of Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive
- The carbon fiber layer adds stiffness for improved power and speed
- High level of precision and control in defensive play
Cons of Victas Koji Matsushita Defensive
- It may not provide enough speed for offensive shots
Dr. Neubauer Barricade DEF
In modern defensive playstyle, counterattacking during defensive shots is crucial. While the blades we have listed above are suitable for both defensive and offensive shots, some players may choose to forgo offense altogether. These players often prioritize patience and wait for their opponents to make mistakes, earning points through careful play. For these players, a slower blade may be more suitable.
Dr. Neubauer Barricade DEF is considered the slowest blade in the world. Some people are quite fond of it, while some might not. Its unique combination of balsa and fiberglass layers keeps the weight low while maintaining stability and control, making it a top choice for players who prioritize chop and block shots.
Click the link to read the review of Dr.Neubauer Barricade DEF.
Like Joola Chen Weixing and other defensive blades, the Barricade DEF has a larger head size, providing a larger sweet spot and improving players’ consistency and accuracy. As many players know, long pips or short pips rubbers provide more spin reversal and deception with the longer contact time with the ball.
Therefore, the Dr. Neubauer Barricade DEF can slow down the game and provide full contact with the ball, making executing chop shots with heavy backspin easier. This can make it difficult for opponents to lift the ball and respond to continuous shots, providing a strategic advantage for defensive players.
The blade only weighs 57g! This is the lightest blade that I have used in my career.
However, this slow blade might not suit some defensive players who play many counterattacks. You can choose the blade according to your preference and game style.
Pros of Dr. Neubauer Barricade DEF
- Provides excellent spin and deception with long and short pips rubbers
- It slows down the game and allows for full contact with the ball
Cons of Dr. Neubauer Barricade DEF
- It may not be suitable for players who prefer a faster, more aggressive playstyle
Stiga Defensive Classic
In May 2019, in response to the introduction of the ABS plastic ball, Stiga developed the Defensive series of table tennis blades specifically for the defensive playstyle.
The Defensive series includes two blades: the Stiga Defensive Classic, which is made up of 5 wood plies, and the Stiga Defensive Pro, which incorporates carbon fiber into its construction. Both blades are designed to provide excellent control and precision for players who prioritize defense in their gameplay.
In actual testing, the first impression of the Stiga Defensive Classic blade is that it is very easy to use and has excellent clarity in ball contact. Although the overall hardness remains soft like other traditional defensive blades, it doesn’t feel too soft when hitting the ball and feels quite solid.
The speed of the forehand attack with inverted rubber is medium to high, with clear directional control and a full ball trajectory. The Stiga Defensive Classic blade has a unique crispy feel after ball contact, thanks to the special 5-ply construction. The forehand topspin stroke is good with good ball control and the ability to generate spin, and it is also highly effective for attacking close to the table.
Despite having a thickness of only 5.1mm, the blade has a perfect balance of power and support. The ball quality and power are not compromised even when retreating and performing forehand attacks. Using a slightly harder inverted rubber on the forehand side is recommended for better performance.
When chopping with long pips on the backhand, the Stiga Defensive Classic blade allows for deeper ball hold and longer contact time, making it easier to create spin and variations in ball placement.
Whether chopping close to the table or from mid-distance, as long as footwork is solid, it is possible to return the ball consistently. When opponents hit with strong topspin, the chopped ball can become very tricky and heavy, making it hard to predict the trajectory.
Pros of Stiga Defensive Classic
- The excellent ball feels and spin generation, with noticeable vibration reduction.
- Thin 5.1mm blade body for a clear and transparent hand feel.
- Suitable for both experienced defensive players and intermediate-level players.
- Ideal for players who want a balanced blend of defense and offense.
Cons of Stiga Defensive Classic
- Some players may prefer a thicker blade body for added stability and control.
More thought about defensive table tennis blade
Defensive players must consider several factors when selecting the ideal table tennis blade. Basically, they have to consider their playing style, the paddle’s weight, materials, and other related aspects. Here I have summarized several points you must consider before buying a defensive ping-pong paddle.
- Materials and construction: Defensive blades are all wood ones. Only a few blades have synthetic materials like carbon or Arylate-Carbon. The wood layers provide a good feel and control, while the synthetic materials help maintain stability and consistency.
- Flexibility: Defensive blades should be more flexible than offensive blades, as this allows for better control and spin generation, especially for chopping and pushing shots. Look for a blade with a softer feel, as it will absorb the energy of incoming shots and provide better touch on your returns.
- Weight: A defensive player generally prefers a lighter blade, as it allows for quicker and more precise movements. A weight range of 75-85 grams is typical for defensive blades.
- Head size and shape: Defensive blades often have a slightly larger head size and a round or egg-shaped design, which provides a larger sweet spot and more consistent performance on off-center hits.
- Handle: Choose a comfortable handle that suits your grip style (shakehand or penhold). For better control and maneuverability, many defensive players prefer a flared or anatomic handle.
- Speed and control ratings: Defensive blades should have a lower speed rating (around 50-70) and a higher control rating (80-100). This ensures that the blade prioritizes control and touch over raw power, which is crucial for a defensive game.
- Compatibility with defensive rubbers: The blade should work well with long-pimpled and/or anti-spin rubbers, as defensive players often use these types of rubbers for their ability to produce varying spin and deception.
So, which one is your favorite defensive table tennis racket? Please leave a comment below and let me know!