Whether you’re a seasoned player or just picking up a paddle for the first time, one thing’s for certain: a good pickleball game starts with a good pickleball. While the choice of paddle certainly plays a pivotal role, the ball itself is an integral piece of the game that often goes unnoticed. If you’re ready to up your game, it’s essential to understand the role different balls play and how to select the right one.
Best Pickleball Balls To Play With
1. Franklin X-40 (Our Favorite)
Known for their superior balance and consistent bounce, Franklin Sports X-40 Performance balls provide excellent game-play for both outdoor and indoor environments. These USAPA-approved balls are built for competitive play, but their smooth seam and evenly spaced holes make them suitable for casual games and practice as well.
2. Onix Dura Fast 40 (Official Pro Ball)
A tried-and-true favorite among many players, the Dura Fast 40 balls are built for speed and endurance. They are a bit heavier and harder than many other balls on the market, which allows for fast and accurate shots.
ONIX DURA FAST 40 PICKLEBALL WILL SERVE AS THE PPA TOUR’S OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT BALL THROUGH 2023PPA Tour
3. CORE (Most Durable)
Great outdoor ball because it has a consistent bounce and goes exactly where you want it, even in windy conditions. These balls are firm which means that are very responsive and lively on the court. Perfect for bangers and aggressive players. Overall, these balls provide excellent value for the price because they perform exceptionally well and are highly durable.
4. ONIX Pure 2 Outdoor (Best for Beginners)
I have been using these balls for playing pickleball for the past couple months. And they have so far been very durable and they have a good feel off the paddle. And they have been working well in windy outdoor conditions. Also if you are a beginner, you will appreciate these balls because they have a high bounce. Therefore, advanced players may not like this ball as much.
5. A11 s40 Pickleball Balls
I like how these balls bounce and hit off our paddles. They come in different colors, which is convenient for each of us to have our own. Though the ball is on the softer side. While it initially bounces consistently, I think it bounces lower than other balls. I used it for singles and so far it has proven to be durable and doesn’t scuff up as badly as other balls. Lastly, its USAPA approved.
6. PCKL Elite 40 Pickleball Balls
I have only tried these balls once outdoors, and I found them to be durable and able to withstand rugged conditions. They performed well even on a windy day and were highly visible. Another positive is the vibrant neon green color, which makes it easy to track the ball. I very much enjoyed playing with them and will continue to use them.
7. Onix Fuse G2
The ball’s durability, consistency, and balance for outdoor play ensure a pleasant experience. Their remarkable durability allows them to withstand my regular and intense play effortlessly. Additionally, it has a consistent and reliable bounce, along with exceptional flight performance, ensuring stability regardless of the shot.
8. Penn Indoor Pickleball (Best Indoor)
This ball is great for the gym. Unlike other colored balls that are hard to see due to poor lighting, this ball has a perfect orange color and excellent visibility. Its also highly durable as I have used it for the past few months. Moreover, the ball offers an ideal bounce, striking the right balance between responsiveness on the floor and off the paddle.
9. PHYSIZZ Pickleballs
The color appears slightly darker than in the picture, and it may be more challenging to see when playing indoors. However for light-colored indoor floors, we appreciate this ball for its excellent visibility. It offers a fast play with a strong bounce without skidding on the floor. And in our dinking games, it provides a good feel. Overall, its durability is comparable to other quality balls.
10. GoldPig G40 (Most Affordable)
I was looking for affordable pickleball balls that offer good value. They are consistent providing a decent bounce on outdoor hard court surfaces. Plus, they come at a good price for a dozen so they are perfect to practice with. I prefer not to use more expensive ones for drills and practice, considering the wear they will get. Overall, some good decent pickleball balls that are bright and durable.
How to Choose Pickleball Balls?
Choosing the right pickleball ball depends on several factors. Firstly, the type of court you’re playing on matters – indoor balls are designed with larger holes to suit the indoor environment, while outdoor balls have smaller holes and are often made to be more durable to withstand the elements.
Secondly, you should consider your level of play. Advanced players might prefer balls that offer high speed and consistent bounce, like the Dura Fast 40 or the Franklin X-40. Casual or beginner players might lean towards balls that provide more control, like the Jugs Sports Indoor Pickleballs.
Finally, personal preference also plays a significant role. Some players prefer a harder ball for more aggressive play, while others prefer a softer ball that offers more control.
What Are Pickleball Balls Made of?
Pickleball balls are typically made from a durable material. This material needs to be hard enough to withstand the frequent impacts from the paddles and the ground, yet light enough to maintain the unique bounce and flight characteristics of the game. Therefore, most balls are made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or vinyl.
Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleballs
- Material and Durability:
- Outdoor Pickleballs: Typically made from harder plastics, like polypropylene, to withstand the rougher surfaces of outdoor courts and varying weather conditions. They’re constructed for durability to handle potential abrasive contact with asphalt or concrete courts.
- Indoor Pickleballs: Usually crafted from a softer plastic, such as vinyl, which can provide a different bounce and feel. Since indoor courts, like gymnasium floors, aren’t as abrasive as outdoor courts, the balls don’t need to be as hardy.
- Hole Design:
- Outdoor Pickleballs: There are 40 holes that are smaller and more closely packed. This design helps reduce the effects of wind, ensuring a more predictable flight path during outdoor play.
- Indoor Pickleballs: Feature 26 larger holes in their design. This is beneficial because there’s no wind to consider indoors, and the larger holes can aid in the ball’s playability on smoother surfaces.
- Bounce and Feel:
- Outdoor Pickleballs: The harder plastic can lead to a higher bounce on hard surfaces, making the gameplay faster.
- Indoor Pickleballs: The softer plastic and larger holes can create a different, sometimes less pronounced bounce, which can change the gameplay dynamics on indoor courts.
- Outdoor Pickleballs: They might be slightly heavier due to the hardy material, which can be advantageous in windy conditions.
- Indoor Pickleballs: Might be a tad lighter due to the softer plastic used in their construction.
- Both indoor and outdoor balls come in various colors. However, some indoor balls are made in brighter colors to stand out against the wooden or composite floors of indoor courts.