Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs: A Comprehensive Guide

Pickleball is a sport that gains more and more popularity every day. With this increasing popularity, the number of players participating in the game has also increased. As a result, there is an ever-growing interest in the sport’s equipment, including paddles, shoes, and, of course, balls. Pickleball balls come in two varieties: indoor and outdoor. While the rules and regulations of the game remain the same, the difference between the two types of balls can alter the pace and style of play. Understanding the differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is essential to ensure that you have

Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs: A Comprehensive Guide

Indoor and outdoor pickleballs differ in construction, size, weight, and the number of holes they have. Indoor balls are softer and lighter, with smaller holes, while outdoor balls are harder and denser, with larger holes. Choosing the right ball for your game is crucial to ensure fair play and an enjoyable experience. Understanding the key differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs makes it easier to select the right ball for your needs and play style.

Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs: A Comprehensive Guide

Whether you’re a seasoned pickleball player or a newcomer to the game, you’ve likely heard the terms “indoor” and “outdoor” pickleballs. But what exactly is the difference between the two? In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the various aspects that differentiate indoor and outdoor pickleballs, and provide you with all the information you need to choose the right ball for your game.

What Are Pickleballs Made Of?

Before we get into the differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs, let’s briefly examine the materials that go into making them. Almost all pickleballs are made of a polymer material that is lightweight and durable. Polymer is a type of plastic that can withstand high impact and resist wear and tear.

Size and Weight

The first major difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is their size and weight. Indoor pickleballs are slightly smaller and lighter than outdoor balls. Indoor balls are typically between 2.875 and 2.972 inches in diameter, while outdoor balls range from 2.97 to 3.03 inches. As for weight, indoor balls weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces, while outdoor balls weigh between 0.88 and 0.92 ounces.

The reason for the difference in size and weight is simple: indoor pickleball courts are smaller than outdoor courts. Smaller, lighter balls can travel at faster speeds, which is necessary for indoor play. Meanwhile, outdoor courts are larger and windier, so heavier, larger balls are better suited to deal with the elements and still provide enough control for players.

What Does This Mean for Players?

If you’re playing indoors, you’ll want to look for a ball that is smaller and lighter to maximize your speed and control. On the other hand, outdoor players should choose balls that are heavier and larger to handle the wind and maintain accuracy.

Number of Holes

Another significant difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is the number and placement of the holes on the ball. Indoor balls have 26 smaller holes, while outdoor balls have 40 larger holes.

The number and placement of holes impact a ball’s air resistance and, in turn, its overall speed and control. More holes reduce air resistance, making the ball move faster and have a livelier bounce. But, the size of the holes affects the ball’s stability, making it difficult to control and play with.

What Does This Mean for Players?

For indoor play, the smaller holes on the ball translate to improved control and slower ball speed, which is optimal for fast reaction times and indoor play movements. Outdoor play requires a larger ball hole and consequently a faster ball speed, and less control.

Ball Bounce

Indoor and outdoor pickleballs also have different bounce characteristics. Indoor balls are slightly more resilient and have a higher bounce due to their softer construction. However, outdoor balls have a harder build and a lower bounce rate, making them perfect for outdoor play, where bounce control is necessary.

What Does This Mean for Players?

Players who play pickleball indoors should consider a ball with a higher bounce rate to improve their play, while those playing outdoors should use a denser ball to deal with low back-spin shots, tennis-like serve, and so on.


Indoor and outdoor pickleballs are also available in different colors. Indoor balls are almost always made in bright green, while outdoor balls can be white or yellow. This is mainly because indoor courts have a controlled environment, and the bright color helps to enhance visibility while providing improved contrast for both players and spectators.

What Does This Mean for Players?

Considering the environment of the game, choosing a color that offers excellent visibility and contrast would make playing, spectating and scoring more comfortable.

In summary, if you’re planning to play pickleball, you must choose the right ball for your game’s environment. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor games, selecting the right size, weight, number of holes, bounce rate, and color determines your game’s success.

