Published on November 16, 2021 Last Updated on November 16, 2021 by Sorin Petroj
Many people think that table tennis balls are all the same, but there’s a lot of variation among them in reality. Ping-pong balls are designed to be different in size or weight, so it is important to learn how to differentiate between them.
When purchasing table tennis balls, there are numerous features you should consider. For instance, does the quantity (the amount of ping pong balls in the package) matter to you?
How about the diameter and number of stars? Ideally, you should purchase table tennis balls that meet the ITTF’s official regulations.
You can find a lot of information about ping pong balls on the internet, but where do you start?
We conducted a comprehensive review of competitive brands and found that, in most cases, these table tennis balls are the best ones in 2021 and offer the most bang for the buck.
40.1 - 40.25
Nittaku 3-star Premium 40+
The Nittaku 3-Star Premium is a favorite of professional table tennis players. It is seen in major ITTF sanctioned tournaments, which means that players favor it over other brands of balls. The ball provides the best consistent bounce of all table tennis balls manufactured today. This is the kind that you would expect from a top-class ball. But then again, there is no such thing as a perfect ball.
It’s true that Nittaku Premium 40+ is a bit more expensive than other balls; perhaps that is why you will see its rank jump consistently 1 to 5 and vice versa in the top table tennis balls reviews. Another fact is that Nittaku Premium 40+ are seamed ball, and some critics claim that seam causes weak points.
That is a common misconception, as if that was the case, you wouldn’t have seen Nittaku so popular in major tournaments. There’s a lot to be said when it comes to preference; however, if you prefer brand and don’t mind spending then, Nittaku Premium 40+ should be your first consideration.
Approved by the ITTF
Popularly seen in major ITTF-sanctioned tournaments.
Perfectly round and durable
Provides consistent bounce
Not available in different colors other than orange and white
Butterfly G40+ 3-star
You’ll find Butterfly G40+ in every list of the top ten ping pong balls. The G40+ is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a plastic ball that feels similar to celluloid. Butterfly 3 Star table tennis balls are best for ITTF-Sanctioned Events.
The butterfly table tennis ball was designed by renowned table tennis players in Germany and is used by the pros in events sanctioned by the International Table Tennis Federation. This set of table tennis balls was released in 2015 as the first non-celluloid ping pong ball and was the official table tennis ball of the 53rd WTTC.
Butterfly’s G40+ 3 Star Table Tennis Balls are designed for professional players, although amateur players will also love the consistency of the ball. The ball is made of seamless rubber, which results in a more durable ball than one with seams. You will find one or two Butterfly G40+ reviews that mention the high-pitched sound can be distracting.
However, what makes the ball stand out from the rest is the high-quality gloss surface and the durability of the ball.
Best suitable for tournaments
Durable and provides a consistent bounce
Creates high-pitch sound
STIGA 3-star table tennis balls
Many professional players and amateurs prefer STIGA 3-Star table tennis balls in tournaments. STIGA 3-Star balls come in white, orange, and a selection of colors and are most recognized for their firmness. If you’re serious about improving your table tennis skills, STIGA 3-Star balls have been named among the top choices for competitive players.
Most of the STIGA 3-Star reviews appreciate the spin and consistent bounce quality of the balls. Although the heavier gauge may feel bigger than other models, this will not affect your game adversely. The speediness of the ball is preserved despite the heavy gauge, as per many reviewers.
Meets ITTF regulations of size and weight
Approved by USATT
Provides consistent bounce and swings
Durable and highly firm
Available in both orange and white
It comes in a set of 6 and 12 balls
Some reviewers mentioned that these balls might feel slightly bigger than other models.
It can be quite expensive.
Butterfly A40+ 3-star table tennis balls
Butterfly has raised the bar on table tennis equipment, and the A40+ ball is touted to have unsurpassed durability and consistency. If you’re new to table tennis and want to get a feel for playing with a ball, we suggest going for the Butterfly A40+.
