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Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball – Pros and Cons of Each

A collage of indoor and outdoor pickleball court.

Other than the obvious location and climate difference, the main distinction between indoor and outdoor pickleball is the ball, which is lighter, softer, and has less bounce indoors. The holes are also bigger and fewer for indoor pickleball, but the rules of engagement remain the same.

Let me tell you, anywhere you choose to play pickle will be helluva fun. That’s how awesome the game is. However, depending on whether we like more bounce from the ball or to hit it harder, then the outdoors might be more ideal. Also, indoors can get quite noisy if there are multiple.

Let’s bounce into the world of pickleball and see what indoor and outdoor versions entail as well as their pros and cons.

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Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball

Pickleball balls with different colors.

You’ll find that the holes in indoor balls are slightly larger than those in outdoor balls, and there are fewer of them overall. Examining an indoor ball closely reveals that it is softer, lighter, and less bouncy than an outside ball. This means you have a little more leeway to experiment with more forceful shots.

They hurt less when individuals bang against them, which is great to know if you’re in the midst of a heated bout.

The inverse is true of most outdoor pickleball games. Tinier and more frequent slits. Intensified in weight, rigidity, and springiness. When they break, it’s because of wear and tear. Balls played inside tend to get too squishy. Outdoor ball games require careful management.

They’ll bounce off the paddle much more forcefully than a soft indoor ball. Be wary of someone coming at you with a lot of heat.

Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball: Main Differences

A vector illustration of indoor pickleball games.

Manufacturers have made slight adjustments to the design of the pickleball ball to help players tell the difference between the indoor and outdoor versions.

Pickleball Master Course by Steve Dawson ($199)

The outdoor version of the pickleball has small pores in the thick plastic that make it resistant to the effects of the wind. The nets used for indoor pickleball are much more flimsy and have wider gaps in them because of the reduced impact.

The pickleball used indoors has these holes punched in them so that players may get a more solid bounce on their shots.

The Balls

In-Door Pickleballs: The balls used for indoor pickleball games feature several dimples. These balls are softer and easier to handle than those used in outdoor pickleball. The textured surface of indoor pickleball paddles improves spin during play.

This pickleball is lightweight and has a long rally time. In contrast to outdoor pickleball, those used indoors are pliable and resistant to breaking. There should be no soft places on an indoor pickleball, as this would suggest that the ball is worn out.

The wind is a major factor in indoor pickleball, making it a poor choice for outside play. The low noise level of these balls is a direct result of their low weight.

Outdoor Pickleballs: In contrast to indoor pickleball, which is made of a softer rubber, outdoor pickleball has a thick, hard plastic shell. This pickleball is designed to withstand gusty winds because of the forty vent holes drilled onto its surface.

Since they have less resistance and fly off the paddle quickly, this pickleball is ideal for playing outside and getting in some good, powerful hits. Pickleball games played in the open air are exciting to watch but challenging to play because of the speed and agility the ball requires.

Depending on how often you play, the weather, and the court’s conditions, outdoor pickleball can last for a lot longer. Outdoor pickleball games like this tend to be noisier than their indoor counterparts.


A man trying to dry a pickleball outdoor court.

From the sun to the wind and other weather conditions, there’s a lot to contend with when playing pickleball outdoors.

Literally, “The Sun”

The sun is the greatest hurdle to accurate play when playing pickleball outdoors. You assumed it would be beautiful, a game in the bright spring light while listening to the birds sing, but then you realized you were facing into the sun and couldn’t see the fluorescent green pickleball flying towards you.

A pickleball professional player reaching for the ball.

When playing outside, the sun isn’t our friend and can cause even the star players to miss-hit easy chances. Wearing protective eyewear and a cap with a visor is highly recommended.

Call “switch!” and have your mate take the ball if it’s flying in an extremely awkward position. They’ll be looking at it from a new vantage point and, hopefully, will be able to obtain a fuller view. If you can’t change the direction of the ball’s approach, then try to concentrate on the spot where it will reach your striking zone.

