Best Pickleball Balls in 2024

Welcome to our best pickleball balls review for 2024

The right ball is crucial for an optimal playing experience, and we’re here to help you navigate the options. In this round-up review, we’ll take a look at the best pickleball balls on the market and rank them based on our hands-on experience.

Top Picks:

1. Franklin Sports Outdoor Pickleball X-40 (Best Overall)

Top-rated: 16,612 ratings | 45 answered questions

franklin sports outdoor pickleball x-40

Highlight: Much longer play per dollar; Plays the same way every time, no surprises; Doesn’t easily crack, so it lasts a while; Acts predictably during games; Does not require much time to get used to; Saves money and annoyance.

Helpful review: This review might save you a lot of time researching balls, but here’s the summary if you don’t want to read the full review… For 4.0+ play consider the Dura Fast 40 when preparing for certain tournaments, but expect only about 2 games per ball, which is quite annoying in my opinion… for 95% of players, definitely go with the Franklin X-40 (except when preparing for a Dura only tournament of course). If you just want the ball to last and last year after year and don’t care at all about egging or quality of play consider the much softer and much slower and much bouncier Onix ball. The Onix ball is so soft that I can’t recommend it for typical play, but it is actually an excellent choice when introducing new players to the game and it is often the preferred ball in 65+ play if mobility becomes a common issue because extra bounce = extra time to get there, but in my area many older players seem to play the X-40 just fine.

UPDATE:
Popularity: Almost everyone in my area is playing the Franklin X-40 in every park. I finally saw a Dura in play yesterday, but it’s been a long time! Outdoor tournaments in my state are now about 60% X-40 and about 40% Dura (Washington), so even in tournament play the Dura seems to be going out pretty quick.

Seasonal durability of X-40: for the first year I don’t think my group cracked a single X-40 (despite having a faster paced game), but using that same batch of balls this Spring, they’ve all been dropping like flies so now my 1 year old batch of X-40’s probably isn’t much more durable than brand new Dura’s (very annoying to deal with those cracks). I just bought new X-40’s yesterday and I’ll be discarding the few X-40’s that are left from last year when the new stock arrives. It will be new X-40’s for me once a year from now on assuming quality doesn’t slide… fresh manufacturing is apparently very important, so hopefully Franklin will keep their runs moderate, and maybe that’s what Dura did wrong.(?)

FULL REVIEW:
This review will focus largely on the physical & quality comparisons between the Franklin Outdoor X-40 pickleball and the Dura Fast 40 pickleball, but I’ll also give a summary of my impressions from the mouth of experts and supplement also by my own amateur impressions and measurements.

Dura hole specs: 16 drilled holes @ 0.325″ & 24 drilled holes @ .264″
Franklin hole specs: 40 drilled holes @ 0.288″

Both balls have 40 holes with an average hole size of 0.288″, but the Dura ball has a far more randomized hole pattern. I personally didn’t notice any difference in spin characteristics or any notable advantage to the randomized hole pattern of the Dura.

Franklin weight: 26g
Dura weight: 25g

Both balls are rotationally molded in one continuous piece so the seam is just as strong as the rest of the ball on either ball… the appearance of a seam is on the outside of the ball only but the visual molding mark is not actually separated in any way in the middle of the ball and the inside of the ball will likewise appear 100% seamless on either ball, so no true seam exists (both balls are true “1-piece” balls). The Dura ball has much smoother molding marks w/ no plastic flashing like the Franklin… this is primarily cosmetic but quality in this regard definitely goes to the Dura.

Subjective color preference: in the shade I think the Dura “Neon” color looks better (see pic), but in typical full sun the green tint looks dingy on the Dura ball in my opinion, and I feel the Franklin “Optic Yellow” is a crisper color that’s probably a little more visible. These are the only 2 ball colors I have to compare. I would prefer more dye to be used for a green ball so it still looks green in full sun because in my experience with disc golf and ball golf neon green is the most visible color and neon pink is good too… with these 2 options I’d pick the yellow… the green tint on the Dura is so subtle in full sun it ends up looking more like a dingy yellow rather than a green. A more apples to apples comparison would be Dura’s yellow option but I’m pretty confident Franklin would win that contest also based on the notably higher translucency in the plastic used by Dura. Color: Franklin wins.

