If you’ve ever been looking at premade ping pong paddles, you’ll notice that you’ll generally be directed towards paddles made by brands like JOOLA, STIGA, DHS, or Killerspin.
While these are all respectable and trustworthy brands that make quality paddles, it can sometimes be overwhelming to see paddles by just these brands. To help break this stigma, we’ve gone ahead and put together a review for one of our favorite paddles that you might not have heard of, the Palio Legend 2.
This is a paddle that came from a collaboration between Chinese brand Palio and U.K.-based brand Expert Table Tennis(ETT) and can easily be found on Amazon!
Palio Legend 2 Specifications
Before we tell you all about why you should buy this paddle, we’ve listed the specs below so you have a general idea of what you’re looking at.
- Performance Ratings: 100 speed, 90 spin, 60 control.
- Blade: 5-ply wood blade
- Rubbers: Palio Hadou rubbers (ITTF Approved)
- Sponge: 2mm thick sponge
- Handle: Flared handle
Specs Deep Dive
Now that you have a more general idea about what this ping pong paddle is made up of, let’s break down the parts individually so you can see how they each contribute to this great paddle.
The Palio Legend 2 table tennis racket is built from the ground up to generate as much power as possible. Thus, the spin and speed on this paddle are its two highest ratings. There are many paddles out there that boast good spin and speed ratings, but it’s not every day that we see one that has the highest rating possible.
With this paddle, you will be able to deal out some seriously powerful and fast shots with extreme amounts of spin on them. It is perfect for players who specialize in heavy-hitting offensive gameplay. As impressive as these ratings are, there is still a point of contention, that being the control rating.
The control rating on this paddle is quite low, and players who favor a more defensive playstyle, or value accurate placement of shots, maybe deterred by this. This is honestly one of the lower control ratings we’ve seen on a premade paddle and it further proves that this paddle is meant for players with a specialized playstyle and not amateurs.
The blade of this paddle is made of extremely high quality. The wood is a very nice and light 5-ply. While this is a bit thinner than many paddles, it helps contribute to its great speed rating. It was actually redesigned by both Palio and Elite Table Tennis specifically for this paddle! A few swings with this paddle and you can easily tell how much thought went into it.
Sponge and Rubber
This paddle comes with Hadou rubbers on both sides of it. The Hadou rubber is probably the greatest contributor to the spin and speed levels of this table tennis bat. The reason the rubbers add so much is that they are harder than average rubbers.
This is common in Chinese-style and further supports a heavily offensive playstyle. This rubber is also what causes the control level of the paddle to suffer because it’s not very tacky. Therefore, it should be used by players who are always on the attack.
Used correctly, this rubber, along with the other parts of the paddle, creates a beast that can decimate an enemy’s defense. It is a truly impressive rubber that helps that provides unmatched speed and spin levels. Also, this rubber is tournament-ready and ITTF approved.
The flared handle featured on this paddle was redesigned specifically for it. Not only is it comfortable to hold in your hand, but it also will not slip out easily thanks to the redesign. What makes this handle unique, compared to other handles, is that it is made with harder wood.
The purpose of this feature is to help the paddle generate maximum power. If you couldn’t already tell, speed and spin are a big theme with this paddle. The combination of all of these parts really creates a paddle that is a force to be reckoned with when it’s in the hands of a practiced offensive player.
Having seen all of the different parts of this paddle, you must be wondering to yourself if it really is a powerhouse. We can safely say that the number ratings are not just for show and that this ping pong paddle is the one you’ll want if you’re an offensive player.
When we used it for a few matches, we found that the paddle really lived up to all of the hype. The speed behind it unmatched, staggering, and overwhelming for the player on the receiving end of any shot placed by it. With this paddle, our shots were extremely fast, and sometimes we couldn’t even keep up with them.
It was also an extremely comfortable paddle to handle, thanks to the flared handle that this paddle uses. We thought that, since the handle was made of hardened wood, it might be a bit uncomfortable to use but we felt right at home with it.
In fact, some of us preferred the feel of this paddle over other ones as we preferred the firm grasp on the paddle. When using a different paddle, such as a Palio Expert 2, you can really feel the difference in power. It’s almost uncanny how well the different parts of this paddle come together to generate so much power and spin.
Because of the way this paddle works, we cannot recommend it to amateur table tennis players. Simply put, the playstyle that this paddle supports is more for intermediate or even advanced players. The immense power and speed that is generated by this paddle are too much for beginners to handle and should only be used by higher skilled players.
If you happen to be a beginner player and are looking for a new paddle, then you should check out our list of the best paddles on the market at the moment.
Things That Could Be Better
We really don’t have too much to say in this area other than that we wish this paddle allowed for a little bit more control. While this paddle was built for a strong offense, it is sometimes hard to maintain that if we can’t accurately place our shots.
Granted, the lack of control doesn’t really detract from just how powerful this paddle is. We felt that the low control rating would really only make a difference if you were trying to use this paddle for defensive play. Using this paddle in that fashion really causes its performance to suffer.
