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Once you start playing tennis and find the best tennis racquet for you, the next step is to find the best tennis balls.
Knowing the correct tennis balls to use on different court types and in different situations can help any player from a beginner right up to a pro.
Many times it comes down a choice of brand or loyalty to one specific tennis ball type. However, there are certain situations where you want to choose one tennis ball over another
In this article, we will look at all the things you should consider when looking for the best tennis balls and go over our top picks.
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Tennis Balls by Skill Level
As you would expect in tennis, there are different levels of players prefer different types of tennis balls. This becomes most obvious at the professional level where players won’t even play without the correct tennis ball.
What Tennis Balls do Professionals Play With?
Absolutely critical when you reach the highest level of the sport, professionals are fully aware of how the ball they use affects their chances of winning.
Victory at the top level often lies in the smallest margins and these players know they need every advantage they can get. Professional level balls are designed to give players this advantage.
Professionals tend to play with tennis balls like the Penn ATP (used by the World Tour, often referred to as Penn tour), Wilson Regular Duty (used at the US Open), and Dunlop Premium Extra Duty (official tennis ball of the ATP World Tour)
Professional level balls traditionally last longer and are more hard-wearing. They also operate better at different altitudes and offer excellent consistency with playability.
Intermediate Level Tennis Balls
While still offering great quality, these balls are aimed at the regular, experienced player who is not actually a professional. As such, they still offer a great playing experience but at not the quite the same level as the professional balls.
They won’t be as durable or last as long as professional balls but are fine if you are a casual but enthusiastic player who likes to get out on court a few times a week. Some great examples of good intermediate tennis balls are the Babolat Championship or Dunlop Absorber.
99% of tennis will typically choose tennis balls in this category. This is where the vast majority of tennis balls reside.
Tennis Balls for Beginners
These balls are perfect for the new player to the game who will appreciate the cheaper price and average durability they offer.
These tennis balls are designed specifically for beginners which mean that they bounce slower making them easier to hit.
Beginner tennis balls are best used when first starting out with tennis. Using these balls makes it easier for you to learn tennis and get a base level of tennis skill quickly.
Tennis balls for beginners aren’t designed to be played with forever. They are supposed to be used to help you progress towards intermediate level tennis balls.
Tennis balls in this category are good to start out and play with a couple of months but may be unneccesary if you’re an adult just starting to play tennis or a child who learns the game quickly.
You may be wondering how long do tennis balls last before they need replacing? Visit our guide for information!
Top 5 Best Tennis Balls Overall: Our Picks
The Wilson Prime All Court Tennis Balls are our top choice when it comes to high-quality, play-enhancing tennis balls.
One of the reasons we favor these tennis balls above others is the fact that they have been approved by the ITF and the USTA, making them suitable for use in tournaments and competitions.
The Wilson tennis balls are also made of Duraweave felt, which is a tightly and durably woven type of felt. You can trust Duraweave to protect the structural integrity of your tennis balls in the long term.
You can purchase these tennis balls in packs of 24 cans, each of which contains 3 balls. Alternatively, you can buy a 4-pack or a single pack.
Buyers should be aware that the Wilson Prime tennis balls have a strong chemical odor when they’re first opened.
- Approved by USTA and ITF – Tournament-approved
- Duraweave felt – Wear-resistant
- Available in 24-can packs – Ideal for bulk-buying
- Strong chemical odor – Smell may be off putting
The KEVENZ tennis balls are some of the best on the market because of their value and durability.
These tennis balls come in a pack of 12, which is a good deal considering the price per pack.
What makes the KEVENZ tennis balls so durable is the fact that they’re made with high-quality felt, which is resistant to abrasion and other forms of wear and tear.
Additionally, the liner on these tennis balls is thicker than average, ensuring higher levels of airtightness. This is important because it helps to minimize the risk of the balls falling flat, which further extends their longevity.
However, it should be noted that the KEVENZ tennis balls aren’t the firmest out there. They’re labeled ‘standard pressure’, so they don’t have as much bounce or external pressure resistance as some other tennis balls.
- 12-pack – Good value
- High-quality felt – Very durable
- Thick liner – Airtight
- Standard pressure – Not the firmest
The Gamma Pressureless Tennis Balls are an excellent choice if you’re looking for high-quality tennis balls as well as a convenient way to transport them.