Franklin X-40 country of origin: China
Dura Fast 40 country of origin: Vietnam

EXPERT INSPIRED IMPRESSIONS:
From what I’ve gathered, expect much longer play per dollar out of the Franklin and expect very little life out of the Dura. Dura’s are supposed to be a little harder/better/faster, but they often only last a few games based on everything I’ve read and heard. For older players consider the Onix over either of these balls… softer balls bounce higher and hit slower which allows more time to get to the ball for longer rallies… the Onix seems to be the favorite for play in older aged groups.

Based on expert advise from the “pickleball kitchen” youtube channel…

Best performance award (fastest, hardest): Dura Fast 40

Best Value (also w/ great performance): Franklin Outdoor X-40 – – – except high level players should opt for the Dura due to tournament requirements (note: this observation may be outdated… check tournaments in your state to verify what local tournaments are still using the Dura in your area and which tournaments have switched to the X-40)

Longest lasting, but soft and bouncy: Onix

Note: I have not seen a single outdoor tournament publish the Onix as their ball.

My personal recommendation for most players based on a lot of reviews and some research and a close look would be to skip the Dura and go straight to the Franklin X-40 until you’re playing tournaments… if/when you advance to the level of playing serious tournament play I don’t think it would take long to transition muscle memory and power from the Franklin outdoor ball to the Dura ball and a lot of money and annoyance can be saved w/ the Franklin over the very brittle Dura… Franklin X-40 balls don’t last very long either (according to some… possibly old stock), but compared to the Dura it’s a notable improvement strongly worth considering even if you’re a quality buff like myself.

Manufacturing quality: Dura wins

Material durability: Franklin easily wins and Onix lasts much longer still if you don’t mind a notably slower game (more similar to indoor) and more egging.

Quality of play: Mixed… many elite players prefer the extra speed of the Dura, but I prefer the consistency of virtually everyone using the same ball and even more notably, I’d rather sacrifice just a little speed to get the higher consistency / predictability / reliability of an uncracked ball and I find it distracting to look for cracks all the time.

Value (w/o sacrificing much): Franklin

Despite the long read, I’m hoping this helps the reader save some time in selecting a pickleball, especially for players new to the game.

—Trevor & Tiffany G

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2. Dura Fast 40 Outdoor Pickleball (Best for Tournament, the Hardest)

Top-rated: 4,098 ratings | 43 answered questions

dura fast 40 outdoor pickleball

Highlight: Standard for USAPA tournaments, offering a faster, crisper play experience and highly regarded for competitive play; its hardness ensures a significant bounce for top-quality outdoor play.

These are a tournament standard so anyone that plays tournaments will need to play with these to at least be acclimated to how these play if this is what the tournament is using. These play faster and feel firmer or crisper than your Franklin X40. I do enjoy the way these play. But for the recreational player these Dura Fast 40s crack too easily.

I have been ball testing different ball options recently and started measuring ball diameters and weights for comparison as well as consistency. I was shocked to find these balls had such a range of weights from my small sample size of 3. Lightest was 25.90 grams vs heaviest at 27.92 grams for a range of 2.02 grams. I did the same with a set of Franklin X40s and found the heaviest at 26.91 grams and the lightest at 26.02 grams for a range of 0.88 grams. Most of the X40s that I weighed came in at 26.27 grams.

I’ll reserve using Duras for tournament prep, and something else for daily rec play and drilling.

—Joe M

This is a set of pickleballs for outdoor tournament play. The balls are made of molded plastic. They measure just over 2.9” in diameter. They are rated to weigh 26 gm, which is on the heavy end of the 22.1-26.5 gm weight permissible for tournament balls. They have 40 holes, of which 24 are 6 mm and 16 are 8 mm. They come in bright yellow or bright green. Each ball bears the Dura Fast 40 logo on the front.

I find these balls quite fast on the court. They are somewhat harder than other brands that I sometimes play with. The hardness gives them more of a bounce. The weights of the 3 that I tried were all around 26 gm; none were over weight (26.5 gm). The hardness makes these balls more suitable for outdoor tournament play than indoors. Keep in mind that the balls may also be a bit brittle and can crack or shatter more easily than softer balls. These balls work well for tournaments or for stepping up the pace during outdoor practice and games.