Final Thoughts on the Palio Legend 2
If you’re an intermediate player that favors a playstyle that focuses on attacking hard and fast, then this is one of the best ping pong paddles. Those among us who enjoy an offensive playstyle could not get enough of this ping pong paddle.
It felt so comfortable in our hands and performed extremely well. Additionally, for the quality of this paddle, the price point is extremely affordable. Especially when compared to other, more expensive alternatives.
Pre-made Paddles Vs Custom Paddles
A question that may have come to your mind while reading this article is: “What’s the difference between pre-made and custom paddles?” additionally you might have asked yourself, “Are pre-made paddles better than custom paddles?”
Well, we can help answer that question for you real quick. First of all, the differences between the two paddles. Obviously, custom paddles are ones that you have to completely assemble by yourself. They consist of two parts, the blade, and the rubber.
Both of these components drastically affect the performance of the paddle so it’s important to research the rubbers and blades. For example, if you’re looking to create a paddle for defensive play, you’re going to want a thicker blade for the purpose of absorbing the shock of the ball.
Additionally, you’ll need a rubber with a soft sponge. This is one of the many different types of paddles that you can make. However, with the number of blades and rubbers that are on the market, there are a crazy amount of combinations.
This allows you to create a paddle that is truly unique and feel the most for you to use. Pre-made paddles are obviously the exact opposite of custom ones. They’re already put together and have more of a general design or purpose to them.
A prime example is the paddle we just reviewed. There are a lot of different pre-made paddles out there as companies are constantly trying to reinvent and redesign the ping pong paddle. As to which one is better, a lot of it boils down to personal preference.
That being said, there are a few factors to look at when considering if you should buy a pre-made or custom paddle. The first and probably largest factor is the cost. Generally speaking, pre-made ping pong paddles will be less expensive than custom-made paddles.
Custom paddles can get expensive because they require some degree of experimentation. Finding the right blade and rubber can end up costing a lot of money, especially if you’re looking at high-quality ones. It’s arguable that custom paddles are better since you can create them for your specific playstyle.
However, since it’s generally more expensive to put them together, many people prefer premade ones, especially amateurs. To that end, we’d say that a custom paddle is better for more experienced players. Pre-made ping pong paddles should be used by amateur or intermediate players. If you’re looking to make your own custom paddle, we’ve reviewed both the best rubbers and blades.
How To Take Care of a Ping Pong Paddle
Taking proper care of your ping pong paddle is an extremely important thing to do. You would be surprised how much a bit of dust and grime can effect the performance of your paddle. Thankfully, we’ve actually already covered this topic and have a guide for paddle cleaning on our website. You can check it out here.
There are a lot of different handle styles that you’ll find on ping pong paddles. With these different handle styles, there’s a surprising amount of nuance between them. To help you better understand the different types and what might be more suitable for you, we’ve written a brief overview of them.
- Flared Handles: Flared handles are a very common sight on a lot of ping pong paddles. It is mostly used by beginner players because it allows them to grip the paddle easier. Additionally, it helps prevent the paddle from flying from their hands.
- Straight Handles: As you probably guessed, this handle is totally straight. This type of handle is generally favored by European players and allows them to have more control over their shots. This type of handle allows you to transition easily between a forehand and a backhand shot.
- Chinese Pen-hold: This is an advanced type of handle that is mainly used by Chinese players, as the name implies. You grip this handle like you would a pen. The advantage of this style of handle is that you can unleash some pretty devastating forehand shots but your backhand will be a bit trickier to pull off.
- Anatomic: This handle features a thicker middle and bottom. It will fit extremely comfortably in your hands and is seen mostly in the hands of American players. Additionally, this style of handle works wonders for attacking while close to the table. The tradeoff here is that you will have a harder time when making shots at long distances.
- Conical: A conical style handle isn’t all that much different from a flared handle. Much like the flared handle, it is a little fatter towards the bottom. But, instead of being square, it’s more rounded. Like the flared handle, it’s designed to allow for an easier grip but some players with large hands have reported problems using it.
You can’t talk about the different handle styles without also talking about the different grip styles. Choosing the appropriate grip for your playstyle can help add extra control over the ball. It can also help to add and accuracy to your shots whether you’re attacking or defending.
- Shake-hand Grip: This is the most common type of grip that you will encounter, especially if you’re a player from the western world. With this grip, you simply hold onto your ping pong paddle handle as if you’re shaking someone’s hand. There are two types of shake-hand: the shallow grip and the deep grip. A shallow grip gives you more flexibility in the wrist and control while the deep grip puts an emphasis on raw power and precision.
- Pen-hold Grip: This type of grip is specifically used for the pen-hold style of handles. IT is used extensively by eastern players and was popularized by Chinese players. With this style of grip, you hold the paddle as you would with a pen or pencil, with the rubber facing down. There are three types of pen-hold grips: Chinese, Korean/Japanese, and reverse backhand. The Chinese style is the most versatile of the three and has a lot of flexibility but it can be physically taxing. The Japanese/Korean is the most powerful of the three grips but it is very difficult to master. Reverse backhand allows you to deliver powerful backhand shots but you may have some difficulty clearing the net due to how low to the table your shots will go.