Table tennis rackets, also known as ping pong paddles, are made of two elements: the blade and the rubber. The ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) was formed way back in 1926 to decide upon and set up the standardized rules of table tennis.
Every ping pong paddle must conform to certain specifications to be deemed legal. The paddle itself may be any shape, size or weight but the blade needs to be flat and firm. On the blade is the most important part of the paddle which is the rubber and foam covering. For table tennis tournament play, you need to have a paddle that is red on one side and black on the other. The rubber/foam covering can come in a large variety of textures and thicknesses which is why it can be overwhelming for a beginner or a recreational player to choose the right ping pong paddle.
Many professional table tennis players recomment that the best place to start is with an all around racket. A recreational player should concentrate on finding a ping pong paddle that has a grip that is comfortable for them. Without a grip that feels natural and comfortable, the player will most likely never be able to advance in the sport. Only after you become more familiar with ping pong and your abilities should you investigate into changing to a more specialized paddle.
All of the major brands Butterfly, Killerspin, Stiga, and Double Happiness have all round ping pong paddles that are great for beginner and recreational players. Choosing one of these paddles should be relatively easy. You can go to places like Argos Catalogue to find both paddles and table. You should find out whether you like the pen grip or the shakehand grip and then choose a paddle that is in your price range. Any paddle from one of these major brands will be a good paddle and able to get your game up to the next level.