Pickleball has become a favorite pastime for many people of all ages and abilities. But with different balls available for indoor and outdoor play, it's essential to understand the difference and which one is the best for you.

Without a doubt, the type of ball you use can make a significant impact on the game's outcome. In this article, we will explore the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs in detail.

So, whether you're a seasoned player or a beginner, keep on reading to know everything there is to know about the differences between indoor vs outdoor pickleballs and more!

Table of Contents:

1. What is pickleball?

2. The difference between an indoor ball and an outdoor ball

3. Outdoor pickleball: Pros and Cons

4. Indoor pickleball: Pros and Cons

5. Which one should you choose?

6. Brands of Pickleballs

7. Conclusion

8. FAQs

What is Pickleball?

Before diving into the differences between outdoor and indoor pickleball, it’s essential to understand what pickleball is and how it’s played. Pickleball is a game that can be played in both singles and doubles.

The court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, with a net in the middle. Players use a paddle to hit a plastic ball with holes over the net and into the opponent’s court. The game is played until one team reaches 11 points and is ahead by two points.

Why is it called Pickleball?

The origin of the name "pickleball" is somewhat disputed among its early pioneers. However, the most widely accepted explanation is that Pickleball was named after one of its inventor's pets - a dog named Pickles.

According to some accounts, one of the sport's co-creators, Joel Pritchard, had a dog named Pickles who would chase after stray balls and run off with them during the game. As a result, the players began jokingly referring to their new game as "pickleball" in honor of Pickles the Dog.

While this anecdote is the most common explanation for the name pickleball, other theories exist as well. Some people believe that the name comes from the combination of different sports and the equipment used in the game, including a paddle from a pickle boat and a whiffle ball they called pickleball, while others believe that the name came from the way the ball moves unpredictably, much like a pickle that is difficult to catch


The Difference Between Outdoor and Indoor Pickleball

The primary difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball is the surface on which you play. Indoor pickleball is typically played on a gym floor or a wood floor, while outdoor pickleball is played on a concrete or asphalt court. This surface plays a significant factor in how the game is played.

Another significant difference is the type of ball used in each location. Indoor pickleball uses holes in the ball but is made of a softer material, similar to a whiffle ball.

Outdoor pickleball uses a slightly harder ball with smaller holes to help with wind resistance. The material used in outdoor balls tends to be more durable as it has to withstand outdoor elements.

Outdoor balls tend to be usually heavier and have 40 smaller holes to cut through the wind.

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Outdoor Pickleballs: Pros and Cons

One of the main advantages of playing outdoor pickleball is that it is usually free. You can find outdoor courts at parks and recreational centers, meaning that there is no charge to play. Additionally, outdoor courts tend to be more significant, so it’s easier to find an empty court to play on.

However, playing outside can sometimes be a disadvantage due to the weather. Rain or extreme heat can make playing conditions uncomfortable or even dangerous. The wind can also significantly affect gameplay, making it difficult to hit accurately.

Indoor balls: Pros and Cons

Playing indoor pickleball has its advantages as well. Indoor pickleball courts are typically located in community centers or private clubs, which means you can play year-round, regardless of weather conditions.

Additionally, indoor courts are often well-lit, making it easy to see the ball, and there is no worry about the wind affecting gameplay.

However, indoor play venues typically have limited court availability, so you may have to reserve a court ahead of time. Additionally, indoor venues often charge a fee to play. The cost can vary depending on the location and how long you plan on playing.

Indoor Pickleball balls tend to have a softer plastic and lighter in weight and have fewer holes than outdoor pickleballs. Plus indoor pickleball ball has 26 larger holes. Indoor pickleballs tend to have more spin and control too.

Which One Should You Choose?

The decision ultimately depends on your personal preference and what you are looking for in a game. If you enjoy playing outside and don’t mind the variables that come with outdoor play, then outdoor pickleball balls may be the right choice for you. Plus, there’s no worry about court fees, making it an excellent option if you want to play or practice regularly.

On the other hand, indoor pickleball offers a more consistent and controlled environment that is less affected by outside variables. If you prefer playing in a more structured and predictable setting, then indoor pickleball is the better choice for you.

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Brands of Pickleballs

Choosing the right pickleball brand can make all the difference in your game. So, let's take a look at some popular brands of pickleballs.

First up, we have Onix. Known for their precision and durability, Onix Fuse Indoor balls are popular among players of all levels. They offer a variety of balls, including outdoor and indoor options. If you're looking for a reliable, high-quality pickleball, Onix is definitely worth considering.

Next, we have the Jugs indoor pickleball as a top choice for players who prefer a softer ball that's easy to control. Jugs pickleballs are also known for their longevity, so you won't have to worry about replacing them too often.

If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, you might want to check out Franklin Sports. Their X-40 pickleballs are affordable and offer a good balance of performance and durability. Plus, they come in a bright, easy-to-spot green color that makes them easy to track during play.

Last but not least, we have Dura Fast 40. These unique pickleballs feature a textured surface that helps them grip the court, which can improve your overall control and accuracy. They're also known for their durability, making them a favorite among seasoned players.

No matter which brand of pickleball you choose, just remember to have fun on the court - that's really what the sport is all about!

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In conclusion, while the core elements of pickleball remain the same, there are notable differences between playing the game indoor vs outdoor pickleball. Outdoor pickleball is often free, but weather can affect gameplay, while indoor pickleball provides a more stable environment but may carry fees.

Moreover, there are differences between indoor vs outdoor pickleball as noted above.

Ultimately, whether you decide to play indoor or outdoor pickleball, the most important thing is to have fun, stay active, and keep competing!

Your Pickleball Guru,


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Pickleballs FAQS

Can you use a wiffle ball to play pickleball with?

Yes, you can technically use a wiffle ball to play pickleball, but it's not recommended for two main reasons. Firstly, most official pickleball games are played with specific balls made for the sport that meet regulation size and weight standards.

Using a wiffle ball can alter the dynamic of the game and make it more difficult to control the ball. Secondly, wiffle balls are not as durable as official pickleball and can crack easily since they are plastic balls, leading to the need for constant replacements in the middle of a game.

So, while it's possible to play with a wiffle ball, it's not the best choice for a competitive or high-quality pickleball experience.

Is there a difference between playing outdoors vs playing indoors for pickleball?

When you play outdoors, the wind can be a factor, as it can affect the trajectory and speed of the ball. Additionally, outdoor courts tend to be slightly larger, which can impact the pace of the game. However, outdoor play allows for more space and natural lighting.

On the other hand, playing pickleball indoors offers a more controlled environment due to the absence of wind, which allows for more consistent gameplay. Indoor courts are typically smaller, which can lead to faster and more intense matches. Plus, indoor play allows for year-round play, regardless of weather conditions.

Can you use a tennis ball to play pickleball?

Yes, it is possible to use a tennis ball to play pickleball but it is not recommended. The size and weight of a tennis ball are different from that of a pickleball, which could cause the game to be less enjoyable and fair.

In addition, pickleball has unique features that make them better suited for the game, such as its ability to move slower through the air and bounce differently on the court.

So, while you may be tempted to repurpose a tennis ball, it's best to stick to using a proper pickleball for the best experience. Don't be a party pooper, grab a pickleball and get ready to serve up some fun!