Table Tennis Versus Ping Pong

Huge Differences between Table Tennis vs. Ping Pong

5 2 votes
Article Rating

What is the difference between table tennis vs. ping pong? Are they the same or different?

Trust me! It’s not the same!

There are indeed many different rules between these two names. Many new players asked me this same question. Let me compare the difference between ping pong and table tennis right now.

Are ping pong and table tennis the same sport?

No! Table tennis and ping pong were originally the same sport. But nowadays, Ping Pong and Table Tennis are different! They are two different sports. So Ping pong is no longer the informal American title of the game of table tennis. Here is the summary table of table tennis versus ping pong.

Why is table tennis called ping pong?

Some players have posted on that “Table tennis and ping pong are exactly the same game”. But this is no longer true!

Ping-pong is a trademarked name for the game also known as table tennis. In 1901, John Jacques registered “Ping-Pong” as a trading name in England, then the rights were sold to Parker Brothers. Ping Pong is also called “whiff-whaff” in England. Such a funny name 🙂

Before 2011, “Ping Pong” or “Table Tennis” is the same sport. Some recreational players tend to use “ping-pong” or “table tennis in the basement”. Amateur players consider “ping-pong” as a hobby. But serious players call it table tennis exclusively and consider it as a sport. In general, Ping Pong relates to garage players, while Table Tennis is used by players that formally train in the sport.

After 2011, Ping Pong is another sport. Nowadays, Ping Pong and table tennis are not the same.

Difference between Ping Pong vs. Table Tennis?

There is the World Championship of Ping Pong, organized every year in England. The Ping Pong event is held in London England (Alexandra’s Palace) hosted by Match Room (Barry Hearn’s) enterprise.

There is also the World Table Tennis Championship organized by ITTF.

So obviously, Ping Pong and Table Tennis are the different Sports for two different audiences.

Ping Pong World Championship Event hosted in England
Ping Pong World Championship Event hosted in England


Table Tennis World Championship organized by ITTF
Table Tennis World Championship organized by ITTF

Here are the main difference between Ping Pong and Table Tennis:

 Table TennisPing Pong
Amount of SpinVery highLittle
SpeedVery highMedium Slow
Type of serviceManyLittle
Different types of paddlesYesNo (same paddle)
Points per match21 then 11 (now)15
Olympics SportYesNo
World ChampionshipYesYes
Flexible RulesNoYes
Grand Slam players50
Table Tennis versus Ping Pong


Equipment: Table tennis can use various types of equipment: pips-in, pips-out rubber, and no-limit type of table tennis blade. However, Ping Pong uses only one type of equipment: sandpaper bats. So in Ping Pong, every player uses the same equipment.

Rule: Table tennis plays the best of 11 points, in 7 games. While ping pong plays 15 points best of 3 (except the semi-finals and the final which is the best of five sets), with a sudden death point at 14 all and a double point ball played once on the service. There is a special “double-point ball” that can be used once per match when serving, and it gives 2 points to the serving player if won, and 1 point to the receiving player. It is white instead of orange to mark this occasion.

Scoring: The score ends at 11 points with a difference of at least 2 points for Table Tennis. The score ends at 15. A final score of 15-14 is a winning score.

Playing style: Ping Pong uses sandpaper which provides medium to slow speed and medium spin. Table tennis has a faster pace and a higher amount of spin. Table tennis has an offensive and defensive playing style. Ping Pong can mix both playing-styles in a game.


Sandpaper racket used in ping pong - without the rubber but only a sandpaper - It will slowdown the speed and the spin and make the rallies longer
Sandpaper racket used in ping pong – without the rubber but only sandpaper – It will slow down the speed and the spin and make the rallies longer

Equipment for table tennis and ping pong

The main equipment difference: In Table Tennis, each person has their own customized paddle. In Ping Pong, the standard paddle used by all: sandpaper.

Equipment for ping pong players

Unlike table tennis, in Ping Pong, every player uses the same equipment: A sandpaper paddle. If you love “Ping Pong”, you can buy a “Sandpaper paddle”. Sandpaper paddles are only 5 ply racket (which is slow and give a lot of control and feedback to ping pong player). Sandpaper paddle doesn’t have 2 rubbers, but instead, it has 2 laminated layers.


Classic Sandpaper table tennis paddle – slow down the speed of the rally (more info)



  • Sandpaper paddles reduce the speed and the spin of the ball. Therefore, the rallies length in ping pong increase. You have a lot of time during each shot. Ping pong is much slower than table tennis.
  • Sandpaper paddle is much cheaper (only around $5 to $10) than a typical table tennis rackets (a blade costs $40 and 2 rubbers cost around 2 x 35 = $70, total price is 70 + 40 = $110).


  • Sandpaper generates very little speed and spin, so you won’t have the joy of the real table tennis sport.
  • The game is slow and less entertaining for the viewers.

