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Stiga 3star as specified--a short discourse on ping pong balls
on June 4, 2013
I ordered 6 balls over 6 months ago, and they arrived as specified and played as expected. I just ordered 12 more. There are various discussions in the reviews as to the quality and nature of the balls. Here is a little background:
1) Yes, table tennis is ping pong is table tennis. Note that the Chinese, who play much more than westerners, also regularly refer to it as "ping pong" (pronounced with slightly different vowels than English, normally the game is referred to in Chinese with the third character for ball: jiu, pronounced more or less like the English "geo").
2) Some time back the standard ball size shifted from 38mm to 40mm. The current standard is 40mm, which these balls are. http://www.tabletennismaster.com/page/ping-pong-balls
3) Also, for TV perhaps, but also generally for visibility, neon orange balls are now often preferred to white balls. If your table is blue rather than green, the contrast with the orange balls is even better. White of course is old school.
4) 3-star balls are considered tournament quality rather than practice quality. They should bounce better and more consistently than 1-star, unmarked, or 2-star balls. But brand also provides some indicator of quality. Common ping pong brands, generally all from Asia, are TSP and Stiga, with more premium brands including Nittaku. Other well-known brands include Butterfly (traditional) and DHS (I saw on one site that they make over 2/3s of the ping pong balls today, no doubt to various quality specs and branding) ("Double Happiness").
5) Since ping pong balls approved for tournament play are governed by specs for weight (2.7g), material (celluloid), size (40mm diameter), finish (matte), and bounce (0.4 coefficient of restitution), really the differences between balls should amount to quality and consistency.
6) Balls wear in usage. Over time a ball, unless cracked first, loses its matte finish so it becomes more slippery and faster. The 38mm balls (old school) should last longer because they were heavier for the surface area, and of course they should go faster and spin more, as that's why they were changed for competition! No wonder some people say 40mm balls are "not as good" as the old balls.