The ball is a fundamental element of many sports. So much so that we couldn’t play one of the most popular sports around the planet without the little yellow ball: tennis. This is why choosing the right model is so important. Certain aspects are key: the rubber, the presence of air inside and the manufacturing material will all influence your final decision.
However, we know that it might not be that easy a task for you, since there are many tennis balls available out there. We’ve designed the following guide to answer any question you may have when the time comes to purchase your own set of balls. Keep in mind that whichever model you choose will eventually affect your playing experience.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best tennis balls on the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about tennis balls
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- You can find various models, ranges and prices for tennis balls. That is why choosing the right ones can be difficult. We’ll delve into the fundamental characteristics that a tennis ball must present if you want to make a successful purchase.
- Make sure you define your objectives before settling for specific tennis balls. You should also know the rest of your tennis equipment. Do you like the design of the balls? Do you have room for things other than balls in your equipment? How many compartments are available in your tennis bag?
- If you want to choose the balls that best suit your needs, there are a number of aspects to take into account. We’ve detailed these in our article: material, functionality, value for money or colour, amongst others.
Ranking: The best tennis balls on the Australian market
We’ve selected the very best tennis balls available right now on the market. Whether you’re looking for balls or just to add to your collection, there’s what you need in the ranking below. Evaluate the characteristics of each product, and go over your goals before you opt for a specific model. Let’s get started!
No. 1: Wilson Australian Open, set of 4 balls[amazon box=”B00PCXS8DQ” description_items=”0″]
Founded in 1913, Wilson is a world leader in sports equipment manufacturing. Their tennis balls have gained such a reputation, that the American brand is now the official provider of both the US and the Australian Opens. And since they offer top quality balls, we couldn’t possibly start off our ranking by anything else than the official Melbourne Open balls.
Since they are designed to be used on hard court, these products offer greater durability and consistency. That way, they won’t deform after just a few shots. The Optivis felt they are made with makes them brighter and therefore more visible when playing. This set of four tennis balls is ideal for experienced and professional players, and may be more difficult to handle if you’re a beginner.
No. 2: Penn Championship Extra Duty Player Pack (60 balls)[amazon box=”B00ICUV99Q” description_items=”0″]
Penn is another recognised American brand in the field of tennis balls, and they’ve got over a hundred years of experience making those little yellow accessories. This means that they offer high quality products you can rely one. As a matter of fact, Penn’s Championship balls are the best-selling model in the US, and it’s quite easy to understand why.
Made from natural rubber and wool fibres, these extra duty tennis balls are built to last. They are ideal if you’re used to play on hard courts, and you’ll have balls for years – quite literally – with this product. Why? Because it’s a huge pack of 20 cans, each containing 3 balls. That means 60 balls, and unless you’re a professional player, you won’t run out for a good while.
No. 3: Wilson Starter, set of 3 balls[amazon box=”B006WGPOFW” description_items=”0″]
Now that you know Wilson is one of the very best tennis ball brands out there, here’s their model that is most tailored for children, junior players and adult beginners. The Wilson Starter balls are used all over the world for kids and new players alike, and they’re a fantastic way to get into the wonderful and fun world of tennis.
Designed for playing on full-size courts (36 feet), these low compression balls are slightly larger than most standard models. This allows players to get their vision used to the speed of the sport, while still allowing them to have fun hitting the ball around. According to Wilson, these models are 75% slower than regular balls. That’s perfect if you’re a tennis newbie!
No. 4: Slazenger Wimbledon, set of 4 balls[amazon box=”B00JBN9L1G” description_items=”0″]
Slazenger is an English sporting goods manufacturer, and one of the oldest surviving sports brands. Founded in 1881, their experience in tennis ball manufacturing is recognised the world over. In fact, Slazenger is the official ball provider for the most prestigious tennis tournament in history, Wimbledon. Since when, you ask? Since 1902, which means that quality shouldn’t be an issue with this set.
And what better Slazenger product than the official Wimbledon balls could we possibly offer you? While they can be used on all surfaces, you’ll imagine that they are particularly good to play on grass. They are treated to avoid staining, and their special dye provides greater visibility. They also feature the Hydroguard technology so that they repel water more efficiently when playing on wet surfaces.
