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How to Choose and Buy Best Ping Pong Balls in 2022

It is essential to choose the best ping pong balls if you are serious about playing this sport. You can’t play the game properly without having quality ping pong balls. And there are a tonne out there, so it can be very difficult to know what you should buy. But fear not, we have done all the work for you. All of the ping pong ball info you need is carefully outlined in this article so you don’t have to do any painstaking research. Enjoy!

ImageNameWhy We RecommendBuy
best ping pong ball NittakuNittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ (Pack Of 12)Best qualityCHECK CURRENT PRICE
best ping pong ball XuShaoFaXuShaoFa 3-Star Premium 40+ (Pack Of 6)Best budget match-qualityCHECK CURRENT PRICE
best ping pong ball KevenzKevenz 3-Star (Pack of 60)Budget choiceCHECK CURRENT PRICE

What Are Ping Pong Balls Made Of?

Previously, ping pong balls were made of rubber covered with cloth, but this was a long time ago. Celluloid then became the material of choice for many years before it was replaced by poly-plastic material. 

What is the Diameter of a Ping Pong Ball?

The standard dimensions of a ping pong ball are 40-mm in diameter.

Ping pong ball size — diameter:

  • mm: 40
  • cm: 4.0
  • inches: 1.57

Do ping pong balls come in different sizes?

In a professional tournament, balls must have specific dimensions. The current rules state that they should be 40mm in diameter. Previously balls were 38mm.

This ball change slowed down the game and made rallies more exciting.

What is a 40+ table tennis ball?

Between 2014-2015, a new type of ball made with non-flammable plastic material was introduced to the table tennis world. The common name for it is the plastic ball, however, it is often referred to as the 40+ ball or poly ball.

These balls are marginally larger than the 40mm celluloid balls, that’s why manufacturers imprint 40+ on the front. It helps you distinguish one from the other.

What Do Stars on Ping Pong Balls Mean?

As a buyer, you should look out for star ratings written on the ball. A rating of three stars represents tournament-grade quality and is the highest quality in the market.

Fewer star ratings indicate a lower quality than what is allowed in professional tournaments. These balls are cheaper than 3-star balls and are not as durable.

Star Rating of the Balls

  • 1-star for practice balls.
  • 2-star for training balls.
  • 3-star for professional tournament balls.

Some manufacturers sell 4-star and 5-star balls, but they are not in reality rated above 3-star. According to ITTF, 3-star is the highest that you can purchase.

Each ball receives its rating as part of the quality control process. Only the balls that meet all of the strict tests receive the 3-star classification. Those that fall just short are 2-star, and those with the lowest quality receive a 1-star rating. So what are the best type of ping pong balls? 3-star balls every time.

The difference between 2-star and 3-star may not immediately be apparent when you play with them, but the same cannot be said for 1-star vs 3-star. Such a difference is obvious. 1-star balls are much harder to keep on the table.

Common qualities manufacturers test for are:

  • Quality of surface
  • Veer
  • Hardness
  • Weight
  • Roundness

How to Choose the Best Ping Pong Balls?

It can be quite tricky if you are not sure what you are looking for.

Firstly, ensure the ball has no visible seam in the middle. If you can see the stitching, ignore the ball straight away. This will likely indicate a flat spot around the seam area.

best ping pong ball no seam

The second thing you can look for is the ball’s firmness. Try pressing the ball to feel to see how hard it is. If the ball caves in, it is likely not good quality. 

The third aspect you can test is the roundness of the ball. Now by just holding it in your hand, it is often quite challenging to see if it is completely round. The best way to test it is to spin the ball on a flat surface.

By looking at it from the top, you can see if it has any wobbles. Think about spinning an egg and you can see the egg wobbles quite a lot. A perfectly round ball will not sway.

Difference Between Plastic Ball With Seam, Seamless, and Celluloid Ball

Standard ping pong balls are made now made of plastic since the ball change, but older balls made of celluloid are still commonly sold. It’s helpful to know the differences between all available balls as you will likely find yourself using older balls at some point.

