The Best Ping Pong Balls (Reviews & Buyer's Guide 2019) | PingPongBros

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

best ping pong balls review

Review by Kevin James, 02/07/2019

While choosing the right ping pong table is important, but it's the right set of ping pong balls that make the REAL difference and sets down the standard of the gameplay experience.

All ping pong balls (officially known as a Table Tennis ball) are not created equal - they vary from one another in bouncespinspeed, and weight.

So which one do you choose? 

We've done extensive research and trials to find the best ping pong ball you can buy.

Our top pick, Butterfly A40+, delivers fantastic all-round performance, suited for both beginners to serious gameplay and is quite durable. A pack of 12 would easily last you 3 to 6 months depending on usage.

The ping pong balls may not be the costliest table tennis equipment you own, but you buy them the most often unlike a paddle. And you know it and I know it - a bad ball can kill the whole playing experience.

But buying the right ping pong ball can be a daunting task - cause, there're so many to choose. What you may consider the best ball for you depends on your skill level and preference.

Beginners or enthusiasts may look for balls which offer decent performance and are affordable while intermediate to professional players tend to play with faster balls which offer better bounce and spin.

In this guide, we'll outline key considerations when choosing a ball and review 5 of the best ping pong balls currently available.

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

{Tournament grade ball, excellent performance, durable}


Butterfly A40+ 3-Star

Ball

Rating/10

Speed

9

Spin

8

Bounce

8

Weight

8

Review Summary:

The Butterfly A40+ is a tournament grade 3-star ball, approved by both ITTF and USATT for usage in national/international leagues and tournaments. The seamless ball is built with the new ABS material and adheres to the latest ITTF ball rules.

The A40+ was also the official tournament ball for 2019 and 2018 World Table Tennis Championship. This very much validates that the performance of these ball meets the professional standards.

The above-par performance and exceptional durability makes this ball perfect for competitive training, match level practice, and for tournaments.

Ball characteristic:

For the batch I reviewed, I found all the balls completely round with no imperfections.

The ball is a tad bit lighter and plays quite similar to the 3-star celluloid balls. The outer shell is thinner compared to other ABS balls but its still quite durable. A ball would last you a dozen of sessions or more with ease.

The ball is soft, fast, spinny and does not wobble during flight. The ball bounce is excellent, and the overall feel of the ball is good. But it does make a high pitch noise during contact.

The Butterfly A40+ offers the touch/spin of older celluloid balls and the speed of the newer ABS ball in one single package.

If you're looking for a competitive quality ball, it doesn't get any better than this. 

2

NITTAKU "PREMIUM" 40+

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


Nittaku 3-star premium

Ball

Rating/10

Speed

9

Spin

8

Bounce

9

Weight

8

'The best poly balls ever made' - Feedback from a fellow friend (USATT 2450+).

Nittaku 40+ table tennis balls were introduced in the market around 2015 when there were no reliable manufacturers of the new plastic balls. Back then, most of the manufacturers were struggling with the quality - egg-shaped balls, inconsistent bounce etc. were quite common.

But Nittaku 40+ balls were an exception. Manufactured in Japan, these balls go through strict quality checks, resulting in a perfectly round ball with a consistent performance every time.

Due to the superior manufacturing process, these balls are more durable and well-balanced compared to other poly balls. Having played with this ball for over a year, I have hardly seen a single of them breaking off.

The Nittaku 40+ was also the official tournament ball of the 2017 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championship.

Playing Characteristic:

The ball is slightly faster and bouncier compared to other 3-star balls, offers medium spin, maintains consistent bounce and does not wobble in flight. I like the overall playability of the ball.

The Nittaku 40+ is priced at a premium, but its superior performance and quality, justify the price difference.

3

Xushaofa 40+ Seamless Poly

{The cheapest and most durable 40+ balls in the market}


Xushaofa 40+ Seamless

Ball

Rating/10

Speed

7

Spin

8

Bounce

8

Weight

7

Review Summary:

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

However, I found two balls in the 12-pack slightly egg-shaped but still playable though. Maybe it was a bad batch, but at the price point, I think it's quite acceptable.

Ball Characteristic:

The ball is relatively lighter (~2.6gm), medium-fast, spinnier, well-balanced and has a medium bounce to it. You will definitely find looping easier on these balls.

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

Training Balls

4

Butterfly Easy Ball 40+

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


Review Summary:

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

Are you tired of the cheap one or two-star balls which follow an unpredictable trajectory and are lighter?

Well, then the Butterfly Easy 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 carry a good and consistent bounce. The balls are well-built and are quite durable.

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

Overall, these balls are slightly costlier in comparison to other training balls, but if you account the performance and durability, these balls are very well worth the price.

5

JOOLA Magic 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 into 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 may find a few odd 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.

Table Tennis  Balls - Buyer's Guide

In this buyer's guide, I'll be explaining about the factors to consider while choosing a ball, and how to differentiate between a quality ball and a dud one.

Choosing a ping pong ball is no joke. Literally, there are dozens of ITTF approved manufacturers. Add to this, each brand make different variations of the ball to suit different types and style of players. So which one should you go for?

The type of ball you should choose 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 such balls.

At intermediate to advanced level, choosing a ball 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 you fall into, here are the points to keep in mind while choosing a table tennis ball:

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

In the last decade, table tennis 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 slightly heavier compared to the celluloid balls, offer more bounce and most importantly are environment-friendly. But one issue with the poly balls is that they are challenging to manufacture and mold. As a result, poly balls are costlier compared to the celluloid balls.

Some brands are coming up with a new type ball made out of a plastic known as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). ABS balls are more durable, easier to make, and offers better playability.

Star Rating

Table tennis balls are given a rating from one to three, one being the lowest quality and three being the best. 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 deciding the rating is 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 primarily used for training purpose.

Color Specification

As per ITTF rules, a table tennis ball can either be orange or white and must have a matt texture. However, the white balls are more popular compared to the orange.

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 this means the ball is of poor quality. For 1 to 2 star balls, you can aspect 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 notice the ball is wobbling, it means that the ball is not perfectly round. For 3-star ball this is unacceptable, but for 1 to 2-star ball slight wobbling is acceptable.

This video 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. These balls are costlier but offer best-in-class performance, true to international standards.

The balls are marked with '40+' on the surface and are approved by ITTF.

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 lower than the competition balls. Training balls are lighter and offer average bounce.

Look for: 2-star 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 or even for beer pong. These balls are quite light, made of thinner material, offer below-average bounce, and may not be perfectly round. But they are damn cheap!

Look for: 1-star balls.

To Wrap it Up

I hope my recommendations and guide was helpful in your decision making. If you’ve any doubts, please leave them in the comment section below. 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
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments