Playing tennis is a wonderful thing, and as you get better, you realize the devil really is in the details. You start to notice different ball qualities and what types of balls you prefer to play with over another. This is normal as a Penn will feel extremely different to a Wilson. Even within the types of brands, you will notice that companies will produce different balls. This is for different game types and court surfaces.
For now, we are here to talk about the top 5 best tennis balls for hardcourts. A few factors have a significant impact as to whether it will be a good tennis ball for hard court or not. This last will break down all of that.
Table of Contents
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
|DUNLOP Grand Prix Extra Duty Tennis Ball Can
|Wilson Champ XD Tennis Ball
|Wilson US Open RD Tennis Ball
|Slazenger Wimbledon Tennis Balls
|DUNLOP Championship Extra Duty Tennis Balls
|Penn Championship Tennis Balls - Extra Duty
How to Tell if the Ball is Good for Hard Court?
The qualities of the tennis ball type are the most important factors. Do the balls feel heavy? Do they feel like they get fuzzy fast and slow down quickly? All these questions are important to ask and can be the smallest difference for a good ball and not.
In general, aside from physical qualities, we can look for a few signs that sign the ball may be a winner for hard court play.
Quality VS Price
Something that often catches a lot of eyes is bulk packaging when it comes to tennis balls. It seems like such a good idea because tennis balls, in general, can be expensive and this is a great way to save money.
But this is not always the case. When you buy in bulk, sometimes a few things can happen. The first is they may be of poor quality if you are truly buying a lot of bulk at a low price. The second problem can be that by the time you get ready to use cans, the balls may have been sitting around for too long and become less pressurized and give that dead-ball feeling even if they feel now.
This has to do with bulk buying as well. But it also can mean buying a crappy can on a singular basis. Not all balls are going to be great on hard court, but brands that are less recognizable are more likely than not to be a little less high in quality compared to big name brands like Wilson.
They Don’t Break
Believe it or not tennis balls do break when you hit them. If you hit a ball hard enough it can split open. Bad tennis balls will split open easily even with someone who hits a little harder. Tennis balls should remain in contact, and if they constantly break then, this is a sign of bad quality.
Physical Qualities of a Good Tennis Ball
Above are some examples of how a ball can be poor quality or not make the cut in terms of top 5 tennis balls for hard court. Let’s dive a little deeper into the physical qualities that you should pick up on when hitting with balls to judge as to whether they are good or not on hard court.
Durability is one of the biggest factors. How durable the ball is will determine whether it is worth the price and how quickly it starts to lose its pep when it is hit with. Of course, if it breaks, as we just mentioned, this is a bad sign of at least a bad case of balls and, at worst, a poor quality ball in general.
You will notice that once you start hitting with tennis balls, the fuzz begins to unravel a little bit. How fuzzy a ball will get will also determine the quality. Those who hit a lot of topspin will naturally create more fuzz. But hard courts are gritty, which also means the ball may start to get soft on the outside.
The longer a ball can last tightly wrapped, the best quality it is for hard court. When the balls get fuzzy, they get slow and start to die. That’s why fresh balls always feel like they are flying off the racket.
Sometimes you will see a ball company label their can as extra duty. This is to prevent the ball from essentially fuzzing out too soon, especially with big-hitting.
Some balls naturally will feel slower or heavier than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good or bad thing for hard court, as both are appreciated in their own ways. Having said that, the only problem that occurs is that a ball that is lighter and flies may not be able to handle as much hitting and ultimately become fuzzier than the other balls.
The Top 5 Tennis Balls For Hard Court
Now that we know some of the physical qualities and factors that will affect whether it is to be considered a good hard court tennis ball let’s actually fit into the list so we can see clear examples of what works.
1. Wilson U.S. Open
The Wilson U.S. Open ball is one of the most widely recognized tennis balls on the market, as many players and coaches have all played with this ball. There is something about striking this ball that feels like its quality, especially when you are comparing it to some other brands.
These balls are used at the absolute highest levels like the Australian Open and U.S. Open, confirming that it is of great quality. If the best pros in the world, like Serena, can use these balls, then you bet the rest of us can.
So what’s so great about it? Thanks to the Text Tech Felt the balls don’t unravel so quickly, creating that slow fuzz feeling. It’s almost earned rather than given away quickly. This makes the balls last quite some time and is a great option for academies looking to get a quality ball that is long-lasting.
The downside? They are expensive, and some players sometimes feel like the ball is too flat no matter how much spin they put on it. In other words, they don’t really “go.” You have to make your own magic.
- It doesn’t get much more professional than these balls. They are some of the most preferred used balls on the market because of their durability.
