Pickleball balls are similar in design to Wiffle balls. But while Wiffle balls have elongated holes in the material, pickleball balls have equally sized and spaced circular holes. These holes help the balls travel effectively through the air.
Now, there are two types of pickleballs: indoor and outdoor. Their constructions differ slightly to account for the different environments in which they’re used. We will discuss this in a bit more detail later in the article.
Pickleball Ball Regulations
USA Pickleball has several rules governing the accepted design of a pickleball ball. To be OK for tournament use, it must meet each of these standards:
- Diameter: 2.87 to 2.97 inches
- Out-of-round variance: +/- 0.02 inches
- Weight: 0.78 to 0.935 ounces
- Hardness: 40 to 50 on the Durometer D scale
- Holes: 26 to 40 holes, evenly spaced
- Bounce: 30 to 34 inches when dropped from 78 inches high
Additionally, the pickleball ball must be made of a smooth molded material and be of one solid color. USA Pickleball has no regulations regarding what color a pickleball may be; the important thing is that the ball is only one color.
Dura brand pickleballs are considered the “official” pickleball of USA Pickleball, so it’s not surprising that this is one of the most commonly used brands in tournaments.
Pickleball Ball Buying Guide
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a pickleball, especially if you want to play in tournaments. These factors include the material from which the ball is crafted, the number and size of holes in the material, the ball’s weight, the ball’s color, and whether the ball is designed for indoor or outdoor use. Let’s take a closer look.
Any tournament-grade pickleball ball will be crafted of hard plastic. That said, you can also find them made of other materials such as foam; just keep in mind that you won’t be able to use these in tournaments.
A pickleball ball has numerous holes punched into the material, all equally sized and spaced. The standard number of holes is anywhere from 26 to 40 of them. Remember that the more holes the pickleball has, the less wind resistance it has (and vice-versa).
The weight of the pickleball ball you use can have tremendous effects on your gameplay. According to USA Pickleball, the standard pickleball ball weight for tournaments is anywhere from 0.78 to 0.935 ounces. Heavier pickleballs tend to have better wind resistance than lighter ones, so keep this in mind before making a purchase.
There are no rules at USA Pickleball regarding what color a pickleball is, as long as it is all one solid color. You can find pickleballs in a wide range of colors, and they tend to be neon for better visibility in any playing conditions. Popular colors include yellow, orange, red, and green.
Indoor or Outdoor
Pickleball construction varies depending on whether the pickleball is intended for indoor or outdoor use. Before purchasing a pickleball set, make sure you know what type of environment you’ll be playing the game in.
Indoor pickleballs tend to be lighter in weight and have larger holes than outdoor pickleballs do, whereas outdoor pickleballs are heavier and have smaller holes. This gives the outdoor pickleballs greater wind resistance to account for less calm environments.
OK for Tournament Use
Finally, you should ensure that whatever pickleball set you opt for, it is deemed OK for tournament use. This means it meets all of the requirements laid out by USA Pickleball, as outlined earlier in this article.
The Best Indoor Pickleball Balls
There are two indoor pickleball balls we highly recommend giving a shot: the ONIX Fuse Indoor Pickleball and the ONIX Dura Fast Indoor Pickleball.
ONIX Fuse Indoor Pickleball
ONIX is a top name in the pickleball industry, and for good reasons. This manufacturer opened its doors in 2005, when the sport of pickleball began to spread like wildfire through the country. Since then, it has developed and marketed some of the best pickleball products in the world.
The ONIX Fuse Indoor Pickleball is a USA Pickleball-approved product that seeks to change up the game for experienced players. These indoor pickleball balls boast a sturdy design, precision-drilled holes to optimize performance, and larger holes than most other pickleball balls (this keeps the bounce level to a minimum). Order yours today in either orange or yellow, and get ready for quite possibly the best pickleball gameplay of your life.
ONIX Dura Fast 40 Indoor Pickleball
Another top product from ONIX is the Dura Fast 40 Indoor Pickleball. Though not as technologically advanced as its counterpart, the Fuse, this pickleball ball is a favorite among enthusiasts of the sport. In fact, many claim that Dura is the “original official pickleball.”
It’s crafted in one solid construction, contains 40 holes for efficient gameplay, and meets all regulation standards set in place by USA Pickleball.
