What Does a Pickleball Look Like?

For those new to the exhilarating world of pickleball, one of the first questions often asked is, “What does a pickleball look like?” In this informative blog post, we aim to provide a comprehensive description of the appearance and specifications of a pickleball, the very essence of this rapidly growing sport. Whether you are a curious beginner or a seasoned player looking to refresh your knowledge, we will delve into the details of pickleball properties, construction, and variations to ensure a thorough understanding of this unique piece of sports equipment.

What Does a Pickleball Look Like?

A pickleball is a lightweight, perforated plastic ball, similar in appearance to a Wiffle ball. It typically measures 2.87 to 2.97 inches (73 to 75.5 mm) in diameter and weighs between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (22 to 26.5 grams). The evenly spaced holes on its surface allow for airflow during gameplay, providing predictable and stable flight characteristics. Pickleballs come in various colors, such as white, yellow, orange, or neon green, to ensure visibility on different court surfaces.

Understanding Pickleball Construction

Before diving into the specifics of what a pickleball looks like, it’s essential to understand the construction and materials used in its making. This understanding will provide valuable insights into the factors that contribute to a pickleball’s appearance and how it affects overall performance during gameplay.


Pickleballs are primarily made from a durable polymer material. This material is chosen for its lightweight properties, resistance to cracking, and ability to maintain its shape after repeated impacts. The construction material also significantly contributes to the ball’s performance, including its bounce and flight pattern.

Manufacturing Process

There are two primary methods used to produce a pickleball: seamless rotational molding and injection molding. Seamless rotational molding involves heating plastic pellets and rotating them in a mold until the material evenly coats the mold’s interior surface. This method results in a smooth and uniform surface, free of seams. On the other hand, injection molding involves injecting molten plastic material into a mold, where it solidifies and takes its shape. This method usually leaves a visible seam on the ball, which might slightly affect its flight pattern.

Pickleball Design Elements

Now that we have discussed the materials and construction, let’s focus on the various design elements that contribute to a pickleball’s appearance and functionality.


A defining feature of the pickleball is its evenly spaced holes. These holes allow the ball to maintain a stable flight pattern and reduce air resistance, providing players with better control during matches. The number and size of holes on the ball can vary, but the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) has specific guidelines to maintain consistency in game equipment. The IFP recommends having 26 to 40 holes on the pickleball, ranging in size from 0.75 to 0.875 inches (19 to 22 mm).

Color Selection

Pickleballs are available in a range of colors to cater to aesthetic preferences and court surface requirements. Common colors for pickleballs include white, yellow, orange, and neon green. Outdoor pickleballs are often brightly colored for better visibility, while indoor pickleballs are typically white. However, there is no strict rule regarding the color selection, as long as the ball remains visible during gameplay. Additionally, some pickleball manufacturers offer custom color options, enabling players and clubs to choose a color that represents their team or brand.

Size and Weight

As mentioned earlier, a standard pickleball measures between 2.87 and 2.97 inches (73 to 75.5 mm) in diameter and weighs between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (22 to 26.5 grams). The size and weight of the ball play an essential role in its gameplay characteristics, such as bounce, speed, and maneuverability. A lighter ball tends to move faster, while a heavier ball provides more control and stability during windy conditions.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs

There are some differences in pickleball design and construction when it comes to indoor and outdoor play. Understanding these differences will help you choose the right ball for your specific playing environment.

Indoor Pickleballs

Indoor pickleballs are designed to be used on smoother court surfaces, such as wood or gymnasium floors. They typically have larger holes and are slightly softer compared to outdoor pickleballs. These features allow for better control and a slower pace during play, making indoor pickleballs well-suited for precision-based games. Traditional indoor pickleballs have 26 holes, although there are variations with more holes available. The colors are often white or light, but brightly colored options can also benefit in certain environments, such as poorly lit courts.

Outdoor Pickleballs

Outdoor pickleballs are designed to handle rougher playing surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt courts, and withstand the elements. They are more rigid and durable and have smaller holes than their indoor counterparts. The smaller holes on outdoor pickleballs help maintain their stability and maneuverability in windy conditions. Outdoor balls often have around 40 holes, but there are variations in the market. They come in bright colors, like yellow, orange, or neon green, for better visibility during outdoor play.

Pickleball Brands and Variations

There are several popular pickleball brands, each with its unique range of products and designs, catering to different skill levels and playing preferences. While the basic appearance and specifications of a pickleball remain consistent, there are some variations that these brands offer to help players find the perfect ball for their specific needs.

