Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleballs | The Key-Differences

Pickleball paddles are so overrated that the balls usually come under debate. There are a few of them, that don’t cost much, or it’s just a ball, who cares–the reason can be anything. Well, it’s the pickleball ball that completes half of the equation for the best pickleball ball. And in pickleball, it’s not about the best pickleball ball, it’s the “right ball” that calls forth “the indoor vs outdoor pickleballs” debate which triggers several questions, and often confusions. 

Well, it’s nothing like the Leo vs Messi discussion. In fact, the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls are easy to spot and understand. However, with zero knowledge about the ball types, you must be using an indoor ball on an outdoor court or vice versa–who knows? So, today, I’m gonna teach you the easiest way to differentiate them, their benefits, consequences, durability, and predicted results.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Pickleball Balls: Head-to-Head

The difference between indoor vs outdoor pickleball balls involves everything from the weight to the performance. While indoor pickleball balls are soft, and lightweight, with few but larger holes and forgiving, outdoor balls are the opposite, having more power, small, and several holes, a hard surface, and of course heavier weight.

Think of Indoor pickleballs as a little sister of outdoor balls. They’re ‌lighter, fragile, and don’t bounce higher. These balls have better control, though, and are way forgiving than the outdoor pickleball ball. However, for durability, outdoor balls have an upper hand. They last longer than indoor balls. They can withstand any environment because of their weight. However, you never want to get hit by them–it hurts for real.

Also, you can’t go interchangeably in either indoor or outdoor court with one ball. An indoor ball is incompatible in the outdoor court because it won’t bounce up to the required level. It’s honestly dead. While an outdoor ball will kill your ears and probably two or three precious items inside. Perhaps, injure you. However, if you’re playing informally and the conditions seem secondary to you, for example, there’s no wind outside or the outdoor ball got rough, you can, however, use the balls under the conditions you like.

The easiest way to differentiate and identify them? Outdoor has smaller and a lot of holes than indoor, which other has bigger ones, but a few of them.

Types Of Pickleball Balls:

As I said, pickleball is the most diverse of all racquet sports for how it’s played, the rules, the environment, and even within the players and that also comes in the balls. So far, the variation is between the types of outdoor vs indoor pickleball ball. Both of these types have different applications and outputs and can’t be used alternatively. For example, if you use an outdoor ball for the indoor, you gotta build walls around you or you’ll just get your doctor rich day by day for treating your ear bleed.

The difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is pretty much clear, but of course, you need to grasp a few facets to predict your game better. As of now, the ball sets come in both types, i.e. you don’t have to search separately for indoor and outdoor pickleballs; they’ll come in one packet by the same manufacturer. So, let’s dive into both types in depth to help you identify indoor and outdoor pickleballs and understand the outcomes and results of each.

Indoor Pickleball Balls:

Indoor pickleballs are softer and manufactured to complement indoor pickleball courts. The softer plastic makes these balls noise-free, bounce slower and have less damaging effects. Not just in close courts, an indoor pickleball ball is also friendly on the basketball, volleyball, or wooden floor, where the softer plastic has a great effect and cushion.

playing Indoor Pickleball Balls
  • Holes: Indoor balls have larger holes which reduces the bounce rate. Normally, they’ve 26 holes. In fact, the reason for their lightweight is the bigger holes, which not only cuts down the weight but also you’ll never get hurt no matter how hard you get hit by an indoor ball.
  • Structure: the structure of indoor pickleball is textured. You can even tell the difference from pictures, let aside holding them in hand. Plus, the rigid surface makes them quicker to react to the paddle.
  • Weight: Indoor pickleballs are lighter and have more consistent and balanced results. On average, indoor pickleball weighs between 0.6-0.8oz. This is because of their lightweight; many players prefer indoor play rather than outdoor–especially the aged ones.
  • Size: The size of an indoor pickleball is 2.8 inches. It looks similar to Cricket balls.
  • Examples: some of the best indoor pickleballs are Jugs Indoor Balls and Onix Fuse Indoor Pickleball Ball. Both of these are USAPA-approved balls, have 26 holes each, and weigh 0.7 oz.
Indoor Pickleball Balls

Outdoor Pickleball Balls:

All the elements of an indoor ball, Outdoor pickleball balls just multiply it. They’re heavier, bounce a lot, and are stronger and more rigid. Outdoor balls are manufactured keeping the wind and the sun in mind so that they can withstand all the negative odds of an open environment.

Playing Outdoor Pickleball Balls
  • Holes: outdoor pickleball has 40 smaller holes. These aren’t identical in all outdoor pickleballs, though. Some might have all the 40 holes in the same pickleball ball size, while the others may have a few smalls and a few larger. These smaller holes contribute to the weight and make them hold out against the wind.
  • Structure: They’ve a rigid surface. Harder plastics are used to make these balls. However, these balls feel a little softer in the sunlight.
  • Weight: an outdoor pickleball has 0.8-.10 oz of weight. The heavier weight is why outdoor games are more heated, fast, and have a better variation. However, until you get hit by one. These balls hurt a lot because of their heavy weight and rigid surface.
  • Size: The size of an outdoor pickleball is 2.9 inches. It has a bigger mass than an outdoor ball and has a similar feel to a baseball ball, except that outdoor pickleball is way too light. However, the size may fluctuate between 2.85-3.0 inches.
  • Examples: the best outdoor pickleball ball is the Dura fast 40. These are the most popular ones, in fact, nearly everyone plays with these balls in an open court.
Outdoor Pickleball Balls

With time, outdoor balls also lose shape, so always check the shape by spinning the ball. If it does well, it’s rounded; otherwise, you know it’s time to change it.

How long does a pickleball ball last?

The durability depends on the brand for indoor and outdoor pickleball. Normally, an outdoor pickleball will last for at least 7-10 games before it cracks up, while an indoor pickleball may hardly remain the same after the 5th game. So, you always have to keep extra bundles of balls with you.

Outdoor pickleball balls will egg before they crack up. This means the ball will squash from one side and poke out from the other. This way, it’ll also start to wear out, the plastic gets softer and soon, you’ll feel like you’re playing with a ball of mush. This is the case with Onix balls. Dura balls, on the other hand, will crack up instantly. They’re the least durable and the most expensive, and the biggest benefit is that you’ll replace the ball. You won’t keep playing with a softer ball, which hardly bounces and is most likely paralyzed. You’ll just change them and keep on your original play.

With indoor pickleball, the case is different. They’re already soft, so the process gets to half. The indoor ball will be broken soon before you expect it unless it’s from the Jugs because Jugs are the only indoor pickleball having the same old traditional design. They’re the softest pickleballs and stay for a lifetime.

Pickleball Ball Colors:

While the USAPA specifies everything, one thing it misses is the color. USAPA just said, “one uniform color”. But USAPA didn’t specify which one, and there’s no such restriction as the board has set for the paddles that it shouldn’t have a “yellow” color. However, from that, pickleball balls have grabbed this color, and they’re more often yellow, neon, orange, or any shade of these colors. Many experts recommend avoiding darker colors for the night because it’ll make them harder to identify, and the players will often run into faults. So far, white and neon are the best for indoor pickleball games.

Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball Ball: Wrap Up!

So fellas! This is it. I’ve done my part, and with the help of the information I provided here, I hope you can now decide which ball you prefer between indoor vs outdoor pickleball. It’s more likely a personal preference though, but if you’re a complete beginner, I suggest starting with indoor balls–Jugs have them very affordable, and then upgrading to the outdoors. Or a better option, buy a duo box and have some of both types. Good luck.

Robby Anderson

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