5 Basic Types of Table Tennis Equipment to Play at Home

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This is a discussion about the criteria for selecting your pieces of ping pong equipment. Having a good understanding of the good equipment of table tennis will help you to choose the right one and improve your ping pong skills. 

Ping pong ball

Ping pong ball is divided into two types for competition or training purposes. Currently, on the market, there are many brands for table tennis balls. Nittaku (Japan) and Xushaofa (China) are two worldwide tennis table ball brands, their products are used both in professional competition and recreational activities for its imperishable and excellent bounce features.

Nittaku 3-star PREMIUM 40+ Table Tennis Ball

Nittaku 3-star PREMIUM 40+ Table Tennis Ball

Xushaofa 40+ Seamless Poly Table Tennis Balls – 3 Star

Xushaofa 40+ Seamless Poly Table Tennis Balls – 3 Star

You may ask yourself, what are the criteria for a ping pong ball? What are the acceptable weight, diameter, and its components? Therefore, I will cover you with all the facts about the ping pong ball, including weight, diameter, component, and color.

Weight

The official weight of a ping pong ball should be- theoretically – 2.7 grams. In reality, the acceptable range is from 2.6 to 2.77 grams per ball. International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) will choose 24 balls as samples, these samples must weigh between 2.6 to 2.67 grams and there can only be ONE ball out of 24 balls is accepted to be out of the required range.

Diameter

The dimension of a ping pong ball required by ITTF

An official table tennis ball used in competition has a diameter of 40 mm. However, during the manufacturing process, there may be some variations leading to the diameter change, which means that the acceptable range for the diameter of a ping-pong ball is between 40 and 40.5 mm.         

Component

Currently, one ping pong ball is made of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which aims to avoid the flammability of celluloid. In 2014, the new materials were introduced, which led to the considerable advances in plastics and polymers as materials for ping-pong balls. ITTF has issued a policy stating the requirements for a table tennis ball, including weight, size, bounce, veer, hardness, color, sphericity, thickness, and even standard labeling and packaging methods. However, those requirements are not for how a ball should be made. The guidelines of ITTF for crafting always encourage innovation and exploration of new materials.

Colour

The choice of a ball’s color is made based on the table color and its surroundings. For example, a white ball is more visible on the blue or green table than one on a grey table. In conclusion, the criteria for a ball’s color must live up to the rule that it is visible by both players and the referee.

An approved ping-pong ball for professional competitions

An approved ping-pong ball for professional competitions

If you are a beginner and do not know how to choose the right ball for your practice, you should use the information written above about best ping pong balls as your decision making criteria. 

Ping pong table

As mentioned earlier, it is essential to choose the right ping pong ball size because it will affect the way we choose the best ping pong table. In other words, knowing the right size of the ping pong ball plays an important role in making the best decision about buying the right table.

In this part, I will cover you with the criteria made by ITTF about the ping pong table dimensions. Those requirements consist of stats, markings, and material.

Stats

ITTF indicates that an official ping pong table must be a rectangle 2.74 meters long and 1.525 meters wide, which is about 9 x 5 feet per table. The tabletop must be 76 cm above the floor and must be placed entirely on a flat surface. The table can be made of any material resulting in a 23 cm high bounce whenever a standard table tennis ball is dropped from the height of 30 cm.

 

The official ping pong table which is approved by ITTF

The official ping pong table which is approved by ITTF

Markings

A qualified ping pong table must have a uniformly dark color with a white line, 2 cm thick with four edges painted along. A net shall run horizontally across the entire 1.525 meters width of the table, which divides the table into two, equally long ( 1,37 meters length ). The top of the net is 15.25 cm above the playing surface. For doubles ping pong, another additional line is expected to have 3 mm wide and drawn perpendicular to the net, down the center of the table, and divide the table into two 0.76 cm equal half-court.

A ping pong table needs to have a uniformly dark color with a white line

A ping pong table needs to have a uniformly dark color with a white line

Material

The official ping pong table used in competition is made of High-quality Composite Boards, ensuring that whenever an ITTF-qualified ping pong ball is dropped from the height of 30 cm must produce a consistent bounce of 26 cm.