—T J Smyth

Dura Fast 40 balls are top quality and the original pickleball manufactured for the game. However, players should be aware that there is considerable variability in the flight, bounce, weight, and play characteristics of the various balls that are officially sanctioned, and these may not be what you are used to playing with. Based on my casual testing, these meet the specifications set by the USAPA for balls. They weigh just over 26 grams, at the upper end of the permissible range of 22.1-26.5 grams, but identical to several other popular brands that I compared them with. They bounce slightly higher than other brands (see comparison video and still shot with a commonly used ball) and approach the upper limit of the permissible range. They also are made from a somewhat harder plastic than what many players may be used to. As a result, these balls come off the paddle noticeably faster than other popular brands, something that many beginners may find difficult to adjust to. The balls have 40 holes (standard for outdoor balls), but unlike many others, 16 of the holes are slightly larger (8mm vs 6mm). This might slow them down somewhat, but may be largely offset by the extra “pop” imparted by the harder plastic. Some might find these features result in noticeable differences from other balls under certain conditions.

These are clearly described as outdoor balls; reviewers who have suggested they can be used indoors as well are mistaken. These balls will crack more readily in the cold than some other brands that use heavier, less rigid plastic – be forewarned. However, if you’re looking for high performance, tournament quality balls, these are unequaled.

—Peter

Dura Fast 40 is the standard pickleball for USAPA tournament play. Because of this, players who are interested in eventually playing in tournaments need to play with these balls. They differ from other balls players may have used in a number of ways. The hole pattern consists of different sized holes across the ball, seemingly in a random way, rather than a set of consistently sized holes. It’s unclear how this effects the flight of the ball if at all.

These balls are noticeably heavier than other popular balls such as the Onyx Pure outdoor balls. This extra wight is noticeable when hitting the ball. These balls do not bounce as high as the Onyx Pure, either due to the extra weight or the firmness of the ball compared to others. These balls also crack with much higher frequency than other balls, including the Onxy balls. The Dura balls also cost about 25% more than other balls.

So the bottom line is that if you don’t play in tournaments, and don’t plan to, you’ll get much more life and a more enjoyable game playing with alternatives such as the Onyx Pure for much less money. It you play in tournaments, you’ll need to learn how to adjust your play to these balls.

—Craig Reed

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3. PCKL Elite 40 Pickleball Ball (Cold Weather, Durable)

pckl elite 40

Highlight: The Elite 40 pickleball ball is a great option for cold weather, as it is durable and holds up well in temperatures as low as 30-40 degrees. It is also similar in playability to the Franklin X40 ball, but is slightly less expensive.

Helpful reviews:

Great cold weather balls. We all love the Franklin X-40 in optimal conditions, however, when the temps drop, the X-40 tends to snap or break quickly. I bought a bunch of the Elite 40 in hopes they would hold up to the colder temperatures of the Colorado high country, and they’ve done just that. This product is a great option for cold weather; 30-40 degrees and multiple hours of play, without issue. We finally broke one ball after 9-hours of play (at least) at 35-degrees. Everyone at the local pickle association is impressed with this ball. This product is close to the X-40 and will not break unless seriously punished. I have noticed with particularly hard bangers, the ball can flatten or warp and wobble thereafter…So if you’re a banger who just has to hit the crap out of the ball (no one likes you) as opposed to dropping and getting in the point properly, you may want to quit the game.

—Dan Falliaux

I decided to test these to see how they compared to the X40 and Dura balls which are pretty much the outdoor standards. Locally most people are playing with the X40.

Test Comparison:
I weighed and measured these compared to a new Franklin X40. These are just a bit brighter optic yellow (green) than the Franklin balls. These averaged the same weight as a Franklin X40. But when I measured them with a set of digital calipers they were consistently larger in diameter by 0.05-0.06 in. These would not even drop into the tube that the Franklins come in. I did a 6ft drop test and found that these bounce approximately 1 in. higher than the Franklin X40.

Playability:
These play similar to the Franklin ball. With the larger diameter at the same weight they should play a bit slower, but any difference was minor enough that the average person might not notice. I used one of these for a day of intensive games and it held up fine. I found it interesting to note that the ball seemed to be less scuffed up than a Franklin X40 after a similar number of games. I’ll need to continue testing to determine how long a ball will last before becoming too soft or cracking. Will update this review if there is anything noteworthy about longer term durability.

