Introduction To Pickleball Selection
Today we are talking pickleball balls. A paddle is only part of the equation when you wanna succeed at the game. Pickleball is, fortunately, a sport that doesn’t demand much in the way of equipment. It’s not hockey, requiring hundreds or even thousands of dollars of pads, jerseys, sticks, etc. It’s not golf, requesting thousands in bags and balls.
As a consequence of this, you can really be focused on the few pieces of equipment that you do need, perhaps even allocating a little bit more money for the purchases than you otherwise would’ve in a more equipment-heavy sport.
That said, there is still the matter of finding the equipment. Not just any old ball will do, but unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell the good from the bad.
Today, I help you navigate the choppy waters of pickleball equipment by supplying a comprehensive list of my favorite pickleball balls currently on the market.
Read on for a list of some of the best pickleball balls.
Also read: Best Pickleball Paddles of 2019.
Best Pickleball Balls
Best Outdoor Ball: Penn 40 Outdoor Pickleball
The Penn 40 outdoor pickleball earns the distinction of being my best outdoor pickleball selection. It earns this honor by featuring an optimal combination of value and performance.
One of the things that I really like about the balls is the visibility factor. They are a bright highlighter yellow that makes them very easy to see on the court, regardless of the weather.
The Penn 40 outdoor pickleball also features a durable bonded plastic material that helps to ensure both a consistent, quality bounce and a long-life expectancy.
The durability of these balls really helps with the value. The sticker price is a little bit more than you might expect to see with a pickleball but considering the fact that they last longer than many other products, they might be well worth the money.
That’s really all that there is to it. The performance is simple, the price tag, more than justified. In short, it’s everything that you could possibly want out of a pickleball
- Maximum visibility
- Consistent bounce
- Somewhat high sticker price
Best Indoor Ball: Onix Fuse Indoor Pickeball
Next, we take a peek at a nice indoor pickleball selection. Another six-pack, the Onix fuse features a bright orange design that will be good for visibility in any lighting situation.
The balls have also been designed with optimal engineering featuring balance motivated holes that are designed to create a consistent performance.
They also feature a high-end seamless structure design that makes them both durable, and precise in their bounce pattern.
The end result is a set of indoor pickleball balls that fly true and bounce well.
I did have one concern that came up repeatedly, especially when speaking with other people that use the balls regularly.
While they mostly perform well, some users have reported that they are prone to cracking prematurely. In certain cases, a new ball will crack within the course of a single game.
It’s simply a case of the occasional dud creeping into their packs—an issue that occurs in virtually any product. Still, it’s come up often enough for us to feel concerned.
That said, it’s still a quality set that, for the most part, performs as advertised.
- Good visibility
- Optimal engineering for holes
- Some users report receiving duds
Best Cheap Ball: Tourna Outdoor Pickleball
Now, a value ball. This pickleball is priced at around half of the previous ones we’ve looked at thus far. If you are a buyer on a budget this will be a great way to play lots of pickleball at an affordable price.
The Tourna outdoor balls are more than just cheap balls, however. They also perform adequately featuring holes optimized to cut through the wind for consistency.
They are also designed with visibility in mind—a bright yellow design ensuring that you see the balls in any circumstance.
Lightweight, effective and affordable, there’s not much for the average weekend warrior to complain about.
Granted, there is a “you get what you pay for” aspect to these balls. You’ll experience lots of scuffs, cracks, etc, but for the price, as well as the size of the bag, you probably won’t feel too bummed out about it.
- Bright yellow
- Scuffs easily
- Cracks regularly
Other Outdoor Options
Onix Fuse G2 Outdoor Ball
As you can see, Onix makes good pickleball balls. Dubbed one of the best options on the market, the Onix Fuse G2 outdoor balls are going to be good for buyers not quite enthralled with what they’ve seen to this point. High-end design at a somewhat lofty sticker price, the Onix Fuse G2 is a durable, well-engineered ball for the discerning player.
The balls are approved for tournament use and have been optimized with an ultra-fortified design that makes them 3X (according to the manufacturer anyway) more durable than other comparable options on the market.
They’re also made with consistency in mind. The design is such that indoor players should have no trouble bringing their game outside. The continuity will be good for versatile pickleball athletes that want to stay sharp no matter where they play.
Issues are two-fold. For one thing, these balls suffer the same defect as the last Onix set that we looked at. Some balls will experience cracks.
This is also the priciest set we’ve seen to this point. If you’re serious about the game your money will be well spent. Still, it’s something to be aware of.
- Great for players used to indoor play
- Some balls experience cracks
Dura Outdoor Pickleball
The Dura Outdoor pickleball feature is a bright yellow ball made to cut through the winds players often encounter in outdoor play.
Dura is kind of the OG brand in the world of Pickleball. They’ve been around for pretty much forever and are a manufacturer that is quite popular with major professional players.
The pedigree is nice for players looking for a ball they can trust, but it’s not without consequences either. They leverage their reputation in this case to jack the price up a little bit. Though not the biggest price tag we’ve seen so far, there is a value concern. Being a four-pack, you pay more per ball than usual.
Also, be aware of a defect some buyers have made us aware of. Many report that they received misshapen balls in their pack. Naturally, this is a manufacturing error likely to be addressed and rectified by customer support.
