What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Balls?

What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Balls

Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 01:49 pm

Indoor and outdoor pickleball balls have many differences between them. In general, indoor pickleball balls are lighter with larger holes than outdoor balls. Conversely, outdoor balls tend to be heavier with smaller holes. As a result, outdoor balls generally can move at higher speeds than indoor pickleball balls. While the differences may seem small, they significantly impact gameplay.


So, what are indoor pickleball balls? What are outdoor pickleball balls? Do indoor or outdoor pickleball balls have more holes? What ball do you use for indoor pickleball? Can you use indoor pickleball balls outdoors? What are the pickleball ball requirements? What are some standard color pickleball balls?


Here is a complete guide on indoor and outdoor pickleball balls.


What are Indoor Pickleball Balls?

What are Indoor Pickleball Balls

Indoor pickleball balls tend to be lighter and have a softer plastic than outdoor balls. The balls tend to be less bouncy than their outdoor counterparts. Because the balls are more lightweight, smoother, and less bouncy, indoor play is typically more controlled and precise than outdoor play. The balls bounce off the pickleball paddles and the gym floor with less speed, allowing the pickleball players to attempt more powerful shots.


Besides being lighter and having softer plastic, indoor pickleball balls also have larger holes than outdoor balls. The larger holes make the ball easier to control. This control generally makes it easier for beginners to pick up indoor pickleball, enabling easier and more controlled rallies. Also, the ball tends to hurt less if a player gets hit during gameplay.


Frequently, the lifespan of an indoor ball is longer than an outdoor ball. Indoor pickleball balls will become softer when they have reached the limit of their durability.


What are Outdoor Pickleball Balls?

What are Outdoor Pickleball Balls

On the other side, outdoor pickleball balls tend to be heavier with hard plastic. Outdoor playing surfaces are generally firmer than indoor surfaces, so it is important that the ball can maintain speed when bouncing.


Another factor to consider during outdoor use is the possibility of wind. Because of this possibility, outdoor balls are heavier with smaller circular holes. There are also a larger number of holes on outdoor pickleball balls. By having a greater number of smaller holes, the outdoor ball will be less affected by gusts of wind.


Typically, outdoor pickleball balls will crack at the end of their lifespan.


Do Indoor or Outdoor Pickleball Balls Have more Holes?

Do Indoor or Outdoor Pickleball Balls Have more Holes

Outdoor pickleball balls have more holes than indoor balls. With a larger number of smaller holes, outdoor pickleball balls can maintain their flight path better through wind than indoor balls.


Conversely, indoor balls have fewer holes, but the holes are a little bit bigger. The bigger holes help to make the ball lighter and decrease the ball’s speed to encourage longer rallies.


What Ball Do You use for Indoor Pickleball?

What Ball Do You use for Indoor Pickleball

The best type of ball to use when playing pickleball indoors is those specifically for indoor pickleball courts. Balls for indoor pickleball should be lighter, softer, and have larger holes.


Some of the top options for indoor pickleball balls include the Onix Fuse Indoor Pickleballs and the Franklin Sports X-26 Indoor balls.


Some top options for outdoor pickleball play are the Onix Dura Fast 40 balls or the Franklin X-40 Outdoor balls.


Can You use Indoor Pickleball Balls Outdoors?

Can You use Indoor Pickleball Balls Outdoors

The short answer is that yes, you can use indoor pickleball balls outdoors. However, it is not recommended for the optimal playing experience.

In a pinch, indoor balls can be used on an outdoor pickleball court. However, the ball will struggle in moderate or heavy winds. Because the ball is lighter and has fewer holes, it will be easily swayed and shifted by wind gusts.


Furthermore, because the ball is a softer plastic, it won’t bounce off the court surface with enough speed for frequent use. Using an indoor pickleball outdoors will reduce the ball’s durability and lead to a shorter lifespan.


What are the Pickleball Ball Requirements?

What are the Pickleball Ball Requirements

There are a few official requirements for all pickleball balls. According to the USA pickleball association, all balls must be between 2.874 and 2.972 inches in diameter. USAPA also states that all balls must weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces. When dropped, all USAPA-approved balls must bounce back up off the surface to a height between 30 & 34 inches. Finally, all official USAPA pickleball balls must have between 26 & 40 holes in total.


Also, all official pickleball balls must have one consistent color for the entire ball.


What Are Some Common Color Pickleball Balls?

As aforementioned, the only restriction on colors for pickleball balls is that they must be one consistent color for the entire ball. Typically, most plastic balls are white or an ambient temperature color such as yellow, lime green, or orange. Using a ball color that is easily visible to all players is essential.


Conclusion: Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleball Balls

In summary, there are several differences between indoor pickleball balls and outdoor balls. Indoor balls are lighter, softer, and have a smaller number of larger holes. Conversely, outdoor balls are heavier, harder, and have many small holes. The increased weight and number of holes allow the outdoor balls to maintain an accurate flight path even through wind gusts.


However, you can play with indoor pickleball balls outside. However, it is not advisable because they are lighter than their outdoor counterparts. That means that the wind or any other element may cause the ball to act differently than indoors.


There are several USAPA requirements for all official pickleball balls. These requirements cover ball size, weight, bounciness, and the number of holes. The only official color requirement is that the ball must be one consistent color throughout. The ball should be easily visible to all players. Some standard colors include white, orange, yellow, and lime green.


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