What Ball is Used in Pickleball?

When it comes to the sport of pickleball, one of the vital components that significantly impacts the gameplay is the choice of ball. In this in-depth exploration of ‘What Ball is Used in Pickleball?’, we will delve into the various types of balls used, their design, specifications, and performance characteristics. Having a comprehensive understanding of the pickleball options available will not only enhance your knowledge of the game but also assist you in making informed decisions when selecting the ball that best suits your playing style and environment. Let’s embark on this journey into the fascinating world of pickleball balls.

What Ball is Used in Pickleball?

In pickleball, a specific lightweight plastic ball with numerous holes is used, generally referred to as a pickleball. These balls come in two main varieties: indoor and outdoor balls. Indoor balls are softer, have larger holes, and are designed to be less affected by air resistance. In contrast, outdoor balls are harder, possess smaller holes, and can better withstand the wind and elements due to their slightly heavier weight. Players should select the appropriate ball type based on the environment in which they are playing.

Understanding Pickleball Ball Types

Learning about the ball used in pickleball plays a crucial role in enhancing both your knowledge and skills in the game. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the depths of pickleball ball types, materials used, size, weight, and their impact on the gameplay experience. We will also explore various popular pickleball brands in the market, offering you valuable insights into making more informed decisions when choosing your next pickleball.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleball Balls

The two primary varieties of pickleball balls are indoor and outdoor balls. Although they may appear similar at first glance, they each possess distinct features designed to cater to specific playing environments. Let’s take a closer look at these two different ball types.

Indoor Pickleball Balls

Indoor pickleball balls are characterized by their softer feel, larger holes, and lighter weight. These features make them better suited for indoor courts, where there is no wind resistance to impact ball flight. The larger holes allow for more significant airflow, resulting in a slower flight speed, allowing for easier control and more extended rallies. Indoor balls are commonly crafted with high-quality plastic that offers both durability and a smoother feel during play. These balls are ideal for players in gymnasiums or indoor facilities, providing an enjoyable and controlled pickleball experience.

Outdoor Pickleball Balls

Outdoor pickleball balls, on the other hand, are designed to withstand the elements and adapt to the challenges posed by wind and varied outdoor surfaces. They are slightly heavier than their indoor counterparts and have smaller, more numerous holes that reduce the impact of wind resistance. This design allows for faster and more accurate ball flight while maintaining a firm, solid feel when connecting with the paddle. Outdoor balls are crafted with durable, weather-resistant plastic materials that can endure the wear and tear of outdoor courts and conditions. For players frequenting outdoor courts, these balls are the preferred option to ensure optimal performance.

Pickleball Ball Specifications

In addition to understanding indoor and outdoor ball differences, it’s essential to know general pickleball ball specifications. Here, we will discuss the size, weight, and material components that play a vital role in the ball’s performance.

Size and Diameter

According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) guidelines, a regulation pickleball must have a diameter of 73 mm (2.87 inches) to 75.5 mm (2.97 inches). This standardized size ensures that all pickleballs remain consistent across different brands and models, enabling players to adapt easily when switching between balls.


The weight of a pickleball is another crucial aspect of its performance. Regulation pickleballs must weigh between 0.8 ounces (22.7 grams) and 1.02 ounces (28.95 grams). The difference between indoor and outdoor balls, as mentioned earlier, lies within this weight range. Outdoor balls usually weigh on the higher end, providing stability and accuracy in windy conditions. Indoor balls weigh slightly less, which contributes to their softer feel and slower speed, making them more forgiving in controlled environments.

Material Composition

Pickleballs are predominantly made of a durable, lightweight plastic material. The most commonly used plastic in their production is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic polymer known for its rigidity, strength, and resistance to wear and tear. This is especially important for outdoor balls, as the material can withstand harsh playing surfaces and weather conditions. An alternative material found in some pickleball designs is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is softer and more flexible, making it ideal for indoor balls.

Bounce Characteristics

The bounce of a pickleball is another essential factor that contributes to a ball’s performance and feel during gameplay. The USAPA and IFP guidelines stipulate that a regulation ball dropped from a height of 78 inches (198.12 cm) on a granite surface should bounce no more than 50 inches (127 cm).