Cost:
These are currently only offered in a 4-pack. They are slightly less expensive than the Franklin X40 if only purchasing the Franklins in a 3 pack ($3.49/ball vs $3.86/ball). The Franklins are also available in 12, 36, or 100 ball quantities. Once you buy 12 or more, the Franklins are significantly cheaper (< $1.99/ball). For the cost conscious, these should be available in larger quantities at a discount to be more price competitive.

—Joe M

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4. Onix Fuse G2 Pickleball Balls (Best Indoor, Most Durable)

onix fuse g2 pickleball

Highlight: More durable than Franklin balls; Softer and bouncier than Franklin balls; Legal for tournament play; Spin and responsiveness; Good bounce in hot weather.

Helpful reviews:

I like these balls better than the Franklin ones. These balls seem more durable, softer and have a better bounce than the Franklin balls. The Franklin balls seem thin, brittle. and have a lower bounce to them. Maybe it is because the seam on them hits the court then comes off the paddle in a weird way. I was playing PB the other night using Franklin ball and that is the experience I had with them. I hit one of the balls so hard, it cracked it and lost it’s shape like a deflated balloon as I was playing a game with some other bangers. Franklin is what tournaments use…I think they should use Onix balls. They are more durable and have a better bounce. With time the Onix balls will wear out but not as quickly as the Franklin balls. I like the Onix balls. I hope tournaments use them and they come out with more colors for outdoor play in the future. I think glow in the dark balls would be fun especially in rec play where there are no lights on the court after it gets too dark to see.

—A. Holmes

I think the main reason for these new balls is the popular Pure 2 ball is not legal for tournaments anymore. The Pure 2 balls bounce too much when brand new, but will bounce properly after a little use. These Onix Fuse balls are legal for tournament play and bounce correctly when brand new. I know for sure the Pure balls eventually seem to get soft and squishy after they get old, and maybe where I play which is usually 3.0 – 3.5 players, sometimes a 4.0 and 4.5 pop in, they like the softer ball because you will hit less balls out or something. Anyways, I think I was the first to bring these balls to our courts and people really liked them. More and more players are suing these. I have heard people say they seen these break, but I never seen one break myself. The come off the paddle good, spin good, bounce good, etc. Now where I play if they have a local tournament they use these Fuse balls. But, I would still say most people are still using the Pure 2 right now, and some will switch to the Durafast if there is a major tournament coming up soon. I like these balls. I don’t have a need to buy anymore at the moment, but when I need some new balls I will buy more of these.

I measured these balls, Pure 2 and a DuraFast 40 ball, all new:
Onix Fuse Ball: Weight 25.67 grams Diameter: 72.63mm
Onix Pure 2 Ball: Weight 26.00 grams Diameter: 72.67mm
DuraFast 40 Ball: Weight 26.73 grams Diameter: 73.83 mm

—Richard

Seems like the Franklins have sort of a lame bounce in hot weather (90 degree +). These seem to have a better bounce. Maybe this isn’t a feature everyone likes but these seem to keep play going a little bit longer and make play more interesting. Advice to new players like me: The yellow balls in the Niupipo (sp?) set are better than the Franklins if you are playing on very hot days. Get these Onix balls for something a little better than the Niupip yellows. Time will only tell on durability. Hope this helps!!!

—Karen

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5. Wilson Tru 32 Pickleball Balls

wilson tru 32 pickleball balls

Highlight: Good bounce, consistent; Made in the USA, substantial materials; Good price, fine for the money; Plays well in cold weather.

Helpful reviews:

Any player looking to develop their game should be searching for three key characteristics in their ball: consistency of bounce, color visibility, and durability. Luckily for us, one ball possesses all three.

The Tru-32 by Wilson exhibits all these characteristics, as I mentioned. With 32 evenly spaced holes, it provides a consistent bounce every time, allowing you to work on every shot in the game and perfect your arsenal.

Color visibility is obvious; you’ll see it just like you see this shirt. And, obviously, the durability of this ball is second to none, enabling you to play longer and harder without worrying about breaking your pickleballs—break your opponent instead.

—Royal

It’s a nice ball and wears well. I played several singles games and put the ball through rigorous play and they do hold up. They stay round and have a great feel right out of the box and still providing consistent singles and doubles play. I wholeheartedly recommend this ball. Even your friends who can never bring a ball to play will be glad you bought a box of these bad boys. Two thumbs up!

