Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs – 5 Grand Differences

Explore the differences between indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs on our Land of Pickleball. Get insights into their design and how it affects your game.

We’ve disclosed the door to an entirely informational guide of the key distinctions between indoor and outdoor pickleballs. However, your appropriate understanding of these key differences may lead you to upgrade your gaming experience. Let’s find out which type of Pickleball is best suited for your game and maximize your enjoyment on the court.

Pickleball is versatile and unique in ball selection. Regardless of whether the game is played outdoors or indoors, you need to go for distinct balls designed for indoor and outdoor pickleball use. Depending on your tournament, either type of ball can be utilized interchangeably. 

So, the question arises: what sets indoor and outdoor Pickleball apart? To understand the ball selection let us explore the indoor vs. outdoor Pickleballs. Afterward, you may be capable of choosing your best ball according to your play (whether indoor or outdoor). 

The key difference lies in the ball surface’s size and number of perforations. Both outdoor and indoor Pickleball are quite varying, such as 40 smaller holes on outdoor balls and 26 larger holes on indoor balls. Pickleball players must learn that the environment and court surface directly influence their choice of ball. These influential elements impact its durability, hardness, weight, and texture.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs

AspectIndoor PickleballsOutdoor Pickleballs
MaterialSofter plasticSmooth, hard plastic
Hole SizeLarger holes40 drilled holes
ControlEasier to controlHarder to control
DurabilityMore durableProne to cracking
DragMore dragLess drag
TextureMore texture
SpinDesigned for spin
Size0.43 inches in diameter and lighter2.82 inches in diameter
WindNot designed for windDesigned for wind
GameplayQuicker and lighterHarder and faster
LifespanIt may wear out quickerProne to cracking (short life)

Pickleball players must note these are not the whole differences. As per time and environmental demands, these aspects may vary. Still, according to USAPA, these are the major changes.

Indoor Pickleball

How to differentiate indoor vs. outdoor Pickleballs?

Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleball is a relatively tranquil approach once you have a close view of these important points. Although indoor and outdoor Pickleball may appear similar to the untrained eye. So, the distinctions become evident when you compare them side-by-side.

Therefore, the major differences involved these five ways while going through Indoor vs. outdoor Pickleball. 

  1. Hole Diameter: Outdoor balls comprise holes of smaller diameter, while indoor balls have wider ones.
  2. Hole Quantity: 40 holes on outdoor balls. 26 on indoor
  3. Hardness: indoor balls are manufactured with slightly softened plastic, while outdoor balls are made of harder plastic. This hardness of outdoor balls provides a better bounce during gameplay.
  4. Weight: Indoor balls – lighter; outdoor balls – heavier.
  5. Durability: Their harder composition makes outdoor pickleballs crack faster than indoor balls. Indoor balls are durable due to lighter compositions as well.

 Hence, various brands and types of pickleball have unique specifications compatible with all pickleball players. USA Pickleball has established criteria for approving pickleball under its governing body. Though, let’s take a deep look at these five differences.

Hole Diameter

Pickleball’s hole diameter may alter drastically by different models, brands and types of tournaments (outdoor or indoor). You have seen that indoor ball holes are larger than outdoor balls. 

What’s the actual width of outdoor and indoor Pickleball hoes?

Indoor ball holes diameter = 0.43-inches

Outdoor ball holes diameter = 0.282 -inches

holes diagram is larger in indoor balls and less in outdoor pickleballs

This measurement in diameter makes the precise difference in both these games. Although the wide diameter of indoor makes these holes 40% large than the holes of outdoor balls. 

No exclusive laws are reported about indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs holes diameter.

We have obtained this information by analyzing the most popular indoor and outdoor pickleball available. However, this small informal study may not account for all potential outliers. It provides valuable insights into the noticeable difference in the size of the holes in indoor pickleball.

Hole Quantity

You must focus on the fact that each pickleball is rightly equipped and comprises holes in the surface. These holes are essential for your consistent gameplay. 

