A lot of things started and stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic when offices were closed, and millions were stuck at home for an extended period. If you have a ping pong table at your house and began to use it for something to do, maybe it's time to buy a better table tennis racket and become more serious about your game. For most players, moving from beginner to advanced beginner is the moment when buying a racket is of interest – and demonstrates a more serious interest in the sport. If you're ready, make the internet your first step and start gathering information about your options.

To start, most accomplished players would advise you to avoid buying a table tennis racket at a big-box store. It's because the rubber sheet glued to the blade has a lifespan of about a year. If you buy a racket off the shelf at a retailer that may have had it in-store or a warehouse for months before selling it, you're getting a racket with a rubber that needs replacement. Having an opportunity to speak with a knowledgeable salesperson also makes a favorable difference for most first-time racket buyers. There are many choices, and you don't need to buy the most expensive one to have a good experience.

If you're drawn to the newest-latest-greatest when browsing or shopping, most people would tell you it's carbon composite in table tennis blades. They're a new version of rackets with paper-thin carbon sheets placed between the plywood layers. If you're drawn to fast shots, they may be of interest because their chief attribute is adding power to the ball. They play differently than all-wood rackets, and whether you'll like one depends on your game. If you're shopping at a specialty retailer, they may be able to let you try playing with one before deciding. Many intermediate and pro players do like them.

No two players are alike, and everyone has unique opinions about rackets and which ones are the best – so ultimately, you'll need to decide for yourself. But finding out more about the options and learning a bit can help you make a better choice and learn about the game. If you work with a well-informed salesperson, let them know about the grip you use when you play table tennis and whether you're more of an offensive or defensive player. Most ping pong players are more attached to their rackets than any other piece of equipment, so buying your first one is something to take seriously.