With new plastic balls, both with and without a seam, you will likely not notice much difference between the two, at least, not that you can directly attribute to the presence of a seam. Instead, celluloid balls will present a more obvious change. Plastic balls on average, are slower and less spinny, they also bounce a touch higher. This can make swapping between the two rather difficult. As plastic balls are now standard, we strongly recommend just sticking with plastic balls.

In terms of the physical testing between the balls, you can see a comparison below provided by the ITTF. The differences here are minimal. There is no substitute to playing with each type of ball yourself to see how they perform.

ball diagram

Best Table Tennis Balls of 2022

#1. Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ (Pack Of 12)

best ping pong ball NittakuCHECK CURRENT PRICE

Nittaku has one of the highest reputations in the ping-pong world. If you ask a player “what is the best ping pong ball?”, chances are they will inform you it’s Nittaku. You’ll find few balls with better standing among players. As a result, this set of ping pong balls fundamentally constitutes a top-of-the-line product.

With its ITTF signature of approval, the Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ features at a host of major events throughout the world. Examples include the 2017 World Championships and the 2016 Tokyo Open. USA Table Tennis also recognizes the Nittaku Premium model as its official ball. 

One of the few balls made outside of China, Nittaku makes their balls in their facility in Japan. Currently, it only comes in white and you may notice powder on the balls when you first open them.

A surprising amount of research and development stands behind the Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+. For instance, the company fashions the product out of a poly material only used by Nittaku. The material is non-celluloid plastic. Players give the ball high marks for hardness, roundness, and durability.

Pros:

  • Top ball manufacturer
  • Used in major events
  • Great roundness, hardness, and durability

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • May leave ball residue on your bat

#2. Butterfly G40+ 3-Star (Pack Of 12)

best ping pong ball Butterfly

The Butterfly G40+ is another product with wide recognition. Made in Germany, it has received ITTF approval. It was used at events such as the ITTF World Cadet Challenge. This ball comes with a high gloss coating which some players prefer. However, if you desire a little more texture, you might want to look for another product.  

Beyond its surface feel, this model receives praise for its speed, bounce, and high consistency in terms of roundness. The ball also classifies as medium-hard. There have, however, been complaints about durability. The logo on the G40+ model tends to wear down a little too easily. And beyond this cosmetic issue, the ball itself is prone to cracking at times.

The Butterfly G40+ produces a distinctive sound – a high-pitched noise that some players love and others find annoying. It’s all down to personal preference in this regard.

Pros:

  • Top ball manufacturer
  • Used in major events
  • Fast and bouncy
  • Consistent roundness

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Prone to cracking
  • Distinctive sound that is not to the liking of all players

#3. XuShaoFa 3-Star Premium 40+ (Pack Of 6) [Currently Out Of Stock, Will Update Soon]

best ping pong ball XuShaoFa

XuShaoFa prides itself on an innovative manufacturing process. Most production methods operate by combining two sides of a ball. As a result, the product ends up with a seam that can contribute to how the ball plays.

To get around this, XuShaoFa uses an exclusive system to manufacture its product as a single unit. As a result, they don’t have seams. Moreover, the balls have excellent consistency in terms of roundness, thickness, and weight.

However, this process hasn’t received universal acclaim. Some players have complained of a mid-air wobble. Also, the balls do wear out quicker than some over time. Yet when considering the price, many players are happy to choose XuShaoFa balls over bigger brands such as Nittaku and Butterfly. They are far cheaper coming in at around half of the cost. They provide an excellent balance between quality and price.

XuShaoFa 3-star premium 40+ balls are hard, though not quite at the level of the Nittaku products. Given this fact, expect a high-speed performance and excellent bounce.

Pros:

  • Seamless
  • Competitively priced
  • Reliable roundness, thickness, and weight
  • Excellent bounce

Cons:

  • Not quite built to the level of the top balls
  • Air wobble noted among players

#4. Sanwei ABS 1-Star Training (Pack Of 100)

best ping pong ball Sanwei

Sanwei training balls, as the name suggests, are made for training, not competitive play. As such, they only meet the 1-star category and are therefore significantly lower in price than the premium products that appear elsewhere on this list. Keep that in mind if you are on a budget.

