Do you know what is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs?Pickleball has no difference from Wiffle balls to an outsider. To a beginner, they may appear to be a commodity where all balls are the same.
It is worthwhile to note, however, that pickleball is quite different from other balls, and there is a variety of pickleball available from indoors to outdoors. Pickleball is the most popular sport in the world.
How can you describe difference between indoor pickleballs and outdoor pickleballs? A significant difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs exists in terms of the number and size of holes. A typical indoor ball has large 26 holes while an outdoor ball typically has 40 smaller holes.
Climate and court surface influence ball selection, which in turn impacts ball weight, hardness, texture, and durability. Pickleball is different indoors and outdoors. It is imperative that they are starkly different and serve distinct purposes.
Therefore, depending on which one you choose, you may find playing easier or harder. The following are five major differences between indoor and outdoor pickleball that you should be aware of.
Why Do Indoor & Outdoor Balls Differ?
The unique feature and quality of pickleball are that it may be played indoors as well as outdoors. However, these are unique in the sense that both have different balls to play with. Indoor balls are generally lighter and bounce less than outdoor balls.
On the other hand, outdoor balls are heavier and have a higher bounce than indoor balls, as well as a different flight approach. Contrary to balls, pickleball paddles remain the same whether indoor or outdoor.
What is the Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs?
The difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs may appear similar to an untrained eye. There is a stark difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball once you have played them side by side or experienced them both. In general, the majority of indoor and outdoor balls differ in the following five ways:
1. Number of Holes
The number of holes in indoor balls is 26, while the number of holes in outdoor balls is 40.
2. Hole Diameter
The diameter of the holes in indoor balls is larger than those in outdoor balls.
The weight of outdoor balls tends to be heavier than that of indoor balls.
Outdoor balls are usually made of more durable plastic than indoor balls, which gives them a greater bounce.
Outdoor pickleball is more durable than soft indoor pickleball, so they tend to crack more quickly.
While each brand and type of pickleball possesses a unique set of specifications and qualities, USA Pickleball has created metrics for the approval of pickleball. We will try to explore the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs which are 5 and will discuss this in this article.
1. Number of Holes
Pickleballs may look like plain plastic, but don’t let that confuse you! Each ball is thoughtfully designed with holes to achieve a very significant goal: maintaining consistency and trajectory during flight.
There are 40 holes in outdoor balls, while there are 26 holes in indoor balls. What is the reason? Keeping true to each shot and neutralizing as many external factors as possible, such as wind or the surface of the court, is the key. The numerous small holes on outdoor pickleballs offer more robustness for playing in windy conditions.
That small hole interferes with aerodynamics to improve bounces and shots.
Pickleballs have holes that are beveled into the plastic of the ball and are uniform in size and placement, although there are some exceptions, such as outdoor pickleballs that have two different sizes of holes.
USA Pickleball – Rule About Number of Holes on a Pickleball (2.D.8.)
Ideally, It is recommended that there should have 26-40 circular holes in the ball. In the manufacturer’s official guidelines, no hole count is specified. It is technically possible to have 26 holes in an outdoor ball. For this reason, 32-hole outdoor balls are common.
2. Hole Diameter
It is imperative to keep in mind that the diameter of the holes on a pickleball ball varies greatly from brand to brand, and certainly from indoor ball to outdoor ball. You are aware that indoor pickleball has larger holes than indoor pickleball, but do you know how much?
What is the difference between outdoor and indoor pickleball holes?
Indoor pickleball holes measure .43-inches in diameter, while outdoor pickleball holes measure about .282-inches. The diameter of an indoor pickleball hole is 40% larger than that of an outdoor pickleball hole. We measured 10 outdoor and indoor pickleball on the market today.
This small informal research is at least helpful from a directional perspective for understanding the extent of indoor pickleball holes.
USA Pickleball – (No Specific Rule)
Indoor and outdoor pickleballs have different hole diameters, so there are no specific regulations.
A pickleball played outdoors typically weighs more than one played indoors. Some players know this point, but do not understand how the weights are different. Pickleball in the outdoors is heavier than pickleball indoors.
First of all, the holes contribute to weight. Although indoor pickleball has fewer holes (26 in total) than outdoor pickleball (40), the 26 holes of indoor pickleball cover more area due to their significantly larger diameter (40% more width). Indoor pickleball has more negative space, contributing to their lighter weight.
The second reason is more logical. A heavier ball would be more beneficial for outdoor play because of external factors such as wind interference. In addition to materials, there are other factors to consider, but let’s discuss them in the next section.
What Is the Weight Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs?
Technically, outdoor balls weigh more than indoor balls, but the difference is nominal at less than 1%. According to a small sample of indoor and outdoor pickleball, the average weight of an indoor pickleball was .917 ounces, while the average weight of an outdoor pickleball was .925 ounces. The highest variance was observed among outdoor pickleball, where the lightest ball weighed .897 ounces.
USA Pickleball – Rule of Weight of Pickleballs (2.D.4.)
Balls should weigh between 22 and 26.5 grams (0.78 and 0.935 ounces). Pickleball weights are not restricted by classification, such as indoor vs. outdoor. Based on preliminary research for this article, it appears that the sweet spot for ball weight is the same for indoor and outdoor pickleball. Because of the hole patterns and sizes, weight may not have as much of an impact on gameplay as aerodynamics.
Pickleballs are made of plastic – you can tell that simply by looking at them. However, not all plastics are the same, and pickleballs are made from a range of plastics. In pickleball, the hardness of plastic is measured using a tool known as a durometer.
