There is virtually universal agreement among ping pong players that selecting a racket is the most crucial decision a player ever makes when it comes to equipment. There is an increasing number of choices in blades (wood or composite), table tennis rubbers, etc. All of these items become more important to players who are at the advanced beginner and intermediate levels. If you've so far only purchased low priced rackets from mass merchants, stepping up to a real racket will be surprisingly helpful. There are challenges and opportunities in making a choice, and being well informed helps a lot.
Searching online for information about table tennis rackets can help you gather information, and talking with others about what they use works well. Most agree you should avoid pre-made rackets for a very practical reason: table tennis rubbers have a lifespan. If the rubber is already on a racket that sits in a store's inventory, the useful life is diminished. It's best to buy a blade first and then rubbers that you glue on yourself. Today there is a vast selection of blades to consider. Each one will make claims about how it will improve your game. Choosing one that's good for all-around play is a wise idea.
Rackets and rubbers also affect putting speed on the ball in table tennis. It's a fine line with speed helping or hurting in ping pong play. If it doesn't make sense right away, file the thought away and think it over after having more experience as a player. The grip is also crucial, and it connects to your playing style. Nearly everyone stays with the one they first choose, so make your decision wisely because most people think changing, later on, is not an option. Pick up many different styles of racket grips, play a bit if you can, and think through how it feels in your hand and affects your play.
When you've settled on the ideal blade, then you can shop for table tennis rubbers. Coaches and experts customarily advise that you choose smooth on both sides for the first time. It's because they are more neutral and will affect your skill development less. If you've only played with cheaper rackets previously, you may find it's tougher to control it initially. It's a natural first reaction to a more expensive racket. But you'll become used to it over time, and your game will begin to improve. Also, ask for advice from an experienced player the first time you glue a rubber onto your blade.