How Long Are Tennis Balls Good For?

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It’s a question every tennis player has asked themselves at some point – how long do tennis balls last?

There’s no definitive answer, as it depends on several factors, such as the type of ball, the playing surface, and your own playing style. However, we can give you a few guidelines to help you make your balls last longer.

The Simple Answer

Tennis balls are made of rubber. The lifespan of a tennis ball is determined by how much wear and tear it experiences. The more you play, the faster they’ll break down. That’s why professional players use new balls every few games.

Type of Packing



Competitive Play

1-3 hours of non-stop play

is not advisable

Recreational Play

1-4 weeks of moderate play

1-3 years of moderate play

Why Does a Tennis Ball Lose Its Bouncing Power?

Tennis balls are made of rubber and felt and designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear. However, the more you play, the more the materials will break down, and the ball will lose its shape, bounce, and spin. So, if you’re an avid tennis player, you can expect to replace your balls more frequently than someone who only plays occasionally.

The type of ball you use will also affect how long it lasts. For example, Pro Penn Championship balls are designed for competitive play and are made to last longer than recreational balls. If you’re looking for a ball that will last a bit longer, choose one designed for practice or training.

How Often To Replace Tennis Balls?

So, how often should you replace your tennis balls? It depends on how often you play, the type of ball you use, and the playing surface. For most recreational players using a standard ball, we recommend replacing them every 6-8 weeks.

If you play competitively or on a hard court surface, you may need to replace your balls more frequently.

Similarly, your playing style can also affect how long your balls last. If you are a power player who hits the ball hard, your balls will break down faster than someone who has a more moderate playing style. Of course, there are ways to make your tennis balls last longer. Here are a few tips:

  • Store your balls in a cool, dry place
  • Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight
  • Don’t leave them in your car
  • Use a ball machine sparingly
  • Don’t hit the ground too hard when practicing your serve

By following these tips, you can extend the life of your tennis balls and get the most out of your game. So, next time you’re wondering how long tennis balls last, remember it depends on many factors. But with some care, you can make them last longer and enjoy your time on the court.

Is there a difference in durability between pressurized and pressureless balls?

The type of tennis ball you use will also affect its lifespan.

  • Pressurized: Pressurized balls are designed to retain their bounce for longer. They’re filled with nitrogen or other gases under high pressure. As a result, pressurized balls have a shorter lifespan than pressureless balls. This is because the high pressure inside the ball can cause it to break down over time.


  • Pressureless: Pressureless tennis balls are made of solid rubber and don’t have a core. This means they’re much more durable than pressurized balls, which have a soft core susceptible to damage. Pressureless balls are designed for practice and training and can last dozens, if not hundreds, of hours.

Type of Tennis Ball Play: competitively or recreationally

Tennis balls’ durability is affected by the level of tennis you play. 

  • Competitive Play: If you play competitively, you’ll likely notice that your balls don’t last as long as if you play recreationally. This is because competitive players tend to hit the ball harder and put more stress on the ball. As a result, the ball will break down more quickly.

  • Recreational Play: On the other hand, if you play tennis for fun, your balls will last much longer. This is because recreational players typically don’t hit the ball as hard, so there’s less stress on the ball.

Tennis court surface: what kind of court do you play on?

The type of surface you’re playing on also makes a difference. Hard courts, for example, are much harder on tennis balls than softer surfaces such as clay or grass. This is because the ball bounces higher off a hard court, which puts more stress on the ball. As a result, you’ll find that your balls don’t last as long if you play mostly on hard courts.

However, if you regularly play on clay or grass courts, your balls will last much longer. This is because the ball doesn’t bounce as high off these surfaces, so there’s less stress on the ball.

How Do You Make Tennis Balls Last Longer?

Here are the detailed steps to make a tennis ball last longer.

  1. The first step to making your tennis balls last longer is to store them in a cool, dry place. This will help prolong the life of your balls and keep them in good condition. Avoid storing your tennis balls in direct sunlight or humid conditions, as this can cause them to break down faster.
  2. Another way to make tennis balls last longer is to avoid leaving them in your car. The heat and sunlight can cause the balls to break down faster, so store them in a cool, dry place when not used.
  3. If you have a ball machine, it’s essential to use it sparingly. While it’s an excellent tool for practicing your shots, constant hitting can cause your balls to break down faster. If you use the ball machine often, rotate your tennis balls so they all get equal use.
  4. When practicing your serve, it’s important not to hit the ground too hard, which can cause your balls to break down faster and lose their bounce. Try to practice your serve on a softer surface such as a grassy area or tennis court.

By following these tips, you can extend the lifespan of your tennis balls and get the most out of them. So, next time you’re wondering how long tennis balls last, remember it depends on several factors. But with some care, you can make them last longer and enjoy your time on the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer is no, you can’t. The long answer is you absolutely can not.

An unopened can of tennis balls will usually last around two years. However, this is only an estimate, and some cans may last longer or shorter depending on various factors such as storage conditions and manufacturing date.

Pressureless tennis balls are the ones to go with if durability is your main focus. You can also look for heavy-duty tennis balls such as the ones below, which have a higher than average life span.

In professional tennis, the balls are usually replaced after every seven games. However, if a ball becomes too damaged or dirty, it may be replaced earlier.

There are several ways you can utilize old tennis balls, I use mine as a toy for my dog Switch, but you can also play against children of beginner players with them.

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The Tie Break

As we saw in this article, tennis balls last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of ball, how often you play, and the surface you are playing on. If you are an avid tennis player, keeping a few cans of balls on hand is best so that you always have fresh ones to use.

Now that you know how to tell when a tennis ball is dead be sure to check your balls regularly and replace them as needed. By doing so, you’ll always be sure to be on top of your game.

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Brenton Barker
Brenton Barker
Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute. He has held Managerial and Head Coaching roles with Australia's National Governing Body, Tennis Australia, and served on the Dunlop International Sports Advisory Board for eight years. Brenton currently consults with several professional athletes and clients in the areas of Self-Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.