These ITTF-approved 3-star balls give a consistent bounce like the celluloid ping pong balls. Best of all, A40+ provides almost a similar feel, bounce, and consistency as top tiers like Nittaku but comes at a lower price tag, making it a cheaper alternative to top tiers.
Approved by both the ITTF and the USATT
Almost similar to traditional celluloid
Provides great bounce
It comes in a pack of 3, 6, and 12 making it very affordable.
It can be a little louder
The surface is not as glossy as STIGA 3-star and G40.
JOOLA Prime 3-Star
The Prime 3-Star balls from JOOLA are most popular in major tournaments and competitions around the world. JOOLA Prime table tennis ball is made of ABS, an improved version of plastic that offers greater durability than its counterparts.
The JOOLA Prime ball is one of the best table tennis balls for league matches. The ball flies faster than other balls I’ve tried, including Nittaku Premium. According to several table tennis balls reviews, the ball also feels harder, which means that when you hit with it, you can feel the impact in your racket. It’s also good for attacking (flatter) shots. Best of all, it comes at a very reasonable price.
Approved by both the ITTF and the USATT
Highly speedy and spinny
Available at a set of 3, 6, 72, and 144
Because of the extra speed, beginners might not be able to keep up
Available only in white
MAPOL 50 White 3-Star Premium Training Ping Pong Ball
The MAPOL 50 table tennis balls are 3-star rated and 40+ making them ideal for tournaments and competitions. Plus, these balls come in a pack of 50. They are also great for beginning players because of their low price but are still responsive enough to withstand the playing style of even the most advanced players.
Based on some MAPOL reviews, there can be some variation in weight or diameter between balls. However, this should not affect recreational players and when playing practice sessions.
Ideal for all types of players and ping pong robots
It comes in a pack of 50 and is very reasonably priced
It comes with a 30-days money-back guarantee
Available in only white color.
There can be a slight variation in weight or diameter.
JOOLA Rossi 3-Star
JOOLA continues to be among the top ping pong balls. The Rossi 3-star balls from Joola are designed for recreational plays and come in a pack of 6 balls. These balls are 40 mm in diameter and are preferable for junior play or training purposes.
These balls are also available in both white and orange. Many reviewers note that these balls have the control and weight you need for intense matchmaking it suitable for younger table tennis players who are just learning how to play ping pong. JOOLA is also the most affordable brand.
Although you won’t get the same bounce quality as you get from a top-tier ball, it still gives a reasonably nice bounce that is perfect for beginners. In summary, these are good training balls that last a long time and are suitable for those just starting to play on their table tennis top.
It comes in a selection of white and orange
Best suitable for training and youngsters
Not approved by the ITTF
Do not expect a high bounce from these balls.
Newgy Robo Table Tennis Balls
The Newgy Robo-Balls Ping Pong Balls are ideal for recreational play and suitable for ping pong robots. Newgy Robo balls are not 3-star; hence these are not suitable for tournaments. If your top consideration is 3-star ping pong balls, then you can go for Power Pong 3-stars.
However, we didn’t rank Power Pong 3-star balls because these balls are not yet available on either Megaspin or Amazon. Hence, Newgy Robo balls rank as the best ping pong robot balls. These orange balls come in a 144-count package suitable for multi-ball training. Some consumers reported that the balls were dusty when they unpacked them.
Best table tennis ball for ping pong robots
It comes in a pack of 144 count
Sturdy and durable
Rated as 1-star, meaning not suitable for tournament
It leaves a lot of powder behind
STIGA 1-Star Table Tennis Balls
The 1-Star table tennis balls from STIGA feature the official ITTF standard size and weight, and they come in packs of 38 in either orange or white. STIGA 1-Star is best for recreational play and training purposes.
The balls received mixed reviews from testers, some of whom found slight variations in weight from ball to ball in the same batch, but most users were thrilled by the bounce and spin of these balls. Many testers mentioned that they performed well for casual play.
1-star balls with standard size and weight as approved by the ITTF
It comes in a pack of 38 and is very reasonably priced
Available in both orange and white
Not suitable for league matches
Available in only white color
Champion Sports Recreational 1-Star
Champion Sports 1-star recreational balls are Recroompicks’ one of the best table tennis balls for practice. These balls come in a pack of 144 balls, making it the best option for those who want to play multiple games without having to wait for the balls to dry or replenish their supplies.
