What are Ping Pong Balls made of? (Quick Answer)

Are you the ones who want to become a table tennis player or an enthusiastic fan of this sport? Whoever you are, you are curious about what exactly the balls are made of?

The ping pong ball has actually seen some remodelings. We can see the change in material from celluloid to plastic in recent years, which is an advancement following the development process.

In this post, we will have a look at what ping pong balls are made of, the reason for the changes, and how they influenced the sport.

This article also provides you with how they’re manufactured, as well as some other related interesting and fascinating information.

In general, ping-pong balls are made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) which is a thermoplastic polymer and also called ABS plastic. Previously, A different material was used in the production of ping pong balls was celluloid. However, Celluloid balls are no longer produced.

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What are Ping Pong Balls made of?

In 2014, the plastic Ping Pong ball was launched after years of studying and developing. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) chose plastic ping pong balls for the competitions. In the year 2020, it was officially announced that the last celluloid supplier balls were shut down.

ITTF decided to move to plastic balls due to the possibility of flammability in the celluloid ping-pong ball. In the early days, there was plenty of discussion on it as well as its danger to health throughout the world and therefore all attention was focused on ITTF. Celluloid balls are now been replaced with ABS-plastic balls.

Alongside celluloid and plastic ping pong balls, I’ll also discuss another material -an amorphous sponge.

If you’re curious about the various Ping Pong balls to choose from, go through my reviews!

  1. Celluloid

Celluloid is a translucent plastic made of nitrocellulose and camphor. In the past, it is also used to make jewelry, toys, and film tape.

Ping pong balls have been manufactured from celluloid for quite a long time till the 1900s and there are thousands of celluloid balls in the world, even though they’re no longer made or at least the most famous brands.

Celluloid used for a ping-pong ball material is very sturdy and reliable in all aspects, with the exception of its inflammability, which is the reason they were changed into different materials later on.

Some problems when using celluloid material led ITTF to make changes. Because celluloid manufacturing is weakening, as well as it is an incredibly unpredictable material, causes some delivery and storage space restrictions.

Consequently, the ITTF licensed non-celluloid balls like a plastic material. With additional benefits, this material still has similar attributes to celluloid.

  1. ABS plastic

The biggest change in the Ping Pong balls’ material is from plastic to celluloid. This was derived from safety concerns when using celluloid. Celluloid material is an extremely flammable material, and ITTF sets safety rules more strictly.

Moreover, plastic is less expensive and more flexible than celluloid. Consequently,  there were a few celluloid-based factories remaining in China. They were also excluded from making celluloid and producing tennis balls.

The ITTF Equipment Committee began investing in plastic balls. It didn’t take a long time to produce the first batch.

In 2013, The ITTF announced that starting in July 2014, plastic balls would be the new Table tennis balls.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is the thermoplastic polymer that makes ping-pong balls in present. It is also called the “new technology” ball for table tennis sport.

Additionally, ABS plastic balls are typically larger than 40mm, that’s a difference from the celluloid balls that are 38mm in size.

What are Ping Pong Balls made of

How has it affected the game?

There was certainly a long period of adjustment for players with a new ball made of plastic. Because the plastic ball has a bigger size and new material, the balls had less speed & spin and bounced better. The new plastic balls have less spin, choppers won’t be able to cut the ball as well using their chops. Moreover, the players have a higher angle to force loop or crush chops.

The ball also flies relatively quickly; nonetheless, it’s a challenge to understand spin with them.

Therefore, players needed to control their strokes in order to create a new equilibrium with the balls. While newbies may not be aware of the changes, a professional player would be able to clearly see them.

The players who hit fast shots directly off bounces are better well-suited this change than other players.

  1. Sponge foam composite

Sponge-foam composite Ping balls aren’t something you’ll see every day, but there is a particular reason. Ping pong balls made of this material are utilized because they don’t create the same amount of noise as ABS plastic or celluloid.

If you’ve got a ping pong table in the office, or at home in a place where you aren’t able to make noise constantly due to the baby or other reasons, sponge foam composite balls can allow you to play in peace.

How are ping-pong balls made?

It’s fascinating to know about what ping-pong balls are made of, but it is equally important to understand how they’re produced. Let’s follow with the seven steps!

  1. Weighing

Initially, the small plastic sheets are delivered to the factory. Each sheet is just half the ball. Therefore two sheets of plastic are required to make a ping pong ball. For the sake of ensuring that the result of the ball is equal, the plastic sheets are first measured. They are ready to be shaped at the next step.

  1. Shaping

After weighing, the plastic sheets are put in molds where a round copper head presses the sheet to form a shape that looks like the opposite half of the ping-pong ball. As sheets are formed then hot water drips over the sheets to avoid cracks.

  1. Edge trimming

Once the shape has been finished, the two halves of the ping-pong balls begin to look attractive, but there’s still to be completed. Their edges on the two halves must be cut and then removed. This process is implemented completely automatically.

  1. Gluing

When both ball pieces are clean and tidy, they can be put together. This can be done by cooperation between both machines and human beings. After gluing, the balls fall into large containers which are then shifted into a huge hall where they are kept for 15 days at a temperature of between 113-122degF (45-50degC).

