Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, and the sport is experiencing similar growth in many other countries around the world. As a relatively new sport in comparison to other established racket sports such as tennis, people often have many questions regarding the equipment used to play pickleball.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know about pickleball balls. Featuring information on everything from pickleball sizes and weights, to the differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs, and the speeds they travel, you’ll find all of the information you need on pickleball balls here.

Read on to find out more…

What ball is used in pickleball?

Pickleball has its own unique type of ball. Pickleball balls are hollow, perforated plastic balls that are relatively lightweight. Resembling a wiffle ball, pickleballs need to meet set criteria in order to be used in regulated games and tournaments.

How big is a pickleball?

The approved pickleball ball size is determined by the sports national governing body which is the USAPA. In order to be approved for game use, pickleball balls must:

  • Possess a diameter that is between 2.874 inches (7.30cm) to 2.972 inches (7.55cm)
  • Possess a circumference that is between 9.029 inches (22.93cm) and 9.337 inches (23.72cm)
pickleball ball dimensions

In order to achieve USAPA approval, pickleballs should also:

  • Be uniformly colored
  • Have between 26 to 40 holes
  • Register between 40 and 50 on the Durometer D scale of hardness when tested at an ambient temperature of 70°F (plus or minus 5°F)
  • Exhibit a bounce between 30-34 inches (76.20cm - 86.36cm) when dropped from a height of 78 inches (198.12cm) at an ambient temperature of 70°F (plus or minus 5°F)

How much do pickleball balls weigh?

In order to achieve USAPA approval, a pickleball must weigh between 0.78oz (22.11g) and 0.935oz (26.51g). While it is common practice for players to use heavier balls for outdoor games and lighter balls for indoor games, there are no official rules distinguishing a difference between indoor and outdoor balls. As long as a pickleball ball’s weight falls within the weight range of 0.78oz (22.11g) to 0.935oz (26.51g) and it meets the other requirements mentioned above it can be used on any pickleball court.

What are pickleball balls made of?

Designed to withstand the high impact nature of the sport, pickleball balls are made from hard plastic. The exact type of plastic can vary depending on the brand and model of ball. Vermont pickleballs are manufactured using eco-friendly Polypropylene (PP), which ensures that the balls are rigid, durable and long-lasting, with a consistent performance and shape.

pack of 3 outdoor pickleballs
3 outdoor pickleball balls

What color are pickleballs?

There isn’t a set color for pickleballs but the USAPA does state that they should be one uniform color with the exception of identification markings. Yellow is a popular pickleball ball color, but you can also buy them in orange, red and many other colors!

Why do pickleball balls have holes?

The first ever game of pickleball was played with a wiffle ball. Wiffle balls are hollow and plastic, and are designed for games and baseball batting practice sessions in limited-space areas like backyards.

For this reason, wiffle balls were designed to be perforated with holes, in order to restrict the ball’s flight and speed. This allows children to use wiffle balls in the backyard, without damaging nearby property, or people!

The holes in the wiffle balls played an important role in the development of pickleball as a sport in the early days, and more recently pickleball specific balls have been developed with a similar design. The holes create airdrag, which results in a lower-paced game, which in turn makes pickleball more accessible to people of all ages. This design has been key to pickleballs success as it has allowed people young and old to participate in the sport.

How many holes are in a pickleball ball?

A USAPA approved pickleball ball must have between 26 and 40 holes, although the exact number will vary depending on the manufacturer and the model. Outdoor pickleballs will typically have a higher number of smaller holes when compared to indoor balls.

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

Outdoor pickleball is usually played on a modified tennis court, whilst indoor pickleball often takes place on a gymnasium floor.

Because of the different playing surfaces and environments, outdoor pickleballs and indoor pickleballs differ in a number of ways. Outdoor pickleballs need to accommodate for and mitigate the impact of wind and a tougher playing surface. Therefore outdoor pickleballs feature smaller holes and are considerably tougher than indoor balls.

In contrast, indoor pickleballs are manufactured with fewer, larger holes and are usually lighter and softer than outdoor balls.

