For any table tennis player, it is important to know the quality of the ball. Table Tennis Manufacturers create various star balls depending on the quality. Every star balls is different from other and for various reason. Manufacturers such as Stiga, DHS, Joola, Donic etc create multiple star balls but usually from 1 star to 3 star balls. 4 star balls are not really created and even on ITTF website, you can see list of approved Table Tennis Balls. List of Balls approved by ITTF.
The better quality ball is always more consistent.
Usually the balls are available in yellow and white colors and the color doesn’t make a difference in the ball quality. It is mostly preference of players, white color balls is generally used in tournaments these days.
Color doesn’t make a difference in the quality. It is mostly a personal preference
Related to build quality material, in the past, celluloid balls used to be standard for table tennis matches but now plastic balls are used and you can identify plastic balls with 40+ keyword written on the ball. The game has changed drastically after changing from celluloid to plastic balls and is now much more physical compared to before.
Let’s take a look at different star balls qualities and characteristics.
1 star balls are significantly cheaper and 3 star balls which are costly because of the quality. Generally you will find the 3 star balls almost 3-5 times the price of a 1 star ball. That’s a very big difference in price.
3 star balls are having better durability than 1 star balls but the cost does compensate for less durability for 1 star balls.
The 1 star balls are mostly for recreational purpose and entertainment.
The 3 star balls are mostly used for tournaments and professionals.
Decent level players usually use 1 star balls for multi-ball drills and trainings but professional level players prefer to use 3 star balls in their practice & multi-balls to adjust to bounce and feeling of such balls.
The material for 1 star and 3 star balls is usually the same. Most of the manufacturers discard the uneven balls to lower stars. However some manufacturers use a heavier quality plastic for 3 star balls. It is also interesting that you can get a different quality of ball depending on the manufacturing brand.
With a 1 star ball, you will see a slow and less spinny game. The bounce would be lower which would result in less rallies. The shots and blocks will be having comparatively less bounce. But with 3 star balls, you will see a higher and consistent bounce and thus will results in high quality game with more rallies and lots of spin.
3 star balls are more consistent with the bounce and predictability. After all table tennis is a quick sport with lots of reflex action. Hence at professional level, 3 star balls are preferred.
Fun Fact: Dragon Balls are 1 star to 7 stars balls but table tennis balls are from 1 star to 3 stars 🙂
If you are playing for recreational purpose, then just go with 1 star balls and have fun. It will be cost effective and an entertaining experience. However, if you are a serious ping pong player, then you already know which star table tennis ball you need to use. ;)