In the world of sports, the size of a ping pong ball is the smallest next to squash. Actually, due to some changes in ball size in 2000 by ITTF, table tennis lost the top position for the smallest ball among all types of sports played around the world.
If you consider the weight category, the ping pong ball successfully retains the topmost position for being the lightest ball played in any type of game.
Sounds interesting! Let’s go into detail.
What is the Ping Pong Ball Size/ Diameter?
A ping pong ball is a spherical object, i.e. a three-dimensional perfectly symmetrical circular object, the size of which can be specified by the following measurements.
- Radius (r) = 20 mm
- Diameter (D = 2r) = 2 x 20 = 40 mm
- Circumference (C = 2πr) = 2 x π x 20 = 125.66 mm
- Surface Area (A = 4πr2) = 4 x π x 20 x 20 = 5026.55 mm2
- Volume (V = 4/3 πr3) = 4/3 x π x 20 x 20 x 20 = 33510.32 mm3
Ping Pong Ball Size in inches, Cm, & Mm
|Radius||0.79”||2 cm||20 mm|
|Diameter||1.57”||4 cm||40 mm|
|Circumference||4.95”||12.57 cm||125.66 mm|
|Surface Area||7.79 in2||50.27 cm2||5026.55 mm2|
|Volume||2 in3||33.51 cm3||33,510.32 mm3|
Ping Pong Ball Size for Celluloid and Plastic Balls
In 2014, ITTF made a big change by switching over from celluloid to plastic as a material of a table tennis ball. Though both types of balls are legal for competitions, only plastic balls are used in ITTF-organized tournaments.
|Type||Minimum Diameter||Maximum Diameter|
|Celluloid Balls||39.50 mm||40.50 mm|
|Plastic Balls||40 mm||40.60 mm|
How Much Does a Ping Pong Ball Weigh?
As per the rules of ITTF, though there is a marginal tolerance in diameter allowed between celluloid and plastic balls, the weight of both types of balls must be the same.
- The weight of a regulation-size table tennis ball must be within the range of 2.67 – 2.77 grams.
|Type||Weight in grams||Weight in oz|
|Celluloid Balls||2.67 – 2.77||0.094 – 0.098|
|Plastic Balls||2.67 – 2.77||0.094 – 0.098|
The interesting fact is that it is the lightest ball that has been used in the world of sport. The main two reasons behind making such a tiny light ball are:
- To make it easier to drop the ball on the other half of the table by crossing over a net of 15.25 cm high.
- To maintain the height of the bounce of about 23 cm when dropped on the table from 30 cm high. This height of bounce is easier to react to when receiving a ball.
What are Ping Pong Balls Made of?
Though celluloid and plastic are allowed as material for a table tennis ball, ITTF has been promoting the use of plastic over celluloid since the year 2014. The two main reasons for this are the flammability issue of celluloid and the higher cost per production.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is the most common material used for a plastic ball.
Another misconception is the presence of inert gas inside a ball. But the fact is that during the manufacturing process, each half of a ball is glued in the presence of normal air.
How to Measure the Quality of a Table Tennis Ball?
Ping pong balls are classified into three categories, by which you can judge the quality of a ball.
Higher the star number, the better the quality of the ball is.
1-star balls conform to the minimum standard fixed by ITTF, in terms of bounce, size, weight, hardness, roundness, and veer. These balls can’t sustain repeated blows for a longer duration. 1-star balls are ideal for entry-level players and for the use of robots where there is a requirement for a large no. of balls.
In terms of quality, 2-star balls are better than 1-star balls. The use of 2-star balls is a good option for practice because these balls are quite affordable compared to 3-star balls.
The 3-star ball passes through repeated testing procedures during the manufacturing process to match the highest standard fixed by ITTF. These balls not only give the ultimate bounce but also are very durable.
At present, 54 manufacturers in the world are included in the approval list of ITTF for the production of these high-quality balls. If you want a tournament-standard table tennis ball, make sure that the logo of ITTF is printed on the ball.
Also, you can find two types of balls in the market, seamless and with seam. Seamless balls not only feel better but also have longer durability.
Ping Pong Ball Size Vs Golf Ball
Ping pong balls are used to play over a board of 9’ x 5’. To make it convenient to bounce on either side of the table, these balls are made smaller and lighter. In fact, table tennis balls are the lightest and second smallest type of ball used in any kind of sport.
Golf balls are almost identical in size, but they are comparatively heavier to cover a longer distance when hit by golf clubs.
|Comparison Factor||Ping Pong Ball||Golf Ball|
|Diameter||40 mm or 1.57”||42.67 mm or 1.68”|
|Weight||2.7 grams or 0.1 oz||45.93 Grams or 1.62 oz|
How to Distinguish Between a Plastic and Celluloid Ball?
The easiest way of identifying a plastic ball is the sign of 40+. Plastic balls are made with a tolerance over 40 mm diameter (40 – 40.6) whereas celluloid balls with an average diameter of 40 mm (39.5 – 40.5), are separated by the mark of 40.
What Ping Pong Balls do Professionals Use?
Professionals only use the tournament standard balls, which are best in terms of bounce and quality. Though there are several good choices, like Butterfly G40+ or STIGA 3-star, the Nittaku 3-Star Premium 40+ is the most preferred ball among professionals.
Related Topic: “The Best Ping Pong Balls to Buy in 2022“