It would seem like buying ping pong balls would be a simple task to most people. However, that’s not the case once you learn the different grades and other contributing playing factors. If you’re looking to play ping pong seriously, you might want to pay attention to the kind of balls you play with. Indeed, not all ping pong balls are made the same and cheaper ones either break easily or play differently than higher quality ones. So today we’ll be learning more about how to choose the best ping pong balls. Additionally, we’ll also compare the best ping pong balls of different grades as well. Ready? Then let’s get started!
How to Choose the Best Ping Pong Balls
Celluloid or Poly Plastic?
There are essentially two types of ping pong balls: older celluloid balls and the newer poly plastic. As of July 1, 2014, the ITTF phased out celluloid for poly balls, since it’s better for the environment and can transport more safely.
The difference between the two? The poly balls have lower rebound, are slightly slower, and has decreasing speed at topspin strokes. Celluloid balls are either “40” or “40mm” while the newer poly balls are “40+”. The best ping pong balls in my opinion? I’m a sucker for the good ol’ celluloid for the spin potential but it seems we really don’t have a choice now.
The legal colors are white and orange, but any color ball is good enough for entertainment purposes.
All ping pong balls have a star rating, except for novelty or generic balls. Some companies may claim 4 or 5-star balls but these ratings don’t exist.
- 1 star — Low quality. Less durable and break easier. Least expensive.
- 2 star — Medium quality. More durable than 1 star. Affordable.
- 3 star — The highest quality available. ITTF approved. Very durable. Pricier.
Check out Table Tennis DB for quality ratings.
- Hardness — How hard a ball is. Medium hard is often considered the best.
- Speed — How fast the ball travels, harder balls travel faster.
- Durability — How long the ball lasts or is susceptible to breaking.
- Consistency — How consistent the roundness of the ball is.
- Fun/entertainment — Basically any ping pong ball will be okay.
- Youth/schools — 1 star is good enough as younger players often don’t hit as hard.
- Training/recreational play — 2 star are the best ping pong balls for training or recreational play.
- Matches/competitions — Only the best of the best, 3 stars all the way!
Best Ping Pong Balls Comparison Chart
40+ Poly Plastic Ping Pong Balls
These are essentially the best of the best official 40+ balls out right now.
|3 star||White||4.5 / 5|
|3 star||White||4.8 / 5|
40mm Celluloid Ping Pong Balls
These are in my opinion the best celluloid ping pong balls, rated 1-3 stars.
|3 star||White||4.6 / 5|
|3 star||Orange||4.4 / 5|
|3 Star||4.3 / 5|
|2 Star||4 / 5|
|2 Star||White||4 / 5|
|1 Star||White||3.4 / 5|
|1 Star||3.5 / 5|