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Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs

Pickleball has gained immense popularity in recent years as a fun and engaging racquet sport. Whether it is done for fun or in a situation of competition, understanding the equipment used in pickleball is essential. One crucial aspect to consider is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs.

Although the basic rules of pickleball remain consistent across settings, the type of ball used can greatly affect the gameplay. Therefore, in this article, I will explore the key differences between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls.

Which type of pickleball do you prefer: indoor or outdoor? When this article is finished, you will have a clear understanding of which variety of balls is best suited for your playing environment and preferences. So let’s start!

Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleballs

Outdoor and indoor pickleballs can accommodate specific environments and offer distinct playing experiences. Before going into the explanation of what makes indoor pickleballs different from outdoor pickleballs, you have to understand their unique attributes, advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding Indoor Pickleballs

Indoor pickleballs are specifically designed for gameplay in enclosed spaces, such as gymnasiums or sports complexes. They are tailored to provide optimal performance on smooth, indoor surfaces.

Here are some key characteristics and aspects of indoor pickleball:

1.   Construction

Indoor pickleballs have a distinct construction to enhance their performance on indoor courts. Made from a seamless plastic material with smaller holes, they provide a consistent bounce and better control during play. The size and weight of indoor pickleballs are standardized, ensuring fair gameplay across different matches and tournaments.

2.   Material Used

Most indoor pickleballs made from a durable plastic often referred to as poly. This material offers excellent durability. Hence, allowing the balls to withstand the rigorous gameplay and frequent hits without losing their shape or performance characteristics.

3.   Benefits and Drawbacks

Indoor pickleball is renowned for its precision and consistency. The controlled bounce and lower speed make them ideal for precise shots and strategic gameplay. Additionally, the quieter nature of indoor pickleballs minimizes noise disturbance. For shared indoor spaces, they are perfectly suitable.

However, due to their design and construction, indoor pickleballs may lack durability compared to their outdoor counterparts. The softer plastic used in their manufacturing can wear down faster when used on rougher outdoor surfaces, limiting their lifespan.

Exploring Outdoor Pickleballs

Outdoor pickleballs, as the name suggests, are designed for gameplay in open-air environments such as tennis courts or dedicated pickleball courts.

Let’s examine the distinct features and characteristics of outdoor pickleball:

1.   Features and Composition

Outdoor pickleball can withstand rougher surfaces, varying weather conditions, and increased exposure to the elements. They have larger holes compared to indoor pickleball, allowing for more stability and a slower flight path.

The additional weight of outdoor pickleballs helps counteract the wind. Hence, avoiding their being easily affected by its force.

2.   Material Selection

To ensure longevity and resilience against outdoor conditions, outdoor pickleball is typically made from a harder plastic material.

The increased durability enables them to withstand rough surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, without significant damage. In addition, the sturdy construction also helps maintain consistent gameplay characteristics over an extended period.

3.  Pros and Cons

The main advantage of outdoor pickleballs is their durability. They can withstand the harsher playing conditions associated with outdoor environments. Compared to indoor pickleballs, they can offer a longer lifespan.

The slower flight path and increased stability make outdoor pickleball suitable for beginners and players who prefer a more leisurely pace.

On the downside, the hardness and weight of outdoor pickleballs can result in a higher impact force during play. This might cause discomfort for players, especially those with sensitive joints or injuries. Additionally, the louder sound produced by outdoor pickleballs can be distracting in shared indoor spaces.

Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs

After exploring the characteristics of indoor and outdoor pickleballs, it is time to look at the major differences between the two variants of balls used in pickleball sports.

1.   Durability

The first big difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is the durability factor. Outdoor pickleballs, designed to withstand rough surfaces and various weather conditions, are generally more durable than indoor pickleballs.

Outdoor balls’ harder plastic composition allows them to maintain their shape and performance for a longer time, even on abrasive outdoor courts.

2.   Bounce and Speed

Compared to outdoor pickleballs, indoor pickleballs have a controlled bounce and are a little bit faster. The smaller holes and softer plastic construction of indoor balls contribute to their increased speed. In contrast, the larger holes and heavier weight of outdoor pickleball result in a slower flight path and reduced speed.

3.   Surface Adaptability

Indoor pickleballs perform optimally on smooth, indoor surfaces. They deliver superb control and accuracy, making them suitable for strategic shots and gameplay.

As opposed to that, outdoor pickleball can take care of more abrasive surfaces including asphalt or concrete. Their sturdy construction allows them to endure the impact and maintain a consistent bounce in outdoor environments.

4.   Noise Level

Indoor pickleball generates less noise upon impact due to its softer plastic composition. This makes them ideal for shared indoor spaces where noise reduction is important.

Outdoor pickleballs, with their harder plastic construction, produce a louder sound when struck, which can be noticeable in quiet environments.

5.   Player Experience

The choice between indoor and outdoor pickleballs also affects the player’s experience. Indoor pickleball offers a faster-paced game with precise control, promoting strategic gameplay.

Outdoor pickleball, with its slower flight path and stability, is more suitable for leisurely matches or beginners who require additional time to react and position themselves.


For any pickleball enthusiast, It’s important to comprehend the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs. While both variations share some similarities, they also possess distinct characteristics that can greatly influence your gameplay. By considering the different attributes described in this article, you can make an informed decision on which type of pickleball is best suited for your needs.

About the author

My name is Maggie and I am the Author/Owner of Best Pickleball point. Pickleball is my passion for the last 10 years. I always share my experiences with other people through this Blog. I always love to share my knowledge and experiences about the best pickleball products.

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