Guide to the best table tennis balls (2023)

Guide to the best table tennis balls (1)

Buying table tennis balls should be an easy task. But not! There are many different types of balls available: competition balls, training balls, and cheap "just for fun" balls. Some balls are made of celluloid. Other balls are made of non-flammable plastic.

So what are the best balls to buy? In this blog post, I'll give my opinion on a variety of different balls and give specific recommendations on the best competition and training balls you can buy. I also give recommendations on which balls to buy for casual games.

Changes to table tennis balls

There have been two significant changes to table tennis balls over the past 20 years. In 2000, the ball size was increased from 38 mm to 40 mm. The size has been increased to make it more attractive for viewers. The bigger ball is slower and spins less, which in theory should mean longer rallies, but I'm not sure this has ever been tested.

Then, in 2014/2015, the material used to make table tennis balls changed from celluloid to non-flammable plastic (often referred to as "plastic balls", "polythene balls" or "40+ balls"). These balls are slightly larger than 40mm celluloid balls, but the main difference is the type of material they are made of.

At first, the quality of the new plastic balls was very poor, which caused a lot of frustration and anger in the table tennis community. But in the past five years, the quality of new plastic balls has improved a lot, especially with the latest ABS material.

There was a lot of concern that the new plastic ball would have a big impact on the game. But that didn't really happen. The professionals continue to play with the same form of attack. At an amateur level, I don't think most players noticed much of a difference.

competition balls

If you are playing table tennis competitively (or aspire to be) then you should definitely use the new plastic table tennis balls. The easiest way to tell if you are using the new plastic balls is that they will have "40+" printed on the ball. The + symbol indicates that it is the new size. If your ball only says 40 or 40 mm, without the + symbol, it's probably the old celluloid ball. So make sure the balls you buy have the 40+ symbol on them.

So what are the best competition balls to buy? I'll start with a disclaimer. I haven't tried all the different plastic balls. So if a ball isn't on my list below, that doesn't mean it's a bad ball. Maybe you haven't tried. But I have used all of the balls listed below and am very happy to recommend them. You can also read my article “What are the best table tennis balls for competition?“.

(Video) Choosing a Table Tennis Ball | PingSkills

JOOLA Primer 40+

This is currently my favorite 3 star competition table tennis ball. I started using JOOLA Prime in May 2019, after myvisit to German Bundesliga club ASV Grünwettersbach.JOOLA Prime uses ABS material, which offers better roundness and durability. You can generate many effects. I think we got used to the new balls being slower and spinning less, but when we play topspin attacks with JOOLA Prime, the ball really goes off the table. Spin is back in town! JOOLA Prime is tough, fast, spinning and durable. A quality ball.

buy not uk|buy us usa

Guide to the best table tennis balls (3)Nittaku Premium 40+

This is also a high quality table tennis ball. I played this ball for the first time in a tournament in 2016 and I instantly liked it. It was like playing with the old celluloid balls all over again. Between 2016 and 2019 all teams at my club (Cambridge-Parkside) used Nittaku Premium table tennis balls in league matches. The bounce is constant, you can turn it easily, and they rarely break. If you want to buy competition quality balls, I recommend the Nittaku Premium.

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Guide to the best table tennis balls (4)Double Fish V40+

Many players consider this to be the best 40+ ball on the market. Previously only available for Pro Tour main events, the Champions Edition is now available for league play. The surface of the Double Fish 3* balls is very sticky, which means you can generate a lot of spin when turning, slicing, moving or serving. Very recommendable.

buy not uk|buy us usa

training balls

If you're serious about improving, it helps to have a big box of training balls. This will help you be more efficient during practices (less time picking up a single ball off the ground). You can do training with multiple balls. And you can improve your serves a lot by practicing the solo serve.(Read more about the benefits of owning a box of training balls in my article 'Why you need a box of training balls').

In a word ideally, you would be training with the same quality balls that you play competitive games with. But using a big box of competition balls for training is very expensive. And if you play at an amateur level, I don't think it's necessary.

There are many decent quality training balls available (recommendations below), which are much more affordable and perfectly decent for training drills, multi-balls and serving practice.

Here are some recommendations for table tennis training balls that you can buy. I've used all of these over the past year in my training sessions and withmy robotand I have been very happy with the quality and durability of the training balls...

Table tennis training balls

United Kingdom

USA / Rest of the world

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balls for casual games

If you're just playing for fun, it's not essential that you play with the best quality balls. And it doesn't matter whether the ball is celluloid or the new plastic material. My only caveat is to avoid the really cheap balls. These don't have very good rebound and break easily.