Also, it is most suitable for ping pong robots. Plus, the full pack of 144 is reasonably priced. Many reviewers of the Champion Sports Recreational Table Tennis balls rated the balls, providing a consistent swirl pattern, which allows the balls to be more durable over a large period of time.
Many reviewers of the Champion Sports Recreational Table Tennis balls rated the balls, providing a consistent swirl pattern, which allows the balls to be more durable over a large period of time.
Suitable for recreational play and ping pong robots
Seamless and sturdy enough for several hours of play
It comes in a selection of a variety of colors
Not suitable for tournaments or competitions
For players of every experience level to enjoy, multiple brands of table tennis balls and models are available for purchase. However, before making a purchase, you should consider your personal playing needs, and this can be either for playing in a league or for introducing yourself to the sport.
The Nittaku 3-Star Premium balls are best when you’re playing on a professional level. If you’re looking to play in ITTF tournaments, you might want to go with the STIGA or the G40+ from Butterfly. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a way to practice with your ping pong robot, look no further than the Newgy Robo-Balls.
Frequently asked questions
What are the ITTF requirements for table tennis balls?
The ITTF has set some very specific standards for balls. The regulations are meant to make sure the balls all behave the same way, something that is crucial for tournaments and competitions.
- Diameter: The diameter of the ball must be 40 mmm. However, there is always a variation, and the manufacturer must pass the ITTF sample test for final approval.
- Weight: The ball must weigh 2.7 grams. However, a ball may vary in weight. The International Table Tennis Federation will test 24 balls from a batch, and the mean of the sample must be between 2.69 and 2.76 grams.
- Roundness: ITTF balls must be round. It is the difference between the maximum and minimum diameters. Celluloid balls must have a roundness less than .25 millimeters.
- Must not veer: Veer is yet another roundness metric and the degree to which it deviates from a straight line. This metric tests if the ball is round and how much it deviates from a straight line when rolling down an incline.
- Consistent bounce: The balls must have the quality of providing a consistent bounce. When balls are dropped from 305 mm, they should bounce back to 240-260 mm.
The ITTF Handbook can be downloaded here.
- Uniform hardness: ITTF balls must have a uniform hardness. The hardness of a ball is determined by measuring how much a pin indents it with a set amount of force, which is then measured on the pole and the seam.
- Color: ITTF balls should either be white or orange and with a matt finish.
- Labeling: ITTF requires that non-celluloid balls be labeled as 40+. Each ball must have the ITTF approval code on the packaging. Also, table tennis balls not bearing the ITTF approved stamp color should be considered unapproved.
- Star rating: The balls must not exceed a star rating of 3. It’s important to keep up with ITTF regulations as they do change frequently. To find a current list of ITTF-approved table tennis balls, you can check here: https://ittf.cdnomega.com/eu/2019/07/Balls_2019_11.pdf.
What type of table tennis balls are used in Olympic tournaments?
Table tennis balls that are approved by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) are used in the Olympics.
What does the 40+ stand for table tennis balls?
Table tennis balls labeled as 40+ indicate the diameter. Generally, the celluloid balls were 39.6mm; however, the ITTF set regulations that the celluloid balls must be discontinued but allowed the plastic balls to be about 0.5mm larger. Since then, the plastic balls manufactured measure around 40mm to 40.2 mm.
What is the difference between seamless table tennis balls and those with seams?
Seam VS seamless table tennis balls: In general, celluloid table tennis balls used to be seamless, and those were more durable and provided more spin. As the ITTF standard rules for ball material changed from celluloid to plastic, manufacturers started supplying plastic balls with seam.
However, you can get ITTF-compliant seamless table tennis balls. Some of the best seamless table tennis balls that comply with the ITTF standards are Xiom V40+, Raise 40+, JOOLA Flash 40+, and Xushaofa seamless table tennis balls. On the other hand, Champion 1-star balls are also seamless ping pong balls.
