Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis vs Paddleball vs Padel – Major Differences Explained

Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis vs Paddleball vs Padel

Pickleball, paddleball, padel and paddle tennis are all popular paddle sports that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

However, there are some key differences between these games that you should know before you decide which one to try.

In this article, we will outline the differences between pickleball, padel tennis, paddleball, and padel so that you can make an informed decision about which game is right for you!

Pickleball was invented over fifty years, but in recent years, it has seen a tremendous increase in popularity. People like that it is an age- and skill-friendly sport. Players of all ages and abilities can enjoy pickleball.

Paddleball is similar to playing handball but you play with a paddle. There are two versions – one-wall and four-wall paddleball. The one-wall version – is outdoors and the four-wall game is usually played indoors on a court (a racquetball court is often re-purposed).

Padel, a very common paddle sport, is played often in the US, South America, Spain, and Portugal. It looks similar to platform tennis because both have a clear acrylic wall that surrounds the courts.

Paddle tennis utilizes a court one-third the size of a tennis court and an unpressurized tennis ball.

Summary – Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis vs Paddleball vs Padel

PickleballPaddle TennisPadelPaddleball
Court size & designsame as badminton, 22 ft x 40 ft long, with a net50 feet (15.24 meters) wide x 20 feet (.6 meters) long32 ft 10 inches (10 meters) wide by 54 feet 7 inches (20 meters) long, and is enclosed, with a netone-wall – 20′ x 34′ – outdoor court
four-wall – 40′ x 20′ – enclosed court
Scoringonly the serving team can earn points, played to 11 points, must win by 2 pointssame as tennissame as tennisserving team earns point, up to 21 points, a match is won with 2 games
Ballsmall plastic balldepressurized tennis ballsimilar to tennis ball but designed for padelofficial paddleball, sometimes a racquetball
Paddlesolid paddle, wood, graphite, polymergraphite, polymer, might be perforatedsolid, perforated, graphite, thinner paddlesolid, polymer, graphite
Difficultyeasier than squash, racquetball, tennis similar to tennissimilar to tennisone-wall – easy
four-wall – similar to racquetball

What Are The Major Differences Between Pickleball, Paddle tennis, Paddleball and Padel?

The main differences between pickleball, paddle tennis, paddleball and padel are:

  1. Court size and design – the court size is different for each sport
    • Paddleball court is 34’x20′ with 4 walls similar to a racquetball court. There is also a 1 wall version of paddleball where the court is outdoors, with one-wall and the court is 20′ c 34’7″.
    • Pickleball court is similar in size to a badminton court, with the recommended court size being 22 ft wide by 40 feet long with a net down the middle. A pickleball court is also different because it has an area called the non-volley zone that is 7 feet deep on both sides of the net and runs from both sidelines. As the name implies, a player can’t volley the ball from within the non-volley zone.
    • Padel court is enclosed with a net that divides the court in half and the opposing teams play facing each other. The Padel court size is 32′ 8″ (10 m) wide by 65′ 7 ” (20 m) long. A paddle tennis court is 50 feet (15.24 meters) wide by 20 feet (.6 meters) long.
    • Paddle tennis court is 50′ wide by 20′ long.
  2. Ball size and design – the ball used for each sport is different in size and design
    • Paddleball is played with an official paddleball ball. Sometimes a racquetball is used.
    • Pickleball uses a hollow plastic pickleball ball that is larger than a tennis ball but a bit smaller than a softball. It’s sometimes referred to as a wiffle ball.
    • Padel ball is a low compression tennis ball
    • Paddle tennis uses a depressurized tennis ball
  3. Paddles – All use a solid paddle, not a racquet. A paddle for paddle tennis and sometimes for paddleball, is perforated.
  4. Scoring system
    • Paddleball and Pickleball – Only the serving team can earn points when playing pickleball and paddleball.
    • Padel and paddle tennis is scored the same as tennis where both sides can earn points regardless of who is serving.

What is Similar About Pickleball, Paddleball, Padel and Paddle Tennis?

  1. All use a solid paddle, not a racquet although they often get categorized as a racquet sport.
  2. Padel and paddleball scoring is similar to tennis.
  3. Pickleball and paddleball only award points to the serving team.
  4. Padel and pickleball only allow underhand serves that must be at or below waist level.
  5. Four-wall paddleball and padel courts are enclosed with four walls.

About Pickleball

pickleball court
  • Court Size: Pickleball court size is 22 feet by 40 feet long
  • Scoring: serving team can only earn points, up to 11 points
  • Ball: Pickleball balls are hollow, small plastic balls with holes – larger than a tennis ball but smaller than a softball – often referred to as a wiffle ball
  • Paddle: Pickleball paddles are solid, and made of polymer or graphite or wood

Although often thought of as a game for the retirement communities, Pickleball is actually a game that was originally invented by three men in 1965 to keep their kids busy during the summer.

