Pickleball Balls | Best Pickleball Balls 2018 Reviews | Indoor & Outdoor

Top Pickle BallsOne of the great things about pickleball is that you really don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. Once you have a pickleball paddle and a decent pair of shoes, you really just need a few pickleball balls to start playing.

Keep reading below for full reviews of all the top selling pickleball ball brands on the market and a more detailed explanation of why we picked the Onix Pure 2 Ball as the best outdoor pickleball ball and Jugs Indoor Pickleballs as the best indoor pickleball ball.  

Pickleball balls are made of durable plastic, however contrary to what many beginner players assume, the balls do wear out and need to be replaced on a regular basis. Actually one of the most common complaints we hear from our readers is how easily pickleball balls crack and the amount of money players are spending to constantly replace them.

Depending on how often you play,  pickleballs may need to be replaced frequently. Outdoor balls also tend to degrade quicker (compared to indoor balls) due to UV exposure from the sun and rougher court surface.

Pickleball Balls: Best Indoor & Outdoor Balls 2018 


*Onix makes two separate versions of the “Pure 2” ball for Indoor and Outdoor pickleball.

 **Below, you’ll find our own detailed reviews or you can click the links above for more details on Amazon.

Tourna Outdoor Pickleballs (6 Pack)
Tourna Outdoor Pickleballs

Active pickleball players that play frequently on outdoor courts may replace pickleballs even after several games whereas casual indoor players (the smooth finish of indoor courts are more forgiving) may be able to use the same balls for months before having to replace them.

We recommend spending a few minutes reading about the different brands and kinds of balls on the market.  In the long run, after you play with a few different ones you’ll most likely find the ball that matches your playing style.  We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by researching all the currently approved indoor and outdoor pickleballs for sale. We’ve reviewed the options and have summarized the best pickleballs below.

If you read online forums or chat with people at the courts, there is a wide variety of opinions. A lot of it comes down to personal preference and playing style. Some players think certain ball brands are too bouncy while others think a ball is unresponsive or”dead” and lack bounce.

Our top picks are based: Durability, overall “playability” (to keep highest % of players on the court happy with ball selection) and balls that are good value for money.   The issue is somewhat subjective but there are patterns that we can see by asking around and the feedback we get from other players on the court and from our readers.

Please let us know in the comments the brand of ball you currently use (or have used in the past) and any positive or negative feedback. 

Outdoor Pickleball Ball Reviews

Our Top Pick For Outdoor Pickleball Ball

Onix Pure 2 Outdoor Pickleball Balls - (3-Pack) The Onix Pure 2 Outdoor ball features Onix’s own “​True Flight Technology” which is designed to fly true even in outdoor wind conditions.

It’s a well balanced and durable ball. Onix also makes an indoor Pure 2 with similar quality and design, but with a the large hole size you would expect on an indoor ball.

Outdoor Balls are heavier, harder and have smoother plastic compared to indoor balls.  Outdoor balls have smaller drilled holes and more of them.  These balls come off the paddle harder and are considered harder to control than indoor balls but are easier to hit hard.  Because of the reduced control, the rallies are often shorter with outdoor balls.

Due to the harder and rougher outdoor court surface (usually asphalt or sometimes concrete) and the exposure to UV rays from the sunshine, outdoor balls crack and degrade in quality more quickly.

These factors also cause the balls to “go out of round” (where the ball is no longer uniformly round and no longer flies straight).  For these reasons, outdoor balls have to be replaced more often than indoor ones. ​

Because outdoor pickleballs are heavier they are less effected by wind.  The extra weight and hardness also makes them hurt more if you get hit with one off a smash shot! ​ They are  noisier and just slightly larger than indoor balls.

Although they are now sold in several colors including yellow, white, green and orange, yellow is still most popular selling ball. The most popular pickleball ball brands are Top, Onix and Dura.



