What are the main differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs? Is there a difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs, or can they be used interchangeably?
Here are a few differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs:
-Indoor pickleballs have a softer surface designed to reduce noise and prevent damage to indoor floors.
-Outdoor pickleballs have a harder surface, designed to withstand weather and provide more bounce.
-Indoor pickleballs are typically brighter in color, making them easier to see in dimly lit indoor courts.
-Outdoor pickleballs are typically darker in color, making them less likely to be blinding in bright sunlight.
Not all pickleballs are created equal – some work better indoors, while others perform best outdoors. So, what types of pickleball should you use for each environment? Keep reading to find out!
Pickleball uses plastic balls that resemble whiffle balls. While indoor and outdoor balls have similar plastics, resins, and polymers, there’s a fast way to spot the difference.
The quickest way to identify the difference is by looking at the holes. Indoor balls have larger holes than their outdoor counterpart. The number of holes is another indicator, with 26 for the indoor pickleball and 40 for the outdoor.
The USAPA’s official rules include a variety of specifications for indoor versus outdoor play. The weight, size, hardness, number of holes, and bounce may all be adjusted. (Also read: How Big Is A Pickleball)
Indoor Vs. Outdoor Pickleballs: Whats The Difference?
Let’s compare indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs specifications and how they react on the court.
- Outdoor balls are more rigid and have smoother plastic to help them endure the weather for longer.
- Heavier and less wind-sensitive
- Has 40 holes
- Allow for faster and harder-hitting shots, albeit they will have less control.
- Usually, outdoor balls result in shorter rallies.
- Bounce higher
- It will be stiffer in the winter and softer in the summer.
- Roughly 0.9 ounces in weight
- Come off the paddle a bit harder and faster.
- A little harder to control vs. indoor pickleballs
- Outdoor pickleballs should be changed more frequently than inside balls due to outdoor exposure and bouncing off rougher court conditions.
- Indoor balls are lighter in weight and have fewer holes
- Quieter bounce off of gymnasium floors
- They typically don’t bounce as high
- Roughly 0.8 ounces in weight
- Made from softer plastic
- Easier to control
- Power shots are harder with indoor pickleballs
- Bonus: Less painful if you are struck by one!
What Pickleball Balls Do The Pros Use?
The Dura Fast 40 ball is the Pro ball of choice, but some may have better options. The Dura Fast 40 is susceptible to cracking in cold weather, making it expensive if you play for long periods.
During cold weather play, you may break 2-4 balls, depending on the game’s pace. Tournament-oriented players must endure the broken balls to practice with the same ball. Despite its flaws, the Dura is known for its playability, speed, and overall performance. Read our post about the pro pickleball rating systems and how they work
How Long Do Pickleball Balls Last?
Most balls have a limited lifespan, so it’s crucial to replace them periodically. Depending on the type of ball you use and how much you play, you may need to replace it every few games or every few weeks. To prolong the life of your pickleball balls, avoid storing them in extreme temperatures and humidity.
I recommend replacing your pickleball balls if they start to warp or lose bounce. To check that the ball is still round, spin the ball in front of you and keep an eye out for a lopsided spin or wobble. Due to court conditions and materials used, indoor pickleballs tend to last longer than their outdoor friends. Many factors can affect the lifespan of your balls, including how often you use them and how well you take care of them.
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What Is The Official Ball For Pickleball?
The official ball for pickleball of the USPA & The US Open Championship is the Franklin X-40. Franklin is the standard ball used in tournaments and pickleball leagues worldwide, so it should be readily available at most sporting goods stores and online retailers.
One thing to keep in mind is that while the Franklin X-40 is considered the official pickleball ball, some other great brands are on the market. The USPA has approved over 50 pickleballs for tournament play, , here is the list.
What Is The Difference Between A Pickleball And A Wiffle Ball?
With 26 to 40 uniform holes, pickleballs are pretty different than whiffle balls. Firstly, pickleballs come in various colors and are available in red, yellow, and green shades, making them more visible in dimly lit areas.
Wiffle balls, on the other hand, are white and have perforations on just one side. The Wiffle ball is longer than a pickleball and has anywhere from 18 to 26 holes. A Wiffle ball will curve based on how players grip and toss it without wrist movement. However, pickleballs do not usually curve unless topspin is applied.
Indoor Vs Outdoor - 5 Best Outdoor Pickleballs
1. Onix Pure 2
Onix’s Pure 2 outdoor ball is designed specifically for outdoor pickleball and features natural bounce technology and true flight stability. Smaller holes and precise ball weighting add wind resistance to outdoor courts. The Onix pure Pickleball also utilizes a sophisticated two-piece construction process that creates unmatched seam bonding strength and durability, making it ideal for even the most ardent players.
