The Best Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Balls: The Complete Guide [2022]

Looking for the best pickleball balls?

The goal of this guide is to simplify your buying decision and provide you with a thoroughly researched list of the best indoor and outdoor pickleball balls.


In this guide, I’m covering various categories, including indoor and outdoor pickleball balls for both recreational and tournament play and large quantity buys.

Players will have their own opinion and I’ve made this list of the best pickleballs based on my own experience as well as the experience and opinions of many players. I’ve also taken the opinions of professional pickleball players into consideration.

All balls in our top pick list are approved for tournament play by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).

Updated: July 21, 2022

The Best Indoor Pickleball Balls

If you’re a competitive pickleball player the ONIX Fuse pickleball ball is usually preferred for indoor play because of its consistent bounce on indoor surfaces and and it’s approved by the USA Pickleball Association for tournament play.

The ONIX Fuse indoor pickleball is what I use when playing recreationally. Its one of the best indoor pickleballs, it does well during longer rallies which means you can get many games out of one, and has consistent bounce on gym floors (the type of floor where I play).

Casual players prefer Jugs indoor pickleball. It’s at a lower price point than the Onix Fuse, is durable and has decent bounce. It’s also approved by the USAPA for tournament play.

The Best Outdoor Pickleballs

The Dura Fast 40 is considered one of the best outdoor balls and is often the preferred pickleball ball for outdoor play. Competitive players who want to practice for USAPA sanctioned tournaments prefer it because it’s the official ball for many USAPA tournaments.

For outdoor use by casual players, the Franklin X40 pickleball ball by Franklin Sports is a good choice because of its price point, durability and bounce. It’s approved by the USAPA for tournament play.


If you’re finding it crazy that there’s so much information about pickleball balls (who would have guessed) – take a look at this video. It does a great job of breaking down the various balls and takes a different approach by categorizing them by level: Beginner, Intermediate/Hybrid and Competitive/Pro.

They do recommend the Franklin X-26 which I’ve played with previously but I found it too soft – I didn’t like the feel of it. But, I was playing with the blue ball and it’s much easier to see when playing. There’s something to be said about trying pickleball balls out for yourself before deciding which one you prefer. The same stands true for pickleball paddles.


The Best Indoor Pickleball Balls

Fuse balls have smaller holes which will help with balance and make them a good option for both indoor and outdoor play.

The ONIX Fuse G2 indoor pickleball is durable and has a good bounce with minimal cracking. This ball is available in green which many find easier to see than other colors and is approved by the USAPA for tournament-sanctioned play.

The ONIX Fuse G2is a newer ball that was released after the ONIX Pure 2 was discontinued. It’s the next version after the G1. It’s similar to the Pure 2 pickleball in that it’s USAPA approved for tournament play but it’s also a great option for recreational play.

Another benefit is that these balls won’t need to be conditioned before playing a game so you can open the box and begin immediately playing.

The Fuse pickleball balls are also known for having great seam welding which helps with durability and the prevention of splitting and cracking.

It’s worth noting that although these pickleball balls are great to play with, are well balanced in the wind and when playing indoors, they will not last for an extended amount of play.


INDOOR Recreation Pickleball Ball – Top Pick

Available in white or green, the Jugs pickleballs are seamless, durable, and will withstand a decent amount of play.

Jugs is a great choice for a slightly less expensive indoor ball that is also approved by the USAPA for tournament play.

Jugs indoor pickleball balls are great for indoor play and are available in larger quantities which makes them a fantastic option for pickleball clubs and rec centers or just for the regular player who’s out on a court several times a week and needs a good supply of balls on-hand.

They are available in white or neon green so depending on your preference and the colors in your venue, one color might be easier to see than the other. The majority of players like using the Jugs balls but do note that the ball is made of softer plastic than others which can add higher bounce.


RUNNER-UP – INDOOR Pickleball Balls for Recreation Play

ONIX Pure 2

Onix Pure 2 balls are known for being the quietest on the market.

ONIX Pure 2 is another great option for indoor play.

Please note that it’s been discontinued but we decided to keep it on the list as a runner-up because players have traditionally had positive viewpoints about playing with this ball and since there’s still quite a bit of supply available on Amazon and other marketplaces, we thought it would be worth mentioning.

