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How to Choose and Buy Best Ping Pong Balls?

It is essential to choose the best ping pong balls if you are serious about playing this sport. You can’t play the game without having ping pong ball.

Every accessory used in ping pong game affects the overall game. Different accessories give different experiences of the game. Professional players can be very fussy in their choice of accessories and may take time to examine accessories up to the last degree, gram and inch.

 It is because professional players understand the different accessory dimensions add to the game of ping pong. Beginners do not need to be particular. They may even find more straightforward accessories to serve them better and allow them to get accustomed to the game. The ball is an essential part of the ping pong game.

What is the Diameter of a Ping Pong Ball?

The standard dimensions of a ping pong ball are 40-mm size. The visible difference between balls is the shell thickness. Even though most of the balls are good quality, reputable manufacturers make premium quality balls that can hold up against the intense competition.

Circumference of a ping pong ball in:

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

Do ping pong balls come in different sizes?

In a professional tournament, the ball must have specific dimensions. The current rules state that the ball must be 40mm in diameter. Preciously the ball was 38mm.

The new dimensions slowed down the ball and made it visible to the TV audience. The market has many balls that come in different sizes. Some people prefer variation in sizes because it makes the game more dynamic. It also allows a beginner to train with a slower ball until he can master the game.

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 ball is known as plastic ball, and some are calling it as 40+ ball or poly ball.

These balls are more significant than the 40mm celluloid balls, and that’s why some people call them 40+ balls.

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 level 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 wear off very quickly.

Star Rating of the Balls

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

Some manufacturers come out with 4-star and 5-star balls, but they are not in reality rated above 3-star. According to ITTF, 3-star is the highest and most consistent quality.

3-star:

  • The weight is between 2.53 and 2.64g.
  • The roundness error is less than 0.15mm.
  • The hardness value is less than 0.80mm.

2-star:

  • The weight is between 2.40 and 2.53g.
  • The roundness error is less than 0.25mm.
  • The hardness value is less than 0.90mm.

1-star:

  • The weight is between 2.35 and 2.63g.
  • The roundness error is less than 0.25mm.
  • The hardness value is 1.10mm.

Desc1-star2-star3-star

Purpose For practice For training For tournament

Weight 2.35 – 2.63g 2.40 – 2.53g 2.64 – 2.53g

Roundness Error < 0.25mm < 0.25mm < 0.15mm

Hardness Value 1.10mm 0.90mm 0.80mm

What Is The Ping Pong Ball Made Of?

Previously the ping pong ball was made of rubber covered with cloth. The material was gradually replaced by celluloid.

However, the celluloid production is declining and replaced by the non-celluloid ball made of poly-plastic material. It is officially Olympic table tennis balls that ITTF approves.

How To Choose For 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 that ball straight away. That ball will often have a flat spot around the seam area.

table tennis ball seam

The second thing to look for is the ball’s firmness. Try press the ball to feel the level of firmness. If the ball caves in, it may not be good quality. With this trainer ball, you can see that the same amount of pressure and the ball does not budge.

 The 3-star ball does not cave.

How much pressure is put on a ball?

If you grab your thumb and push quite firmly so that you are going into the bone, that is the amount of pressure that you are looking for the ball to withstand.

The third thing to look for is the roundness of the ball. Now by just taking a ball in your hand, it is often quite challenging to see that it is perfectly round. The best way to do it is to spin the ball with your hand.

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

Air Filled with Oxygen

The ball is air-filled with oxygen to get the required weight. Other materials used for filling the ball would make it heavier. A heavy ball would slow down the game and make it boring. 

According to experts, oxygen allows the ball to bounce better and gives the ball’s required dimensions the proper weight. The ball is made of celluloid an inexpensive plastic. Celluloid gives the unique ivory white color of the ball.

The ball’s finish is made such that it can grip the racquet better. It enables the player to create a spin by swerving the bat in one direction or the other depending on the kind of spin he wants for the ball. This technique is used to deliver spectacular shots and spins.

Colored Accepted for International Tournaments

Most ping pong balls are yellow. International table tennis rules allow for two colors only during the game; white and yellow. Many people prefer yellow because it is visible against any table color. In an official match, yellow or white may be used depending on the color of the tabletop.

There is currently one famous ball called XuShaoFa. It is created with innovative technology to make seamless plastic balls. You may want to know more about this ball which can be a very quality ball for you to play with.

Difference Between Plastic Ball With Seam, Seamless and Celluloid Ball

Ping pong balls are made of celluloid or plastic substances like Polyethylene Terephthalate and are more air resistant.

Bounce

The bounce of the balls:

  • Celluloid: 12.0cm
  • Plastic (with seam): 11.5cm
  • Plastic(seamless): 14.5cm

The strongest rebound ability is made of seamless plastic from the bounce experiment results, followed by the celluloid table tennis. The least bounce is the plastic ball with seam.

