The Best Ping Pong Balls Guide
A ping pong ball is a lightweight, hollow plastic ball found in the game of table tennis.
More than learning the dictionary definition of the ping pong ball, you need to understand what they’re made from, how they’re designed and the state regulations governing their use.
Funnily enough, players often spend a lot of time (and way more money) selecting the most appropriate ping pong paddle, but completely overlook getting the right balls. Using cheap table tennis balls is fine if you’re just messing around, but if you’re enthusiastic about enhancing your game then you’ll need the right balls for the job.
Official tournament table tennis balls are 40mm in diameter (1.57 inch).
Most of the balls you find on the market will be this standard tournament size, but you’ll also find 38mm (1.5 inch) balls on the market, like these Franklin Sports 38mm ping pong balls.
38mm ping pong balls are faster and provide more spin than 40mm balls. The 40mm only became the normal after the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and some players still prefer 38mm balls.
If you’re playing with friends or recreationally, try both 38mm and 40mm balls to see that you prefer.
Ping pong ball weight
ITTF-approved table tennis balls must weigh 2.7g. But there’s an accepted tolerance of between 2.67 and 2.77g.
Lighter ping pong balls are slower and more likely to wobble, whereas heavier balls are faster and much more stable in their trajectory.
Ping pong ball color
Some players choose to use orange balls during training and then switch to white balls during tournaments, but there’s no rule about this. You need to use white or orange balls at any time. But there’s one more rule to take note of: before an official tournament, you and your opponent must agree on which balls to utilize, and the ball must be sufficiently different in color to your clothing:
The main colour of a shirt, skirt or shorts, apart from sleeves and collar of your shirt shall be evidently not the same as that of the ball in use
What’s inside a ping pong ball?
Surprisingly, there’s nothing in the table tennis ball aside from normal air. There’s a misconception that all ball must be filled with flammable gas because they burn so wildly, but it’s actually the flammable celluloid plastic that causes ping pong balls to catch fire.
The greatest change in ping pong balls material occurred when the material changed from celluloid to plastic. This is spurred on by safety concerns about the use of celluloid. This can be a highly flammable material, and safety regulations became more stringent.
Additionally, plastic is a lot cheaper and even more versatile as a material than celluloid. Eventually, it surely got to the stage where there were only a few celluloid factories left in China. And, they were exclusively producing celluloid for the creation of table tennis balls.