What is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs?

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Last updatedLast updated: May 09, 2024
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Introduction – Why Do Indoor & Outdoor Balls Differ?

Pickleball is a racquet sport that was originally designed as a cross between tennis and badminton. The game was invented by Joel Pritchard in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

While indoor and outdoor pickleball can be played on the same court, they do differ in some ways. Indoor balls are usually lighter and less bouncy than their outdoor counterparts. These balls also have a different bounce pattern and flight trajectory. Outdoor balls are heavier and higher bounce than their indoor counterparts.

Unlike the balls you use the same pickleball paddles indoor or outside. If you are starting out with pickleball read the review of best pickleball sets.

Types of Pickleballs

Pickleball is played with different types of indoor vs outdoor balls, pickleballs are often made to look like whiffle balls and their holes make them much lighter than the average volleyball.

The USAPA grants different specifications for the ball that is appropriate for indoor vs outdoor play. The differences include size, weight, bounce, hardness and number of holes. There is a wiggle room granted in these specifications to tailor the ball to various types of playing areas

Pickleball ball colors are all over the map, so you’re certain to find one you like. Yellow, orange and bright green are some of the most popular color balls.

Pickleball Ball Indoor Vs Outdoor

Pickleball Ball Indoor Vs Outdoor

Outdoor Pickleballs

  • Higher bounce

  • Made from harder plastic

  • More heavy and less effected with wind

  • Smaller but more holes around 40

  • Allow for harder hitting

  • Faster Rallies

  • Will be harder in the cold, softer in the heat

  • More noisy

  • 0.9 ounces

  • Requires frequent replacement because of bounce on rough surface.


Indoor Pickleballs

  • This ball is specifically designed for indoor court surfaces where the air is still.

  • Softer plastic

  • Lighter

  • Larger yet fewer holes about 26

  • Lesser bounce

  • More control

  • Around 0.8 ounces weight

  • Goes soft on more usage


Durability of Pickleballs

It’s prudent to always keep a spare ball ready for when you might lose one. Balls can get out of round and crack sometimes and it is wise to have backup of the same type/color of the ball.

Even though outdoor pickleball sets have a longer lifespan, they do wear and tear over time. When the ball becomes defective, if will either crack or loose round surface.

Indoor pickleballs on the other hand can become soft with more play and may need to be replaced.

Read review of best pickleballs.

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