The seamless ball is more uniform, and the energy loss during the stress process is also smaller. Therefore, it can also produce a more substantial rebound.

Simultaneously, the new plastic ball with the seam has a bigger size, impacting the ball’s bounce, which makes it not bounce as high as the celluloid ball.

However, the difference between the two is only apparent after increasing the force conditions.

Sound

An experiment carried out by throwing the ball and let it fall vertically. The plastic balls’ sound either with the seamless is stronger than the celluloid ball in the quiet environment.

The plastic ball has the slowest sound attenuation, which means this ball has the longest vocalization time, followed by the plastic ball with seam. In contrast, the sound of traditional celluloid ball is short and concentrated.

Vibration

The transformation of the vibration causes a change in the feel of hitting the ball. After all, hitting the ball sends it to the player through vibration. Therefore, the ball’s vibration intensity is directly related to the feel in the player’s hand.

  • Celluloid: 61.97
  • Plastic (with seam): 61.98
  • Plastic(seamless): 63.77

Through the vibration test after using the vibration measuring instrument, the average value was found. The experiment’s highest vibration intensity was the seamless plastic ball, followed by the plastic with seam. The celluloid ball has the smallest vibration intensity.

The difference in the vibration amplitude between the plastic ball and the celluloid ball is almost negligible.

Therefore, a new player using it may feel the vibration of the seamless ball. However, it is difficult for the player to feel the pulse at the plastic ball’s human perception level with seam and the celluloid ball.

Plastic and Celluloid Table Tennis Balls Comparison Video

This video shows the test of both plastic and celluloid ball by the Preston Table Tennis Association. the major test includes:

  1. Quality, packaging, and appearance.
  2. Seam, the surface of the ball and hardness.
  3. Luminance and color.
  4. Bounce and conformity.
  5. Veer – A measurement of the roundness of the ball.
  6. Size and sphericity.
  7. Weight conformity and regularity.

How it’s made – Nittaku Table Tennis Ball

If you would like to know how a table tennis ball is made, you can watch this exciting video from Nittaku that recorded the whole process for you.

Where Can You Get Ping Pong Balls?

If you want to buy the best table tennis balls but have no idea which one is the right ball for you. You may read the brief recommendation and reviews of the top 4 manufacturers from Butterfly, Stiga, Nittaku, and Joola. Then make your comparison to figure out which balls you want to have.

Butterfly ITTF Approved 3-Star 40mm.

Some people tend to wonder why Butterfly balls are more expensive compared to other brands. Nevertheless, it is undeniably a high-quality ball, that is very durable and nearly flawless.

Butterfly 3-Star 40mm ping pong ball
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You will find this is a very lively table tennis ball. The ball can provide you with highly consistent bounce and speed. The big butterfly logo embedded on the ball lets you read the spin easily. You can have an effortless control for you to play a loop and counterloop rally.

The only drawback is the ball can easily crack if it hits a sharp edge.

STIGA 3-Star

Stiga 3-Star table tennis balls are made with the specifications for USA table tennis. 3-Star means superior quality and has been approved for official play in tournaments and competitive play.

It promises to provide consistent bounce, excellence spin, and more extended volleys. This particular pack includes six official balls. They are reasonably excellent for both beginners and advanced players.

stiga ping pong balls

Nittaku Premium 3-Star Balls

When buying the Nittaku balls, you need to check if the ball is made in Japan. To find out, check if the balls have the word “PREMIUM” coated in blue color below the Nittaku logo.
If you are buying online, check if the package includes the “Premium” word. Some listed balls for sales may indicate 3-star, but they will not be the best quality if they don’t show the “Premium” word.

Nittaku Premium-3-Star Balls
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JOOLA Rossi 3-Star

This ball is of tournament standard. It offers a player with consistent and even bounce without any wobble. You can have the feel of the right weight and control you need when playing with it. They are durable and as long as the kids don’t get hold of them carelessly.

Joola ping pong ball
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Killerspin 2 Star Practice Ping Pong Balls

This balls are cheap, light in weight, and bounce irregularly. They are not suitable for table tennis training. Most people buy them in huge volumes for kid’s artwork or decorating stuff for Halloween or Christmas.
The balls are easy to cut and put accessories inside. You can use a sharp razor knife and slip a small LED inside the ball. If you need to put the balls over Christmas lights, this is the ideal accessories for carrying out the task.

generic balls
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XuShaoFa

xushaofa ball

It is about a brand that related to the innovative seamless ping pong balls that were invented by the company. This can be said to be one of the best ping pong balls that you can have. You may read more about this XushaoFa ball.

