Best ping pong balls: Official Competitions and Practice Daily

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Honestly speaking, there is nothing hard to follow about choosing a ping pong ball to practice or compete. All manufacturers make ping pong balls based on ITTF standards. Rarely does a manufacturer produce ping pong balls that don’t meet ITTF standards just to save costs.

If there is a difference between a ping pong ball used for training and another used for competition, then it is their surface properties. The reason is that the ball’s surface helps the spectator at the stadium or TV viewers see the spin of the ball clearly.

/* If you are on mobile, rotate your mobile screen to see the table

Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ Table Tennis Balls Butterfly G40+ Table Tennis Balls MAPOL 50 White 3-Star Table Tennis Balls KEVENZ 60-Pack 3 Star Ping Pong Balls Franklin Sports Table Tennis Balls
Brand Nitaku Butterfly MAPOL KEVENZ Franklin Sports
Label 40+ 40+ 40+ 40 40
Material Plastic Plastic Plastic Celluloid Celluloid
Type Competition Competition Practices Practices Practices
Pack Pack of 12 3 or 12 Pack of 50 18 or 60 Multipack
Shop Now Buy it on Amazon.com Buy it on Amazon.com Buy it on Amazon.com Buy it on Amazon.com Buy it on Amazon.com

So, if you don’t have much time, choose one of the ping pong balls in the table below. But in case you can spare just about 3 minutes or so, then read on about the history and how ITTF tests and approves.

Milestones of the ping pong ball:

  • In 1800, the table tennis ball made its debut in the UK. At that time, ping pong balls were made from rubber and cork.
  • In 1901, an Englishman named James Gibb came to the United States and discovered that celluloid was the perfect material to make a table tennis ball.
  • In 1926, the International Table tennis Federation (ITTF) was established, and the ping pong ball was standardized with a diameter of 38mm and made of celluloid.
  • In 2000, at the Olympic Games in Sydney, for the first time, ITTF increased the table tennis size from 38mm to 40mm. This was to help the viewers who watched the game through the TV screen have a better view of the ball’s spin. Today, all table tennis balls labeled with “40mm” are balls made from celluloid, with a diameter of 40mm.
  • In 2014, ITTF removed the rule regarding the material of ping pong balls. Some alternative materials, such as non-flammable plastic, make the ball a little bigger in size than those made of celluloid. Therefore, these balls are labeled 40+.

ITTF Requirements For Table Tennis Balls

Practice ITTF Approved
Color / white or orange with no shine
Weigh 2.67 to 2.77 gram 2.7 gram
Diameter 39.5 to 40.4 mm 40+ mm
Material / /
Seamed or seamless Seamed or Seamless Seamless
Hardness Standards of each manufacturer ITTF checked and used
Sphericity Standards of each manufacturer ITTF checked and used
Bounce Standards of each manufacturer When the balls are dropped from a height of 305mm into a standard table tennis table, they must bounce back to a height of 240-260 mm.
Stamp / ITTF permission for each specific tournament
Packaging / 40 or 40mm for celluloid balls & 40+ for non-celluloid balls
Star Rating 1 to 5 Maximum of 3

Why doesn’t ITTF have requirements for the material of ping pong balls?

Today’s ping pong balls are usually made of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) to avoid celluloid flammability. However, even since 2014, when the new materials were introduced, there have been huge advances in the kind of plastics and polymers available.

The current policy of ITTF is that the ping pong ball is standardized in size, weight, bounce, texture, hardness, color, sphere, thickness, even labeling, and packaging. But there is NO requirement for what a ball is made of. The ITTF has specifically crafted guidelines to encourage creativity and the discovery of new materials.

Why does ITTF only approve ping pong balls a maximum of 3-star:

Manufacturers rate their own ping pong balls, usually from 1 to 3 stars. Some brands rate their balls 4, 5 stars. And since manufacturers rate their own balls, some 4 star balls of this brand won’t be as good as 3 star balls of other brands.

For official tournaments with ITTF approval, ITTF will not approve balls according to brands’ star rating. These ping pong balls will have to go through rigorous testing. And the approved and authorized balls are not allowed to have more than three stars on their surface.

ITTF has a complete list of approved and authorized balls, updated every six months. So an old ball with the ITTF Stamp is not likely to be used in the competition at the present time. You can see the updated list of ITTF on their official website.

