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Ping Pong Balls: Is there a difference? Which are the best?

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My son brought a new pack of ping pong balls for us to use during our family tournament. The first one split after just a few hits, and so did the second and third ones. It turns out that while these cheapies might work well for beginners – they’re not made for an intense game.

Ping pong balls may look similar, but there are many differences in their sizes, weights, and bounce consistency. The best ones are 3-star and approved for tournament play by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). However, beginners can use quality 1 Star balls without any problem.

Many people don’t put much thought into their ping pong balls until they crack during a game. But there is a lot to these little plastic balls you should know. In this article, I give my take on the best ping pong balls plus share some interesting facts about table tennis balls.

Picture of a ping pong ball on a paddle,

Best Ping Pong Balls to buy in Bulk

Ping Pong Balls are an essential table tennis accessory. However, you don’t need to buy the most expensive ones to have fun or improve your game. Ping pong balls can come in many different sizes, colors, and materials.

Some people prefer to buy ping pong balls by size, while others buy by color or material. I like to buy balls in bulk; the only caveat is to make sure they are regulation size. It’s also important to consider how you intend to use the balls.

Do you want to play with them indoors or outdoors? Are you using them in a ping pong robot? Are they for recreational use or tournament play? These are all questions that should be considered when buying ping pong balls because there is no one best type of ball out there.

Here are some affordable ping pong balls you can buy in bulk:

Butterfly training ping pong balls: These are high-quality training balls and come in packs ranging from 6 to 120 balls. These Butterfly training balls are 40 mm, however, not 3-star.

They are high-quality training balls comparable to 3-star balls. They usually come in a box of 120 balls.

Franklin Sports table tennis balls: This is a pack of 144 balls, and at its current price, it works out to .19 each. You can also buy smaller packages, but the cost per ball is higher.

These Franklin Sports table tennis balls are only 1-star, but you won’t notice the difference between them and a 3-star one unless you are a seasoned player.

KEVENZ 60-Pack 3 Star Ping Pong Balls These 3-star balls are a great deal. They are durable and provide a consistent bounce, great spin, and good control. The Kevenz are high-quality ping pong balls used in local tournaments.

On Amazon, over 8,000 customers provide reviews, and they have a five-star rating. I recommend you read what customers who bought this product have to say about its quality.

Are there different quality ping pong balls?

Almost everything in the market can be found in different qualities, including ping pong balls depending on price, quality, and market supply. They are rated in stars from 1 to 3, out of which 1-star ones are of low quality, less bouncy, and can be found at a cut rate. While 3 star balls are made up of good quality materials, they are long-lasting and durable.

There are three categories for ping pong balls: low-quality, medium quality, and high-end. The cheap ones are rated one star while three stars denote top-level table tennis balls.

Three-star balls are also approved by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Although the difference between cheap and good quality ping pong balls may not be visible to new players, a professional player can detect them easily by their feel and how they react.

Only ITTF approved ping pong balls are used in Olympics as they are created to a specific standard. Tournament balls can be either white or orange.

Here are some 3-star table tennis balls available on Amazon:

Butterfly R40+ Table Tennis Balls

The Butterfly R40 balls are rated 3 stars, come in a pack of 3 or 12, and are approved by the International Table Tennis Federation for tournament play. The ball features a plastic construction similar to celluloid balls, resulting in a reliable bounce and high durability.

PRO-SPIN Ping Pong Balls

The PRO-SPIN balls are high-quality, seamless poly balls with consistent bounce. They are the best ping pong ball for table tennis competitions or family fun. These ping pong balls can survive any serve or smash, and they’re great for all ping pong tables & robots.

The PRO-SPIN pro training ball is an official size 40+ (40mm) and weighs 2.7g, the standard weight of competition-grade table tennis balls in most tournaments. Over 1,600 customers provided reviews of these balls, and their average star rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Nittaku Premium 40 (plastic with seam)

Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ Table Tennis Balls are the official ball of USATT (the United States Table Tennis Association). The ball used at the US Nationals and US Open tournaments is perfectly round, durable, and provides a consistent bounce throughout your match.

Ping Pong Balls Facts

Do Ping Pong balls float

When ping pong balls are immersed in water, they float because they have a lot of buoyancy, and the fluid pushes up against them. This means that instead of sinking to the bottom – these little guys stay afloat.

If you’re wondering how this happens, let me sum it up by saying ping pong float thanks to their lightness combined with being hollow inside.

Do Ping Pong balls glow in blacklight:

Some things naturally glow in the dark, while others need phosphors added to absorb ultraviolet radiation to make them glow when exposed to black lights; these include ping pong balls.

Glow in the dark table tennis balls has made table tennis even better by adding another fun element. The glowing balls come alive at night; I admit that I haven’t played with glow-in-the-dark balls, but I intend to order some because I know the kids would love this.

Do Ping Pong balls expire?

Ping pong balls can expire depending on gameplay and storage conditions. Obviously, a 3-star ball will last much longer than 2 or 1 star balls.

A packet of good quality ping pong balls can last for a few months if played at a normal pace. If you only play friendly matches, you can play with them as long as they are not split or crushed.

While avoiding aggressive gameplay and storing them in cool and dry places and hidden from your younger siblings can increase their lifespan. But don’t place them in such a safe place that you can’t even find them for your next match, which happens way too often at our house.

Changes made to ping pong balls

Ping pong balls have changed slightly over the years. In the past, celluloid was used to make ping pong balls. Celluloid is a flammable thermoplastic made up of nitrocellulose and camphor, which is rarely made.

Now synthetic plastic is used to make ping pong balls. They produce less spin than celluloid balls, but they offer more bounce and faster gameplay. Apart from the material, its size has also been changed slightly.

After the 2000 Olympics, ITTF changed its size from 38mm (1.5in) to 40mm (1.57). They did this to make it more visible and attractive in broadcast to viewers.

Can ping pong balls bounce on resin?

Some of the best outdoor ping pong tables are constructed with resin laminate panels. When resin dries, it turns into a hard substance that offers a high degree of protection against the elements and a perfect ping pong ball bounce.

If you want one, then you can check these resin tables. If you are still confused, then the best answer to this question is to try it yourself.

Do ping pong balls lose their bounce

You may have heard or read about Newton’s 3rd law of motion in a lecture or a book, “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Yes, this is the basic principle involved in the bouncing of balls. As ping pong balls are struck by paddles and bounce off tables, their action decreases slightly.

But they will bounce to a lesser extent on a soft surface because the surface absorbs some of the energy. Likewise, a good-quality ping pong ball maintains its bounce much longer than cheap ones. In addition, lower-quality balls also crack much easier.

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