The table below compares the different specifications and characteristics of indoor vs outdoor pickleballs:

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" (7.30cm) - 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 can be a range of weights and have a range of diameter lengths, the majority of indoor pickleball balls weigh 24g (0.855oz) and have a diameter of 2.87 inches (7.30cm), whilst outdoor pickleball balls normally 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 pickleball balls, which contributes to the sport’s family friendly appeal. The relatively low speed of the pickleball ball makes it easier to return than, for example, a tennis ball, maximizing the chances of a fun and engaging game for all players, regardless of their ages and skill level.


How fast do pickleball balls travel?

Pickleballs typically travel between 15 and 45mph. Pickleballs travel much slower than tennis balls, or shuttlecocks because of the size and air-resistance. Some professional pickleball players are able to smash the ball so that it reaches speeds of 60mph. The serves in pickleball are particularly slow because of the trajectory the ball has to travel with an underhand serving action.

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

Whilst the original 1965 game of pickleball was played with a wiffle ball, over time pickleball balls were developed into the balls they are today which are noticeably different from wiffle balls.

The table below summarizes the key difference between the two types of balls, including the weight and number of holes found in each:

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" (7.30cm) - 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

Just as pickleballs can vary in size and design, there are several Wiffle ball variations that can be purchased. Some wiffle balls for example, have no holes at all, while others have equally spaced holes.

pack of pickleballs
outdoor pickleball ball

Are tennis balls and pickleballs the same size?

No, pickleball balls and tennis balls are not the same size. A pickleball is slightly larger than a tennis ball. A pickleball has a diameter that’s between 2.874 inches (7.3cm) and 2.972 inches (7.54cm), whilst a regulation tennis ball must have a diameter ranging from 2.575 inches (6.54cm) to 2.70 inches (6.86cm).

The circumference of a tennis ball is also smaller than that of a pickleball ball. Whilst the circumference of a regulation tennis ball can range from 8.09 inches (20.55cm) to 8.48 inches (21.54cm), the circumference of a pickleball is between 9.03 inches (22.94cm) to 9.34 inches (23.72cm).

How long do pickleball balls last?

A pickleball ball will typically last for 4 to 5 games before it starts to lose its shape and bounce. The ball will usually still be fine to practice with, but would have to be replaced during a regulated game or tournament. The longevity of a pickleball ball will also depend on factors such as the force and spin that players elicit on the ball, and the playing surface.

How do you choose the right pickleball ball?

When choosing a pickleball, first consider whether or not you will be playing pickleball indoors or outdoors. It is possible to use an indoor pickleball outside, and vice versa, but ideally you should look to buy a ball that is designed specifically for the type of court you intend to play on. Outdoor pickleballs tend to be slightly heavier and harder, with smaller holes; meaning they aren’t affected as much by the wind when playing outdoors.

Another thing to consider and look out for when choosing a pickleball is USAPA approval. If a pickleball ball is USAPA approved you’re more likely to have an enjoyable playing experience with a high-quality ball. If you practice with a USAPA approved ball, the skills you acquire and learn during practice are easier to transfer to a regulated pickleball game. If for example, you practice with a wiffle ball, which is lighter and bounces differently to a pickleball ball - when you come to play with a pickleball, you may find that your timing is off and that you under-hit the heavier pickleball ball.

Finally, you may wish to check if your choice of pickleball is eco-friendly. Vermont’s indoor and outdoor pickleball balls are made of eco-friendly Polypropylene (PP). PP is a high performance, sustainable material that conforms to the official USAPA ball regulations.

At Net World Sports, we carry a wide selection of indoor and outdoor pickleball gear including USAPA-approved indoor and outdoor pickleball balls. Manufactured using eco-friendly polypropylene (PP), the balls offer reliable performance and exceptional durability. In addition to pickleball balls, we also offer pickleball paddles, as well as pickleball court equipment including pickleball nets and posts. If you are a coach, or a player looking to take your pickleball game to the next level, we also supply a selection of pickleball training equipment, including cones, hurdles, net targets and rebounders.