Why are Ping Pong Paddles Red and Black? | Reasons You Should Know

Get the complete information about Why are Ping Pong Paddles Red and Black. Ping Pong is a game that has been around for generations. It’s one of the most popular sports in the world, played by millions of people every day. But why are ping pong paddles red and black? Some would say it’s because these colors are found on traditional table tennis balls – but this isn’t true!


Why is Ping Pong Paddles Red and Black?

The real reason is that when you put your hands up to play, they should be facing each other with palms together. Your fingers form what looks like two rectangles which can also resemble a “paddle.” If you were to look at them through an overhead view, they kind of look like the letter “P” or the number 8. Hence paddle shapes become red and black!

why are ping pong paddles red and black reasons - how to hold a ping pong paddle

Reason Behind the Black and Red Sides of Ping Pong Paddles

True Table Tennis fans know the reason why ping pong paddles are black and red.

Red and black paddles may seem like a strange choice, but they actually have to do with the colors of traditional table tennis balls – even if they’re not always that color anymore! Let’s back up: When you put your hands out to play table tennis, you’re holding a paddle.

That’s not too out there. But why is the top of it darker than the bottom? Well, as we mentioned above, before table tennis became an Olympic sport, standard balls were white with red or blue circles on them. The circle always had to be on the “belly” of the ball, that is the side that would be face up when you served. So in order for this to work, table tennis paddles had to have a red side and a black side – one for each color ball!

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As time went on, players wanted more variety in their game. The ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) allowed non-standard table tennis balls that were any color, as long as they were a contrasting color to the top. This gave red and black paddles the boot, but players wanted more options for their own look, so many turned to slick vinyl-finished “anti-spin” rubbers on either side of a paddle. One side was red or pink and the other side was black. Some manufacturers even allowed players to choose two colors (one for each side) and in some cases, both sides were the same color!

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Let Us Understand the Paddles?

As the technology in table tennis equipment evolved, the days of red rubber (which was meant to reduce spin) were numbered. New 2-star (40mm) balls hit the market in 2000 which made it harder to control the ball with just anti-spin rubber. Manufacturers produced new combinations of rubbers and blades that allowed players to create their own unique combination of spin and speed. As a result, the days of red rubbers were numbered.

 difference between red and black side of ping pong paddle

Today, higher-end paddles made by the likes of Donic, Butterfly, and Stiga have removed anti-spin rubber from their one-star (37mm) “league” blades in favor of new technologies that allow players to create their own unique combination of speed and spin. In addition, the lightweight materials used to make 2-star blades have been preferentially selected for higher-end paddles.

What Is the Reason for Using Different Colours?

The days of red and black ping pong paddles are numbered.

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When we go to buy a new paddle, we’re confronted with a dizzying amount of choices: what color rubber should we play? Which color foam grip do we choose? What about the blade’s hardness and thickness? And most importantly, which side of the blade should face up when we play?

Manufacturers have realized that even more combinations can sell more rackets, so they’re creating a vast array of blade/rubber/grip/foam color combinations. The most common has been to place red rubbers on one side (for right-handed players) and black rubbers on the other (for left-handed players), though other color combinations are becoming increasingly common.

Other Advantages of Red and Black Paddles?

There is one big if little known reason why ping pong paddles are almost always colored red and black: it makes them easier for players to see. The color white, found on most cheaper rackets, disappears too easily in a typical club room or bar environment with low lighting and the result can be many missed serves and returns.

The choice of these two colors also makes it easy to see when a ball has been legally returned. In addition, the black rubber is typically tackier, which allows for more spin and control when playing shots because you can get a better grip on the surface.

Building from this idea, some companies have begun to use different color rubbers on their rackets, depending on the type of rubber. For example, you might see a red sponge with a black hitting surface to make it easier for players to see where they hit the ball.

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What to See Before Choosing a Ping Pong Paddle?

Before you choose a paddle, it’s important to understand the basics of what determines your performance on the table. Understanding these things will make it easier for you to narrow down your choices and find the perfect fit for playing ping pong.

 table tennis red or black forehand

The first thing to consider is whether or not you want a hard or soft paddle. Hard paddles tend to be faster, while soft paddles are easier to control. If you’re on the younger side and still learning how to play, a softer paddle is more forgiving for beginners. Next, think about your playing style. Are you more likely to be aggressive on the table or do you like to keep things defensive? Paddles with larger hitting surfaces are ideal for beginners and defensive players. Aggressive players usually prefer a smaller hitting surface which allows them to get more spin on the ball.


While it’s not entirely clear where the tradition of using black and red ping pong paddles came from, there are a few popular theories. One theory is that because table tennis was originally played in Victorian England when these colors were fashionable, they became associated with the game over time. Another theory claims that early players would use pieces of their clothing to make color-matched paddles; since most people wore dark clothes at this time, this meant many players had naturally one or both paddle halves colored black and/or red.

The final common belief about why red and black are used for ping pong paddles is that the lighter surface makes it easier to see the spin on shots (since you can’t get as close)

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