How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?

While it seems like tennis balls last forever, the truth is that they’re not built to withstand heavy use. 

The short and easy answer to the question of how long tennis balls last is that the average tennis ball is designed to last approximately 1-4 weeks of light to moderate play. That is just enough time to go from new to worn out.

With that being said, there are ways to prolong the life of your balls. In fact, there are a few methods available to you. We’ll explore some of those methods with the answer of how long will tennis balls last.

The Short Answer:

How long will tennis balls last? It’s a tough question because tennis balls become less effective over 1 -4 weeks of playing recreationally. 

While Pressureless tennis balls generally hold up for 1-2 years. If you use them carefully without doing a competition on your tennis field. 

Tennis Ball DurationRecreational PlayCompetitive Play
Pressurized Balls1-4 weeks of moderate play1-3 hours of constant play
Pressureless Balls1-2 years of moderate playNot recommended

However, there are ways to make them last longer and ensure they don’t deteriorate.

The longevity of a tennis ball depends on many factors, including what you’re using them for. When used for exercise or sports, they should last longer than when used as decorations.

Pressurized Vs. Pressureless Tennis Balls

The biggest difference between a pressurized tennis ball and a pressureless tennis ball is that a pressurized tennis ball contains a spring inside that provides extra bounce. In contrast, a pressureless tennis ball doesn’t have this feature.

So why is this? Well, the reason for this is that it is more difficult to get pressurized balls to achieve maximum spin when compared to pressureless balls. 

Generally speaking, pressurized balls are heavier than pressureless balls. However, we’ll talk about the pressurized and Pressuseeless balls and how to deal with this weight difference later in this article.

Pressurized tennis balls

Pressurized balls have a reputation for providing the best bounce and feel. They’re highly durable and provide the ultimate comfort for professional and amateur players.

These balls offer the best price and the most versatility for the consumer, so many companies sell them at a wide range of prices.

The downside is that they can lose their performance in a relatively short amount of time.

For this reason, we recommend a pressurized ball for most consumers.

Pressureless balls

We recommend choosing a pressureless ball for young children and casual players.

Their cheaper cost, low density, and pliability mean it’s the best choice for the beginner.

You can’t count on a pressureless basketball ball to maintain its bounce for a long time, so you should probably consider it for the casual player.

However, once the practice session is over, you might want to consider switching back to a pressurized tennis ball. Why? Because the pressureless ping pong balls will be a little lighter than the pressurized balls. 

As such, the difference in weight will make it harder to swing through the ball. If you’re aiming for a better technique, it will be harder for you to connect your shots easily.

How Often Should Tennis Balls be Replaced?

A study conducted by the USA found that most tennis players who use balls lose 20% of their total ball usage in a single year. So at that rate, you’d need to replace every tennis ball in a year about 14 times, or every 2 months.

How Do you Make Tennis Balls Last Longer?

How Do you Make Tennis Balls Last Longer?

There are two main ways to make tennis balls last longer:

1) Using special materials to make the ball harder.

2) Using A Ball Machine.

We’re going to look at them both.

1) Using Special Materials to Make the Ball Harder

You’re probably thinking that making a ball harder is very difficult. After all, tennis balls have the same basic material, rubber. And when they’re too hard, they don’t bounce well.

Many think using special materials to make the balls harder would be impossible. But that’s not true.

The main ingredient of tennis balls is polyurethane. That’s what they’re made of.

Polyurethane is a resin usually applied to a mixture of rubbers and oils to make balls. This is a very complex mixture because there are a lot of ingredients in the mixture. If you want to ensure that you get the best results, you should ensure that the mixture contains no contaminants, such as dust.

Another important thing to consider is that polyurethane must keep away from temperatures above 100ºC.

So, when you buy tennis balls, they must be stored in a cool place and only opened if needed. Otherwise, the polyurethane inside them can damage.

After applying polyurethane, it’s also important to wash the balls in warm water. This prevents the polyurethane from being damaged by bacteria.

2) Using Ball Machine

One of the other methods of making tennis balls last longer is to use a ball machine.

These machines are used to mix rubber and chemicals together. They create a perfect tennis ball that lasts for months. You can find these machines in most sporting goods stores.

Most importantly, these machines produce balls that don’t contain harmful chemicals. That means that you don’t have to worry about the health risks involved with balls.

FAQs

How to tell if a tennis ball needs replacing?

You can use the ball weight test to determine whether or not your ball needs to replace. Place two identical-sized tennis balls next to each other. The ball with the lowest weight will likely need replacing.

When should you throw away a tennis ball?

They hold an old tennis ball at the same height as a new one and compare how high both bounce. If the new one bounces slightly higher, the old one should be retired.

Do tennis balls go bad?

Tennis balls will go bad after about 2 or 3-4 playing sessions. Unopened balls are kept in a pressurized tube to help them retain bounciness and firmness, but even those will expire after two years (due to very tiny leaks).

How long do tennis balls last in a pro match?

Tennis balls last anywhere from 2-9 days for recreational-level players and around an hour for professional players. Pressureless balls, on the other hand, may last even longer than a year!

Wrapping Up

Overall, tennis balls are made up of rubber which is a natural elastic material that does not break down but rather goes through various cycles of hardening and softening depending on exposure to sunlight, temperature, and humidity. 

This makes the life of a tennis ball dependent upon many factors. To get a longer lifespan, balls can be stored away from heat and moisture. But, the important thing is to make sure that the tennis balls you use are of good quality and well cared for so that they will last you as long as possible.

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