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We have not a couple but plenty of options to choose from. If you’re just starting out your pickleball journey or you’ve reached the intermediate level, this guide will help you drive home with some valuable pointers. Today we’ll be revealing the top 3 pickleballs for both indoor and outdoor play.
|IMAGE||PRODUCT||Court Type||USAPA Approved|
|Best Indoor Ball||
Jugs Sports Indoor Pickleball balls
|Best Outdoor Ball||
Onix Pure 2
Dura Fast 40 Pickleballs
Franklin Sports X-26
Franklin Sports X-40
Factors decide the balls
Before we move towards those picks, you should know that pickleball is played both indoors and outdoors. Thus, it’s natural that the balls for each venue (Indoor/outdoor) differ due to various factors such as its construction, wind, weight, drill and weather conditions. The most confusing element of all is that few players prefer using indoor balls in an outdoor game and vice-versa. However, before you take a ball to an actual contest, ensure that it’s USAPA approved. Having said that,let us understand the difference between indoor and outdoor balls.
How to Choose The Best Pickleball Balls?
Indoor balls are lighter, softer and with fewer holes, about 26. The control is easier and when hit, they come off the paddle softer. Rallies last longer with the indoor balls, however, it’s very hard to generate power or hit power shots with indoor balls.
Each indoor ball weighs around 0.8 ounces which makes it easier to blow with the wind because of its lightweight. Furthermore, each ball is smaller and lighter than an outdoor ball.
Outdoor balls are healthier, heavier with more drilled holes, about 40. They’re built with smoother plastic and they come off the paddle harder and faster. Controlling an outdoor ball is much more difficult, however, it’s easier to hit power shots.
Rallies generally are shorter with an outdoor ball. Similar to the indoor ball, an outdoor ball usually rounds, cracks or breaks after certain matches. Furthermore, though the outdoor balls do not get too affected by the wind, they still become harder in the cold and softer in a warm climate.
Indoor Pickleballs vs Outdoor Pickleballs
|Specifications||INDOOR BALL||OUTDOOR BALL|
|Weight||0.8 oz||0.9 oz|
|Number of Holes||26||40|
|Rally Length||Lead to longer rallies||Tend to lead to shorter rallies|
|Affected by Wind||Very affected||Less affected|
Pickleball Balls: Drilled vs Molded
A pickleball is either drilled or molded. The process of molding can be further bifurcated into injection molding and rotational molding. The most beloved indoor ball i.e. Jugs is made through an injection molding process.
Herein, the holes are not drilled as seen in the traditional balls. Moreover, each half is glued to the other after the mold. The injection process helps produce lighter balls which bounce higher.
Many players who prefer bounds like the injection molded balls whereas many 5.0 professional players hate it.
Best Pickleball Balls: USAPA Standards
Before we move onto our top 3 picks for each category, let us understand the USAPA standards for a pickleball ball. Understanding these will help us understand where a particular ball can be used in a tournament or not. If USAPA doesn’t approve a ball, you can’t use it in a tournament, however, you still can use it for recreational games.
Having said that, the governing body, USAPA, introduced standards for 6 aspects which would then result in its official selection by the IFP members and will be listed on the official list of USAPA approved balls. These aspects are:
- Construction: Ball should be made of a durable material with a smooth surface and no texture. The ball has to be in a single color except for identification marks. As long as the ball doesn’t affect straight flight characteristics, it can have a small ridge at the seam.
- Size: The ball size shall be between 73mm (2.874 inches) to 75.5mm (2.972 inches) in diameter. The maximum out-of-round diameter shouldn’t exceed 0.50mm (+/-0.020 inch).
- Weight: The weight of the ball should be between 0.78 to 0.935 ounces (22 to 26.5 grams)
- Bounce: The ball shall have a bounce of 30 to 34 inches (76.2 to 86.4 cm) when dropped from a height of 78 inches to the top of the ball onto a granite surface plate that is a minimum of 12” x 12” x 4”. The test is to be performed at an ambient temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C).
- Hardness: The ball shall have a hardness of 40 to 50 on a Durometer D scale at a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C).
- Design: The ball shall have a minimum of 26 to a maximum of 40 circular holes, with a spacing of holes and overall design of the ball conforming to straight flight characteristics. The ball must have a manufacturer’s or supplier’s name or logo printed or embossed on it.
Best Indoor Pickleballs
Made of soft plastic, the Jugs Indoor Pickleballs are the best-selling indoor pickleball in the market. Its soft-plastic build helps them to perform well on cement, tile or smooth hardwood surfaces. It has a great bounce and a slightly-textured surface adds the extra oomph to the ball’s bite.
These balls are classified as indoor balls and as such, have larger holes and are lighter than outdoor balls. Due to the fantastic bounce and great performance on offer, this pickleball is simply players go-to-pickleball ball option.
