Need the best tennis balls for your game? Look no further than our top picks! These balls offer superior performance and durability.
The best tennis balls are now available from several different brands in various quantities. Beginners may believe that the type of tennis ball they buy is insignificant. After all, any old tennis ball should be enough, right?!
However, it’s vital to buy a quality can of tennis balls because it can make or break your experience on the court. Tennis balls lose their spring as they age, as you’ll notice when you hit one across the court for long enough and nothing is more frustrating than watching a tennis ball that has passed its prime bounce sloppily across the court.
We’ll make it easy for you to find the perfect tennis ball. We’ll highlight the best tennis balls on the market and explain what distinguishes them. The best tennis balls available today for every level of play are listed below, with recommendations based on personal experience and buyer feedback.
The Most Popular Tennis Ball Brands
Wilson and Penn are the most renowned tennis ball brands. These brands are most likely found at your local sporting goods or big box store. Of course, other tennis equipment companies produce high-quality tennis balls also. Some of these brands are: Dunlop, Babolat, Tecnifibre, Tourna, Slazenger, Gamma & Tretorn.
You can easily order any of these balls online on several platforms, but if you don’t live in a big metropolis, it may be more challenging to find those specialty brands locally. It’s natural to develop a preference for a particular brand of tennis ball. So, if you own a Wilson tennis racket, you may prefer Wilson tennis balls simply because of brand loyalty.
Wilson US Open
- The Most Popular Tennis Ball Brands
- The 9 Best Tennis Balls
- Best Extra Duty Tennis Balls
- Best Regular Duty Tennis Balls
- Best High-Altitude Tennis Balls
- Best All-Court Tennis Balls
- Best tournament tennis balls
- Best Tennis Balls for Practice
- Best tennis balls for ball machines
- Best Pressureless tennis balls
- Best Alternative Balls
- Best Tennis Balls For Kids
- Best Tennis Foam Balls
- Best Tennis Balls For Each Skill Level
- Best Tennis Balls For Clay, Hard and Grass Courts
- Official Grand Slam Tournament Balls
- Different Types Of Tennis Balls
- Buying Guide
The 9 Best Tennis Balls
Wilson US Open
The Wilson U.S. Open ball is made of premium high-grade wool woven into a thicker, denser felt and is recognized for its superior playability, consistency, and durability.
It’s also the official ball of the US Open and USTA & ITF approved. The best tennis ball if you want to get a real bang for your buck.
These Wilson Championship balls have extra-durable felt, making them ideal for longer play on hard court surfaces.
Wilson’s exclusive Dura-Weave felt provides increased durability and performance, which makes this ball suitable for tournament and recreational play at all levels. It’s also the official for all NCAA tennis tournaments, which is just more evidence of a high-quality ball.
The Penn Championship, America’s best-selling ball, has excellent playability and consistency. This ball is perfect for hard court, outdoor, and asphalt play because of its extra-durable felt.
It’s also the official ball of USTA leagues all around the country. These balls won’t let you down any time you hit the court.
Dunlop Fort All Court
The Dunlop Fort All Court tennis ball is iconic and suitable for all types of court surfaces and all levels of play.
This is one of the most affordable balls on my list, and many tennis clubs use them regularly on their court. It stands out for its overall durability and consistency and, in my opinion, is an excellent buy for any serious tennis player.
Wilson’s prime tennis ball has an exclusive Duraweave felt suitable for all court surfaces. This ball provides extended play and durability, as well as improved performance.
The playability is second only to the Wilson US Open, and the price is slightly higher than for the Penn Championship balls. These are an excellent choice as they are also extremely durable.
Dunlop Grand Prix
Because of its long-lasting, consistent play, this tennis ball is one of the most popular out there!
The HD Core technology ensures long-lasting durability, and the superior woven felt is 15% brighter than traditional materials. They are are perfectly suited for tournament play on hard courts.
Pro Penn Marathon
The Pro Penn Marathon, Penn’s longest-lasting tennis ball, is an excellent choice for the experienced tennis player looking for a premium tennis ball.