Equipment for table tennis players

If you really want to be a “serious table tennis” player (not a ping pong player), don’t buy cheap, and low-quality equipment. But choose this, one of the best set-ups for the serious table tennis player. The racket + 2 sides rubbers are hand-assembled by Butterfly Equipment Expert.


Butterfly Balsa Carbo X5 Pro-Line Table Tennis Racket - ITTF Professional Ping Pong Paddle
Butterfly ITTF Approved Pro-Line Hand Assembled Professional Table Tennis Racket (more info)


Many new players don’t know how to choose the right equipment. In table tennis, you need both powers, spin, and control. Here is the full guide for choosing the right blade and rubber for competitive table tennis players.

Who is the World Champion of Ping Pong?

From 2011 to 2014, the World Champion of Ping Pong is Maxim Shmyrev (RUS). For the next two years (2015 to 2016), the champion is Andrew Baggaley (ENG).

In 2017, the Chinese players started to interest to “Ping Pong”. The latest Ping Pong Champion is a Chinese “Yan Weihao”. He is only 20-year-old and comes from Nanking. In 2018, Wang Shibo, other Chinese players won the World Championship of ping pong.


YearPing Pong Champion
2011Flag_of_Russia Maxim Shmyrev
2013Flag_of_Russia Maxim Shmyrev
2014Flag_of_Russia  Maxim Shmyrev (3rd time in a row)
2015Flag_of_England Andrew Baggaley
2016Flag_of_England Andrew Baggaley
2017 Yan Weihao
2018 Wang Shibo
2019Flag_of_England Andrew Baggaley (3rd time)


It seems that England, Russia, and China are the most 3 powerful countries in ping pong.


Who is the World Champion of Table Tennis?

As you see, table tennis and ping pong are not the same! So the World Champion of table tennis is also different. Here is the list of the Men’s World Champion of table tennis. They are the best table tennis players of all time!


YearTable Tennis Champion
2011Flag_of_Austria Werner Schlager
2013 Wang Liqin
2014 Wang Liqin (2nd time in a row)
2015 Wang Hao
2016 Zhang Jike
2017 Zhang Jike (2nd time in a row)
2018 Ma Long
2019 Ma Long
2019 Ma Long (3rd time in a row)


Since 2013, China dominates the table tennis scene. There are 8 table tennis champions who are Chinese players in a row (2013 to 2019).


Schlager Werner is the World Champion of table tennis in 2003 Paris
Schlager Werner is the World Champion of table tennis in 2003 Paris – The last non-Chinese table tennis champion since then.



Ma Long won the men’s singles World Champion 2019 and thus joined the legendary group of Hungary’s Victor Barna and Chinese compatriot, Zhuang Zedong, who likewise won three in a row (2019, 2017, 2015)
Ma Long won the men’s singles World Champion 2019 and thus joined the legendary group of Hungary’s Victor Barna and Chinese compatriot, Zhuang Zedong, who likewise won three in a row (2019, 2017, 2015)

Table Tennis vs Ping Pong Player, Who Win?

So finally, here is the resume of the main difference between ping pong and table tennis.

Main differences between table tennis and ping pong


Let’s watch the funny match between the Table Tennis Champion (Zhang Jike, Liu Guoliang) versus the Ping Pong Champion (Yan Weihao). They are using the hardbat (or sandpaper racket). Who will win?



If you love hardbat, then ping pong may fit you better. If you love the modern speed and spin in table tennis, learn the basic table tennis techniques here.

Read more

Related Posts

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Randy Jew
Randy Jew
3 years ago

Thank you EmRatThich for another great article. I am a sponge player but also enjoy hardbat and sandpaper paddles, but only when both my and opponent and myself are playing with the same paddles. I feel that playing with the hardbat/ sandpaper paddles, the strokes are much more intuitive and simpler. And I think since I like hitting, rather than spinning, it feels good too. There is a good article by Scott Gordon who is a sponge player who plays hardbat full time against sponge players. He says that Table Tennis is the only sport where it is disconnected from… Read more »

2 years ago

Whats the point of ping pong?

2 years ago

I was told that also the serve is different. Is this true?

Bill McHale
Bill McHale
2 years ago

It was my understanding that hardbats still used rubber, but with pips facing outwards and no sponge and were legal in Table Tennis. if Ping Pong uses only Sandpaper lined bats, then it is rather different.

1 year ago

these people are just sweatatron 3000’s

Lo Lo re
Lo Lo re
8 months ago


abbid siddiqui
abbid siddiqui
3 years ago

What’s the benefit of using sand paper bats, are they recommended for beginners, please explain

Stand Up
Stand Up
1 year ago

It isn’t kind to call ” whiff waff” a funny name. You could be hurting people’s feelings if they take the sport very seriously.

Stand Up
Stand Up
Reply to  Stand Up
1 year ago

And they are from England.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x