More people are now playing ping pong than ever before, making it one of the most enjoyed social sports around.
Since its inception in the 1800’s the sport has developed from a simple past time to a very competitive sport that is played even in the international arena.
How seriously you take the game will likely depend on your skill level and if you’re new to the game you can learn more about the official rules of ping pong here.
Ping pong wouldn’t be ping pong if it wasn’t for the sound the ball makes as it hits the paddle and table during a rally. It is even in the quality of this sound that most ping pong veterans will asses the quality of their equipment.
As a result, different types of ping pong balls are now marketed, sold, and used depending on the level of ping pong being sold, yes that’s correct, the balls you use at home are likely different from those used at the Olympics by the best players in the world..who would have thought!
This also means many toy manufacturers make generally cheap and low-quality ping pong balls that can be used just for fun. Lighter in weight than the prescribed 2.7grams they often don’t deliver the same kind of performance in bounce, spin, and control and so aren’t recommended in this guide, instead of below we review some of the best ping pong balls around so you can continue to enjoy playing ping pong regardless of your skill level.
Best Ping Pong Balls To Buy In 2020
Now that you have an understanding of not only the history of ping pong balls but also the different brands and types available it is now time to take an in-depth look at the best ping pong balls we reviewed here at The Bro Zone.
During our research for this article, we tested a total of 47 different ping pong balls… no we didn’t know that there were that many existed either!
Although you may think that all ping pong balls are virtually the same that couldn’t be further from the truth.
With bounce, spin, weight, and diameter all playing a part in the performance of a ping pong ball we took these factors, along with almost an endless list of other variables into consideration when testing each individual ping pong ball.
So, read on for our top 10 list of the best ping pong balls:
These premium ping pong balls are reasonably expensive, however, that shouldn’t necessarily put you off and there are a number of reasons why these were the best ping pong balls we trialled.
The Nittaku 3-Star Premium performed well in terms of bounce, spin, control, and predictability throughout all the tests we ran while reviewing products for this article.
As to be expected, these balls are seamless, firm, and have an even round 40+ diameter.
The Nittaku 3-Star Premium ping pong balls usually come in boxes of three meaning one set should be a perfect amount whether you’re playing at home or practicing for an upcoming tournament.
Due to the sheer quality of these balls, you are likely to benefit regardless of your skill level or the standard of table tennis you usually play. There is nothing worse than a low-quality ping pong ball which is just too light to connect with properly, however, that is the last of your worries if you decide to try out a set of these.
These 3 star ping pong balls are considered the best orange ping pong balls for international competitions. Produced by DHS the seamless nature of these balls contributes to even and controlled bounce each and every time you play.
However, don’t be put off if you don’t think you’re quite up to international standard, these ping pong balls are just as suitable for use with friends, and why not pretend you’re going for gold even if you’re in the comfort of your own home!
Two of the major advantages that this set of ping pong balls has over competitors is both their durability and price point. Significantly cheaper than the Nittaku branded ping pong balls reviewed about these DHS ITTF approved balls are sure to last the test of time, making them excellent value for money.
However, even with this durability and excellent price, the thing we loved most about these DHS ping ping balls was their vibrant color. The orange was easy to pick out against both green and blue ping pong tables and we felt the color only added to the fun when playing with friends.
The Kevenz 3 star ping pong balls are perfect when used for advanced training techniques and for use with ping pong robots.
The durability of these ping pong balls is quite staggering, we found they lasted longer than almost all of the ping pong balls we tested which is a major bonus if you intend to use these balls for home use where you want balls that stand the test of time.
The only reason these balls aren’t tournament grade is due to their variance in ball diameter (39mm – 40mm). We also noticed that although these ping pong balls are seamless to touch, they did indeed have a small seam.
The other great thing about this particular type of ping pong ball is that they can be purchased in packs of 50, reinforcing why they are such a great fit for training purposes as highlighted above.
4. Xushaofa 40+ Seamless Poly Ping Pong Balls
These genuine Xushaofa ping pong balls come close to the quality of the more expensive Nittaku balls and at times during our testing, it really was difficult to tell the difference between the two.
