When it comes to badminton and table tennis, considerable differences can be found between the two. However, both of them are racket games which do raise the question about their differences.
In this article, I will teach you the differences between badminton in depth. Also, you will notice certain similarities, see videos about the games, and more. But first, how do table tennis and badminton differ from one another.
Table tennis is played with a small racket and celluloid or ABS-plastic ball on a table, whereas badminton is played with a longer racket, shuttlecock, and a big court. Both games have fast playing speed; however, table tennis players try to use spin to overcome the opponent when badminton players use power.
That is the short answer of it all. All in all, badminton and table tennis are entirely different games. How different they really are will be revealed below, so I highly suggest that you stick with me when I dive more into the topic. Let’s get started!
- 1. Game differences
- 2. Rule differences
- 3. Equipment differences
- 4. Cost differences
- 5. Popularity around the world
- Which is harder to play badminton or table tennis
- Videos about badminton and table tennis
- My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
1. Game differences
There are many differences between table tennis and badminton in court, needed skills, speed, and more. Let’s start with table tennis, and then we move on to badminton.
The standards size of a table tennis table is 9ft (2.75m) long by 5ft (1.5m) wide, and the net is only 6inches (15.25cm) tall. Ping pong tables weigh anywhere between 150lb (68kg) to 450lb (205kg) and vary even more depending on the materials used and the table type.
When it comes to the type of ping pong tables, there are two kinds. Indoor and outdoor tables and like the names suggest one is meant to be kept only inside whereas the other can be used outside.
Table tennis is an indoor game, and professional matches are never played outdoors because of various reasons such as weather and other complications. In addition, indoor ping pong tables are better for the game because the materials used will be better for the strikes and ball bounces.
Table tennis tables are usually blue in color, but there are also black, white, red, and other colors. The main concern is that the players and audience can easily spot the ping pong ball.
Indoor table tennis tables are usually made from wood, particleboard, or high-density fiberboard. These materials are optimal for the game; however, you can’t take a table made from these materials outside because of heat, sunlight, moisture, debris, and other things that could and will easily harm such materials. Hence, there are outdoor tables.
Outdoor table tennis tables are made from aluminum, melamine, or even concrete. Some outdoor tables can be made from wood, but the table has a decent coating to protect it from the weather in such cases. Finally, all table tennis tables have metal frames to support the table.
When it comes to the cost of a ping pong table, the regular cost to be found is somewhere between $500-$4000, usually near the $1500 mark. However, some tables can cost far beyond $20,000.
Now, let’s move on to badminton and see what kind of courts it is played.
Badminton courts are 43ft (13.4m) long and 20ft (6.1m) wide. This leaves 22ft(6.7m) long court half for each player, so there is a lot of movement. The net is 5ft (1.55m) long, so the strikes need to be well-aimed.
The similarity between table tennis and badminton is that both are indoor sports; however, badminton can also be played on an outdoor court, but the professional matches are always inside. Outdoor badminton is just for fun! This is because the shuttlecock will also be affected by the weather, and the court won’t have such a good grip as the indoor court will provide.
Badminton courts are usually green, but there are also blue, red, and brown ones. The only requirement is that there is a good contrast between the shuttlecock and white lines inside the court.
Badminton courts are often made from wood because it is elastic and good to play on top of. Modern synthetic badminton court floors have also become really popular these days, and both can be found really often. When it comes to the outdoor court, modular tiles are usually used, but they can also be played on lawn, rubble, and cement.
If you have ever played or watched table tennis and badminton, then you know that they aren’t the slowest sports out there. In fact, both sports are really fast-paced and require top-notch reaction times and footwork. The ping pong ball in table tennis and shuttlecock in badminton are extremely light, and they need to be struck really hard if you want to make it hard for your opponent. However, in badminton, the shuttlecock needs to travel a much greater distance than in table tennis.
Even though the shuttlecock is the fastest object in sports and it is no wonder because it can travel at the speed of 200mph (320kph)! On the other hand, a table tennis ball usually reaches the speed of 60-70mph (90-110kph).