These Pro Penn Marathon balls are manufactured with extra-durable felt and are ideal for hard-court play. They last 22% longer than the average ball, making them stand out among the more durable options.
Dunlop ATP Championship
The Dunlop ATP Championship Extra Duty tennis ball is ideal for recreational and club players. The Extra Duty ball provides affordable performance with a long-lasting feel, making it ideal for warm-up or practice sessions suitable on all surfaces.
Maximum durability is provided by Dunlop’s Max Core and Durafelt HD Cloth technology. It also is officially endorsed by the ATP World Tour, making it another premium option.
Wilson introduced Triniti, the first of its kind designed with fully sustainable packaging, to the market. While there will be no “pop” sound as with a conventional ball can, the unique container is 100% recyclable after use.
The ball has an Engage Core, which incorporates plastomer material to keep the ball feeling fresh for four times longer than a standard core. A ball for the planet.
Best Extra Duty Tennis Balls
Wilson US Official Extra Duty
Wilson Championship Extra Duty
Dunlop ATP Championship Extra Duty
Best Regular Duty Tennis Balls
Wilson US Official Regular Duty
Penn Pro Marathon Regular Duty
Dunlop ATP Regular Duty
Best High-Altitude Tennis Balls
Wilson US Official High Altitude
Penn Championship High Altitude
Wilson Championship High Altitude
Best All-Court Tennis Balls
Wilson Prime All Court
Penn Tribute All Court
Dunlop Fort All Court
Best tournament tennis balls
Wilson US Open
Best Tennis Balls for Practice
Penn Pro Marathon Extra Duty
Dunlop ATP Extra Duty
Penn Championship Extra Duty
Best tennis balls for ball machines
Penn Championship Extra Duty
Dunlop Grand Prix Extra Duty
Babolat Gold Championship XD
Best Pressureless tennis balls
Gamma Bag O Balls
Best Alternative Balls
Penn Pink Championship
Best Tennis Balls For Kids
Penn QST 36 – 8 & Under
Penn QST 60 – 10 & Under
Penn Plus – 12 & Under
Best Tennis Foam Balls
Penn QST 36 Foam
Wilson Youth Foam
Babolat Foam X3
Best Tennis Balls For Each Skill Level
Wilson US Official
Best Tennis Balls For Clay, Hard and Grass Courts
Pro Penn Marathon
Wilson US Official
Official Grand Slam Tournament Balls
Different Types Of Tennis Balls
Balls labeled “Regular Duty” are made for softer surfaces like clay or indoor courts. These balls may fluff up more than Extra Duty balls due to extra moisture and dirt, but this is minimized using a thinner felt that is more tightly wrapped around the core.
Hard surfaces, including asphalt and other outside hard courts, require extra-duty balls. Their felt covering is thicker and has more fuzz, allowing them to be used on hard surfaces for longer periods of time. When hunting for extra-duty balls, you may come across the term “XD,” which is short for extra duty.
High-altitude tennis balls, as the name suggests, are intended for use at high altitudes. Players who play at or above 4,000 feet above sea level may consider these types of balls since greater altitudes might cause pressurized tennis balls to bounce higher and travel faster.
Pressurized tennis balls contain compressed air in rubber balls with fuzzy fabric covers. Pressureless balls, on the other hand, are solid on the inside. They are generally have more bounce, travel faster and are more responsive to spin compared to pressureless tennis balls.
Pressureless tennis balls have a harder rubber core, unlike pressurized tennis balls, making them seem harder and dead to strike. However, these balls become more bouncy as the felt cover fades and the rubber inside weakens.
Pressureless balls are more durable but also heavier, and as a result, they produce less spin and necessitate greater power to strike. They are perfect for ball machines and clinics.
Low Compression Balls
The low-compression red, orange, and green balls make it easier for children to learn to play tennis. Low-compression balls come in three variations: red, orange, and green, which are softer and bounce lower than yellow balls.
Because they bounce lower, players have more time until contact, giving them greater control and helping them in developing proper stroke technique.
Tennis balls made specifically for young players are much bigger and slower moving. As kids learn the fundamentals of this sport and develop their skills, manufacturers try to minimize the possibility of injuries.
