The STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket is in the elite tier of shakehand-style ping-pong paddles offered by STIGA, a powerhouse in terms of manufacturers and designers of table tennis equipment. Just below this paddle is the STIGA Evolution (we reviewed it here), which ranks lower in terms of speed and spin, but actually creates more control for the user. Let’s get right into the basics. STIGA rates the Pro Carbon racket as follows:
- Speed: 99 out of 100
- Spin: 100 out of 100
- Control: 80 out of 100
The STIGA Pro Carbon Racket utilizes an ITTF-approved rubber for tournaments across the board internationally and domestically. The rubber technology is STIGA’s S5 rubber, which uses their nano-composite technology that forms within the rubber stronger and tighter bonds, which improve both speed and spin. Their ACES microscopic air-capsules built into the rubber greatly enhance the elasticity and compensates for the lack of control that has been reported. The rubber is removable and replaceable, so you don’t have to keep buying new paddles. This is a huge plus, because (1) you don’t have to spend more money than necessary and (2) it is better for the environment because we aren’t throwing away paddles. Double the pleasure, double the fun. This paddle uses a 2mm sponge. If you want a quick lesson on the details, we made a Table Tennis Paddle Guide just for you.
Now to go to the core of the paddle, the blade. With this paddle, STIGA decided to infuse carbon technology into the wood in order to enhance power and speed, which comes with a lighter ping pong paddle. The carbon fiber built into the blade increases the stiffness of the ping pong paddle as well as its responsiveness, which increases both speed and power. This responsiveness is usually based on preference, but with more feedback to the hand, this technology can help players become “one” with the paddle. In addition to the sensitivity in the overall blade, the Pro Carbon’s handle, which is a shakehand handle, has been built with a recess in the handle that further improves sensitivity to touch. The Pro Carbon is built with a 2-ply extra light blade using Bulsa technology, which is an ultra-lightweight wooden center ply which increases the reaction time. As with something as light as a ping pong paddle is, the devil is in the details. Making sure to optimize every little aspect of the paddle can dramatically improve performance, especially at the highest level. STIGA has definitely taken note of this.
Due to the lightweight build of the overall paddles, the recovery time between shots is decreased, allowing players to get in position for their next shot in time. Additionally, the STIGA’s weight balance technology helps the weight of the blade shift to the point of contact with the ball. This allows for a more balanced feel and increased sense of control for players. STIGA also utilizes a process called Crystal Technology wherein the surface of the blade is hardened with a sort of resin, which increases speed due to cohesiveness and compactness of the wood.
The build quality of the STIGA Pro Carbon Table Tennis Racket is great. It is a little bit thicker than most people are accustomed to, especially for beginner players. If you’ve only played with paddles for under $30, you’ll definitely notice a big shift in your game with this paddle. Of course, with any change comes a required time period to get used to the new feel. But once players become acclimated, they come to love this paddle. Some users have said that the paddle is great for playing further from the table (more from the back), but it is not ideal for playing up close and adding a lot of spin to soft hits. It really depends on your playing style, but this is the one weakness with this paddle: the spin. It’s not terrible, but if your playing style seeks to maximize spin, then the STIGA Evolution may be a better fit for you.
Overall, the STIGA Pro Carbon is a great paddle for beginner-to-immediate players. If you’re on the professional level, a custom made paddle is probably ideal. This is a good paddle for aggressive offensive players due to the high power rating, the high level of control, and the moderate spin. You will find it a bit difficult to guard against a player with spin, so learning to adjust is probably best, because this can be quite frustrating. You want a paddle that can be diverse enough to adjust to most opponents.