Guide to Choosing Table Tennis Balls
40mm Celluloid or 40+ Plastic?
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 are still 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. All plastic balls on Megaspin are listed under 40+ Plastic balls in the balls section. 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. Ranging from one to three, the best balls and the only balls you should use for most purposes are the three stars. These can be purchased in packs of 3 or 12 or in bulk. 1-star, 2-star and training balls are less durable and break easier. Good quality balls last a long time when given the proper treatment.
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 three-stars 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 don'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.