So… how long do table tennis blades really last? The answer is a bit different depending on what type of blade you have. Keep reading to know the different lifespans of different blades.
Many players out there focus on switching rubbers instead of blades, with good reason, but the blade actually does need to be changed every once in a while.
How Long Do Table Tennis Blades Last?
Table tennis blades essentially last forever. After a few years of play, your blade is bound to have gotten a few dents and chips on the edges. This is nothing that really affects the play though, as the dents on the edges never touch the ball.
Some people playing penhold style tend to accidently hit the table a bit more though, their blades can take a bit more of a beating.
Is There a Difference Between Hard and Soft Blades?
Hard blades will last longer than soft blades.
Hard blades don’t need to be sealed, and won’t lose pieces of wood when pulling the rubber off.
Soft blades though, they are recommended to be sealed. This is because sometimes when changing rubbers, small pieces of wood will be torn off. After a while, this will have caused major damage making the blade unusable.
Is There a Difference Between Expensive and Cheap Blades?
In lifespan, there’s no real difference in expensive and cheap blades. Although, if you count pre-built bats as a cheap blade, then it does differ. Pre-built rackets sometimes has a hole in the handle that’s filled with a plastic piece. This plastic piece usually gets torn off after about 6 months and the blades overall performance will be lowered.
How Often Should You Change Table Tennis Blade?
You don’t really need to change your table tennis blade. The only reason should really be if you want to build another racket, or want to try out a new blade.
A known issue with the newer strong water based glue is that it pulls some wood pieces off the blade when changing rubbers. This won’t really be a problem, but if it happens on your blade, you might have to change blade after about 25 rubber changes.
Should You Seal the Blade to Make It Last Longer?
Sealing the blade is essential nowadays for a majority of blades. Blades with thin or soft top veneers require it even more.
The new water based glue is much stronger than the glue used back in the days. This will begin tearing of chunks of your blade when removing the rubbers. Depending on your blade this issue will occur anywhere from the 1st to the 20th time removing your rubbers. (Read more about removing your rubbers here!)
The only time you don’t need to seal your blade is if you plan on either disposing of it not too long into the future, or it’s an extra thick/hard blade.
A light coat is sufficient, seal your blades people, it will make it last longer!
Can You Use Other Equipment To Seal The Blade?
A trick some old schoolers use is to seal the blade using regular hair spray. Spray it on and let it dry just before gluing on your rubber. It does depend a little bit on what type of blade you’re using, some blades are softer than others. Soft blades like the Donic Blue Thunder will shred it up almost immediately.
Are There Drawbacks to Sealing the Blade?
Some players don’t like sealing the blade for two main reasons.
- When sealing a lopping or flex blade, it will make it harder. Thus making it harder to pull of loops, but it does make the blade faster.
- Lacquering the blade will make the rubber hold onto the blade worse. Sometimes it may start peeling off in one of the edges. If you are a frequent rubber changer, you won’t see this issue.
How to Protect Your Blade
Protecting your blade is number one to make your blade last longer. Well… not bashing it against the table would probably be number one, but you can’t stop the rage, right?
Here are some methods to make your table tennis blade last forever:
Using a Case
A case is the best way to protect your bat by far. It not only protects your blade, but also keeps dust off rubbers. It is recommended to keep the racket inside a plastic bag, then putting the bagged racket in a case. This will protect your rubbers even better.
A table tennis case is also good to keep all of your extra equipment, like sweat bands, new rubbers, glue and cleaning stuff. We therefore recommend getting a larger case, it’s lovely to sit in breaks at competitions gluing on a new rubber or switching between rackets. Keeping cleaning equipment with you at all times will make your life just a tad bit easier.
Edge tape is nothing that’s really necessary, but it will protect the blade a bit better. If you’re a player that sometimes hits the table, edge tape will go a long way. It’ll stop both the rubbers edges from chipping, and the blade.
Sealing / Lacquering
As explained previously, sealing your blade can be a good idea, especially if you have a soft blade. Softer blades tend to chip easier. When changing rubbers, a known problem with a non-sealed soft blade is wood chipping. Small pieces of wood will be torn off the blade and after a while, the damage adds up.
To conclude – you never really have to change your table tennis blade. Keeping one or two so you can use different setups though, can be fun. You can have one testing racket where you try out new rubbers, and one you stick to when playing competitively.