Pickleball noise can be problematic for some players and communities who want to enjoy the game without disturbing their neighbors or violating the noise ordinances.
That’s why some players look for quiet pickleball balls that can reduce the game’s sound.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about quiet pickleball balls, such as what they are, how they work, what are their advantages and disadvantages, and what are the best quiet pickleball balls that I recommend.
By the end of this article, you will better understand quiet pickleball balls and how to use them to enjoy pickleball without making too much noise.
Are there quiet pickleball balls?
There are no official quiet pickleball balls approved by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) for tournament play.
The USAPA has strict standards and specifications for pickleball balls that are used in sanctioned events, and none of the quiet pickleball balls meet those criteria.
Therefore, if you are a competitive player who wants to play in official tournaments, you will have to use the regular pickleball balls that the USAPA approves.
However, there are still ways to make pickleball balls quieter.
Some pickleball balls are softer and quieter than the harder balls.
If you are a recreational player who wants to play for fun and exercise, you can use some alternatives that can reduce the game’s noise.
These alternatives are not officially called quiet pickleball balls, but they are designed to be softer, lighter, slower, and more durable than regular balls.
They are usually made of foam or soft plastic and have different sizes, weights, and hole patterns than regular balls.
Gamma foam quiet pickleball balls
One of the first and most innovative quiet pickleball balls that were once available in the market was the Gamma Foam Quiet Pickleball Balls. These balls were made of high-density foam that was very quiet, soft, and durable.
However, these balls were discontinued by the manufacturer in 2023 due to low demand and high production costs.
There are currently no foam pickleball balls in the market, and players who want to use them have to either buy them from second-hand sources or make their own from foam balls.
Some players prefer foam pickleball balls because they are very quiet and gentle on the paddles and the courts. However, some players dislike foam pickleball balls because they are very slow, bouncy, and hard to control.
Best quiet pickleball balls – our recommendations
If you are looking for quiet pickleball balls that are still available and affordable in the market, I have some recommendations for you.
These balls are not as quiet as foam balls, but they are quieter than regular balls. They are also more responsive, consistent, and suitable for competitive play than foam balls. Here are the best quiet pickleball balls that I recommend:
Onix Quiet Pickleball – Fuse G2 Outdoor
The Onix Quiet Pickleball is one of the most popular and widely used quiet pickleball balls on the market. It is made of soft plastic that is quieter, smoother, and more durable than regular balls. It has a diameter of 2.9 inches, a weight of 0.92 ounces, and 40 holes.
- They are quieter than regular balls, which means they produce less noise and disturbance to the players and the neighbors.
- It is smoother than regular balls, which means it has less drag and friction when flying and bouncing and therefore has more speed and spin.
- More durable than regular balls
- It is less responsive than regular balls, which means it has less bounce and rebound when hitting the paddle and the court.
Engage Tour Pickleballs
The Engage Tour Pickleballs are another option for quiet pickleball balls that are available in the market.
They are made of plastic that is quieter, softer, and more consistent than regular balls. They have a diameter of 2.92 inches, a weight of 0.86 ounces, and 40 holes.
They are designed for outdoor play, but they can also be used for indoor play on hard surfaces.
- They are softer than the Onix G2 balls, making them even quieter.
- Less vibration when hitting the paddle and the court
- They are more consistent than regular balls
- They’re hard to find, so it’s not easy to buy them.
- Some players find them too soft
Pickleball ball noise
How loud is pickleball compared to other sports and activities?
Well, it depends on how you measure it, but some studies and articles have shown that pickleball can be quite noisy, especially when played with hard paddles and balls on hard courts.
For example, according to a study by audiologists, the sound level of pickleball was 45 – 70 (dB), which is comparable to the sound of a conversation or a dishwasher.
The peak sound level of pickleball, 70 dB, is comparable to the sound of a garbage disposal or a vacuum cleaner.
To put these numbers in perspective, here are some other common sounds and their decibel levels:
- Tennis: 45-55 dB
- Golf: 86-120 dB
- Lawn mowing: 80-95 dB
- Traffic: 70-85 dB
- Motorcycle: 80-100 dB
- Rock concert: 90-120 dB
- Jet plane: 120-140 dB
As you can see, pickleball can be louder than some other sports and activities but not as loud as some others. However, the noise of pickleball can still affect the players and the neighbors in different ways, such as:
- Causing annoyance and irritation to the people who hear it, especially if they are sensitive to noise or have different preferences and expectations of the sound environment.
- Causing stress and anxiety to the people who hear it, especially if they are exposed to it for a long time or at a high frequency or intensity.
- This causes legal disputes and conflicts between the players and the neighbors, especially if they have different opinions and rights regarding the noise of pickleball and the use of the court.
How to make pickleball quieter
The noise of pickleball is influenced by several factors, such as the type of paddle, the surface of the court, the distance from the neighbors, and the ambient noise level.
Therefore, using quiet pickleball balls is not the only way to minimize the noise of the game. You can also try some of the following methods to reduce the sound of pickleball:
- Use quiet pickleball paddles that have less impact and vibration when hitting the ball.
- Play on softer courts that absorb more sound and bounce than hard courts. Some examples of soft courts are clay, grass, carpet, and rubber.
- Install sound barriers around the court that can block or deflect the noise from the game. Some examples of sound barriers are fences, walls, hedges, and curtains.
- Respect the time and noise ordinances of your community and play only during the allowed hours and at a reasonable volume. You can also communicate with your neighbors and inform them of your pickleball activities and schedule.
I hope that this article has helped you to understand quiet pickleball balls and how to use them to enjoy pickleball without making too much noise.
Do you know that there’s a difference between outdoor and indoor pickleballs? Check out my Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball article.