What Are Ping Pong Balls Made Of? – Complete Guide In 2023

Today, a comfortable, consistent balance may have been found for table tennis balls.

Over the years, the game has undergone many changes, some of which have improved it, some have hurt it.

Have you ever wondered how ping pong balls are made?

From the origin of the industry to the present, here is a complete breakdown of how ping pong balls and table tennis balls are manufactured.

What Are Ping Pong Balls Made Of? – Complete Guide In 2023

What Were The Original Ping Pong Balls Made Of?

The history of table tennis is long and fascinating, and the sport has evolved greatly since its beginnings.

When table tennis became a serious sport, celluloid became the standard ping pong ball material even though the first ping pong balls were made of cork.

What Were The Original Ping Pong Balls Made Of
Source: 99Sportz

These balls had a diameter of 38mm and were the standard table tennis balls throughout most of the 1900s.

Ping pong ball manufacturing didn’t change until the year 2000.

Since 2000, 40mm balls have been used instead of 38mm balls.

It was a minor size increase. Increasing the size of the field was intended to make the sport more spectator-friendly.

The larger the ball, the slower it travels and the less susceptible it is to spin.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) believes longer rallies provide better viewing for audiences.

Another influential factor might have been the widespread use of speed glue.

Speed glue sped up the game, so the larger size change more or less compensated for it.

Transforming Celluloid Into Plastic Balls

When celluloid was replaced by plastic, the ping pong ball’s material changed dramatically.

Source: table tennis store

Several safety concerns were raised regarding the use of celluloid. Safety regulations increased due to the flammability of this material.

Moreover, plastic is a much more versatile and cheaper material than celluloid.

Celluloid factories in China eventually dwindled to only a few. Celluloid was exclusively used to create Table Tennis balls from these factories.

Without changes, supply issues would soon arise.   

The ITTF Equipment Committee, therefore, decided to invest in plastic balls. A short time later, the first batches arrived.

Table tennis balls will be made of plastic from July 2014 on wards, the ITTF announced in 2013.

However, the use of celluloid balls would be permitted during the transition period.

What Exactly Are Plastic Balls?

Various terms describe the current table tennis ball, such as poly balls, 40+ balls, and plastic balls.

ABS plastic also referred to as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is most commonly used in producing them.

Source: expert table tennis

ABS plastic is widely used because it is both strong and relatively safe.

The same material is also used in pipes, Lego, and 3D printer filament. 

Transition To Plastic Balls Issues

Pricing & Quality Control

The introduction of the plastic ball was hoped to remove the need for ball ratings due to its consistency.

Despite this, the plastic ball’s initial release could not have gone worse than it did.

There was a serious problem with quality control. It was difficult to break the balls because they weren’t perfectly round. The players were upset by this.

There were also problems with the supply. The new balls were only available in limited quantities, so many players and clubs rushed to stockpile them.

The new balls were being used in competitions, so people wanted to adjust to them as quickly as possible.

This would be a major disadvantage for players who had not used them before.

The plastic ball presented issues across the board for how leagues would integrate it reasonably.

Another issue was the price.

When the balls were released, they were outrageously expensive. They were so poor and so easily broken is especially noteworthy.

The prices of table tennis balls have fallen dramatically since the days of celluloid some 7 years ago.


What Are Ping Pong Balls Made Of?

They are made from an air composed of photographic film, alcohol-based adhesives, and model glue.

How Toxic Are Ping Pong Balls?

Ping pong balls are not toxic, as they are made from celluloid. Many things are made from celluloid, such as toys, jewelry, etc. Hence, it is harmless.

What Is The Cause Of Ping Pong Ball Burning?

Celluloid is used to make ping pong balls, which are highly flammable. It catches fire instantly when it comes into contact with heat.

Is A Ping Pong Ball Filled With Gas?

Ping pong balls are not filled with gas, only with air. A ball’s composition is what makes it flammable.

What Is The Purpose Of The Camphor Inside Ping Pong Balls?

The camphor inside the ball is not of the highest quality. The material used to make tennis balls, nitrocellulose, and camphor is celluloid.

Is Nitrocellulose Used In Ping Pong Balls?

Celluloid or other plastic is used for ping pong balls. The component of nitrocellulose, celluloid, is not inherently plastic. It’s stronger and cheaper than plastics.


Ping pong balls are pretty familiar to most of us, but few know how they are made or what is inside them.

This is why, in this post, we have tried to give a brief understanding of ping pong ball manufacturing.

The balls used in ping pong are not toxic.

Keep them away from humid areas and sunlight, though, as they can easily catch fire and can damage your home’s metal surfaces.

Hopefully, you have read this whole article carefully so far and understand how ping pong balls are made.

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