If you just want to buy a few balls, with good durability, a consistent bounce and a reasonable price, any of these will do…

Recommended Balls (UK)

Recommended Balls (US / Rest of World)

BEST SELLERS:Also, check out mylist of the most popular table tennis ballspurchased by readers of my site.

Where can you buy table tennis balls?

You can buy table tennis balls at any specialist table tennis store. Take a look at my list of table tennis stores to find a store near you...

  • United Kingdom
  • UE
  • Europa
  • Asia
  • Australia

Sometimes you can find really good deals on table tennis balls atamazonas, so it's worth checking out here as well.

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Guide to the best table tennis balls (5)

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Which table tennis ball is better? ›

1-star and 2-star balls are less durable and they are usually bought in mass in packs of 100 or 200 to be used for rallying or practice. The three star ratings represent the best balls and they are the only balls you should be using in matches and competition.

What is the difference between a 40 and 40+ ping pong ball? ›

The + symbol indicates it is the new size. If your ball just says 40 or 40mm, without the + symbol, it will most likely be the old celluloid ball. So make sure the balls you buy have the 40+ symbol.

What's the difference between 1-star and 3 star table tennis balls? ›

The quality of a ping pong ball increases with its star rating. Those with three stars are the most reliable and enjoyable balls to play with. One-star balls are far less expensive than three-star balls but are softer and hence more likely to break.

What brand of table tennis balls are used in Olympics? ›

Olympic Competition Table Tennis Balls. Double Fish 3 Star PKT 3 , Celluiod Competition Table Tennis Ball.

What balls do pro ping pong players use? ›

Tournament and competition balls

All ping pong balls used now for professional and competitive ping pong matches are 40+ balls or new plastic table tennis balls. To identify if your table tennis ball is one of the new plastic balls, check that it has “40+” printed on it.

What is the official table tennis ball? ›

The international rules specify that the game is played with a sphere having a mass of 2.7 grams (0.095 oz) and a diameter of 40 millimetres (1.57 in).

Is a thicker ping pong table better? ›

Table Surface Thickness. Most regulation size table tennis tables range in thickness from 12mm to 30mm. As a general rule, the thicker the surface, the better the table. The best ping pong tables for high-traffic rec centers and for competitive players are 25mm+ table tennis tables.

Is ping pong good for seniors? ›

Playing table tennis has great health benefits for seniors and is a great way to stimulate the brain and promote quick thinking while improving hand-eye coordination. Table tennis is a low-injury risk sport that keeps one fit and flexible and improves reflexes.

What is a good thickness for table tennis? ›

The playing surface should be at least 3/4 inches or 19mm thick. Anything of lesser thickness will warp too easily and not give consistent ball bounce. Most table tennis tops are constructed from particle board.

What is a 40+ table tennis ball? ›

The reason the balls are labelled with 40+ is that when the ITTF made the plastic balls legal for competition, they also allowed the balls to have a bigger size tolerance. So a celluloid ball tends to be around 39.6mm whereas the new plastic balls measure around 40.2mm, making the plastic balls about 0.5mm bigger.

Which tennis balls last longest? ›

Pressureless balls are the best tennis balls for a ball machine since they last longer. Most high level or professional players do not use pressureless balls. They are mostly for amateur play. You can usually buy pressureless tennis balls in high quantities for practicing.

Do the numbers on tennis balls mean anything? ›

Tennis balls have numbers printed on them so players can distinguish their balls from balls coming from another court. Most people play tennis in an area where people are playing on adjacent courts, and it is very possible that more than one court might be using the same brand and type of ball.

Is there a difference between ping pong balls and table tennis balls? ›

Official ping pong balls are slightly larger than table tennis balls. Ping pong = 3.7mm in diameter, while table tennis = 3.4mm diameter.

Is there a difference between table tennis balls? ›

Table tennis balls are typically divided into 3 different star ratings (1-star, 2-star and 3-star). In simple terms, the 1-star balls are the most basic and are suited to social environments and casual play. 2-stars can be useful for practicing and learning, and the 3-star balls are the premium for competition.

What is the difference between white and yellow table tennis ball? ›

There is no difference with the performance of the different colour. At the top level now most tournaments are played with white balls because it is better for viewing.

Are white or orange ping pong balls better? ›

White balls are most commonly used in high-level matches where the background is carefully staged. White is also the preferred ball color for televised games. Orange table tennis balls can be used anytime, but they are most often used for training or where the background is light.


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