Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with a net similar to tennis. The game can be played indoors and outdoors, but many people wonder if using the same pickleball balls outdoors is fine.
It is not recommended to use indoor pickleballs outdoors because they are light in weight and easily affected by strong winds. Special outdoor balls for playing pickleball are available on the market, which is heavier and sturdier than indoor balls.
Indoor pickleballs are designed to offer a more challenging game to the players. If the conditions are right, you can use these balls on outdoor pickleball courts. Similarly, outdoor pickleballs can be used indoors if there is nothing breakable in the room.
Let’s find out the differences between the two types of balls used for playing pickleball and how to choose the right ball.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs
A lot of research goes into the making of different pickleball balls. The idea is to make them suitable for different types of games. Some features of these high-tech balls include a consistent bounce, a stable and more predictable path, and durability. If you choose the wrong ball for a game of pickleball, you won’t be able to enjoy the game.
Let’s look at some of the differences between indoor and outdoor balls.
Indoor balls for playing pickleball are typically made of a material, such as plastic, which is thinner and lighter in weight. These balls have larger but fewer holes and a more consistent bounce. This makes for a faster-paced game that can be quite intense.
These balls are designed to be used on indoor pickleball courts. If you’re looking for a challenging game that will really test your skills, indoor pickleball is the way to go. Since the ball is easy to control because of being light, even a beginner can manage to score points.
Indoor pickleball balls usually have up to 26 holes. This is because more holes are required only to counterbalance unpredictable winds. However, you should ensure the ball has a smooth exterior to experience a good bounce.
Fewer holes improve overall airflow, so these balls are easier to control and offer precise trajectories. They are designed to work well on even and smooth playing surfaces.
Here is our pick on indoor Pickleballs: PCKL Optic Speed Pickleballs
Outdoor pickleballs are usually made of a softer material, such as rubber, and come with more holes. This makes for a less consistent bounce and a slower-paced game that is more relaxed. However, these balls are more difficult to control and offer less spin than indoor balls.
Since these balls are heavy, they can hit you hard. However, because of their nature, they can hold up well to outdoor weather conditions. If you’re looking for a leisurely game where you can chat with your friends, outdoor pickleball is the way to go. However, because the ball is softer, it can be more difficult to keep it in play.
One of the features that make outdoor pickleballs different from indoor ones is rotational molding. This process makes it possible to manufacture a seamless, contiguous ball that will not break into two pieces because it does not have a seam.
Both indoor and outdoor pickleball balls are precision-drilled with as many as 40 holes to ensure consistent bounce and flight. However, not only balls are designed to be sturdy enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. So, if you plan to play pickleball on an outdoor court, you must choose a ball designed for outdoor play.
Here is our pick on outdoor Pickleballs: Onix Fuse G2 Outdoor Pickleball.
How to Choose the Right Ball for Pickleball?
When shopping for a pickleball ball, you will see several specifications, such as weight, number of holes, rally length, hardness, and noise. Moreover, if you want to play outdoors, you would want to choose a ball that is more robust and long-lasting so it will not wear out quickly.
Another factor that may influence your choice of the ball is the elemental resistance. Outdoor balls usually have high resistance, while indoor balls have low resistance. Balls with decreased air resistance are more aerodynamic.
Many types of balls are available on the market for playing pickleball. Some of these are designed to be used both indoors and outdoors, and there are others that only work well, either indoors or outdoors. Onix Fuse and Penn 40 are balls that can be used on both types of courts, while Onix Durafast 40 is a specialized pickleball designed for outdoor use only.
If you are playing in tournaments where a slower ball will be more suitable, then you should go for an indoor pickleball ball. Balls designed for indoor play are also great for coaching since they tend to be softer and slower.
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You must ensure that the ball you choose is properly weighted because the holes can make it wobble. Some balls are designed with added weight to improve their flight. Going for balls that come with reinforced seams is a good idea because this construction prevents splitting.
Balls available on the market come with as many as 40 holes. These are made of polyurethane, tough, and capable of withstanding harsh playing conditions. Core Pickleball is an example of such a ball, but these are usually available as bulk buys and, therefore, may not suit you if you only play pickleball recreationally.
For some people, the color of the ball is of utmost importance. Bright colors improve visibility, and these balls are recommended for outdoor play. Day 1 Sports Pickleball not only meets tournament specifications and offers a consistent bounce but is also suitable for indoor and outdoor courts.
Choosing the right ball for playing pickleball also largely depends on your personal preference. It is recommended to try different balls on both indoor and outdoor courts and then choose one that suits your playing style and surrounding conditions.
Related article: How to Clean a Pickleball Paddle and Balls.
And finally, all balls must be USAPA approved if you want to use them for playing pickleball tournaments.