Advances in design and technology have transformed sports equipment of all types, and ping pong rackets are no exception. When new carbon composite blades are paired with improved table tennis rubbers, the result is significantly advanced rackets. Composite blades are known for a stiffer feel and can take some adjustment from players. But their point is to improve the spin and speed you can put on the ball and win over more players every year. They do have higher prices than most all-wood blades, but players feel they are worth the investment. Borrow one and play a game to see for yourself.
When you go racket shopping, consider a specialty table tennis retailer over a big box store. They're going to stock more advanced items and have salespeople who can explain the differences. It's also wise to do some advance reading and research online. You can browse hundreds of rackets in a single sitting from the convenience of your smartphone or laptop. Most stores are pleased to answer questions by phone if you need to know on the spot or before ordering. Talk to other players already using composite rackets if you can. Hearing their options also can help you make a decision.
Once you've made a choice and purchased your table tennis blade, make sure to buy an excellent set of rubbers to go along with it. They also affect the speed and spin you can place on the ball. The grip is also essential and needs to be the one most compatible with your style of play. If you don't know already, it's another question to ask of a more experienced player or a knowledgeable salesperson at a table tennis equipment store. It's also crucial to try options before you buy. Ask other players if they have a spare racket you can try for a couple of games. You'll be surprised by the wide variations in feel.
For beginning table tennis player just buying their first serious racket, outfitting it with smooth rubbers is the most recommended approach. As you're developing your playing style, you want something that has a little effect as possible, and a smooth surface on the racket will do it. Rubbers, regardless of their quality rubbers last only about a year generally. It's one of the reasons you don't want to buy an off-the-shelf racket with rubbers already on – because there is no way to know how long it's been sitting in the store. When you play with fresh rubbers, you'll notice a difference in the performance of your racket.