How long do tennis balls last? That’s probably the first question you’d think of when you buy new tennis balls.
For a simple answer, it depends on the user. It is not surprising that professionals will use tennis balls for practice more frequently than casuals. So how do we answer this? How long do tennis balls actually last?
How Are Tennis Balls Made: The Background
Here’s a little background check on the basics of tennis balls before I start. I will be providing you with the kinds of tennis balls that are available in the market. I will also be giving a brief on their structure and possible manufacturing ingredients. This will give you a better idea of how long they may end up lasting.
Thailand rubber, pressurized air, and plenty of adhesives and heat – these are what make the base of a tennis ball. The woven wool felt outside is just the exterior.
These sheets of rubber imported from the highest quality of natural Thai rubber are strong. They are properly molded into the shape of shells. These half-shells are stuck together and an adhesive is used to join them up to create a ball under extreme heat.
Afterward, the core of the ball is pumped with the air of very high psi levels. This is what prevents a tennis ball from denting. Lastly, sandpaper is added to the exterior in this phase to give maximum friction for better contact with racquets.
The last phase is applying the felt on the exterior for a soft, smooth texture when holding the balls.
Simple enough, right? I thought it was far simpler than what I had assumed was a very complicated process. The more you know I guess!
Types of Tennis Balls & How Long They Last
1. Pressurized Tennis Balls
Pressurized tennis balls are what most amateur level players use. These balls get their bounce from the air inserted inside them. These are the tennis balls that end up being used by professionals in tournaments.
This internal pressure does fade quickly, and it means that these balls cannot be used for too long. I have personally found pressurized tennis balls to be more susceptible to leaks. The ball is considered dead when it loses its bounce.
However, this does not take away from the fact that these are the better balls to play with. You get more bounce, speed, and spin from a pressurized ball.
Usually, pressurized tennis balls would survive a month of moderate usage, and a few hours of very vigorous usage. Most professionals switch out the tennis ball after every few serves.
Some of the best-pressurized tennis balls are made by Wilson under their US Open series. You can click below to buy a set of these!
2. Pressureless Tennis Balls
A pressure-less tennis ball does not have any air inside them. Pressure-less balls do not need to be replaced as often, as they get their bounce naturally. Upon using the ball a lot, the external layer of felt will start to wear out.
Oh, that’s bad! – is probably what you are thinking. You would be wrong, though. By losing the external layer of felt, the ball actually becomes bouncier over time! Due to having a solid rubber core, pressure-less balls are actually more durable.
When comparing, the biggest pro point for pressure-less tennis balls is their lifespan compared to a pressurized tennis ball. Pressure-less tennis balls can be great for practicing under harsher conditions.
You can find some of the best pressure-less tennis balls here from the Penn brand.
How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?
Pressure-less tennis balls usually last for a couple of years from moderate usage. They are not recommended for competitive playing at all, as they would not survive the force from the serves.
This is a short way to answer the question, but note that certain factors will affect the outcome. I do not think that pressure-less tennis balls are fit for vigorous playing sessions. They are simple creations for moderate or amateur practice.
Tennis Ball Flattening
I was honestly aware that this was even an issue. Tennis balls, after wearing out, start going flat. You would think that this is inevitable after playing with it for hours. In reality, technology seems to have come quite a bit far for that to be the case.
A flat tennis ball is one that has worn out from the air it had originally contained. I am, of course, speaking about pressurized tennis balls. Being played with and suffering from so many serves would cause a tennis ball to go flat sooner or later.
How To Prevent Tennis Balls from Going Flat
Here are a few methods that can be used to save you some money by preventing your tennis balls from flattening.
1. Tennis Ball Saver
The Tennis Ball Saver is a tube, inside which you are supposed to place your tennis balls. The internal chamber of the tube makes sure that the balls are held under equal internal and external pressures.
This stops air from seeming out of the ball and helps them retain both their shape and their bounce. It sounded unrealistic to me at first, but upon learning more – it seems to have a lot of satisfied customers!
The PressureBall tube is something to ensure that your tennis balls will not lose their bounce. In reality, it may appear to you as just a tube. However, the tube is created to make sure that the air of your tennis balls does not seep out whatsoever.
In practice, this has proven to be somewhat useful. It seems that aside from reducing how often you play tennis, it can be quite difficult to stop your tennis balls from going flat.
These are some of the ways I found on the internet to stop your tennis balls from flattening. It remains a debate amongst the customers whether it works or not. In reality, I think that they can help more than not.
What To Do with Old or Dead Tennis Balls
Seems an easy topic to respond to. Your tennis balls ran out of air, or they might have flattened over time. Throwing them away may seem an easy option to you, but I will discuss some other things you can do with old tennis balls.
1. Laundry Fluffer
Seems weird? Almost definitely, yes. Believe it or not, a tennis ball makes for a great laundry fluffer when used correctly. When drying laundry, put the ball into the drier and leave it in there for a few minutes.
Not only will this manage to dry up the clothes faster due to their absorption factor. Their somewhat rough surface also helps to fluff clothes very well if that is something you are looking for.
2. Floor Protectors
Cut out the interior segment of a tennis ball, to make some room. In case you have any chairs that have sharp edges at the feet, insert these cut-outs into the feet.
Not only will this help your floor stay protected, but I found it surprising how comfortable the chair became. Unconventional as it may be, it seems like old tennis balls can be used for comfortable seating too.
3. Bug Repellent
Apply some Vaseline or vinegar on the exterior felt of the ball. Hang it up near plants or your windows. Very strange suggestion, right?
Well, it turns out that due to the absorption factor of tennis balls, they are great as bug repellents. Since they can hold on to substances such as vinegar or Vaseline longer, they can repel bugs away from you.
Alternatively, you can also use them on walkers for seniors.
Tennis Ball Quality
This went without saying. A Lamborghini will definitely give you better longevity than a Nissan. Better products will cost more and give longer life.
I have included a list of some of the most durable tennis balls below in the market. These balls can withstand tremendous force.
They are all pressurized balls, just for your information. They will also last you quite some time, based on the quality of the product they add to the table.
Best Pressurized Tennis Balls
1. Wilson Prime All Court Tennis Balls are very affordable at around $5 (at the time or writing), and they ship with 3 balls per pack. They are extremely durable and are made for professional experiences.
2. Penn Championship Tennis Balls contain 3 balls per pack. While they are not as high quality as the Wilson Prime, they still end up lasting longer than almost any other tennis ball pack in the market.
To conclude the question “how long do tennis balls last?”, I will say that pressurized tennis balls are better for the experience.
They last less, just above 3-4 weeks after competitive playing. However, they maintain the bounce, the spin, and the speed for the best experience when you play.
Pressure-less tennis balls last longer and are better for your wallet. They do not, however, give you an ideal experience on a tennis court.
I hope you found my observations helpful, and have gotten the answer to your queries. Happy playing!
My name is Reagen and I started AllTennisGear (earlier AllTennisShoes) as a way to share my humble experience and help new Tennis players. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day here and know that your feedback is always welcome.