Ping Pong [Table Tennis] Balls: An Exhaustive Guide on Weight, Speed


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Everything about Ping Pong Balls

Everything you needed to know is right here. Do you want to learn everything there is to know about the balls used in ping pong – or table tennis as it is known in some parts of the world?

Ping pong is one of the few truly global sports, with more than 220 member countries belonging to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Since the 1988 Seoul Olympics, ping pong has been a part of the Olympics, with events such as men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as team events.

Table of Content

What is a Ping Pong Ball’s Official Weight and Size?

The balls were later changed again and are now known as 40+ balls. The ping pong ball must weigh 2.7 grams (0.095 oz) according to current international standards. The ball diameter used to be 38 mm, but it was changed to 40 mm in 2000, much to the chagrin of many top players.

See the section below for more information on why the change was so contentious in the first place.

The ITTF has established a standard for competition ping pong balls. coefficient of restitution0.89 to 0.92 is a good estimate. The table tennis ball will bounce up approximately 24–26 cm (9.4–10.2 in) from a block of steel if released from a height of 30.5 cm (12.0 in).

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Speed of a Ping Pong Ball

A speed of 69.9 miles per hour (112 km/hr) has been recorded in non-match conditions, but we’re talking about ideal conditions here. Experiments on the speed at which a ping pong ball is smashed have been conducted.

The ball’s speed during a match, on the other hand, may be slightly slower.

Also, if you’re wondering if table tennis is the fastest sport in the world, or if it’s faster than any other racket sport, the answer is no.

Badminton shuttle-cocks During rallies, table tennis balls travel faster than ping pong balls, but the sport’s quickness is due to its close proximity, which necessitates quicker reflexes than most others.

Star Rating

Table tennis balls are rated on a scale of one to three stars.

  • One Star
  • Two Star
  • Three Star (or ITTF-approved)

Ping pong balls are graded on a scale of one to three stars, with one star indicating the lowest quality and three stars indicating the highest quality.

One star and two star balls are typically not used in competitions due to their poor quality and lower cost. Because of their low durability, they are usually purchased in bulk (dozens at a time).

At the highest level of competition, only the higher quality and more expensive three star balls are used.

If ping pong equipment companies sell four or five star table tennis balls, it’s just a branding exercise, and a five star ball for that ping pong equipment company is nothing more than a three star ball by global standards.

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How Much do Ping Pong Balls Cost?

Star Rating Cost/Ball (USD)
1 Star 0.3-0.7
2 Star 0.4-1.0
3 Star (ITTF Approved) 1.0-3.0

Please keep in mind that the cost of any sport equipment varies from country to country, as well as within a country. The table above shows the average cost of a ping pong ball in the United States.

The three star balls, also known as ITTF-approved balls, are the most expensive and are used at the highest level of table tennis. The prices vary depending on the star rating, with one and two star balls obviously being less expensive.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the cost per ball decreases as you order a larger quantity of ping pong balls. They are sold in packages of six, twelve, or even 72 or more.

How Long do Ping Pong Balls Last?

Ping pong balls are sold in packs of 12 or 24, so if you buy a 12-pack of three-star balls, they should last you about three months, assuming you don’t lose them.

We once went through a pack of 24 such balls in less than a month, but that could have been due to a bad batch. Balls of lower quality, such as one and two stars, would obviously not last as long.

How to Make Balls Last Longer?

These are the best balls on the market, and they last much longer than others. Purchasing three-star rated ping pong balls is the simplest way to extend the life of your ping pong balls.

Apart from game play, keep the ping pong balls out of direct sunlight and avoid getting them wet, which means storing them in a way that they are not exposed to humidity.

When table tennis balls fall, make sure they don’t stay on the floor for anyone to step on.

White v Orange Table Tennis Balls

In ping pong, different-colored balls play in the same way (unlike squash, where the ball color represents something). However, match the color of your ping pong ball to the color of the table and the background.

It could also be determined by the color of the players’ jerseys; for example, would you want to play with a white ping pong ball if your club’s uniform is white? Isn’t it improbable?

Despite the nostalgic value of watching orange ping pong balls during tournaments, high-level competitions usually use white balls.

Why was the diameter of the ping pong ball changed from 38 mm to 40 mm?

The first change occurred in 2000, around the time of the Sydney Olympics, when the ping pong ball was increased in size from 38 to 40 mm. Table tennis authorities have made a couple of significant changes to the TT balls in recent years.

This was done in order to make the sport more appealing to the general public and attract more fans over time. This change was made on the grounds that it would make it more difficult for the ball to travel faster and spin less than usual, resulting in longer rallies and higher interest levels.

What Other Changes to Ping Pong (Table Tennis) Balls Have Been Made?

Authorities chose to use non-flammable plastic, also known as plastic balls. Aside from the size increasing from 38 to 40 mm, there was a second change in 2014-15. In addition, these balls were slightly larger than the 40 mm balls introduced in 2000.

What are 40+ balls in Ping Pong?

They’re called 40+ balls because of the size of the ball, which is a fraction of a millimeter larger than 40 mm balls, but they’re also distinguished by the material used to make them. These are the balls that the ITTF introduced to replace celluloid balls, also known as plastic balls or poly balls.

What was the fuss about the ping pong ball with a diameter of 40 mm?

For years, the table tennis authorities have been unhappy with the sport’s shrinking rally lengths. The ITTF considered raising the net height in order to make the sport more spectator-friendly, but ultimately decided to increase the ball diameter from 38 mm to 40 mm.

The reasoning behind this was that increasing the ball’s overall dimensions would reduce the ball’s speed and remove some of the spin, allowing rallies to become longer.

It was ping pong’s most significant change since 1937, and it wasn’t well received. Vladimir Samsonov, the then-world number one, has stated that he will not compete in the World Cup because he will not have enough time to prepare with the new balls. One of the reasons for this is that players were not given enough time to get used to it.

After all, the authorities had decided to stick with the previous 38 mm balls until the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and then make the switch.

I enjoy tennis, pickleball, and most other racket sports played around the world, so I started this blog to help other racquet sports fans while learning, exploring, and improving by connecting with them. Racket Sports World is edited by me. Stan Boone Tennis can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/StanBooneTennis.


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