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How to check if your table tennis rubber is still alive?

How to check if your table tennis rubber is still alive?

Have you ever had a feeling that your table tennis rubber is dead? I have felt this multiple times and sometimes it is false. There are a few tests that you can do to check if your rubber is really dead and go for replacement. In this article, we will discuss about these tests.

SEE MORE: Clean and take care of your table tennis racket

Why does a Table Tennis Rubber become dead?

At beginner level, table tennis is not a costly sport because beginners don’t know much about the technical intricacies of the spin and techniques of table tennis. The main reasons why table tennis rubbers go dead -

  • Playing, if you play the sport the rubber will be used and it will cause wear and tear. The rubber gets broken down at a molecular level as the topsheet are starting to oxidize which will lose tackiness and will lose the ability to grip the ball.
  • Even if you have not played with the rubber, it can lose its grip and responsiveness due to exposure to air, dirt. Make sure to always keep your rubbers protected with an Adhesive Plastic Protective Film.

Tests to check dead table tennis rubber

Every rubber has an age, table tennis rubber does degrade naturally over time, even if it’s not being used. Checking the life of a table tennis rubber is important as that will define your game and your ability to improve. Here are 5 easy tests that you can take to assess whether your table tennis rubber is still alive:

  1. Visual Inspection Test: Examine the surface of the rubber visually and observe
  • Any visible signs of wear
  • Check if see the pimple showing through the rubber
  • Do you any cracks, tears, or uneven wear patterns. If yes, then the rubber is definitely going dead.
  1. Grip Test: Lightly rub your fingers across the rubber surface and see if it is having grip, if it is not gripping even a little then it’s game over for that rubber. You can also compare the rubber to a newer rubber of the same model

  2. Bounce Test: Bounce test is very simple.

    • Drop a table tennis ball onto the rubber from a height of about 10-12 inches.
    • Observe how high the ball bounces off the rubber. A rubber with good life left will produce a relatively high and consistent bounce.
  3. Sound Test: When tapping the rubber with your finger or hitting the ball against it, listen to the sound it produces. A lively rubber will often produce a clear, crisp sound compared to a dead or worn-out rubber.

  4. Spin Test: Play some topspin shots with the rubber and pay attention to how the ball responds.

    • Do you see the topspin arc?
    • Do you see decrease in speed?
    • Did you require a lot of effort to make the shot?
    • Were you able to control the ball using rubber? If you notice a decrease in spin, speed, or control, it’s a sign that the rubber is no longer in top condition.

If you are serious about table tennis, then make sure to take care of your equipment.

Reviving Dead Table Tennis Rubbers?

There is a temporary method allow that will allow you to use the rubber -

  1. Reglue the rubber and apply a layer of booster
  2. Clean your rubbers with olive oil But remember whatever material you use, just believe your rubber is better and surprisingly it will be. 😇

The only best solution is to replace it with a new one.

Should you replace your dead rubbers?

If you want to keep on playing then definitely you should replace them unless you want to quit playing. There are a few reasons why you should change the rubbers -

  • First, your perfect swing will be affected because you will try much harder to produce spin.
  • With dead rubbers, you won’t be able to generate as much spin and quality strokes. You may have played against opponents in tournaments with dead rubbers and it is easy to adjust to such opponents after a few blocks by them because that’s the only benefit of these dead rubbers will be able to do.
  • Counter topspins will become extremely difficult with these dead rubbers
  • Most likely, you will feel frustrated because your winning shots will not convert in real matches.


You can use the above tests to check if your table tennis rubber is still alive and if you find that your rubber is no longer providing you adequate level of performance, it’s time to change.

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