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How to choose your best table tennis balls

table tennis ball

In the previous blog how to hold the table tennis racket in the best way we introduced several different grips of ping pong. Today we are going to share with you some knowledge about ping pong ball.

Buying ping pong balls seems to be an easy thing but actually, not all the balls are the same. We are going to talk about the evolution history of table tennis balls and give some guide to help you choose the right one. Let’s start!

What you have to know about table tennis balls histories before start:

Table tennis originated in the United Kingdom where tennis was popular at the end of the 19th century. At that time, some college students in the UK used the dining table as a table indoors to imitate tennis to play. Later, it was spread in the United Kingdom as an indoor game and was named “table tennis”.

Table tennis ball was first invented in Victorian England in 1800s and the first ball was made of rubber and cork. In 1926, ITTF(the International Table Tennis Federation) was established, which is one of the most important organization in the world currently.

Then in 2001, ITTF has reformed the diameter of the table tennis ball from 38mm to 40mm. The main reason of the reform is to generate less spin and make the ball slower so that there would be more rounds in matches. In this way, it would become more appealing to the audience.

Then in 2014, another reform was issued, which is the material of table tennis ball has been changed from celluloid to non-flammable plastic ball. Sometimes we could notice there is “40+” on the ball nowadays, it is just refer to the new material.

Many professional players have been influenced by the reform. One of the most typical examples is Liu Guoliang, who retired after the reform in 2001 as all of his advantages disappeared in the era of “bigger balls”.

Also there are some players complaining the new material of the ping pong ball due to its poor quality. So later with the latest ABS material, the quality of ping pong ball has been improved a lot.

Choose the right table tennis ball

The choice of different brand or the type of table tennis ball mainly depends on what you use it for. Let’s have a look:

For casual play:

If you just wanna play casually, then it doesn’t matter the material or the color. It can be accessed everywhere even in some small stores. The only tip is that I suggest you that shouldn’t buy really cheap balls as they have poor bounce and are easily to broke, which may bring you bad experience.

table tennis balls

For training:

At first place, we have to figure out a question: what do pingpong ball star ratings mean?

Normally, table tennis balls are given stars from 1 to 3. Balls with 3 stars are often regarded as high quality and are extremely durable.

But be careful that some manufacuters assign their own stars or ratings. Some of the balls even have 4 or 5 stars that we should take a pinch of salt before buy it. Generally speaking, 3-star balls are suitable for match and 1 or 2 star balls are good for training.

So here I suggest that buy 1 star or 2-star balls in bulk for coaching as they are not so much expensive as 3 stars balls. And another important reason is that we often need multi ball training in table tennis.

Table tennis multiball training

For matching:

When it comes to the balls for professional or semi-professional match, it is much easier. As we mentioned before, 3 stars balls are our preference for competition. Apart from that, there are 3 balls that are frequently used in international match.

  1. Nittaku 40+

Established in 1920, Nittaku is a Japanese brand and is widely-known in the world. It has supplied competition balls for 3 Olimpic games.

Nittaku table tennis ball 40+
  • Joola 40+

Based in Germany, Joola is recognized as a representative of high quality. It enjoys good reputation in both professional and amateur players.

Joola table tennis ball 40+
  • butterfly 40+

Butterfly is another Japanese brand that is really popular among table tennis players. It has been suppliers of competition balls for more than 15 world championships.

Butterfly table tennis ball 40+


If you want the pingpong ball with best quality, you could purchase an ITTF approved competition standard ball. Although it would a little bit costly, it’s worthy as it has great bounce and can meet all the offcial regulation.

If you just want the ball for coaching or casual playing, some balls of butterfly, double fish with 1 stars or 2 stars are also acceptable. Now we have introduced the choice of table tennis racket as well as the balls, now it’s your time to start!

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