It’s a runner-up because of the obvious (it’s discontinued) but it’s also a bit more expensive than Jugs.

Because the Onix Pure 2 balls are known for being the quietest on the market, they are a great option for communities where low noise is important. These balls along with quieter paddles which have a polymer core, make a great combination.


TOP PICK – LARGE QUANTITY – Indoor Pickleball Balls

Jugs Pickleball Balls

Players comment that the Jugs ball is easier to see than most other balls, is available in white and lime green, and will last longer than most.

Jugs pickleball balls are a great choice if you want a budget-friendly ball for indoor play that’s long-lasting and available in larger quantities.

Available in a quantity of 100, Jugs pickleball balls are a great option for clubs, rec centers, or people who want to have extra balls on hand. The bulk quantity of 100 makes the price per ball less than a grande cup of coffee.

This pickleball ball is USAPA approved, weighs 26 grams, and has 40 machine drilled holes that help with a balanced flight pattern.

It’s important to note that these are indoor balls that tend to last longer than the typical construction of an outdoor ball and the overall consensus is that players really like Jugs.

The Jugs pickleball balls are also known for having great seam welding which helps with durability and the prevention of splitting and cracking.

It’s worth noting that although these pickleball balls are great to play, well balanced in the wind, they will not last for an extended amount of play. Available in a pack of 100. For outdoor play, check these out.


TOP PICK – OUTDOOR PICKLEBALL BALLS

Dura Fast 40

These balls are built to perform, and they fly true, straight, and fast. They’re rotationally molded as 1-piece with 40 precisely drilled holes which allow for consistent flight and bounce.

The Dura Fast 40 is well known throughout tournament and recreational play as being the most consistent performing ball.

Most players who play regularly in tournaments use this ball for practice and recreational games so that they gain the experience of playing with the Dura Fast 40 which helps them prepare for tournament games.

The Dura Fast 40 has been manufactured for years and is USAPA tournament approved.

They’ve been designed and engineered for outdoor & hard-court play.

High-end, sanctioned pickleball balls don’t last forever and the durability is affected by weather, play style & court surface and per the manufacturer, you can anticipate the life of 3-10 games in harsh conditions.

According to the manufacturer, tests demonstrated that Dura ball life is equivalent to or longer than competing balls.

While these balls are used often in tournaments, including the USAPA pickleball national championships, they don’t last long which makes it frustrating and more expensive than using other balls.


TOP PICK – OUTDOOR Pickleballs – Recreation

TOP

Manufactured by Pickleball Central, TOP outdoor balls are rotationally molded for strength, straight flight, and for a predictable even bounce.

With one-piece seamless construction, there aren’t any weak points and the ball is evenly balanced.

The TOP balls are made with a patented 40-hole pattern perfect that makes them perfect for outdoor play.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly pickleball balls that are long-lasting and available in large quantities as well, these are a great option because they are more affordable than Dura or Onix.

Many players appreciate these balls but there were some complaints about them not being round or losing their shape.

Generally, most players like playing with these balls but there were reports of inconsistency with the manufacturing.


 

Best Cheap – Large Qty – Outdoor Pickleball Balls

Franklin Sports X-40 Pickleball Balls

The Franklin Sports X-40 outdoor pickleball ball weighs 26 grams and has a very balanced flight pattern due to the 40 very precise machine drilled holes.

The seamless design means that there aren’t any weak points in the ball and it should last for hours of play and it’s easy to control because of the hole placement.

It’s USAPA approved for tournament play and a great option for practice and recreational play.

Available in red or yellow. Choose whichever color you think will be easiest to see.

These pickleballs are more expensive than Jugs indoor balls but players appreciate the quality.


Best Cheap – LARGE QTY – Outdoor And Indoor Pickleballs

GAMMA Photon

The GAMMA Photon is liked by players because of its durability and the neon yellow or green that makes it easy to see.

I’ve chosen the GAMMA Photon pickleball balls as a second great option for both their indoor and outdoor picklballs.

They’re at a great price point and have a large following of very happy pickleball players.