Onix Pure 2

One of the preferred choices among pickleball enthusiasts, the Onix Pure 2 is known for its consistent bounce, durability, and authentic flight pattern. The ball has a seamless construction, eliminating the issues caused by an uneven seam. The Onix Pure 2 is available in both indoor and outdoor variants, catering to players in different environments.

Dura Fast 40

The Dura Fast 40 is a popular outdoor pickleball designed for tournament-level play. Its seamless design provides a true flight, and its harder material offers increased durability for rough outdoor surfaces. The Dura Fast 40 has 40 precision-drilled holes, which contribute to its stable flight characteristics in outdoor conditions.

Jugs Sports Pickleballs

Jugs Sports Pickleballs are soft indoor balls that are ideal for beginners and recreational players. They have a softer bounce and a slower pace compared to other pickleball brands, making them perfect for those new to the game. The Jugs Sports Pickleballs have larger holes, allowing for better control and precision during indoor play.

GAMMA Photon

The GAMMA Photon series offers both indoor and outdoor pickleballs, designed for high-performance play. These balls feature a responsive core for consistent bounce, 40-hole pattern for stable flight, and a bright color for enhanced visibility. The outdoor GAMMA Photon balls are USAPA-approved for tournament play and preferred by many professional players.

Maintaining and Caring for Your Pickleballs

While pickleballs are designed to be durable, some maintenance and care will help prolong their lifespan and ensure consistent performance during gameplay. Here are some tips for keeping your pickleballs in optimal condition:

Proper Storage

Store your pickleballs in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent them from warping, becoming brittle, or getting damaged. Avoid placing heavy objects on top of them, as this can cause deformation and affect their bounce.

Ball Rotation

Routinely rotate your pickleballs during practice or recreational play to ensure even wear and tear. This practice will help maintain consistency in their performance and extend their lifespan.

Inspecting and Cleaning

Regularly inspect your pickleballs for cracks or damage that may affect their flight characteristics. Clean them with mild soap and water to remove dirt and debris that can accumulate during play, as this can also negatively impact their performance.


Be prepared to replace pickleballs periodically, as even the most durable balls will wear down over time. Frequent players should expect to replace their game balls every few months or when noticeable performance issues arise.

Final Thoughts on Pickleball Appearance

In conclusion, a pickleball is a lightweight, perforated plastic ball, with a unique design featuring evenly spaced holes that contribute to its stable flight pattern and consistent gameplay characteristics. Understanding the various elements that make up a pickleball, along with the differences in indoor and outdoor variants, brand offerings, and the importance of proper maintenance, can significantly enhance your game performance and appreciation for this rapidly growing sport. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better equipped to choose the right ball for your playing style, skill level, and environment, ensuring an enjoyable and engaging pickleball experience.

Selecting the Right Pickleball for Your Skill Level

As a pickleball player, it’s essential to choose the right ball for your skill level to ensure an enjoyable and successful playing experience. Different balls cater to different skill levels and gameplay preferences, and understanding these nuances will go a long way in helping you select the right ball for your needs.

Beginner-Level Pickleballs

For beginners, it’s recommended to opt for a softer, slower-paced ball that’s easier to control. Jugs Sports Pickleballs or soft indoor balls from other brands are excellent options for beginners, as they offer a more forgiving playing experience, allowing new players to build their skills with better control and precision. These balls also minimize the risk of injury from errant shots, making them a safe choice for inexperienced players.

Intermediate-Level Pickleballs

As players progress in skill, they may find that they need a ball that offers more consistent bounce and improved flight characteristics. In this case, players should consider balls specifically designed for high-performance play, such as the Onix Pure 2 or GAMMA Photon series. These balls provide consistent bounce and flight, enabling intermediate players to refine their skills and strategies during gameplay.

Advanced-Level Pickleballs

Advanced players who participate in tournament-level play will require balls that meet the standards specified by organizations such as the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) and the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). Dura Fast 40 and outdoor GAMMA Photon pickleballs are both approved for tournament play and are designed with consistent performance and durability in mind, making them ideal choices for professional, competitive players.

Expanding Your Pickleball Knowledge

As you learn more about pickleballs and the sport in general, you may find it helpful to expand your knowledge on various aspects of the game. This deeper understanding will not only enhance your appreciation of the sport but also improve your playing skills and strategies.

Understanding the Rules of Pickleball

As a pickleball player, familiarizing yourself with the rules of the game is crucial. This understanding will help you avoid penalties, develop appropriate tactics, and improve your overall performance on the court. The International Federation of Pickleball and USA Pickleball Association websites are excellent resources for learning the official rules and regulations that govern the sport.

