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Pickleball vs Ping Pong – Similarities? Differences?

A collage of two different sports, for pickleball and ping pong.

Pickleball or Ping-Pong? What’s your game? I enjoy playing both, but I get asked all the time – what’s the difference?

People often think that pickleball and Ping-Pong are the same sport. They are both played with paddles and a ball, after all. However, there are some critical differences between the two sports. Here’s everything you need to know about pickleball vs. Ping-Pong.

Related To: Can You Play Pickleball With a Tennis Racket? | Pickleball vs Tennis | Pickleball vs Badminton

What is Pickleball?

An old woman enjoy playing pickleball.

Pickleball is a relatively new sport that started in 1965. It’s a paddle sport that combines badminton, tennis, and table tennis elements. It was invented as a backyard game for children, but it has since grown in popularity.

Pickleball is played in singles or doubles with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. The game is played on a badminton-sized court with a net similar to a tennis net.

What is Ping-Pong?

Two kids playing ping pong against each other.

Ping-Pong, also known as table tennis, is a paddle sport that two or four players can play. It started in England during the 1880s. Parker Brothers trademarked the name Ping-Pong, which is why it’s called table tennis in Europe and Asia. Ping-Pong is played with paddles and a small, white plastic ball. The game is played on a table with a net in the middle.

Pickleball Vs. Ping-Pong: The Set-Up and Basics

The Table

The pickleball and Ping-Pong tables are wood but in different sizes. The Ping-Pong table is 9 feet long by 5 feet wide, while the pickleball table is 6.5 feet long by 3.5 feet wide.

An official ping pong table for tournament.

The Ping-Pong table has a slanted top, which makes it more challenging to hit the ball when you’re playing against someone good at the game. The pickleball table doesn’t have a slanted top, making hitting the ball easier.

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The Net

A ping pong table with balls and net.

The pickleball and Ping-pong net sizes are also different. The pickleball net is 36 inches tall, whereas the Ping-pong net is 30 inches high. These nets are also placed at different heights on the table. The pickleball net is placed, so it’s midway between the two ends of the table, while the Ping-Pong net is placed 3 inches from the table.

The pickleball net is also lower to the ground than the Ping-Pong net. This is because the ball used in pickleball is lower on the ground than the Ping-Pong ball. It allows players to volley the ball back and forth over the net without worrying about hitting it.

The Ball

Pickleball and Ping-pong use distinct-size balls. The pickleball has a diameter of 2.875 inches, whereas the Ping-pong ball is only 2.7 inches wide. The pickleball is made of plastic and has holes, while the Ping-pong ball is solid with no gaps.

The Paddle

Table tennis paddle and ping pong ball.

Pickleball and Ping-pong paddles are made from different materials. They make pickleball paddles from wood, graphite, or composite materials. Ping-pong paddles are almost only made from wood.

The material a paddle is made of can affect its speed, weight, and durability. The weight of a pickleball paddle is about 7 to 8 ounces, while the weight of a Ping-pong paddle is about 5 to 6 ounces.

The Court

An outdoor pickleball court with permanent net.

Pickleball and Ping-pong are played on different size courts. A regulation pickleball court is 44 feet by 20 feet, while a regulation Ping-pong table is 9 feet long by 5 feet wide. The smaller pickleball court makes it, so players have to move around more, making the game more challenging and tiring. Also, the pickleball court has lines similar to a tennis court, while the Ping-pong table doesn’t have any lines.

The Scoring

Table tennis scoring system for official tournament.

Pickleball and Ping-pong use different scoring systems. In pickleball, the first player or team to score 11 points wins the game. However, you must win by 2 points. You also must win by 2 points. In Ping-pong, the first player or team to score 21 points wins the game. A match in pickleball is the best out of 3 games, while a match in Ping-pong is the best out of 5 games.

The Serving

Pickleball and Ping-pong have different serving rules. The server has to hit the ball underhand into the non-volley zone in pickleball. The ball has to bounce once before it goes over the net. In Ping-pong, the server can hit the ball in any way they want, and it doesn’t have to bounce before it goes over the net.


Pickleball is a new sport, so it’s not as widely known or played as Ping-pong. Pickleball courts are also harder to find because they’re not as common. There are around 35,000 pickleball courts in the United States, covering 9,000 locations. An estimated 60 countries outside the U.S. have pickleball courts. There are 300,000 Ping-pong tables.

Professional Leagues

An official Professional League for table tennis.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the governing body for all things in table tennis. They have clubs in almost every country in the world. The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) is the governing body in the United States, but there aren’t as many leagues for pickleball yet. There are also more professional Ping-Pong leagues than there are for pickleball.

Protective Gear

You don’t need any protective gear to play either sport. However, some people wear gloves when they play pickleball because the ball is bigger and heavier than a Ping-Pong ball. Wearing gloves can help you grip the paddle better. Another thing that some people use when they play pickleball is an eye guard. This is because the ball comes at you faster than a Ping-Pong ball.


An old person standing on the court while holding a pickleball and paddle.

Pickleball is a more intense sport than Ping-Pong. This is because the court is smaller, so you have to move around more. Pickleball is also a doubles game, so more people are on the court. This can make it more chaotic and intense. Ping-Pong is a singles game, so it’s not as fierce.

Easy to Learn?

Pickleball is an easy sport to learn. The basic rules are simple, and you don’t need to be in great shape to play. However, it’s challenging to master the game. Ping-Pong is also an easy sport to learn.

The basic rules are similar to pickleball, but there are more strokes that you can use. Ping-Pong is also challenging to master because of the different strokes you can use. Consider taking some lessons for either sport if you want to get better.


The cost of playing either sport is relatively low. You need little equipment to play either sport. A Ping-Pong table can cost around $100, and a pickleball court isn’t as easy to access. The cost of the racket and balls are also similar for both sports. Ping-Pong balls can cost around $5 for a pack of 12,

1 Star White Table Tennis Balls New Durable ABS 40+ Ping Pong Balls - Training & Practice Racquet Ball - Ideal for DIY Art Craft Fun Games Party Decoration Pet Toy & Learning Activities and pickleball balls can cost around $13 for a pack of 3.

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What to Wear

You don’t need to wear much to play either sport. You can wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in. Some people wear shorts or skirts when they play pickleball because the court is smaller.

Table tennis players playing in a gym.

Another thing that you might want to wear is a hat or visor to keep the sun out of your eyes. Also, consider the temperature inside and out when choosing what to wear. For example, if you’re playing indoors, skip the jacket.

Pickleball Vs. Ping-Pong: The Benefits

Both sports offer a great workout and can be very fun. They’re both easy to learn, and you need little equipment to play. Here are some benefits of each sport:


  • Can be played outdoors or indoors
  • Is a doubles game, so you can socialize while you play
  • Is a more intense workout because you have to move around more
  • The ball is bigger and slower, so it’s easier to hit


  • Is a singles game, so it’s more focused
  • You can play at your own pace
  • The ball is smaller and faster, so it’s more challenging
  • You can play with people of all levels

Also, both games provide endless health benefits and are enjoyable to play. It can help improve your hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and stamina. Playing either sport can also help reduce stress and improve your mood.

These are only a few benefits of each sport. Try them both out to see which one you like better. You might be surprised at how much fun you have.

I love playing both sports. I hate having to pick just one! But if I had to choose, I would say that pickleball is my favorite. It’s a more intense workout, and I enjoy being able to socialize while I play. It offers the best of both worlds.

Do you have a favorite sport? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our other