Guide to the Best Table Tennis Rubbers for Blocking

If you have a defensive playing style which prioritises blocking, then you’ll need to be selective about which types of rubber you use on your paddle. In this article, I’ll take you through the characteristics to look out for to get a good blocking rubber, and some top picks to help narrow down your selection.

Best Rubbers for Blocking

  • Yasaka Mark V
  • Donic Acuda S3
  • XIOM Omega V Tour
  • Andro Hexer Duro
  • Yasaka Rakza 7

What Makes a Good Blocking Rubber?

Table tennis rubbers that are good for blocking should prioritise control over speed and spin, have low sensitivity to incoming spin to help deaden the opponents shot and have a low throw angle.

High Level of Control

If you are looking to use the rubber for blocking then you’ll need to make sure that it is easy to control. Many manufacturers of table tennis rubbers will give a “control” rating for each of their products. However, these control ratings are not always that helpful because “control” is such as subjective concept.

Some players find softer and thicker sponges easier to control than others who may find them more difficult. These control ratings are also not universal. So, a rubber with a rating of 10/10 from one brand could actually be easier to control for the same player compared to a rubber with a rating of 9/10 from another brand.

In the next section where I discuss the characteristics of a good blocking rubber, I’ll go into detail about what you should look for in terms of thickness, hardness etc.

Low Sensitivity to Incoming Spin

Choosing a rubber which has low sensitivity to incoming spin is crucial for a blocking rubber. This will help you to deaden the spin that the opponent applies on the ball making it easier for you to control and return, but also making it harder for the opponent to apply more spin on the next shot.

Rubbers with low sensitivity to incoming spin are generally less capable of producing spin themselves as well. This is not much of an issue if you are using the rubber predominantly for blocking, however if you also want to use it for looping you may need to make a compromise and choose a rubber with more sensitivity.

Low-Medium Throw Angle

The throw angle refers to the angle at which the ball leaves the rubber. A higher throw angle means the ball will need to be struck lower so that it doesn’t go too high in the air. The opposite is true for a rubber with a lower throw angle where you have to swing the ball up more to get it over the net.

Rubbers which have a high-throw angle are good if you are looking to apply spin. This is not something you will be looking to do with a blocking rubber, hence a lower throw angle is preferred as it means the shot is more direct. This makes it harder for the opponent to counter attack.

Check out my article comparing high and low throw angle rubbers to learn more.

Characteristics of a Blocking Rubber

Okay so know we know what you ideally want from a “blocking rubber”, let’s discuss the physical characteristics which help to deliver it. In this section I’ll be addressing the following characteristics:

  • Thickness
  • Hardness
  • Tackiness
  • Texture

Thickness

For defensive players who use the rubber for blocking, a thinner sponge is often preferred. Thinner sponges feel more direct and less “springy” than thicker sponges. Thicker sponges are preferred for looping instead as it provides more spin.

The danger of going with a very thin sponge is that it will “bottom out” and give you less spin and indirectly, less control when looping. This isn’t a problem if you are just using the rubber for blocking, but most players will still want some spin capability even if they are using the rubber mostly for blocking.

The ITTF state that the maximum thickness of the foam and rubber layer is 4 mm, however most commercial rubbers are thinner. For blocking, I recommend choosing a rubber which is less than 2.0 mm thick.

Sponge and Rubber ThicknessCategory
<1.5 mmVery Thin
1.5-1.8 mmThin
1.8-2.0 mmModerate
2.0-2.2 mmThick
>2.3 mmVery Thick

Hardness

Hard rubbers feel more direct and are great for blocking if the shot is executed precisely. Softer sponges make it easier to apply spin which is not what you’ll be looking for with a blocking rubber. However, remember before when we spoke about “control” being subjective?

Some players find hard rubbers/ sponges a lot more difficult to control as they are less forgiving. They may be better on paper for blocking, but if the player is finding it difficult to control, then it will be counter-productive and a softer sponge may actually be more suitable.

Some blocking rubbers have softer sponges but springier rubber top-sheets which makes then easier to control but also makes them good for blocking. Other rubbers have very hard sponge and rubber layers making them very direct and more suitable for advanced players.

Tackiness

The rubber top-sheets of different table tennis rubbers varies. Very tacky rubbers are usually described as Chinese-style rubbers, although it is possible to get tacky versions of European and Japanese-made table tennis rubbers as well.

Most beginner and intermediate players will find blocking easier with a non-tacky rubber because it makes it easier to control incoming spin. However, advanced players may actually find that tacky rubbers are better for blocking as they have better technique to apply speed and spin.

