How Long Do Tennis Balls Last

  • Frequent players (several times a week) – 7 days max
  • Infrequent players (once a week) – 1 month
  • Sporadic players – up to 1 year

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

As you can see, there is no EXACT ANSWER to this question. It really does depend on:

  • Your level
  • How often you play
  • What surface you play on
  • The variety of ball you use, and
  • How long you actually play for when you head to the courts.

Take myself as an example. I still play tennis 3/4 times per week, and without BLOWING MY own trumpet, the balls get a fair thrashing out there on the court.

How long do tennis balls last

So after maybe 2 sessions, the balls will be pretty WORN OUT and not much use anymore.

Then again, there are other members who play at my club who could use the SAME BALLS all week long and play 3/4 times.

Those guys are what I’d like to call the more ‘social players’, basically meaning that they don’t hit the balls as hard. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever – it’s just the way it is. 

But with this said, regardless of how long balls might last depending on your playing frequency and LEVEL, everyone wants to find tennis balls that last longer.

This is more cost-effective in the LONG RUN, and actually, it means you’ll have a better session PURELY because the balls are of better quality. That’s what I’d like to address right now.

Finding tennis balls that last longer

A tube of tennis balls can usually run you anywhere from $5 to $10.

Sure, there are balls that cost more than this, but to BE PERFECTLY honest with you, the quality doesn’t vary enormously at the top of the TREE.

But on that note, I still have a few tips on how you can source tennis balls that are far more durable than others:

Look For ‘Extra Duty’ Balls

The clue is kind of in the name here. Many tennis balls out there have the description OF BEING ‘extra duty’, which basically means that they are more durable than other balls.

The reason for this is because they tend to be a little heavier, thicker, and even the felt around the outside looks to BE REINFORCED.

I will confess, I don’t know ALL OF THE manufacturing secrets behind these balls, but I have used them.

Personally, I’ve used the Dunlop Extra Duty ball, especially in the Wintertime where balls naturally get more worn purely because of the elements. 

Dunlop Sports ATP Championship Extra Duty Tennis Balls, 12 x 3-Ball cans

This ball has served me well over the years, and before I forget – it’s also the official ball of the ATP Tour!

Grab an All-Surface Style of Ball

Did you know that tennis balls are manufactured specifically for certain surfaces?

There are balls out there DESIGNED for clay court tennis, hard court tennis, and even grass-court tennis.

Of course, I don’t know what surface you primarily PLAY ON, and I don’t know what part of the world you are playing in!

But regardless, there is a one-size-fits-all solution, and THAT SOLUTION IS to purchase all-surface tennis balls.

As the name indicates, these balls are designed to perform well on ANY SURFACE, and for this reason alone they tend to be more durable.

VERSATILITY is at the heart of the manufacturing process for these balls. And this shines through WITH

  • Thick Feet,
  • Decent Weight on the ball, and
  • These Balls tend to hold their ‘FLUFF’ longer than other variations.

This means that the dreaded ‘dog-eaten’ stage of tennis balls when they go COMPLETELY BALD doesn’t arrive quite so quickly!

Only Purchase Decent Branded Products

If I had a cent for EVERY TIME I’ve seen players turn up with tennis balls they’ve purchased down their local sporting goods store, I’d be a wealthy man.

I must admit, this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, in case you didn’t ALREADY NOTICE.

To clear up any doubts, the tennis balls sold at RANDOM SPORTING GOODS STORES are rarely of high quality.

In fact, these are the balls that I would buy if I PURELY wanted to chuck a ball around for MY DOG to FETCH - that’s how bad they can be, even when new.

Therefore, I’d suggest purchasing balls from reputable online sources, and from companies that are WELL-KNOWN for creating quality tennis products.

I love brands like Babolat, Wilson, Dunlop, and Slazenger when it comes to tennis balls, as these PERFORM THE BEST of all brands, in my personal opinion.

But another thing TO CONSIDER here is what you are purchasing the balls for.

Is it for practice, competition, or something else? You can read more about these different ball purposes here.

More tips on extending the life of your tennis balls

This is a section I DESPERATELY wanted to include!

A couple of years back, I thought I’d make an intelligent decision and purchase a box full of balls around September time, as there was a GREAT DEAL ON.

I figured I would get these balls and SAVE THEM for the following summer. One thing I didn’t take into account is where I kept them

I decided to keep them in a cold garage ALL WINTER LONG, and when April arrived and I was ready to get back on the court – EVERY SINGLE BALL WAS STONE DEAD.

It’s AMUSING looking back now, but I certainly wasn’t best pleased at the time!

Therefore, I’d like to share a few tips so YOU AVOID making similar mistakes:

Keep Them Somewhere Warm

You guessed it!

Don’t store your tennis balls in a freezing cold garage, PLEASE.

Once opened, store them inside your home, as this will KEEP THE PRESSURE of the ball INTACT.

Doing this should EXTEND the life of your tennis balls if you’re not planning on using them for a while that is.

Don’t Pop the Tin Until You Are Ready to Use Them

Once the tin is POPPED, the balls will start losing their pressure.

In my rather fond story above, I STUPIDLY popped all of the tins and kept them in a box.

So if you do buy in bulk, only pop the tins when you are about to play.

Use Soft String in Your Rackets

Modern-day strings can have quite unique shapes THAT TRULY carve into the ball when STRIKING IT.

I use a hexagonal string in my rackets, which is great for ADDING spin and power to the ball, but it’s TERRIBLE for ball durability.

So if you are just playing for fun, try and use a string like Synthetic Gut which is NICE and SOFT, as this won’t carve up the ball so much.

Final thoughts

I hope that this has given you a nice bit of insight as to choosing the RIGHT BALLS, how to make them last, and what not to do!

There are all kinds of reviews for certain tennis balls online too if you are stuck for choice.

Just take your time, do your homework, and I hope this article helps you find the right ball for YOUR GAME.

Have anything you’d like to add? Jump into the comments and let us know!

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