What Do The Stars On Table Tennis Balls Mean? – Table Tennis Basic Knowledge

“What do the stars on table tennis balls mean?” is an interesting question for people who are passionate about Ping Pong. Indeed, those stars are not only for decoration, but they also imply important information.

In this blog, we’ve got you some basic and helpful knowledge related to starts on Ping Pong balls. Scroll down to discover!


How to Choose Ping Pong Balls Found with Detailed Reviews – Buying Guide

How Long Does It Take To Become Really Good At Table Tennis?

What Do The Stars On Table Tennis Balls Mean?

ITTF Certified Ping Pong Ball

The ITTF officially sets the standards for everything related to the table-tennis game, such as table qualification, game rules, and even ping-pong ball standards.

Therefore, a ping-pong ball must meet ITTF requirements before being considered an official ball for a competition.

The International Table Tennis Federation qualifying ball includes the following aspects:

  • Material: the newest ping-pong ball must be made of plastic, not celluloid, as celluloid does not give the ball a stable bounce.
  • Size: The ideal diameter of a ping-pong ball is 40mm; only the 3-star ball can have a difference of 0.5mm or less. Hence, the size can be between 39.5mm to 40.5mm.
  • Weight: the heaviness of a ball is 2.7g, and it must have perfect roundness ( There is a special way to check the ball: A qualifying one must go in a straight line without deflecting when it rolls straight down the slope).
  • Bounce: the 3-stars ball must bounce from 24 to 26cm when dropped from a height of 30.5cm
  • Hardness: the ball must have achieved the hardness of the ITTF computer test.
  • Color: 2 accepted colors are orange and light orange
  • Labels: the latest updated labels on the ball is “40+” (or signs 40, 40mm on the old ball)

Why are there different stars on table tennis balls? The stars on the ping-pong balls are a tool to evaluate the quality of the balls based on the requirements of the ITTF (International Table-Tennis Federation).

Specifically, there are three ratings: 1-star, 2-stars, 3-stars, and special no-star balls, not in any ranks.

1-Star Ping-Pong Ball

One Star Ping Pong Ball

A 1-star ball is the lowest quality in all three ranks. Then, what is the difference between a one-star and three-star table tennis ball? Ping-pong players can use the 1-star ball for training only, not in official matches like the 3-star ball.

It is made from various materials; the two most common are polystyrene and celluloid. Hence, this product is quite soft and fragile.

A 1-star ball is perfect for newbies to practice playing ping-pong or children who play for fun.

2-Star Ping-Pong Ball

Two Star Ping Pong Ball
Source: www.biccamera.com

Next in the rankings is a 2-star ball. First and foremost, this product is significantly better in durability and much stiffer than the 1-star ball.

Players with technically advanced skills often favor 2-star ball, especially for their normal practice rather than just entertainment.

Since the standard is 2 out of 3 stars, you will find it difficult to recognize the difference between these two types of balls if you are not a professional.

A 2-star ball is the best option in practice because they have quite good bounce, which is perfect for those with semi-professional and professional experience.

In some tournaments, they also allow 2-star balls.

3-Star Ping-pong Ball

Three Star Ping Pong Ball

We have the top in the rank – the 3-star ball, the ideal one for a high-quality game.

Specifically, it is the most perfect and qualified ball amongst all table tennis. A 3-star is the ball that will inevitably appear in competition, as it meets all of the requirements given by ITTF.

It has perfect bounce, stiffness, and can withstand strong bumps (sometimes up to 170km/h), and usually last for a long time.

Additionally, this product is also optimized for skills such as swirls and convenient maneuvers.

If you consider playing professionally, you cannot ignore the quality 3-star ping-pong balls in both training and official competition.

No Star Ping-pong Balls

No Star Ping Pong Ball

Last but not least, there is a special kind of table tennis – the no-star ping-pong balls.

These are completely unregulated balls of any quality, so they are very diverse and can be found everywhere at very low prices.

You can not use them in competition or regular practice either, because they are just symbolic balls for entertainment. Thus, people normally use them in party games (such as dare pong).


How to Play Ping Pong (Table Tennis) –  Wikihow

About Table tennis – Wikipedia


There are a variety of ping pong ball types to suit the distinctive purposes and needs of users.

If you want to play for relaxing, you can choose a no-star or a 1-star ball, but if you want to practice or play professionally, consider equipping yourself with 2-star and 3-star table tennis.  Hopefully, you can get the needed information from the above article on “What Do The Stars on Table Tennis Balls Mean?”.