That said, if you’re looking for a good quality training ball, this provides an excellent option. You can use them when training with a partner, or when using a table tennis robot. In fact, given the cost and its broad uses, Sanwei training balls probably represent one of the best price values on the market

They also seem to play rather well for 1-star balls, with an admirable bounce, roundness, and surface consistency. Also, for a training product, the durability is sound.

One thing to note is that they produce white dust when hit. This can often attach to the paddle — occasionally affecting the player’s ability to produce spin. To avoid this, try cleaning your rubbers and wiping them during play as needed.

Pros:

  • Super value for money
  • Great bounce, roundness, and surface consistency
  • Comes with a large box for storage and transportation

Cons:

  • Has a 1-star rating
  • Can leave ball residue on your bat

#5. Butterfly A40+ 3-Star (Pack Of 3) [Currently Out Of Stock, Will Update Soon]

best ping pong ball Butterfly

The Butterfly A40+ 3-Star is softer than many of its competitors on this list. As a result, it might be hard to generate the highest speed levels with this product. If you want a harder ball, you should look elsewhere. 

The Butterfly’s A40+ has received credit for its celluloid-like feel. While it doesn’t reach the top speeds of other models, it has excellent spin

Looking at the downside, some players have complained about durability and manufacturing consistency. Occasionally, you’ll find an unround ball in a pack. As with the Butterfly G40+ product, this ball has a distinctive sound that some players dislike.

Pros:

  • Top ball manufacturer
  • Used in major events
  • Competitively priced
  • Celluloid-like feel
  • Excellent spin

Cons:

  • Some manufacturing inconsistencies
  • Distinctive sound that is not to the liking of all players

#6. Nittaku 3-Star Nexcel 40+ (Pack Of 12)

best ping pong ball Nittaku

When we talked about the Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+, we noted that the product only came in white. Here, however, we have a choice to choose a different color. The Nittaku 3-Star Nexcel 40+ ball is marketed as the first orange 3-Star poly ball that has received ITTF approval

This may seem like a mere cosmetic upgrade. Sure, some people might prefer orange to white…but how does that impact your game? Well, in areas with poor lighting or white backdrops orange balls present a distinct advantage. In these scenarios, they are far easier to track and provide a much better experience. I’d say having at least one pack of orange balls in your bag is a must for serious players.

Beyond this, the Nexcel ball provides stellar quantities that you would expect from a market-leading brand. You’ll get excellent consistency and roundness — essential qualities for balls you will use in match play. 

This product is one of the hardest on the market. As a result, it can reach the highest speed levels. 

Pros:

  • Top ball manufacturer
  • First approved orange 3-star ITTF plastic ball
  • Excellent consistency and roundness

Cons:

  • A little expensive

#7. PRO SPIN 3-Star (Pack of 12)

best ping pong ball Pro-Spin

This PRO SPIN product doesn’t come with the official ITTF sanction. Therefore, they aren’t approved for tournament use and PRO SPIN does not charge a premium price. However, the company has produced the balls to remain compliant with ITTF standards in both weight and size.

This means they arguably provide one of the best ways of getting tournament-quality balls at a cheap price tag. This means you can save your more expensive balls for matches that require ITTF approval. 

Players speak highly of the ball’s durability and PRO SPIN offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with every sale. This should offer you a great deal of confidence when purchasing their balls.  

Pros:

  • Produced to meet ITTF requirements
  • Super value for money
  • 100% satisfaction with every sale

Cons:

  • Relatively unknown manufacturer
  • Not ITTF approved
  • Not ideal for experienced players

#8. Kevenz 3-Star (Pack of 60)

best ping pong ball Kevenz

Here’s another versatile, lower-cost option. In fact, they are cheaper than the rest of the balls on this list by a landslide. You get 60 in a packet which is a hell of a lot! If you plan to use them on multi-ball training perhaps consider getting a ball collector to speed up the pickup process.