The seamless nature of these balls and the controlled bounce make the movement generally predictable unless of course, you play an opponent with incredible spin which can be a nightmare with just about any ping pong ball.
We actually found these to be more durable than the Nittaku balls reviewed above however, we did find these had a higher bounce which can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your style and preference.
This extra bounce, which isn’t always suitable for use on certain tables was the only thing that held these back from being ranked the best ping pong balls in this roundup at their price point.
5. Asian Pacific 40+ Seamless Poly Ping Pong Balls
These Asian Pacific ping pong balls have a lot of similarities with the Xushaofa balls reviewed above with both being manufactured in China, however, these do work out slightly more costly.
Available in packs of 24 these are right at home among the other premium ping pong balls reviewed, scoring well in our durability, bounce, and spin tests. Not only that but these are also ITTF approved, meaning if they’re good enough for the best they should also be a great option for you at home as well.
6. KINGNIK 3-Star
The Kingnik 3 star grade ping pong balls are made by exactly the same manufacturer in China who makes the Xushaofa ping pong balls and there a number of similarities between the two.
One major difference is that the KINGNIK 3-star balls tend to be heavier which means it can require more effort in getting the ball over the net and when executing shots like backspin drop shots. However, this isn’t always a bad thing and can actually contribute to the durability of these balls.
Available in packs of six these ping pong balls aren’t the best choice for training purposes but are an excellent option if you’re looking for ping pong balls to use at home with friends.
7. STIGA 3-Star Ping Pong Balls
These Stiga ping pong balls are great for both competitive and social play.
The one thing we really loved about these ping pong balls was their consistent bounce and spin which performed well in all of our tests. A twelve ball pack is available at an extremely reasonable price considering these balls are both USATT and ITTP approved.
Although these aren’t necessarily the best ping pong balls that we reviewed they still done enough to make our top 10 list and considering the amount of ping pong balls we tested during the process of putting this guide together that is quite some feat.
8. ULTRA Ping Pong Balls
The Ultra premium quality 1 star ping pong balls are a great choice for practice and repetition training. Made of plastic these balls are available in packs on 50 making them an excellent choice to feed to robots in order to improve your table tennis skills.
Even though they are predominately practice balls we still found these Ultra 1 star balls to perform well in times of bounce and spin, two of the most important tests that we carried out during our research. Not only did the balls perform well in bounce and spin but we also discovered they were extremely durable, outlasting a number of 3 star grade ping pong balls when tested side by side over the course of a whole 2 weeks.
This makes them not only an excellent choice for training but also for use at home and their affordable nature means you are getting a product that is well worth the price.
The EastPoint orange ping pong balls wrap up our top 10 list of the best table tennis balls available in 2019. We found them to particularly durable and their bright orange color meant they were extremely easy to pick up against the backdrop of green and blue ping pong tables.
Available in packs of 36 they are ideal for practice, however, we did find they were slightly lighter than other practice ping pong balls that we tested which meant that we received some inconsistent feedback from the ball when hitting them with a high-quality paddle.
However, if you play ping pong purely for social purposes it is highly unlikely that you will pick up on this feedback and the EastPoint Sports ping pong balls will make a brilliant addition to your games room.
What Do Stars on Ping Pong Balls Mean?
In terms of competitions, whether played in schools, communities, or regional matches, sport grade ping pong balls are always used. The quality of these ping pong balls ranges from a rating of 1-star (lowest) up to 3-star (highest quality).
Single-star rated ping pong balls are mostly used for beginner training sessions or by youngsters in school. These are not tournament grade and it is to be expected that these will have a seam in the middle and can easily crack open or become dented after a few games.
Two-star rated ping pong balls are used by advanced players who are training for competitions. These ping pong balls can also be fed to robots for multi-ball practice sessions with their durability standing the test of time, meaning they can be used over and over again without damage.
A high-quality three-star ping pong ball must not have a visible seam around the center of the sphere. It should also be firm and must not cave in when it is pressed on its sides. Ping pong balls are usually smashed with the racket during competitions so firmness is a very important characteristic and another reason why those with a rating of three stars are the best ping pong balls available.
