CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

Rule Review: The Great Ball Controversy

Why do we have so many different balls at the pickleball courts?

Ball preference is always a hot topic! Last summer, I was listening to Chris from the Pickleball Show podcast interview one of the founders of pickleball. When asked about balls, he shared his dismay that there has always been a ball controversy.

Many people become accustomed to playing with a specific ball or color and find it challenging to change. Regardless of preference, there are a few rules for pickleballs.

Official pickleballs must be made of a smooth, durable material and as of January 2016 conform to the following specifications:

  1. Size-2.874 to 2.972 inches in diameter
  2. Weight-0.78 -0.935 ounces
  3. Bounce-30-34 inches
  4. Hardness-40-50 on a Durometer D scale at a temp of 75-80 degrees
  5. Holes-26 to 40 holes

Typically, the balls you see with the larger holes are used indoors. They are slightly slower than balls with smaller holes and may be used outdoors as well, especially for newer players or those who like a softer game.

Pickleballs come in different colors, and we have experimented with them all in an effort to find the colors that most players can see easily in sunlight, in four o’clock shadows, and against the indoor gym walls in the winter.

Outdoors we are playing with the Onix yellow or the dura 40. Indoors we are playing with the orange jugs. Here’s a list of approved balls as of 11/3/17 http://ifpickleball.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/List-of-Approved-Balls.pdf

What is your preferred ball? Put it in the comments below

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.




  1. Avatar photo Neil P. Bourquin on December 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Re: Pickleball Preference

    At our home courts in AZ which have a Versacourt tile surface, we prefer the Dura 40’s or the TOP balls in the summer and the ONIX Pure 2 in the winter. We have found the Dura’s and the TOP too brittle for morning play in winter and the ONIX too soft for summer play in our hot AZ summers.

    • Avatar photo Cathy Jo Johnson on December 31, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Neil that’s a great point. Temperatures greatly impact the performance of the ball.

  2. Avatar photo Arthur Berger on December 28, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    The Onix Pure 2 indoor and outdoor
    Quiet and relatively long lasting especially the outdoor ball.

  3. Avatar photo William Winkworth on December 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Onix orange indoor & outdoor are the best balls in my opinion.

    • Avatar photo Cathy Jo Johnson on December 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      William I like the orange on two of our indoor courts but on the corner court the combination of the light and the floor make it difficult to see. We haven’t changed colors but prefer to play on that court last.

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

Like what you see?

Subscribe to the free newsletter today for more exclusive pickleball tips.