These are pressureless tennis balls, which means that they are firmer and more durable than regular tennis balls. Admittedly, the pressureless nature of the balls also means that they require more force to hit, but the added durability is a massive bonus.
You can get these tennis balls in packs of either 12 or 18, so you have some flexibility in terms of buying quantities that suit your specific needs.
Even better, the tennis balls come in a mesh bag that you can use to carry them around!
However, some customers have reported that their tennis balls have arrived damaged.
- Pressureless – Solid and durable
- 12 and 18-packs available – Flexible quantity
- Includes mesh bag – Easy to transport
- Occasional reports of damage on arrival – Hit-and-miss quality control
Another brand of pressureless tennis balls we recommend is Tourna.
The Tourna Pressureless Tennis Balls are pressureless, so they have an enhanced level of durability and wear resistance. This makes them great for practice sessions because you can use them over and over without fear of damaging them.
Tourna’s Pressureless Tennis Balls are also regulation size, so you can use them to accurately practice for competitive situations.
Finally, like our previous pick, we like that these tennis balls come in a mesh bag for portability purposes.
Unfortunately, the felt coverings on the Tourna tennis balls are not as durable as the rest of the construction, meaning that they may shed over time.
- No pressure – Wear-resistant
- Regulation size – Suitable for practice
- Contained in mesh bag – Practical and portable
- Felt may shed – Covering is not long-wearing
Dunlop’s Fort All Court Tennis Balls are a good, high-end option for beginners and professionals alike.
The Dunlop Fort tennis balls have an HD core, which serves several important purposes. Not only does it make each ball more durable, but it also helps to achieve consistency in terms of the flight path, spin, and bounce.
The felt coverings on these balls are fluorescent, making it easier to find them when you’re playing in poor lighting conditions.
Plus, they’re ITF-approved, so they’re cleared for use in competitive tournaments.
However, considering the fact that the Dunlop Fort tennis balls only come in packs of 3, they are quite expensive compared to
- HD core – Consistent and durable
- Fluorescent – Easy to find
- ITF-approved – Suitable for tournaments
- 3-ball pack – Expensive for the quantity
Take Into Account Court Type
A key factor to take into account when choosing what balls to use is how the court surface you will be playing on affects them. All four main surfaces offer something different in this respect so it’s important to know about it beforehand to avoid any surprises.
Best Tennis Balls for Hard Courts
Did you know that, despite the name, hard tennis courts are not the hardest surface tennis is played on? The hardest tennis court are actually clay courts. Hard courts do typically wear down tennis balls quicker though which means picking the best tennis balls for hard courts is very important.
On hard courts, tennis balls tend to bounce higher and faster because of the density of the material used for construction. The ball rebounds quickly off the harder surface compared to grass or clay meaning you need to be prepared.
The best tennis balls for hard courts are tennis balls that can handle the hard surface and deliver a predictable bounce constantly. You also want durable balls that will last you a while.
Note: Extra duty refers to the extra felt on these tennis balls which drastically improves the durability of each ball.
Extra Duty tennis balls are great for hard courts because this extra felt helps protect each ball and keep them from going flat for longer.
However, be careful of using Wilson Extra Duty balls on clay courts. The extra felt will pick up excess dirt from the clay which will make it heavier than it should be.
The Wilson Extra Duty balls were designed specifically to ensure the best performance on hard courts and they’re used on USTA hard court tournaments everywhere(like the US Open).
These tennis balls are definitely the best option for hard courts.
Best Tennis Balls for Clay Courts
Clay courts are most commonly found in Europe and South America. This type of court typically has a soft surface which helps ease the stress on the knees and hips of players.
Personally though, the amount of sliding that happens on clay courts means I don’t prefer to play on them. Most players need to adjust their playing style significantly in order to consistently succeed on clay courts.
Because of the soft surface and fragment of clay/dirt on the surface, tennis balls on clay courts can have an unpredictable bounce. In professional tournaments such as the French Open, many a player has been caught out by an unusual or unexpected bounce when lining up a shot. This makes choosing the best tennis balls for clay courts even more important.
