Even if you’re careful, at some point, you’ll end up misplacing the ping pong balls that came with your new table. Or you may simply want to upgrade and use the best ping pong balls, models that are made out of tougher materials and offer a better bounce. A low-quality ball is not only less responsive, but they’re also not designed to handle strong hits. Some models may be too light, so even a moderately powered serve can send it flying off the table. If you’re serious about table tennis, then you need to use the same type of balls the pros use.
If you’re new to the game, then you may not know much about the different options available or the features to look for that will indicate quality. I’ve spent years playing this challenging, highly competitive sport and I’ve learned a thing or two in terms of the types of balls that offer the best bounce response and durability. I’ve reviewed many of the leading models on the market and found six products that can make all the difference in terms of your performance since these are the same types of balls the pros use. This means they’re designed to take a hit, are a perfect weight, and offer an excellent bounce response.
Below, I’ve included a comparison chart so you can learn more about each model and the features that landed them on my list.
Ping Pong Balls Comparison Chart
|Portzon Table Tennis Balls||50||ABS plastic||40mm|
|KEVENZ 60-Pack||60||ABS plastic||40mm|
|STIGA 3-Star||6||ABS plastic||40mm|
|Franklin Sports||18||ABS plastic||40m|
|Meizhouer 50Pcs||50||PP plastic||40mm|
Portzon Table Tennis Balls
This set by Portzon comes with fifty orange ping pong balls, which have a three-star manufacturer rating, which indicates these are pro-quality all the way. The balls are also regulation size and measure in at the standard forty-millimeters. The balls offer excellent control, bounce, and spin, and have the type of durability you need in a ball that’s designed to handle heavy serves. These balls can be used for competitions or practice. They have smooth seams and are perfectly balanced. The manufacturer also claims they’ve undergone product testing and are designed to handle over one thousand hits without cracking.
- Three-star manufacturer rating
- Set includes fifty balls
- Bright orange color for high visibility
- Excellent spin control
- Made out of ABS plastic
- Product tested
- Not recommended for kids
This set includes fifty three-star rated ping pong balls that offer top of the line spin control and an excellent bounce response. This set is a great option for the pros in need of ITTF approved balls for training purposes. However, the balls may be overkill for younger players who would benefit from playing with softer balls.
KEVENZ 60-Pack 3-Star 40+ Table Tennis Balls
This set includes sixty orange balls that have a three-star rating and measure in at forty-millimeters. These balls are durable, offer good spin control and bounce response. They won’t wobble and are made out of ABS plastic which has a reputation for durability, but also offers the type of bounce response most serious players are looking for. While the manufacturer claims that these balls are seamless, they clearly do have a seam, which can have a negative impact on the ball’s bounce response.
- Set of sixty
- Three-star rating
- Excellent spin control
- Balls have seams
The biggest drawback for these balls is the fact that they do have a seam, which can be an issue for potential buyers since in some cases, a seam can have a negative impact on how well the ball bounces. However, that does not seem to be an issue with this set.
JOOLA 3-Star Table Tennis Training Balls
This is a set of twelve three-star rated balls that measure in at forty millimeters. They offer better than average bounce response, a seamless design, and can be used for both practice and pro-use. The balls weigh just 2.7 grams, which is the regulation weight. The lightweight design combined with the polystyrene material, provide the type of power and durability you need to train for an upcoming competition.
- Three-star rating
- Great bounce
- Excellent spin control
- Made out of polystyrene
- Set only includes twelve balls
These balls are made by one of the leading ping pong table manufacturers in the industry. While for some, the price may be a little steep, considering other manufacturers will charge a similar price but will give you more balls per set, these pro-quality balls offer the type of spin control and ball response that makes them worth every penny.
STIGA 3-Star Superior-Quality Orange Table Tennis Balls
The STIGA three-star rated ping pong balls include six forty-millimeter regulation weight and size balls that are orange in color, for improved visibility during gameplay. They offer better than average spin and bounce response, which makes them a great choice for practice or tournament use. The balls are USA Table Tennis approved and have undergone product testing to ensure the balls do not wobble and can withstand even the most powerful serve. Considering the set includes only six balls, this may be a drawback for the buyer on a budget, however, these are pro-quality all the way and they can do wonders for your serve and technique if you’re looking for balls that offer the same type of bounce and performance as the ones used in pro competitions.
- USATT approved
- Regulation weight and size
- Bright orange for improved visibility
- Set includes six balls
This is another set produced by one of the biggest table tennis manufacturers in the world. The balls feature a three-star rating, so you know they’re designed for pro use and can easily handle harder serves and regular use. This set is a great buy if you’re looking for balls that can help you train and perfect your serve.