- Durable Ball: The Onix Pure 2 Outdoor Ball can withstand the wear and tear of outdoor play.
- Better Rebound: The smaller holes in the ball make it better at bouncing back, giving you more control over your shots.
- Long-Lived Seam Bond: The seams on the Onix Pure 2 are quickly bonded together, making it last longer than other balls on the market.
- Unmatched Longevity: Thanks to the unique process that joins its two pieces, there is no chance of seams splitting or coming apart over time – making this ball perfect for intense pickleball play!
- Durability and Quality Issues: The durability of the Onix Pure 2 Ball is in question by some pickleball players. They report that the balls become very bouncy, sometimes too active for their liking.
- Poor Rebounding and Lack of Control: The lack of control often results in a poor rebound off the court which can be a significant disadvantage when playing outdoors on harder surfaces such as concrete or asphalt courts. In addition, it is challenging to execute tight volleys with this type of ball since its bounce is unpredictable compared to other types of balls on the market today.
2. Tourna Strike Outdoor Pickleballs
It would be impossible to overlook the Tourna Strike Outdoor Pickleball when looking for the best outdoor pickleball balls. This ball complies with USAPA/IFP requirements for construction, size, weight, bounce, hardness, and design and is USAPA Approved for Tournament and Sanctioned play.
With a diameter of 74mm and a weight of 24.5 grams, it’s ideal for users of all skill levels. The quick bounce provides an overall true and enjoyable feeling with mid-range toughness. The high visibility yellow of the Tyson McGuffin Signature Pickleball Camps official ball guarantees you’ll never lose sight of it on the court.
- Official: Complies with USAPA/IFP requirements for construction, size, weight, bounce, hardness, and design. Officially approved for tournament play.
- Good Bounce: Quick bounce provides an all-around actual mid-range toughness for an outdoor pickleball
- Excellent Visibility: High visibility yellow of the Tyson McGuffin Signature official ball guarantees you’ll never lose sight of your pickleball.
- Sometimes Limited Availability: The Tourna Strike Outdoor Pickleball is a limited edition ball, which is only occasionally available for purchase.
- Subpar Ball Control Compared To Others: Because of its bouncing characteristics, control over this ball can sometimes be challenging for players who prefer a slower-playing ball with better control.
3. TOP Outdoor Pickleball
Check out the TOP outdoor pickleball for a top-notch pickleball—tops pickleball designed to fly straight and bounce evenly and predictably.
A rotational molded one-piece structure is used in TOP outdoor pickleball balls to avoid weak areas and create weight distribution all around the ball.
Outdoor sports are ideal for the 40-hole pattern, which is patented. These balls have a ball life of 3–10 games in challenging conditions, matching the longevity of other top-performance level products, and are USAPA/IFP authorized for tournament use.
- Durable Balls: TOP outdoor pickleball balls last even in the most demanding environments and conditions, making them perfect for outdoor sports.
- Reliable: Made with a rotationally molded one-piece structure that avoids weak areas, giving them a consistent bounce and predictable flight path.
- Approved by USAPA/IFP for Tournament Play: TOP outdoor pickleball balls pass USAPA and IFP standards for performance and durability.
- Some Report Durability and Quality Issues: Many people have complained about the durability and quality of TOP outdoor pickleball balls. Some customers have said that their balls quickly lost their bounce, while others claimed that their balls didn’t fly as straight as they used to.
- Less Airtime: Players who enjoy plenty of airtime will find that TOP outdoor pickleball balls need to provide them with more bounce. They may even become frustrated with the lack of unpredictability when playing these Balls compared to other types of balls on the market today.
4. Franklin Sports X-40 Balls
The best outdoor pickleball offers a balanced flight pattern thanks to machine-drilled holes and is USAPA-approved for competitive play. And with these Franklin Sports Pickleballs, you can see that.
These are the official balls used in the US Open Pickleball Championships. With a one-piece design with 40 machine-drilled holes. The Franklin outdoor pickleball balls have packs of various sizes and a variety of bright colors.
- USAPA-Approved Balls: Approved by the United States Association of Pickleball Professionals, they’re tournament-ready.
- Balanced Flight Pattern: The machine-drilled holes in these balls create a balanced flight pattern that makes the game more enjoyable for both players.
- Bright Colors and Designs: You can pick from various bright colors and designs to suit your style or choose one of the many popular team logos available.
- Durable Design: Fraklin balls last through multiple rounds of play without losing their shape or performance characteristics.
- Cheaper Alternatives: There are many other, more affordable options for outdoor pickleball balls. For example, you can buy balls that are not USAPA-approved or have lesser-quality construction.