No. 5: Wilson Prime All Court, set of 3 balls[amazon box=”B07CFH181X” description_items=”0″]
Last but not least, this extremely affordable set of 3 Wilson Prime balls is the most versatile on our list. Approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), they offer increased performance and durability on all types of court surfaces. This means you can easily switch from clay to hard court without having to purchase different balls every time.
What’s more, these tennis balls can be used in training as well as in official matches, and their Duraweave felt will allow you to play for hours on end. They’ve received quality reviews by past players, and you can also get a 4-can pack (12 balls) or a case of 24 cans (for a total of 72 balls) if you play very regularly and like to always have new balls handy. This product offers fantastic value for money.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about tennis balls
As you’ve just seen, there are many types of tennis balls available out there. It is actually one of the best selling balls in the world. However, people naturally don’t have the same demands to use it as a toy for their dogs or for tournaments and competitions. This is why we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions below.
What are tennis balls exactly?
These small diameter balls are used to play one of the most popular sports around: tennis. Different types of tennis balls are available on the market, and we want you to know the differences between each of them. It is important that you choose your tennis balls based on specific factors.
What types of tennis balls are there?
All tennis balls share a number of common features. For instance, they do not have seams so as not to damage the bounce. The yellow colour is also key, since it allows you to see the ball on any court. Depending on the type and speed of the court you’re playing on, you’ll want to opt for this or that model. Here’s a small table to help you:
|Type 1||Used on slow courts (clay)|
|Type 2||For medium speed courts (acrylic and carpet)|
|Type 3||Fast courts made of artificial or natural grass|
You may also notice slight changes in the weight and diameter of tennis balls. The weight generally ranges from 56 to 59.4 grams. The diameter, on the other hand, is between 65 and 68 millimetres. Other factors based on the level of the players will also play a role. The table below will help you situate yourself:
|Soft-core balls||Perfect for beginners. Lighter, they offer greater control.|
|Rubber and felt balls||Used for more experienced players. They are heavier and harder.|
|Pressurised balls||These are the balls used by professional players.|
What are the best tennis ball brands?
Nowadays, numerous brands manufacture tennis balls, from the least known to the most reputable. In the following section, we introduce you to some the very best tennis ball brands after analysing the different offers on the market and taking into account the value for money of each product. Which one is the right one for you?
|Wilson Starter||Balls for children as they transition to conventional balls. They are yellow and orange. Effective on 18-foot courts.|
|Penn||One of the best brands. They have a good bounce and are fast. They are suitable for professionals as well as for mid-level players. Great durability and consistency.|
|Head||Suitable for higher levels. They are widely used in tennis schools. Good for both grass and clay. They are well pressurised.|
|Wilson||Good quality and cheap balls. Yellow-greenish colour. Very effective bounce.|
How do I know which tennis balls are the best?
Before reading this article, you may have thought that tennis balls were a basic accessory, and that you didn’t need to know much about them to make a good purchase. However, your playing experience will greatly depend on the tennis balls you decide to buy. Factors like the bounce or the reception of the ball will vary from one model to the next.
In fact, we could even say that tennis balls are just as important as your shoes or racket. The first step to choosing a quality ball is to read the label on the package. This will allow you to find out if the model is designed for children, leisure playing, or professional tournaments.
You will note that those tailored to children generally come in different colours, making them more attractive and fun. In addition, the pressure they offer is lower: they are softer, so they can bounce more while going slower. The little hairs on the ball – called the fuzz – are also longer. This provides a larger contact surface, and the balls cannot go as fast.
The more pressurised a ball is, the greater power you will be able to put into it. It is also important that a ball does not lack fuzz anywhere, or the direction the ball takes after a hit will be altered. Tennis balls should also be hard enough not to be deformed when squeezed.
Which tennis balls are for beginners?
You are encouraged to choose slow balls if you’re starting off into this sport. That way, you won’t be surprised by the bounce or excessive speed. You need to be comfortable and feel confident about your first shots. Balls with little pressure (thick rubber) and a soft core are ideal for this.
Foam balls, mini tennis (children’s) balls or intermediate balls are a good choice for beginners. You’ll recognise them because they’re made from a mixture of yellow felt and another colour. In short, opt for a flexible ball without too much pressure. You will change the balls you play with as your technique improves.
