If you are a child or a noob, you may just go to a sports shop and ask for any good table tennis ball without providing any specifications or checking much. However, if you are not, and you are actually serious about the game, then you will do much more when buying ping pong balls. Apparently, the ping pong balls highly affect how well you play. Yes, it is not just your swing and ping pong paddle that matters, but the quality and nature of the ball play an important role in how you play as well.
You will find various kinds and sizes of ping pong balls available and when you actually begin to know what each type does, you will be realizing choosing is not as easy as you thought it would be. However, once you find this out, you must find the best ping pong balls for you as well. And, in order to help you do that we will tell you about everything you need to know about the ping pong balls and also introduce you to the best available. Table Tennis balls were not actually very popular even in the 19th century for various reasons, especially, their build. So, they have gone through an evolution over time and it is best if you know their history first.
The History of Ping Pong Balls
The best ping pong balls will not and have not reached anyone’s hand without any efforts. In fact, these balls have been created by a lot of thoughts, inventions, and hard work. Before the 19th century, ping pong balls were not that famous and table tennis was not popular either. And, that is only because of the balls, yes. During the 19th-century celluloid, ping pong balls were made and they gained popularity very soon. For the whole of the 19th century, celluloid balls were the only ping pong balls used for ITTF tournaments and any other purpose. There were only a very rare few plastic balls manufactured and they were not even used much because of their inefficiency and quality.
However, during the 21st-century plastic balls started gaining popularity more and more. At first, people avoided it mainly because of the unsatisfying spin and bounce they had but with time, these balls improved. So, in 2014 the ITTF declared that only plastic ping pong balls will be used in the tournaments and worked more towards making these balls popular. The reason is, apparently, sustainability – because the process of manufacturing celluloid ping pong balls actually harms the environment. Although both plastic and celluloid balls are used now, plastic ones are encouraged more. Now, Poly and Abs plastic balls are very popular.
Another change that happened was in the size of the balls. While the previous balls usually had a diameter of 38mm, ITTF declared that the standard for the tournament balls is to be 40mm. This is, apparently, because the larger balls have slower speeds and are clearer for the view, therefore, attracts more rallies.
Seamless and Seamed Ping Pong Balls
When you are looking for plastic balls, you will come across two types of it- seamed and seamless. You have to decide which one you like more based on the characteristics of each.
1. Seamless Balls:
These balls are just perfect spheres with no other parts. You will notice that these balls bounce really high, make a lot of noise and lacks in spin. However, they are getting improved with time and many players enjoy playing with these.
2. Seamed Balls:
These balls are also spherical but they have two halves joined together with a visible seam in the middle. In contrast to seamless balls, they bounce less and makes less noise. Although they provide better spin than seamless balls, they are not the best in this aspect either.
Best Table Tennis Balls at a Glance
Reviews of the Best Ping Pong Balls
1. Nittaku 3-Star PREMIUM 40+ Table Tennis Plastic Balls
The best ping pong balls you will ever find for the money and the price is undoubtedly the Nittaku 3-star premium ping pong balls. Apparently, it maintains its rating as a three-star ball with its super durable and high-quality build. It is made from poly plastic and is seamed. However, many customers noticed the ball actually has the seam protruding out like a bump. This is something no one will like.
Apart from that, the ball provides a really nice consistent bounce much like the celluloid ones. Moreover, the spin and control of the ball is very delighting as well, something you do not expect from a plastic ball. However, you might have to play with it for a while to get used to the feeling it provides. You can play with it for as many times as you want and as roughly as you want and it won’t break at all.
- Very durable and high-quality three start balls.
- Provides consistent bounce.
- Good spin and control.
- Great for professional tournaments.
- Does not break your bank.
- The seam seems to be protruding out like a bump.
- May send damaged balls.
2. Stiga 3 Star Ping Pong Balls
This is another set of three-star ping pong balls that are a great choice for tournaments. First of all, the regulation size and the color orange enable them to be used for any tournament. Secondly, the balls provide a better bounce, spin, and control. Also, you definitely have the Stiga brand name to assure you of the quality. You can hit the balls hard for a number of times and the balls won’t show a scratch. That’s how strong a three-star ball ought to be.
On the other hand, however, although it performs great, many customers found that the balls are too soft and slow for being a three-star ball. Apparently, the bounce is not as high as that of a three-star either and they weigh much lighter. Therefore, if you want to play with these balls in a tournament, it will surely stand the abuse and provide you with good control, spin and bounce. However, it should match your style as well.
- Extremely strong and durable three-star ball.
- Meets the requirement for tournaments.
- Provides a good bounce, spin and also control.
- May feel too soft and light for a three-star.
- A bit expensive.
3. Joola 40 mm 3-star Table Tennis Training Balls
Joola is another well-known brand that sells table tennis products and you can only expect the best quality ping pong balls from them. Apparently, their three-star ping pong balls are not the best for professionals who look for speed but are good for the serious players who want a decent bounce, speed, and control along with spin. However, one thing you will notice is that the orange balls are a bit heavier and faster than the white ones.
