Guide to Choosing Table Tennis Balls
40mm Celluloid Balls vs 40+ Poly Balls vs 40+ ABS balls
As of July 1, 2014, all ITTF events started using Plastic Polystyrene 'Poly' balls. The playing characteristics of the new balls are unique but very similar to celluloid. They transport more safely and are more environmentally friendly. Non-poly balls (celluloid) may still be legal for some tournaments and it is up to national and regional table tennis governing bodies to determine what type of ball to use for their tournaments.
As of 2017, manufacturers started using a new type of plastic - ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) - for table tennis balls. ABS offers improved roundness and durability over poly balls and is more environmentally friendly.
All plastic balls (ABS/Poly) on Megaspin are listed under 3-star 40+ Plastic Balls and Training Balls - 40+ Plastic. 40+ plastic balls are popular with competition players whereas 40mm balls are still popular with everyone else due to their higher durability and lower price.
Balls have a rating system that uses stars determined by each manufacturer. Ranging from one to three, the best balls and the only balls you should use for most purposes are the three stars. These can typically be purchased in packs of 3, 6 or 12 or in bulk. 1-star and 2-star training balls are less round and less durable. Good quality balls last a long time when treated properly.
Extending the Life of Table Tennis Balls
To ensure that you get the most out of each ball, make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight, excess heat, and excess moisture. Also be sure to pick up the balls when they fall to the floor, so you and others avoid stepping on them. The 3-star balls should be used for most rally drills and practice games. For multiple-ball drills, such as serves and smashes, good quality practice balls or 3-star bulk packs can be purchased.
The color of balls doesn't matter much for games and practice, just be sure to use a color that is the most visible given the conditions. The legal colors are white and orange but white is the predominant choice in International competitions.