Indoor vs. outdoor pickleball balls: 5 main differences
To an outsider, a pickleball ball may look like a floorball ball, and to a beginner, a pickleball ball may seem like a commodity where every ball is the same. But a pickleball ball is very different from any other ball, and there are a wide variety of pickleball balls to choose from, such as indoor and outdoor. So how can you tell the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls?
The biggest difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls is the number and size of the holes. Indoor balls usually have 26 larger holes, while outdoor balls usually have 40 smaller holes. The weather and court surface affect the choice of ball, which in turn affects weight, hardness, texture and durability.
How can you tell the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball ball?To the untrained eye, indoor and outdoor pickleballs may look similar enough. When you have an indoor and outdoor pickleball in your hand, or have them lying next to each other, the differences become obvious.
Of course, there are exceptions to these 5 differences, but in general, most indoor and outdoor balls differ in the following ways:
- Number of holes: indoor balls have 26 holes, while outdoor balls have 40.
- Hole diameter: indoor balls have holes with wider diameters than outdoor balls.
- Weight: Outdoor balls tend to be heavier than indoor balls.
- Hardness: Outdoor balls tend to be harder plastic than indoor balls and provide more bounce.
- Durability: since outdoor pickleball balls are harder, they tend to crack faster than softer indoor pickleball balls.
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Can you use indoor pickleball balls outdoors and vice versa?
Can you use an outdoor pickleball ball when playing indoors or an indoor ball when playing outdoors?
Technically, you can use an indoor pickleball ball outdoors and vice versa, but it is not advisable. Using an indor ball outdoors is a worse idea than using an outdoor ball indoors because an indoor ball is too light, is not designed to withstand wind, plays too slowly, and does not have the proper construction for outdoor courts.
It is much more common to play an outdoor ball indoors than the other way around, but ideally you should use an indoor ball indoors and an outdoor ball outdoors. If you bring an indoor ball to play outside, be prepared for interesting looks from others.
The right pickleball is what matters!
In fact, it's important to always use the right pickleball for the right conditions. Indoor and outdoor areas are very different and therefore require different balls to provide the best playing experience.
Indoors, you can certainly use outdoor pickleball balls, but for optimal playing comfort, you need to use the right type of pickleball. And under no circumstances should you try to use an indoor ball outdoors. This will only frustrate you beyond belief.
While you can tell the difference between pickleballs just by the number of holes and hole size, there are five other factors such as weight, hardness, and durability that completely differentiate an indoor pickleball ball from an outdoor pickleball ball.