Indoor Pickleball Ball Reviews

Our Top Pick For Indoor Pickleball Balls

JUGS SPORTS Pickleballs - 1 Dozen Jugs Lime Green Pickleballs Jugs Sports Indoor Pickleballs are a favorite among many indoor Pickleball players. The Jugs ball weighs .85 ounces and has good bounce for touch play and long rallies. It’s also a good option for playing outdoors for those looking for a versatile ball that can be used indoors and out rather than buying both indoor and outdoor balls.  Click here to check price and read reviews

Indoor balls are lighter than outdoor balls. The are easier to control and come off the paddle with softer touch making it easier to get long extended rallies.

Because indoor balls are lighter, they are harder to hit hard and are more affected by wind which can be a disadvantage for those player who like to play with indoor pickleballs on outdoor courts.

Indoor balls tend to last longer. When they do wear out they more likely to just go too soft but less likely to go out of round, crack or break as outdoor balls do.  They are softer and hurt less if you do get hit with one during play (overhead smash by opponent).

Indoor Pickleballs have fewer and larger holes compared to outdoor balls.

Regulation pickleballs must have between 26-40 holes. Most outdoor balls have 40 while most indoor balls have 26 although there is no set number for indoor or outdoor balls. Some pickleball equipment manufacturers make their balls differently, like the P7 Outdoor Pickleball that has 32 holes.

Top selling brands of outdoor pickleball balls are Jugs Sports, Onix and PickleballNow. See a full list of ball brands below with a review of each.

Using indoor balls on outdoor courts: Obviously from the names, indoor balls are designed for indoor pickleball courts and outdoor balls for outdoor courts but there’s no feature of either kind of ball that would prevent you from playing on any surface.

In fact, many pickleball players prefer to use indoor balls outside because they are more forgiving and therefore produce a more controlled game with  longer rallies.

But there’s really no hard set rule, in theory you could also play indoor pickleball with outdoor balls and vice versa.  Although having said that, while I often see indoor balls being used outside I very rarely see outdoor balls used indoors.

Not Sure? Try a bunch first and decide.

Pickleball Balls
Pickleball Balls – Variety Pack of 6

If you are not sure which ball to buy, rather than buying a pack of each try this Variety Pack of 6 Pickleballs.

It’s a good way to try half a dozen different pickeballs to see which one you like best without investing a ton of money.

The set in includes one of each of the following balls:

  • 1-Yellow TOP Outdoor Pickleball,
  • 1-Yellow Pure 2 Outdoor Pickleball,
  • 1-Yellow Pure 2 Indoor Pickleball,
  • 1-Green Jugs Indoor Pickleball,
  • 1-Midnight Blue Indoor Pickleball,
  • 1-Orange Dura Big-Hole Indoor Pickleball

Pickleball Ball Brands

Onix Pickleball balls

Onix Pure 2 Indoor Pickleball Balls - (3-Pack, Yellow) Onix Pure 2 Pickleball comes in indoor and outdoor versions.  The two piece construction process heats the two halves and then matches the two perfectly.  The heat “welding” technique fuses the two pieces and creates a strong seal and smooth seam. This precision method (using robotics to eliminate human error) results in a very well balanced ball with true flight and consistent bounce.

The balls are marketed as the quietest ball on the market. They have quickly gained popularity and can be seen on courts around the country. Low noise has become more of a priority in pickleball in recent years, most notably with paddles and some communities only accepting paddles approved as quiet, so the low noise is an added benefit of the Pure 2’s by Onix.  The balls are sold in sets of 3, 6 and 12.

Onix FUSE Indoor & Outdoor Pickleball balls

Onix Fuse Outdoor Pickleball Balls – Six Pack In February 2018, Onix announced the long awaited release of their Onix FUSE Outdoor balls​. (They have since also launched an Indoor version of the Fuse: Click here to see both version of the FUSE.

These new pickleball balls are approved by the USAPA for indoor and outdoor play. Unlike some other balls that require some conditioning (squeezing, bouncing, etc) to get them game ready, these balls are ready to play with straight out of the box.