This specific bounce range is designed to strike a balance between speed and control for all pickleball players. The bounce characteristic also varies depending on the playing surface, with indoor courts typically providing a higher bounce and outdoor courts a lower bounce due to their respective surface textures.

Popular Pickleball Ball Brands

Now that we have explored the intricate aspects of pickleball balls let’s take a look at some of the industry’s most highly-regarded ball manufacturers. These brands encompass various features, including durability, performance, and consistent quality.


Onix is a well-known and highly respected brand in the pickleball community. They produce both indoor and outdoor balls that cater to a wide range of player preferences. The Onix Fuse G2 Outdoor Pickleball balls are designed for competitive outdoor play, boasting a resilient construction and a true flight path. The Onix Pure 2 Indoor Pickleball balls, on the other hand, offer a softer feel and stable flight, making them an ideal choice for indoor playing environments.


Dura is another top brand in the pickleball ball market, known for its durable and high-quality pickleballs. They specialize in outdoor balls, with their Dura Fast 40 Outdoor Pickleball ball line being the go-to choice for many players and tournaments. The Fast 40 ball design boasts a reliable bounce and consistent performance, making it a standout option for outdoor competitive play.

Jugs Sports

Jugs Sports is a prominent brand, especially for indoor pickleball players. Their Jugs Indoor Pickleball balls are soft, reliable, and offer excellent bounce characteristics, traits highly valued by indoor enthusiasts. These balls are manufactured using a smooth, bright green material that enhances visibility in indoor settings, providing exceptional performance across various lighting conditions.

Picking the Perfect Pickleball Ball

As you embark on your pickleball journey, understanding the various aspects of pickleball balls is crucial to making well-informed purchasing decisions. Whether you’re an indoor or outdoor player, knowing the difference between the ball types, their materials, size, weight, and specific characteristics will help you improve your gameplay and maximize your enjoyment of this exhilarating sport. By keeping this comprehensive guide in mind when exploring your options, you can confidently select the perfect pickleball ball that aligns with your personal preferences and playing environment.

Maintaining and Caring for Pickleball Balls

Knowing how to properly maintain and care for your pickleball balls can significantly extend their lifespan and save you money in the long run. In this section, we will share tips on cleaning, storage, and other practices to help you get the most out of your pickleball investment.

Cleaning Pickleball Balls

Regularly cleaning your pickleballs can help remove dirt, grime, and other residues that can impact their performance. Follow these simple steps to clean your balls:

  1. Fill a bucket or sink with warm, soapy water.
  2. Submerge your pickleball balls in the water and allow them to soak for a few minutes.
  3. Use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to gently scrub away any dirt or debris.
  4. Rinse the balls with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Pat the balls dry with a clean towel and allow them to air dry completely before use or storage.

It’s essential to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, as these can damage your pickleball balls or affect their performance.

Proper Storage

Proper storage is key to preserving the lifespan and performance of your pickleball balls. Keep in mind the following storage tips:

  • Store your balls in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure to heat and UV rays can cause them to become brittle and prone to cracking.
  • Keep balls away from chemicals, oils, or other substances that can break down their plastic material over time.
  • Use a mesh bag or storage box that allows for airflow to prevent moisture buildup and minimize the risk of mold or mildew.

Replacing Worn or Damaged Balls

Even with proper care, pickleball balls will eventually need replacement due to natural wear and tear. Balls that have become deformed, cracked, or have compromised bounce characteristics should be replaced to ensure consistent gameplay and prevent injury. Keep a few extra balls on hand so that you’re always prepared for a new game or practice session>.

Factors to Consider When Buying Pickleball Balls

With numerous options available in the market, it can be challenging to decide which pickleball balls best suit your gameplay and style. In this section, we will discuss important factors to consider when choosing the perfect ball for your needs:

Playing Environment

First and foremost, consider whether you mostly play indoors or outdoors, as each environment has different weather conditions and playing surfaces. Indoor balls are more suitable for controlled environments with less air resistance, while outdoor balls are designed to withstand wind and harsher court surfaces.

Skill Level

Beginners and intermediate players may opt for a slightly softer, slower ball to help develop their skills and enjoy longer rallies. Advanced and competitive players, on the other hand, might prefer a harder, faster ball that allows for more power and precision in their gameplay.


