The Best Tennis Balls in 2021

Tennis balls are an essential part of the game but their importance on the quality of play is often overlooked. Unless you are a professional and thus aware of the reasons for carefully choosing tennis balls to play or practice, you probably don’t think about them a lot.

However, choosing the right tennis balls can have a great impact on your game, especially if you are not a professional who can play well under adverse conditions. That’s why we have selected and reviewed some of the best tennis balls available online.

penn championship extra duty felt tennis balls
  • Comes in Multiple Cases
  • Approved by USTA and ITF
  • Pressurized
  • Extra Duty
  • Deep Elastic Seams
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Penn Championship tennis balls are one of the top-selling brands in the US. The company also has a lot of experience in the industry because it has been around for more than a century. These particular balls are extra-duty, so they are best suited for hard courts. Still, you can use the balls on any other court and have a great experience, although they may not do well on grass surfaces.

These balls are used in the USTA Leagues, which speaks of the high quality they have. They are also USTA and ITF approved. The balls are made of interlocked wool fiber and natural rubber to ensure consistency and reduce shock.

You can get these balls in six different packages ranging from 3 to 72 balls, or 1 to 24 cans since each can comes with 3 balls. However, some users complained about receiving fewer cans than they were supposed to. Also, some of them received a defective product, although the majority of reviews of this product are stellar.

Pros:
  • Available in Numerous Packages
  • Extra Duty Felt
  • Suitable for Most Courts
  • Durable
  • Consistent Bounce
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • Some Reports of Missing Cans
  • Some Reports of Receiving a Defective Product
  • Not Suitable for Grass Courts

Wilson US Open Extra Duty Tennis Balls

The Best Tennis Balls for Hard Courts

wilson us open extra duty tennis balls
  • Approved by USTA and ITF
  • Pressurized
  • Extra Duty
  • Tex Tech Industries Felt
  • Official US Open Tennis Ball
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Since 1978, Wilson US Open Extra Duty tennis balls have been the official balls of the US Open, which speaks more than words about the quality of these balls. These balls are extra duty, so they are probably the best tennis balls for hard court. However, you can also choose regular duty and high altitude Wilson balls to suit your specific needs.

In addition to this, you can get the balls in a can with 3 balls or a package of 4 cans (12 balls). Of course, the balls are USTA and ITF approved. They are made with unique felt from Tex Tech Industries to provide better consistency and durability.

While most of the reviews were positive as expected, some players complained about receiving cans with fewer balls than ordered or even getting a package with a missing can.

Pros:
  • Regular Duty and High Altitude Versions Available
  • Extra Duty Felt
  • Best Suited for Hard Courts
  • Durable
  • Consistent Bounce
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • Some Reports of Missing Cans or Balls
  • Only Available in Two Packages

Dunlop ATP Championship Tennis Balls

The Best Tennis Balls for Recreational Players

dunlop atp championship tennis balls
  • Approved by USTA and ITF
  • Pressurized
  • Extra Duty
  • Finely Woven Felt
  • Endorsed by the ATP World Tour
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Dunlop Championship balls are endorsed by The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and they are often used on the ATP World Tour. However, these mid-range balls are also a great choice for recreational players because they offer a balanced performance and versatility.

These balls are made from very durable felt, making them perfect for hard courts. The finely woven construction makes the ball durable and the bright green color makes it extremely visible. But like all extra duty balls, these are also not suitable for grass surfaces or indoor matches. Also, you can only get these balls in a package of 12 cans with 3 balls each.

Pros:
  • Extra Duty Felt
  • Best Suited for Hard Courts
  • Durable
  • Consistent Bounce
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • Not Suitable for Indoors or Grass Surfaces
  • Only Available in One Package

Wilson Prime All Court Tennis Balls

The Best All-Court Tennis Balls

wilson prime all court tennis balls
  • Approved by USTA and ITF
  • Pressurized
  • Regular Duty
  • Duraweave Felt
  • Good for All Courts
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If you are looking for a reliable tennis ball that you can use on all surfaces, you can’t find any better than Wilson Prime. These balls are good for both practice purposes and matches. They are also a good choice for both professionals and amateurs.

You can choose from three packages if you decide to get Wilson Prime tennis balls – 1 can, 4 cans and 24 cans, with 3 balls in each can. The balls are made with exclusive Duraweave felt that provides durability to the balls, in addition to standard performances on all courts.

These balls are USTA and ITF approved, so they can be used for official games as well. On the downside, there are some reviews of not receiving the correct number of balls in packages.

