Tennis Ball Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know
7 min reading time
As the seasons change, sticking with the same ball might mean you're not playing your best game! When the temperate drops, moisture levels increase and eventually play moves inside, make sure you've got the right balls for the changing conditions.
Here at Sportsballshop.co.uk we stock a a wide range of balls to suit all court surfaces, skill levels, and budgets. Our Tennis Ball Buying Guide covers everything you need to make sure you're playing your A game!.
Tennis Balls 101: Your Tennis Ball Buying Guide
When it comes to tennis balls, there are two main categories: pressurised and low pressure. Pressurised balls are the traditional, standard tennis balls you are probably most familiar with they maintain their bounce and speed for optimal play. The internal pressure allows the felt covering to retain its fluffy texture and high bounce after repeated impact with the racket and court. Pressurised balls are used in competitive tournaments and matches.
Pumped Up vs Low Pressure
Low pressure balls, on the other hand, have less internal air pressure so they don't bounce quite as high. They provide a softer, more controlled bounce and are a great choice for beginners, kids and older recreational players. They're also a great choice if you're putting in long practice sessions.
Low pressure balls maintain their compression and shape for longer plus the felt covering resists going flat over time - making them a great choice if budget is a consideration.
Hard, Clay, Grass: Matching Balls to Your Court
The court surface you primarily play will be a key factor in choosing the right type of tennis balls to. Here's a quick rundown of the balls tailored for each surface:
Hard Courts: On abrasive hard courts, the fuzzy felt on the balls wears down more quickly. Balls can quickly lose air pressure if you've not got the right type. Look for extra duty felt pressurised balls rated 3-4 on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) durability scale - these will withstand the harsh demands of hard courts. Slazenger and Dunlop specialise in extra durable hard-court balls.
Clay Courts: Clay is a softer, more porous surface and clay dust fills the fuzzy felt nap of the balls slightly, allowing for a better grip and a higher, slower bounce. For ideal control and spin use a regular duty felt pressurised ball made specifically for clay courts. Dunlop Australian Open tennis balls are the perfect choice.
Grass Courts: Grass creates a slick, low friction surface that causes balls to skid and stay low after bouncing. For this type of play you'll want to use a high-quality, fluffy tennis ball that grips the grass surface well. Slazenger Wimbledon Ultra Vis Hydro are the ideal balls for grass court play.
Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced: Balls for All Player Levels
Your playing skill level is another essential factor when selecting tennis balls. Here are the best balls for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players:
Beginners: Look for a low pressure ball that is soft, slow, and has a low bounce. This allows beginners to develop technique without having to chase down fast, wildly bouncing balls. Beginner-friendly tennis balls include Dunlop Stage 2 low pressure balls and Uwin low compression balls. The soft, controlled balls build confidence.
Intermediate Players: Intermediate club players and high school team members need a tennis ball with moderate pace and bounce. All-court medium duty pressurised balls offer nice pop off the racket, allow spins and slices, and have decent durability for practice sessions. Dunlop Stage 1 and Dunlop Australian Open regular duty balls are ideal for intermediate players.
Advanced Players: Highly skilled players who compete in tournaments and matches need a fast, high bouncing ball they can really crush with power. Tournament level balls like Dunlop Fort All Court and Slazenger Championship Hyrdoguard let advanced players hit aggressive shots with topspin and put away balls with fast serves. The firm pressurised balls withstand major compression on big hits.
Beyond the Basics: Extra Tennis Ball Buying Tips
Beyond the major factors already covered, there are some additional variables that differentiate tennis ball models:
Felt Material: Traditional balls use wool felt coverings, but many now feature fuzzy nylon and synthetic materials. In general, wool offers better control and grip, while nylon is more durable.
High Altitude Balls: These balls have less internal air pressure, making them suitable for play at elevations about 3,000 feet and higher, where the balls would otherwise get over-pressurised.
Optic Yellow Balls: Bright yellow felt coverings are easier to see, especially on dim indoor courts. Helpful for beginners and senior players.
Reputation: Stick with proven tennis ball brands like Dunlop and Slazenger that consistently manufacture high quality balls. Lesser-known brands often cheap out on materials and durability.
The Best Tennis Balls For your Game
To summarise the key takeaways from this definitive tennis ball buying guide:
Choose the ball type - pressurised or low pressure - based on your playing level. Pressurised for competitive play, low pressure for recreational use.
Select balls suited to your primary court surface - hard, clay, or grass. This optimises grip, bounce, and durability.
Beginners should use low compression balls, while advanced tournament players need high compression balls.
Consider your budget, but don’t be afraid to lean towards spending a bit more for durability and performance.
Reputable brands like Slazenger and Dunlop offer consistency. Lesser-known brands can be hit or miss.
Replace balls regularly as they lose pressure and fluffiness over time.
We've covered ball types, court surfaces, skill levels, and brands, but if you're still not sure on choosing the right tennis balls just email email@example.com
Now you know exactly which tennis balls you need to suit your skill level and playing environment, it’s time to get out on the court with your new balls and enjoy better performance and improved play!