Ping Pong is a game that has stood the test of time from its invention long ago to now. To find the best ping pong ball for you, you have to consider the brands’ durability, elasticity, seam visibility, and balance of the table tennis balls. These qualities determine if the ball is up to the typical you require.
Demystifying ping pong ball star ratings
The stars rating system is a system that worldwide ping pong players have accepted and utilized for quite some time now. This quite simple symbol system has created a way for shoppers to tell the significance or quality specification of any table tennis ball.
They are quite easy to decipher. Basically, the utmost rating any ball can have is the 3-star rating – this represents the highest quality balls. Balls with lesser or no stars indicate that they’re of lesser quality when compared to a three-star ping pong. Their prices also reflect this difference.
Sadly, most manufacturers are actually responsible for deciding their own star-rating guidelines. Because of this, there are a lot of cheap 3-star table tennis balls on the market that don’t match the quality they claim. There is a lot of variation in quality in this market – the easiest way you can shop wisely is to opt for industry standard brands that contain a better brand reputation and even more trusted rating systems.
Shifts in standard and ball material
The table tennis ball has changed significantly twice within the last two decades. They were increased from 38mm to 40mm in the year 2000 to create more appeal for spectators of the sport. Increasing the ball to a larger size meant the ball would be slower and spin less, leading to longer rallies (although this hasn’t really been proven yet).
The next major change came in 2014-2015 when the material used generally to create table tennis balls changed. Celluloid was set aside for a more environmentally safer option of non-flammable plastic (sometimes known as “poly balls” or “40+ balls”).
Although the 40+ balls are a bit larger than 40mm celluloid balls, the major difference between your two is the sort of material these are made from.
Tournament and competition balls
All ping pong balls used now for professional and competitive table tennis matches are 40+ balls or new plastic ping pong balls. To identify if your table tennis ball is one of the new plastic balls, be sure it has “40+” printed on it.
Meaning of Stars Now that we have established that the stars are a reflection of quality, we will look at the features you can expect from the various balls with varied stars. One star The first classification we will look at as we continue with our discussion on what the stars on ping pong balls mean is the 1-star rating. This kind has the lowest quality among the balls with stars and they are the least durable. They are also the softest, so they have limited bounce capability and they also break more often from impact. This makes them unsuitable for professional players. However, some like Sanwei ABS 1-Star Training balls are great for casual and friendly matches. You can purchase 1-star balls in different materials like celluloid or polystyrene. Two stars The second type of table tennis ball stars is the 2-star rating.
They only fall short of the 3 star ping pong balls rating by something that you would barely notice. Therefore, they are a great choice for ping pong players with developed playing techniques and those seeking to advance in the game.
They are firmer and more durable than table tennis balls with 1 star. You can use them for competitive play 1 as long as they weigh 2.7 grams, have 40 mm diameter, and they feature white or orange colors. Otherwise, we recommend this category of table tennis ball stars like Butterfly Training Ball to intermediate players for various practices to hone their skills. Three stars For the highest quality, consider table tennis balls with 3 stars such as Butterfly 3-Star Ball. They are authorized by the ITTF and they meet international standards because they are tested and verified before the Companies releases them into the market.
ITTF lists 2 the manufacturers with these balls that are approved for official competitions. These ping pong balls are durable and they can withstand strong hits. They are made from different materials such as celluloid which is fairly affordable, but polystyrene is the preferred material for tournaments because it yields the most consistent bounce when you hit the ball with a ping pong paddle. 3 stars on ping pong balls mean that the balls are excellent for spin play and they grant you more control over the shots. You will find Companies that are not listed by ITTF although they also make 3-star balls. Such Companies have chosen not to involve the ITTF, but the balls they make can be used in competitions as long as they meet the standards set by ITTF.
Final Thoughts Ping pong balls come with either no stars or with stars which differ in their number because they vary in quality of construction, durability and performance. ITTF is the body that governs for all national table tennis associations. The rating system is determined by how close the balls fit the standards set by this overseeing body. Most 3-stars have been tested and approved by ITTF before release to ensure optimal quality when playing in tournaments and other official competitions. You will find some balls rated 4 or 5 by manufacturers, but 3 is the highest ping pong ball star rating recognized by ITTF. Remember, you can also use tennis balls with less than 3 stars in competitions if they meet the official ITTF standards.