Franklin Sports Table Tennis Balls
These balls are made out of durable ABS plastic and weigh 2.7 grams, which is the regulation weight. They’re also forty millimeters in size, so they’re perfect for training or tournament use. The durable design ensures the balls can handle heavy-duty use and powerful serves, without cracking. They’re designed to deliver a reliable, consistent bounce and optimal spin for improved gameplay.
- Regulation weight and size
- Consistent bounce
- Great spin control
- Not rated
These balls do not come with a manufacturer rating, despite the fact that they’re designed for pro use. While this may give some potential buyers pause, the balls themselves do offer the type of control and durability that you need when you’re practicing your serves. The durable ABS material ensures they will not crack with heavy-duty use, while the perfectly round shape and bounce response are exactly what you want in balls that are competition-worthy.
Meizhouer Colored Ping Pong Balls
If you’re looking for ping pong balls for the kids, then this set offers the most bang for your buck. You’ll get a total of fifty balls in this set that come in a variety of colors including pink, blue, green, red, orange, and purple. The balls are made out of PP plastic, which is environmentally friendly and they measure in at forty millimeters, which is regulation size. However, they’re much lighter than regulation ping pong balls and weigh just under two and a half grams. This means that they’re a great choice for kids, but not pro use. The lighter weight is indicative of a softer surface, which can cause them to easily fly off the table during a game, so they’re a much better option for kid use only.
- Includes fifty balls
- Balls come in a variety of colors
- Not manufacturer rated
- Weighs less than regulation balls
- Soft surface
These novice ping pong balls are perfect for the kids, especially considering the set includes a total of fifty balls, so you won’t have to worry about the kids losing all the balls right away. Since they’re much lighter than a regulation ball and don’t have a manufacturer rating, they should not be used by the serious player for training, nor can they be used in a competition.
Ping Pong Ball Buyer’s Guide
High-quality ping pong balls are going to last longer than low-quality ones. They’re designed to handle stronger serves and offer just the right amount of bounce. But finding the right balls can be a challenging task and one that will require you to weed through several models on the market. All of these options can be very confusing to the beginner, but if you know what features to look for, you should have no trouble finding the perfect balls to take your game to the next level. Below, I’ll go over the most important specs to pay attention to, and how each one can have an impact on gameplay.
In terms of materials, you’ll have a few options:
Polystyrene balls are a great choice and they’re approved by the Table Tennis Federation. These balls are also environmentally friendly and are the type of balls that are most commonly used in official events. Low-priced balls are usually made out of celluloid and are typically lighter and less durable compared to polystyrene balls. Because of this, they’re not recommended for pro-level players. However, if you’re on a tight budget or you’re looking for balls for the kids, then they’re a more affordable option.
Some manufacturers are producing a new type of ping pong ball that’s made out of a durable plastic called ABS. These balls are easier to make, more durable than even polystyrene balls and offer comparable playability. However, ABS balls have yet to make an appearance in a pro tournament.
In most official table tennis tournaments, only orange or white balls are used. These colors are often chosen because they’re easier for the eyes to follow. However, for recreational use, you can choose balls of any color. You’ll find a wide variety of colors to choose from including, pink, red, purple, gray, and pattern options.
A player who’s serious about table tennis will spend time researching products and will want to use only the best ping pong nets, paddles, and balls. Quality matters if you’re training at home. Because of this, when you’re shopping for new balls, you’ll want to pay attention to how each one is categorized and rated by the manufacturer.
Each type of ball will have a rating. This rating system uses stars that indicate the ball’s overall quality and bounce response. Balls that have a three-star rating are often used by the pros, while balls with a one-star rating are best used for recreational purposes only. Most ping pong players will opt for the three-star rated balls only but may use two-star rated balls for practice. Some types of lower-priced balls will not have a rating at all, so right away you’ll know that they’re not designed for pro use.
- Three-star: These balls offer the best quality and feel very firm, offering the perfect amount of bounce. They’re also approved by the ITTF.
- Two-star: These balls are not as firm as three-star models, but are considerably firmer than one-star rated models. They’re often used for practice sessions or recreational purposes.
- One-star: These balls are very soft and should be used for recreational purposes only.
Over the course of the last decade, these balls have gone through many changes. First came the change in size. In the past, most players would use a standard thirty-eight-millimeter ball. These days, forty-millimeter models are used in competitions. This change was done in order to slow down the game and make it more visually appealing to the audience. Basically, these larger balls are just easier to see.
