Even though they are such an inexpensive part of the game, tennis balls are extremely important. Having the right balls helps with overall consistency, and saves some money in the end if they are long-lasting.
Clay court balls are built a little bit differently, as they need to handle the dirty surface and the potential dampness that comes with it.
What are the best eight tennis balls for clay courts out there right now? As one would expect, a lot of them come from the top companies, but there are a few surprises to make this list as well.
1. Pro Penn Marathon
It’s really hard to argue with the Pro Penn Marathon for clay court games, which is why it’s number one on this list. Not only is it extremely popular at just about every club, but some tournaments use this ball as well.
As an upgrade over the Penn Championship Series, studies show that it is between 20% and 25% more durable than the competition. Penn uses Encore Technology to help with durability, and the Optik felt does a great job of looking new even after a set or two of play.
They are slightly more expensive than some of the other balls to make this list, but nothing that will break the bank. In the end, they are just about anything that a person can ask for out of a performance tennis ball.
- Stays cleaner than most
- Doesn’t fluff up
- A little more expensive than average
- Some recent shortages have kept them off the shelves
2. Penn Championship
Many view the Penn Championship balls as the best overall value out there. They aren’t going to hold up well and compare directly to the Pro Penn Marathon balls, but they are significantly cheaper. That means people can be more comfortable making bulk purchases, without having to sacrifice too much.
Players at a certain level are always going to use a new can of balls for every session. For that reason, maybe a super durable ball isn’t necessary. This will still last long, while also remaining consistent. The regular duty is built for clay courts of all kinds.
Think of this as the little cousin of the Pro Penn Marathons. Saving a little bit of money opting for these starts to add up. They are also great to buy in bulk and use for practice.
- Great value
- Stays consistent for a few sets
- Bright felt makes the ball easy to spot
- Not all that durable
- Lose liveliness in colder weather
3. Wilson US Open
Wilson US Open tennis balls have always been at the high end for overall performance. On the clay court, the regular duty options are great to play with at all levels.
It might seem a little strange to recommend a Wilson US Open ball on clay court, given that the tournament is played on hard. However, the regular duty ball does very well, and stays consistent no matter how the clay is at that time.
- Premium woven felt stays durable for a while
- Official US Open ball
- Stays dry consistently
- Pricing has gone up in the last year
- Doesn’t have the same pop as others after roughly an hour
4. Wilson Championship
Wilson Championship tennis balls are very solid choices for those players who want something consistent and very widely accepted at tennis courts everywhere. So many people have used these tennis balls, and their availability makes them winners.
Some might not see it as a great ball, but others swear by them. When someone plays with a particular tennis ball often enough, it starts to become their favorite even if it’s not necessarily the best. Wilson does a great enough job with this ball that people have become very loyal to it. It helps that it is so easy to find in stores and online.
As far as everyday wear and tear is concerned, this is a pretty good tennis ball overall. It deals with water, sweat, and dirt well, which is all a person can ask for on clay courts. They don’t have the same durability as some of the more expensive balls, but it’s a perfect option for players at all different skill levels.
- Easy to find
- Great for practice or match play
- Durability isn’t top notch
- Easy to mix up with other courts using the same balls
5. Babolat Gold Championship
Babolat has a strong connection to the French Open, so it makes sense that they produce a clay court tennis ball that is one of the best.
This is the ball that’s been used in the past at the French Open, and it keeps its pressure very well. The ball does not always look the best after it’s been used for a while, but most players are looking past that as long as everything else lives up to expectations.
The Babolat Gold Championship balls are a little hard to find at times, but shoppers are pretty satisfied with what they bring to the table. Remember not to necessarily pay attention to how they look, but how they play. Their color doesn’t stay bright for long, but the liveliness of the ball is one of the best.
- Very lively ball
- Handles damp conditions well
- Hard to find
- Get dirty fast
6. Dunlop ATP Regular Duty
The Dunlop ATP regular duty tennis balls are now considered the official ball of ATP Tour. They use Fluoro Cloth and HD Pro Core technology to provide a consistent experience for all types of players looking to up their consistency on the court.
The ball gives players everything they should expect out of a quality clay ball. It’s not one to fluff up that much, and it stays pretty bright even under adverse weather conditions.
It plays pretty similarly to a lot of the other leading brands, so the transition isn’t too much. Getting that ATP tour tag on it did seem to increase the price a bit, but that’s always the case.
- Official ball of the ATP Tour
- Stays bright even in poor conditions
- Fights off fluffing up too much
- A little expensive compared to the past
- Not much different than similar offerings from other companies in this price range
7. Dunlop Grand Prix
The Dunlop Grand Prix tennis ball is great for clay courts use regularly. They have a good weight to them, and stay pretty durable even with heavy hitters. Not everyone is used to trying out Dunlop tennis balls, but those who have converted are very passionate about sticking with them.
The ball itself stays pretty bright, even with terrible weather conditions. Dunlop spent time mixing several different ingredients to make a rubber core formula that stays strong and consistent longer than average.
They aren’t the easiest balls to find, but Dunlop has a couple of choices worth checking out. This is near the top.
- Rubber core stays consistent longer
- Fights off dirt and grime well
- Consistent weight
- Difficult to find a times
- Fluffs up a little bit more than some might like
8. Wilson Triniti Pro
Wilson has done a little bit of a unique setup with the Triniti pro balls that they now offer. These clay court balls are made with recyclable packaging, and offer a sustainable type of performance. When on the courts, they last longer than just about any ball ever, which is good for training as well as matches.
One of the biggest complaints people have when they first use the Triniti ball is that they don’t pop like a set of brand new balls.
However, they remain fresher, look better, and last a long time so that players can justify the cost a bit. They do cost more than the average Wilson tennis balls, but worth checking out for something new.
- Recyclable packaging
- Very long-lasting
- Approved for match or practice use
- Don’t have that same liveliness right out of the can
What Are The Best Clay Court Tennis Balls?
- Pro Penn Marathon Regular Duty
Many balls come close, but none have been able to dethrone Pro Penn Marathon balls at the top of the clay court list. They are an option that has very few flaws, and the consistency of the company ensures that they are great every single time.
Anyone who has not yet played with Pro Penn Marathon balls should at least give them a try. Chances are, it will instantly shoot up to the top of the list as one of the best. If you’re interested, you can check the current price on Amazon here.
For the best tennis balls on hard court, check out this post.