In general, it’s probably best for most players to go with a non-tacky rubber if the aim is to use it for blocking as they typically have a lower throw angle and are less sensitive to incoming spin.

Texture (Pimpled vs Smooth)

Pimpled rubber is typically more suited to blocking than inverted rubber (smooth). Pimpled rubber helps to deaden the ball more compared to smooth rubber, meaning it is less sensitive to incoming spin and harder for the opponent to return with more spin.

There are two types of pimpled rubber: short pip and long pip. Long pips are the best for blocking but are slower and more difficult for beginners to control. Check out my article comparing inverted and pimpled rubber to learn about their pros and cons.

However, keep in mind that you don’t need to use pimpled rubber if you want to use it for blocking. Smooth rubber is fine as long as you consider the other characteristics we’ve discussed.

Best Rubbers for Blocking

Okay so now we’ve discussed the characteristics to look out for, let’s go through some top picks for blocking.

Yasaka Mark V

Yasaka Mark V is well-suited for blocking due to it’s low tackiness and thin sponge. This gives it a direct feel and relatively low throw angle. You can choose the 2.0 mm option if you are looking for more spin, however if you are using it predominantly for blocking then the 1.5 mm will usually be the best choice.

Characteristics:

  • Slightly tacky
  • Medium hardness
  • Low-medium throw angle
  • 1.5 mm or 2.0 mm thickness

Here is a link to Yasaka Mark V on Amazon.

Image links to Amazon

Donic Acuda S3

Donic Acuda S3 has a softer sponge in comparison to the example above which on paper makes it less suitable for blocking however it is a good option if you are looking for something a little easier to control and with slightly more spin capability and a higher throw angle. Hence, this is a good all-round rubber which can be used for both blocking and looping.

Characteristics:

  • Slightly tacky
  • Medium soft hardness
  • Medium throw angle
  • 1.8 mm or 2.0 mm thickness

Here is a link to

Image links to Amazon

XIOM Omega V Tour

XIOM Omega V Tour suits players who want to use the rubber for blocking, but not exclusively. Although it is good for blocking and feels stable, it does have a decent amount of spin and speed capability meaning it’s quite versatile. If you want to use the rubber solely for defensive blocking, it may not be the best option. But if you’re using it for blocking and looping then it’s a good choice.

Characteristics:

  • Slightly tacky
  • Medium hard sponge
  • Medium throw angle
  • 1.8 mm or 2.0 mm thickness

Here is a link to XIOM Omega V Tour on Amazon.

Image links to Amazon

Andro Hexer Duro

Andro Hexer Duro is available with a thickness of 1.7 mm and moderately hard sponge, making it a good option for blocking. You can go for a slightly thicker 1.9 mm sponge if you want more spin though. Again, this rubber has a moderate throw angle so it’s not too limiting and can be used for looping as well as blocking.

Characteristics:

  • Slightly tacky
  • Medium hardness
  • Medium throw angle
  • 1.7 mm or 1.9 mm thickness

Here is a link to Andro Hexer Duro on Amazon.

Image links to Amazon

Yasaka Rakza 7

Yasaka Rakza 7 is a good all-rounder. It comes in 1.8 mm or 2.0 mm options, with the thinner sponge being better for blocking and the thicker sponge being a bit better if you want more spin capability. It works well for most playing styles and skill levels.

Characteristics:

  • Slightly tacky
  • Medium hard sponge
  • Medium throw angle
  • 1.8 mm or 2.0 mm thickness

Here is a link to Yasaka Rakza 7 on Amazon.

Image links to Amazon

Rubbers to Avoid for Blocking

Here are a few types of rubber that you should typically avoid if you are looking to use it predominantly for blocking:

  • High throw angles
  • High sensitivity to incoming spin
  • Very thick sponge/ rubber layers
  • Very soft sponges

Consider the Blade Pairing

Remember that the rubber is just one aspect of your paddle that you need to be considering, you also need to think about the blade.

This is a little more complicated because the blade impacts how the paddle feels on both the forehand and backhand side. The rubber on the other hand only affects one side, so you may simply want to use a backhand rubber that’s good for blocking and then use a forehand rubber which is better for looping.

Typically, you’ll want to avoid anything that is difficult to control but you should be looking for something which is stiff and hard. A flexible and soft blade will usually not work so well for blocking.

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Hey, I'm Heather, the owner and creator of gameandentertain.com. I made this website to help you learn more about setting up a home entertainment and games room. My favourite games are ping pong, darts and pool, but I also have experience in other games which I aim to share using this website.

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