How Long Will Tennis Balls Last? (Tennis Ball Guide)
When it comes to tennis balls, they are products like the next ones, and they won’t last forever. There are many brands that produce these rubber balls that are covered in felt, and all of them lasts about the same. But how long is that exactly?
As a rule of thumb, tennis balls last until you notice a drastic decrease in the bounce. This usually takes 3 hours of constant hitting, which is usually around 3 training sessions. These numbers are played with quality pressurized balls; however, pressureless balls can last more than a year.
Another drastic variable is whether the ball is used by the recreational player or hard professionals. Naturally, pro tennis players hit the ball with greater power, more often and in a consistent timeframe, so balls will go bad faster with pros.
Really it’s hard to put a pin on the time when the ball will go bad, so you should replace it when you see a noticeable decrease in quality. This takes us to the next subject about how often should you change tennis balls?
- How often should tennis balls be replaced
- Pressurized Vs Pressureless tennis balls
- Where to know when to change your tennis balls
- How do you make tennis balls last longer?
- Why are tennis balls sold in pressurized tubes?
- Do unopened tennis balls expire?
- What can you do with old tennis balls?
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
How often should tennis balls be replaced
As discussed above, a tennis ball should often be changed every 3 sessions in hard play. In recreational use, it’s a longer timeframe. It also matters whether the ball is pressurized or pressureless. Below you can see a combination of these and the time you should expect.
|Player & Ball||Time Estimate|
|Recreational Player &|
|≈ 2 weeks of training|
|Recreational Player &|
|+ 1 year of training|
|Pro Player &|
|≈ 3 hours of constant hitting|
|Pro Player &|
Even when you have these time estimates, you should know that it can be longer or lesser because the only thing you will know for sure is by looking at the ball’s performance and making your own judgment.
Next, let’s take a closer look at the differences between pressurized and pressureless tennis balls before diving deeper into how you can know when to replace tennis balls.
Pressurized Vs Pressureless tennis balls
There are two kinds of tennis balls: pressurized and pressureless. Pressurized are always used in competitive play, while pressureless are for training and recreational use. Let’s examine these further, and I’ll start with the pressurized ones.
Pressurized tennis balls
Pressurized balls are the quality balls of the two, even when they lose their bounce much faster than pressureless balls. This is why most professional tournaments change the balls every nine games. These are the only balls that are used in competitive tournaments because of the following reasons.
Pressurized balls are better in terms of gameplay because they use the air inside for the bounce instead of their own rubber structure like pressureless balls do. This results in a lighter ball that is faster have more spin and is better to play with in general.
My favorite pressurized tennis balls are the Penn Championship balls that are consistent and just great to play with. Extra-duty felt is a must if you play most of the time on hard courts.
Pressureless tennis balls
Pressureless tennis balls are usually used by beginner or recreational players and professionals in training because they can last multiple years and don’t lose bounce. In fact, pressureless balls will gain bounce over time when the green felt wears out and the rubber gets out more.
Well, why do pressurized balls lose bounce and pressureless gain some? This is because pressureless balls gain their bounce from the rubber structure, not the air inside that pressurized balls have.
This makes us think, why aren’t pressureless balls used in competitive play? This is because pressureless balls are heavier, aren’t so fast, have less spin, and are harder to play than pressurized ones. In competitive play, the best products must be used, and there is no better ball than a pressurized one just opened from the can.
My pick for pressureless balls is Tourna Tennis Balls. In addition to the durability and unbelievable lifespan of bounce, I like these because this 18-pack comes in a mesh carry bag for easy carrying.
Where to know when to change your tennis balls
Knowing when to change tennis balls is a skill really that develops over time. However, I have some great tips on noticing and being sure when you should change the ball.
1. Tennis ball’s bounce
The most important and noticeable tell is the bounce. You can try hitting the ball and see how it bounces or simply dropping the ball from your hand and bouncing it a couple of times. If you can clearly see that it’s not how it should, you should change it.
However, if you aren’t sure, you can compare it with a new ball and if you see a clear difference, change it. If it’s a slight difference, you can use it some more!
