Joola Tango Defensive Alternatives


The Joola Tango was one of the first “speed-glue effect” rubbers on the market, and was certainly very popular in those days. Since Speed Glue was banned a few years ago, these types of rubbers have become hugely popular, and as a result virtually all major brands have some of these types of rubbers as part of their range.

Certainly in Australia, the original Joola Tango has retained a considerable following, and the more recent Tango Defensive, which comes with an ultra thin 1.2mm sponge, was popular for the more defensive players or choppers. As a result of the rubber’s popularity I regularly get asked about alternatives to the rubber, which is why I decided to write this article.

The Joola rubbers were never among the cheapest, and the Tango rubbers were notorious for poor durability as they lost their gloss within weeks, and the rather fragile top-sheet tended to crumble around the edges very early on, and gradually got worse over time. Although Joola did make some improvements in the following years, the issues were only reduced a little.

For reasons unknown the Tango Defensive was discontinued several years ago, and it seems the regular Tango may suffer the same fate, as it’s no longer listed on the manufacturer’s website. So what are the alternatives, and are these as good or better than the original Tango or Tango Defensive? Here are the two rubbers that are by far the closest ones I’ve found. These are made in the same factory (ESN Germany) as the Tango, also using the same “Tensor Technology”, and this same factory of course produces the majority of the top Germany Speed Glue effect rubbers.


 1. Donic Desto F3 Big Slam

donic desto f3 big slam rubber

Although the Donic Desto F3 has been around for a few years already, the more recent ‘Big Slam’ version made the rubber louder and offered more control, making it closer to the original Tango.

The F3 Big Slam has a very similar ultra soft and light sponge compared the Tango, and when hitting it makes one of the loudest crack sound of all rubbers on the market! The very soft sponge makes blocking and hitting effortless, and as the sponge bottoms out, it’s quite insensitive to incoming spin, so the angle is not critical. As with the tango, the spin created with just a quick wrist movement is vicious, making it great for pushing as well.

Compared the Tango, the F3 Big Slam has very similar feel and performance, although it’s just a little more offensive oriented. It comes in 1.8mm, being for the more defensive players, or 2.0mm or max for the more offensive oriented players.

Although the durability of this rubber is not as good as the traditional non-tensioned rubbers on the market (e.g. Sriver, Mark V, etc), it’s still a major improvement on the original Tango.


2. XIOM Yanus DF

Xiom Yanus DF defensive table tennis rubber

Xiom is a relatively new-comer on the manufacturer’s scene, but they’ve made a huge entrance onto the table tennis market, with one of the most impressive websites, and with a wide range of high quality products, with packaging matched by none!

Most of the XIOM rubbers, including the Yanus DF, are also made in the German ESN factory, but of course with their own design and specifications. Although Yanus DF is classed (by XIOM) as their only defensive rubber, it’s hardly a defensive rubbers by most people’s standards, particularly with the thicker 2mm sponge.

In the thinner 1.5mm the Yanus DF is a very impressive defensive rubber, with the ability to create very heavy backspin, great control, and a surprisingly insensitivity to incoming spin. The control and spin is comparable to the 1.2mm Tango Defensive, but it’s offensive ability is superior, allowing you to loop and counter-hit very effectively and with good pace.

In the thicker 2mm, the Yanus DF is a great all-round offensive rubber, offer very good control and spin for the defensive, but also good offensive ability, approaching the speed and spin of the truly offensive Tensors on the market.

Durability of this rubber is even better, and approached that of the traditional rubbers.



I hope you found this article useful, and helpful for those that are looking for alternatives to Tango or Tango Defensive. If you know of other viable alternatives, I’d love to hear about them, so please leave your suggestions below. Cheers!