Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs

Pickleball is a fast and fun sport that is enjoyed all over the world. Whether you are playing with friends in your backyard or in an organized tournament, choosing the right pickleball can make a big difference in your game.

With the popularity of this sport, two types of pickleballs have been produced for different playing environments – indoor and outdoor. If you are new to the sport, you may be wondering which one to use or if there’s a difference between the two.

In this article, we will discuss the key differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs to help you choose the right one.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is played on a court similar in size to a badminton court, with a net slightly lower than a tennis net. The game is played using paddles made from a variety of materials such as wood, composite, or graphite, and a perforated plastic ball known as a wiffle ball. Players can enjoy singles or doubles matches, with scoring based on a best-of-three format.

Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball

difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs

One of the most significant differences between indoor and outdoor pickleball lies in the ball used during gameplay.

Ball Durability and Materials

Outdoor balls are designed to withstand harsher conditions and rough surfaces, making them more durable. They are typically made from a harder plastic and have smaller holes to maintain their shape and flight characteristics.

Indoor balls, on the other hand, are made from softer plastic and have larger holes, making them lighter and more responsive to the indoor court surface.

Ball Size

Indoor and outdoor pickleball balls are generally the same size, but the hole pattern and number of holes may vary, impacting the ball’s flight and bounce characteristics.

The outdoor pickleballs are designed with 40 smaller holes compared to 26 holes indoor ones. They are crafted from a hard plastic surface that will provide better bounce on outdoor courts.

Hole Size

The holes in pickleballs are an important factor in the game. Outdoor pickleballs have smaller holes than indoor pickleballs, allowing them to travel at a slower speed and have better control over the wind’s influence, which can typically be quite strong in outdoor environments.

They also have a more prominent seam that creates additional friction on the court, which is useful for preventing slips. In contrast, indoor pickleballs have larger holes and a flatter seam, making them travel faster and with less bounce.


Another significant factor to consider when choosing between indoor and outdoor pickleballs is the weight. The weight of a pickleball also influences the speed and bounce.

Outdoor pickleballs are heavier than indoor ones, which means they travel slower and have a softer bounce. Indoor pickleballs are lighter, so they travel faster and bounce higher, making them ideal for a fast paced indoor game.


Indoor and outdoor pickleballs are also available in different colors. Outdoor pickleballs are usually bright orange or yellow, making them easier to spot in a natural environment.

However, indoor pickleballs are commonly available in white or other light colors to prevent damage to surfaces from the ball bouncing. It’s important to note that some indoor facilities only allow white pickleballs to be used by players.

Pros and Cons of Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball

Impact of Weather

Playing outdoors allows you to enjoy fresh air and sunshine but can be affected by weather conditions such as wind, rain, and extreme temperatures. Indoor pickleball eliminates these variables, providing a consistent playing environment.

Court Surface Material

Outdoor courts are often made of concrete or asphalt, which can be harder on joints and may cause the ball to bounce higher. Indoor courts typically feature wooden or rubberized surfaces, providing better shock absorption and a more predictable ball bounce.


Indoor courts have consistent lighting, ensuring optimal visibility during play. Outdoor courts rely on natural light, which can vary throughout the day and may create shadows or glare.

Tips for Choosing the Right Pickleball Gear and Accessories

  1. Paddle Selection: Choose a paddle that suits your playing style and the environment you’ll be playing in. Some players prefer lighter paddles for indoor play and heavier paddles for outdoor play.
  2. Balls: Use the appropriate ball for your playing environment – softer indoor balls for indoor courts and more durable outdoor balls for outdoor courts.
  3. Shoes: Invest in proper pickleball shoes with good traction and lateral support. Consider shoes specifically designed for indoor or outdoor court surfaces.
  4. Clothing: Wear comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing suitable for the conditions. Layering is essential for outdoor play in colder weather.

In conclusion, whether you prefer indoor or outdoor pickleball depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Both options offer unique advantages and challenges, so why not give both a try?

By understanding the differences and choosing the right gear, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy this fantastic sport in any environment.


In conclusion, both indoor and outdoor pickleballs come with their own unique features that cater specifically to playing environments and preferences. The outdoor pickleball is sturdier, smaller, and heavier, while the indoor pickleball is softer, lighter, and larger.

The difference in size, weight, and color can significantly affect the speed, bounce, and handling of the ball. It’s important to choose the right pickleball for your playing environment to enhance your overall gameplay experience.

When in doubt, always consider the characteristics of your playing environment, and the type of players you normally compete with, as well as the pickleball specifications whenever you want to make a choice.

About the author

John's love for pickleball began when his wife bought him a set for Christmas one year. He quickly became obsessed with the game, and now plays several times a week.

John loves nothing more than spending an afternoon on the court with friends, whacking balls back and forth.

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