page title icon What is the Difference Between Ping Pong and Table Tennis

Difference between ping pong and table tennis?

Aren’t they both same?

Or they are different?

Let’s see…

Table Tennis is a renowned game, and is also known by the nickname of “Ping Pong”. Though some people believe that both the games are the same, there are minor differences between the two (yes, there is some difference between the two…)

Nobody can differentiate between table tennis and ping pong without any particular knowledge about the styles of play, rules of playing and their equipment.

Without knowledge of certain facts, the first time explorer could never judge whether the gameplay is table tennis or ping pong.

The main difference between table tennis and ping pong:

  • Table tennis is played formally with a competitive spirit
  • Ping pong is an informal sport played as a hobby or with the family members

Table of Contents:

    1. History of Table Tennis and Ping Pong
    2. Overview of Ping Pong and Table Tennis
    3. Comparisons between Ping Pong and Table Tennis
    4. Table Tennis and Ping Pong: (Concluding Points)
    5. FAQs about Ping Pong and Table Tennis

History of Table Tennis and Ping Pong

table tennis history

Talking about the history and existence of table tennis and ping pong; ping pong is in existence years before table tennis.

International ping pong federation was registered in Berlin but because of the certain trademark issues, the name ping pong was dominated by table tennis and International table tennis federation was registered.

The maximum number of people call it table tennis, as ping pong is not as popular as table tennis is.

Earlier ping pong was played in a friendly manner but as it got an official new name: Table Tennis, it is now being played with a more serious attitude and a spirit of competition.

Overview of Ping Pong and Table Tennis

Table tennis vs ping pong can be distinguished on the basis of certain factors, for instance: rules, bats, paddles, table, style of play, the speed of play, nature of playing, etc.

Table tennis is played with a competitive spirit, while ping pong is played as a hobby.

Comparisons Between Ping Pong and Table Tennis

  • Ping Pong vs Table Tennis Rules

There is a vast difference between table tennis and ping pong.

The differences are not as such official, but these can be spotted by a person when he is watching the World Championship of Ping Pong.

In Table tennis, the game is of 11 points and the winner needs a margin of 2 points to win the game, whereas in ping pong the game is of 15 points which means whoever scores 15 points first wins the game.

Every player gets to have two serves in table tennis and then it is moved on to another player. But this is not so in the case of ping pong.

In table tennis, no player should wear orange or white color skirts or pants as the ball needs to be of these colors And this can lead to the other player not being able to see the ball.

  • Ping Pong vs Table Tennis Game Pattern

In table tennis, in a total of seven games, the best of 11 points is played. While in 3 games- the best of 15 points is played in ping pong, where 14 all is the instant death point.

However, this is not the case in the finals and the semi-finals of ping pong. In these cases, the best of 5 sets decide the winner.

The other difference between table tennis and ping pong is that in table tennis, the ball is thrown with an open hand at least from 6 inches of height, whereas being an informal game, there is no rule for throwing the ball while playing ping pong.

There is also monitoring of the ranking system done by ITTF and USTTA in the table tennis sport, yet no such monitoring is done in ping pong.

In table tennis, the player earns points and is ranked on the grounds of tournament play.

  • Ping Pong vs Table Tennis Service

In table tennis, a player serves 2 times in a game and the game may reach up to 11 points. Whereas ping pong could reach up to 21 points and each player could have 5 chances of service.

  • Ping Pong vs Table Tennis Paddle

In table tennis, any type of customized paddle can be used, whereas only blue sandpaper bats are allowed in ping pong.

The paddles of table tennis have different surfaces on both the sides of the paddle. One side is considered to be harder than that of the other soft side.

Related Read: Different types of table tennis grips

  • Ping Pong vs Table Tennis Ball

Ping pong balls are comparatively bigger than that of table tennis. The ball of table tennis has a diameter of 3.4 mm while the ping pong ball has a diameter of 3.7 mm.

  • Ping Pong vs Table Tennis Championships

There were varied unofficial ping pong matches but the foremost official table tennis championship was held probably after 24 years of its development.

There are a number of championships played between men and women, single as well as dual matches. These include women’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s singles, men’s doubles as well as mixed doubles.

At present, approximately 140 countries are members of the International table tennis federation.

Table Tennis vs Ping Pong: Concluding Points

The size of the table tennis tables for both sports is the same. Only the size and material of balls and bats are different.

The rules for both games are also quite different.

Ping pong is considered as the nickname of table tennis. Table tennis creates seriousness among the players and generates the feeling of sportsmanship among them.

Since ping pong was being played as a hobby of a number of people, the emergence of table tennis has changed the style, equipment and the nature of playing.

As a whole, table tennis and ping pong merely constitute any major differences and usually considered as one sport.

Recommended Read: Ping Pong Facts & Stats

FAQs about Ping Pong and Table Tennis

Q. Why is table tennis called ping pong?

Ans. Ping pong is in existence for years. After a problem with the trademark issues, ping pong was not being registered with the international ping pong federation. Then, it was given a name called table tennis and afterward ping pong is declared as a commercial game and table tennis is declared as a popular sport.

Q. Are table tennis and ping pong tables of same sizes?

Ans. Yes, the tables of both table tennis and ping pong are of the same sizes. These games are only differentiated on the basis of size, color, and the surface of bats and balls.

Q. What is the difference between the ping pong balls and the table tennis balls?

Ans. The difference between the ping pong balls and the table tennis balls is that the ping pong balls are comparatively bigger in size than that of the table tennis balls. The difference in both the balls is of 0.3 mm in diameter.

Q. What came first- ping pong or table tennis?

Ans. Ping pong came into existence years before the table tennis. However, still many people are not acquainted with the term “ping pong” as table tennis is more popular as a sport.

Q. What types of bats are used in ping pong?

Ans. Ping pong players are allowed to use only one specific bat named blue sandpaper bat. Whereas, the players of table tennis are allowed to use any customized bat.

Q. What is the difference in nature while playing table tennis and ping pong?

Ans. The table tennis is played with a competitive spirit whereas ping pong is played as a hobby.

Q. How can we classify table tennis and ping pong to the first time explorer?

Ans. We can classify table tennis as a formal game and ping pong as an informal game.

Q. State the two most important rules while playing table tennis?

Ans. The table edges are the legal portion of the surface of the table. However, the sides of the table are not legally included. Second, in a total of 5 games, best of 3 decides the winner.


Gavin is the Chief Editor at 99sportz. In his free time, he enjoys playing Table Tennis & Pool. Here he pleasures in unearthing Table Tennis & Pool products and sharing unbiased reviews with readers by writing product reviews & carefully crafting buying guides with his acuity in two of the sports. Know more about Gavin Wade on 99Sportz About page.