Blades must be made mainly of wood, but they are allowed to have an adhesive layer that contains a fibrous material, such as carbon, aluminum, kevlar, glass, aramid, or titanium. Generally, blades with such fibrous material are faster than all-wood blades (but not always).
Blades are composed of one or more plies. (A ply is a thin layer; a veneer is another word for the same thing.) The number of plies does not determine the speed of the blade. A blade’s speed and feel are determined by the thickness and composition of the plies and how they are glued together.
For each blade, we list how many plies it has. Any non-wood plies are usually listed separately after a plus sign. For example, the andro Kinetic CF Carbon OFF+ Blade has “5+2” plies. This means five wood plies and two carbon plies.
Besides speed and control, the third primary characteristic of a blade is its weight. Too heavy is not good, but much of the weight of a racket is in the rubber, so there is not that much advantage to an extremely light blade. Plus, some weight makes the blade easier to swing and generate power. Generally, faster blades are heavier because the wood is denser. Faster blades are also more expensive than slower blades. This is because harder wood costs more and/or because extra-cost material (like carbon or titanium) is used, not because faster is better.
We list the weight of each blade in grams. We get this value from the manufacturer. However, blades are made of wood, so there is sample to sample variation. For each blade, we also give an estimate of the sample to sample variation. For example, if the weight of a certain blade model is shown as “80±5”, then this means that the average weight of the blades of that model is 80 grams, with just about all the blades of that model being between 75 grams and 85 grams.
If you have very specific weight requirements for your blade, you may note them in the “Special instructions” field when you check out, and we will accommodate you or let you know if we can't.
Most handle technologies hollow out the handle and either leave it hollow or fill it with something. The general effect is to move the center of mass towards the head of the blade thus shifting the sweet spot and increasing the blade’s speed.
The andro Super Core System uses a core of special foam in the handle to reduce weight and vibration. Andro Super Core Cell Technology divides the Super Core foam into cells to reduce vibration even further and increase power.
SUNFLEX EVA-Inside-the-Handle Technology puts EVA rods inside the handle to reduce annoying vibration. SUNFLEX Carbon Shock Absorber Technology inserts a carbon rod with a rubber ring inside the handle to absorb vibration, increase control and precision, and reduce weight. TheSUNFLEX Comfort Handle has soft EVA foam attached to the end of the handle for a more comfortable grip.
The JOOLA RAG System integrates the complete blade into the handle to provide a fundamentally better feel and more precision. JOOLA Trix Technology adds interlocked gluing to the JOOLA RAG System. JOOLA WSI Technology provides wing-shaped handle reinforement.
The BANDA/STIGA WRB System hollows out the handle. The result is that the blade accelerates faster, has more power, and its touch is improved.
How Long does a Blade Last?
Blades do change with age as they absorb moisture from the air and get played out from hitting the ball. The slower the blade, the softer the wood, and the faster it changes. If you play regularly, then an all-round blade should last a year or two. An offensive blade will last longer, and a very fast blade much longer. However, the change in the blade with age may not bother you at all. Some players never change their blade.