The Stiga Evolution is an apex paddle that is perfect for beginners who are looking to take their ping pong game to the next level. It boasts more speed and spin than your run-of-the-mill table tennis racket is extremely popular within the ping pong community and is one of Stiga’s best sellers. In fact, it has almost a thousand 5-star reviews on Amazon!
If the hundreds of satisfied customers on Amazon aren’t enough to convince you to buy this paddle, we’ve written this article to give you an in-depth look at this splendid ping pong paddle.
Before we get super in-depth about why we love this ping pong paddle (and why you will too) we will first go over the specifications of it, to give you a look at it from a glance. First off, and probably the most important for you, we’ll show you this paddle’s performance ratings:
- Speed – 96
- Spin – 94
- Control – 90
As for the rest of the specifications, the paddle comes with a 6-ply wooden blade, Stiga premium rubbers that come with 2.0mm sponges on either side, and it weighs about 170g. At the moment, this paddle costs $43.89 on Amazon. Of course, this paddle is International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) approved
Construction and Features
Now that you’ve seen this paddle’s specs at a glance, we’ll go more in-depth about what makes this paddle so great! The first thing to know is the overall construction of this ping pong paddle. It is made with an all-wood 6-ply light blade. A blade like this feels light in your hands and allows you to swing the racket faster, allowing you to put more speed on your ball.
This is one of the reasons that this paddle’s speed stat is higher than the others. The lighter wood blade also allows you to have excellent control over your swings. Speaking of control, you can’t talk about it without mentioning the stellar sponge of this paddle.
It’s 2mm thick on both sides and provides a lot of control as the ball won’t ping too hard off of the paddle. Lots of control really helps solidify what we said at the beginning of the article, that this paddle is excellent for beginners looking to take the next step. Personally, we found that we had an easier time hitting the ball where we wanted it to go on the table with this paddle, compared to others.
The Stiga Evolution table tennis racket uses premium rubbers that are also made by Stiga. These rubbers are softer compared to others of their kind and ITTF approved for competition use. But perhaps the most interesting thing about these rubbers, if not the entire paddle, is the special way they’re made.
The Stiga premium rubbers employ a special crystal technology to improve the overall speed of the paddle. To put it simply, the fibers within the rubber have tighter bonds than normal, making it stronger than normal rubbers. Moving on to the grip of the paddle, the Stiga Evolution sports a flared grip.
For those of you unfamiliar with the differences in the type of grips, a flared grip is designed to be thicker towards the end of the handle to help prevent the ping pong paddle from slipping out of your hands while you are playing. Again, this reinforces why this paddle is an excellent choice for beginners who are still learning to handle the paddle or those who are becoming more advanced.
The handle also comes with a most interesting extra feature. Unlike a lot of other paddles, the handle of this one features shock dispersion technology. This means that the handle is actually hollowed out to create a Shock Dispersion Tube (SDT), allowing it to absorb shockwaves from the ping pong ball as it strikes the paddle and transferring the energy out of it. Again, this gives the paddle more control over the ball compared to other ones.
Now that we’ve covered all of the details about this performance-level table tennis racket and what makes it so unique, you must be asking yourself how the paddle actually feels when using it. After all, you don’t want to buy this paddle, try it for yourself and find that it isn’t to your liking. We’ve got you covered, we tested this paddle out ourselves and these are our thoughts.
Overall, we quite liked this paddle. As you no doubt noticed from our deep-dive about the paddle’s construction, there are a lot of features about this paddle that make it very easy to control the ball. This translates well to live gameplay and we had a lot easier time placing shots and gaining control after a powerful volley was sent our way.
We found it a bit strange that this paddle boasts such a high-speed rating, to be very honest. It’s not that it cannot generate speed for powerful shots, the 6-ply light wood of this paddle makes sure of that. But, it is not as fast as some other paddles. If you feel like a more offensive player, this paddle can certainly work for you, but there are better options.
Instead, we found that this paddle is excellent for defensive players. The amount of control and spin you can put on balls with this paddle really helps to keep the game in your favor and slow down offensive strategies from other players.
As a quick side note, it’s important to remember that there’s no standardized rating system approved by the ITTF or other table tennis institutions. Therefore, the ratings given to these paddles by their respective companies are not always accurate. This is why we like to thoroughly test the paddles for our reviews.
Things That Could Be Better
Really, the only thing that we wish this paddle had, aside from a more accurate speed rating, is more grip style choices. Unless Stiga decides to make another model, the only type of handle the Evolution comes with is a flared grip. We wish that there were more handle style because this would allow more experimentation in gameplay and would allow for more thorough testing. We feel a variety of handle styles would also make it more accessible to players who are looking to experiment with different grips or do not prefer the flared handle.
Final Thoughts On The Stiga Evolution
In conclusion, the Stiga Evolution ping pong paddle is an excellent product. It sports amazing features that really make this paddle stick out from its competitors to provide a unique experience that is perfect for people looking to try out a defensive playstyle.
It is excellent for amateur players who are looking for their first paddle not only because of its features but also because of its price point. It is one of the more affordable paddles on the market and if you’re looking for something to start with, you will have trouble finding something better than this.
History of the Stiga Brand
Now that we’ve covered all of the XTR’s excellent features, you might still not be totally convinced. This may be the first time you’ve heard the name Stiga and you’re worried that they’re not a trustworthy brand. Have no fear, with a brief overview of the brand’s history, we’ll show you how they became one of the most trusted brands in the table tennis world. Stiga is a brand that calls Sweden their home.
