How Long Do Tennis Balls Last? [2024]

The amount of playing time you can get from a can of tennis balls may surprise you if you’re new to tennis.

Several factors determine this, including the type of tennis ball you use and your level of play. Tennis balls aren’t all the same, of course.

Some begin with varying amounts of pressure, causing them to bounce differently. As with clay tennis balls, some are designed specifically for use on certain surfaces.

You will eventually need to replace your tennis balls, even if you use the best balls on the market. To put it simply, how long do tennis balls last?

How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?

Recreational players will receive 1-4 weeks’ worth of play out of a can of pressurized tennis balls. The life of a pressurized tennis ball set is short if it is used for competitive tennis.

Tennis balls made of pressureless materials can last up to a year.

Tennis Ball DurationRecreational PlayCompetitive Play
Pressurized Tennis BallsModerate play for 1-4 weeklyy for 1-3 hours continuously
Pressureless Tennis BallsModerate play for 1-3 yearst is not recommended

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Different types of tennis balls

How Long Do Tennis Balls Last

Tennis balls come in a variety of types that you may not even be aware of. Traditional yellow tennis balls are the most popular and easily recognizable. There are many different designs and weights of these as well as various characteristics. The weight and durability of some games make them a little more challenging to play.

Tennis balls are ideal for surfaces like tarmac and clay courts that wear down tennis balls aggressively. However, their performance may be compromised a bit in terms of feel and playability compared to regular duty balls.

A lighter tennis ball will bounce higher than a heavier ball and is designed to fly through the air. Balls with lighter weights are often used on slower surfaces as a countermeasure to the court slowing the ball down, while heavier balls are often used on faster surfaces as a countermeasure.

The best tennis ball for your game, however, will depend on your level of recreation. It’s also likely you’ll be using the same set of tennis balls at the same club on different court surfaces, so choosing one that is durable, not too heavy, and doesn’t break can be a good option.

The type of yellow tennis ball you choose can affect its longevity, but what about balls that have different pressure levels?

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Pressurized vs Pressureless Tennis Balls

There is a direct correlation between the pressure of your tennis balls and their longevity. However, what are the differences between the two types?

  • It is no surprise that inflated balls are made of rubber, as their name suggests. An enclosed hollow chamber filled with pressurized gas is located in the middle of the device. There is no need for air pressure inside pressureless tennis balls since they have a thicker rubber composition.
  • When you hit a pressureless tennis ball with a racket, it feels heavier than when you hit a pressurized ball because of the air pressure inside. The first few times I played tennis, my arms were exhausted from hitting pressureless tennis balls!
  • Upon hitting a pressurized tennis ball, air escapes from its core through microtears, leading to the ball wearing out quickly. Tennis balls without internal pressure, however, are more durable because they are thick, rubbery, and have less internal pressure. Several years ago, I owned a few pressureless tennis balls, which I still use today.
  • Most tennis balls used in competitive matches are inflated tennis balls. Instructors, however, prefer pressureless tennis balls for practice.

When do unopened tennis balls expire?

How Long Do Tennis Balls Last

Do Tennis Balls Expire? In addition to understanding why tennis balls are pressurized, a number of you may also be wondering how long tennis balls last unopened. It is certainly not true that they last forever as it might seem!

They will slowly lose pressure even if kept inside an airtight can. 

The air still leaks from these cans, even though they are carefully isolated to prevent air leaks. Tennis balls are not affected by these microtears in the short term because the pressure loss is so minute.

Tennis balls will be damaged over time as a result of pressure loss. Their bouncy properties will have diminished after more than two years since they were manufactured due to pressure loss.

Why Do Tennis Balls Fall?

How long tennis balls last depends on the surface type, pressure, felt wear, and playing level.

 Surface type

There are several types of tennis courts, and the composition of the court may have an impact on how long your tennis balls will last. Tennis courts can be classified into four types: 

  • Clay courts
  • Hard (acrylic) courts. 
  • Grass courts
  • Artificial grass courts

In addition to concrete tennis courts, asphalt tennis courts, and carpet tennis courts are also available.

In comparison with asphalt, concrete, or hard courts, grass, and artificial grass courts wear down tennis balls faster. Tennis balls lose air faster and become damaged when their outer layers are damaged due to the higher abrasiveness of the latter types.

Playing Level

Tennis balls have a considerable impact on their lifespan, regardless of whether they are played by beginners, intermediates, or professionals. The tennis ball must be struck with a considerable amount of force and spin for a professional tennis player to get a good hit.

If you strike the ball harder, more air is squeezed out of it, causing the ball to stiffen sooner. Beginners use less force when hitting tennis balls, which prolongs their lifespan.

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Felt Wear

The most obvious sign of degradation is the wear on the felt of the tennis ball. When a ball begins to fray and discolor, you can tell that it is getting fluffed up and worn down.

In addition to ball speed and frequency, abrasive court surfaces, ball spin, weather conditions, and abrasiveness of court surfaces all have a significant impact on how quickly the ball’s outer felt wears down.

In even light rain the ball will fluff up tremendously when used on a clay court with a lighter tennis ball. A ball with the least amount of felt fluff in place will have a better chance of flying through the air and returning to the player.

Ball Pressure

You will notice a decrease in ball pressure as you hit the ball faster and play with it longer. It tends not to impact the average club player too much after just one session as this is a relatively gradual process.

The life of the tennis ball can be greatly affected by this, however, for Shortest Men’s Tennis Players. It’s amazing how much pressure can be reduced throughout a game when the pros hit the ball so hard.

A heavy-duty tennis ball will tend to last longer than a regular tennis ball due to its durability.