The fuse balls feature smaller holes, which according to Onix provides truer flight and precision.  They are marketed as having optimal bounce and resistance to wind.  FUSE balls come in two packaging formats: 3 and 6 ball packs.  Since they are brand new, we will have to play with them for some time and get readers input before publishing a detailed review.

Gamma Sports Pickleball Balls

Gamma Sports Photon Indoor Pickleballs, High-Vis Optic Green USAPA Approved Pickleball Balls (6 Pack) Gamma Sports Photon Indoor Pickleballs are sold in packs of 3, 6 and 60.  These indoor balls are constructed using a two-piece design with 26 precision molded holes.  The “optic green” color is meant to give the ball extra visibility.  It may be my failing eyesight but they look more like a fluorescent yellow to me than green- but either way they are definitely bright and have good visibility.

The Gamma Photon balls are approved by the USAPA for sanctioned tournament play​.  The bulk 60 pack is a nice option for clubs, schools or coaches that use a large number of balls for drills, classes or practice shooting with an automatic ball machine.

Tourna Pickleball balls

Tourna Outdoor Pickleballs are a good all-around ball with medium hardness and good bounce.  As with most other outdoor balls they have 40 drilled holes for better flight in breezy conditions.  The balls are approved for USAPA/IFP play.  The Tourna balls come in one color option- bright optic yellow and are sold in sets of: 6, 12, 36 and a bulk bag of 200.

Jugs Pickleballs

JUGS SPORTS Pickleballs - 1 Dozen Jugs Lime Green Pickleballs From what I last heard and read, “Jugs” are still the number one selling indoor ball on the market and our top pick for indoor balls.  

They are made of soft plastic which responds well on indoor rubber, tile or other hard surfaces. The soft material also has a little more texture which gives these balls a little extra bite which is an advantage when playing on smooth, polished indoor courts.

Jugs weigh in at just over 8/10 ounce (0.81 oz) making them the lightest regulation balls available on the market. Jugs balls are also known for their explosive “pop” with a bounce height of 37″  (from standard drop test done from 75″).

Players who like fast action and high bouncing balls love to play with the Jug. The one complaint I hear is when they play with other indoor balls, they are so used to the bounce that other brands seem “dead” or slow to them.

The Jugs balls come in two colors: White and Lime Green. ​

Colored Pickleball Balls: Black, Blue, Pink…

Midnight Indoor Pickleball-6 Count Package (Indigo Blue) Jugs also makes the The Jugs Midnight Indoor balls The primary selling point to these is the dark colors they come in. Some players complain that the colors of traditional pickleballs (yellow being the best selling color) blend in with the playing service and background which makes it hard see the ball- especially during fast action. 

This problem is compounded by the artificial light of indoor courts and the pale surface colors of the court and surrounding surfaces (often wood or pale colored materials and walls), compared to the abundant natural light of outdoor courts. Outdoor courts are often painted with deep blue and green tones which contrast well with yellow or orange balls. 

Because of this the midnight balls are only made for indoors. The “Midnight” balls come in several unique dark colors to choose from including:  black, indigo blue, pink and coral.

Many indoor players like the dark balls since it makes does increase visibility, the one disadvantage is due to supply and demand, these dark colored balls can cost quite a bit more than standard yellow, white or orange pickleballs.

Top Pickleball balls

Top balls are manufactured using injection molding and the holes are only drilled after the plastic has cooled. This one piece unibody design makes these more durable and lasting that some other balls on the market (some other pickleballs are made using two halves of the sphere which are then bonded together, leaving a clear seam.

The ball is also rotated while during molding, making a ball that is true to round and flies straight. This ball is made by Pickleball Central, one of the largest and best known online pickleball retailers. The name TOP is actually an acronym for  “The Outdoor Pickleball”.  Like most other outdoor balls, it has 40 drilled holes and weighs .881 ounces. The ball is made in China (as are most balls on the market) and comes in yellow, orange and white.

Dura Pickleballs

Pickle-Ball, Inc. Dura Fast 40 Outdoor Pickleball, 6-Pack, Yellow Dura Outdoor Pickleballs, or “Dura Fast 40” are identical to the Top balls described above and are actually made by the same manufacturer just with different branding.  As mentioned, the balls are made from a single molded design which makes for a strongly constructed ball.