The Jugs Sports Indoor Ball Is available in two colors: White and Lime Green.
*Disapproved by USAPA standards – Jan 2018
Boasting precision-drilled holes, the Onix Fuse Indoor is a USAPA-approved pickleball ball. As compared to Jugs Sports indoor ball, it has a lower bounce which makes them ideal for tournaments. These balls are well known for their soft touch and smooth surface.
Dura Fast 40 Pickleballs are a fantastic option to consider. Weighing only 0.06 pounds in total, they are super lightweight and easy to use. They are a top performance ball, and they are built with speed in mind.
They provide precision, and they also have a good ball life on the whole, lasting for up to 10 games, depending on the conditions. They are approved for use in tournaments and are USAPA approved, which is useful.
These balls are yellow, and easy to see as they travel through the air. They are made out of durable plastic, and they are great for both flight and bouncing. They are reliable, and not overly expensive to purchase. The only downside is that they can be prone to cracking.
*Meets USAPA standards
One of the finest indoor balls ever created, the Franklin X-26 balls feature the best EVA material along with precisely beveled holes that offer great balance with a superb flight. With X-26, you’re bound to get great durability with consistent bounce.
These balls help you take your game to the next level. Franklin Sports X-26 pickleball balls are available in Blue and Optic colors and can be bought in a set of 3, 12 or 100.
*Meets USAPA standards
Top 3 Outdoor Pickleballs
1. Onix Pure 2
The Onix Pure 2 Outdoor Pickleball is one of the most popular pickleball balls in recent years. If you’re looking for consistent performance in outdoor conditions, then Onix Pure 2 is the cream of the crop. Produced with an injection molded process, all the holes on Onix Pure 2 pickleball are of the same size.
Due to this feature, the ball has a longer lifespan and offers a consistent bounce throughout. Since it uses an injection molded process, the two sides of the balls are joined through the heating process to create durable seem.
Onix Pure 2 is slightly heavier and has smaller holes made to deliver the best performance in the most challenging conditions.
*Disapproved by USAPA standards – Oct 2016
Supporting the X-26 from the indoor list, Franklin Sports X-40 ball easily make it to the best pickleball in the outdoor balls list. Reason? This pickleball is the best premium quality pickleball you can get in the market. It’s bound to perform well on an outdoor surface. The X-40 offers the best flight thanks to its machine drilled holes.
It’s much more consistent than other outdoor pickleball balls out there. This USAPA approved indoor pickleball ball is performance-oriented and doesn’t fail to live up to its hype. Regardless of the occasion, the X-40 is sure to offer you consistent and durable performances on the court. The Franklin Sports X-40 is available in three colors –Red, White and Yellow and can be bought in a set of 3,12 or 100.
*Meets USAPA standards
How would this list complete without the most recognized pickleball ball of all time? The Dura Fast 40 Pickleball has been the official ball at numerous championships including the US Open, Spanish Open, 2017 USAPA National, and the Bainbridge Cup to name a few.
Featuring a seamless plastic whiffle, this hard plastic pickleball is the most durable outdoor pickleball of them all. Created with a single piece of molded plastic, the Dura Fast 40 is quite aerodynamic. It features holes of two sizes and weighs around 0.92oz, which is on the heavier side.
The Dura Fast 40 Pickleball balls are available in Yellow, Orange, Neon, White and mixed colors and can be bought in a set of 6, 12 and 72.
*Meets USAPA standards
Buying Pickleballs in Bulk: Does It Make Sense?
Yes, it does!
For individuals, it won’t hurt if you get a pack of 72 or 100 balls at once for a much cheaper price.
Especially for recreation centers, local clubs and schools, buying a high volume of pickleball balls can save a lot of money in the long-run. The best part about the bulk orders is that you can contact the manufacturers directly and can end up getting a considerable amount.
Furthermore, if you’re a club or a school, you can get these balls in-return for a sponsorship, thus, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
For individuals, who may be a coach or provide lessons, you may need to use a pickleball throwing machine. These machines can hold anywhere between 100-180 balls. Thus, a set of 3-6-12 doesn’t make sense during practice. And the cost of these small sets makes it far more expensive than a bulk order. If you’re not willing to contact the manufacturer as of yet and are looking to get
Alright, you want to buy pickleball balls in bulk but are confused which brand should you opt for. Here are two of my favorite brands that sell pickleball balls in a lot of 100.
I hope this pickleball ball buying guide helped you drive home with some valuable points. On a closing note, I’d say that if you’re into recreation and play the sport for fun, try the USAPA unapproved balls because they are more fun to play with. However, if you’re serious about the sport, then please check the approval rating before moving further.