Indoor and outdoor pickleballs have contrasting designs, weights, and materials. They have different features because of the differences between indoor and outdoor court conditions.
In this article, we will discuss the differences between outdoor and indoor balls in detail, with a comparative study of the different brands available on the market to help you decide which one is best for your game.
What Are The Two Types Of Pickleball Balls?
When someone says indoor pickleball, they refer to gymnasiums with wooden flooring. Outdoor pickleball is played on a pickleball court or a tennis court that has been lined to play pickleball.
So, a different kind of pickleball is used for playing indoors and outdoors.
Let’s look at the features of indoor and outdoor balls in detail:
The outdoor balls are easier to bounce and move very fast. This is why they are difficult to control. Due to the harder material, getting hit by an outdoor ball can hurt a lot.
Usually, they are not used indoors because they might break something or injure someone. Outdoor balls are also very noisy. The rally does not last long when using an outdoor ball.
An outdoor regulation ball should weigh approximately 0.90 ounces. The most popular brands that manufacture outdoor pickleball balls are Dura, Top, and Onix.
Indoor pickleballs are not made to be hit hard. They are made from softer plastic and easily bounce off the paddle. They are also easier to control than outdoor balls. Rallies last longer with indoor balls, and getting hit by one won’t hurt as much.
Most indoor balls bounce very high due to the gymnasium flooring, which gives your opponents a better vantage point to hit down on you. So players would take a ball and smack it with a paddle to wear it out, which makes the ball softer and less bouncy.
An indoor regulation ball weighs around 0.8 ounces. Some of the most popular brands for indoor pickleball balls are Jugs, Gamma Photon, and Dura Fast.
Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Balls
All pickleball balls are similar in that they are all made of plastic and have little holes. But they differ in size and number of holes, as well as the design of the ball.
Here is how an indoor ball is different from an outdoor ball:
Size Of Holes
The easiest way to tell an indoor and outdoor pickleball ball apart is by the size of the holes. An indoor ball has larger holes, whereas an outdoor ball has smaller holes. Outdoor balls have smaller holes for increased wind resistance. Indoor balls have large holes because there is no wind.
Number Of Holes
You will only find 26 holes in an indoor ball. Because the indoor pickleball ball has larger holes, it has fewer of them. On the other hand, the outdoor ball has 40 holes because of their smaller size.
Weight And Material
The outdoor balls are made with a harder plastic and are heavier. This is because the outdoor court has a harder quartz surface and is made to withstand heavy winds and other unpredictable natural elements. But they can easily perish because of the hard material and their weight.
Indoor balls are slightly lighter and softer for an increased bounce on indoor surfaces. They are ideal for playing in the gym or indoor courts, but they will not be effective in windy conditions.
Which Pickleball Ball Should You Buy?
The USA Pickleball Association, more commonly known as USAPA, has set rules for various features of the ball, such as hardness, size, weight, etc. However, these terms are not rigid and have some wiggle margin.
But it won’t be the same if you don’t use the right type of ball. So, here are some of the features you should consider when buying a pickleball ball:
Regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor, pickleball balls come in a variety of colors to increase visibility. Red is the most used color in pickleball because it is easier to spot in dark indoor lighting. In contrast, bright yellow and orange balls are popular for outdoor games.
According to the USAPA, there is no specific color you need to use. The only condition is that the ball should be of uniform color.
If you are new to pickleball, you should know your way around a pickleball ball. When you continually play with an outdoor pickleball ball, it will show signs of wear and tear. The ball will start to lose its shape, and it will ultimately crack.
The Dura Fast 40 is the most popular outdoor ball used in pickleball but breaks very easily. This is a good thing because as the ball starts to wear, it gets softer to the point where you can’t hit it properly, affecting your game. But the Dura cracks before it gets soft, so you can discard it and get a new ball.
The Onix Fuse does not crack that easily. If you keep playing, the ball will turn soft and impact your game. But it is much cheaper, which makes it passable for beginners.
The Jugs balls are legendary when it comes to indoor pickleball. This ball is soft, like butter, does not travel fast, and lasts for a very long time. It is also cost-friendly.
Another option is the Onix Fuse indoor pickleball, the standard ball used in competitions. It will also eventually turn soft and crack.
As we know, there are two kinds of pickleballs available on the market. While each is designed for a particular arena, you can use an indoor ball for outdoor play if the weather is nice and calm.
Remember that a ball is a ball at the end of the day. It will wear down and crack eventually. So, the idea is to focus on your game and have fun with it!