How does ITTF test the sphere of table tennis balls?

The ball must have a spherical shape. The difference between the minimum and maximum diameter should be less than .35mm for celluloid ball and less than .25mm for the non-celluloid ball.

Note: Do not just choose one with your eyes, as there might be some flaws that remain undetectable. Rather, let it roll on the ground, and only opt for the one that does not veer.

The standard bounce of ping pong balls

When dropping a ping pong ball from a height of 30cm onto a standard table tennis tabletop, the ball must bounce up 26 cm.
How does ITTF test the hardness of table tennis balls?
The hardness of the ball: The ball cannot be deformed while two players are competing over one point. Therefore, ITTF will use a computerized device to measure and balls that don’t meet the qualities that will not be selected.

The thickness of ping pong balls?

The thickness of the ball: As of now, ITTF has removed the requirements for the thickness of the table tennis ball, as long as it meets other standards. Measuring the thickness of ping pong balls is only a reference for manufacturers.

Popular table tennis balls brands

  • Nittaku: The headquarter is located in Japan, Nittaku has been producing table tennis equipment since 1920. Their ping pong balls are considered one of the best in the world. Nittaku has provided the balls used for competition in 13 World Championships, 3 Olympic Games, and 7 years of European Championships.
  • JOOLA: As a Germany-based brand, Joola was one of the brands that produced the first standard ping pong tables in the early 1950s. In 2018, this company was acquired by the American company Sport Squad Inc. Joola’s ping pong balls have constantly received plenty of praise from professionals as well as amateurs.
  • DHS: stands for “Double Happiness Shanghai”. Established in 1959, DHS is one of the world’s largest table tennis equipment manufacturers. The company was the official supplier of ping pong balls for 2008, 2012, and 2014 World Championships.
  • Double Fish: This brand dates back to the 1950s in Guangzhou, China. In just a few decades, the Double Fish Group had reached out from China to the world. Double Fish has provided equipment for World Table Tennis Championships, Table Tennis World Cup, Table tennis at the Summer Olympics, etc.
  • Butterfly: Founded by Hikosuke Tamasu in Japan. Why the founder went for the name Butterfly: “Players are flowers in the table tennis world and they are the very enchantment of table tennis; we would like to be butterflies flying around the flowers providing them the essential needs in the table tennis world.”

Best Table Tennis Balls: My Amazon Picks:

Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ Table Tennis Balls

Product Highlights:

  • Brand: Nittaku. Made in Japan
  • Diameter: 40+
  • Seamless ping pong balls
  • Approved by ITTF & JTTF (Japan Table Tennis Federation)
  • Material: non-celluloid plastic
  • Pack: 3 balls x 4 boxes

Butterfly G40+ Table Tennis Balls

Product Highlights:

  • Brand: Butterfly. Made in Germany
  • Diameter: 40+
  • Seamless ping pong balls
  • Approved by ITTF & USATT (USA Table Tennis Federation)
  • Material: non-celluloid plastic
  • Pack of 3 or 12

MAPOL 50 White 3-Star Table Tennis Balls

Product Highlights:

  • Brand: MAPOL
  • Diameter: 40+
  • Seamless ping pong balls
  • Doing a multiball or robot training
  • Material: non-celluloid plastic
  • Pack of 50

KEVENZ 60-Pack 3 Star Ping Pong Balls

Product Highlights:

  • Brand: KEVENZ
  • Diameter: 40
  • Seamed ping pong balls
  • Doing a multiball or robot training
  • Material: Celluloid
  • Pack of 18 or 60

Franklin Sports Table Tennis Balls

Product Highlights:

  • Brand: Franklin Sports
  • Diameter: 40
  • Seamed ping pong balls
  • Doing a multiball or robot training
  • Material: Celluloid
  • Multipack

Conclusion,

A high-quality ping pong ball with ITTF approval is about $1.4 per ball. And in fact, only the Nittaku 3 Star Premium 40+ and the Butterfly G40+ meet strict standards to use in competition in my list.

If you want to practice with multiple balls or practice with robots (Doing multi ball or robot training), then MAPOL, KENVENZ, or Franklin Sports are acceptable options.

If you have read until this point, you would see that ping pong balls are amazingly complex. Try them all, and you will find your favorite table tennis ball.

Brixton Johansson