When comparing table tennis to other sports, there aren’t so many products that you need to focus on; however, when you have so few, you need to make your choices carefully. The ping pong ball is one of them.
In this article, I will teach you how to select the best table tennis balls for your specific purpose, whether for fun, training, or competitive matches. I’ll also explain why these things are important to know, what brands you should focus on, and more. Let’s begin!
My recommended table tennis balls: 11 Best Table Tennis Balls For Every Situation (Full Reviews)
Recreational or intermediate use
First things first. Before choosing ping pong balls, you need first to determine what you even need them for. There are quality differences that affect the price quite much, so if you need balls just for fun play, you can focus on the cheaper options than balls made for intermediate use. Below you can see a table of what to look for in each of these situations.
|Things to consider||Recreational use||Intermediate use|
|Star rating:||1 – 2 stars will do||Only 3-star balls|
|Ball size:||38mm and 40mm will do||Only 40mm balls|
|Ball color:||White & orange & others||Only white|
|Brands to trust:||All brands should be fine||Stiga, Butterfly, Nittaku, |
Joola, DHS, Killerspin, Etc.
If you want to follow ITTF official rules about table tennis balls, here is what they are saying about the requirements:
- The ball shall be spherical, with a diameter of 40mm.
- The ball shall weigh 2.7g.
- The ball shall be made of celluloid or similar plastics material and shall be
white or orange, and matt
- Read more from the ITTF HandBook.
With these things in mind, you should be able to quickly navigate through this post and see what kind of balls will serve your purpose the best. Let’s move on!
Read also: Are Ping Pong Balls Recyclable?
How many do you need
The second thing you should consider is how many will you need? For example, if you want to fill up a table tennis club’s ping pong ball reserves, you will probably need +100 balls at least; however, if you need balls for personal use, then a 6-pack or maybe even 24-pack of balls are a great choice.
There are various deals, and the price per ball will usually decrease the more balls you get. Below you can see some examples from Amazon and the price differences between them as well. In addition, you can easily see how much the star rating, brand, and other factors affect.
- Butterfly ITTF Approved 3-Star White Tournament Quality Balls (3-Pack)
- ProSpin 3-star 40+ White ABS-Plastic Ping Pong Balls (24-Pack)
- Stiga 2-Star White Ping Pong Balls (144-Pack)
How much are you willing to spend
How much are you capable and willing to spend is the last question before looking at the ball’s actual features. As a recreational table tennis player that takes it seriously, I usually buy a 24 -pack of 3-star balls every time I do because I always have more balls when one breaks, and they are of good quality.
Depending on your personal needs and capabilities, I would invest more in quality than quantity. For example, a 3-star ball usually lasts considerably longer than a 2-star ball because there is something wrong with the seam, hardness, and overall less durable. So if you would need to choose between a 24-pack of 2-star balls and a 6-pack of 3-star balls, I definitely recommend going for the 6-pack.
Ball material & size
From the early 1900s all the way to 2014, all ping pong balls were made of celluloid and were 38mm in diameter. However, due to the easily flammable properties of celluloid balls, ITTF conducted that all balls would be made from ABS-plastic in the future, and with that decision, the diameter of the ball changed to +40mm.
Therefore if you were to find celluloid balls sized 38mm, it would look past them and look for ABS-plastic balls sized 40mm because if you have even a little experience in table tennis, you can notice the difference. Since everyone is using ABS balls, you should probably too.
Learn more: What Are Ping Pong Balls Made Of?
Table tennis ball star rating
This is where the majority of the differences lie and where you need to be most careful. There are 3-star ratings on ping pong balls where 3-star is the highest and 1-star is the lowest. Some companies advertise 4-star balls, but there is no such thing because 3-star balls are the highest quality possible in table tennis.
In addition to the star rating balls, other balls such as funny ping pong balls can and usually will vary in size, weight, elasticity, and other features. Then there are training balls, but more on those below. Let’s review each one individually, and let’s start from the best.
3-star balls have the highest quality of all ping pong balls, and their durability is top-notch. These are the only balls that have been approved by the International Table Tennis Federation, and they are used in competitive and international tournaments and the Olympics.
In the ping pong ball production process, they are passed as flawless and thus, awarded with the 3-star mark. That’s why 3-star balls are the most expensive ones as well.
Finally, these balls are often sold in small packages up to 24-packs; however, you can, of course, find bigger packs but be prepared to pay a larger sum than from any other ball, especially when bought from a reputable brand. The good thing is that ball prices drop when buying as bulk.
2-star balls, on the other hand, are often sold in large packages, and something has gone wrong in the production process. For example, the seam may be uneven, the elasticity might be slightly off, and the durability is often lower than in 3-star balls. However, 2-star balls are often up to code in size (40 mm)and weight (2.7g).
Like 2-star table tennis balls, the production process has been faulty in 1-star ones as well, and the faults are more severe than 2-star balls. There are 1-star balls that are the proper size and weight, and then there are ones that can differ slightly to be considered nonlegal. 1-star balls have lesser durability than 2-star balls, so naturally, the price isn’t much either.
Training balls, also known as practice balls, are usually a little see-through and softer than regular ping pong balls. These balls are okay for kids and total beginners; however, you can get normal balls nearly or even at the same price, so I wouldn’t recommend using them, really. For beer pong, training balls can be a great choice!
Finally, there are funny ping pong balls. These are great for anybody that want’s a little humor in their games, whether it is in the form of emoji balls, patriotic balls, balls painted as other sports balls, and you name it. You can even customize your own ball by sending your logo, which will be then printed on it.
Which brands should you choose
There are many table tennis brands wherefrom some are known to all, and some are lesser-known. There are clearly some brands above the rest, and if you want to be certain of your purchase, you need to choose it wisely.
Below you can find my 6 favorite brands that are also known for most table tennis players.
All these brands are specialized only in high-quality table tennis products, and you can get everything you need regardless of whether you want the best ones out there or great budges ones with good value. Personally, I wouldn’t have any problems and trust issues ordering from these products.
Recommended ball: DHS 3-Star Table Tennis Balls
My recommended table tennis balls are the DHS ABS-plastic D40+ 3-Star White Table Tennis Balls because they are simply flawless in every way a table tennis ball needs to be. Also, this ball has been used as the ITTF official Olympic table tennis ball in the 2012, 2016, 2020 Olympics, so that does say it all. These balls are celluloid-free new generation balls that will last even the hardest strokes for a long time.
Choosing the right table tennis balls isn’t as hard as choosing the right table tennis racket or deciding the right table; however, it can feel overwhelming. The most important part of thinking about is whether you need it for serious or recreational use, and then examine the right star rating for your needs. I hope that this article was helpful to you and you can now more easily choose the right balls for you!