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Difference Between Indoor & Outdoor Pickleballs: Understanding the Basics & Advantages

yellow pickleball ball

Last Updated: May 14, 2024

Pickleball is a fun game to play. However, what makes it more interesting is its versatility, allowing users to play inside or outside.


If you're someone new to the game, you probably wonder what the difference is between indoor vs outdoor pickleballs. Maybe you're looking for a simple guide to help you decide the kind of pickleball ball you need.

Keep reading as we learn and understand more about the outdoor and indoor pickleball ball comparison.

Differences Between Indoor Vs Outdoor Pickleballs

children playing outdoor pickleball

The difference between indoor vs outdoor pickleballs are:

  • Indoor pickleballs are lightweight, small-sized, and tender, whereas outdoor pickleballs are weighty, large-sized, and firmer.
  • Indoor pickleballs are more refined and create less noise, whereas outdoor pickleballs can produce more noise due to their hard material.
  • Indoor pickleballs feature larger but lesser holes, whereas outdoor pickleballs have about forty smaller holes.
  • Indoor pickleballs are more suitable if you prefer more control in your swerve, whereas outdoor pickleballs require less control and offer faster shots.

A Brief Overview On Pickleball History

Do you often wonder how pickleball is a game designed for the whole family? You will find it hardly surprising how it came about since a family also conceived this game in 1965.

After a golf game on a hot summer day, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell came home to their weary children. They first thought of playing badminton in an old court but realized they lack the equipment.

Hence, they came up with a new game using plywood-made paddles, a lowered pickleball net sets, and a perforated polymer ball.

Barney McCallum joined them the following weekend in this new game. Eventually, these three men altered the rules and planned to have more consistent equipment.

The construction for the first pickleball court happened in 1967 at Bob O’Brian's backyard, a friend to Joel Pritchard.

Maybe you will find the name pickleball hilarious at some point since the game does not involve any pickles. The name has two possible origins. Some would say that it was after Pritchard’s dog name, Pickles, and others say it's about the "pickle boat."

Nowadays, many people enjoy playing this fast-paced game, both beginners and professionals alike. The sport seems like a combination of badminton, tennis, and ping pong since it uses a tennis net and a ping pong-like paddle. It's suitable for all ages and athletic skills or experience.

How To Distinguish Indoor And Outdoor Balls?

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs, you might think? For starters, let's get into more comprehensive details for each of these kinds, so we'd know better how they differ from one another.

Number Of Holes

green pickleball balls in a basket

Indoor pickleball balls have large 26 holes that allow more precise shots to the user since they're a lot easier to control than outdoor balls. Users also appreciate how these balls hurt less if you get caught up in a heated match.

By contrast, outdoor pickleball balls have small 40 holes that are more resistant to the wind. An outdoor ball would typically weigh around 0.9 ounces. Due to their weight, these balls tend to bounce lower and move faster.


Pickleball balls for indoor play have a soft, lightweight construction and less bouncy than outdoor pickleball balls. They might offer ease of control, but powerful shots are a lot more tricky with indoor balls.

Outdoor pickleballs have rigid plastic construction preferred by most tournament players since they are heavier. Powerful shots are a lot easier to execute with the outdoor balls, and they travel significantly faster. Furthermore, these balls also come off the paddle more quickly.


One of the best things about playing with indoor pickleballs is you can use them with no noise. They have more finesse, so most players prefer to use them in a slow-moving game, typical during longer rallies.

Outdoor pickleballs tend to generate more noise due to their size, weight, and material. These balls have louder and deeper sounds when coming off the paddle than the indoor balls, and they're also a lot easier to spin.


Another notable difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is that indoor play balls are a lot easier to break. It is understandable considering the indoor ball's material and construction.

Once they become more tender and easier to squeeze, you will know it's time for a replacement.

An outdoor pickleball needs to accommodate varying weather conditions of playing in that kind of setting. Therefore, a ball for outdoor play is more durable and suitable for hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete.

They could last for approximately up to a few weeks, depending on the player's style, the environment temperature, and the kind of court. If you're new in the pickleball sport, here is a short video you might enjoy watching:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Play Pickleball Indoors Or Outdoors?

There is a significant difference between the material in indoor and outdoor courts. An indoor setting has a more controlled atmosphere that could result in more game accuracy since you won't be dependent on nature or weather conditions.

You wouldn't worry about a ball being carried by the wind in the wrong direction when playing indoors. Pickleball suddenly became an all-weather sport, thanks to the advantages that the indoor courts can provide.

By contrast, playing pickleball on an outdoor court means you wouldn't have to worry about the restrictions like low ceilings and walls. You won't be bothered about the distracting echoes when playing indoors, but you also become wary about the sunlight and the wind.

Therefore, it would considerably depend on the weather condition and your personal preference when choosing whether to play in an open-air or enclosed environment. Competitive players who intend to do local tournaments and wish to be unaffected by weather go for indoor plays.

However, if you wish to take advantage of the sunlight's health benefits and play without the distraction of an echo, outdoor play is the best option.

Can You Use Indoor Pickleball Balls Outside And Outdoor Pickleballs Inside?

An outdoor ball is virtually unplayable if you use it in an indoor setting. The reason for such is because indoor courts typically have wooden surfaces, so a heavy and dense ball will most likely skid once it hits the floor.

Relatively, an indoor pickleball ball will not respond well if you use it when playing on asphalt or concrete surfaces. It will also be hard to use a lightweight ball in an outdoor setting due to air pressure and wind challenges.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball? By the time you finish reading this, you will most likely have a more precise overview of their fundamental differences.

Keep those in mind when you switch playing in different courts, which would be crucial in your game. Using the inappropriate ball for both indoor and outdoor pickleball court near me can cause various issues to your game.

Final Thoughts

In summary, I hope you find this article helpful in understanding the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball. Knowing more about their characteristics allows you to utilize them properly and could significantly enhance your performance.

Pickleball is a famous sport loved by many because it's suitable for all skill levels, perfect for social activities and recreation, and excellent for your health. Choosing the appropriate balls for various surfaces can affect your gameplay and help you maximize your enjoyment of the game.

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