Best Ping Pong Balls (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2019)

best ping pong balls review

Review by Kevin James, 21/05/2019

You may have the best paddle in the world or a really costly ping pong table. But the thing on which your whole playing experience literally depends on, is the ping pong ball (officially referred to as as Table Tennis ball).

Have you been in a situation where one of your opponent asks you - do you have another ball, this one does not bounce right? Well I'm not sure about you but it has happened with me quite a number of times.

Choosing a ping pong ball is no joke. Literally, there are dozens of ITTF approved manufacturers, each with dozen of type of balls. So which one should you go for?

If you ask me, I think choosing a table tennis ball is more of a personal preference. Some like fast, some like slow and some like a bit of both. I generally like to play with Butterfly A40+, because the bounce is good and they are quite durable. Being a defensive player, I generally prefer bouncy balls as it gives me more time to block.

The type of ball you should go for depends on your skill, requirement, and budget. If you're a recreational player, you would hardly make out a difference between a competitive ball and a normal ball. So any decent and durable ball will work for you.

Similarly, balls used in league/professional match are quite different from the one you would use in practice. Why? Because competition balls are expensive. And during your training, you would need several balls.

So how do choose the right ping pong ball? Don't you worry. We're here to help you.

For this review, we tried and tested 14 balls from 5 different brands. In the next section, you can check our top picks along with an in-depth analysis of each of them. 

5 Best Ping Pong Balls Comparision

Product
Category
Price per ball
Rating
Weight
Review
Check Price
Competition
~$3.7
3-star
~2.8gm
Pro Choice
Competition
~$3.7
3-star
~2.8gm
Top Quality
Competition
~$2.50
3-star
~2.7gm
Budget Pick
Training
~$0.58
2-star
~2.2gm
Top Choice
Training
~$0.31
2-star
~2.1gm
Value Buy

Competition Balls

1

Butterfly A40+ 3 Star Table Tennis Balls

{The best competition quality ball}


Butterfly A40+ 3-Star

Review Summary:

Butterfly A40+ was the official tournament ball for 2019 and 2018 World Table Tennis Championship. This very much validates the credibility and performance of these balls.

A40+ is an excellent 3-star quality ball. Approved by both ITTF and USATT, the ball is very common in leagues and national tournaments. Due to the durability and above-par performance, the ball is also perfect for training or match level practice. 

For the batch I reviewed, I found the no imperfection in the balls. This speaks highly about the QC and standards of Butterfly.

Ball characteristic:

Personally, I found this ball tad bit lighter and quite similar to 3-star celluloid balls. The outer shell is relatively thinner compared to other ABS balls. But the A40+ is quite durable and should last you dozen of sessions with ease.

The ball is soft, spinny and does not wobble during flight. The ball bounce is decent and the overall feel of the ball is good. But it does make some high pitch noise when you hit it. 

If you're one of those who still long for the touch/spin of the celluloid balls and the speed of ABS balls, then the A40+ is the one for you. 

2

NITTAKU "PREMIUM" 40+ Table Tennis Ball 

{These balls have a cult following, and there is a strong reason for it!}


Nittaku 3-star premium
'The best poly balls ever made' - this was the feedback for Nittaku 40+ from my fellow friend (USATT 2450+).

Nittaku 40+ balls were introduced in the market around 2015. Around that time there were no reliable manufacturers of plastic balls. And the ones who were manufacturing were struggling with quality issues - egg-shaped balls, inconsistent bounce, etc were quite common.

But Nittaku 40+ balls are an exception. Due to its reliability and characteristics, Nittaku balls have developed a cult following worldwide. These balls are manufactured in Japan and go through a strict quality check. The result is perfect round shaped balls with consistent bounce.

Also due to the superior manufacturing process, Nittaku 40+ are very durable and well-balanced. Having played with this ball for over a year, I have hardly seen them breaking off.

In fact, this ball was used during the 2017 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships!

Playing Characteristic:

It offers great all-around playability. It’s quite fast compared to other 3-star balls, bounces consistently, does not wobble and is quite durable. I personally love the overall performance of the ball.

It may be a little bit pricier than other balls in the market, but the performance, and well-received reviews outweigh it.

3

Xushaofa 40+ Seamless Poly Table Tennis Balls

{The cheapest and most durable 40+ on the market}


Xushaofa 40+ Seamless

Review Summary:

Xushaofa is the new kid on the block. Frankly, I did not know about the brand untill a couple of months back. But apparently, this ball does not have a seam (new manufacturing technique), which obviously means less breakage and more consistent bounce.

However, I did find few (2 out 12) slightly egg-shaped balls in the package I reviewed. Maybe it was a bad batch but at the price point, I think its quite acceptable.

Ball Characteristic:

The ball is relatively lighter (~2.6gm), fast, well balanced and has medium bounce to it. You will definitely find your loops and smashes going quite fast on these balls. 

Overall,  Xushaofa 40+ Seamless is an excellent alternative for those who're looking for an affordable table tennis ball without sacrificing the quality. 