Still, it’s a bit headache for what should be a simple purchase.
Most packs should be just fine but nevertheless, you should be aware of this risk.
- Lots of pedigree
- Good visibility
- Some report receiving misshapen balls
Top Outdoor Pickleball
Top Outdoor is not actually our “top outdoor” pick. Still, this pickleball is a pretty good option for buyers looking for a moderately priced product that will keep them competitive on the court.
The highlighter yellow balls feature a poly blend that is made to be as durable as possible. It also features a patented forty-hole design that optimizes the balls for outdoor play, navigating winds while providing a consistent ball flight and bounce performance.
The dependability factor bodes well for the player that wants to know exactly what their ball will do on every shot.
I did notice that the balls are a little bit thinner than most outdoor units. As a consequence, they do scuff and break fairly easily over time.
They won’t last forever, but then nothing does, right? The good news is that you can get quite a few balls at a low price which does help navigate the value concern somewhat.
- Optimal hole design
- Good value
- Durability concern
Other Indoor Options
Gamma Photon Indoor Pickleball
Tournament approved, the Gamma Photon pickleball is designed to be durable, and precise. The twenty-six-hole design is made to navigate the circumstances of indoor play optimally.
The rigid hardness of the Gamma Photon ball translates into a nice consistent bounce that precision players value and the balls require no “conditioning” which means that they will be usable right out of the box.
I did have one major concern with these balls that I just couldn’t’ shake. It’s a visibility problem. Yellow is kind of the gold standard when it comes to pickleball coloring.
Most of the time it works out pretty well, but there is something about the hue of these balls that leads to them often being lost throughout the course of a heated match.
For some players, this will be a bigger problem than for others, but it is something to look out for (no pun intended).
- Balanced design
- Good bounce factor
- Visibility concerns
Jugs Indoor Pickleball
We end our list off with a pickleball selection with outstanding value. We’re talking about the Jugs indoor pickleball.
Granted, you don’t find your way onto a best pickleball ball list simply by being affordable. They are also tournament approved, highly visible, and consistent in the way that they perform.
It’s certainly not revolutionizing the world of pickleball balls. Each unit is fairly thin which means they won’t last that long, and they also just aren’t as well engineered as some of the other options on our list. This means they won’t be as dependable as say a Dura ball.
Still, for the average joe that wants a great bargain, the Jugs pickleballs would be hard to beat.
What Is The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickeballs?
If you are new to the game, you probably found yourself wondering: what is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs?
After all, each one of the balls looks pretty much the same as the other, right? So, can’t you just use them interchangeably?
Technically you probably could for an informal game with a pal. In a pinch, they do perform similarly enough that any ball will get the job done.
But this is an enjoyment-oriented hobby. You don’t play pickleball just to get the job done. You want an edge. You want your skills to be rewarded through competitive achievements.
Balls are made a little bit differently depending on where they will be used. Generally speaking, the outdoor ball will feature a thicker design that allows it to stand up well against the harsher terrain. The rough and tumble environment of the outdoors can lead to a ball breaking down prematurely. You may have noticed this as a frequent con with the outdoor balls on my list.
They also feature a different hole design that allows them to navigate the winds consistently. This is also a big factor because when gusts get too intense, the unprepared ball will behave erratically, reducing the game to a matter of luck rather than skill.
Indoor balls, on the other hand, are usually a little bit lighter and thinner. They also will typically feature less holes, as they don’t need to navigate the wind. As a result, the holes in indoor balls are typically larger than those on outdoor balls.
Most players will want to keep both indoor and outdoor balls on hand so that they are ready for whatever types of matches they come across.
What are the Specs Required For Official Pickleballs?
Like any governing body in sports, the USAPA does have some rules pertaining to how balls can be designed. The good news for the purposes of the player is that these rules rarely factor into your experience on the court. The majority of balls out there proudly advertise that they are tournament approved which is all you need to know most of the time.
Still, it can be handy to have an understanding of what is allowed within the parameters of the rules, just to make sure you aren’t getting cheated on the court.
The size parameters are perhaps the most particular aspect of the ball design. On this matter, the USAPA offers little ambiguity. Balls must be 73mm with a diameter of 75.5.
Granted, no one is going to expect you to bust out the tape measurer on the court, but it’s still handy to know.
The ball also must feature a weight of 22 grams and bounce approximately 30-34 inches when dropped from a range of seventy-eight inches onto a solid surface.
Other factors are much easier for the layperson to identify. Balls must be one solid color (excluding patterns on logos) and feature a smooth, non-textured exterior.
Conclusion: Best Pickleball Balls
So, there you have it. You’ve read our best pickleball ball reviews, and now it is time to decide which of the options on our list is right for your needs.
The nice thing is that if you’re torn between a few options, there is plenty of room to experiment.
Given the price of most packs of balls, it’s a fairly low-stakes purchase. The truth is that most players will experiment with a wide variety of balls throughout the course of their careers.
Your likely to have a similar experience. Regardless, there is something here for every variety of players. Whether you’re buying for volume, quality, or budget, there is a great option. Weigh out your needs and select the choice that will elevate your game to new heights.