Best Ping Pong Balls

Best Table Tennis Ball Reviews

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

Nittaku has one of the highest reputations in the ping-pong world. In keeping with that brand recognition, 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. 

One of the few balls made outside of China, this product is created at Nittaku’s facility in Japan. This product only comes in white and can have powder on them when the package is first opened.

A surprising amount of research and development stands behind the ball. 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.

The Nittaku Premium model has wide acceptance at the highest levels of the sport. It is used at a host of major events throughout the world. The product has been used at such competitions as the 2017 World Championships and the 2016 Tokyo Open.

The product also has a series of high-level endorsements. For instance, USA Table Tennis recognizes the Nittaku Premium model as its official ball. It has ITTF approval and can be used for all events sanctioned by that body.

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

The Butterfly G40+ is another product with wide recognition. Made in Germany, it has received ITTF approval. It was used at such events as the ITTF World Cadet Challenge.

This ball comes with a high gloss, 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 and bounce. The product also displays high consistency in terms of roundness and bounce. It is considered a medium-hard product.

There have been complaints about durability. The logo on the G40+ model tends to wear down. Behind this cosmetic issue, the ball itself is prone to cracking at times. The Butterfly G40+ also produces a distinctive sound – a high-pitched noise that some players find annoying.

#3. XuShaoFa 3 Star Premium 40+ (Pack Of 12)

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, which 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 over time.

This is a relatively hard product, though not quite at the level of the Nittaku products. Given this fact, expect a high-speed performance and excellent bounce.

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

These products aren’t made for competitive play. The training product comes at a significantly lower price point than the premium products that appear elsewhere on this list. Keep that in mind as you consider this product.

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

The product offers similar play to a 3-star product, with comparable bounce, roundness, and surface consistency. Also, for a training product, the durability is sound.

The product does produce white dust when hit. This can often attach to a paddle – occasionally affecting the player’s ability to produce spin. To avoid this, try cleaning the product and wiping them during play as needed.

#5. Butterfly A40+ 3 Star (Pack Of 12)

This ball 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 product, 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.

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

When we talked about the Nittaku 3 Star Premium 40+, we noted that the product only came in white. Here, we have a choice in color. The Nittaku 3-Star Nexcel 40+ product is marketed as the first orange 3-Star poly balls that have 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? It does create some differences. In certain lighting, the orange balls are easier to track, making for a better experience.

Beyond this, this product gets many of the high marks offered to all Nittaku products. As with all other balls made under the same brand, the 3-Star Nexcel 40+ gets produced in Japan. You’ll get excellent consistency and durability as well.

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

#7. PRO SPIN 3-Star

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

This seamless product comes in both orange and white. It also comes at a lower price point than some of the premium products listed here. As a result, they make a good compromise between the top-end choices and a training product.

Players speak highly of the product’s durability. This gets further credence by the company’s warranty. 

#8. Kevenz 3-Star

Here’s another versatile, lower-cost option. The Kevenze product is available in both white and orange. They are manufactured with smooth seams.

You might not get the performance you’d expect from the higher-end models, but this brand has 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.

Tournament-level players might want something more elaborate. But for amateur players – even those with high skill levels – these work remarkably well.

Conclusion: Which Ones Should You Buy?

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

Ping pong has a wide following. That comes largely from its versatility as an activity. You can enjoy the game using diverse styles. At the same time, players of all skill levels can have fun. 

At the top end, you can achieve blinding speed and pinpoint accuracy, allowing you to chase tournament glory. But most people have more modest ambitions. You might hope to develop a highly competitive game, meant to beat your friends or prevail in your local bar league. Or you can just hit a few balls around for recreation.

Take that diversity of experience into account as you review your ball options. You aren’t necessarily looking for the best option; you’re looking for the best option for you.

That said, there are standards you can use to rate these products. Taking these into account, we’ve arrived at our choice for the industry standard. 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 the ITTF endorsement, a flawless reputation, and is a consistent, high-functioning product. It gives you all the performance you’ll ever need.

However, you might have other priorities in mind. That’s why we listed additional products on this list. Like almost any product, selecting a ping pong ball comes down to context and personal choice.

You might be looking for a lower-cost option. After all, not everyone is willing to pay more than $3 a ball for ping pong. Or you might prefer a seamless option. Or perhaps one of the orange options might make more sense for the lighting in your basement.

As we’ve pointed out in our reviews, players can get very particular when it comes to their tools of choice. Some reject a ball because of its sound, because of its speed, because of its feel, or because of small manufacturing differences.

Don’t be afraid of these pet peeves. To decide the best ball for your type of play, feel free to test some of these top brands on your own. We’ve created this guide to give you a good idea of what to look for. Use it to inform your selections and find the perfect product for you.