2. Feel the tennis ball
Another easy tell is to feel the ball. Start squeezing the ball’s sides with your fingers, and if it gives in too much, it should probably be replaced. However, if you are unsure, give it a bounce and see and compare the squeeziness with a new ball.
When you squeeze a new ball, it’s quite stiff and doesn’t give in nearly at all, so if the old ball does, change it.
3. Listen to the bounce
A new ball and one that should be replaced have different sounds. This is harder to notice than the bounce or feel, but an old ball makes a flat noise, whereas a new one has a springy noise. If that makes sense… Try it out and listen for yourself!
4. Examine the ball’s felt
The final do tell is the felt. If your ball has many smooth patches and the felt looks worn out, it should be replaced. Again, compare it to a new one and see if the difference is drastic, change it. If the difference isn’t drastic, you can play with the old one if the bounce still is great.
How do you make tennis balls last longer?
There are two ways that I love to use to get a little extra life for my tennis balls. Let’s start with the heating.
1. Heat your tennis balls
As you know, tennis balls are made from rubber and heating the balls gives them more bounce. While you’re playing, you can leave your ball tube into the sun so the balls will get hot and the rubber gets harder and more bouncier.
Also, if it’s a hot day, you can keep your tennis ball tube in a car so they will get that heat that will harden the rubber and give it a better bounce for your games.
These aren’t something that will drastically make the balls last longer because nothing will. But these are beneficial nonetheless!
2. Use a tennis ball saver
My personal favorite is a Tennis Ball Saver. Tennis ball savers are just great, and there are different sizes out there, but I like to use one that fits 3 balls because it can be stored in a bag so easily.
These pressurized containers work to generate equal internal and external pressure so that air won’t affect the ball whatsoever. Thus, keeping the tennis balls fresh and bouncy (Read Also: Do Tennis Balls Go Further Than Baseballs?) (Read Also: Do Tennis Balls Go Further Than Baseballs?)!
As affordable as this tennis ball saver is, it will start saving you money in no time because you will be throwing fewer tennis balls away when you use it!
3. Other tips
In addition to prolonging the tennis ball’s life, you can also make sure that they don’t lose their bounce faster than necessary.
First of all, don’t wet the tennis balls, ever. If it starts to rain, cover your tennis balls fast because that isn’t good for them. Also, don’t hit the balls unnecessarily because that will wear them out further. Little things, but they’ll help nonetheless.
Why are tennis balls sold in pressurized tubes?
Tennis balls are sold in pressurized tubes because a tennis ball’s internal pressure is 14psi; therefore, the can they are held into are pressurized to 14psi, so the balls are in as fresh quality condition as the day they were manufactured. Pressurized tubes retain the balls bounce the maximum amount.
Do unopened tennis balls expire?
Unlike some rumors that unopened cans of tennis balls last indefinitely, they don’t. Tennis cans have micro leaks that let a minimal amount of air in the tube. This makes the expiration date for unopened cans approximately 2 years.
What can you do with old tennis balls?
Suppose you think that when your tennis ball is old and needs to be replaced, you need to discard it and throw it away. This isn’t the case because there are so many things you can do with old tennis balls. Below you can find my top 10 choices.
- Warm up your tennis game with old balls.
- Play fetch with a dog.
- Send them to recycling free of charge to companies such as Rebounces.
- Call schools and ask whether they want them for sports, crafts, or other things.
- Use one as a stressball to work on your muscles.
- Make bird feeders.
- Use them in arts and crafts.
- Make tiny houses for small pets such as mice, turtles, or hamsters.
- Float them in your pool for some wet tossaround.
- Use them for massage (lower back, foot, etc). Singular or put many in a sock and rub it where it hurts.
There are dozens of more things you can use your old tennis balls, such as hanging one from your garage roof so you will know when to stop your car, using them as bottle openers, scuff mark eraser, and more.
My personal favorites are using them for massage, throwing them in water with friends, and using them in the warm-up in tennis, so new balls last longer.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
There is so much to learn about tennis balls, but one of the most important is how you can spot when to replace one because an old tennis ball is a pain to play with (Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Learn Tennis?) (Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Learn Tennis?). I hope that this article was useful to you, and you learned a ton of new things that you can implement in your real life.