While summering on Bainbridge Island, not far from Seattle, Washington, Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum were looking for a fun family activity that everyone could play together.

They wanted to create a game that would be challenging but suitable for everyone to play whether playing singles or doubles although single play is more challenging, making doubles more common.

They started playing with table tennis paddles and a wiffle ball, and a lowered badminton net, on the badminton court.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport and the number of players has increased due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, with 4.8 million active players in the US.

pickleball paddle and pickleball balls

Pickleball has some unique characteristics that make it quite different from other paddle sports such as paddleball, paddle tennis and padel. As an example, a pickleball court has a 7-foot area on either side of the net that runs from both sidelines and is called the non-volley zone. A player cannot volley the ball while standing in the non-volley zone.

how to build a pickleball court

A pickleball court is quite a bit smaller than a tennis court, a paddle tennis, padel or paddleball court.

But there are line similarities with the exception of the non-volley zone. There are sidelines, a centerline and a baseline. The centerline runs down the middle of the court from the start of the non-volley zone to the baseline.

Learn more about playing pickleball and the non-volley zone.

The USA Pickleball Association is a great resource for learning more about the game.

About Padel

Padel is a paddle sport that is very similar to both tennis and racquetball and is played on an enclosed court that is about one-third to half the size of a tennis court.

The game can be played either indoors or outdoors, and two or four players can participate. The game is quite popular in the US, Europe and South America, and is slowly gaining popularity in other parts of the world.

Unlike paddleball, padel has a net, like in tennis or pickleball. This makes for a very different game, and one that is quite a bit more challenging. The ball can be played off the court walls which is similar to playing squash or racquetball with the key difference being that there is a net separating opposing players.

Padel is governed by the International Padel Federation.

About One-Wall Paddleball

  • Court Size: 20 feet (6 meters) wide by 34 feet 7 inches (10.3 meters) long
  • Ball: Official paddleball ball or racquetball ball
  • Paddle: Paddleball paddle – graphite

One-wall paddleball is played by either two or four players hitting the ball off one wall and is typically played on a small, outdoor court.

The object of the game is to hit the ball against the wall so that the other player cannot return it. The ball must be hit before it bounces more than once.

Paddleball is a simple paddle sport that can be played by anyone, regardless of skill level. It’s very similar to handball except that a paddle is used instead of your hand.

About Four-Wall Paddleball

  • Court Size: 40 feet (12 meters) wide by 20 feet (.6 meters) long
  • Scoring: serving team earns the point, up to 21 points and a match is won by the team who wins two games
  • Ball: official paddleball, sometimes a racquetball
  • Paddle: solid paddle, polymer, graphite

Four wall paddleball was invented in 1930 by Earl Riskey, the Director of Intramural Sports at the University of Michigan. The school had squash and handball courts which were occasionally used by tennis players during bad weather. Riskey thought that it might be interesting to introduce a game that was played with a paddle instead of a racquet.

Four-wall paddleball is very similar to racquetball although there are some minor differences.

It is played either singles or doubles on a racquetball-sized court where each team must hit the ball off the front wall so the other team can’t return it and before it hits the floor twice. Only the serving team can earn a point.

The object of the game is to hit the ball so that the other player cannot return it and you are the first one to miss.

About Paddle Tennis

two women playing padel
  • Court Size: 50 feet (15.24 meters) wide by 20 feet (.6 meters) long
  • Scoring: same as tennis
  • Ball: paddle tennis ball is a depressurized tennis ball
  • Paddle: polymer, graphite, might be perforated

  • Paddle tennis was developed in 1915 by Frank Peer Beal and became more popular in the 1940 and 1950s although it has not become nearly as popular as Padel or Pickleball.
paddle tennis game

Like paddleball and pickleball, an underhand serve must be used. There are many similarities to tennis such as the courts are constructed of the same material and the rules are very much the same except that an overhand service is not allowed in paddle tennis. Like in tennis, paddle tennis can be played singles or doubles.

FAQs – Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis vs Paddleball vs Padel

What is POP tennis?

POP Tennis is similar to tennis but it’s played on a shorter court, with a paddle, and a depressurized tennis ball. The net is also lower. It’s scored the same way as tennis and the rules are primarily the same as tennis but with a couple of minor differences such as serves are underhand.

What is platform tennis?

Platform tennis was developed from lawn tennis in 1928. It’s played the same way as lawn tennis but there are differences in equipment, the court and minor rule differences.
Instead of a tennis racquet, a platform tennis paddle that has small holes in it is used and the ball is a sponge material instead of the typical tennis ball. One other major difference between lawn tennis and platform tennis is that the fence around the court is considered as part of the court and the ball can be played off it – similar to squash, racquetball, padel and paddleball.

Articles Related to Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis vs Paddleball vs Padel

non volley zone pickleball rules
pickleball rules
Pickleball Court Dimensions