Beginners have a variety of options to choose from, but whether they are children or adults, choosing softer tennis balls is always a good idea because while they may not be as quick, they can help you practice some shots more diligently.
By switching between using softer balls during practice sessions and keeping pressurized balls when playing matches, intermediate players can aim to gradually improve their skills while avoiding potential injuries.
Finally, competitive and more advanced players will use the ball chosen for the tournament they are playing in, which should always be pressurized.
There are four kinds of tennis courts hard, clay, grass, and synthetic. The type of court surface you play on influences the performance and durability of the balls as well as the outcome of the game. As a result, it is critical to understand what makes the difference and what type of ball is the best choice based on where you are playing.
Regular-duty tennis balls are for playing on a clay or carpet court. They’re made of softer, thinner materials that work nicely on these surfaces.
Extra duty -is the best option for playing on hard courts that can be quite tough on the ball. Extra-duty tennis balls are built with a harder, thicker material that is more resilient and lasts you a lot longer.
Grass court – Like regular duty, these balls are stain-resistant and, in most cases, water-resistant. This prevents the ball from changing color or absorbing moisture from the grass.
If you reside in a generally humid or dry climate, you should keep this in mind when choosing your tennis ball. According to popular opinion, tennis balls absorb moisture in humid weather, causing the ball to grow fluffier and heavier.
This can be a problem if you are prone to developing tennis elbow and generally have difficulty generating power with your strokes. If you live in a dry climate, you should opt for softer and heavier balls.
Because of their increased longevity, heavier tennis balls tend to bounce lower and are used on harder surfaces. They can sustain a more abrasive, gritty hard court impact for longer than a lighter-weight ball.
Lighter balls tend to bounce higher and are used on softer surfaces, but they can also increase the speed of play on a fast hard court. Because lighter balls need less energy to be struck well, they will travel faster through the air than heavier balls.
Tennis balls fluff up differently depending on the thickness and weave of the felt, which also affects how long the ball will stay “fresh.” A ball with a more compact felt will shoot into the air, but one with a thicker, fluffier felt will feel softer and have more spin. However, this can also change depending on the weave of the felt. In general, thicker felt fluffs up faster.
For instance, a compact felt Wilson US Open ball and a fluffy Slazenger Wimbledon ball both fluff up fast. So, with this one, it all depends on how each ball performs individually.
Having the correct kind of high-quality ball is crucial for individuals who enjoy playing competitive tennis. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) must provide its blessing before any credible tennis ball brands make their balls available to the wider public.
To guarantee a level of consistency in quality, ITF has set relatively rigorous approval standards. A ball must perform well across a range of characteristics, including durability, to be accepted. The ball will be given an ITF grade based on how long it lasts before it loses its usability for upcoming matches.
A quality tennis ball should withstand several swings, if not more, without significantly losing bounce when being used. This ensures that competitive players can use these approved balls to play matches flawlessly.
Budget is frequently a key consideration when buying tennis balls. Fortunately, many different tennis ball options are available at different price points. The Wilson or Penn Championship balls will still allow you to have a fun game without breaking the bank, but if you are on a strict budget, you might want to go with one of the more affordable options listed above.
But remember that these tennis balls won’t last as long as some of the higher-quality ones on our list. Choose the best tennis ball for your game by taking into account both your budget and your individual needs in terms of playing style.
What’s the History of Tennis Balls?
Given that the history of tennis is a little murky, it is unclear when the first tennis ball was ever used. However, the first records of using a ball for play date back to the 15th century. At that time, the spherical object was composed of a variety of materials, including leather that had been filled with either human or horse hair.
Later, it was said that a ball was made in Scotland using a sheep or goat’s stomach tied together with rope. Woolen fabric strips were tightly coiled around a cork core later on in the 18th century. The original tennis game, referred to as Real Tennis, is still played using this kind of ball.
The use of vulcanized rubber around 1870 brought about a revolution in ball manufacture. Additionally, the Germans improved the bounce of the balls by adding air to them. The balls we use today are an improvement on this prototype.