Choosing Balls Based on Skill Level
While ping pong balls will not be as expensive as the best ping pong paddles, their quality matters just as much, considering a ball that isn’t as firm as it should be will not bounce as high and will not respond to your serve the same way that an ITTF approved one will. The wrong ball can really kill your serve and will have an impact on your performance, especially if you typically train with a one-star rated ball.
But the fact that many three-star ITTF rated balls are on the market these days can make choosing the best ones seem almost impossible. In the end, the type you choose should match your skill level and your performance goals.
If you’re a recreational player only, or you need to purchase new balls because the kids lost the old ones, then a one-star, softer ball will work fine.
But tournament quality balls are very different from one and two-star rated models. They’re also more expensive, but using them will be essential, especially if you’re training for an upcoming tournament and you want to practice with the same type of balls you’ll be playing with in the upcoming competition.
Choosing a ball can also be a matter of personal preference. Some players prefer to play with heavier, firmer balls, while others will prefer one that’s softer and offers a mild bounce response.
Testing Before You Buy
You’re probably going to order a new set of balls online, in order to save money. While this is a smart move, if possible, head to your local sports supplies retailer and check out the balls you’re interested in before you buy. If you can, try hitting a few different types before you make your final decision. Hold the ball first and press on it with your fingers. Models with a three-star rating should be much firmer and won’t allow your fingers to sink into the surface when you press on it. Models with a one or two-star rating will allow your fingers to sink into the surface, but the indentations shouldn’t be permanent. If the ball is too soft and remains misshapen after pressing on it, then it should only be used for recreational purposes.
The spin test is another good way to determine quality. Spin the ball on a flat surface. If the ball wobbles at all then this means it’s not perfectly round. If it wobbles and has a three-star rating, then this type of result will not be acceptable. However, some two and one-star rated balls commonly wobble.
As I mentioned earlier, balls that are designed for recreational use will be more affordable than three-star rated balls that are made out of polystyrene. If you’re buying new balls for the ping pong table for the kids, then celluloid one-star rated models will be more than sufficient. Two-star rated balls are slightly more affordable than three-star rated sets but are not designed for competition use. If you’re serious about your training and want a pro setup, then you can expect to pay more for a set with a three-star rating.
If you have all the right gear and you’re new to ping pong, below you’ll find some great pointers that go over what you need to do to improve as a player using the right type of balls that can take your performance to the next level.
- Learning how to spin can be tricky for beginners, but it’s often what will give you the biggest advantage during a match, regardless of your opponent’s skill level. Once you understand how the spin can affect your return you’ll quickly learn how to counter it.
- Pay attention to the logo on the ball during a game in order to gauge how fast the speed is. If the logo looks pretty blurry then this means that using more spin will have a bigger impact.
- When your opponent’s paddle moves low to high then you’re dealing with topspin, whereas if their paddle moves high to low then you’re dealing with backspin.
- Serves are one of the most crucial parts of the game. If you don’t have a serving tactic, then you’re not going to have an edge over your competition. A good serve can easily win you a point.
- Using a ball that offers the right amount of bounce and spin when you’re practicing can have a major impact on your performance during a match. Many players will not practice with a regulation ball because they don’t know that a ball’s firmness and bounce response can affect their serve in a major way. When you practice, always do so with the same type of equipment that the pros use. This includes the same type of paddle and a ball with a three-star rating and one that’s regulation size and weight.
- If you have an upcoming competition, then practicing daily will be more important than ever. Dedicate at least an hour a day. During practice, focus on ball control, spin, and bounce height. Most competitions will use balls that are made out of polystyrene, but you can also practice with balls that are made out of ABS plastic, which offers a similar bounce. Avoid using any that are made out of celluloid, since it can throw your serve off since these balls offer a totally different bounce compared to regulation balls.
The best ping pong balls will have a three-star rating from the manufacturer, which indicates that the balls are ITTF approved. Balls with a one or two-star rating can be used for practice or recreational use only. Remember, polystyrene balls offer the best bounce response. Some that are made out of ABS plastic will also offer an excellent bounce response, but these balls are not commonly used for pro competitions. Celluloid balls are a better choice for recreational use only since they’re not very durable and don’t offer the type of bounce response that most pros are looking for. I hope this guide and my production recommendations will help to point you in the right direction, whether you need to purchase balls to replace the ones the kids lost, or you’re looking for a set that’s pro-quality and can be used to help you prepare for an upcoming competition.