While these balls last a long time and do not get crushed easily usually, a few customers complained still complained about its durability. One customer complained that it actually deflated due to weather conditions and a few complained that the ball broke at the seam way too easily. However, if you like the feel and quality of it, these balls are great for the price you get it at.
- A good consistent bounce provided by the celluloid ball.
- Great for the price.
- Lasts long.
- Good feel, spin, and control.
- May crack at the seam.
- May deflate due to temperature.
4. Butterfly 3 Star Table Tennis Balls
If you are looking for the bounce that celluloid balls give from the plastic ones then this is a ball you can try! Apparently, it has a really uniform build which makes its bounces very consistent. Furthermore, you can play with it for quite a while because it is very durable. Although a customer complained about it cracking such instances are rare. Apart from that, the seam seems to be too prominent when you touch it and this is something many do not like.
This is a good ball for the beginners at its price point. The spin and speed are decent too.
- Provides a good and consistent bounce.
- Quite durable.
- Affordable price.
- Might crack.
- The seam can be felt by hand.
5. Halex Fusion 3-Star Table Tennis Balls
Looking for a three-star ball that will stay strong throughout your intense practice sessions? Then, you can look at the Halex Fusion set resting at a reasonable price point. In fact, you will enjoy using this ball for its great grip and the feel you get when it touches your paddle. The bounce, spin, and control on it are all decent.
However, it might seem a bit large to some and thus a bit slow too. Apart from that, always choose the orange color as the white gets harder to find when dirty.
- Quite durable for rigorous practice.
- Orange color has good visibility.
- Reasonably priced.
- Good feel.
- Might be a bit large and thus slow.
6. Xushaofa 40+ Seamless Poly Table Tennis Balls
If you do not deal with uncertainty well then you can pay a bit extra to get these Xushaofa balls. The reason? Because it gives you complete control over the landing of the balls. In fact, it goes exactly where you want it to go, all with a very good spin and speed. Therefore, you will definitely improve your skills with these high-quality poly-balls.
However, you cannot be certain if you will get the best products as the quality consistency is often not there. A few customers complained of receiving a bad batch which breaks too soon and performs badly as well. But, if you receive right, then you will definitely love it.
- Lands where intended to land
- Good spin, feel and speed.
- Quite durable.
- Good quality build.
- A bit pricey.
- Chances of receiving a bad batch.
7. Kevenz Ping Pong Balls Review
These are balls that are best when used for multi-ball training and table tennis robots. In fact, it is not great for professionals or tournaments but provides a great service in the rigorous training with their durability. The balls have bounce but they are not that consistent or high.
Apart from that, although they are made in China, you can expect good quality from them but not all balls are of the same quality and shape or size apparently. Customers even found missing balls.
- Great for multi-ball training and robots.
- Durable for rigorous sessions.
- Great value for the price.
- Might damage the table.
- Not enough bounce.
- Conformance quality absent.
8. MAPOL 3-Star Advanced Ping Pong Balls
If you like a good spin, a slow pace and want to use the ping pong balls for non-professional use then the MAPOL three-star balls are for you. Apparently, they provide a good enough bounce but it is not always consistent. Apart from that, the sphere may not be perfectly round as the balls wobble a bit when spun on a plane surface.
However, it does a decent job for rigorous practice with its durability and will let you aim and hit accurately. But, I would not recommend it for a tournament and professional usage. You might find it a bit heavy to do fast and long shots with.
- Has a good spin.
- Great for slow pace playing.
- Durable enough to stand abuse.
- Reasonable price.
- Not perfectly round.
- A bit heavy.
9. 144 Beer Pong Balls
These are ping pong balls that people generally use for all other purposes except table tennis. Apparently, you can put it under the novelty balls rating as these are super soft plastic balls and very light too. In fact, you can use it to teach your kids how to play ping pong or some other purpose that does not involve serious table tennis.
They are washable so you can keep them looking new for various occasions against and again. Furthermore, they are perfectly round and looks like eggs. However,r for the price and material, you cannot expect them to be tough against abuse.
- Great choice for just fun times.
- Quite affordable.
- Looks new after each wash.
- Versatile usage.
- Very soft and light.
- Not durable.
- Not for serious table tennis.
10. TADICK Beer Ping Pong Balls
For table tennis, these balls are not great, but for games like beer pong and other decorative purposes, these are better than expected. Apparently, the look of this ball might make you think that they are too light and soft to be used. However, these balls have a good thickness and density to them which provides them with a nice bounce.
Apart from that, the colors are very attractive and lively. Thus, these balls are a great choice for decorative purposes and also are a good toy for pets.
- A great option for beer pong, decoration, and other such games.
- Have a good thickness to them and a good bounce.
- Affordable and attractive.
- Not for heavy-duty usage like in table tennis.
11. Eastpoint Ping Pong Balls
If you are on a budget and are looking for ping pong balls to play table tennis during leisure then the Eastpoint Ping pong balls can help you. These are insanely cheap but you can expect just the performance and quality you expect at such a price. Apparently, they have slightly less bounce than other balls and are a bit larger too. Therefore, you can expect them to go slow.