Kevenz 3-Star balls are available in both white and orange and have smooth seams.

You might not get the performance you’d expect from the higher-end models, but this brand has built a solid reputation. Players respond well to its consistent shape, its bounce, and its playability. They also praise its durability, especially for a model usually purchased in bulk. The outstanding reviews speak for themselves

Tournament-level players might want something more elaborate. But for amateur players – even those with high skill levels – these work remarkably well. Considering the cheap investment, they are definitely worth trying. Clubs, in particular, may find them the most alluring. If they don’t meet the needs of more selective players, they can instead get great use from players at the beginner or intermediate level.

Pros:

  • Provides the best value for money
  • Decent bounce and consistency
  • 5-star reviews from buyers

Cons:

  • Relatively unknown manufacturer
  • Not ideal for experienced players
  • Not ITTF approved

FAQs

What Ping Pong Balls Do Pros Use?

Unsurprisingly, pros have the strictest of requirements when it comes to balls. They need top-quality products even during training sessions. This means they will steer clear of smaller less established brands. However, they won’t just use 3-star balls, many will incorporate training balls too. Top brands such as Butterfly, Nittaku, Stiga, and JOOLA are just a few examples of the suppliers of balls for table tennis athletes. 

What Color Balls Are Accepted for International Tournaments?

Most ping pong balls at international competitions are white. Currently, international table tennis rules only allow two ball colors; white and orange. Some people prefer orange because it is easier to see. You may find other eye-catching ball colors such as pink and blue available for purchase but these will never feature in sanctioned events. 

What is the Official Ping Pong Ball?

There is no official ping pong ball in table tennis. Any 40+ ball holding an ITTF certification is eligible for use at ITTF events. However, you could consider certain balls more official than others. This is because organizers choose brands as official suppliers for select competitions. For instance, Butterfly was recently selected as the official sponsor for the ITTF 2021 World Youth Championships. So one could argue their latest 3-Star R40+ ball is the official ping pong ball.

However, to many, the Nittaku Premium 40+ is the de facto official ping pong ball. It is perhaps the common ball at major tournaments. Nittaku were similarly popular before the ball change as well where many saw their celluloid ball as the best in the world.

You will also find that at all major events such as the Olympics, celluloid balls are no longer present. All tournaments use the newer plastic balls. 

Is There a Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Ping Pong Balls?

Yes, and this is usually in regards to weight. Playing outdoors means you have to compete with the wind and normal balls fly a little unexpectedly with a slight breeze. Outdoor balls seek to mitigate this. They are noticeably heavier and are also more resistant to outdoor conditions.

The JOOLA Outdoor ball is such an example. It is 41% heavier than regular balls. Great for the outdoors, but we wouldn’t recommend them for indoor play. 

How Are Ping Pong Balls Made?

If you would like to know how manufacturers make table tennis balls watch this exciting video by Pingsider which takes us inside a DHS factory.

 

Conclusion: Which Ones Should You Buy?

How do you decide which ball makes the most sense for you? A lot depends on your situation.

At the higher end, you may be seeking elite tournament glory. But most people have modest ambitions. You might simply hope to develop a more competitive game —aiming to overcome your friends or prevail in your local bar league. 

Try to consider your aims and skill level when purchasing table tennis balls. You aren’t necessarily looking for the best option; you’re looking for the best option for you.

That said, taking the standards of table tennis balls into account, we’ve arrived at our choice for the best ping pong ball. From our point of view, the Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ represents the top ball on the market. 

The product earns this distinction thanks to its overall quality. It also receives points because of its standing within the highest ranks of the sport. The Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ has ITTF endorsement, a flawless reputation, and is a consistent, high-functioning product. It ticks all of the boxes for players of all levels.

However, you might have other priorities in mind. If you are looking for a low-cost option for match-play we recommend XuShaoFa 3-Star Premium 40+ balls. They provide better value for money. And for the ultimate cost to quality ratio, we recommend Kevenz 3-Star balls. They are far from the top of the line, but incredibly cheap. 

best ping pong ball NittakuCHECK CURRENT PRICE