From being chewed up by a dog, to being used in the US Open, tennis balls can have a wide range of uses. Accordingly, there are a wide range of tennis ball types and qualities.
In this post, we’ve reviewed some of the best tennis balls available on the market. We’ve also covered what you should look for in a tennis ball, and how to find the right ball for your situation.
Our Top Picks for the Best Tennis Balls in 2020
- Wilson US Open Extra Duty
- Penn Championship Extra Duty
- Wilson Championship Extra Duty
- Wilson Championship Regular Duty
- Wilson Prime All Court
- Penn QST 36 – Best for Kids
- Penn Pressureless
Use the links above to skip to any review you want to check out. First, we’re going to cover some of the factors you might want to consider when choosing a tennis ball.
Durability: Regular Duty or Extra Duty
Depending on your court surface, you’ll want to choose different tennis balls to maximize their durability and performance.
Hard courts (which is what your typical outdoor tennis court is) can quickly destroy Regular Duty tennis balls. We recommend going for the Extra Duty balls if you are playing on a typical hard court surface. You might also opt for the Extra Duty if you are planning to buy these as a chew toy for your dog. In fact, you might just opt for a “tennis” ball that’s specifically designed for dogs to chew on.
Regular duty tennis balls are designed for softer surfaces like indoor courts and clay courts.
Pressurized tennis balls tend to bounce higher and with more speed at higher altitudes. To fix this, some tennis balls have a “High Altitude” option. High Altitude tennis balls have about a 6% larger diameter, to create more air resistance.
The ITF (International Tennis Federation) considers 4,000 feet to be the threshold for “high altitude.” For reference, mountainous Salt Lake City, Utah is 4,226 feet.
Tennis Balls for Kids and Beginners
Most of the tennis balls we have reviewed in this post are meant for a variety of skill levels, from beginners to intermediate to advanced players. There are also tennis balls that are designed specifically for kids, which are designed to have less bounce and speed, making it easier for younger players to hit them.
Pressurized vs. Pressureless Tennis Balls
The typical tennis ball that most people are familiar with is pressurized. They bounce because they are hollow and filled with pressurized air. This internal air pressure offers the best performance (bounce, speed, spin, consistency), but their performance fades over time as the ball eventually loses pressure.
Pressureless tennis balls, on the other hand, achieve their bounce from their rubber shell rather than from air pressure. This means they don’t lose their bounce over time. In fact, they gain bounce as the outer layer of felt wears off and exposes more of the rubber.
Because pressureless tennis balls maintain their bounce, they’re a great budget option if you’re looking to buy tennis balls in bulk for practices, ball machine use, or other situations where premium performance isn’t important. You get increased longevity while sacrificing performance. Keep in mind that many players find pressureless tennis balls heavier and harder to play.
Pressureless tennis balls also tend to be less expensive. If you’re looking for something even cheaper, check out our post about where to find used tennis balls.
Our Reviews of the Best Tennis Balls in 2020
Now let’s jump into the reviews of the best tennis balls.
The Wilson US Open tennis ball is the official ball of the US Open. It’s approved for play by the USTA and ITF, and it offers unparalleled consistency and performance. It’s a tournament-ready, premium performance tennis ball for tennis players of all skill levels.
Our recommendation: The Wilson US Open tennis ball is great for all skill levels, up to the most advanced.
The Penn Championship Extra Duty tennis ball can be seen on tennis courts everywhere you go, and for good reason. This is a high performance, highly durable, all-around great tennis ball for all skill levels.
Boasting “America’s #1 Selling Ball” right on the can, the official ball of USTA League Tennis is a great choice if you are looking for an affordable tennis ball for everything from casual to competitive play.
Our recommendation: The Penn Championship Extra Duty is a great choice for all skill levels who want a durable, affordable, high performing tennis ball.
The Wilson Prime All Court features a specialized design that optimizes it for performance and durability on all court surfaces. It’s not Regular Duty or Extra Duty, it’s meant to be somewhere in between. It’s also a bit more expensive than a regular tennis ball.
Our recommendation: The Wilson Prime All Court tennis ball is great for players who play on both indoor and outdoor courts.
Penn designed the QST 36 for players 8 and under playing on a 36′ tennis court. It features a lower compression, which reduces speed and bounce for easier control. It’s durable and still has a lively bounce, making it a great option for casual play in the driveway, or practice on hard courts.
Our recommendation: The Penn QST 36 tennis balls are a great choice for teaching young kids to play tennis, or for casual play in the driveway.
Because pressureless tennis balls don’t lose their air pressure over time, they are an extremely durable and long-lasting option. Penn makes a high quality tennis ball, and the Penn Pressurelss balls are no exception.
Our recommendation: Penn Pressureless tennis balls are great for casual players looking for long-lasting balls, or for practice sessions with a ball machine.
Summary & Recommendations
Although they all look pretty much the same, different tennis balls offer a wide variety of optimal uses. Here are some to recap:
Best for competitive play: Wilson US Open Extra Duty
Best for recreational play: Penn Championship Extra Duty
Best for casual, infrequent play: Penn Pressureless (won’t lose bounce over time)
Best for teaching kids: Penn QST 36 (reduced speed and bounce)
We hope this helps you choose the right tennis ball for your situation. Have fun out there!