Table tennis balls also usually come in two main colors, white and orange. These are highly visible against the blue or green ping pong tables and are the only colors which are approved for competitions and tournaments.
The Evolution of Ping Pong Balls
When the game of ping pong was first invented it was typically played by a certain type of player. Those from elite families during the 1800’s first used golf-balls for their past time sport which was usually played after dinner time. These golf balls were volleyed back and forth over a table with books acting as the net and it wasn’t until 1901 that James W. Gibb invented a ‘ping pong ball’ made of celluloid.
Celluloid is a kind of thermoplastic material which has nitrocellulose and camphor in its compound structure. Camphor was gradually removed from ping pong balls over time as it was discovered, once exposed to air, camphor sublimes and becomes an environmental hazard.
This issue led to the innovation of plastic ping pong balls. These plastic balls are also known as “Poly” balls and are the officially prescribed balls for tournaments and Olympic competitions. H
however, since plastic materials have a higher tendency to expand due to heat, poly balls are expected to have a diameter which is slightly over the 40mm standard ball, which is why ping pong balls are often labeled explicitly as 40+ by most manufacturers and sellers.
Some celluloid balls were still used in tournaments until July 2014. The ITTF now has a list of tournament standard ping pong balls on their website.
Olympic / Tournament Standard Ping Pong Balls
In terms of official ping pong balls used in international competitions such as the Olympics, the choice of ball must be 40mm to 40+mm in diameter and should weigh 2.7 grams.
The color of the ball must be either white or yellow in matte finish as these colors are highly visible and contrasting on a green or blue table.
All ping pong balls used in prestigious tournaments are preferably made of plastic material.
The International Table Tennis Federation is the organization that approves the 40mm balls that may be used in international competitions such as the Olympics.
ITTF approved balls follow a strict color coding of the balls and its stamp, the material from which it is made of, along with the seamlessness characteristic of the balls.
What Brands Manufacture the Best Type of Ping Pong Balls?
If you’re new to the game of ping pong it may seem like there are an unlimited number of brands producing different types of ping pong balls. You only need to visit your local sports store, or for an even larger selection head online, and you will notice almost identical ping pong balls being produced by different manufacturers.
However, in reality, there are just four functioning factories that are producing ping pong balls. These will be explored in detail below with the production process used to create a ping pong ball differing slightly between factories and the brands producing them.
One of the reputable manufacturers of 3-star ping pong balls is Nittaku. Based in Japan the company makes premium ping pong balls that are often reserved for tournament use during to their expensive nature.
Japan is known for manufacturing high-quality products and this characteristic is even exhibited in the ping pong balls the country produces.
Other popular brands are largely manufactured in China. These manufacturers include DHS, Double Fish, and Xushaofa. These brands make a range of ping pong balls with different star ratings depending on the needs and use of the buyers.
Xushaofa, for instance, makes seamed ping pong balls as well as premium seamless ones. It’s just a matter of picking the quality of the ball that is suitable for your playing needs.
More serious ping pong players may also refer to 3-star balls manufactured by Stiga, Joola, and Kevenz to be used in practice rallies, recreational ping pong, and minor youth or club competitions and often finding the best ping pong balls for your needs will depend on the level at which you play the game.
How Much do Ping Pong Balls Cost?
Premium quality ping pong balls such as those manufactured by Nittaku 3-star can cost as much as $10 for a 3 set per box. These are very pricey but well worth it and tournament grade.
Mid-priced ping pong balls such as the Xushaofao 3-star balls usually cost around $6.00 for a 3 set per box. While the most affordable balls that are durable and can be used in practice sessions will cost around $10.00 for fifty (50) pieces.
When looking foe the best ping pong balls to invest in it is a good idea to check first the photos and customer reviews that come with the selling ads since there are numerous versions of fake and imitation ping pong balls which are sold for the same price as genuine ones. These imitations are found to be of poor quality in terms of color, stamps, durability, and performance.