As we can see, there are similarities between the speed of both table tennis and badminton, therefore both need similar skillsets. Below you can see the essential skills needed to perform well in these sports.
- Forehand and backhand grip
- Proper footwork
- Fast reaction time
- Anticipation and bluff
- Rhythm and timing
- Rule differences
- Hand-eye coordination
- Basic fitness level
2. Rule differences
Now, there are a ton of rules in both of the games, and it would take an eternity to go through all of them; therefore, I will explain the most important ones so you can see potential differences and similarities between the two.
Rules & scoring
|First server is |
|Serve change||Every 2 point||Point winner serves|
the next point
|Games played||Best of 3, 5, or 7||Best of 3|
|Match finishes at||11 with a difference|
of 2 after 10-10
|21 with a difference|
of 2. At 30 the game
|Are volleys allowed||No||Only way to play|
|”Let” on a serve||Another serve||No|
|”Let” on a point||Striker gets the point||Yes|
The badminton serving system is different than it is in table tennis. In badminton, there are 4 sections on the court and 2 on every player’s side. They are labeled as A, B, C, and D. The way serving works is that you need to serve crisscross, not directly. See more of the serving rules here.
The game times of table tennis and badminton aren’t too far from each other. In fact, they last nearly the same time.
A typical game of table tennis lasts 5-10 minutes and is usually played as best of 3, 5, or 7. This means that the entire match can last anywhere between 15-70minutes, and the average usually falls right in the middle, which is 40-45minutes.
A typical game of badminton, on the other hand, lasts around 15 minutes and it is played as best of 3. Therefore the total time of the match lasts 45 minutes which is the same as an average match of table tennis.
3. Equipment differences
The differences between badminton and table tennis gear are big, even when both are played with rackets. Let’s see what exactly they are, and I’ll start with table tennis rackets.
Table tennis rackets are usually 6inches (15cm) wide and 10inces (25cm) long if you include the handle. Official rules of table tennis say that the racket can be any shape, size, or weight; however, nearly all table tennis rackets are the same size because it is clear what works the best and what doesn’t.
Table tennis rackets are usually made from layers of wood; however, proper rackets usually have a couple of layers of titanium carbon-fiber or ply-composite wood. The only requirement is that it needs to be 85% of wood. On top of the racket’s blade, it also haves a rubber which can vary in thickness and hardness, giving the racket more grip and spin or pure power. Finally, between the blade and rubber is a layer of soft sponge.
When it comes to badminton rackets, they are much larger. The usual length of a badminton racket is 26.5inches (67cm) and a width of 8.75inches (25cm). Badminton rackets only weigh between 70-100grams, which is extremely light as it needs to be if you want to reach the fast shuttlecock on time.
Badminton rackets are made from light carbon fiber composite or aluminum that both are stiff and light-weighted. The strings on a badminton racket are made from nylon but can also be made from polyurethane, Kevlar, or other materials. There are also single and multi-filament strings. Single-filament strings have better durability, and multi-filament strings offer better elasticity; therefore, multi-filament strings are often found in competitive games.
Ball & Shuttlecock
There are two materials of ping pong balls. The most commonly known is celluloid; however, ping pong balls aren’t made from that anymore because of their high flammability. After 2015, all ping pong balls have been made from ABS plastic which offers the same properties as celluloid without the flammability risks.
Celluloid ping pong balls are 38mm in diameter, whereas ABS-plastic ones are 40mm. Nowadays, all competitive games are played with 40mm balls. In addition, ping pong balls are graded from 1 to 3 stars, where the 3 stars being the highest. If a ball isn’t 3-star, then something went wrong in the construction process, and it might not be the exact weight of 2.68-2.77g or the hardness can be lower than required.
The badminton ”ball” is called a shuttlecock which consists of 2 main components. The first one being the cork head which is made from the bark of a cork tree. The second component is the 16 feathers that are incorporated into the cork head with glue and threads.
A shuttlecock is around double the weight of a ping pong ball. It weighs between 4.75 to 5.5g. Each of the 16 feathers is 2.6inches (66mm) long on average, whereas the cork head is around 1inches (26mm) in diameter.