Apart from that, the color is very lively and attractive. Therefore, the balls have good visibility and will not get lost that easily.
- Cheap in price.
- Good for casual table tennis matches.
- Attractive color and good visibility.
- Decent bounce.
- Not the most durable.
- Not for professional or serious table tennis games.
Buying Guide for the Best Ping Pong Balls
You do not have a lot of parts to consider when you are buying ping pong balls. However, you do have a few crucial things to consider which are:
1. The Material that Makes the Ball
As you already know ping pong balls are made of celluloid or plastic. Although celluloid balls are easier and feel better to play with, since plastic is more welcomed by ITTF, we suggest you play with plastic balls more. When you are looking for plastic balls, you will find that there are more of them that disappoints than the ones that satisfy. So, you will have to look harder and preferably avoid Chinese balls as they are not very durable. You can choose poly or ABS plastic balls as they provide great value and playability.
The celluloid balls are actually more durable, have greater speed and better spin. On the other hand, plastic balls because of their build and larger size, are slower, have less spin and feel different too.
2. The Size
If you are playing for fun, you will even find ping pong balls that are smaller for the children. However, if you are practicing for tournaments, you must buy the standard or regulation size which is a diameter of 40 mm. Apparently, plastic balls are a bit larger so they will be marked 40+ while celluloid balls are usually smaller but you will find ones with a 40mm mark.
What you should know is that, the larger the ball, the slower it will be and the lesser spin it will have. But, if you are playing tournaments, this knowledge makes no difference.
3. The Color
Again, if you are playing for fun then you can choose from a myriad of colorful ping pong balls. If you are not then you have to choose between white and orange that too in the matte version, as they are the only colors accepted in tournaments, with white being predominant.
4. The Rating
You will actually find five different types of balls based on which level you are in. In fact, you should compare your purpose with the purpose of the rating of the ball to choose. So, these are:
- Fun or Novelty Balls: They have no specifications whatsoever. In fact, you will find them available in various colors and sizes but the twist is that they are not durable. You can use them in tournaments but they will need to be 40mm in diameter and 2.7 gm in weight in white or orange.
- Practice Balls: You can buy these balls in bulk and they are just a bit more durable than the fun balls. Apart from that, they are also soft like the fun balls and can be used in tournaments if they meet the ITTF specifications (But, not recommended).
- One-Star Balls: They are more durable than the practice balls and are suitable for being used by many players like at a school or club. You can use them for tournaments too as long as they have the correct size, weight, and color but it will not provide you with good results.
- Two-Star Balls: If you are someone very serious about this game and practice to develop your skills constantly then the two star balls are what you need for your sessions. They are more durable and give you various scopes to improve. You can use them for tournaments if they have the right specifications.
- Three-Star Balls: These are the balls that ITTF uses in its tournament so you can call them the professional level balls. They are of the best quality and the most durable but will cost more as well.
5. The Speed
You will want more speed when you play from a ball. However, the larger the balls are, the slower they get. Therefore, plastic balls are much slower than celluloid balls mainly because of their size.
6. The Spin
The heavier the spin, the better control you will have over the ball and the easier it will be to return. However, plastic balls naturally provide less spin than celluloid ones. Moreover, the seamless ones are the worst in case of the spin the provide while the seamed ones offer a decent spin. You will have to consider the spin when the ball hits the paddle and also how much it loses while on the flight.
7. The Bounce
You neither want a bounce too high nor a bounce too low. Apparently, seamless balls provide the highest bounces while the celluloid balls provide a decent bounce and the seamed balls provide the lowest ones. Which suits your style depends on you.
8. The Price
Apparently, you will find that the plastic balls cost more than the celluloid ones. However, the cost of the seamed balls is lower than the others. How much you want to spend depends on your level of skill and purpose. But, make sure you do not spend too much on low-quality balls and too low for too low-quality ones. Maintain an average distance from both ends.
Benefits of Buying the Perfect Ping Pong Balls
The benefits you will enjoy buying the best table tennis balls available are:
- You will definitely improve your table tennis skills with the best balls in your hands and against your opponents. Only a good ping pong table and good paddle isn’t enough!
- Ping pong balls can be used for other games and you can increase your bonds with people by engaging in various games using ping pong balls.
- They make a good component for art projects as well!
How to Extend the Life of a Ping Pong Ball?
You cannot exactly extend the lifetime but you sure can use it for as long as it is supposed to be in service. The key to keeping it durable is to not do anything that would harm it. For example, keep it out of direct sunlight, excess heat or other such things that may damage the ball. Furthermore, handle it with care so that you do not step on it accidentally. The ball is bound to crack under such pressure.
The best ping pong balls are not only best for table tennis games but can also be versatile enough to serve other similar purposes. However, the wrong and bad ping pong balls can not only ruin your skills but destroy your will to play table tennis as well. Therefore, choosing the right ping pong balls for yourself is crucial when you take a sport seriously (which we always do!). However, the best things do not come without efforts so with all the new found knowledge, be vigilant and consider all the important factors.