They are seamless which makes them fly true and stay in round better than a two piece ball.  The ball has a total of 40 holes but 16 of them are larger and 24 are smaller, the idea is that having different size holes helps with the flight of the ball, especially in windy, outdoor conditions.

The Dura Fast 40  has the Official Ball of the following past tournaments:

Pickleball Now Balls

These indoor balls are made of harder plastic than some of the other indoor balls on this list (based on ratings Durometer D scale) which makes them durable but less forgiving than somewhat softer balls. Also the hard texture has less feel and bite on smooth surfaces.  Although some players do like the durability of the balls, others complain that the hard plastic is more prone to premature cracking.

The Pickleball Now balls are sold in one format only- a darker green color in packs of 6.  Some indoor players like the darker green (compared to bright yellow) as it contrasts better against the pale backgrounds and court surfaces of many indoor courts…the same reason why Jugs Midnight balls – that we mentioned above – are popular.

Pure Pickleball P7 Outdoor Pickleball Balls

The Pure P7 balls are approved by the US Pickleball Association (USAPA) and International Federation of Pickleball (IFP)  for sanctioned tournament play. The balls have a unique 32 hole design and are made in the USA. They have quick action, similar to a Top ball.  The one disadvantage of the P7 is it’s two piece design which can leave a noticeable seam on some of the balls.

The P7 outdoor ball is made by Pure Pickleball, however they have an partnership with Paddletek so the ball is also referred to as the Paddletek Pure Pickleball P7.  This outdoor ball is made with precision cut holes and a bright neo color that according to the company is a brighter tone of yellow making it more visible than other balls on the market – a fluorescent yellow “Vibrant Neon”.

Epic Pickleball Balls

Epic outdoor balls are sold in one format, a bulk bag of 25 bright green balls and come in a black mesh bag.  These are made of two piece construction and have a seam, although it is not a noticeable feel on the seam, it is clearly visible. There is also a small hole (almost like a pinhole) and very slight indentation around the hole, apparently where the mold was used to adhere to two halves together.

These balls are somewhat soft and some players find that they play slow compared to other outdoor balls. The main advantage to these balls is the price, they may be a good option for practice drills or for practicing with a automatic ball machine.  At their bulk price they may also be a good option for camps or school PE classes that need a large volume of balls on a budget.

Franklin Sports Pickleball Balls

pickleball with cracks

We did not include the Pickleball X-40 from Franklin Sports on our list of top picks. Although it newly launched and is selling well (showing up on the courts more and more)….there have been many reports of the ball breaking too easily.

Rather than recommending this popular new ball we are waiting to see how things play out. It’s possible there were just some initial issues with the first batches, maybe the quality will improve but in the meantime we are waiting on the sidelines on this ball.

Quiet Pickleball Balls

Do you live in a community or HOA that has rules against pickleball noise but still want to practice?   Yes, this is actually a frequent and recurring issue in many local communities. This has led some communities to post lists of approved quiet green zone paddles. There has even been at least one lawsuit against a city for allowing pickleball noise in public parks!

Or maybe you’re like me and sometimes just can’t wait to get to the court to practice and want to hit some practice balls off the garage door or even inside against the wall (this drives my wife crazy but I’ve been known to do this to keep myself from going bonkers on a rainy day when I can’t get out on the court!)

Although these practice balls are not approved for official play and are slightly lighter and smaller than an official pickleball, they do have a similar bounce and are a good option when you can’t use a real pickleball due to noise restrictions but not a replacement for real pickleballs.

 

Gamma Sports Quick Kids 36 Foam Low Bounce Training and Practice Tennis Balls for Kids and Beginners, 75% Slower than Standard Tennis Balls (Designed for 36' Tennis Courts, 3 Pack, Yellow) Gamma Foam Quiet Practice Ball  This soft foam ball weighs only .7 oz and is one tenth of an inch smaller than USAPA approved pickelballs. Bounce mimics a real ball, good option to practice without the noisy pop of a pickleball.

