Thick vs Thin Table Tennis Blades: Is Thickness Important?

The thickness of a table tennis blade affects how it feels and performs. In this article, I’ll explain the differences between thick and thin blades and how this affects its suitability for different playing styles.

Average Table Tennis Blades Thickness

On average table tennis blades are approximately 5.5 mm to 6.0 mm thick. Most blades fall within the 5-7.5mm range, but it is possible to get thicker and thinner blades than this. In general, blades thicker than 6.0 mm are considered thick, whilst blades thinner than 5.0 mm are considered thin.

What Factors Affect Blade Thickness?

These layers are typically made from wood or carbon. The most common compositions are 5-ply all-wood, 7-ply all-wood and 5+2-ply, where there are 5 layers are made from wood and two layers are made from carbon. The individual wood layers are usually thicker than the carbon layers.

A table tennis blade’s thickness is determined by the number of layers and the individual thicknesses of each layer. Most blades have either 5 or 7 layers and are described as being either 5-ply or 7-ply blades, respectively.

Here is a table to show the different compositions and thicknesses of popular table tennis blades.

Table Tennis BladeThicknessMaterialLayers
Stiga Allround Classic5.1 mmWood5-Ply
Butterfly SK Carbon5.2 mmWood and Carbon (T5000)3+2-Ply
Butterfly Innerforce Layer ZLF5.3 mmWood and Carbon (ZLF)5+2-Ply
Yasaka Sweden Classic5.4 mmWood5-Ply
Butterfly Viscaria Super ALC5.7 mmWood + Carbon (SALC)5+2-Ply
Victas V Orange5.8 mmWood5-Ply
JOOLA K56.0 mmWood5-Ply
JOOLA Xylo 76.6 mmWood7-Ply
Butterfly SK7 Classic6.8 mmWood and Carbon5+2-Ply
JOOLA Chen Defender7.5 mmWood7-Ply

Thick vs Thin Table Tennis Blades

The thickness of a table tennis blade has an indirect affect on how it feels and performs by affecting the hardness, stiffness and weight of the blade.

Thicker blades provide less feeling due to their hardness, and more power due to their stiffness but also less spin. Thicker blades are also heavier which increases their power but also makes the players reactions slower.

Thinner BladesThicker Blades
Lighter, softer, and more flexibleHeavier, harder, and stiffer
Increases spinIncreases power
Provides more “feeling”Provides less “feeling”
Better for loopingBetter for blocking, driving and smashing
Thin vs thick table tennis blades

There are also other variables to consider such as the number of layers and the composition of the blade, whether it be wood or carbon fiber. However, to keep things simple, I’ll be discussing the effect of thickness in isolation, so assume that the material and number of layers is kept the same in the following discussion.

Thickness Affects Stiffness and Hardness

Increasing the thickness of a table tennis blade also will increase its stiffness and hardness. It’s important to note here that hardness and stiffness are not the same thing:

  • Hardness: this refers to the outer layers of the blade which will either feel harder or softer.
  • Stiffness: this refers to the overall blade and how flexible it is.

The thicker the outer layers of the blade are, the harder it will feel. Harder blades give the player less feedback in terms of the vibrations but feel more stable for blocking and more powerful.

The thicker the overall blade is, the stiffer it will be. A stiffer blade will produce more power but less spin compared to a more flexible blade.

It’s not only the hardness of the blade which is important, but also the stiffness. Check out my article explaining blade hardness and stiffness to learn what impact they have on the blade’s performance and feeling.

Thickness Affects Weight

The thicker a table tennis blade is, the more it will weigh. This is assuming that the same materials and number of layers are being used, and the only variable is the thickness of those layers. Heavier blades produce more power, but lighter blades help to increase a player’s reaction times.

Check out my comparison between the pros and cons heavy and light blades to learn more.

Blade Thickness and Playing Style

Different blades have different thicknesses which lend themselves towards different playing styles. In this section I’ll be discussing different shot types. Again, we’re assuming here that the only thing changing is the thickness of the blade’s layers and not the material or number of layers being used.

In reality, when you’re considering two different blades, there are almost always other variables at play so it is important to consider these features as a whole when making your decision.

Looping

Thinner blades are more flexible and generally more suited to looping because they allow the player to generate more spin. Thicker blades are less flexible which means the ball has less dwell time on the paddle, and less opportunity to generate spin.

Blocking

Blocking the ball effectively ideally requires a hard blade. If the outer layers of the blade are thicker, this means the the blade is harder and feels more stable and better for blocking. Thinner and more flexible blades do not feel as stable.

Driving and Smashing

For driving and smashing, having a more powerful blade is desirable. Thicker blades tend to be more powerful because they are harder, stiffer and heavier. This means that less force is required in the player’s stroke to make the ball move at the same speed when using a thicker blade compared to using a thinner blade.

How Thick Should the Blade be for Beginners?

It is often recommended for beginners and players who are learning a new technique use a thinner blade which is less than 5.5 mm thick.

Thinner blades provide more “feeling” which means the player can feel the vibrations from the shot more in their hand. Being able to feel these vibrations is very useful because it helps give the player feedback so they can understand why a stroke went well, or why it didn’t.

Thinner blades are also less powerful so beginners may find them easier to control as well.

Here are some more articles you might find useful:

Game and Entertain

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.

Recent Posts