Historically, balls were either black or white in color, depending on the background color of the courts. The ITF changed the tennis rules in 1972 to include yellow tennis balls because studies had revealed that viewers of television could better see these balls. Wimbledon, meanwhile, maintained to utilize the customary white ball before switching to yellow balls in 1986.
What Are Tennis Balls Made Of?
Modern tennis balls are constructed from a two-piece, hollow rubber shell filled with pressurized gas. Felt composed of wool or nylon is used to cover the rubber shell. According to the ITF, tennis balls should have a diameter between 2 1/2 and 2 5/8 inches and a weight between 2 and 2 1/16 oz.
What’s the Difference Between Pressurized and Pressureless Tennis Balls?
Pressureless balls are made from soft rubber and do not contain air inside, while pressurized balls are designed with a core of air that is then covered in rubber. Pressureless balls have a harder, deadlier feel when struck and the ball also bounces lower as a result than a pressurized tennis ball would.
What Are the Red, Orange, Green, and Yellow Balls?
Stage 3 (Red): These beginner balls are designed for young children to help them develop skills, proper movement, fine-tune coordination, and enhance confidence. They are approved for use on a 36-foot court. (Age Group: 8 years or younger)
Stage 2 (Orange): These balls have a lower flight and are ideal for playing on 60-foot courts. The game is still slowed down quite a bit despite things being more advanced than Stage 3. (Age Group: 10 years or younger)
Stage 1 (Green): The last stage before a tournament-approved tennis ball has a lower bounce and helps beginners use good technique. Typically used on a full-size 78 ft length tennis court. (Age Group: 12 years or younger)
How Often Should You Open a New Can of Balls?
Every time you play. A tennis ball’s lifespan for the average player is between 2 and 4 hours of play. When played by big hitters, some highly abrasive hard courts will cause balls to wear out more quickly. Wet clay courts will make balls heavier and harder to hit since they will have absorbed moisture and dirt.
This explains why balls are changed considerably more frequently in professional matches. The pressure in a can of balls will last roughly two weeks after it has been opened if they are not used. Experts claim that once a can of balls is opened, they lose their bounce in a week or less, even without playing with them.
Why Are Tennis Balls Sold in Pressurized Containers?
The tennis balls are kept from going flat by the pressurized cans, as we already explained earlier.
Remember that most tennis balls are already under pressure; the pressure only decreases once play begins. Because of this, if tennis balls weren’t stored in pressurized containers, they would become flat even before play started.
Why Do Tennis Players Carefully Choose the Balls They Serve With?
Pros frequently want more than two balls from the ball kids before their first serve. They do this because they want smoother and less fluffy balls since they will travel through the air a little bit quicker and give their opponent less time to hit their return.
How Long Should Tennis Balls Last For?
Your choice of balls, frequency of play, and playing surface all have an impact on this. However, you should consider replacing the balls if they begin to feel flat and worn out and stop bouncing as high as they did when you first started playing with them.
What Can You Do with Old Tennis Balls?
Keep used balls out of the trash and landfills. They can be recycled or put to other uses as an alternative.
What’s the Difference Between a Regular Duty and An Extra Duty Ball?
Extra duty is a different kind of felt that is made specifically for use on hardcourts and also is significantly thicker. Regular duty is adaptable enough to be played on clay courts and hard courts. Extra duty balls on a hardcourt will also last slightly longer than regular duty balls.
What Do the Numbers on Tennis Balls Mean?
Tennis balls have numbers printed so players can tell their balls apart from balls coming from another court. Most tennis players play in an area where other players are on adjacent courts, and more than one court may likely be utilizing the same brand and style of ball.
Christoph Friedrich is a German tennis player and coach currently residing in Oakland, California. He began his tennis journey at the age of eight and has since dedicated his life to the sport. After working as a tennis coach and hitting partner in New York City for eight years, Christoph decided to share his knowledge and experience with tennis players around the world by creating the My Tennis Expert blog. His goal is to make tennis education accessible to everyone and help players select the best equipment for their game, from racquets and strings to shoes and overgrips. Christoph's extensive research and expertise in tennis technology make him a valuable resource for players of all levels.