Its 2-piece construction is well balanced and ready for playing out of the box without any conditioning which is very convenient and ensures that the ball is not going to be bouncing higher than you want.


Pickleball Ball Buyer’s Guide

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

While indoor and outdoor pickleball balls can be substituted for the other, they perform differently so it’s best to use a ball that is appropriate for the venue – whether it’s an indoor game or outdoor game.

At an initial glance, indoor and outdoor pickleball balls look the same but if you take a closer look you’ll notice that they have a different number of holes and different-sized holes, and the material surface is different.

Remember that when you are choosing a ball, try to find a ball that will contrast with your surroundings and if you are practicing for tournament play, ensure the ball that you practice with is the same as the designated ball for the tournament so that you can get accustomed to that particular type of ball.

Usually, an outdoor pickleball will have thicker walls that will help the ball last when being used on outdoor pickleball court.

Quite often outdoor balls can easily get caught in the wind and that’s why they’re usually made with smaller holes that help manage the ball in the wind, but this means that there’s more material, making the ball heavier.

If you’re practicing for tournament play, you’ll want to practice with the Dura Fast 40 because this is the ball that is most often used in tournament play. It also bounces lower than most other balls (which is good to avoid giving opportunity for your opponent to smash the ball over the net) and it’s quite heavy for a ball, making it good for playing in the wind.

However, if you aren’t practicing for a tournament, the ONIX Fuse is a good option because it has a softer feel and doesn’t bounce high which limits the opportunity for your opponent to smash the ball.

In summary, here are the 7 main differences between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls:

  1. Outdoor balls have more holes than indoor holes but regulation-approved balls can have anywhere between 26 – 40 holes.
  2. Outdoor balls are heavier, harder, and have a smoother surface compared to indoor balls.
  3. Outdoor balls have smaller holes than indoor balls.
  4. Outdoor balls are known to be a bit harder to control than indoor balls but are also easier to hit.
  5. Outdoor balls are more exposed to the elements (UV rays as an example) and a harder playing surface which can cause them to degrade more quickly than an indoor ball.
  6. Outdoor balls are also more likely to lose their shape causing them to be replaced more often than indoor balls.
  7. Outdoor balls are heavier and smoother so if you get hit with one, it’s likely going to hurt more than getting hit by an indoor ball.


What Are The Official Pickleball Ball Specifications From the USAPA?

The USAPA defines the specifications for pickleball balls.

If you’re playing in a tournament, you’ll need to use a ball that is on the approved pickleball ball list.

And in major tournaments, the tournament organization will determine what brand of pickleball will be used.

The IFP and USAPA specifications for official pickleball balls are:

  1. The ball must be made of a durable material molded with a smooth surface and no texture.
  2. The ball must be one uniform color except for identification markings.
  3. The ball may have a slight ridge at the seam as long as it does not impact the ball’s flight characteristics.
  4. The ball should be 2,87 inches in diameter.
  5. The ball must weigh between .78 and .935 ounces.
  6. The ball should have a bounce of 30-34 inches.
  7. The ball should have a hardness of 40-50 on a Durometer D scale.
  8. The ball should have at least 26 holes and no more than 40 circular holes.
  9. The ball must have a manufacturer or supplier’s name or logo printed or embossed on the surface.

Durability and Longevity

Outdoor balls tend to wear and crack or split quickly and sometimes only after a short time playing. This is caused by a combination of the elements (sun, heat etc…) and the harder/stiffer material.

There are many pickleball balls on the market and various lifespans and in particular, there is typically quite a difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls.

The Dura Fast 40 is well known for not lasting past a few games which leave players frustrated and yet, it’s a personal preference for many professional and more serious players prefer this pickleball ball for recreational and non-USAPA tournaments, keeping in mind, that this is the ball for many USAPA sanctioned tournaments.

On the contrary, players love the ONIX Pure 2 Outdoor ball because they find that it will last longer, they get a lot of games out a ball and they are at a good price point. This ball is the highest rated ball that I found in my research although there could be others that rate just as high but were not included in my research.


What Does it Mean to “condition” A Pickleball Ball?

Conditioning a pickleball ball refers to breaking in the pickleball by playing with it until the bounce is between 30-34 inches off the ground.  The USAPA defines the regulated height of 30-34″ and sometimes when pickleballs are new, they bounce much higher.