Pickleball’s popularity will continue to surge, and recognizing the optimal ball for your playstyle will provide a competitive edge. Good luck!


It’s important to store your pickleballs properly to avoid any deformation or damage. To keep them in top condition for future games, Pickleballs should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It’s also best to avoid stacking too many balls on top of each other, as this can lead to deformities, such as flat spots or dimples.

Brand Considerations

Various pickleball brands offer different performance levels and qualities. Some popular brands include Franklin, Onix, Dura, and Gamma. The type of ball you choose to play with will ultimately depend on personal preference, but well-known brands usually offer assurance of quality and better playability.


Price varies based on the brand, quantity, and the quality of the ball. Typically, indoor pickleballs are more expensive than outdoor balls due to their construction process, and outdoor pickleballs are more durable, so they last longer, providing better value.

Multi-Purpose Balls

While there are different balls for indoor and outdoor games, certain balls like the heavy-duty Dura pickleball can be used for both. These balls are built with durability and performance in mind to provide consistent and reliable play in any environment, making them particularly popular for tournaments and club games.

Playing with the right ball helps improve your play, and knowing the differences between indoor and outdoor balls helps you make an informed decision when choosing the right ball for your game. Understanding the varying features of different pickleball balls will not only make your game better but also more enjoyable.

Take your time and try various options to see which ball fits your playstyle best, experimenting with different brands and types until you find the right ball. With this comprehensive guide, you’re better equipped and can go ahead and enjoy playing Pickleball.

FAQ on Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs

As a continuation of our comprehensive guide on indoor and outdoor pickleballs, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions to give you even more insights into the sport of pickleball.

1. What is a pickleball?

A pickleball is a small, lightweight ball used in the game of pickleball. It resembles a Wiffle ball and is made of a durable polymer plastic material.

2. What is the difference between an indoor and outdoor pickleball?

The primary differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs are size, weight, number of holes, and ball bounce. Indoor pickleballs are slightly smaller and lighter, have smaller holes, higher bounce rate, and lower speed compared to outdoor pickleballs, which are denser, larger, with larger holes, lower bounce rate, and higher speed.

3. Can I use the same ball for indoor and outdoor pickleball games?

While outdoor pickleballs are suitable for indoor play, indoor pickleballs are not recommended for outdoor play. Therefore, it’s more practical to use outdoor balls for both indoor and outdoor play than using indoor balls for outdoor games.

4. Can I use a tennis ball for pickleball?

Using tennis balls for pickleball is not recommended, as they are too heavy and pose a safety risk due to their hard construction material. If you must use a tennis ball, use a softer, lighter version for beginners’ practice or leisure play.

5. Do different brands of pickleball balls play differently?

Yes, different brands of pickleball balls play differently based on the quality, performance, and construction of the ball. It’s best to experiment with different brands to find one that suits your playing style better.

6. How long do pickleball balls last?

The lifespan of pickleball balls depends on the quality of the ball and how frequently it is used. Quality pickleball balls can last a few weeks to several months before they need to be replaced.

7. How many pickleballs come in a standard pack?

A standard pack of pickleballs typically contains three or six balls.

8. Can pickleball balls get wet?

Yes, pickleball balls can get wet but lose their bounce when they get wet. Wet balls are also slippery, which affects the game. If you’re playing outdoors, consider investing in waterproof balls.

9. Do pickleball balls come in different colors?

Yes, pickleball balls come in various colors, but indoor balls are bright green, while outdoor balls are usually yellow or white.

10. How do I know which pickleball ball is right for me?

The right pickleball ball is choosing based on the game’s environment, style of play, and personal preferences. Experimenting with different types and brands is the best way to figure out what’s most comfortable for you.

11. What happens if I use the wrong ball in a game?

Using the wrong ball in a game negatively affects your playing experience and your opponents, as you’ll lack control and accuracy. It’s essential to use the right ball to maintain fairness and consistency in the game.

12. How do I store my pickleballs?

Store pickleballs in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight. Stacking fewer balls on top of each other prevents deformities.

13. Is pickleball suitable for all ages?