There are 26 wide holes on the indoor ball surface, and 40 closed holes on the outdoor ball

It’s remarkable to maintain the integrity of every shot and minimize the influence of external elements like court surface or wind. The abundant tiny perforations on outdoor balls enhance their resilience during windy conditions. Surprisingly, these small holes significantly impact aerodynamics, resulting in a more accurate shot and bounce. 

 All the holes on the balls are skillfully carved into the pickleball’s plastic. It ensures that ball brings the consistent placement and size. Thus, its only occasional variations where outdoor balls have two different hole sizes on a single ball. 

USA Pickleball > Law > Ball must contain a minimum of 26 and a maximum of 40 holes on its surface

Let's select your ball according to your indoor and outdoor match

So usually, official pickleball-making companies don’t go for exact hole quantity per ball. They normally go for 26-hole comprising outdoor pickleball. It may be the reason that you get the outdoor ball of 32-hole.


You’re definitely known to pickleball composition that’s plastic. Thus, it’s crucial to recognize that not all plastics are identical, and different brands utilize various plastics to create pickleball. 

You’re capable of measuring the Hardness of pickleball evaluation, known as the durometer hardness test. It is based on the specifically designed Shore D values for plastics. So, this sophisticated scientific method assigns a numerical grade to the Hardness of rigid rubbers and plastics on a scale. It’s measuring Scale ranges from 0 – 100 (100 represents the maximum level of Hardness). 

Usually, rigid rubber and common plastics are used for ball creation, which produces a considerable range of Hardness. Although, it’s a considerable fact that specific balls may have hardness ratings that deviate from these values:

  • Polypropylene (PP) = 70-83
  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) = 40-50
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) = 85-95
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) = 60-70

Often, pickleball crafted from thermoplastic rubber assists in possessing greater resilience and bounce than HDPE. This feature plays a pivotal role in determining the suitability of composing elements for indoor and outdoor pickleballs.

A remarkable point to note is the Hardness of a pickleball exerts the most significant influence on its performance. Three key metrics, directly or indirectly linked to Hardness are; bounce, Hardness itself, and compression. These are used to assess the characteristics of pickleball. Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that pickleball manufacturers often consider factors such as durability, grip, and playability. These factors are taken in addition to Hardness when selecting materials for their pickleball.

What distinguishes the Hardness of indoor and outdoor pickleballs?

Indoor balls are soft as compare to that of outdoor balls. This difference in Hardness is due to construction thickness, material variations, and weight used in manufacturing. The notable point is that your harder ball tends to perform faster gameplay. On the other hand, a softer ball is better suited for indoor pickleball courts, and it provides good results at a slower pace.

Both these balls are constructed of plastic. 

Though, indoor balls prefer softer plastic to achieve a lightweight profile. This plastic type is easy to drag during gameplay. 

Contrarily, outdoor balls are designed with harder, thick and heavier plastic materials. This plastic is used to enhance durability in outdoor environments.

USA Pickleball > Pickleballs Hardness

Your pickleball hardness must be according to USAPA’s recommendation. However, this requirement has been overturned. Your ball must possess a Shore D hardness rating ranging from 40 to 50. It shows the low-medium diversity of plastic Hardness. 

Meanwhile, there is important to notice that there is no specific regulation concerning the assigned Hardness, compression or bounce for outdoor or indoor balls. 


One important thing that most pickleball players are aware of but may need to comprehend fully is that outdoor pickleball generally have a greater weight than their indoor counterparts (balls). This difference in weight is due to several factors (climate) that results in the heavy nature of the outdoor ball.

Firstly while watching the indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs, the holes’ presence must contribute to the ball weight. So, the indoor balls have wider holes (26) and more space than outdoor balls (40). Correspondingly, indoor pickleballs are lighter weight than outdoor pickleballs.

The second aspect is more logical. Considering the external conditions such as wind distraction during outdoor matches. Though, if you have a heavier ball, it would be more advantageous to ensure it stays on its intended trajectory.

