We’re going to go out on a whim here and say that almost everybody’s Grandma has bought them chocolate from a $2 shop. At first, you thanked Nan for the thoughtful act, but everything went downhill from there. You laid eyes on that dreadful, unbranded foil it was wrapped in. Opening it, you were rudely stung by that familiar, chalky smell. And to top it off, you tried your best not to gag at that unmistakable $2-chocky taste: a weak, almost dusty flavour of old, unwanted cocoa.

Nan wasn’t trying to be malicious; she just thought she saw a bargain, and didn’t think about the fact that not all chocolate is created equal.

And that, our friends, brings us to the point. Not all table tennis balls are created equal, either. In this post, your mates at PONGO explain why you’ve been disappointed with the un-bounceable, firm ping pong balls you’ve bought from a cheap shop, and why you can’t let poor quality balls ruin a night of table tennis.

Tables tennis balls: 3 different ratings

Table tennis balls are categorised under 3 distinct ratings, or stars. Just like soccer balls or basketballs, each star indicates that the table tennis ball has different qualities and characteristic. Let’s take a look at these ratings and compare:

1-Star rated ping pong balls

1-star rated balls are your entry-level option for table tennis. While not used in professional games, 1-star ping pong balls are perfect for basic training with friends or for the kids and are common in suburban homes across Australia as they are found in department stores.

Bounce is Low
Speed is Low
Spin: Not recommended

2-Star rated ping pong balls

OK, now we’re stepping it up a notch! 2-star rated table tennis balls are where we get a little more serious. They’re harder and slightly weightier, giving them more consistency and resilience in play. 2-star tennis table balls are ideal for recreational games and training.

Bounce is Low / Medium
Speed is Low / Medium
Spin: Beginner

3-Star rated ping pong balls

And here we find the gold standard of any top-level table tennis match: 3-star rated balls. These professionally crafted table tennis balls are made from harder ABS plastic and are tested for hardness, roundness and bounce, making intricate techniques like spinning and slicing a dream. Awesome for super-fast play. For long life keeping and optimum game play, keep in a regulated temperature space and away from sunlight.

A very high-quality 3 Star ball giving great bounce is the Stiga Perform 40+ Competition Ball which is International Table Tennis Federation Approved Ball. The Table Tennis Balls go through a strict manual and automatic quality assurance process to ensure the ball complies in terms of raw material, weight and roundness.

Bounce is Medium / High
Speed is Medium / Fast
Spin: Professional

CUSTOM ping pong balls

PONGO’s signature Outdoor balls have been crafted to deal with Australian outdoor play. They are approximately 40% heavier than a lightweight ball, this gives the ball the ability to provide a stable flight trajectory during outdoor breeze changes. A more robust coating allows them to be splash resistant and have a stronger UV resistance. Suitable for medium-slow play.

Bounce is Medium
Speed is Medium / Slow
Spin: Amateur

Unrated ping pong balls

Steer clear of unrated ping pong balls. These balls are the ones you’d find in your local cheap shop. They’re generally hard, thick and have no bounce on them at all! They will also come in all colours of the rainbow to attract a purchase.

Bounce is Zero - Low
Speed is Slow
Spin: No (No Spin)

Table Tennis Bats

Many new technologies exist in this area and new styles emerging from your traditional bat, to competition bats and with 2.0mm red and black rubbers with lightweight carbon fibre layers within the timber exterior, to new shape styles like the cybershape bat which is more of a hexagon than an traditional circle bat.

Outdoor bats can be basic or can be next-level with new generation bats being dual-sprung where there is a small cavity between the rubbers. These bats will give optimum control, speed and spin when playing in social indoors and outdoor environments.

PONGO are Australia’s legendary team for anything table tennis or ping pong. PONGO manufactures premium quality, Aussie-made, all-weather ping pong tables and accessories for recreational and professional use. Only want one of these bad boys for the day or night? No dramas! PONGO also offer full-service table hire, catering for work parties, functions, pop-up events – you name it. In rain or shine, PONGO tables have you playing better table tennis, and more of it. Get in touch with the friendly team at PONGO to learn more.