The major characteristic that governs how well tennis balls do on clay is the amount of felt they have. If they have a lot of felt, such as extra duty tennis balls, the felt tends to pick up dirt from the court surface making the ball heavier and behave erratically.
Less felt is always better for clay courts. Because these tennis balls have fewer layers, they tend to pick up less dirt, bounce higher, and behave predictably.
My favorite best tennis balls for clay courts are the Penn Championship Regular Duty Tennis Balls. These tennis balls have it all when it comes to clay courts.
They are made out of natural rubber, have interlocked wool fibers to increase their lifespan, and most importantly….. they’re cheap.
We’re not trying to break the bank on tennis balls after all. And you don’t have to. The Penn Championship tennis ball excels on clay courts.
Best Tennis Balls for Grass Courts
Used most famously at Wimbledon, grass courts are still in use today although they are becoming rarer because of the upkeep.
If you’ve never played on a grass surface(don’t be ashamed, it took me 3 years before I got a chance) it’s something of an unusual surface to get used to.
The key characteristic of grass courts is the lower bounce of tennis balls due to the soft surface. Consequently, when playing on a grass surface it can get tiring playing on the baseline all day. To alleviate this, the serve and volley is a very popular gameplan on grass courts to take advantage of the low bounce.
Grass courts are one of the most important surfaces to get a good tennis ball for. Grass courts already result in a lower bounce so if you go out there with some dead tennis balls, don’t expect to have a good time! The good news for you is that the top tennis equipment manufacturers have come up with tennis balls especially for grass courts.
Personally, I prefer Wilson’s Grass Court Yellow Tennis Balls for 2 main reasons.
Wilson Grass Court tennis balls are designed to provide consistent performance and high visibility when playing on grass courts.
Wilson’s Grass Court Tennis Balls are coated with a special felt from Tex Tech Industries. This felt delivers a consistent bounce and feel every time you hit the ball.
Pressureless Tennis Balls
Presssureless tennis balls are often used for tennis practice instead of actual game play
Tennis has always been played with a ball and a racquet. And while racquet technology has rapidly advanced(compare a 1970’s racquet to the Head Ti S6, it’s amazing), the top tennis balls really haven’t.
There is one main offshoot from the typical tennis ball though: a pressureless tennis ball. Let’s go into them a little.
A typically tennis ball is constructed out of a two piece rubber shell which is then filled with a pressurized gas. Ever hear that whishhhhh when you open a new can of balls?
Each can of new tennis balls is actually pressurized at the same level of the pressure inside of each tennis ball in order to keep them fresh.
Pressureless tennis balls do away with the gas and instead have a solid rubber core instead of each tennis ball. The way they are designed makes them heavier than pressurized tennis balls but this leads to a longer lifespan also.
Pressureless Tennis Balls vs Pressurized Tennis Balls
The differences in the core makes a big difference in how each type of tennis ball feels out on the court.
Initially, pressureless balls have a lower bounce than their pressurized tennis balls counterparts but this improves over time as the fabric wears down a little. The important characteristic to consider however, is the weight.
A heavier tennis ball means more force when it hits your racquet. And heavier forces on your tennis racquet can lead to increased injury. I would not recommend pressureless tennis balls to anybody who is suffering from tennis elbow(if you are suffering, see our tennis elbow guide for solutions).
Regular tennis balls on the other hand can feel more lively right out of the can. Because they have a hollow core and are lighter, regular tennis ball also allow players to generate more spin and speed on the balls.
Pressureless tennis balls are great to use for practice as they typically last longer than normal tennis balls.
Regular tennis balls are used in every gameplay situation from your local racquet club all the way to the Open Championship tennis tournaments.
The best use for pressureless tennis balls is as practice balls. If you want to save some money and are tired of constantly replacing dead tennis balls, pressureless could be a good choice.
I must say though, it’s important to mix it up and use regular tennis balls once a while also. Because once you start playing competitively, that’s what you’ll be using.
Best Tennis Balls for Kids
Let’s face it, learning to play tennis can be hard. As kids, often the tennis ball simply moves too fast so you don’t have time to hit it. This can be immensely frustrating for beginners.