  1. Control of quality

Within 15 days Ping-Pong balls must be inspected for quality. The balls are put in an automated quality control line. Then, those that pass will go to a second test which conducted by hand. There are five steps to quality control using hands. They include:

  • By using a bright light source the seam and the top surface are examined
  • The ball’s velocity is assessed by rolling the ball to the table that has line-markings. A ball must pass through an extremely narrow area before it can be accepted. This ensures that it’s equal from all angles.
  • The ball is measured by a machine’s hardness. Once the hardness has been determined, the balls are then categorized into various categories of hardness.
  • A fourth step involves that the ball is weighted. This is carried out using an instrument, and the ball must weigh somewhere between 2.68g as well as 2.76g to be able to pass.
  • The fifth step is to determine the roundness of the ball. It is verified with a hand-held machine to verify that the ball’s diameter is between 40.00mm and 40.40mm to get to.
  1. Logo printing

It’s now time to design the logo! The manufacturer will decide the logo applied to the ball. This is automated with the supervision of a human.

  1. Packaging

The complete manufacturing process is packaging and shipping! You can be surprised to know that the company DHS company is able to package 600,000 ping-pong balls per day, which is around 200 million ping-pong balls every year! The whole packaging process is automated.

Making a ping-pong ball isn’t that easy, is it? It’s a long and precise process, however, when you consider it, a ping-pong ball should appear perfectly circular and just the appropriate size for athletes to enjoy the game. If you are a visual learner Check out the following video by ITTF!!

What is the best Ping-Pong ball?

A good ping-pong ball comes with an ITTF-approved label. This means that the ball’s weight is between 2.68g and 2.76g. If you notice a 40+ marking in the ball that indicates that it’s bigger than 40mm in diameter. The third-star mark indicates that the ball is top quality and suitable for tournaments.

There are three distinct stars on ping-pong balls, ranging from 1 to 3. Typically, big training ball sets with an affordable price are filled with 2- or 1-star ball ping pong. However, 3-star ping-pong balls are generally available in 3-packs, meaning they are priced more expensive than the lesser stars.

If you’re confused about what to look for in the right table tennis ball, If you are unsure of how to choose table tennis balls, discover more about this in my step-by-step guide that provides clear guidelines!

How long will ping pong balls last?

In general, a ping pong ball’s longevity is defined according to its stars rating. This means that a three-star ball is the most durable since it has reached its weight limit. The length of time will last will be also determined by the amount of time you train.

Ping pong balls are easily flammable?

Ping-pong balls can be fire-proof if they’re made of celluloid with nitrocellulose which is a flammable chemical that is produced by nitrating the cotton fiber with Nitric acid. In 2014, however, the ping pong balls were mostly composed of ABS plastic that isn’t as explosive.

Can ping-pong balls be biodegradable?

No matter if the Ping-Pong balls are made of ABS or celluloid plastic, they aren’t biodegradable. However, both celluloid, as well as ABS plastic ping-pong balls, can be recycled.

To better learn more about the science regarding ping-pong balls and their recycling properties look up my article, where I go over the subject in detail!

Do you have the ability to 3D print a ping-pong ball?

You can print 3D Ping-Pong balls, but they will not look exactly like the original. 3D ping pong balls feature holes that allow air to flow through them. This is due to the fact that, If you were to print a ball that was sealed, it would be too big in mass to be considered a ping pong ball.

Furthermore, 3D-printed Ping-pong balls aren’t named that way, however, you can play around with them. That’s cool!

The favorite table tennis equipment.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope it gave you some great information that you can incorporate into your daily life! Below are some of my best table tennis equipment suggestions that I believe you should look over. Find my top racket, ping pong balls, racket cases, along with table tennis shoes.


The racket I like the most option is the Killerspin Jet800 because it is a perfect match for my speed-oriented and offensive style of play. Two layers of carbon, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g of weight make the racket incredibly powerful. The spin is fantastic too, but If you’re a beginner, then you’ll prefer the more control-oriented racket. However, I am awestruck by this racket just like I love all of Killerspin’s rackets, and the design is excellent and the design is also top-quality!

Ping Pong Balls

New technology and design have made these JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls distinct from other balls. These balls are seamless, which means they are more durable than other balls that have a seam! Even if they come with a higher price tag, they’ll pay back very quickly. In addition, I am extremely happy!

Racket Case

It is the Andro Mundro racket case is one of my favorites because it holds two rackets very well and has good cushioning the most appealing feature is that it has an extra zip compartment on the front of the case which can be used to store your membership card keys, cash, keys and more!

Shoes for Table Tennis

Famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my preferred choice, just like others due to their design exclusively for tables tennis. What I love about them is the perfect support, cushioning that is comfortable, and the lightweight sole that offers excellent traction that allows you to go flying fast in any direction you’re required to.

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Now you can know what ping pong balls are made of. ABS plastic is the most commonly used ping-pong ball material today. Because celluloid balls were produced in the past 100 years and millions of table tennis balls made of celluloid are still available. This article also offered a great deal of fascinating and useful information on the production of the ping pong balls and it’s no difficult task to create them.

When you actually play a table tennis game, keep in mind the ball’s attributes, and let’s see if it’s made of Celluloid and ABS plastic!