—Kevin Krueger

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6. CORE Pickleball Balls (Both Indoor and Outdoor)

core pickleball balls

Highlight: A fast ball and have consistent bounce; Well-constructed and durable; Last dozens of games and retains its shape.

Helpful reviews:

I’ve been playing with CORE outdoor balls for a few years and really like that it performs like other tournament-rated balls, but also has more durability than a DURA Fast 40. The bounce is consistent and our rallies are faster than with other balls (i.e. Franklin X-40). This is an excellent price, especially with it’s better durability than other tourney-rated, high performance balls.

So far, I’ve never had one of my balls crack even though there are some very hard hitters in the group. I usually “retire” the rec play balls to the practice squad after the balls looks like they’ve been hit around a lot (i.e. the scuffing on the exterior of the ball and/or the bounce or spin seems a little less than a new ball). However, I do take good care of my performance balls and equipment. Meaning that I would never leave my paddle, nor balls in a hot, humid or extremely cold place (like the trunk of a car) for an extended period of time. I don’t know if or how much that could affect the balls, but I do know that it would significantly affect my paddle. So therefore, i treat them the same and make sure to store them properly.

—H. Baker

These balls play well and hold up pretty well. I’d say they are in between a Dura and a Franklin. They do compress a little when they are hit hard and seem to soften after a few hours of play but not as much as Franklins.. They are not as hard as Duras so you don’t get quite the same degree of rebound off the paddle. Most of my friends still prefer Duras but will play with the Core balls that stay round and do not crack easily.

—Jenessa

My wife and I live in what we would call a pickleball community and are learning day-by-day, gaining experience and skill along the way. We bought these CORE brand pickleballs in an attempt to perhaps elevate our game a little. These balls, approved by USA Pickleball sanctioning body, are crafted for intermediate and professional players. They claim to be seamless, however upon close examination an obvious seam is visible around the circumference at the midsection (frankly, I don’t know how a pickleball could be constructed without a seam; they have to be molded in two hemispheres, then joined together, making the seam-strength the most important factor of ball construction). They also purport to be crack-resistant, which is important now that outdoor temps are dropping and we’re seeing balls literally crack in half at the seam when struck hard due to the cold. These balls seem to respond with good rebound energy and have not yet cracked through some hard play – good sign. 40 precisely drilled holes make it an outdoor ball, with enhanced wind resistance. They can be used indoors as well as outdoor use. These vibrant neon green balls resist cold and maintain shape in heat. These come with a nylon drawstring bag (16″x14″), the kind that you can use as a backpack. The included bag is branded with the CORE PICKLEBALL logo and has plenty of room for a lot more balls than come with this “sampler.” At about $4.33 a ball, they’re neither at the top nor bottom of the cost spectrum, IMO, well worth the money.

—Gerry K.

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7. PCKL Optic Speed Pickleball Balls

optic speed pickleball balls

Highlight: This pickleball boasts exceptional durability, offering a soft, springy composition that withstands even the hardest slams. Its responsiveness and consistent bounce, regardless of the playing surface, make it ideal for both practice and competitive play. Additionally, the vibrant green color provides excellent visibility in good lighting conditions, while the dual-color design enhances visualization of spin for improved practice sessions.

Helpful reviews:

So here’s the deal, these are really great balls in most situations.
Let’s go over it…


PROS:
– super durable; they have a softer, springy composition that makes them very durable against slams
– excellent response; they are so springy and responsive when dinking, a joy to play with.
– nice bounces; these balls pop up exactly as much as you’d expect even on worn out or bad surfaces
– green color is pretty poppin’ in good lighting (at night, not so much)

CONS:
– contrary to what you’d think these kind of suck for low-light play. They aren’t really neon or reflective at all.
– only available in 4 packs is odd but whatever

Okay, so why do I NOT recommend these?
They are atypical. They don’t feel like the balls you’ll run into when you play in most tournaments, join others games, etc.
They are mush “squishier” than “normal” pickleballs and they have a good bit more spring off the paddle and the court. If you just want some great balls to smack around and aren’t trying to build muscle memory these rule but if you want to be able to build the muscle memory for contact power, bounce, etc you’ll find most other pickleballs are harder than these and behave a little differently.

