How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?

Tennis is an excellent outdoor activity, whether you are playing professionally or recreationally. If you have purchased brand new tennis balls, you may be wondering how long they will last?

How long do tennis balls last? How long tennis balls last depends on their packaging and if you play tennis competitively or recreationally. 

Type of Packaging: Pressurized Pressureless
Competitive Play 1-3 hours of constant play Not recommended
Recreational Play 1-4 weeks of moderate play 1-3 years of moderate play

Woman Wearing Black Shorts And White Crop Top Holding Tennis 2694942

Tennis balls are more complex than many people think. Read on to learn about the different factors that determine how long a tennis ball lasts and some great recommendations for tennis balls.

How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?

The amount of time that your tennis ball will last depends on a couple of variables. How the balls were packaged and how often you play tennis will determine how long your tennis balls last.

Tennis balls are packaged in two different ways: pressurized and pressureless.


Pressurized tennis balls come in a plastic container that has been vacuumed sealed. You will know if the can is pressurized because of the pop-top lid on the inside. This type of container keeps the balls at the same pressure as when they were placed inside. They will stay that way until you pop the sealed top open. They are commonly used for competitive matches.


Pressureless tennis balls do not come in a vacuumed sealed container. They aren’t used for competitive play and tend to be stiffer than pressurized balls. They have a longer life span and are typically used in ball machines or for practice.

Furthermore, the lifespan of a tennis ball will vary depending on if you are playing competitively or recreationally.

Competitive Play

If you are going to be hitting the competitive tennis scene and will be using pressurized tennis balls, they aren’t going to last very long. On average, the tennis ball will be able to be used for 1-3 hours of constant hitting. Pressureless balls are not recommended for competitive play because they are stiffer.

Recreational Play

If you enjoy playing tennis for fun without any significant competition, your tennis balls will have a longer life span. A pressurized tennis ball can last anywhere between 1-4 weeks of moderate play. A pressureless tennis ball can last 1-3 years of moderate play.

How to Tell If Your Tennis Ball Needs to Be Replaced

If you are wondering if it’s time to break out a new tennis ball and retire your current one, there are ways to tell if your tennis ball is “dead.” If you notice your tennis ball isn’t performing like it was when you started, you might want to check to see if the ball is no longer going to work for gameplay.

Tennis balls lose the gas that is built up inside of the ball as they are being used. It causes the ball not to perform the way it should because the bounce is drastically affected.

Try these tips to see if your tennis ball is too flat to use:

  • Squeeze – Place the ball in the palm of your hand and give it a good squeeze. If the ball gives too easily, it is probably flat and needs to be replaced. You shouldn’t be able to pinch the sides together either.
  • Bounce – You can compare your old ball with a new ball by holding them each in a different hand, extending your arms, and letting the balls go at the same time. If they both bounce the same height, your ball is still good. If the new ball bounces quite a bit higher, the old ball is no longer suitable for gameplay.
  • Sound – A flat ball will make a different sound than a new ball when you hit it with your racquet. It will sound more like a thud than the sound a new ball makes.

Different Brands of Tennis Balls

When it comes to picking the best tennis balls on the market, you can’t go wrong with a name that is trusted by both professional and recreational players.

Here are three tried and trusted brands of tennis balls:


Wilson tennis balls come in a few different types. You can purchase pressurized Wilson Championship tennis balls in a pack of three, or you can buy an 18-pack of Wilson Pressureless tennis balls.


Penn is another trusted tennis ball company. Penn Championship High Altitude pressurized tennis balls are available in cans of three. You can also purchase Penn Pressureless tennis balls in bags of 18.


Dunlop offers Championship Heavy Duty Pressurized tennis balls in packages of three. Additionally, the brand sells Dunlop Pressureless balls in bags of 18.

Regardless of the brand you choose for your gameplay, you can’t go wrong with one of the three top brands mentioned above.

Read my full tennis ball reviews.

What Can You Do with Old Tennis Balls?

When a tennis ball is no longer able to be used, there are many options available for reusing the ball instead of throwing it away.

Here are just a handful of options for your used tennis balls:

  • Clean around the house – If you are looking for a helpful assistant around the house, try using your old tennis balls on a broom handle. They will help you to reach pesky cobwebs that are just out of reach. They can also help to remove scuffs out of your floors.
  • Floor protection – Just like people use tennis balls on the legs of their walkers to help move around more comfortably, you can do the same with your furniture. If you place old tennis balls on the ends of your chair’s legs, it will help avoid scuffing of your floors and possibly make the chair easier to move around while cleaning.
  • Pool Cleaner – If you have a pool, you know that swimmers leave behind oils in the pool. If you toss a few tennis balls into your pool, they will help absorb those oils. It will help keep your pool cleaner longer.
  • Use them in your dryer – Replace your dryer sheets with tennis balls. They will help dry your clothes faster and save you money in the long run by not spending money on dryer sheets.
  • Packing material – If you ship things in the mail, consider using old tennis balls as your packing material. They are an excellent shock absorber and will help your package arrive safely in the mail.
  • Balloon anchor – Anyone that has ever held a balloon full of helium knows what can happen when you let go. Avoid losing your balloon by attaching a used tennis ball to the end to give it extra weight.
  • Play fetch – An awesome use for pet owners is to use those old tennis balls to play fetch with your dog. Dogs love chasing balls, and this will give you your old tennis balls a brand-new purpose.
  • Warm-ups – You can also use your old tennis balls for actual tennis! You can use them while you are warming up to save your brand-new tennis balls for actual gameplay.

Source: 10 Clever Uses for Tennis Balls” by Cara Bruce

In Conclusion

When it’s time to head to the tennis court and hit some balls around, remember how much you are playing and the kind of ball you use will determine how long your tennis balls last. The more you hit the ball, the faster it will become flat and won’t have the bounce needed to play the game.

Tennis is a great way to get exercise and learn a new skill at the same time. Above everything else, have fun playing the game!


David Lee

Hey there, my name is David Lee and I am the person behind this website. I started playing tennis over 20 years ago and on this site I will show you how to enjoy tennis.

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