- You can use them for academies and practice without fear of consistently changing the balls.
- The balls are very expensive due to their quality control.
- They can feel flat to players and not quite adoptive to spin. You really have to create your own as no assistance is given by the ball.
2. Penn Championship
You may have noticed that the Penn Championship balls are literally everyone. You go into a CVS, and they have them. Walmart? Have them. Target? Have them. Why? Because they are hard court balls that are extremely affordable compared to our number one on the list. And not to mention, for those who like to play a quick game, these balls are really sore as they feel a little lighter than any of the other options on this list.
Some people say they may feel the heavy-duty the Penn has to offer, but it’s more in terms of the felt not coming apart upon contact rather than the weight that the balls have when hitting.
- Penn Championship is a great ball that falls in the middle of durable but not too heavy. This makes for easy hitting and consistent bounces.
- This ball is a little lighter so it is more favorable for those who have injuries as it hurts a little less on contact.
- Used by official tournaments all over the world.
- Slightly more affordable in terms of per can and bulk packaging for purchase.
- Some players dislike how lightweight these balls are. They tend to fly a little further for those who take big cuts at the ball.
- They don’t outlast Wilson balls usually since they are lighter. They get fuzzier and worn down quicker.
- Penn has a noticeably stronger smell when opening the cans of balls which gives off chemical odor.
3. Dunlop ATP Championship
While Dunlop certainly has made its way over to the States, it is much more popular in Europe and other countries. It is commonly used in ITF tournaments for clay events because they are such a durable ball. Especially for the men’s side, where the ball gets hit a little harder and with a little more spin.
Interestingly enough, these balls are designed for hardcourt despite many tournaments using them for clay court purposes. Since they were the official ball of the ATP, you would think these high-quality wool tennis balls would be super expensive. But they’re not! They are actually one of the more affordable options on the market both in terms of price per can and bulk order.
They also sound like they might be heavy because of their durability, but they are also relatively lightweight. They come off heavier than the Penn but comparable to the Wilson.
- A ball that lasts a while and can handle both hard court and clay court surfaces without issue. This makes it multi-functional.
- An affordable option for a high-quality product both in terms of price per can and buying in bulk packaging.
- Some users say they actually lack the same bounce that you would find with a Wilson or Penn. This may be because of the wool type and the heavier aspect of the ball.
- Mostly found in Europe and less in the United States. May have to order online as you won’t normally since this brand in other stores like you would for Wilson or Penn.
4. Penn World Tour
Penn World Tour may be number four on the list, but it is a serious contender for a top hardcourt ball being sold. This is the ball dedicated to technology because the design process was thought out in every detail to produce the best playability results and offer fantastic feel.
Starting with its natural rubber core. This creates a great bounce off the ground and an even better contact off the racket. It’s meant to absorb some of the shock but also have a great reaction, so you really get after each shot and can easily predict where it’s going after the bounce.
Its smart fiber creates a quality wool but also is 19% brighter in terms of ball color. Why would anyone care about that? Because it makes it easier to see the ball, which plays a big role in timing and movement. This ball is a winner all the way around.
- Distinguishes itself by being 19% brighter than most balls which makes for easy seeing and playing during the summertime when the sun starts to set.
- Great feel all over the ball when making contact and when the ball bounces thanks to its technical advancements.
- Some players may not rate this the highest quality ball when it comes to how long it will last compared to some of the others on the list. It’s great at the moment but how long can it stay like that?
- This ball is actually very heavier which doesn’t work for a lot of people. Whether it is injury or lack of control with heavy balls, it’s not for everyone.
5. Slazenger Official Wimbledon Tennis Ball
Why would we ever put a grass court ball on the list for a hard court tournament? Oddly, because it does super well on the hardcourt surface. Playability is the first thing that comes to mind because it does great for all different levels of players. It also performs fantastic both indoors and outdoors.
It’s felt is made with something that not a lot of other balls have. A hydro-guard. This is why it holds up so well. It resists up to 70% water-resistant. Don’t knock this off because obviously, we know we don’t play in wet conditions. But we do play in humid conditions, and this is where the ball is key.
It also has a quality inside because many players report a quality bounce when hitting with this ball. This is key in terms of predicting where the ball will be after the bounce and is why it’s a great ball.
- Its number one quality has to be it’s resistance to humidity and water giving it a dry feel regardless of the weather conditions you are playing in.
- The official ball for the Wimbledon Championship means its overall quality is A+ and it works fantastic on hardcourt thanks to its reliability.
- Another European brand may be hard to reach in stores so you will need to look online at tennis distributors for this.
- It’s a pretty expensive ball regardless of whether you order per can or bulk.
