As all table tennis players know, there are two main colors of ping pong balls: white and orange. There are also other informal colors, but we will focus on the actual formal colors of ping pong balls and their differences in this article.
In this article, I will teach you the difference between orange and white ping pong balls, some other differences between the balls in general, and what the markings are on them. Before we go deeper into the subject, we need to understand the difference between white and orange table tennis balls.
The difference between orange and white ping pong balls is the color. The right ball is chosen by looking at the playing environment and the athlete’s clothing. If the area is light, it’s best to choose an orange ball. If the area is dark, then a white ball is the best choice.
The contrast is the main key when choosing the right ping pong ball, and it’s important that the players can see the ball clearly, so the match is fair and clear.
If you have a precise eye, you might have noticed that only white balls such as Nittaku 3-Star Premium balls are used in all competitive matches, tournaments, and even the Olympics. This is because most arenas have blue tables and red floors, which isn’t a coincidence. Those colors have been tested to be the best choice in terms of contrast and playing clarity for table tennis players, and that is why you only see white balls used in tournaments.
- What is the difference between ping pong balls?
- Are white or orange ping pong balls better?
- Which ping pong balls are the best?
- What do 40+ ping pong balls mean?
- What is a 1-star ping pong ball?
- What is inside ping pong balls
- My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
What is the difference between ping pong balls?
The color isn’t the only difference between ping pong balls by a long shot. There are differences in materials, sizes, qualities, and brands. Let’s take a closer look at those differences.
1. Material differences
The first and most known difference is in the materials. There are two materials in which a ping pong ball can be made, and those are celluloid and plastic. After 2015, the production of celluloid balls has been stopped because of their high flammability, and the decision to stop the production came from the ITTF.
Celluloid is a mixture of nitrocellulose, camphor, alcohol, and colorants. Both celluloid and plastic are the perfect material for ping pong balls; however, celluloid balls are easily flammable, so they don’t make them anymore. Celluloid balls were made from the early 1900s all the way to 2015.
Plastic ping pong balls are usually made specifically from ABS-plastic which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. ABS-plastic ping pong balls are as good and bouncy as celluloid balls, so the change wasn’t for the worse. Another big difference between celluloid balls and ABS-plastic balls is that celluloid balls were made to 38mm, whereas plastic balls are made to 40mm.
2. Size differences
As briefly hinted above, celluloid balls were made to a diameter of 38mm and ABS-plastic balls to 40mm. However, some 40mm balls were made from celluloid as early as 2000 after Sydney Olympics.
The difference between 38mm and 40mm balls is that 38mm ping pong balls are faster, and they provide more spin than 40mm balls.
The opinions vary between table tennis players, and some say that the smaller balls are better, whereas some prefer the bigger ones. Either way, the standard tournament size is 40mm in diameter (1.57inch).
3. Quality differences
The quality differences between ping pong balls can be huge. The quality of the ball is measured with star ratings from 1-star being the worst to 3-star being the best.
In the production phase of the table tennis ball, they are tested on weight, level, hardness, and roundness.
If the balls pass every test, it is awarded a 3-star. If the ball falls in even one of the tests, it is labeled either one or two-star ball. 1 or 2-star balls can’t be used in tournaments, and you can often see them as training balls sold in bulk. Finally, the price is higher for 3-star balls than it is for the lower ones.
4. Brand differences
Finally, there is the matter of brand. Different brands focus on different quality balls. For example, some brands focus on selling training balls in bulk, whereas quality brands such as Nittaku focus on selling high-quality 3-star balls.
Are white or orange ping pong balls better?
Orange ping pong balls are better if the surroundings are extremely light-colored or white. This is because of the contrast, so you can see the orange pong ball better in light surroundings than a white ball. Also, if the players are wearing white clothing, then an orange ball is better as well.
Which ping pong balls are the best?
Best ping pong balls are the ones that are 40mm in diameter, made from ABS-plastic, and labeled with the three stars. These premium balls are fit for the Olympics because they weigh the appropriate amount, are even in roundness, and the hardness is optimal.
Choosing the right table tennis balls can be overwhelming so if you don’t know where to begin, you should check my in-depth article about the process!
What do 40+ ping pong balls mean?
If a ping pong ball is labeled with a 40+ marking, it is legal for competition by International Table Tennis Federation Standards. 40+ means that the ball is at least 40mm in diameter. The reason that needs to be marked is that celluloid balls used to be 38mm in diameter.
What is a 1-star ping pong ball?
If a ping pong ball is labeled with 1 star, it isn’t legal for tournament matches and is best used as a training or recreational ball. Ping pong balls are graded from 1 to 3 stars, and 1-star is the lowest quality. This means that something has gone wrong in the production, such as roundness or hardness.
Read also: Can You Play Table Tennis With Nunchakus?
What is inside ping pong balls
In short, ping pong balls don’t have anything but air inside of them. Ping pong balls are created from two plastic chips that are molded as half of the ball, which is then glued together. Therefore nothing will be inside of the ball except air.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
There really isn’t much else to the color difference between orange and white balls except well… The color. It is wise to choose the right ball according to the playing area’s contrast because you can better see the ball.
If you are a casual player, then 1 or 2-star balls will fit your purposes because they are cheaper. However, if you are a serious table tennis player, you should only use 3-star table tennis balls.