A lot of people ask, what are the best ping pong balls? Ping pong has a clever rating system, which gives us a quick idea on which balls are of higher quality. Ping pong balls star rating is their way of ranking a ball and we’re going to focus on 3 star ping pong balls vs 1 star ping pong balls.

It may feel like all ping pong balls are the same – they all look the same, they all feel pretty similar? This may be partially true, however, there is a rather large difference in each kind of ball. These differences tend to change the price of the ball, as each quality of ball has gone through a different manufacturing process. 

This article will look at the different star ratings, mainly focusing on the difference between the highest rated balls, and the lowest rated balls. After these topics are discussed, we will recommend the best options for players to use, for recreational and competitive purposes.

If you’re looking for a complete ping pong ball buyers guide, we’ve made one here.

  Product Details    
818VuDqS2wL._AC_SL1500_ STIGA 1 Star (144 balls) Best 1 Star ball for recreational play Check Price
buttefly-ball Butterfly G40+ 3 Star Our favorite 3 Star ball – more advanced and competition play Check Price
Annotation-2020-08-28-102000 Nittaku 3 Star Premium 40+ Another one of our favorite 3 Star ping pong balls. Also used to official tournaments Check Price

The Star Rating

The best ping pong balls have a higher star rating. These ratings range from one, two, and three stars. 

The lowest quality balls are the one star balls. These balls lack durability and struggle to surpass the test of time. 

The next in the rankings is the two star ball, these balls are considerably better in terms of durability, and are much harder than the one star balls. 

Finally, the winner – the three star ball. This ball is ITTF approved and is the ideal ball to have for a high-quality game of ping pong. 

We will go into more detail on each star rating. 

1 Star Ping Pong Ball

We’ll start with the 1 star ball. These balls are the lowest quality balls and are great for youth clubs or just general recreational play. Hey, they might even be the best bet for a game of beer pong! 

These balls come in all kinds of materials, such as polystyrene or celluloid. However, they are comfortably the softest balls out of the three classes. Due to their softness, these balls become worn out more easily and will break more often. 

The softness of the ball also hinders the bounce capabilities, making it less favorable for more skilled players. 

As mentioned earlier, these balls are ideal for friendly and recreational play. Just because they are softer and less durable, it doesn’t mean you can’t practice and improve your game with them. 

We’ll review some of our favorite 1 star balls later on in the article, which is perfect for practice. 

2 Star Ping Pong Ball

Next in the rankings is the 2 star ball. These balls are definitely a better choice for players who have developed their playing technique and are looking to take their game to a higher level.

These balls are noticeably firmer than the 1 star balls, which is why they’re a lot more durable as well. 

These balls aren’t used in competitive play, but they’re still good enough to have a tough game with your rival. 

3 Star Ping Pong Ball

This ball is the best you can get in terms of quality. If you’re looking to play at a competitive level, you should be investing in these balls. 

3 star balls come in various materials. Polystyrene is the material used for tournaments, as this provides the most consistent and reliable bounce. Polystyrene is also less harmful to the environment, which should be a genuine consideration when looking at balls. Materials such as celluloid are slightly cheaper as they are easier to make. Celluloid doesn’t give the ball the most consistent bounce, which is why polystyrene is often preferred.

The 3 star ball can withstand hard hits, and they normally last a long period of time. These balls are also optimal for skills such as spin play and nifty control. 

As mentioned earlier, these balls are ITTF approved and are used in tournament play. 

After the 1 star reviews, we’ve selected three of our favorite and highest rated 3 star balls, which are guaranteed to improve one’s game. 

Our Favorite Ping Pong Balls – In Recreational and Competitive Classes

We’ve decided to review 3 of the best ping pong balls in two classes – 1 star balls and 3 star balls. The reason we aren’t doing 2 star balls, is because we’re focusing on recreational play and competitive play. 1 star balls should only be used for recreational play, while 3 star balls are used in competitive games. 

Looking to practice and improve your skills before your next match-up? We’ve listed some ways to practice and heat up your game over here.

1 Star Ping Pong Balls – Our 3 Favorites

Please note that these balls are rated mainly for recreational use, and they shouldn’t be used for competition play.

1 – Champion Sports 1 Star Table Tennis Ball Pack 

3 Star Ping Pong Balls vs 1 Star - Champion Sports
Image sourced from www.championsports.com

Ideal for practice

Champion’s 1 star balls offer high-quality entertainment for everyone involved. A nice feature is that they come in packs of 6, which means there is always an easy replacement for that dreaded missing ball. 

Meet official requirements

The seamless and relatively sturdy ball meets the standard size requirements of table tennis balls – which is 40 millimeters in diameter. This makes the balls ideal to practice with. 

Vibrant, white color

The bright white color of the ball makes it easy to follow during fast-paced play. White is also an ITTF approved color.

These balls are great for recreational play and can be used for many hours of effective practice. Often, 1 star balls are poor when it comes to quality. This isn’t the case for these and we found them to be one of the best in their class.