The criteria for a ping pong table for either competitive or recreational purposes are summarised in the table below.

Official Ping Pong Table Size The Recommended Size for Recreational
Dimension
(LxBxH)
2.74m x 1.525m x 0.76m or,
274cm x 152.5cm x 76cm or,
9ft x 5ft x 2.5ft or,
108in x 60in x 30in
84″ x 42″ or even smaller
Thickness 20mm to 25mm 16mm to 20mm
Markings 2cm sideline,
2cm end line,
3mm centerline (for doubles)
Net Dimension Height: 15.25 cm or 6”
Length: 183 cm or 6ft
Post length: 15.25 cm or 6” outside the table
Weight 300 pounds plus
Room Size
(L x B x H)
14m x 7m x 5m 17ft x 9,5ft
Table Material High-Quality Composite Boards
it must produce a uniform bounce of 26cm when a standard ball is dropped on the table from a height of 30cm.
HDF/Fiber Board/MDF

When choosing a ping pong table, keep in mind that this is an indoor activity, so if you want to put this outside, there will be some differences between indoor and outdoor tables.

The main reason for table tennis to be considered an indoor activity mostly is because of the weather. As you know, a ping pong ball is very light, so any kind of wind can have a significant impact on the flight of a ball or shot. And should there be any wet patches on the table surface, the ball will not bounce and thus make the game less interesting and thrilling.

An outdoor ping pong table is quite different from an indoor one

An outdoor ping pong table is quite different from an indoor one

So what are the differences between outdoor and indoor ping pong tables? Firstly, they are quite similar to each other. They have the same width, length, and height. The most notable difference is the material used to make the table tennis top. Indoor one is solid wood, while outdoor one is a mixture of wood and metal, and is finished with a coating to resist the harsh sun, rain, and dust. Outdoor tables tend to have sturdier frames, which will make the total cost a little bit higher. And always remember that outdoor tables can be placed indoor, but vice versa is going to damage your table.

There is also a small difference in the bounce of the ball between indoor and outdoor tables. An outdoor table will absorb some energy of the ball due to its metal/wood surface, which will, in turn, make the ball comes off the table a little slower. But as long as you are playing for fun, this will not be a problem.

As a result, in order to choose the best ping pong table, you must first make up your mind about your goals: What are you trying to accomplish? If you are just playing for fun and relaxation, then I recommend that you should not invest too much in tables, just keep everything simple. If you intend to move forward in table tennis, the best ping pong tables on the market will always be the right choice.

Net

A ping pong table, of course, can’t miss the net. Some facts of the net and some options when choosing it will be discussed in this part. 

A good ping pong net needs to meet some requirements by ITTF

A good ping pong net needs to meet some requirements by ITTF

A typical and standard net must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. 6 feet long
  2. 6 inches high, and that
  3. The top of the net must be the same height along its whole length and
  4. The bottom net must be as close as possible ( without touching ) the playing surface and
  5. The ends of the net must be attached to the supporting posts from top to bottom.

And when talking about the standard, we have to include the official ITTF approved net. Those ITTF qualifications are :

  • The upright post must be a single matt color, and cannot be white or yellow
  • The net must be made of soft dark mesh and have a white or pale yellow top (tape) not more than 15mm high
  • The mesh should be made of spun fiber rather than single filament, and the knots should be firm and regular
  • The mesh should not be less than 7.5 mm square or more than 12.5 mm square               

The net supporting post consists of:

  1. Upright post
  2. Height adjuster
  3. The horizontal part of the nest post should be about 15.25 cm, which means that it must be longer than the horizontal part of the table.
  4. Attaching system (clamp)

Some ping pong tables when bought are attached with a net while some are not. So next I will show you the three types of net that you may want to consider.