- Some Consistency Issues: Players have reported dead balls right out of the packaging; make sure you are buying the official Franklin X40.
5. Penn 40 Outdoor Pickleball
Both novice and expert players will enjoy the Penn 40 Outdoor pickleball design, which aims for the best quality. These balls are ideal for casual play, competitions, and outdoor training. In addition, the USA Pickleball Association has approved them.
Compared to other balls, this one has a softer bounce and good durability for outdoor use. Each 40 precisely drilled holes offer the ideal properties for outdoor pickleball balls.
- Ideal Quality: The Penn 40 Outdoor pickleball balls offer excellent quality for casual play, competitions, and outdoor training.
- USA Pickleball Association Approved: The Penn 40 Outdoor pickleball balls are approved by the USA Pickleball Association.
- Noisy Balls: When playing outdoors, the balls can make a lot of noise as they bounce around. Making them disruptive for people trying to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
- Not Suitable for Indoor Play: These balls are not suitable for indoor play as they do not have the same properties as those used in tournaments and casual games.
Indoor Vs Outdoor - 5 Best Indoor Pickleballs
1. ONIX Fuse Pickleball
Players who desire to switch between indoor and outdoor play will benefit significantly from the brand-new ONIX Fuse Pickleball. This new pickleball is made exclusively for indoor pickleball and offers the most realistic flight and bounce. Because of the excellent seam welding, the fuse ball is more durable, and the ball is evenly balanced.
All indoor pickleball courts can benefit from the Fuse indoor pickleball system. The ball bounces less on indoor surfaces like concrete or gym floor and has a huge hole pattern.
As the USA Pickleball Association requires, this also qualifies the ball for use in pickleball competitions (USAPA).
- Efficient: The Fuse indoor pickleball system is very efficient, resulting in more accurate gameplay.
- Realistic Flight & Bounce: The ball features accurate flight and bounce, giving players a better indoor experience.
- Availability: The Onix Fuse Indoor may be challenging to find due to supply chain issues.
- Poor Court Play: The ball bounces less on indoor surfaces, which could lead to poor court play.
2. Gamma Photon Indoor Ball
For official competitions, the USAPA-approved Gamma Photon indoor pickleball is ideal. High visibility with optic green color for each ball simplifies viewing the ball in crowded areas against light and dark backgrounds.
It will make it easier to see the ball and increase your accuracy indoors, which is especially helpful on darker indoor courts.
With 26 precisely sculpted holes, each ball is consistent and long-lasting.
The Gamma Photon indoor pickleball has a durable, 2-piece construction that outlasts most others. The X-26 indoor balls are among the best pickleball balls ever created, thanks to the USAPA’s endorsement.
- Is Ideal For Official Competitions: Gamma Photon is an approved ball by the USAPA, making it the perfect choice for competitive play.
- High Visibility and Compliant with USAPA Standards: Each ball meets high standards set by the USAPA, making it easy to see and play with in crowded areas.
- 26 Holes Consistent and Long Lasting: Thanks to 26 precisely sculpted holes, each Gamma Photon Ball flies at the ideal rate for indoor play.
- Durability Issues: One of the main complaints about Gamma Photon is its durability. Many pickleball players argue that the balls quickly lose their bounce and become difficult to hit.
- Limited Colors Available: Another downside of Gamma Photon is that it only comes in a limited number of colors, namely optic green and white.
- Difficulty Popping Balls: Some people find it difficult to pop the balls due to their design – they are less soft than other types of balls on the market.
3. The Franklin Sports X-26 balls
With 26 precise holes and only the best EVA materials, the Franklin Sports X-26 indoor pickleball produces a superior flight pattern and balance.
The X-26 has a constant bounce, is durable, and is playable for hours. The nice thing about these franklin balls is their availability in bulk. If you are using a pickleball machine, this is an excellent choice pickleball.
- Superior Flight Pattern and Balance: The 26 precision holes in the Franklin Sports X-26 indoor pickleball produce a distinctive flight pattern and balance.
- Durable: The X-26 is durable, playable for hours, and comes in bulk; if you use a pickleball machine, this is an excellent choice.
- Available in Bulk: The Franklin Sports X-26 indoor pickleball is available in bulk, making it easier to purchase for those who wish to use it on their own Pickleball machine or as part of an organized league.
- Seems and Construction Issues: The ball appears rougher than most balls. Some people have noted that it could potentially damage your paddle.
- Poor Quality Control: The balls have poor quality control, with some holes being too large or small and causing an inconsistent bounce.
4. Selkirk Balls
The exceptional hybrid pickleball from Selkirk is ideal for beginners who want to play everywhere.
These hybrid balls are USAPA-approved and appropriate for players of all skill levels because they can easily handle indoor and outdoor settings.