The Best Outdoor Pickleball Balls
Of course, pickleball is a sport that can be played both indoors and outdoors. What you look for in an outdoor pickleball ball will differ from that of an indoor ball. Here are our top picks for you!
CORE Pickleball Ball
Arguably one of the most iconic pickleball companies on the scene, CORE is setting trends and making products that make players happy. What began as a haphazard startup has become quite the mogul in the world of pickleball equipment.
Amongst its achievements is the CORE Pickleball Ball. This is a top-notch ball that’s guaranteed to last—or your money back! Its designers ensured that this pickleball ball is built to last no matter the weather conditions or how many intense games you play over the weekend! Get your set today, and start playing your best game at a great price.
A bit older than many of the companies on our list, Franklin has been crafting some of the best sports equipment around since 1946. Over the decades, this company has thrived on its ability to both create superb products and connect with the typical sports player.
Franklin has recently entered into the world of pickleball equipment, and one of its top contenders is the X40 pickleball ball. According to the company’s website, the X40 is “the official pickleball of USA Pickleball and the US Open Pickleball Championships.” That’s not surprising, considering the care and attention to detail that went into developing this masterpiece.
Its sturdy construction, ideal weight, and thoughtful overall construction make this perhaps the best pickleball ball on the market for outdoor tournaments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions or concerns about choosing the best pickleball ball? Below, we share our expertise by answering some of the most common questions on the topic.
Is there a difference in pickleball balls?
Yes! You can find pickleballs for indoor use or outdoor use, of different colors, with a different size or number of holes, and so on. Before purchasing a set of pickleball balls, you should ask yourself these questions:
- In what environment will I most frequently be playing pickleball? Indoor or outdoor?
- What is my gameplay style like?
- How much am I willing to spend on a pickleball ball set?
How do I choose pickleball balls?
There are several factors to consider when buying pickleball balls for yourself:
- Is the ball approved for regulation tournaments by USA Pickleball?
- What color is the ball? Brighter colors make for easier gameplay.
- How heavy is the ball? It needs to fall within regulation standards and be the ideal weight for your gameplay style.
- How many holes are in the ball? Most pickleball balls have 40 holes, though some may have more or less. More holes keep the ball from bouncing too much, while fewer holes allow it to bounce more.
Is there a difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs?
Indoor pickleballs are designed with indoor gameplay in mind. This means that the design will typically have less bounce to it than outdoor balls to account for the floor material. Additionally, indoor pickleball balls tend to be made from thinner plastic since they don’t require the same protection as outdoor balls.
How often should you replace pickleballs?
How often you replace your pickleballs will depend on a variety of factors:
- The type and quality of material the pickleball is made from.
- What weather conditions (if playing outdoors) you play in.
- How much force you typically apply to your swings.
It also depends on your personal preferences when playing. Are you okay playing with a pickleball that’s a little bit worn, or do you only play with “fresh” ones?
The average pickleball will last anywhere from 5-10 games before it requires replacement. This is the number of games it usually takes for the pickleball to develop cracks, take some damaging hits, become damaged in harsh weather, etc. The good news is that you can buy from most pickleball brands at a bulk discount so you never have to worry about breaking the bank or running out of balls!
What color pickleball is easiest?
There is no single color that’s best for pickleballs, but expert players and manufacturers agree that bright, flashy colors are ideal for tournaments. Most pickleball balls are available in neon colors, including yellow, orange, green, pink, and red. It all boils down to which color you prefer.
What is the quietest pickleball ball?
The quietest pickleball ball currently on the market is the GAMMA Foam Quiet Ball. This ball throws the whole “plastic” requirement on its head, creating a quieter and smoother pickleball gameplay experience. This is perfect for indoor games, for players who need or prefer a less noisy environment, or anyone who wants to shake up their game a little.
Do keep in mind that, because this pickleball ball is made from foam and not plastic, it is not accepted in official tournaments.
While there is no one standard ball that’s used in official pickleball tournaments, there are set regulations in place that determine what pickleball balls may be used. These regulations are outlined by USA Pickleball, the official ambassador of pickleball in the United States.
There are tons of pickleball products on the market today, so it can be difficult choosing the best pickleball ball as a new or returning player. We hope we’ve helped you sort through your options and learn more about the rules pertaining to pickleball balls in tournaments.
Equipped with this new knowledge, purchase a set of your favorite pickleball balls today and hit the courts with confidence.