Training Balls

1

Butterfly Easy Ball 40+ Table Tennis Balls

{The best training balls you can lay your hands on!}


Butterfly training balls

Review Summary:

Looking for quality training balls for practicing multi-ball or for your table tennis robot?

Are you tired of the cheap 1/2 star balls which are super light and have an unpredictable trajectory?

Well, then Butterfly Easy Ball 40+ may be perfect for you. They come in a pack of 120 and costs about ~70$.

These balls are medium fast, neither too light nor too heavy (~2.3gm), and have a good bounce. And overall they are very durable compared to other training balls in the market.

However, on the aesthetic aspect, these balls are not entirely white but rather translucent which looks quite dull. But would you really care?

Overall, these balls are slightly costlier but if you're looking for high-quality training balls, then these balls will not disappoint you.

2

JOOLA Magic 2-Star Training Table Tennis Balls


Joola-2-star-Training-Balls

Review Summary:

Joola 2-star 40+ training balls offer maximum bang for the buck. Whether you're looking for training balls for multi-ball drills or for feeding in your table tennis robot, these balls won't disappoint you. 

These balls are relatively lighter, medium fast with average spin. The balls are well balanced but you would find quite a few non-round balls in the pack. Can't complain about the pricing - currently, its priced at 45$ for 144 balls. 

Joola Magic 2-star balls are ideal for those on a budget.

Ping Pong Balls- Buyer's Guide

In this buyer's guide, I'll be explaining about the various type of ping pong balls available in the market, how to differentiate between a quality ball with a dud one and finally the type of ball you should go for. 

At intermediate to competitive level, choosing a ping pong ball brand is more of a preference than a choice. Some players like to play with heavier and bouncy balls while some like to play with softer balls. Independent of what category of player you are, here the points to keep in mind. 

Change of Rules: From 38mm to 40mm & Celluloid to Poly

In the last decade, ping pong balls have gone through a series of transformation. First, the size of the ball was increased from 38mm to 40mm. This change was primarily done to slow down the game. The idea was to make the game visually appealing to the spectators.

Next, the material was changed from celluloid to Plastic Polystyrene (known as 'Poly'). The new poly balls are bit heavier compared to celluloid balls, offer more bounce and are environment-friendly. But the primary issue with the poly balls is that they are quite difficult to manufacture and mold. As a result, poly balls are costlier compared to the celluloid balls.

Manufacturers are coming out with a new type of plastic known as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). ABS balls are more durable and have a near perfect round shape.


Star Rating

Table tennis balls are given a rating between 1 to 3, where one is of the lowest quality and three is of the best quality. These ratings are self-assigned by the manufacturers and there is no way to verify it. But generally, 3-star balls are supposed to meet the specification set by ITTF for quality and playability. The factors that go into the rating are weight, shape, balance, elasticity, bounce, and durability. Usually, the 3-star balls which fail QC check are sold as 2-star or 1-star balls. 

3-star balls are the one which you should be using most of the time. They are generally harder, heavier, perfectly balanced and round. Whereas, one and two star balls are used mainly for training purpose.

Color Specification

As per ITTF rules, balls can only be in orange and white color and should have a matt texture. White color is more popular these days compared to orange though.

How to check the quality of a table tennis ball?

There are a couple of tests you can do to verify the quality:

  • Hardness Test - Press the ball with your fingers firmly in different areas. A typical 3-star will not deform but if it does, the ball is of poor quality. For 1 to 2 star balls, you can observe slight deformation but it should not be permanent. If it permanently deforms then it's not of good quality. 
  • Spin Test - Keep the ball on top of the ping pong table and spin it. Focus on the top of the ball, if you see the ball is wobbling, it means that the ball is not perfectly round. For 3-star ball this unacceptable but for 1 to 2 star ball slight wobbling is acceptable.

This video correctly explains various ways to check the ball quality:

Type of Balls:

Broadly, the table tennis balls can be grouped into three categories:

Competition Balls

Just like the name suggests, these balls are used in competitions and other high-level tournaments. The balls are usually pricier but are quite durable and offers superior performance.

All the ITTF/national tournaments use the new 40mm plastic balls. The balls are marked with '40+' on the surface. 

Look for: 3 star 40+ balls

Training Balls

These balls usually come in big boxes and are prominently used for multi-ball training. You might have seen one of the coaches in your local club feeding these balls during practice drills. Training balls are cheaper but the quality is slightly less than the competition balls. They are usually lighter with average bounce.

Look for: 2 star 40+ balls

Recreational Balls

If you’re looking for balls for casual and recreational purpose, then these are your goto balls. They are perfect for fun games at home. You can even feed them to your cats. The balls are quite light, made of thinner material, below average bounce and not perfectly round. But they are damn cheap!

Look for: 1 star balls.

To Wrap it Up


I hope my recommendations and guide were helpful in your decision making. If you’ve any doubts, please leave it in your comments. I will respond to them as soon as possible.

Help Us Improve

While writing the review, we analyzed the top ping pong balls in the market. But we may have missed some. If you would like to suggest a ball which you've personally tried and tested, we're all ears.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Kevin James
 

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