Top Classic Rubbers for Table Tennis / Ping-Pong

It's hard to know everything about every table tennis rubber out there. But if I told an experienced player that a particular rubber was just a little quicker than Sriver, with a bit more spin than Mark V, he'd have a pretty good idea what to expect. This is because the characteristics of classic ping-pong rubbers such as Sriver and Mark V are known throughout the table tennis world.

In search of another eight classic rubbers, I asked our table tennis forum to name their candidates for classic rubbers, and here is the results of their suggestions. So if you looking for a classic rubber to try, look no further!

Tenergy 05 box

Tenergy 05 has become an "instant classic" rubber since the recent speed glue ban. While there are also Tenergy 25 and Tenergy 64 variations, it is the Tenergy 05 version that has become one of the most popular choices for elite players.

Tenergy 05 seems to polarize opinion, with players seeming to either love it or hate it. Butterfly is charging a lot of money for this rubber, but fans show no sign of slowing down their demand, as they claim they can't find another rubber with the same power and spin.

Love it or hate it, it's clear that "05" has become the measuring stick by which the other speed glue replacement rubbers are measured. An "instant classic" indeed.

Butterfly Sriver

Butterfly Sriver has long been considered a classic table tennis rubber, and with good reason. Possessing good feel coupled with strong speed and spin, Sriver was the rubber used by many world class players in the 1970's and 1980's to generate powerful attacks while retaining good ball control. And today there are still many elite players, such as Germany's Timo Boll, who prefer Sriver's classic qualities.

For those interested, I've now added a full review of Butterfly Sriver.

Yasaka Mark V

Forum member bes writes:
It is significantly spinnier than Sriver, but (again, to me) has a bit of a tradeoff in the short game. It is exceptional for looping, driving, serving, and, if you hit them right, spinny pushes. Once you get used to the high throw, it is also a very good blocking rubber too. I find that its spinniness and bounciness makes it a bit touchy for drop shots and passive pushes. It also reacts to incoming spin more than Sriver, so makes serve returns slightly more demanding. I've also found it to lose its "max grippiness" after a few weeks. It remains pretty grippy, but loses its "razor edge".

I've now added an in depth review of Mark V of my own for those readers who want to know more.

Stiga Mendo MP
Stiga Mendo MP. Photo courtesy Table Tennis Pioneers
Stiga's Mendo MP is a rubber that is recommended often in our forum when members ask for a good attacking rubber that has more speed and spin than Sriver-type rubbers.

Forum member bes writes:
It is faster, and a bit spinnier than Sriver. It is exceptionally durable, and not "bouncy". When speed glued it gets really fast. Like Sriver, it is solid across the board. This rubber seems to really like play close to the table. When speed glued, it is very capable away from the table, but really shines inside 5 feet.

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Donic Coppa
Donic Coppa. Photo courtesy Table Tennis Pioneers

Forum member backhandloop writes:
Persson and Waldner have both won world championships with this rubber. It is Donic's version of a rubber that does everything, like Sriver and Mark V. It's just slightly firmer and a touch more powerful than Mark V, but grips just as well.

I can personally attest to the quality and consistency of Coppa. I've used it on my backhand for years and years, and now use it on both my forehand and backhand.

Friendship 802-1 Short Pips
Friendship 802-1 Short Pips. Photo courtesy Table Tennis Pioneers

Forum member AGOODING2 writes:
Friendship 802, the classic "do everything" short pips rubber which can be used by hitters, blockers and even choppers. Comes in a number of versions, 802-40 (Buy Direct) has wider, spinnier pips while 802-1 (Buy Direct) is more widely spaced smaller pips for more deception. Generally what I recommend for someone trying short pips for the first time. Keep the sponge thin (1.5-1.8mm) and soft (35 degrees or less) for best control.

Butterfly Bryce
Butterfly Bryce. Photo courtesy Table Tennis Pioneers

Butterfly Bryce has been the "big gun" of modern table tennis for the last 10 years or so. Used by many top players (almost always with speed glue), it is very fast with just enough spin to bring the ball down on the table when power looping.

Forum member VictorK1 writes:
Butterfly Bryce - a "classic" weapon for power loopers and probably the most popular super-duper-fast rubber. I personally prefer Mendo MP (which I use myself), but one cannot discount the fact that large number of players around the world use Bryce.

One big minus of Bryce is the high price, but cannot blame Butterfly since it sells so well.

Donic J.O. Waldner
Donic J.O. Waldner. Photo courtesy Table Tennis Pioneers
Forum member VictorK1 writes:
Donic J.O. Waldner - excellent allround, "do-it-all", offensive rubber with medium-hard sponge that is comparable in speed and performance to Sriver, Mark V and Mendo. This rubber could be used by players of all levels.

Forum member AGOODING2 writes:
Juic Driva Smash Ultima, Japanese topsheet, perhaps a little grippier than Sriver. Sponge is "small cell" meaning it feels soft, but is less springy even when glued, more like a hard sponge. That means it doesn't get too bouncy when speedglued. Very predictable at any speed of impact, you can do everything with the rubber. Often cheaper than other brands.

Friendship 729 Cream
Friendship 729 Cream. Photo courtesy Table Tennis Pioneers
Table Tennis rubber manufacturer Friendship has now brought out more 729 products than you can poke a stick at, but I still have fond memories of the old Friendship 729 that came with blue sponge and a topsheet that always looked dirty. It wasn't the fastest of rubbers, but it had great spin and control, and could produce heavy spin loops and really heavy pushes and chops. Great for serving as well.

Friendship Cream 729 appears to rapidly gaining status as something of a classic rubber in its own right too.