Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and its popularity has boomed in recent times. Despite this growth, the sport is relatively new, meaning there are lots of frequently asked questions regarding pickleball equipment, including pickleball balls.

With that in mind, we’ve created this comprehensive pickleball ball guide that includes information on pickleball sizes, weights, materials, colours and more!

Once you’ve read this guide you will have all the information you need to make sure you can buy pickleball balls with confidence.

Do pickleball balls have to be a specific size?

Yes, there are regulation pickleball ball dimensions that all balls should adhere to. In order to be used in approved and regulated pickleball games, pickleball balls must:

  • Have a diameter that is between 2.874 inches (7.30cm) and 2.972 inches (7.55cm)
  • Have a circumference that is between 9.03 inches (22.93cm) and 9.34 inches (23.72cm)

Pickleball balls should also:

  • Be a single, consistent colour
  • Have between 26 and 40 holes
  • Be between 40 and 50 on the Durometer D scale (a measure of hardness)
  • Have a bounce of 30-34 inches when dropped from 78 inches
pickleball ball dimensions

How much do pickleball balls weigh?

Regulation pickleball balls weigh between 0.78oz (22.11g) to 0.935oz (26.51g). Heavier balls tend to be used on outdoor courts, and lighter balls tend to be used on indoor courts, but there is no official distinction between indoor and outdoor balls. As long as a pickleball ball weighs between 0.78oz (22.11g) to 0.935oz (26.51g), it can be used on any indoor or outdoor pickleball court.

What are pickleball balls made of?

Pickleballs are made with hard plastic. Vermont indoor & outdoor pickleball balls are manufactured using eco-friendly Polypropylene (PP), making the balls rigid, durable and long-lasting in terms of their consistent performance & shape.

pack of 3 outdoor pickleballs
3 outdoor pickleball balls

Why do pickleball balls have holes?

The original game of pickleball was improvised and played with a Wiffle ball. Wiffle ball is a scaled-back version of baseball that can be played in more confined spaces such as back gardens or yards. The balls used in the sport of Wiffle ball have a more limited flight than standard baseballs as they are hollow, made of plastic, and have holes in them to stop them from travelling as far and as fast as baseballs.

The holes in any plastic ball, including a pickleball or Wiffle ball, increase the amount of drag through the air, which reduces the length of the flight and impacts the trajectory of the ball after it is thrown or hit.

As the ball travels at a slower speed than a similar ball without holes, this slows down the game of pickleball, reducing the athleticism and speed required to return balls when playing.

When purpose-made pickleballs were created they continued to have holes in them for the reasons outlined above.

What's the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls?

Whereas outdoor pickleball is typically played on a tennis court marked out for pickleball, or a custom-made pickleball court, when people talk about “indoor pickleball” they are usually referring to pickleball that is played on a court that is marked out on an indoor wooden, gymnasium floor.

Outdoor pickleball balls normally have smaller holes than their indoor counterparts. Outdoor pickleball balls are also significantly harder than indoor models.

The reason outdoor pickleball balls are designed with smaller holes and more weight is because, unlike indoor pickleball balls, they have to withstand the wind and outdoor elements. The smaller holes & harder construction found with outdoor pickleball balls prevent the wind from influencing the ball’s trajectory as much as it otherwise would.

Pickleball Ball Comparison Table
Indoor Pickleball Outdoor Pickleball
Holes 26 large holes 40 small holes
Material Soft plastic construction Very hard plastic construction
Weight (range)* 22.11g (0.78oz) - 24g (0.855oz) 25.5g (0.9oz) - 26.51g (0.935oz)
Diameter (range)* 2.874" (7.3cm) - 2.897" (7.36cm) 2.897" (7.36cm) - 2.972" (7.55cm)
Drag & Speed High drag & low speed Low drag & high speed
Control & Spin Easier to control & add spin to shots Harder to hit precise shots & add spin
Rallies Long rallies are frequent with indoor balls Long rallies are rare with an outdoor ball
Durability More durable & long-lasting Tend to have a shorter lifespan
Noise Quieter than outdoor balls Make a relatively loud noise when hit

*Whilst indoor and outdoor pickleballs often differ in terms of their weight and diameter, the majority of indoor pickleball balls weigh 24g (0.855oz) and have a diameter of 2.87 inches (7.3cm), whilst outdoor pickleball balls typically weigh 25.5g (0.9oz) with a 2.897 inch (7.36cm) diameter.

