Ever wonder what the difference is between an indoor pickleball and an outdoor ball? Can you play with an indoor ball outside? Can you play with an outdoor ball, inside? And finally, which brand has is the best indoor pickleball balls? We'll answer ALL these questions!
Despite all the different (and sometimes subtle) variations in pickleball balls, there are basically two kinds. Indoor pickleball balls and outdoor balls. In this post, we're going to discuss the four most popular indoor pickleball balls and tell let you know which one we like the best.
There are many different brands but we tend to like these brands the best: Jugs, Onix, Dura Fast from Pickleball- Inc, and Gamma. Pickleballs come in tons of color variations but color really has no bearing on performance. Performance is going to to come down to the specs of the ball.
The specs of an indoor pickleball are slighly different than an outdoor ball. Let's review...
Related: Ever wonder why some paddles have larger sweet spots than others? I interviewed four paddle experts and got the facts. What I learned, shocked me!
To start, the common indoor pickleball is made of a softer plastic and has larger holes compared to the outdoor ball. The indoor ball also has fewer holes. This allows for the ball to response to the indoor court surface a lot better. The softer plastic has more give, allows for quieter play and better control. This also means rallies with an indoor ball tend to last longer.
The softer plastic of the indoor pickleball ball allows it to bounce significantly higher than outdoor balls. That's a big reason why they're easier to control. The average bounce height of a good indoor ball is 37 inches! The average bounce height for an outdoor ball is closer to 31-33 inches.
Indoor balls are quieter because they're lighter and slightly smaller than an outdoor ball. The approximate weight and diameter of an indoor pickleball are around .81 oz and 2.8". The weight and diameter of the average outdoor ball is .88 oz and 2.9" in diameter.
Technically, you could play with any kind of ball on any kind of surface. But we don't recommend it. Playing with an outdoor ball, indoors is tougher. You'll lose control and accuracy on your shots.
Playing with an indoor ball, outdoors is more common and may actually lead to better play; depending on the weather. The only draw back to playing with an indoor ball outside is that the lighter indoor ball can tend to sail on you. If the weather isn't calm, the lighter indoor ball with larger holes may get caught by the wind a little.
General wear and tear is going to happen to any piece of equipment. Your pickleball ball is no different. However, indoor balls wear out differently than an outdoor ball.
Indoor balls are going to last longer due to being played inside but, over time they may begin to soften. If you notice your ball has become alot softer lately, it's time to replace it.
The good news is:
indoor pickleball balls rarely loose their shape and almost never crack or split...this is much more common in outdoor balls.
The Jugs Indoor Pickleball Balls are among the best-selling pickleballs on the market, but contrary to popular belief they can be used outside as well. Jugs are constructed using soft plastic and while they are best suited for indoor play, their versatile design allows them to be used outdoors on dedicated pickleball courts, like at a professional tournament, with little issue...as long as the weather is generally calm and mild. Any inclement weather is going to have it's way with most indoor balls.
The balls are available in a bright-lime green shade that instantly adds color to your pickleball gear. The are also available in a standard white color too. Jugs have been approved by the USAPA and the IFP. The balls have a nice bounce and can be used by all types of players, whether you are a beginner or an experienced player.
Jugs Indoor Pickleball Balls are a must-have for players who want to practice the sport daily but do not want to damage their expensive gear. The affordable price makes the product a best-seller despite having minor durability issues. The Jugs Indoor Pickleball is out top picks because of it's best in class bounce height of 37 inches!
Onix gained popularity with their Pure 1 indoor ball and followed that up with an even better dedicated indoor ball in the Pure 2. Onix specifically engineered this ball for indoor play and claims it holds its shape longer, flies straighter and has a more accurate bounce return compared to the Pure 1. This is all done through their proprietary technology called "True Flight Technology".
If you're looking for a ball that has consistency regardless of paddle type, this could be the ball for you! The Onix Pure 2 comes is two colors; yellow and orange (featured) and is approved for tournament play by the USAPA.
The DuraFast ball is a popular ball because of it's larger holes. The DuraFast line of balls from Pickleball-Inc come designed for either indoor play or outdoor play. The big hole indoor ball is lighter than it's outdoor brother because of the larger holes. It's also made from a one piece construction mold (unlike the Onix Pure 2, which is a two piece mold) so in effect, it is seemless.
If you're looking for the best indoor pickleball ball, and select the DuraFast, make sure you've selected the "indoor" version. With the DuraFast line of balls, it can be easy to confuse the two and accidentally purchase the outdoor ball. More online retailers carry the outdoor ball than the indoor ball so it can be harder to find the indoor ball at times. That's why we recommend going through our direct link to Amazon to get the correct ball; for indoor play.
Gamma is well known and respected name in the growing world of pickleball. The neon green Photon Indoor Pickleball Ball is one of their flagship pickleball products and is widely considered one of the tougher more durable balls on the market. Despite it's two piece design, Gamma took special care in creating a ball that is balanced and ideal for consisant bounce rates for indoor play. Gamma claims their indoor balls have a thicker construction than some outdoor balls, making the Photon Indoor ball extra touch and crack resistant.
The 26 evenly drilled holes offer great reliability and a bounce height of 33 inches earning it approval from the USAPA as an approved tournament indoor pickleball.
The Jugs indoor pickleball! All four balls on our list offer great performance and will treat any pickleball player well. But, the Jugs ball stands out across metrics: weight, feel, bounce height and durability. It's soft plastic is perfectly design for indoor play and can even be used outdoors if need be. Give it a try today, we highly recommend it!
For more reviews on paddles, nets, paddle bags and more see our Reviews Page here: Reviews & Gear.