6. Wilson Championship Extra Duty
Notice the theme of extra duty in all of the names of the balls on the list. That’s because hard courts are gritty and wear down the felt easily. The Wilson Championship Extra Duty uses dura weave, which is a little heavier and thicker, providing longer-lasting results.
You can find these balls at the Australian Open or the NCAA Championships, which means it’s a fine quality ball that can be played at the highest levels. Most people will use these balls for tournament play and less for practice because they are expensive both per can and per bulk case.
- A great quality ball used for prestigious tournaments because of its great quality and ability to have long lasting durability.
- A reliable bounce makes the playability very high across all levels.
- One of the relatively highest priced balls on the market making it not worth it for some players. This is both in bulk order and per can costs.
7. Dunlop Grand Prix Extra Duty
As we mentioned, while Dunlop may be difficult to get your hands on, they are balls well worth the investment. The Dunlop Grand Prix Extra Duty is a fantastic quality ball offering consistency in play no matter what level you are at.
With a specialized rubber core and premium felt that has enhanced brightness, they are easy to see, great to hit and provide amazing feedback when playing. This ball was particularly designed for hard court as it has a 14-ingredient combination as its secret weapon for long-lasting results.
This ITF-approved can is used all over the world for match play, even on other surfaces. It hits a little heavier, which is a noticeable difference among players off the bat. This comes from the extra duty part of it.
- Special ingredient makeup makes the ball much brighter and easier to see.
- Quality rubber core for accurate bounces and good playability.
- Relatively affordable can of balls.
- While durable, slightly less durable then some of the other top options.
When it comes to tennis balls, the money can really add up, which is why it’s so important to get the right ones for your needs. This section is dedicated to all the frequently asked questions when it comes to hard courts and tennis balls.
Can you use the tennis balls on clay then hard court?
When you buy tennis balls for hard court training, of course, you can then use them on the clay. But what happens when you try to use them on the clay then switch back to hardcourt? Great question. You can do this, but there are a few things to bear in mind. The balls will be covered in clay, and so naturally, they will return much slower than when you first hit with them on hard court.
Eventually, the dust will wear off, but the problem remains that they will still get beat up and warn down on the clay. It’s better to not mix clay with hard court balls if possible. Plus, it will mark up the hardcourt with clay and make it slippery.
Do you need to throw tennis balls out if they get wet?
Not necessarily. While tennis balls getting wet can certainly damage them and ruin them, they can dry out and remain pliable. If a ball is a tiny bit wet, you can still hit with it as it will dry off from being hit. Soaking wet balls might have a much harder time recovering and should probably be considered for replacement. The felt absorbs the water and makes it a lot heavier.
Are all cans packages of 3 tennis balls?
Most cans that you will see on the market are sold with three balls inside, but some of the European brands will actually sell 4 balls in a can because they’re how many balls are given in some of the professional events on the IRF tour for singles. You can notice a slight price difference in cans when this is the case. As far as the actual ball is, everything will remain the same.
How will I know which balls are right for me?
The best way to answer this question is to do a little trial and error. Before ordering bulk packaging, you can order one to two cans and try them out for yourself. You can also figure some of the easy stuff out, like which balls are naturally heavier and which are lighter. If you know you have injuries or prefer lighter balls, then this makes the most sense.
If you are a competitive player, you may not get the choice in tournaments of balls you want, so it’s a good idea to practice with the balls you are going to get the prior week. This will help you make adjustments to heavier and lighter balls.
Is it bad to mix balls?
Most players and clubs don’t like mixing balls together because you can tell the slightest of differences with them. However, there really is no rule against it if you have some from here and there. When buying bulk, though, you will see that it can be much more cost-effective if you stick with one brand than others.
However, if you have a clay court and a hard court, you could easily mix in brands but keep them separated for their respective surfaces. That way, you don’t have to worry about bringing the clay to the hardcourt.
Can’t Go Wrong
The truth is when it comes to quality balls for hard court tennis, you can’t go wrong. This list of top 7 hard court tennis balls has a slight variation in quality and price to make those looking for an affordable deal but also those looking for premium balls happy. You can see that this list has the class Penn and Wilson options but also a lot of European brands like Slazenger and Dunlop.
That’s because European brands have been in the game for quite some time and know what it takes to make a top-notch ball for the tour. Hardcourt balls should really focus on premium felt with a solid rubber core that doesn’t break under a lot of stress and retains its bounce.
Even the best quality balls are subject to being worn down. This includes consistent high-level hitting, changing surfaces, rain, and more. Make sure that if you want your balls to last some time, take care of them by keeping them in good environments and staying out of cold, wet weather.