Pros:
  • Available in Three Packages
  • Regular Duty Felt
  • All-Court
  • Durable
  • Consistent Bounce
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • Some Reports of Missing Cans or Balls
  • Not as Durable as Extra Duty Balls

HEAD Tour Tennis Balls

The Best Tennis Balls for Practice

head tour tennis balls
  • Approved by ITF
  • Pressurized
  • Regular Duty
  • SmartOptik Technology for Better Visibility
  • Good for All Courts
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While these balls are ITF approved and are frequently used for official games, they are also a great choice for practice because they are versatile, durable and provide a good mix of spin and control. They also come with SmartOptik technology for greater visibility.

Unlike most other tennis balls, HEAD Tour tennis balls arrive in a pressurized package of 4 balls instead of 3. You can also get them in a wide variety of packages, not just a single can. The balls are designed to be used on a wide range of courts and made with durability in mind. However, these balls are a bit more expensive than most others but they offer great performance for the price.

Pros:
  • Regular Duty Felt
  • All-Court
  • Durable
  • Good Performance
  • Extremely Visible
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • A Bit Expensive
  • Not as Durable as Extra Duty Balls

Slazenger The Wimbledon Ball

The Best Tennis Balls for Grass Surfaces

slazenger the wimbledon ball
  • Approved by USTA and ITF
  • Regular Duty
  • Ultra Vis Dye for Visibility
  • Hydroguard Technology for Durability
  • Good for All Courts, Best on Grass Surfaces
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If you are looking for a great ball for grass, you can’t do better than the official Wimbledon tennis ball. Slazenger tennis balls are stylish and durable, great for both official games and recreational play.

Although it is the best ball for grass surfaces, you can use it on other surfaces as well since it features a unique Tour Core designed to provide versatility. These balls are also quite durable and come in a can with 4 balls.

Despite being green, they are extremely visible, even on grass surfaces. This is achieved with the Ultra Vis dye that ensures optimum visibility. Slazenger tennis balls also have Hydroguard technology that repels 70% of the water and increases durability. It is hard to find a flaw with these balls, except for a bit higher price.

Pros:
  • Regular Duty Felt
  • Good on All Courts
  • Durable
  • Good Performance
  • Extremely Visible
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • A Bit Expensive
  • Only Available in One Package

Wilson Triniti Tennis Balls

The Most Eco-Friendly Tennis Balls

wilson triniti tennis balls
  • Approved by USTA and ITF
  • Regular Duty
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • STR Felt
  • Engage Core
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Unlike the rest of the balls on our list, Wilson Triniti tennis balls come in a pressureless package even though the balls themselves are pressurized. They are eco-friendly because they come in a fully recyclable packaging – a simple paper can with 3 balls. Also, 5% of the profits go to sustainability efforts across the world.

These balls have a unique Engage Core that integrates plastomer material to maintain durability for much longer than the standard core. Also, the balls come with STR Felt, which is more flexible than standard felt and also improves durability.

And despite the unique packaging, these balls offer a solid performance on all courts. With a good bounce and control, they can be used for both practice purposes and recreational games. Wilson Triniti tennis balls are also USTA and ITF approved.

Pros:
  • Regular Duty Felt
  • Good on All Courts
  • Very Durable
  • Good Performance
  • Can Be Used in Official Games
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Only Available in Two Packages

How to Choose the Best Tennis Balls

If you are not familiar with tennis balls, you may understandably think that all tennis balls are the same, or at least similar in quality.

However, the truth is that there is a variety of choices when it comes to tennis balls. This variety depends on many things and while it may not be as important decision as choosing your tennis racket or tennis shoes, it is still important to know what features to consider when you buy tennis balls.

Quality Level

Tennis balls are classified in three levels – recreational, championship and professional.

Recreational Balls

These tennis balls are the best choice for beginners and entry-level players. You can use these balls for training, practice matches, tennis machines, etc. They are also suitable for kids, depending on the stage level:

  • Stage 1 (Green Balls) – These balls are the typical recreational balls for adult beginners and entry-level players. They can be used on a regular 78-foot tennis court. Since they have a lower bounce than professional balls, they are often used by pro players as well for practice purposes since they provide more control. Stage 1 balls are usually more durable than Stage 2 or Stage 3 tennis balls.
  • Stage 2 (Orange Balls) – Stage 2 balls are a bit slower than Stage 1 balls and they work best on 60-foot courts. They are designed for a bit older kids or entry-level adults who don’t have any tennis experience.
  • Stage 3 (Red Balls) – These tennis balls are designed for kids up to 10 years of age. Stage 3 balls can be used on 36-foot courts and are the best balls for young children to build up their skills. They are the slowest balls available, allowing kids to improve coordination and keep their confidence.

Championship Balls

They are tennis balls used in official league matches. They are of better quality than recreational tennis balls and more expensive.

Professional Balls

They are tennis balls used in international tournaments by professional tennis players, including majors like Grand Slams and Masters. They are also the most expensive and there is no reason to spend so much on them unless you are a professional tennis player.