What is the difference between 3-star and 1-star balls?
3-star balls are used in official tournaments. These balls are usually available in a pack of 6-12 and are highly durable. On the other hand, 1-star and 2-star table tennis balls are preferred for practice.
Although 1-star balls are less durable than 3-stars, these balls are very affordable and are usually available in bulk of 100-200. But not all 3-stars are approved by the ITTF. Hence, if you are planning to purchase a ball for the ITTF tournament, it is important first to identify if the ball is approved by the ITTF.
What are table tennis balls made of?
As of 2014, table tennis balls are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) to avoid the flammability of celluloid. However, even with these new materials, plastic and polymer technology advances have not stopped. The current policy of the ITTF is that table tennis balls are to be made out of non-celluloid material.
What are the best table tennis balls to use for practice?
JOOLA, STIGA, and Butterfly are three of the best brands of balls that are consistently praised among both professionals and amateurs alike. But the only catch is you cannot buy any of the brands in bulk.
For example, Butterfly G40+ comes at a pack of 12, STIGA comes at a pack of 12, and JOOLA comes at a pack of 72 highest. In the case of training, you would want at least 50-100 balls so that you don’t run out in the middle of a training session. And in case of bulk buy, both Champion 1-star and Newgy Robo-balls come at a pack of 144, seamless and ideal for practicing for multiple hours.
Which table tennis balls are best for ping pong robots?
You can use the ping pong robot manufacturer’s ball; however, these robots are built for just about any type of table tennis ball. What you must consider is to opt for a set of at least 50-144 balls. MAPOL 3-Star balls and Newgy Robo-balls can be your consideration. Other options for bulk buying are Sanwei ABS 1-Star and Kevenz.
Where to buy table tennis balls near me?
How to clean table tennis balls?
Sometimes you may notice that your table tennis balls have gathered dust. This happens when you don’t play a lot or at times when you buy in bulk. Here are some ways to clean your table tennis balls.
It can be very tempting to simply put the table tennis balls in the washing machine and let it do the job. But be mindful of the spin-cycle as it can be detrimental to the ball’s performance. If you own very expensive table tennis balls, it is best not to risk putting them in the washing machine.
Take, for example, Nittaku Premium 3-star. These balls are very pricey, and you wouldn’t want to risk the quality by putting them in the washing machine. So what should you do?
Cold water is best for cleaning table tennis balls as heat can be detrimental to the quality. Full up your tub faucet with cold water. Just add a little dish-washing liquid to the water and let it soak for a couple of minutes. Then rinse them thoroughly, and dry them with a clean towel.
How to choose table tennis balls?
The first thing you need to decide is what kind of table tennis ball you want to play with. Will it be for a professional tournament or your training? It is also important to consider both your skill level and your budget.
There are many brands and models available, and we reviewed the best table tennis balls right in this article. This compilation includes 3-star professional table tennis balls to the best table tennis balls for practice and training.
Although we ranked Nittaku Premium at the top, it can be quite expensive for many of us, and in that case, you may go for JOOLA Prime 3-star or STIGA 3-star, or Butterfly G40+. On the other hand, Champion also offers the best value table tennis balls. EastPoint Sports 40mm ball is another good value for the price and is of the same quality of balls used in tournaments.
These are durable balls and great for practice. Not only are they 40 mm in diameter, but they also have an ideal weight making it a reasonable option for those who want the realistic feel of a tournament. Eastpoint Sports also come in packs of 100, so you know for sure there are plenty in hand, and you don’t have to run out in the middle of a match. The only drawback is these are only available in white.
How fast do table tennis balls go?
Ping Pong players hit the ball at an average speed of 25 mph. However, world records for ping pong are in the 70 mph range – more than twice as fast!
Can you use table tennis balls for beer pong?
A ball can be used for several other things, not just table tennis. You can find plenty of people using table tennis balls for even beer pong. The 1 Star balls are designed for recreational purposes, but they will be perfectly serviceable for your beer pong needs.