Gamma Sports Revolution Foam Oversized Medium Bounce Training and Practice Tennis Balls for Kids and Beginners, 75% Slower than Standard Tennis Balls (Designed for 36' Tennis Courts, 12 Pack)

Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball Really designed by Gamma as a kid’s training ball for tennis, the Gamma Revolution is heavier than the other practice ball and has a lower bounce.  This is a good option for practice drills and on breezy days where wind is more of a factor.

What are the Specifications of an Official Pickleball?

Here is a summary of the IFP and USAPA ​regulations for official pickleballs:

  • The ball should be made of durable molded material with smooth surface texture.
  • Apart from identifying markings (brand name), the ball must be one uniform color.
  • A slight ridge at the seam is allowed as long as it does not affect the flight of the ball.
  • The ball should have diameter between 2.784 and 2.972 inches (73-75.5 cm).
  • Ball should weigh between .78 and .935 ounces (22-26.5 grams).
  • When dropped from a height of 78 inches, the ball should bounce between 30-34 inches (76.2-86.4 cm). The test should be performed at temp of between 75-80 degrees F (24-27 degrees C) ​ and dropped onto a granite surface.
  • Ball hardness should score between 40-50 on Durometer D scale at 75-80 degrees F.
  • Minimum 26 holes, maximum of 40 holes with proper spacing for straight flight.
  • Pickleball manufacturer or brand name must be printed or embossed on the surface of each ball.

Tip: To check used pickleballs for roundness,  hit straight up in the air with the paddle face parallel to the ground. Assuming there is no wind, the ball should fly straight up in the air and fall back down to you.  If the ball is “out of round” you’ll notice the balls path is not completely straight and lands away from you.

Why Not Just Use A Wiffle Ball?

Although a wiffle ball is also made of  hard plastic and the size is almost identical,  pickleballs are a bit heavier than a whiffle ball (average .88 oz vs .7 oz). Another difference is the design of the holes:  the official wiffle ball has 8 oblong holes on one side of the ball whereas the holes on a pickleball are round and evenly spaced around the ball.

For answers to other frequently asked Questions About Pickleball click here.

6 thoughts on “Pickleball Balls | Best Pickleball Balls 2018 Reviews | Indoor & Outdoor

  1. our club is seeking an unapproved outdoor club ball for daily use. do you know of any such balls that may be used. thank you Scott

    • Hi Scott,
      I assume you are looking to save some money… or is there another reason you wan unapproved balls?
      There are these 40 hole (outdoor) balls by Eagle River (link to Amazon)…It’s not a brand I know or use so I can’t give much feedback but from the reviews, they seems to get decent marks for a pretty economical
      ball and the 12 packs work out to be pretty cheap (roughly half price compared to premium balls like Onix).
      Let me know if that helps. Thanks -Matt

    • Hi Bruce,
      That’s a good question.
      It’s not totally clear to us what’s going on with the Onix balls so We’ll need to look into it and update our page.
      According to the USAPA/IFP Approved Tournament Balls list (as of April 2018) (link will open PDF with list) the Onix FUSE balls are approved but no sign of the Pure 2 on the list.
      Many of our readers have been recommending Dura balls (Dura Fast 40). Those balls have been around for years and are a long-time favorite of a lot of players.
      The one piece design seems to cause fewer problems and the Dura 40 has been the official ball in a lot of big national tournaments.
      Hope that helps.
      -Matt

  2. How can you push the Dura Fast 40 balls…….have to be the worst ball on the market. They fall apart….crack and wobble after only a few games………….I have been a tournamanet director and ordered 100’s….never again………I have been hood winked

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Since you’re a tournament director we’d be very interested in hearing your recommendation.
      Do you have a favorite you are currently using (outdoor vs. indoor)?
      What ball do you use for tournaments?
      Although we do mention the Duras as an option, we’ve ben recommending the Onix Pure 2 for outdoors for some time as top pick.

      Thanks-Matt

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