Why Are Tennis Balls Pressurized?

tennis ball on the line

It hasn’t been the coldest of winters here in London, so I’ve been playing tennis outside most Saturdays.

However, one thing I’ve definitely noticed, is that the ball doesn’t bounce as much when it’s very cold.

The other day I left my bag with tennis balls in the boot of my car overnight. The temperature must have been close to freezing during the night.

The next day, I went to play tennis and the balls just wouldn’t bounce, even though some of them are fairly new.

This got me thinking about the pressure inside the tennis ball.

Why are they pressurized?

Is there a good reason for it?

In this article I will look at some of the reasons why this is the case.

Why are tennis balls pressurized? In this article you'll discover some of the reasons why this happens and how it can help your game.

Why are tennis balls pressurized?

Better bounce

One of the reasons why tennis balls are pressurized is because they will have a lot more bounce and feel significantly more lively when they are first taken out of the can.

Also, as the can is pressurized to have the same pressure as the inside of the tennis balls, it prevents the balls from leaking.

Furthermore, the balls won’t leak any air when they are on the shelf before being bought, so they will have a lot of bounce and play really well right out of the can.

Balls are lighter which means better spin

Another reason why tennis balls are pressurized is because they will be much lighter.

This lighter weight for the tennis balls means that they will have more spin when they are in play.

With more and more players trying to put increasing amounts of spin on their shots, it makes sense to opt for high-quality pressurized balls, as this will allow players to have more control with their shots.

tennis ball and racket

Pressurized tennis balls are faster

Pressurized tennis balls have a much lower weight than pressureless balls, which means that they can move faster.

This is wonderful for players who are looking to improve their speed when playing tennis and if they want to to hit their balls faster than before.

Being able to hit and control a pressurized tennis ball means that the player will be able to put a lot of spin on the ball, control where it goes, and hit it at a high speed.

Better feel during the game

Pressureless tennis balls may retain their bounce longer than pressurized tennis balls, but they are very hard, stiff, and tend to feel dead.

Also, pressurized tennis balls are not nearly as hard on the arm to hit as they are lighter and much more responsive.

This responsiveness as well as the ease at which they can be hit make them more enjoyable to play with. Since they are easier on the arm, they are a great choice for players who don’t have a lot of upper body strength or who struggle with arm or shoulder problems.


Why do tennis balls come in a can?

This is to preserve the pressure inside the ball, which should be around 14-16 lbs to ensure a proper bounce straight away once the canister is open. Furthermore, the pressure in the canister is designed to be the same as inside the ball so no air leaks when the product is on the shelf.

How to repressurize old tennis balls?

Although most people just buy new tennis balls when they start to lose their bounce, you can buy or build your own pressurizers to ensure they last a lot longer. You can construct your own one out of a PVC pipe which can help maintain the pressure for longer. However, if you buy a pressurizer tube from Pressureball, it can actually improve the bounce of older tennis balls quite considerably.

How long do pressurized tennis balls last?

It really depends. If you’re a competitive player who hits the ball really hard, a new can of balls will probably only last one session before they start to noticeably bounce less. For most players, you’ll start to see smaller bounces after a few hours of playing, but you can keep using them until they feel “dead”. This is when a tennis ball becomes flat with almost no bounce. It will also feel very soft when you squeeze it and you’ll hear a dull thud sound when you hit it. Also, don’t forget to check the felt on the ball. If it’s very worn down and smooth, it’s probably time to chuck it.

What are the most popular tennis ball brands?

Chart showing the most popular tennis ball brands by search volume

Here’s a chart showing some of the most popular tennis ball brands used worldwide based on monthly search volume online. Some really surprising data here, particularly as I thought Head would be a lot more popular. In the UK, it’s definitely used the most by amateur and recreational players. But I guess in the US and elsewhere, it might be different…


As you can see, pressurized tennis balls have a number of benefits, which is why they are so popular for amateurs as well as professional players.

I mainly use Slazenger and Head tennis balls.

The Head tennis balls are provided by someone when I play community tennis on Saturdays, and they have such a high bounce, especially when they are brand new.

So nice to play with!

What tennis balls do you use when you play?

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Author: Dad Racket

Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a "little noise" about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.

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