Mastering Pickleball Techniques and Strategies

As you progress in your pickleball journey, dedicate time to mastering various techniques and strategies to elevate your gameplay. This effort may include improving your serve, enhancing your volley skills, or developing court awareness and tactical decision-making. There are numerous resources available online, such as video tutorials and articles, to help you refine your skills and grow as a player.

Connecting with the Pickleball Community

Engaging with fellow pickleball enthusiasts is an excellent way to boost your learning experience, gain valuable insights, and make new friends. Attend local pickleball meetups, join online groups and forums, or participate in social events organized by pickleball clubs. These interactions can provide valuable networking, learning opportunities, and foster a sense of camaraderie within the pickleball community.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Pickleballs

In this FAQ section, we have compiled a list of common questions related to pickleballs and their characteristics, designed to address the most frequently asked queries and provide useful information to players at all skill levels. Dive in to expand your knowledge and understanding of pickleballs and their impact on the game.

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

While it is possible to use the same ball for both indoor and outdoor play, it is recommended to use specific balls designed for each environment. Indoor pickleballs have larger holes and are softer to accommodate the smoother court surfaces, while outdoor pickleballs are more rigid with smaller holes for better performance on rougher surfaces and in windy conditions.

2. How often should I replace my pickleballs?

The frequency of ball replacement will depend on the frequency of play and the ball’s condition. It is essential to regularly inspect your balls for cracks or significant wear that may affect performance. Frequent players should consider replacing their balls every few months or when noticeable performance issues arise.

3. What factors should I consider when choosing a pickleball?

When selecting a pickleball, consider factors such as playing environment (indoor or outdoor), skill level, game preferences, and durability. Each of these factors may influence the type of ball that best suits your gameplay requirements and ensures an enjoyable playing experience.

4. Are there size and weight differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs?

While standard pickleball size and weight guidelines apply to both indoor and outdoor balls, there may be subtle differences in construction and design that cater to specific playing environments. For example, indoor balls generally have larger holes and are slightly softer, while outdoor balls have smaller holes and are more rigid.

5. Are there age-specific pickleballs for juniors or seniors?

While there are no specific age-based pickleballs, beginners or players who prefer a slower pace and softer bounce may opt for soft indoor balls, like the Jugs Sports Pickleballs. These balls offer better control and precision, making them suitable for individuals of varying skill levels, regardless of age.

6. Are there any limitations on pickleball colors and patterns?

There are no strict limitations on pickleball colors and patterns, but the primary purpose is to ensure visibility during gameplay. Common colors include white, yellow, orange, and neon green, and some manufacturers offer customized options to suit individual preferences and playing environments.

7. Do pickleballs lose their bounce over time?

Yes, over time and through repeated use, pickleballs may lose their bounce and performance capabilities. Regular inspection and maintenance can help prolong their lifespan, but players should be prepared to replace their balls when necessary to maintain optimal game conditions.

8. How often do pickleball tournaments replace their balls?

Pickleball tournaments typically replace balls on a daily basis or after a specific number of games played to ensure consistent performance throughout the competition. Keeping the balls in prime condition is vital in maintaining a fair and enjoyable competitive environment for all players involved.

9. Can I use a cracked pickleball for practice?

Cracked pickleballs can still be utilized for practice drills or warm-up exercises. However, they may not perform consistently, and using them in games or competitive settings could result in an unpredictable playing experience. It is best to use balls in good condition for optimal game conditions.

10. Are there any specific maintenance requirements for pickleballs?

To maintain your pickleballs, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, clean with mild soap and water as needed, rotate during practice or recreational play, and replace them as necessary. These simple maintenance steps will help extend the lifespan of your balls and ensure consistent performance during gameplay.

11. Can I use tennis or racquetball balls as a substitute for pickleballs?

Tennis or racquetball balls are not recommended substitutes for pickleballs, as they have different characteristics affecting game performance. Using a proper pickleball will ensure a consistent and enjoyable playing experience and adhere to the game’s official rules and regulations.

12. What are the best pickleball brands for beginners?

For beginner players, brands such as Jugs Sports, Onix, and GAMMA offer suitable options that cater to novice skill levels with their softer and more forgiving ball designs. These balls provide greater control and a slower pace, enabling new players to build their skills gradually.

13. Do pickleballs come in sets or individually?

Pickleballs are available for purchase both individually and in sets, depending on your playing needs and preferences. Buying in sets can be a cost-effective way to ensure you always have a consistent supply of balls readily available for practice, recreational play, or competitive matches.