  • Permanently affixed: Most outdoor tables are equipped with a net – which can’t be detached. These usually have the same width as the table rather than an exact width of 6 ft.
  • Spring-loaded clip: Some net assemblies use a spring-loaded clip to attach the net to the table. Its strong points are user-friendly and time-efficient.
  • Hand tightened screw clamp: The most widely used clip needs to provide the best stability and adjustment capabilities.

Currently, the best table tennis nets are made of nylon mesh, solid metal, cotton, which aims to ensure its durability. The material may vary, but the quality of the net will always be the same as long as it fulfills the requirements of ITTF.

Ping Pong Rackets

Although called by many names such as racket, paddle, or bat. The official Laws of Table Tennis refers to it as a table tennis racket. Depending on your playstyle, a racket or paddle can vary in size and weight, but the official rules state that the blade must be flat and rigid, and strictly made of at least 85% natural wood. Its standard size is 15cm (6 inches) across and 25 cm (10 inches) long including the handle.

A standard table tennis racket must meet the ITTF requirements of dimension and be made of wood

A standard table tennis racket must meet the ITTF requirements of dimension and be made of wood

The rubber may be of pimpled rubber, with the pimples outward, or may be composed of a sponge layer covered by rubber that may have the pimples pointed inwards or outwards. Some paddles are not covered with rubber (‘naked’ paddles) to make it spin resistant. However, it is illegal to use these types of rackets in competition as the ITTF does not approve of them. Some types of rubbers are also not accepted. Approved rubbers have the ITTF emblem on the base of the rubber. You can choose one of the best ping pong rackets to make sure your racket is acceptable and suitable for professional training and competitions.

Ping Pong Robots

Table tennis robots are a recent innovation in the ping pong industry ever since its first introduction in the 1980s. Nowadays, producing and supplying ping-pong robots generate considerable revenue for its providers. Therefore, more and more companies design, manufacture, and sell their ping-pong robots, which leads to a variety of these robots in the ping-pong field. 

A ping pong robot is a great assistance of both amateur and professional players

A ping pong robot is a great assistance of both amateur and professional players

A table tennis robot is simply a machine that can automatically fire table tennis balls from one end of the table to another in order.

One single table tennis robot consists of 3 elements:

  1. A mechanism to load and fire
  2. A control box to program the firing speed and
  3. Nets to catch the returning balls.

Benefits of using robots as equipment of table tennis

Having a clear understanding of the reason why you want to use a robot helps to motivate you to practice.

Having a clear understanding of the reason why you want to use a robot helps to motivate you to practice.

For beginners, ping pong robots are a great way to practice basic steps, and an excellent way to recreate with health benefits. For professionals, this will be an incredible opponent to practice advanced skills, improving weaknesses, or finding new moves against real players. The following is some reasons why ping pong robots are indispensable:

  • Play without and opponent: a great substitute when you do not want to play against a real player
  • Practice for as long as you want: Robots are efficient assistance when you can spend more time hitting the ball and less time picking it up. They also bring effectiveness when you want to practice for a long time without a break.
  • Practice your move: With the same speed and direction, each ball you hit will further improve your move
  • Improve your footwork and your weaknesses: With a directed landing spot, it will be easier to move back and forth and practice your footwork, thus improving your weaknesses.
  • Recreational: When you are so bored, and everyone is too busy playing with you, the help of a robot can cheer you up
  • Exercise and/or improve your fitness level: With designated speed and frequency, this will be a great workout

In general, the ping pong or table tennis robot is incredible assistance for your practice because of its convenience, flexibility, time-efficiency, and effectiveness. If you would like to practice ping pong at home, alone or would like to improve some specific ping pong skills, a ping pong robot is a perfect choice. Best ping pong robots will be a wise investment if you would like to pursue professional table tennis.

In conclusion, there are many standards and requirements for professional equipment for table tennis. Therefore, having a clear and good understanding of the criteria for the mentioned equipment will assist you in selecting the right ones and advancing your skills. In other words, it is essential to carefully consider the quality of ping pong balls, tables, nets, and rackets if you intend to move forward in this sport. Besides, the ping pong robot is highly recommended for those who do not have partners or want to practice by themselves.

Brixton Johansson
 

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