So my review is that these balls are excellent but not a good fit if you want to grow into a higher-level player when playing the majority of balls out there.
(All of this is just my opinion)

—Thomaswde

I purchased these to help me see spin as I practiced different serves and returns. These are softer than a ball like the Franklin X40 (which seems to be the standard in the area I play) but work very well. The bounce is very good and it’s consistent with other balls in their hardness/softness range. Although I can see the spin even on a solid color ball, it is much easier seeing it with these balls. While these can be used for practice and play and have value in both, I only use them for practice and specifically to see spin. While I have around 50 indoor and outdoor balls, I only have 4 of these as they are slightly more expensive -because of the dual colors- as similar quality balls.

I really like these and easily recommend them…. especially to help visualize spin.

—Eric Berridge

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8. Onix Pure 2 Pickleball Balls

onix pure 2 pickleball balls

Highlight: The ball stands out for its remarkable durability, high-quality construction providing a good bounce, consistent performance both indoors and outdoors with a true trajectory, excellent value for its price, and a great, controlled bounce.

Helpful review: There seem to be a love or hate for these balls. If you’re a beginner, you’ll love these balls because they have a high bounce. This slows the game down which allows a beginner player to learn the proper techniques of racquet swing, ball placement, etc. The high bounce is the reason why these balls are no longer approved by USAPA and thus not used in any tournaments.

Advanced players hate these balls for the same reason — the high bounce. They like a fast game so these balls don’t fit the bill. So if you’re just starting out in pickleball, these balls are one of the best and you’ll LOVE THEM. I experimented using several different brands of balls when introducing pickleball to absolute beginner players and they all preferred the Pure 2. I’m sure once you get better at the game, you’ll move on to balls with less bounce, but you’ll thank these balls as your introduction to the game.

—Matt B

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9. Niupipo Pickleball Balls

niupipo pickleball balls

Highlight: Niupipo pickleballs have good pop, elasticity, seamless construction, bright green color, and satisfactory flight trajectory and spin, offering a quality close to top-of-the-line options at a more affordable price, although they may exhibit minor inconsistencies in terms of surface smoothness and some artifacts in the holes.

Helpful review: I would say there are 4 levels of Pickleballs:

1- Toy Quality, where weight, flex, pop is an absolute joke. Piñata-quality like.
2- Decent Quality, Decent weight, but with seams, rougher surface, not the best durability or elasticity due to lower quality polymers.
3- Good Quality, Good Weight, Seamless, Polished, Good Quality Polymer, Good Construction. Maybe some plastic shavings from manufacturing. Good for small tournaments or for serious players who wouldn’t mind spending a little more to have an accurate representation, very close to next level just missing a little bit of polish.
4- Top of the line, the ones you’d expect to see it in a serious tournament. The most expensive from known brands.

I would place these on level 3.5. Niupipo makes great entry-intermediate pickleball gear and these balls are no exception.

The pop is good, the elasticity is good, these are seamless, i like the bright green color and the flight trajectory is good, spin is good too.

The main reason why these aren’t “level 4” is that because they lack certain amount of consistency between one ball and the other, some holes have shavings or chips, some balls paint on the branding is spilled or chipped and the surface is smoother than some of the crow favorites as the Dura-Fast or the Onyx, but also, you get 3 balls with the same amount of money you’d get one of those.

Overall these are my go to balls, i let others pay more for fancier offerings that offer me no significant advantage, feel or pop. Yes, there is a difference, but its almost negligible, i would recommend these for serious players for practice and even serious games, bar just fancy tournaments where you’d expect to see the top of the line offerings on the court.

—C. M.

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Final Verdict – Best Pickleball Balls


In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best pickleball balls to elevate your game, consider the Franklin X-40 Outdoor Pickleball for an all-around top performer, ideal for standard play and outdoor matches. If you’re seeking the best for competitive play with a hard and bouncy feel, the Onix Dura Fast 40 Pickleball stands out. For those who play in colder weather conditions, the PCKL Elite 40 and Wilson Tru 32 Pickleball Balls prove to be the most durable choice.

Additionally, Core, Optic Speed, Onix Pure 2, and Niupipo are all good balls as well.

Whichever you choose, these cater to various preferences and playing conditions, ensuring you’re equipped with the right ball to take your pickleball experience to new heights. Happy playing!