There are 67 types of pickleballs that are approved by USA Pickleball. This number is constantly growing as more and more pickleballs come into the marketplace, plus even more that are not approved by USA Pickleball. Given the number of types and brands of pickleballs out there, it can be difficult to find the best pickleball for you.
In this pickleball blog, Pickler will help break down which pickleball is best for you, which largely depends on whether you are an outdoor or indoor pickleball player. It could also depend on your skill level.
To get straight to the point, of the pickleballs currently available for purchase to play with, Pickler’s top picks are:
For more details on pickleballs (or pickleball balls), and these top picks for outdoor pickleballs and indoor pickleballs, keep reading below!
Four common questions when it comes to a pickleball (or a pickleball ball) are:
A pickleball is a ball made out of smooth, durable material and looks like a wiffle ball. A pickleball must have between 26 and 40 circular holes. These pickleball holes must be spaced, and otherwise designed, to conform to flight characteristics. A pickleball must be one uniform color – although the colors may vary based on the pickleball brand – and will be between 2.87 inches to 2.97 inches in diameter and weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces.
Some, but not all, pickleballs may also have a seam that seals two manufactured halves of a pickleball together. This seam on the pickleball is permitted, as long as the seam does not impact the pickleball’s flight characteristics.
A pickleball must have a bounce between 30 and 34 inches (measured from the ground to the top of the pickleball) after being dropped from a point that is 78 inches above the ground onto a granite surface plate. A pickleball must also have a hardness of 40 to 50 on a Durometer D scale. Temperature may have an effect on the bounce and hardness of the pickleball, so it is important to do these tests in an environment with a temperature of between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
Did you know that there are both indoor pickleball balls and outdoor pickleball balls? Before jumping into the details, it is important to note the key difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball. Indoor pickleball generally refers to pickleball played on a gym floor or wood floor surface. On the other hand, outdoor pickleball generally means pickleball played on a hard-court surface. Nevertheless, there could be hard court surfaces for pickleball that are indoors – especially in cold-weather climates. So, indoor pickleball, in certain circumstances, could also include pickleball played on a hard-court surface.
One of the biggest differences between an indoor pickleball and an outdoor pickleball is the number and size of holes. To compare an indoor pickleball versus an outdoor pickleball, an indoor pickleball typically has less holes than an outdoor pickleball. However, the holes in an indoor pickleball are typically larger than an outdoor pickleball. The difference in holes between an indoor pickleball and an outdoor pickleball is largely due to the different elements of indoor play versus outdoor play – indoor play will have climate control and a wood or concrete playing surface, while outdoor play will have wind and a hard-court playing surface.
With that said, all pickleballs that are approved for play by USA Pickleball – whether indoor or outdoor – are acceptable for both indoor and outdoor play. Nevertheless, most players have a preferred pickleball for indoor play that is different than their respective preferred pickleball for outdoor play. Further, most professional pickleball players (also known as pickleball pros) play with an outdoor pickleball. This is because most pickleball pros play outdoor pickleball (or pickleball on a hard-court surface), rather than indoor pickleball (or pickleball on a gym floor or wood floor surface).
As noted above, Pickler’s top three picks for outdoor pickleballs are:
The Dura Fast 40 is the outdoor pickleball of choice for the large majority of pro pickleball players. As a result, the Dura Fast 40 is the preferred tournament pickleball and is actually the official pickleball for the two pro tours—the APP Tour and the PPA Tour.
The Dura Fast 40 is made by Onix Pickleball in a light yellow color, but also comes in a neon (although the light yellow is more common in pickleball tournaments). The Dura Fast 40 is a harder pickleball with 40 holes and less bounce. As a result, the Dura Fast 40 can be more difficult to control for beginners. The Dura Fast 40, given its harder feel, is also more likely to crack than other softer pickleballs. Nevertheless, the Dura Fast 40 pickleball is Pickler’s top pick for outdoor pickleballs.
The Onix Fuse Outdoor is another outdoor pickleball made by Onix Pickleball (but this pickleball has a pretty consistent bounce for both indoor and outdoor play). The Onix Fuse Outdoor is a canary yellow color, which makes it easier to see than the Dura Fast 40. The Onix Fuse Outdoor has a softer, more-rubbery material that causes the pickleball to have a higher, friendlier bounce. As a result, the Onix Fuse Outdoor is more common amongst beginner pickleball players, as the higher bounce makes it easier to keep rallies going. The softer material also makes this pickleball less likely to crack.
The Franklin X-40 is a pickleball made by Franklin Sports that is in between the hard Dura Fast 40 and the soft Onix Fuse Outdoor. In other words, the Franklin X-40 is a good balance of the two pickleballs made by Onix Pickleball. The Franklin X-40 is still relatively soft, which makes it less likely to break, and is a bright neon color, which makes it easy to see on the pickleball court. The Franklin X-40 also comes in a fun hot pink (which is easy to see, but hard to see the spin on the pickleball). The Franklin X-40 (in its neon green color) is the official pickleball of one of the top pickleball tournaments in the United States, the US Open.
As noted above, Pickler’s top three picks for indoor pickleballs are:
Pickler’s top pick for indoor pickleballs is the Onix Fuse Indoor, which was the official pickleball for the USA Pickleball Indoor National Championships. The Onix Fuse Indoor is an orange pickleball made by Onix Pickleball. The orange color makes for a nice contrast to most indoor surfaces, like gym floors.
Like the Onix Fuse Outdoor, the Onix Fuse Indoor is slightly bouncy, and less likely to crack. As a result, it is a favorite amongst beginners, as the bounce makes it easier to keep rallies alive. However, the Onix Fuse Indoor—like most indoor pickleballs—will have less holes, but larger holes, which helps reduce the bounce on the indoor court surface (as opposed to the Onix Fuse Outdoor’s bounce on the same surface).
The Franklin X-26 is a pickleball made by Franklin Sports that is similar to the Franklin X-40, except that it comes in a neon and light blue color, and has less holes that are larger in size (like most other indoor pickleballs). The Franklin X-26 is still relatively soft, which makes it less likely to break, and the bright colors make this pickleball easy to see on an indoor pickleball court.
Another common indoor pickleball is the Jugs Indoor Pickleball, which is a bright neon color. The Jugs Indoor Pickleball is soft, which makes for “fun” bounce that beginner players tend to like. The Jugs Indoor Pickleball is also less likely to crack, given its softness.
Do you have a preferred type of pickleball to play with? If so, what is it and why? Share with us in the comments below!
Now that you have your pickleball, make sure you have the right pickleball paddle for you and your style of play. Learn how to choose a pickleball paddle now!
And, check out Pickler's other pickleball resources below:
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Since returning to professional pickleball this year, after taking a long COVID hiatus, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters have been traveling the country for pickleball tournaments. But, one thing that that they have not done in a really long time is take a family vacation... until now. Learn about Team Waters' trip to Costa Rica from Leigh herself, which included as much, or more, pickleball than at home in Florida, monkey spectators, family bonding, surfing, and a lot of new friends made on the Costa Rican pickleball courts, which reminded them how much fun the great sport of pickleball really is.