I never thought I would be writing about pickleball balls, but something happened at the pickleball courts a few weeks ago that I see being repeated over and over again as more and more people get hooked on pickleball.
These are new converts to the game, by and large. They go to a box store like Walmart or Dick’s – not that there is anything wrong with these stores – and they buy an inexpensive paddle that comes with a sleeve of cheap indoor pickleball balls not knowing pickleball balls indoor vs. outdoor or caring about buying official pickleball balls.
They come to the pickleball courts, take out their paddle and balls and hand over an indoor pickleball ball to another player to get started in a game, and you probably know the rest of the story. The experienced player says something like “We can’t play with these balls. They are for indoors,” and the player tosses the balls back to the newbie and pulls out a good outdoor pickleball ball from his pocket or gets one out of his or her bag, and the game begins.
9 Top Selling Outdoor Pickleball Balls
Why do some players like the Onix Pure 2? Where I play in Boynton Beach this is the pickleball ball you see the most. Same for the courts In Livingston, NJ, The most popular ball there is also the Onix Pure 2, but I’ve been in games there where some players will only play with the DuraFast 40, which, according to most reviews, is the most popular pickleball ball. The competitive league for seniors in West Palm Beach, FL requires all matches be played with the Franklin Sports X-40. Go figure.
So here are the most popular outdoor pickleball balls on the market. Maybe from these reviews you will be able to determine which pickleball ball is most suitable for your style of play.
- Onix Pure 2
- DuraFast 40
- Franklin Sports X-40
- Onix Fuse
- Crown Sporting Goods
- Engage Tour
Outdoor Pickleball Ball Reviews
- Weighted heavier to fly straighter in extreme outdoor conditions.
- Provides true flight, authentic bounce, and superior balance.
- Delivers optimal rebound on outdoor courts and resists wind interference.
As one reviewer remarks, many people play with the Onix Pure 2 at the public parks because they are lighter than the DuraFast balls that they play with in tournaments. You seem to get a true bounce with the Onix Pure 2, maybe a little higher than other pickleball balls. Also, they seem to last a long time – I know this is true for the ones I use. These balls are highly recommended for a game where the weight, bounce, and trajectory of the ball is critical to playing at a consistent level.
#2 DuraFast 40
Cost: Approximately $2.50/ball
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars
Weight: .92 oz.
Durability: Ball durability is affected by weather, play style and court surface. Anticipate ball life of 3-10 games under harsh conditions or in cold weather, longer in ideal conditions. Performance pickleballs do not last forever; however, testing indicates life of Dura pickleballs to be equivalent or longer than competing USAPA approved outdoor pickleballs.
- Flies true, straight, and fast in outdoor conditions.
- Dura is the official ball of the US Open Pickleball Championships and the USAPA National Pickleball Tournament.
The DuraFast 40 seems to reward dinking and the short game because the ball bounces lower and tends to skid on outdoor surfaces. One major complaint is that the ball does not last a long time and cracks after only a few games. Having used the DuraFast 40 and the Onix Pure 2, I notice that the Onix is quieter and hits better and straighter in the wind; however, the Dura has a nice “feel.” The smoothness of the ball can make hitting a spin shot a little more challenging at first, but they ‘rough up’ pretty quickly. The only drawback is that they can crack or break under duress, and so I would recommend buying more than three at a time.
Rating: 2.8 out of 5 stars
Weight: .92 oz.
Durability: The ball is “rotationally molded” to create a one-piece, strong, long-lasting ball. The difference from traditional “seam welded” balls is on the inside.
- Balanced flight pattern.
- Complies with USAPA standards for outdoor tournament pickleball play.
Everybody has the same complaint in my community. These are great…until they crack! Some last only a few points, some last a game, and sometimes you get a few games. The only real positive is that the bright neon is easy to see in any light.
- Straight flight and predictable bounce.
- Comes in a variety of colors including neon green.
Some people like the florescent green color because they think it is easy to keep their eye on the ball. But the intermediate and advanced players feel it lacks the kind of surface that allows them to get a good spin on their shots. I heard from a teaching pro that the ball is too small to work in the Pickleball Tutor.
- Meets USAP requirements.
- True flight and authentic bounce.
Most people who have used these pickleball balls feel they are similar to the Onix Pure 2 but perhaps less bouncy, which is better for the soft game. They prefer it to the Pure 2
- Unique goldenrod yellow color for increased visibility on virtually any outdoor court.
- Weather weighted, reduces effects of high winds and improves accuracy of volleys.
I have never seen these balls in action. It appears they are one of the heaviest outdoor pickleball balls on the market.
- Made to USAPA/IFP specifications for construction, size, weight, bounce, hardness, and design.
- Features a lively bounce with mid-range hardness for an all-around true feel.
- Maintains shape shot after shot.
People who have played with these pickleball balls compare them favorably with the Onix Fuse and Onix Pure 2. Also, they seem to last longer than the Dura balls. The mesh bag is handy for keeping them all together without rolling around in your duffel bag.
- Darker yellow color for high visibility and contrast.
- Features ‘Truer Bounce’ throughout the life of the ball.
- Quieter and with “less vibration” at point of contact.
- USAPA/IFP approved for tournaments
- Endorsed by 2018 US Open Pro Medalist Ben Johns and other pro players.
- The softer feel and control makes it more user-friendly for beginners and intermediate players.
- Being made ‘Rough & Ready’ from plastic allows intermediate and advance players to control it more and apply spin.
Players like the way the ball feels on the paddle. The ball doesn’t seem to go “out of round” like the Dura ball.
- Designed to minimize wind interference and create a balanced and straight flight pattern.
- Made to USAPA/IFP specification.
- Ideal for all skill levels.
- Features a unique goldenrod yellow color for increased visibility.
I have never seen these balls in action.
Okay so now you have as much information as I could glean from reading about these pickleball balls as well as personal feedback for the ones I have played with.
What is clear about pickleball balls is that it’s a matter of preference. Some players like harder balls. Others like softer balls. Some like balls strictly because of their color, and still others prefer pickleball balls that are cheap…or expensive or come in sleeves of three or six or whatever. One person likes the Onix Pure 2, another person hates the Onix Pure 2. One person likes the…and on and on. I think it’s a matter of what you get used to. It’s that simple.
Find a pickleball ball you like and stick with it until someone you play with forces you to try his or her pickleball ball. It’s a never ending ritual. Good luck.
I hope you have enjoyed this honest review of nine best-selling outdoor pickleball balls. I have tried to shy away as much as possible from using manufacturers’ jargon, although occasionally I couldn’t resist. Most reviews I have read on pickleball balls are a lot of mumbo jumbo. Alternatively, I have tried to stay “real.” As always let me know what you think. What pickleball ball do you like the most and why? I would appreciate your feedback on this article or on anything that has to do with pickleball.