The brand did not originally produce ping pong products. In fact, you may find it funny to learn that the brand originally produced lawnmowers and other gardening supplies! To this day they still make lawnmowers and other types of gardening products and in 1976 they were actually responsible for creating the largest factory in the Nordic countries that produced motor-powered lawnmowers. This was such an amazing feat that the King of Sweden at the time inaugurated the factory.
They began to make ping pong products back in 1938 and have since grown to be a globally recognized name within the table tennis community. Tables are not their only specialty, they also make top-quality balls, rubbers, rackets, shoes, and other accessories. Now, they have partners in over 100 countries and are one of the leading brands in the world of table tennis.
Why Buy A Pre-Made Ping Pong Paddle?
The ping pong paddle is the most important tool in a player’s arsenal. A player who uses the wrong paddle is the same thing as giving King Arthur any old sword instead of Excalibur. You need to find something that will fit your playstyle and work well with you as if it were simply an extension of your hand.
For these reasons, many players are very attracted to making their own ping pong paddles and will buy their own blades, rubbers, and even glues separately in an attempt to assemble the perfect paddle. This can be a very rewarding process and, ultimately, is something a serious ping pong player should try in their career. However, the problem with custom paddles comes with just how much they can cost.
Creating your own paddle can become very expensive very fast. Top-quality rubbers, blades, and glues can be very costly and if you find that you don’t like a certain component or that your glue doesn’t hold up well during gameplay, then you’ll have to start all over again.
The high cost can be the reason players decide against making their own paddle and instead go for a pre-made one like the Stiga Evolution. While custom paddles can certainly be a sight to behold, especially if you’ve got the right combination of components, pre-made paddles offer a lot more in the realm of convenience and price if you know where to look.
Reputable brands like Stiga, Joola, or Killerspin all have amazing lineups of pre-made paddles that can fit all sorts of different playstyles for reasonable prices. Therefore, we highly recommend looking into pre-made paddles if you’re an amateur or even intermediate player who is still learning the ins and outs of ping pong.
How To Take Care of a Ping Pong Paddle
Paddle care is actually a very straightforward process but first, you might be asking yourself: just how much effort goes into properly maintaining a paddle and how do I clean it? A dirty or damaged ping pong paddle can make a huge impact on the performance of the paddle itself.
For instance, a paddle that has accumulated a lot of dust or grime from sitting around in some dark corner for a long time can result in the paddle’s rubbers becoming worn down or can cause damage to other parts of the paddle, like the handle or the blade. This damage can result in a loss of overall performance levels of the paddle. Therefore, it is extremely important to take care of your table tennis paddle. The best way to do this is to make sure the paddle is clean.
Luckily for you, we happen to have a guide about cleaning your ping pong paddle already. Another thing to look for, especially if you want to make sure your prized ping pong paddle stays safe for as long as possible, is to invest in a racket cover. These range from simple fabric cases to heavy-duty aluminum ones and can really help prolong the life of your paddle, we highly recommend investing in one of these if you’re looking to compete in tournaments.
An important part of the ping pong paddle is the style of handle that the blade has. To those starting out, the differences between the three styles can seem negligible at first. We’ll go over them briefly so you have a better idea of what to look for in a ping pong paddle.
Flared Handles: We’ve covered this style of handle briefly before when we went more in-depth on the features of the Stiga Evolution. Like we already said, this handle is thicker towards the bottom and ensures that you will not lose grip of your paddle, even during challenging games. It is excellent for amateurs and players who favor strong forehand swings.
Straight Handles: As the name implies, these handles are perfectly straight. They are usually favored by European-style players for their ability to add more control to their style of play. With this type of handle, you will easily be able to transition between forehand and backhand swings.
Chinese Penhold: This is a more advanced type of handle that is widely used by Chinese players, as the name implies. This type of handle excels in serves and service return. It also allows more freedom of movement in the wrist and strong forehand swings close to the table. You must be careful though, as this handle type lacks in backhand swings.
Anatomic: The anatomic handle style is created to fit the most comfortable in your hand as is most commonly seen in the hands of American players. It is slightly thicker towards the center as well as the bottom of the handle to provide a good feeling in your hands. It’s great for going on the attack while close to the table but loses its effectiveness once you start hitting from a long distance.
Conical: The conical handle is similar to the flared handle, in that it becomes thicker towards the bottom. However, it is round at the bottom instead of square. This handle is excellent for all-around play and can easily be used by both beginners and experts alike. The only real downside to this type of handle is that players with larger hands have reported having trouble using it.
Moving on, we will look at the different grip styles. These are the different ways that you can grip the handle of your ping pong paddle. Choosing the right grip for your playstyle can help add extra control over the ball and accuracy with your shots whether you’re attacking or defending.
Shake-hand Grip: The shake-hand grip is one of the most popular grip types in the world and most players from the Western world use this type of grip. As you can guess by the name, you hold your paddle kind of like you’re shaking someone’s hand, with your index finger resting on the back of the paddle. There are two types of shake-hand grips: shallow and grip. A shallow grip allows for more wrist flexibility while the deep shake-hand adds more power and precision to your attacks.
Pen-hold Grip: The pen-hold grip gets its name based on the fact that you hold your paddle like you would a pen or pencil, with the rubber of the paddle pointing downwards like the point of a pen. There are three types of pen-hold grips: Chinese, Korean/Japanese, and reverse backhand.
The Chinese style allows for a lot of flexibility in the wrist and is extremely versatile but can be physically tiring. The Japanese/Korean style adds more power to forehand strikes and with this power comes the ability to stand further from the table, it a difficult grip to master, however. Reverse backhand strengthens your backhand shots and allows you to play closer to the table, but it is sometimes hard to clear the net as your shots will be low and close to the table.