The actual difference between Outdoor & Indoor Pickleballs

Indoor balls are light and outdoor balls are slightly heavier, but the difference is minimal (amounting to less than 1%). So, on the bases of these balls difference in holes and weight:

Indoor Pickleball Weight = 0.917 ounces

Outdoor Pickleball Weight = 0.925 ounces

While visiting the sampled balls, outdoor pickleballs exhibited the highest variance in weight. Here these are seen as 0.897 ounces.

outdoor balls are more heavy in weight. Because indoor balls have big holes and light in weight

USA Pickleball > weight range for pickleball is between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (-22.1 and 26.5 grams-).

You can’t find specific weight restrictions for indoor or outdoor pickleballs. However, it may be optimal while selecting the ball for your match. It exposes that your ball may not significantly impact your play as aerodynamics. It can play its role in association with hole size and pattern.

Outdoor Pickleball


While knowing about indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs, these balls are never indestructible as some beginners may think. Although they gradually lose their shape and don’t last forever. Our experienced evidence is that hard outdoor balls can crack over time due to temperature and over-usage on hard surfaces.

Harder materials possess a short lifespan. Softer materials like TPE contain elasticity and are resistant to cracks or deformation. Harder materials lack elasticity and get more cracks on minor impacts.

More Durable Pickleball – Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs

When you come to ball durability, indoor pickleballs have an advantage. They are formed from softer plastics compared to the harder plastics used in outdoor balls. Thus the outdoor balls are more susceptible to splits, cracks and deformation due to hard composition. While going to the end of their lifespan, you can analyze that indoor balls may develop soft spots.

USA Pickleball > Pickleballs Durability

Regardless of indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs, your ball must make of durable material.

The simple statement is ‘‘ball should be made of a durable material’’. However, players universally dislike a pickleball that doesn’t last long, making durability a top concern.

Indoor balls are more durable due to flexibility


  • Pickleballs for gameplay are similar to wiffleball but slightly heavier
  • USA Pickleball approval is important for official play in the U.S.
  • Pickleballs are typically bright yellow/green for visibility in various environments.
  • Approved balls must be made of plastic, weigh between .78 to .935 ounces, and have a diameter between 2.874 to 2.972 inches.
  • Official requirements are; ball design, approval and construction.


Suppose you’re playing pickleball for the first time; you must opt for indoor pickleballs. This game would be the most suitable choice at the initial stage. Indoor pickleballs offer better control, reduced noise, and enhanced playability on smooth surfaces.

Contrarily, outdoor balls are better if you frequently play on rougher surfaces or outdoors. They provide durability, resilience, and performance on various outdoor courts.

Personal Preferences

Personal preference plays a significant role in the decision-making process. Some players may prefer the softer feel and slower pace of indoor pickleballs, while others enjoy the challenge of faster-paced outdoor play. So, trying both types of pickleballs and assessing which one aligns best with your playing style and preferences is essential.

let's analyze your personal preference whether you are willing to play indoor or outdoor pickleball match. now pick up your ball.


Your ball selection depends on various factors, including personal preference and the playing environment.

Yes, outdoor pickleballs are generally more durable than indoor ones. They are designed to withstand rough surfaces, extreme temperatures, and outdoor elements, ensuring a longer lifespan than indoor pickleballs.

No, It is not recommended to use indoor pickleballs for outdoor play. Indoor pickleballs are not designed to withstand the harsh conditions and rough surfaces encountered in outdoor environments. Outdoor pickleballs are designed for outdoor play and offer better durability and performance on outdoor courts.

Final Verdict

Indoor vs. outdoor pickleballs depend on the playing environment, personal preference, and additional desired characteristics for your game. Indoor pickleballs offer better control and quieter play on smooth surfaces. Meanwhile, outdoor pickleballs provide durability (but risk of cracks) and performance on rougher outdoor courts. Ultimately, trying both types and considering your specific needs will help you make an informed decision and enjoy the game to its fullest.

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