Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs: Is There any Difference?

Once you’re a pickleball player, it’s all yours for life. It’s a great, fun, and fast game, and even when you aren’t playing it, you can practice at home, alone, and without needing a pickleball court. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to practice and play Pickleball at home, along with exercise drills that can serve in order to do just that.

Indoor and outdoor pickleball balls look very similar, so beginner pickleball players are unlikely to know if they have the correct ball by looking at it, holding it, or even when they initially play with it. Although the differences between the two are apparent, they share some similarities that are easy to understand.

People often compare indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs and wonder if there is a difference. We’ve seen quite a few differences which impact how the game plays out. Indoor pickleballs are softer balls with some texture and are lighter in weight. They are easier to play with on indoor pickleball courts and gyms but cannot withstand windy outdoor conditions.


Pickleball – Indoors vs. Outdoors

There are two types of pickleball courts, indoor courts and outdoor courts, that you can find in your area. The ability to play on both indoor and outdoor courts is another crucial reason for Pickball’s popularity. Everyone from grandparents to young children can enjoy a fun game of Pickleball on a sunny day or head inside if the weather isn’t cooperating.

Don’t worry if you aren’t lucky enough to live near a dedicated Pickleball court. It’s simple to convert a standard tennis or badminton court with some tape and net lowering. Some gyms also have the necessary equipment to convert basketball courts for Pickleball use. So it’s easier today to find places to play as the sport continues to gain popularity.

Playing Pickleball is the same indoors and outdoors. The rules, paddles, and general court setup are the same, but one fundamental element changes if you’re playing in the sun or under the fluorescent lighting of the ball.

Outdoor Pickleballs

Indoor Pickleballs
Higher bounceThis ball is specifically designed for indoor court surfaces where the air is still.
Made from harder plasticSofter plastic
Heavier and less affected by windLighter
Smaller but more holes around 40Larger yet fewer holes about 26
Allow for harder hittingFaster RalliesLesser bounce
Will be harder in the cold, softer in the heatMore control
NoisierAround 0.8 ounces weight
0.9 ouncesGoes soft on more usage
Due to bounce on rough surfaces, these tires need to be replaced frequently.Have longer durability 

Does it Matter Which One You Choose?

Even though most of your pickleball equipment can transition gracefully from indoor to outdoor play, pickleball balls are designed to be used in either situation. This is because Pickleball is made from a hard plastic material that responds very differently depending on the texture of the court and the weather, as opposed to a tennis ball made of rubber, which deforms as soon as a possible change is made to the surface.

One of the most common questions that arise when playing pickleball is whether there is any difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls. The answer is yes, there is a difference. Indoor pickleball balls are typically lighter, softer and have larger holes than outdoor balls. This is because indoor games are played on a smooth surface with controlled conditions, which means that the ball doesn’t need to be as durable.

Like Wiffle balls, pickleball balls come in different shapes according to the surface they bounce off (the court surface) and can be used indoors and out. Pickleball balls also have designed about the character they bounce off (the court surface).

I am sure all pickleballs used in official pickleball competitions must comply with USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) equipment standards so that they can be listed on their website as “approved” or “certified for competition.” The equipment standards specify everything from the material and texture to the dimensions and weight.

indoor-vs-outdoor pickleball

USA Pickleball Association Pickleball Ball Requirements

As of the time this article was written by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), 84 pickleball balls had been authorized for use in tournaments sanctioned by USAPA (as of the time of the writing of this article). There were 84 balls on the list of approved balls when this article was written, including ten indoor and 40 outdoor balls. 

The USA Pickleball Association has specific requirements for pickleball balls, which must be followed for official play. These requirements include the size, weight, and level of hardness of the ball. For example, Choosing an indoor pickleball ball must have a diameter of 2.875 inches to 2.972 inches and weigh between 0.78 ounces and 0.935 ounces. Outdoor balls, on the other hand, must have a diameter between 2.874 inches and 2.972 inches and weigh between 0.78 ounces and 0.935 ounces. Additionally, the level of hardness for both indoor and outdoor balls must fall within a specific range. Adhering to these requirements is essential for ensuring fair and consistent gameplay. While there may be differences between indoor and outdoor balls, following the USA Pickleball Association’s requirements ensures that all players are using equipment that meets the same standards.

The USAPA states that a ball should:

  • It must have a minimum of 26 circular holes and as many as 40. The design should also correspond to the ball’s flight characteristics. 
  • It is a requirement that the ball must either be printed or embossed with the manufacturer’s or supplier’s name.
  • Be made of a durable material with a smooth surface and free of texture.
  • Be one uniform color except for the identification marks.
  • It may have a slight ridge at the seam as long as it does not significantly impact the ball’s flight characteristics.
  • The Tournament Director will choose the tournament ball. The ball for any USA Pickleball-sanctioned tournament must be on the list of approved balls.

Read More : what kind of ball is used in pickleball

Frequently Asked Questions

What ball do you use for indoor Pickleball?

For indoor pickleball balls, we recommend choosing one with a diameter of about 2.8 inches. If you intend to play Pickleball outdoors, you should select a ball with a diameter of about 2.9 inches.

Which Pickleball is best for cold weather?

The Core ball is one of the best pickleball balls that can be purchased if you want to be prepared for the winter conditions as it is less likely to crack on contact, which is the main reason why pickleball balls can break.

What is the difference between a 3.5 and 4.0 pickleball player?

4.0 Skill-Level refers to a level of skill reached by a player when he or she can consistently execute at a level above the 3.5 level of skill. A player with a 4.0 skill level will differentiate themselves from those with a 3.5 skill level by having more fantastic skills and strategies or more speed, power, or consistency.

What is Pickleball used for indoor tournaments?

Pickleball balls are manufactured as a part of the Jugs pickleball line, primarily used indoors, and are manufactured from soft plastic. The ball weighs 85 ounces and is made mainly from plastic, giving you a fun bounce every time you hit it.

Is it possible to play Pickleball anywhere?

You cannot use two different balls in the same place. Even though some people use indoor balls outdoors, you cannot do so due to the fact that indoor balls have a particular texture and a few holes that allow for a straight path and long rallies. In contrast, outdoor balls have many holes and incorporate a heavy construction that provides wind resistance, better maneuverability, and short demonstrations. Therefore, they cannot be used in any other situation.


There is no doubt that indoor Pickleball can be used as an alternative to outdoor Pickleball. However, it will not bounce as well because it jumps off the floor much more frequently than outdoor Pickleball. Although they have a lightweight construction and are quiet, indoor balls tend to be used outside by casual players, mainly because they are so soft.

If you choose to play Pickleball indoors or outdoors, it will mostly depend on the weather, aside from personal preferences. You may want to stack each sport up so that the weather will not interfere. Make sure you buy sets with darker colors to see the balls more efficiently, whether you’re playing outside or in a gym.

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