Both sports need proper shoes with shock-absorbing properties, good grip, and a comfortable feel to play well and maximize their performance from the equipment part.
4. Cost differences
Sport cost to play
When comparing and determining the sport’s prices, equipment lasts a long time, so that’s really not expensive. It’s the running costs that will eat up the money.
Below I gathered some information from one table tennis and one badminton club so you can see a rough estimate of how much to expect when buying a single or continuous ticket to a sports club. As usual, let’s start with table tennis.
Table Tennis America Costs:
- One-day pass: $10
- Three-day pass: $25
- Single one month plan: $65
- Monthly plan for junior: $335
- Monthly plan for adult: $445
- Monthly plan for the family: $885
- Annual plan for junior: $35
- Annual plan for adult: $45
- Annual plan for a family: $85
New Jersey Badminton Club Pricing:
|Prepaid Hours||Price Per Hour|
As we can see, table tennis is less expensive in general. This is because a single club can hold much more tables than a badminton hall can hold courts. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the badminton prices above are for a court, not per person. Therefore 4 people could reserve the court, and the pricing would be shared between the 4 people.
Read also: Is Table Tennis Expensive?
The price differences between a poor and proper piece of equipment can be huge. Let’s start off with table tennis gear.
Table tennis rackets can cost from $20to +$500, and as in everything, special rackets with an autograph or limited units can cost thousands of dollars. Ping Pong balls are cheap, and a 3-star ball costs around $1, whereas 1 or 2-star balls cost even less. Table tennis tables, however, aren’t so cheap and they go from $500 to $4000 as previously mentioned above. The average price of a table tennis table is around $1500. However, table tennis shoes cost more or less, usually somewhere near $100, similarly to badminton shoes.
Badminton rackets cost fall to the same price range as table tennis rackets. You can get a starting level racket with $40, and the more advanced quality rackets start at $150 all the way to +$600. Shuttlecocks are extremely cheap, and a 24 pack costs around $15. You can get more expensive shuttlecocks at a higher price and similarly lower quality ones cheaper.
When comparing badminton and table tennis gear to other sports such as ice hockey, football, or golf, we can see that these sports aren’t so expensive. How expensive something is relative to different people, however when comparing all sports, table tennis and badminton are in the low end.
5. Popularity around the world
When it comes to the popularity between table tennis and badminton, one thing is certain: most people really don’t realize how popular these sports are. Both table tennis and badminton fit in the top 10 sports in the world when looking at the popularity.
Table tennis has +300 million active players, whereas badminton has +220 million! These numbers aren’t small, to begin with. Below you can see the top 5 countries on both sports where each is most popular.
Top 5 Table Tennis Countries
- South Korea
Top 5 Badminton Countries
- South Korea
As we can see, both sports are extremely popular in Asian countries. However, other countries such as Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada, and Spain embrace these sports.
Which is harder to play badminton or table tennis
In short, badminton is harder in more ways than table tennis. Badminton requires more agility, speed, explosive power, and it is also harder physically with more strike variations than table tennis. However, table tennis players must master spin and countering them, which is a talent on its own.
All in all, when comparing two sports and trying to determine which one is harder, it is a relative thing. Even when badminton requires more attributes, table tennis is probably harder to master and compete professionally. You can be the judge of that in the videos below.
Videos about badminton and table tennis
As promised, here you can see clips of professional games from both table tennis and badminton. It’s safe to say that competing at a professional level is beyond our comprehension compared to a relaxed afternoon game with family or friends. Let’s start with the video of table tennis.
A great deal of skill is needed to pull of those strikes. For that, there is no doubt. Now, below you can see great moments of badminton rallies!
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 are more differences than similarities between table tennis and badminton, that’s for sure. However, both racket games require a great deal of agility, reaction time, and a decent fitness level. I hope that this article was helpful to you and you got a great deal of value from it. Which one do you prefer more, table tennis or badminton? I’m a table tennis guy myself!