Choosing the Best Ping Pong Balls Choosing the Best Ping Pong Balls

Ping pong balls are circular, hollow objects used in playing table tennis. Maybe not as important as choosing the right paddle, still, deciding which ball to use is a similar factor to think about. To help you decide which ping pong balls are best, you have to consider several attributes. Also, it is advised to ensure that these balls are ITTF (International Table Tennis Foundation) approved.

ITTF Inspection Process

Ping pong balls produced by all manufacturers should undergo the ITTF inspection protocols. Done one manufacturer at a time, balls are sorted by machine according to its mass. After which, sample ping pong balls from each batch of sorted balls are inspected. Balls found not conforming to ITTF standards will not be approved. Balls are tested based on weight, color, diameter, sphericity, veer, bounce, and hardness. Thorough checks are also made on general appearance, marking and packaging.

Ping pong balls that passed the tests are marked with three stars. These are the only type that is legitimate for use in official games and tournaments (like that of the Olympics.) Balls which deviate from the set standards are marked with two (usually used during multi-ball drills), or one (used in schools) stars. Zero-starred balls are recommended for practice or fun games only. The latter is usually softer than usual.


ITTF rules state that balls should weigh 2.7 grams. However, during the inspection procedures, only one in a batch of 24 balls is allowed to have a weight beyond the range 2.67g to 2.77g. Also, the average weight of the sample batch should fall between 2.69g to 2.76g.

Color, General Appearance and Diameter

An ITTF approved ball is either white or orange, having no highlights or gloss and only one seam. Its diameter should fall between 39.5mm to 40.5mm. Per batch, the average maximum and minimum diameter is determined, and the mean of the means should range from 39.6mm to 40.4mm.


Sphericity is measured based on the absolute difference of the minimum and maximum diameters of a batch of balls. Allowable measurement per ball should not exceed 0.35mm, and the sample mean per batch should be at most 0.25mm.


Veer (the total sphericity of the ball) is defined as the distance of a ball away from a straight line after it was rolled down a horizontal surface from a slight incline. This distance should not be more than 175mm.


The rebound of a ball should fit the standard measure (between 240mm and 260mm) when dropped at the top of a 305mm steel block.


The hardness of a ball is the average measurements taken from each pole upon pressing a pin with 20mm diameter. This testing process is fully automated. The ratio of the standard deviation of the batch to its mean should be less than 0.06.

Marking and Packaging

On the ball’s packaging, marks are inspected, namely ITTF approval, its brand name, its size (40mm), and the name of the country where it was made.

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