Previously, the USAPA would allow balls to be conditioned before playing a tournament game but that is no longer allowed. If a ball wants to be approved for tournament play, it must pass the test and bounce between 30-34″.


Quiet Pickleball Balls For Noise Restricted Pickleball Court

If you live in a community where there are noise restrictions meaning you can’t be playing pickleball whenever the mood strikes, you may want to consider buying Gamma Sports balls.

Or maybe you want to be hitting the ball off your garage wall and it drives people crazy because of all the noise coming from the ball. I know I like to head into the garage and hit the ball against the wall (at any time of the day) and it can get really loud.

The Gamma Sports ball was originally designed to be a kid’s tennis ball. Although it’s a bit heavier (.7 oz), a bit smaller by 1/10th inch and has a lower bounce, it’s a great option for practicing particularly when you don’t want to make as much noise as you would if you were playing with a regular indoor or outdoor pickleball.


FAQs – The Best Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Balls

What is the best outdoor pickleball ball?

The best outdoor ball for competitive player is the Dura Fast 40. The best outdoor ball for the casual player playing an outdoor game is the Franklin X40.

How many holes in an outdoor pickleball?

There are 40 holes in an outdoor pickleball and an indoor pickleball has fewer holes, just 26. Outdoor pickleballs have more holes, that are smaller than the holes in an indoor pickleball which helps with ball flight, especially during windy conditions.

Can you use indoor pickleballs outdoor?

Yes, you can use indoor pickleballs outdoor but you may find that the ball doesn’t bounce as expected and doesn’t hit well, especially during windy conditions. Since indoor pickleball balls have fewer and larger holes, they are less likely to hit as planned and can more easily get caught by the wind.

What are the official pickleball balls?

The official pickleball balls are the balls that are included on the list of USAPA approved balls. Currently, the USA pickleball association has 84 balls on the approved list of pickleball balls. In 2021, the Franklin X-40 was the official pickleball for the USA Pickleball’s National tournament and National Championship Series tournament.

What is a pickleball ball size?

A pickleball ball is between 2.874” – 2.9972” in diameter and weighs between 0.78 – 0.935 oz. Indoor pickleballs tend to be slightly larger in diameter than indoor pickleballs.

Are core pickleballs good?

Core pickleball balls are known to be good, consistent and long-lasting and they’re on the USA Pickleball Association’s list of approved pickleballs. Some players like them because of the neon green color that’s available.

What’s the difference between indoor pickleballs and outdoor pickleballs?

The main differences between outdoor pickleballs and indoor pickleballs is that indoor pickleball balls have fewer holes, usually 26 holes and outdoor pickleball balls typically have 40 smaller holes. Outdoor balls are also a bit heavier and harder than indoor balls which are made of a softer material.

How many holes in an outdoor pickleball?

There are 40 holes in an outdoor pickleball and 26 holes in an indoor pickleball.

Summary – Best Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Balls:

There are so many pickleball balls on the market, that it can be confusing and difficult when trying to choose the best pickleball ball brand to buy.

Sometimes you need to play with a pickleball ball for a bit to determine which ball you think you’ll like best, however, I hope that this list of narrowed-down options is helpful and will make it simpler to determine where to spend your money.

Just remember that if you are practicing for a tournament, try to find out which pickleball ball will be used in the tournament and then make it a point of practicing with the same brand.

Pickleballs typically feel very similar but in some cases, there is a noticeable difference. Here’s the list of our top picks for the best pickleball balls for indoor and outdoor

Pickleball BrandFeatures
TOP PICK – Indoor tournament playONIX FusePlayers like its predictable bounce and its USAPA approved
TOP PICK – Indoor recreation playJugs Players like the price point, durability, and bounce. It’s also USAPA approved for tournament play.
TOP PICK – Outdoor play (tournaments)Dura Fast 40The preferred pickleball ball for outdoor play and for players who want to practice for USAPA sanctioned tournaments.
TOP PICK – Outdoor recreation playTOPThe preferred pickleball ball for outdoor play (recreation) because of its price point, durability, and bounce. It’s also USAPA approved for tournament play.

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