It is also important to remember that all tennis balls of any level and stage have to be approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Pressurized vs. Pressureless Tennis Balls

Another important thing to consider when you buy tennis balls is the difference between pressureless and pressurized balls. This plays an important role in your ability to control your shots better, especially if you choose the right tennis strings as well.

Pressureless Tennis Balls

This type of tennis balls is the best choice for beginners and entry-level players. They are used for practice and in recreational games. If you plan to use a tennis ball machine, then you should choose pressureless balls.

Pressureless tennis balls come with a low internal pressure of up to 1 Psi, so they are less bouncy than pressurized tennis balls. This also means that they are easier to hit and control, which is why they are good for beginners and for practice.

They have a rubber structure, so they gain more bounce after the felt wears. However, they are quite durable, so it would take some time before you notice the change in the bounce. They are quite heavy as well, so they may not be fit for all players.

While these balls are most commonly used for practice, some pressureless tennis balls are approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and used in some tournaments, especially at higher altitudes.

Pressurized Tennis Balls

Like the name says, pressurized tennis balls use internal air pressure to achieve greater bounce, spin and speed. They are commonly used by professionals and as official tournament balls.

Compared to pressureless tennis balls, these balls are also lighter and not as durable. The reason for this lies in the fact that they lose their bounce with time, unlike pressureless balls that do the opposite. In fact, some studies have shown that their lifespan is at most a couple of weeks, while many are only used for a single match.

Since pressurized tennis balls have a hollow core, they are light and more suitable for people who suffer from the well-known condition called tennis elbow. These balls are also more difficult to control but that is not usually a problem for professional players.

Type of Court

The type of court you plan on playing will also impact your decision, although some professional tennis balls work well on all courts.

Hard Courts

When you play on hard courts, your tennis balls are more likely to wear faster. In addition to this, the balls will bounce higher and faster, making it hard to control your shots if you are an entry-level player.

The best tennis balls for hard courts have extra felt to improve their durability and prevent the balls from bouncing too high to ensure better control.

Clay Courts

Clay courts have a soft surface, which is good for entry-level players because injuries due to falling usually aren’t serious, although sliding is a more common accident compared to other types of court.

When it comes to the way tennis balls bounce, clay makes balls bounce in unexpected ways. Tennis balls with extra felt will pick up more clay and dirt off the ground, making the ball heavier and even more difficult to control.

The best tennis balls for clay courts should have less felt to provide a more predictable bounce, despite being less durable.

Grass Courts

Grass courts are not so popular today as they were 50 years ago. Despite this, Wimbledon is still the biggest Grand Slam tournament of them all. These courts are quite soft, which leads to a lower bounce, making grass courts perhaps the most challenging for beginners.

Since the grass surface significantly decreases the bounce, it is important to choose tennis balls that bounce high or you will end up playing with a ball that doesn’t offer any bounce at all. In fact, there are special tennis balls for grass courts that come with unique felt that improves the bounce, as well as responsiveness on the ball. Additionally, the serve-and-volley tactic is the best way to overcome low bounces.

Other Considerations

In addition to the factors we mentioned, there are a few other things to consider when you choose your tennis balls.

Regular Duty vs. Extra Duty

The distinction between these two types of tennis balls is quite simple – extra duty tennis balls have more felt.

This means that regular duty tennis balls are a better choice for indoor courts and particularly clay courts because they reduce the amount of clay that is absorbed on impact. Meanwhile, extra duty balls are best used on grass surfaces and demanding hard courts.

High Altitude

Playing at high altitudes will have a serious impact on the way tennis balls behave when you hit them. For example, pressurized balls will bounce higher and be faster at high altitudes, which is a height of at least 4,000 feet according to the ITF.

This is the reason why pressureless tennis balls are used at high altitudes, as well as various specialized tennis balls made specifically for this purpose.

Tennis Elbow

Although playing tennis is one of the least probable causes of tennis elbow, this painful condition can also become aggravated when you play and impact your quality of life in other ways.

For this reason, tennis ball manufacturers have introduced balls that are more suitable for people suffering from tennis elbow. These balls can decrease the impact on the elbow by up to 15%, preventing elbow pain to a certain extent.

If you suffer from this condition, you may also want to consider wearing elbow braces, sleeves, straps or pads.

Conclusion

Choosing the right tennis balls is not as easy as it looks and there are a plethora of choices on the market. Among other things, you need to take into account the court type, location, your skill set, etc.

We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have been helpful and that you have found the best tennis balls for your specific needs.

About The Author

Vladimir Kovacevic

Vladimir is a former journalism student and an active freelance writer. He has a lifelong passion for sports, especially soccer, basketball and tennis. His basketball playing days ended after high school but he still likes to play hoops with his friends. Vladimir also likes to ride his bike at some of the most popular green areas in Belgrade, Serbia.

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