You have to make many choices as a pickleball player: What paddle should you buy? Should you play doubles, singles, or both? And what kind of ball should you play with?
Pickleball balls – sometimes unbeknownst to players – come in outdoor and indoor versions. What are the differences between the two? Are outdoor balls exclusively for outdoor use? Are indoor balls exclusively for indoor use? We answer those questions and more that you may have about pickleball balls!
Outdoor Pickleball Balls
Compared to indoor balls, outdoor balls are larger, heavier, and harder. They have smaller holes and smoother plastic. These characteristics make them come off the paddle harder and faster, which results in more difficulty controlling the ball, shorter rallies, and a faster-paced game.
Another thing about outdoor balls is that – by being heavier and having smaller holes – they’re less affected by wind. But as you may imagine, the heavier and harder material makes them noisier than indoor balls. An outdoor ball weighs around 0.9 ounces.
The most popular outdoor balls are the Dura Fast 40, Onix Fuse G2, and TOP.
Indoor Pickleball Balls
We can essentially talk about indoor balls as the exact opposite of outdoor balls. They’re smaller, lighter, softer, and have larger holes. They come off the paddle with more finesse and are easier to control. The result is a slower-paced game with longer rallies.
The great thing about indoor balls is that they’re less noisy. While outdoor balls can’t be used indoors because they don’t bounce high enough on gym floors, you can definitely use indoor balls outside, especially if you’re getting noise complaints from neighbors! Some people actually choose to play with indoor balls outside because they’re easier to play with and the rallies last longer.
An indoor ball weighs around 0.8 ounces. The most popular indoor balls are Jugs, Onix Fuse, Gamma Photon, and Dura Fast 26.
USAPA Approved Balls
For recreational and competitive players alike, we thought you’d be interested in what pickleball balls the pros are using. The USA Pickleball Association has tested and approved almost 50 indoor and outdoor balls for use in official tournaments. If you’re serious about playing pickleball, we suggest picking up one of these balls.
An official ball is one that’s made of plastic and is between 0.78 to 0.935 ounces and 2.874 to 2.972 inches in diameter. There are no color restrictions other than the fact that the ball must be a single color. You may have noticed that yellow is the most popular color, but orange, white, and green balls are also common.
Here’s the full list of USAPA approved balls (we didn’t include the ones that are no longer made):
USAPA Approved Balls List
|Amazin’ Aces||Maven 40R||Yellow|
|Ball Boys||Velocity 40||Green, Yellow|
|Champion Sports||Roto Molded Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Champion Sports||Injection Molded Indoor Ball||Green|
|Champion Sports||Injection Molded Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|diNGK Sports Inc.||G-Force 40||Yellow|
|EastPoint Sports||Topspin Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Franklin Sports Inc.||X-26 Indoor Ball||Blue, Green|
|Franklin Sports Inc.||X-40 Outdoor Ball||Pink, Yellow|
|Gamma Sports||Photon Indoor Ball||Yellow|
|Gamma Sports||Photon Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Hiro||Hiro||Neon Yellow, Yellow|
|Jugs Inc.||26 Hole Indoor Ball||Green, White|
|Monarch||Monarch Indoor Ball||Green|
|Monarch||Monarch Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Net World Sports||Vermont Indoor Tournament Ball||Orange|
|Net World Sports||Vermont Outdoor Tournament Ball||Yellow|
|Onix Pickleball||Fuse G2 Outdoor Ball||Neon Green, Yellow|
|Onix Pickleball||Fuse Indoor Ball||Orange, Yellow|
|Onix Pickleball||Fuse Outdoor Ball||Orange|
|Penn||Penn 26 Indoor Ball||Red|
|Penn||Penn 40 Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Pickleball Central||TOP Outdoor Ball||Green, Orange, White, Yellow|
|Pickle-Ball Inc.||Dura Fast 26 Indoor Ball||Orange, White, Yellow|
|Pickle-Ball Inc.||Dura Fast 40 Outdoor Ball||Green, Orange, White, Yellow|
|Scuddles||Scuddles Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Scuddles||Scuddles Indoor Ball||Orange|
|Scuffle Pickleball||Forty Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Selkirk Sport||SLK Hybrid||Yellow|
|Singa Megatrades Pte Ltd||Riffball||Neon Green|
|Tensindo Sports||Tensindo Shine Outdoor Ball||N/A|
|Uniker Sports||Uniker Ace 40 Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Unique Sports||Tourna Strike Indoor Ball||Green|
|Unique Sports||Tourna Strike Outdoor Ball||Yellow|
|Wilson||PB Team||Neon Green|
|Wilson||TRU32 Outdoor Ball||Chartruese|
Official Tournament Pickleball Balls
You might be wondering if there are any particular balls in the list above that are used in tournaments more often than others. The answer is yes!
For outdoor play, the Dura Fast 40 (formerly called the Dura 56) is the official ball of several large tournaments including the USAPA National Championships.
Other pickleball balls we’ve seen used for national and regional outdoor tournaments include the Onix Fuse G2 and Franklin Sports X-40.
For indoor tournaments, the Onix Fuse indoor ball is one of the most popular ones.
Official tournament balls can vary from year to year, even for the same tournament. If you want to know which ball is used for an upcoming tournament, your best bet is to check with tournament officials.
How Long Do Balls Last?
Outdoor balls eventually crack or go out-of-round. How fast they do depends on factors such as temperature and how aggressive players are with the ball. They can last anywhere from a couple of games to several months.
Indoor balls rarely crack or go out-of-round, but they’ll get soft. If you notice that the ball is playing slower and not bouncing as high, it’s time to replace it!
Pick a Pickleball Ball
Like most ball sports, pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors. You should use an outdoor pickleball ball – which is larger and harder than an indoor one – for outdoor play only. But you can use an indoor pickleball ball – which is smaller and softer (and less noisy) than an outdoor one – for indoor or outdoor play.
Now that you’ve chosen your ball, all that’s left to decide is whether to dink, lob, smash, or volley!
Have Fun Out There!