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The Definitive Guide To Tennis Balls

Updated on December 28, 2009

Dunlop Championship Extra Duty Tennis Balls

Penn Tennis Balls


The first ball out there that I would like to address is my favorite, the Dunlop.

Specifically featuring the Dunlop Championship Heavy Duty ball, these balls are known for their feel and heaviness.  Weighing in at one of the most heavy tennis balls out there, the Dunlop generally possesses a greater sense of impact and power.

Generally, because of this weight, the ball tends to move slower, and is therefore easier to practice with, allowing players to focus on their footwork and consistency.

The next best feature about these balls is that because of their great amount of felt, they tend to last the longest and retain their newness longer than any other ball.

If you are looking to develop a strong sense of confidence in your shot, I highly recommend this ball, as it will allow you to generate a solid rhythm able to carry you through some of your toughest matches.


The next ball worth addressing are Penn Tennis Balls. The only ball manufactured in the United States, these tennis balls hold the greatest advantage over all other types: they are used as the official tournament balls.

In terms of weight, these balls also tend to be quite light. Made with significantly less felt than Dunlops, these balls have a distinct feel to them, best characterized as quick and short-lasting. Because of the lack of felt on Penns, I have found that these balls tend not to last as long. Within 2-3 weeks, most of their newness has worn off and some might even be dead.

If you are looking for a court advantage, I highly recommend this ball, but beware of the Penn's short life and high replacement rate!

Wilson US Open Tennis Balls


Another favorite of mine is the Wilson US Open Tennis Ball.  Normally more expensive than Penns, but less than the Dunlops, this price equivalent describes exactly as it is: a happy medium between heavy/feel and light/quick.

Continuing on this concept of a "happy medium", this ball has enough felt to last 2-4 weeks.  Unlike the Dunlop, this ball tends to lose its felt much faster while also losing its newness.  

Benefits of the Wilson US Open are that, because of its quickness, it provides an ideal environment for players to work on their fast, baseline points.  Another is that these balls seem to keep their air pressure extremely long, so although the felt might wear off quickly, the balls tend to retain their bounce throughout their whole life.

Drawing conclusions from this ball, I highly recommend it to players looking to enhance their footwork and preparation, as the speed of the ball will force players to improve or fail.

Gamma Pressure-less Tennis Balls

The Pressure-less

The final, and most questionable ball, is the pressure-less.  Manufactured by all of the ball companies, this ball is known for its ability to last forever.  Despite this, there are many pros and cons to this type of ball.


They are cost effective and save buyers the hassle of having to continue to buy new balls every 2-3 months.

They are excellent for hitting against the wall or hitting against a ball machine.


They are not ideal practice balls for tournaments as they do not provide the same feel or bounce as regular tennis balls.

They tend to be much lighter than standard tennis balls, establishing a false perception of weight and movement in competitive players.

The lack of felt reduces any feel regularly provided by standard tennis balls.  This loss causes players to have to overcompensate with arm and power, yet again establishing an irregular environment.

In general, I do not recommend these types of balls to serious players, but to recreational players looking for a cost-effective and light ball, this ball is ideal.

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      daphne flores 5 years ago

      Very nice doing that we all love you good joob

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      Tigerbalm 6 years ago

      I don't play with expensive Dunlops. I use the Penn champs since they are the cheapest, yet best feeling in my opinion (for the money). The Wilsons go flat faster and they feel harder and heavier than Penn. I think the Penn's are more consistent and the bounce last longer than Wilson. Also, I think the Penn's are "livelier" and more enjoyable to hit with. So although I don't play with the Dunlop since they are more expensive, the Penn's are my fav at only $1.99 a can, cheaper than Wilson. Actually, I would use Penn over Wilson even if cost was reversed!