You’re standing in front of your favorite ping pong ball brand. There are two kinds to choose from: the one-star balls, or the three-star balls.
The answer may actually be simple if you think about it. You may notice that the three-star balls are more expensive. This usually means they’re better in some way, but let’s hold off on that assumption until we do a little research.
The one-star ball says “approved by the USATT,” and the three-star ball does not make such a claim. The USATT is the United States Olympic Table Tennis team, so it’s clearly better to have their stamp of approval.
Facts About Ping Pong Balls
Ping pong balls come in a variety of colors and stars. There are three types of stars: one-star, two-star, and three-star. The difference between the different types of stars is how much spin they provide to a ball when it is hit by a paddle. One star balls have very little spin, which means that they will bounce similarly every time they hit a racket, and they will speed up along the table. Three-star balls have more spin, which means that they will bounce differently every time they hit a racket, and they will slow down along the table.
One star is alright for casual play but isn’t as good as three stars (in my opinion). Every once in a while, I’ll get a chance to play with a one-star ball. It sucks, but it isn’t terrible. Three stars are usually reserved for tournament/official use.
Difference Between One Star & Three Star Ping Pong Balls
Here are some other differences between the balls:
One star balls are cheaper than three star balls. This makes sense because they are probably worse in some way or another. Don’t fall for the “but they’re cheaper” line though.
If you get a gun that shoots one star balls, it can shoot three-star balls. You just have to pick them up off the floor because they don’t bounce very well. The gun will also probably break after one day, but let’s keep this in mind for later.
Three-star balls give you more power. Well, that’s what the advertisements say anyway, and it seems like a reasonable claim. You might as well just buy three-star balls then?
If you had two stars next to each other for eyes, they would be triangles. If you had three stars next to each other for eyes, they would be a single line.
The same holds true if we put two lines on top of each other, and three in a row:
If you’re going to hit the ball with a paddle, it makes more sense to have a single line of stars.
The amount of power you get from the paddle is not linear with respect to the number of stars on a ball. All else being equal, a three-star ball has only 1/3rd as much power as a one-star ball. So if your opponent usually gets smashed by way of the stars, you are better off with a one-star ball.
If all else is NOT equal (one person’s strength is weaker than another’s), then this becomes even more complicated. The two people could playtest games to see what balls work in *their* case, but if they want an absolute answer, then a one-star ball will suffice. If the two people have equal strengths, a three-star ball would still be better because it has more power. This is assuming that the balls are used for serves and returns only – backspin would likely play a role in actual games if both players had relatively equal skills.<br>
If I were to play with somebody who had more skill than me (more experience playing ping pong), I would be better off with a three-star ball. Three stars seem to have a better bounce, so it will go right where you want it to. I may not be able to make it go in the direction I want, but at least the ball is bouncing off in that general direction. A one-star ball will likely bounce higher when it lands on the same side of the table that you hit it from, so if you hit it into the net or over the wrong side of the table, it will likely bounce super high and out of the court. So if you don’t want to lose (or, conversely, if your opponent is not as good as me), then three stars.
Also, three stars have better spin because it’s made with better material and won’t get water logged like a one-star ball will. That means that when your opponent is smashing the ball if you hit it back with a three-star ball, it will spin much more than if it were a one-star ball.
One-color of three stars is best for night play because they glow in the dark (though they are typically more expensive).
Every once in a while, I’ll get a one-star ball if it’s on sale. One star is alright for casual play but isn’t as good as three stars (in my opinion).
PingPong Ball At Starting
I recommend buying three-star balls because they are the best type for serious ping pong players to have. Once you have been playing long enough that you know what type of ball you like, I would recommend buying one-star balls because they are only slightly worse than three stars.