Selkirk hybrid pickleballs make an incredibly adaptable ball prepared for any pickleball court with 40 precisely placed holes.
They are, therefore, ideal for players who occasionally want to alternate between playing indoor vs. outdoor pickleball (or vice versa). It is the perfect option for beginning players because it is softer and more rubberized than other balls. Selkirk has produced an incredibly adaptable ball prepared for any pickleball court with 40 precisely placed holes.
- Adaptability: Selkirk hybrid pickleballs are USAPA-approved, which means they can be used on any pickleball court and can easily handle indoor and outdoor settings.
- Versatility: As mentioned before, Selkirk hybrids are appropriate for players of all skill levels because they have 40 precisely placed holes. This makes them an excellent option for beginning players or those who want to alternate between playing indoor vs. outdoor pickleball (or vice versa).
- Softness: The softness of the ball prevents it from being too bouncy and provides a smooth experience when played by novice players or those with less experience.
- Not Durable: Because Selkirk hybrid pickleballs are not as durable as their traditional counterparts, they may not last for an extended period.
- Out of round quickly: These hybrid balls tend to lose their round quicker than other options on this list.
5. Jugs pickleball
Jugs is a brand that has established itself through time; unsurprisingly, it is among the most popular and reliable indoor pickleball on the market. Due to its strength and weight, it can withstand intense and prolonged rallies. It also has a great bounce, which is why recreational players love it. This ball will undoubtedly make your indoor Pickleball game more enjoyable.
- Durable and Versatile: Jugs is a durable ball that can withstand intense rallies and long games. It also has a great bounce, making it ideal for recreational players.
- Affordable: Jugs are one of the most affordable balls on the market, so you can buy as many as you need without breaking the bank.
- Great Bounce: The great bounce of this ball makes it perfect for recreational players who want to have an enjoyable without spending a fortune on balls
- Cheaper Than Quality Balls: Although Jugs is a more affordable ball, it has a different level of quality than other balls on the market. It may only last for a while and can be challenging to bounce.
- Durability Issues: One downside to this ball is that it tends to wear down quickly, resulting in poor gameplay performance over time since you will need to replace it more often than with other balls on the market.
- Poor Traction: The low rebound property of Jugs makes it difficult for players to keep control of the ball and maintain their position during play.
BONUS: Dura Fast 40
We could only wrap this post up by mentioning Dura Outdoor Pickleball balls. The Dura Pickleballs are made for high performance and are sanctioned for tournament play.
The first ball was designed and built for pickleball, and the Dura Pickleballs are built for the sport. They fly accurately, straight, and fast. With 40 precisely drilled holes to ensure consistent flight and bounce, and engineered for outdoor & hard-court play.
- Excellent Performance: The Dura pickleballs are approved for sanctioned tournament play and perform well.
- Consistent Flight & Bounce: The 40 precisely drilled holes in the balls ensure consistent flight and bounce, and they are the most consistent ball out of the box.
- Easy To Handle & Control: The soft, grippy outside texture ensures easy ball control.
- Not Long Lasting: As we mentioned earlier in the post, the Dura ball cracks faster than other balls.
- Costly to Replace: It can be expensive to replace; if you’re playing multiple hours, you could go through 3-4 balls, making it a costly endeavor.
- Not Ideal for Indoor Play: While the Dura Pickles fly well outdoors, they may not travel as far or bounce as high when played indoors due to their smaller size and low weight
Our Thoughts On Which Ball To Choose
While there is no lack of choices when selecting the best pickleball balls, some balls stand out from the crowd. The question is, what style of pickleball are you playing?
Competitive Players: If you’re a more serious player looking to compete in official tournaments, I’d recommend the Dura Fast or Franklin X40 ball. Both balls have superior performance and control on the court.
Just Having Fun: I like the Selkirk and Onix Fuse hybrid balls; it’s the perfect mix of performance and adaptability. They play well indoors and outdoors, which is ideal for most players that switch between the two.
No matter how you play, you can not go wrong with any of the balls on our list.
We have given you some good options and answered any questions regarding indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs. However, many players, particularly casual players, use indoor balls outside due to their lightweight design and quietness.
If you’re a serious pickleball player, you will want a ball that offers better performance. The best pickleball balls will have more control and react more consistently to your shots, and they’ll bounce faster in the air and maintain stability while landing. When playing with the right pickleball balls, you’ll have more control and be able to hit better shots.
Outside of personal preference, the weather will determine whether you play pickleball indoors vs. outside. We strongly advise stocking up on each variety so that the weather will allow you to participate in your favorite sport.
Now we want to hear from you. What is your favorite indoor vs. outdoor pickleball, and why?