Pickleballs come in various colors, which can impact visibility. Bright-colored balls, such as yellow, orange, or green, are typically easier to see during play. Choose a color that contrasts your playing environment to ensure the best visibility and tracking during games.

Price and Durability

Lastly, consider the price and durability of the ball. If you play frequently, it’s worth investing in a higher-quality, more durable ball that will last you longer. However, if you play infrequently, you may opt for a cheaper option while still keeping in mind the overall quality and performance of the ball.

With this comprehensive information, you are now well-equipped to select the ideal pickleball ball for your playing preferences and environment. Enjoy your time on the court, and let the fun begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we compiled a list of 13 frequently asked questions related to pickleball balls, covering several aspects that new and experienced players might find helpful. Get answers to your burning questions and enhance your understanding of this popular sport.

1. Can I use the same ball for both indoor and outdoor play?

While you can technically use a ball for both environments, it’s not recommended due to the differences in ball design and performance characteristics. Outdoor balls are heavier and more durable, while indoor balls are softer and lighter. Using the appropriate ball for each environment will enhance your gameplay experience and ball life.

2. How long do pickleball balls last?

The longevity of a pickleball ball depends on several factors such as frequency of play, playing environment, ball quality, and proper maintenance. On average, a ball can last from 3 to 10 games in a competitive setting or a few weeks to months when used recreationally.

3. Can I repair a cracked pickleball ball?

Cracked balls should be replaced rather than repaired. Attempting to repair a cracked ball could affect its performance or bounce and might even pose a safety threat during gameplay.

4. How can I determine when to replace a pickleball ball?

Replace a ball when it becomes deformed, cracked, or its bounce characteristics are compromised. Signs include an inconsistent or wobbly flight, a change in sound when hitting, or if the ball no longer meets official size and weight requirements.

5. Are all pickleball balls the same size and weight?

While there is a specified range for size and weight, not all balls are identical, especially when comparing indoor and outdoor balls. The USAPA and IFP guidelines dictate that balls must be between 2.87 inches and 2.97 inches in diameter and weigh between 0.8 and 1.02 ounces.

6. Can I use a paddleball or racquetball instead of a pickleball ball?

Using a ball other than a regulation pickleball could negatively impact gameplay by affecting ball speed, bounce, and control. Stick to using a regulation pickleball to ensure optimal performance and maintain the integrity of the sport.

7. Can I use white pickleball balls?

While white balls can be used, players usually prefer brighter-colored balls for better visibility. Indoor facilities often have white walls or flooring, making a white ball difficult to track during play. Bright colors like yellow, green, or orange are popular choices.

8. How can I improve a pickleball ball’s visibility in low-light conditions?

Select a ball in a bright, contrasting color to enhance visibility. Some manufacturers also offer glow-in-the-dark or reflective pickleball balls designed specifically for low-light conditions.

9. Can I use a tennis ball for pickleball practice?

While you can practice basic paddle control and swinging techniques with a tennis ball, the size, weight, and bounce characteristics are significantly different from a pickleball. To gain an authentic practice experience, it’s best to use a regulation pickleball.

10. Can I use a soft foam ball in place of a pickleball ball for practice?

For practicing basic shots, techniques or training younger players, a soft foam ball can be a suitable practice substitute. However, for a true gameplay experience, switch to regulation pickleballs once the basics are mastered.

11. Are there pickleball ball standards for tournament play?

Yes, tournaments typically follow guidelines set by the USAPA and the IFP, which outline specific size, weight, bounce, and material requirements. It’s crucial to use balls that meet these standards for good sportsmanship and fair play.

12. What is the best brand of pickleball balls?

Top brands include Onix, Dura, and Jugs Sports, each offering high-quality options for indoor and outdoor play. However, the “best” brand ultimately depends on personal preference and playing environment. Test different balls to find the one that suits your needs best.

13. Can I customize my pickleball balls?

Some manufacturers offer custom logos or designs on the balls for teams, clubs, or special events. However, adding too much ink or a logo could affect the ball’s weight or balance. It’s essential to ensure any customization still adheres to official guidelines and doesn’t hinder their performance.