One 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 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.
Pickleballs 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. 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 and rougher court surface.
*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.
Active pickleball players that play frequently on outdoor courts may replace pickleballs even after several games whereas casual indoor players (indoor courts are more forgiving) may be able to use the same balls for months.
We recommend spending a few minutes reading about the different brands and kinds of balls on the market. In the long run, you'll find the best pickleball 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 on durability, overall "playability" (to keep highest % of players on the court happy with ball selection) and balls that are good value for money. Again, the issue of "playability" is somewhat subjective but there are patterns that we can see by asking around, the feedback we get from other players on the court and from our readers.
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 usually shorter with outdoor balls.
Due to the harder outdoor court surface (usually asphalt or sometimes concrete) and the exposure to UV rays from the sunshine, outdoor balls crack and degrade in quality.
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 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.
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.
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.
Using Indoor Balls Outdoors: 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.
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 incudes one of each of the following balls:
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.
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 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.
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.
Jugs also makes the Midnight Indoor Pickleball. 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 Jugs Midnight Indoor 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 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 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 is the Official Ball of the following tournaments:
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.
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".
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Really designed by Gamma as a kid's training ball for tennis, it's 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.
Here is a summary of the IFP and USAPA regulations for official pickleballs:
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.