When I was first introduced to Padel, I presumed that Padel balls were the same as tennis balls. I didn’t realise that the balls were different.
Padel balls are similar to Tennis balls, however, they differ slightly in size and they have different internal pressures. Padel balls have 11psi of pressure, versus 14psi for Tennis Balls. They are made from the same materials and by the same manufacturers, but the pressure is lower causing less of a bounce. The Padel ball is roughly 8% smaller in size than a Tennis ball.
People often wonder why they aren’t the same and why give a ball less bounce, surely that is less fun, right? Wrong, Padel is a lot more fun with the less bouncy balls, if they are too bouncy, it would make it too easy for players to return.
Padel is also a much softer game than tennis and if you were to make the Padel balls with a higher pressure, it would make the ball travel a lot faster around the court. Making shots like the smash too tricky to get back and too easy for the opponents to win the point.
It is important to play with Padel specific balls only, as the slightly bigger, more compressed (harder) Tennis balls will damage your Padel racket.
Which are the best Padel balls?
There are two different grades of balls, entry/intermediate levels balls and advanced/pro ball ranges. The entry/intermediate level balls have slightly longer fur/felt on the balls, making them last longer, but also making the ball slightly slower. The advanced/pro ranges have less fur/felt, making them quicker, but lasting a shorter period.
From my experience, after testing and playing with many different types of Padel balls, I would say that it is very difficult to feel the difference between the different brands and it comes down to personal preference. This is of course taking into account that you are comparing the right range against each other, that being entry/intermediate levels balls and advanced/pro ball ranges. One of the best test is to see how long the different brands last by testing the amount of games played with each, before they start to lose the fur/felt around the ball and start to feel softer.
Essentially, you should be replacing balls after every three set match, which could be around 25-30 games. If you are playing at a beginner/intermediate level, this can be much longer, as many as 3 to 4 matches. To give you a comparison, Tennis balls are replaced every 7 to 8 games at a major.
How do you maintain Padel balls?
If you want to keep your Padel balls for as long as possible, make sure to keep them in a pressurised container and in warm, dry conditions. You must try avoid getting them wet, this will damage the balls quickly.