When Does a Tennis Ball Need to be Replaced?

Several methods can be used to identify dead tennis balls if you suspect you may be dealing with an issue:

  1. Bounce decreases: Has your tennis ball bounced less since you started playing? The old and new tennis balls should be held in one hand, and you should throw them from the same height. Changing your tennis ball if your old one bounces significantly less than the new one is a good idea.
  2. The sound: You need to deeply ingrained in your head what a tennis ball sounds like when you strike it as a tennis player. Your tennis ball may need to be replaced if that sound changes and it sounds hollow.
  3. A squeeze: You can also squeeze your tennis ball to determine if it is dead. In general, tennis balls are hard to squeeze, but with time they become softer. The most likely indication that your tennis ball is dead is if you can squeeze it effortlessly.

Whenever players choose equipment like rackets or balls, they are rushing and in a tense state, so about dating, you should never date one.

Tennis balls with the longest lifespan

How Long Do Tennis Balls Last

The necessity of replacing tennis balls should not be overlooked by tennis players. Your game may become less bouncy as they wear out, become stiffer, flatter, and harder to bounce.

Most tennis players, especially those who play a lot, need to replace their tennis balls quite often. A substantial amount of money will be spent on frequent replacements. Tennis balls of high quality and long-lasting are therefore crucial. 

I’ve got the right choice for you if you’re interested in some durable, new tennis balls! The Penn Championship Tennis Balls – Extra Duty Felt are available here. Their details are as follows:

  • ITF and USTA approve these tennis balls because of their thicker felt.
  • Tennis balls with thicker felt don’t usually get fuzzy after a few matches due to their thicker felt. 
  • Natural rubber is used in the body of these tennis balls to absorb shock, and elastic seams are used to prevent cracks. 
  • Their composition makes them suitable for any surface and quite long-lasting.

The Penn Championship tennis balls have been a part of my game for a few years now. The quality and lifespan of these balls are significantly better than those of my old tennis balls, as I can tell you from experience. 

Penn Championship tennis balls are the best in America, which further proves their greatness. As well as being the standard, they are also the most popular tennis balls.

The fact that you get so much for such a low price is not surprising.  The game-changing tennis balls come in a variety of cans, so you can try out three 12, or 15 at a time. Take a chance on them, and you’ll be amazed at the results!

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In Reality, How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?

How Long Do Tennis Balls Last

Tennis balls have different life spans based on their diameter, their surface, the weather, how hard they are hit, and how long they are used. Several factors can contribute to whether a tennis ball will last for an extended period or only last for a few minutes.

The good news is that in most cases, high-quality tennis balls will retain their felt quality and pressurized state for several hours if handled properly.

A high level of intensity and frequent play (at least a few times per week) will determine whether you should opt for an extra-duty ball, as it will last you for at least a week of hitting sessions if you play with a high level of intensity.

The balls you use for regular duty may last you several months if you play a more relaxed game and only play once a week or so. Check out our guide about Can You Play Tennis With Tennis Elbow?

The life of a tennis ball can be quite varied, as you can see!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which tennis ball lasts the longest?

Tennis balls with pressureless technology are undoubtedly the best when it comes to durability, but not everyone can use them.
It is important to realize, however, that most tennis balls are branded as regular-duty tennis balls when considering only pressurized tennis balls. Tennis balls made from extra-duty materials last longer than those made from regular materials.

How long do tennis balls last unopened?

You might be surprised to learn that pressurized tennis balls won’t last forever, sealed or unopened.
An unopened tennis ball container usually lasts around two years. Due to micro leaks in the packaging, the pressure in a can of tennis balls slowly leaks out over time.

Can I extend the life of my tennis balls?

Absolutely! To extend the life of your tennis balls, there are a few things you can do. First, store them in a cool, dry place.
This will help protect them from heat and humidity, which can cause the rubber to break down faster. Regularly check your balls for any signs of damage, such as cracking or denting. If you find any, replace them right away.
Finally, use proper technique when hitting the ball. Using too much force can cause your tennis balls to wear out faster.
Following these steps can help you get the most out of your tennis balls and help them last longer.

What to do with old tennis balls

Tennis balls are made of a combination of rubber, felt, and air that can be recycled in some areas.

Where can I recycle my old tennis balls?

The best way to recycle your old tennis balls is to check with local recycling centers or sports equipment stores.
Some stores may have a program that allows you to donate your used tennis balls for reuse or recycling.
You can also search online for “tennis ball recyclers” to find companies that will buy your used tennis balls for repurposing or recycling.

How long do tennis balls last during a match?

It is possible that you have seen the umpire call for a change of tennis balls during a professional tennis match. Tennis balls are changed on the professional tour after the first 7 games and thereafter every 9 games.
To account for wear on the balls during warm-up, the first change of balls happens two games earlier.

What’s Next?

In reality, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long tennis balls last. In addition to the type of ball used, there are too many variables to predict how long it will last!

In addition to pressurized tennis balls and pressureless tennis balls, there are other types of tennis balls as well, such as extra-duty tennis balls and mini-red tennis balls.

Monte Carlo Tennis 2023 will commence soon, so choose a ball that suits you and start playing now. For sweaty hands or if your hands are slippery, you can use Eastern hand grips or tennis overgrips.

The most important thing to determine is what type of tennis ball works best for you, based on your court surface, how hard you hit the ball, how many spins you use, and simply what ball you enjoy the most.

David Harris

David is the founder and chief writer at Tennis Pursuits. A tennis fanatic, David has extensive experience of the game and has reviewed 100s of products to date. He is passionate about helping others on their tennis journey.

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