What training balls should I use?
Balls designed for training can withstand hours of playing, so their wear must be minimal regardless of the length of your practice. They are non-pressurised, hard-core balls. To increase their durability, they are made from hard rubber and covered with a thin layer of felt.
The reason why this type of tennis ball is used for training is because they are very affordable. But they are not only used in tennis schools: these models are also common in Nordic countries as they can withstand low temperatures. You can regularly play with these balls during training.
What are pressurised balls?
Pressurised balls are injected with a certain amount of air pressure. The flexible rubber they are made with means that they are particularly comfortable and dynamic. They are often covered with thick felt. If you want to truly surprise your opponent with these balls, avoid using flat shots.
If you’re playing on a smooth surface, your shots will gain speed. On clay, however, they will be slower. These balls allow you to create good effects, but they also absorb humidity and will weigh more as they increase in thickness. While this type is the most expensive and offers the least durability, they are the most bought by amateur players.
As you know, there is a wide range of tennis balls available on the Australian market. This is why it is important for you to compare different models before making a purchase. In the following section, we’ll introduce you to key aspects that you should consider before taking your final decision. We’re confident they will help you find the best tennis balls according to your needs.
- Level of play
- Felt and core
- Playing surface
- Ball pressure
- Type of ball
Level of play
If you remember one of the tables of our article, we explained that certain brands tailored their tennis balls to specific levels of play. You have high-performance models for professional athletes, and others – cheaper but less resistant – for beginners. Make sure you know which ones are best suited for your level.
If you’re already an experienced player, opt for professional balls. On the other hand, if you just like to hit the ball around with your friends or play as a hobby, beginner or training tennis balls may be your best option. This is a key factor, so you’re en route for a satisfactory purchase if you don’t overlook it.
While tennis balls have their own useful life, you should always prefer models that are specifically designed to last. Pressurised tennis balls are known to have a shorter life cycle, but some of their components can tell you how long they can last. This will be the case if, for instance, they include reinforced rubber liners or additional felts.
Felt and core
You want your tennis balls to offer high-strength felt and a core with a high elasticity. These two factors are fundamental to determine the useful life of the product. We strongly encourage you to start a match with a set of brand new balls, in particular if your goal is to improve your shots.
The jargon used to describe which type of ball is used on which surface may be a little confusing at first. In the end, it’s just one more way for you to know which tennis balls you should opt for depending on where you play. Here are the names and characteristics of each type:
|Regular Duty||Clay and indoor courts. Soft felt but less durability.|
|Extra Duty||Designed for outdoor courts. The ball’s felt is woven with more wool to withstand harder surfaces.|
|Special Regular Duty||For grass surfaces. The felt is anti-stain treated so that the grass does not affect its colour.|
|High-altitude||These balls are used at altitudes of at least 1,200 metres, since standard balls tend to ‘fly’ at these heights.|
While pressurised balls contain air, non-pressurised models simply have a thicker rubber layer. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both types of balls. This is another key aspect that you shouldn’t neglect when choosing your very own tennis balls.
|Type of ball||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Pressurised balls||They are fast, sensitive to movement and provide great power when hit. As the most frequently used type, they have a longer useful life and can withstand regular playing.||They are more expensive.|
|Non-pressurised balls||They are mostly used for training.||Due to their thick rubber, they are less reactive and less comfortable to hit.|
Tip: Don’t open new tennis balls until 10-15 minutes before you start playing. This will ensure that they last longer.
Type of ball
Intermediate balls are designed for children between the ages of 9 and 10. They are halfway between children’s and adults’ balls. Their bounce is smaller than standard models. Soft balls are specifically tailored for children’s tennis classes. Foam balls are ideal for the youngest players, as they are the lightest around.
Tennis balls are packaged in hermetically sealed plastic tubes so that they do not lose pressure before reaching the courts. In professional tournaments, a ball is used for a maximum of nine games before being replaced. Otherwise, the small deformations on its surface may affect the playing experience.
Tennis balls have greatly improved over the last decades. One particular quality of these accessories makes a real difference when you play: its speed. In addition, tennis balls must be evenly made using a single material, since the stitches of the seams may cause poor quality bounces.
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(Source of featured image: Fabio Formaggio: 32575824/ 123rf.com)