Luckily, other people have experienced this same frustration and come up with tennis balls for kids! These are the perfect complement to a good junior tennis racquet.
These tennis balls typically bounce slower to give you more time to hit the ball. Perfect for kids and beginners everywhere, these best tennis balls for kids will get you playing tennis at a high level in no time.
It’s important to note that the tennis balls for kids shown below are supposed to be used as an beginner step. As soon as you’re ready, move up to a regular tennis ball so that you can get used to the bounce and feel of “real” tennis balls.
We would highly recommend the Slazenger Wimbledon Tennis Balls if your priority is premium quality.
The Slazenger tennis balls feature a Tour Core covered with premium, tightly woven cloth. This combination ensures maximum durability as well as total consistency in both performance and feel.
However, another major advantage of these tennis balls is the fact that they are made with hydro guard technology, which repels up to 70% more water than regular tennis ball fabric and helps to prevent your tennis balls from getting waterlogged.
Unfortunately, just like our previous pick, these tennis balls come in 3-packs, which makes the price point seem quite steep.
- Hydro guard technology – Avoids waterlogging
- Tour core – Consistent feel and performance
- Premium cloth – Wear-resistant
3 balls per tin – Not budget-friendly
Wilson’s Triniti Tennis Balls are designed to last for as long as possible without showing signs of wear and tear.
The Engage core inside each tennis ball maintains the new feel of the Triniti tennis balls for up to 4 times as long as other brands.
Meanwhile, the STR felt is very flexible, which minimizes the risk of impact damage while providing more feel during each hit.
These tennis balls are available for purchase either as a single pack or in a pack of 24 tubes, which comes to a total of 72 balls.
A word of caution: these tennis balls are on the lighter side, which should be fine for beginners and intermediate players, but might feel abnormal for more advanced tennis players.
- STR felt – Flexible but durable
- Engage core – Resistant to wear
- 24-pack available – Buy up to 72 balls
Lightweight – Too light for some advanced players
Another set of tennis balls by Dunlop, these Championship Extra Duty Tennis Balls are definitely (and unsurprisingly) some of the best on the market.
Because Dunlop is a trusted and well-reviewed brand when it comes to sporting gear, particularly for tennis, you can trust that this is a worthwhile purchase.
Using Durafelt technology, Dunlop has created extra-durable tennis balls that won’t shed or split as easily as those from most competitor brands.
Additionally, the Dunlop Championship tennis balls have been approved for competitive tournament play by the ITF and the USTA.
Unfortunately, they are only available in packs of 3, which makes it difficult to buy these in bulk for teaching sessions, for example.
- Trusted sports brand – High quality guaranteed
- Durafelt technology – Highly durable
- ITF/USTA-approved – Suited to competitive play
- Only available in 3-packs – Not ideal for buying in bulk
HEAD is a brand known for manufacturing high-quality tennis equipment, including tennis balls.
These tennis balls are made using Encore technology, which extends the durability of each ball and also improves the overall feel for better performance.
SmartOptik technology has also been used to improve both spin and control coming off each shot.
Moreover, because these tennis balls are ITF-approved, you can legally use them in competitive tournament situations.
However, considering the price point for these tennis balls, the fact that each pack only contains 4 units means you’re not getting the most for your money compared to some other brands.
- Encore technology – Enhanced durability
- Approved by the ITF – Legal for tournaments
- SmartOptik technology – Better control and spin
- 4 balls per pack – No the best value for money
Finally, this 20-pack of Tebery Advanced Training Tennis Balls is a fantastic choice for anyone training for competitive tennis, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned player.
These tennis balls are made from natural rubber underneath the felt coating, which ensures durability and consistency. These balls retain their ability to bounce in the long term, although the fact that they are pressureless means that they might start to feel flat faster than others.
We also like that the Tebery tennis balls come in a pack of 20. Considering the retail price, this averages out to a good deal per ball and means you’re getting good value for your money.
Finally, many tennis players will appreciate the mesh bag that the tennis balls come in. This is an easy way to transport and keep your tennis balls safe between games and training sessions.
- Natural rubber – Durable and consistent
- Reusable mesh bag included – Sustainable and portable
- 20-pack – Great value
- Pressureless – May fall flat prematurely