It is just a fancy scientific way of grading the hardness of durable rubbers and plastics on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the hardest. Plastics and stiff rubbers used in pickleball cover a wide range of typical hardnesses. You can get an idea of where each material ranks based on the scale below, although they could certainly be higher or lower depending on the ball.
- LDPE – Low-Density Polyethylene: 40-50
- HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene: 60-70
- PP – Polypropylene: 70-83
- PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate: 85-95
Generally, balls made of TPE (also known as thermoplastic rubber) are going to be softer than those made of HDPE. Considering this is a critical aspect of determining the materials used for indoor and outdoor pickleball courts.
There is no doubt that the hardness of a pickleball has the greatest impact on its performance. There are three metrics that can be used to assess the hardness of a pickleball: hardness itself, compression, and bounce.
Which is Harder – Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs?
The bounce of outdoor pickleball is usually stiffer than that of indoor pickleball. A ball’s weight and thickness are primarily determined by the materials and construction thickness used in its construction. In pickleball, a hardball plays faster, while a softer ball plays slower on indoor courts.
It is the type of plastic that differentiates indoor and outdoor pickleball. Indoor pickleball is made of soft plastic that has a lightweight profile. As a result, that type of plastic is more likely to drag. In order to increase the durability of pickleball balls for outdoor use, thicker, more durable, heavier plastic is used in their construction.
USA Pickleball – Hardness of Pickleballs (2.D.7. No Longer Required)
In the past, USA Pickleball required hardness measurements for pickleball approval, but this has been overturned. To give you a general idea of hardness, pickleball used to require a Shore D of 40-50, which is low-medium on the plastic hardness scale.
There is no general rule for the hardness, bounce, or compression of indoor or outdoor balls, but there are standards for the compression and bounce of all pickleball balls.
Rule of Pickleball hardness of a ball (rules 2.D.6. and 2.D.5.)
It does not have value whether you play indoors or outdoors. Pickleballs lose their shape and won’t last a lifetime. Choose a hard outdoor ball. You’ll notice a ball cracking with time, temperature, and use. Pickleball durability is heavily influenced by its materials and construction, but the sturdier the material, the shorter the lifespan.
Materials like TPE have such high elastic properties that they are far more difficult to crack or change shape. However, harder plastics seem to crack when you look at them wrong.
Which Type of Pickleball is More Durable?
Indoor pickleball generally has softer plastic than outdoor pickleball, making it more durable. Due to the more durable plastic used in outdoor pickleball, it is more likely to crack, split, and lose its shape. Indoor balls typically develop soft spots over time. Outdoor pickleball does not last forever, but indoor pickleball does on average.
USA Pickleball – Rule About Durability of Pickleballs (2.D.1.)
The material should be durable…Not the most specific regulation, isn’t it? Enforcement may be a challenge, but if there’s one thing players hate more than anything else, it’s pickleball that doesn’t last long.
Can Indoor pickleball be used for outdoor pickleball?
Indoor pickleball can be played outdoors, but it’s not recommended. As an indoor ball is too lightweight, not crafted to resist wind interference, plays too slowly, and isn’t suited to outdoor courts, using an indoor ball outdoors is an unwise idea. Indoor balls are more common than outdoor balls, but ideally, you’d use an indoor ball indoors and an outdoor ball outdoors.
You’ll get some interesting looks if you play outdoors with an indoor ball. Let’s discuss this. Pickleball courts are incredibly predictable indoors. There’s one main factor that needs to be considered, and that is the sun. Wind conditions get a lot of discussion on this topic, and rightly so.
You’ve got to believe this is liable to affect pickleball made of lighter plastic, which would be indoor balls more often than outdoor pickleball, midday in Florida.
The Right Pickleball Matters
It’s critical to use the right pickleball for the right conditions. Outdoors and indoors require different balls to provide the most enjoyable playing experience. You can get away with using outdoor pickleball indoors, but for optimal play comfort, you need to select the right type of pickleball. You should never use an indoor ball outside.
It will just leave you frustrated beyond belief. So while you can tell the difference between pickleball just by the number of holes and hole size, other factors like weight, hardness, and durability combine as five factors that make indoor pickleball completely different from outdoor pickleball.
Common Pickleball Colors
The USAPA does not specify a specific color for pickleball. All the rules specify is that the ball must be uniform in color. You’ll mostly see orange. Pickleballs in white and yellow are also common. It is usually easier for a pickleball player to see a pickleball with a darker color inside a gym.
Pickleball Ball Requirements
The USA Pickleball Association has very specific requirements for pickleball balls which we’ll discuss next, but meeting those rules isn’t the end of it. The USAPA’s approved pickleball list must contain the pickleball in question. Updates are done periodically.
The list of approved pickleballs is extensive. To distinguish between those models, each ball must have the manufacturer’s logo and uniform color. Additionally, each ball must be bounced on a granite surface or a 12-by-12-by-4-inch area. A temperature of 75-80°F is required for the bounce test.
I hope this article will be a guideline for understanding the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs properly. Both kinds of pickleballs whether is it indoor or outdoor are better to play. Pickleball from the outdoors isn’t ideal for indoors. This is because it will frequently skip off the floor and will not bounce as you would like. In contrast, many casual players use indoor balls outside because of their lightweight construction and quietness.
Aside from personal preference, your choice between indoor and outdoor pickleball will largely be determined by the weather. If you wish to ensure that the weather does not hinder you from enjoying your favorite sport, we recommend stacking up for each type of weather. Consider purchasing sets of darker colors so that you can see the balls clearly, regardless of whether you are exercising outside or in a gym.