The Breeze

Dealing with the wind, in particular, is widely regarded as the game’s greatest difficulty next to the sun. Pickleball may be played both indoors and outdoors by modifying one’s shots accordingly. Long shots further than baseline are simple to execute, but the crosswind could prove challenging.

When playing into the wind, the player should slow down his swing and be extra cautious with his lob strokes.

Even on calm days, when the grass is hardly moving, the wind can cause havoc with a pickleball. Always keep in mind the direction and severity of the wind when playing outside. There’s a good chance you’ll need to increase your swing’s force when playing in windy conditions.

Understanding the Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Ball Characteristics

Pickleball players playing in an indoor court.

Whether you play indoor or outdoor pickleball, your equipment will last longer if you take good care of it. As a whole, the USAPA laws clarify key aspects of the sport, ensuring that participants enjoy a consistent and enjoyable experience.

You can shape either kind of pickleball because it’s constructed of a tough plastic that holds its shape well. There shouldn’t be any bumps or rough spots on the balls, and the bounce should be consistent.

There should be no texture to the balls and they should all be the same color.

The pickleball’s flight might be affected by a little roughness on the seam side. Diameters of pickleball should be maintained between 2.87 and 2.97 inches, on average. The ideal weight for a pickleball is between 0.78 and 0.93 ounces.

When testing your pickleball on granite, ensure it bounces between 30 and 34 inches when launched from 78 inches. A player can determine the ball’s firmness through strategic use.

Pickleball courts can have anywhere from 26 to 40 total hole capacities. The shape of these openings is according to how the pickleball travels. The hardness of the pickleball should fall between 40 and 50 on the Durometer D scale.

Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball – Pros and Cons of Each

Pickleball players playing doubles on an outdoor court.



  • No wind or sun issues.
  • No sunscreen or hats are needed.
  • Cool temperature. In the summer, no matter which state, we need a place to play indoors!  It is too hot to play outside in the daytime.
  • Well-controlled; walls and netting, you don’t have to chase balls.
  • For classes, it is easier to pick up balls indoors.
  • There are stands for spectators to wait on, and a well-organized rotation system with paddle saddles strategically placed on each court.
  • As such, there are different courts designated for different skill levels.


  • Multiple lines on the gym floor can be a bit confusing.
  • Glare off the walls and ceiling.
  • It is loud! With balls flying and players calling the score, etc., it is hard to hear indoors.
  • Coaches have to use whistles to get their students’ attention on top of the already noisy setting
  • The ball skips and comes very fast.
  • We need different shoes to play indoors compared to outdoors.



  • Fresh air all the time
  • More Spacious
  • Better lines
  • You can hit with more force
  • Better bounce


  • Surface heat
  • High wind gusts
  • Extreme heat(during summer months
  • Long distance to retrieve balls

Pickleball Indoor vs Outdoor FAQs

Which pickleball variant is commonly played in outdoor settings?

When it comes to outdoor pickleball tournaments sanctioned by the USA Professional Association, Dura pickleball is the finest option. As fastballs and straights, they excel.

Which pickleballs have the largest holes?

A yellow pickleball left on the court.

The pickleball used outdoors contains around 40 holes, while those used inside have only 26. The balls used for outdoor play in a game of pickleball are much larger than their indoor counterparts.

In a standard pickleball, how many holes are there?

It is recommended to play outdoor pickleball with a 40-hole ball. The machine-drilled technology used to make these 40 holes is designed to produce a stable flight path.

What are the key distinctions between playing pickleball indoors and outdoors?

The outdoor variety of balls is dense and constructed of plastic with tiny holes.

This design improves resilience and responsiveness. Pickleballs designed for use indoors are light and porous to maximize playability. The ball will bounce higher and more precisely off of its surface.

Can An Indoor Court Be Used For Outdoor Pickleball Or Vice Versa?

Indoor pickleball is inappropriate for the outdoor environment because of its lightweight nature and is severely affected by the wind. The lightweight construction of an indoor pickleball makes it silent, thus it is less effective in an outdoor setting.