Does Pickleball Use A Wiffle Ball?

Pickleball is a sport that “steals” elements from various other racquet sports, such as tennis and badminton, and much like table tennis, one plays with a paddle and not a racquet. Now, although you may be familiar with Wiffle ball and have noticed similarities between the ball used there and the ones in pickleball, you may be wondering if they are the same.

Although they are similar in appearance and designed to be lightweight and relatively durable, there are distinct differences. A Pickleball ball is a perforated polymer ball with between 26-40circular holes. However, a Wiffle ball has fewer holes and is long and narrow.

As mentioned, there are differences between the pickleball ball and that used for Wiffle ball, but are they really that different, and if so, in what way? Could we use the one in place of the other, and would that be problematic? These are likely questions running through your mind, so to find out more about the nature of these balls, be sure to read on.

Defining The Different Features Of Pickleball And Wiffle Ball Balls

If you have ever played with something of the nature of a table tennis ball outdoors, you will have noticed that it does not fly smoothly through the air, and this is owed to its incredibly light weight and the fact that it is sealed. Both Pickleball balls and Wiffle balls are heavier; however, they are still light enough to be affected by the wind.

However, the makers of these balls found a way around this problem, and that is by adding perforation. Both of these balls are constructed in a way that allows them to travel (in most conditions – strong wind would still affect them) seamlessly through the air. Additionally, the balls need to bounce like those used in tennis and table tennis.

And to aid in this department is the durable and relatively hard plastic, that they are made from, helps. The plastic is designed to last as long as possible, and for some players, especially those who treat their balls well and do not hit them too hard, the balls can last for quite some time. On the other hand, some players need to rotate balls every other game.

The plastic used to make each of the balls is the same, so there is a reason why some would believe them to be interchangeable. Now when it comes to the construction of the balls, the primary difference that will instantly stand out to anyone who examines the balls is that the pickleball ball has far more holes in it, and these are round.

 For indoor balls, the number is less and typically sits at 26, while the outdoor balls usually have as many as 40 holes.

The Wiffle ball, though, has 8 elongated holes in it, and in terms of the placement f them, they typically only stretch along one half of the ball and do not extend around the entire ball. These oblong-shaped holes are also usually 0.75 inches (1.9 centimeters) long, while the holes in pickleball balls are round, as mentioned, and vary in size. 

The Wiffle ball is lighter than a baseball, although they are generally the same size. And they are also less likely to cause damage to things such as windows, If used indoors, and they are also far less painful if they hit someone.

Wiffle balls are also generally slightly smaller than pickleball balls, and their design allows them to curve when thrown; this is because they are designed to mimic baseballs. So the pitcher in Wiffle ball can throw the ball in different variations, not merely a straight throw.

A pickleball ball will not typically curve when thrown, but instead, you would need to be hitting it with a paddle and put sufficient spin on it to make it move in a curved motion.

There are also other variations in pickleball balls, and these can be seen in the fact that indoor balls not only have fewer holes in them, but they are also usually a bit lighter and surprisingly bigger than their outdoor counterparts.

Another variation of the pickleball, which is very different from a Wiffle ball, is the foam ball; however, they are not USAPA approved. These look more like tennis balls than actual pickleball balls, and their purpose is to combat noise; this is because the standard outdoor pickleball ball makes a racket when it hit.

Defining Pickleball Vs. Wiffle Ball

As mentioned, pickleball is a paddle sport, and it has taken elements from various other sports such as the racquet sports like tennis and badminton, and paddle sports such as table tennis. The court is much the same as a badminton size, while the design is more similar to that of table tennis, and the net is likened to those in tennis. The paddles are made from wood, graphite, or are composite.

The sport can be played in singles; however, doubles are far more common, mainly due to the game’s speed. The sport has increased in popularity due to the ease of learning it and its highly addictive nature. Additionally, pickleball is a sport that one can play either indoors or outside, although there are minor differences, as mentioned.

The points system for this sport relies on the players committing a fault. These could be anything from causing a ball to go out of bounds, not adhering to the rules of the “kitchen” (the demarcated area on either side of the net), and serving incorrectly, among other things.

What is lovely about this sport is that the games can be played in a short span of time, and you get a decent workout during that time. The play works as follows the sets are played as best 2 out of 3, and the scoring goes according to when one team reaches eleven points, they win, but must be at least two points ahead of their opponent(s).

On the other hand, Wiffle ball is a variation of baseball, as previously stated, and can also be played either outdoors or inside. The ball used for Wiffle ball is robust enough to take plenty of hits while still not being so much so that it will damage or injure anyone if it hits something or someone. Although, it is far more typical to play the sport outside.

Team sizes range in number, though must be a minimum of 2, with 1 per side, or a maximum of 10, with 5 aside. However, Wiffle ball rules do alter depending on the number of players involved in the game.

The sport, much like pickleball, was invented years ago, way back in the 1960s, with pickleball being started in 1972. A single game will last for an hour, or 7 innings, but usually, the game is concluded once the hour is up. Unlike baseball, the bat in Wiffle ball is made from slightly hardened plastic. 

One would not expect there to be any similarities between these two sports, like the play, field/court, rules, and equipment differ in almost every way. However, the level of enjoyment and the balls used for the sports unquestionably have a lot in common, and the fact that they are such inclusive games which are remarkably easy to get the knack of.


The sports are entirely different in nature, the one being a hybrid of the likes of tennis and badminton, and the other is a variation of baseball. However, the balls used are very similar, and although you probably could try to use a Wiffle ball for pickleball,  it is certainly not recommended. The balls are designed and made with their individual sports in mind.


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