  • Great for quick practice
  • Meet official requirements of ball size
  • Vibrant white color
  • Budget-friendly
  • Not ideal for competition play
  • Not as durable as higher star balls

2 – STIGA 1 Star Table Tennis Balls (144 Count)

STIGA 1 Star

Practice heaven

One of the major reasons we love this product is because there are 144 (!!!) balls. This makes it easy and efficient to get practice sessions going, and players can work on shots at a faster rate. 

The brand

STIGA has a high reputation in the table tennis industry, which means you’re guaranteed fair quality when purchasing their balls. The balls are 1 star, so the quality may not be where desired, however, these balls should only really be used for practice or a friendly game with your buddy. 

Official size met

The size of the ball is 40 millimeters, which is the size of the balls used in tournament play. This is another reason to practice with them. 

Once again, these balls are ideal for repetitive practice.

  • STIGA has a good reputation
  • 144 balls – endless hours of practice
  • Official size requirements met
  • Budget-friendly
  • Not for competition play
  • Durability could be better

3 – Franklin Sports 1 Star Table Tennis Balls

Ideal for anyone

Franklin’s 1 star balls have very decent attributes such as bounce and are said to be slightly more durable than other 1 star balls. They are great for players who are just getting into ping pong or even for players looking to up their game a bit. 

Official size requirements met

These balls meet the official size requirements, as they are 40 millimeters, as well as 2.7 grams in weight. This means that practicing with these balls will help you prepare for games using ITTF approved balls. 

Focus on durability

The seamless design of these balls ensures that they are meant to last a decent period, meaning the game can keep going for long without having to worry about cracks or dents. 

If you’re in the market for affordable balls that you can use to practice and improve your skills, this would be an ideal option. 

  • Ideal for any skill level
  • Great for recreational play
  • Official ITTF size requirements met
  • Focus on durability
  • Budget-friendly
  • Not the best option for competition play
  • Durability isn’t as good as higher star balls

3 Star Ping Pong Balls – Our 3 Favorites

Now we will look at our 3 top picks for 3 star ping pong balls. Please note that we have chosen these balls for the use of more competitive play.

1 – Butterfly G40+ White Table Tennis Balls

Butterfly G40+
Image sourced from butterflyonline.com

Professional Table Tennis Balls

Butterfly’s G40+ is ITTF approved, making it ready for competition play. These balls meet the requirements of the optimal table tennis ball.

Ideal bounce

The polystyrene balls resemble the best bounce you can get in a table tennis ball, which is why it’s used in tournaments. These balls are capable of improving the quality of any game of ping pong. 

Used in official tournaments

Not only are these balls approved by the ITTV, but they are also the official ball in professional tournaments. Such as the Butterfly Canada Cup, and other Butterfly-hosted events in North America.

If you’re looking to use a ball with a professional feel, look no further than the Butterfly G40+, they’re one of our favorites for sure.

  • Perfect bounce
  • Polystyrene material
  • Better for the environment
  • Used in official tournaments
  • Classy feel
  • More expensive than most ping pong balls

2 – PRO SPIN Ping Pong Balls – White 3-Star

ABS build

These balls are built using ABS plastic, which is a modernized material for ping pong balls. This material has built a reputation for delivering highly consistent bounce. ABS is also known to be extremely durable, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor play. 

ITTF approved

These balls are the official size and weight for ITTF requirements, making them a good choice for competitive play. 

Professional quality

The seamless design makes the balls perform for longer periods of time, without becoming worn out. They also have a classy feel to them, which could help you take your game to another level.

These balls can be used for both practice and competition play, making them a worthwhile investment. They also come in two different colors, white and orange – which are both ITTF approved. 

  • Modern ABS material
  • ITTF approved
  • Professional quality
  • Budget-friendly for a 3 star ball
  • Durability
  • Come in white and orange
  • More expensive than lower class balls

3 – Nittaku 3 Star Premium 40+

Consistent, quality ball

Manufactured in Japan, the Nittaku 3 star is a high-quality ball, made from polystyrene. These balls are extremely durable and are one of the best options out there in terms of ping pong balls.

As hard as celluloid

A common complaint about polystyrene balls is that they aren’t as hard or firm as a celluloid ball. This isn’t the case with the Nittaku 3 star, as the ball is made to match the hardness of good old celluloid.

Used in official tournaments

These balls are ITTF approved and they have even been the official ball for some of the biggest tournaments, such as the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championship.

Handpicked by professionals

This ball is a favorite in the polystyrene class and is used by many professionals for their practice and matches.

  • Made in Japan
  • Meet ITTF requirements
  • Used in 2017 World Table Tennis Championship
  • The best in durability
  • One of the best in polystyrene realm
  • More expensive than lower class balls


So there you have it, we’ve given you the rundown on how ping pong balls are rated, going through the lowest rated, to the highest-rated. We hope this helped you determine which ball suits your ping pong desires. 

We also gave you our top picks for balls that should be used for recreational purposes – the 1 star balls, as well as our favorites for competition play – the 3 star balls. 

What ping pong balls do you use? Let us know in the comments.