Do children use the same pickleball balls as adults?

Children and adults use the same size and shape of pickleball balls. One of the reasons that pickleball has become popular so quickly is that it can be played by the whole family. Unlike in tennis, there is no need for children to use a different type of pickleball ball because it travels at a relatively low speed making it easy to return.

Other pickleball FAQs

How fast do pickleball balls travel?

Pickleball balls don’t travel as fast as tennis balls, baseballs or shuttlecocks. Pickleball balls typically travel between 25 and 45mph, with some professional players able to smash the ball at speeds between 50 and 60mph.

What’s the difference between a pickleball ball and a Wiffle ball?

As mentioned earlier in the guide, Wiffle balls were originally designed for baseball players to practice their batting and throws in confined spaces such as backyards, streets and parks. Whilst Wiffle balls were originally used by the inventors of pickleball to play the first game in 1965, the sport has since developed and evolved to now use its own distinct type of ball.

Pickleball Ball Vs Wiffle Ball Comparison Table
Pickleball Ball Wiffle Ball Ball
Number of holes 26 - 40 18-26
Shape of holes Circular Oblong
Hole distribution Evenly spaced Spaced on one side only
Weight 22.11g (0.78oz) to 26.51g (0.935oz) 0.70oz (19.84g)
Diameter 2.874" (7.3cm) - 2.897" (7.36cm) 2.897" (7.36cm) - 2.972" (7.55cm)
Bounce Consistent Irregular bounce
Colour Usually brightly coloured for visibility Usually white
Flight & trajectory Straight & predictable Curved

There are several Wiffle ball variations available to purchase. For example, some Wiffle balls have no holes at all, whilst others have equally spaced holes. These Wiffle ball variations are not, however, used in official Wiffle Ball games or tournaments and are instead often used to practice baseball batting techniques in confined areas.

Are tennis balls and pickleballs the same size?

Tennis balls and pickleball balls are not the same size. Pickleballs are larger with a diameter of 2.874 inches (7.3cm) to 2.972 inches (7.54cm), whilst tennis balls have a diameter ranging from 2.575 inches (6.54cm) to 2.70 inches (6.86cm). This means that the circumference of a regulation tennis ball is smaller than that of a pickleball ball. Whilst the circumference of a tennis ball can range from 8.09 inches (20.55cm) to 8.48 inches (21.54cm), the circumference of a pickleball ball is 9.03 inches (22.94cm) to 9.34 inches (23.72cm).

pickleball ball and paddles
pickleball balls by a net

Do pickleball balls wear out?

Yes, pickleball balls do wear out and lose their rigidness and bounce over time. Typically a pickleball will last for 4-5 games before it starts to lose its bounce and shape, although this can vary depending on the type of ball used, who is playing, and how the balls are used. When balls start losing this rigidness and bounce they should be replaced with a new pickleball.

Can you recycle pickleball balls?

Whether or not you can recycle a pickleball ball, depends on the type of plastic used to make the balls. Polypropylene (PP) balls can be recycled, although they may have to be separated from other forms of plastic before being taken to a recycling centre.

How do you choose the right pickleball ball?

  1. The first thing to consider when choosing a pickleball ball, is whether you’ll be playing indoors or outdoors. Whilst it’s possible to use outdoor pickleball indoors and vice versa, ideally you’ll want a specific outdoor pickleball for outdoor games and an indoor ball for indoor games. Outdoor pickleballs tend to be heavier and harder, offering more wind resistance than their indoor equivalents.

  2. You’ll also want to check to make sure the pickleball that you are going to purchase is USAPA-approved. This will ensure that you are playing with an official ball and won’t have to make any alterations or adjustments if you choose to play in a regulated tournament.

  3. Finally, you may wish to ensure that your pickleball of choice is eco-friendly. For example, both Vermont’s indoor and outdoor pickleball balls are manufactured using eco-friendly PP, which offers a sustainable, high-performance material that conforms to official USAPA regulations. Offering great value for money, Vermont pickleball balls are also available to bulk buy in packs of 150.

At Net World Sports we stock both indoor and outdoor, USAPA-approved pickleball balls. Made from eco-friendly polypropylene, the balls offer a consistent flight and are extremely durable. We also supply a range of pickleball paddles and court equipment, including pickleball nets and posts. We also have a comprehensive selection of pickleball training equipment including cones, hurdles and accessories such as water bottles.