Lab test reveals the best padel balls


Padel balls are consumables and according to the manufacturers, you should replace the balls after two to three matches. Testfakta's tests of ten well-known brands show that several of the balls lose pressure much earlier than that, and there are also major differences in bounce and speed between different brands.

Testfakta / Peter Willebrand Published: 31 Aug, 2023

The life span of a padel ball is of course affected by the number of hits and how hard you hit, but for the average recreational player, a ball change every three games is recommended. In official competitions, the ball is changed more frequently, often during the same match.

The International Padel Federation, FIP, is the international parent organization that, among other things, specifies the official requirements for padel balls used in official competition contexts. The requirements include the ball's weight, bouncing ability and hardness.

Testfakta has used the same requirements when testing padel balls from ten well-known brands, all categorized as faster by the manufacturers.

The tests have been carried out by the independent laboratory IBV, Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia, accredited by the FIP for the testing of padel balls.

The laboratory has measured the weight, dimension, bounce, speed, friction and hardness of the balls – first in new condition and then how the balls' properties changed after a period of play. Speed refers to how fast the ball is on the court (speed of the bounce return), and not the speed of the hit itself.


In short, the test shows that the majority of balls do not meet all of FIP's official requirements. But since the deviations are small and the target group for the test is the typical recreational player, these are not taken into account in the overall rating. However, the deviations may be important for the competitive player and are therefore reported separately (see side article).

The test shows large differences between the balls, despite the fact that manufacturers declare similar characteristics for bounce, speed and hardness. Some are very fast, others slow and some bounce considerably higher than others.

The entry and exit velocity of the ball is measured when it is cast with 70 km/h at an angle to the track surface. Photo: IBV.

The entry and exit velocity of the ball is measured when it is cast with 70 km/h at an angle to the track surface. Photo: IBV.

To test the endurance of the balls, they were subjected to 666 strokes where the ball hits the court diagonally at a speed of 70 km/h. Despite a relatively limited number of strokes, which are equivalent to barely a three-setter, the technical characteristics of the balls changed markedly, and the ball speed dropped by up to 14 percent for some brands.

Determining the changes in compression after play. Photo: IBV

But it's not just the number of strokes that affects life expectancy. Already when the vacuum packaging of the balls is broken, the compression is affected by the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere. In other words, a new ball ages even when it is not in play. Therefore, it is wise to store the balls in the package until game time.

The test shows above all how the balls lose pressure and become softer, which reduces the speed of the bounce return and gives a slower game. However, the bounce without force becomes higher after a period of play, which is important for the serve as the ball is released towards the court from hip level.

Compression is measured at a pressure of 95N. Photo: IBV

One ball that really stands out is Head, which loses a whopping 27 and 31 percent respectively in the various compression tests, compared to the average of 16 and 10 percent, respectively. Despite this, the speed of the ball is not significantly affected in the test with a ball speed of 70 km/h. But the impact is probably significantly greater at higher ball speeds, such as in a smash where the ball reaches over 120 km/h or when it is hit against the glass.

In summary, based on the test, it can be concluded that there are large differences in ball properties between different brands and that a well-known brand is not necessarily a guarantee of longer service life.


Facts about the test

Testfakta has commissioned the Spanish laboratory Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (IBV) to test padel balls. The laboratory is accredited by the International Padel Federation (FIP).

The following balls have been tested:

  • Dunlop Pro
  • Kuikma Speed
  • Tretorn Series+ Tour
  • Adidas Speed RX
  • Head Pro S
  • Wilson Performance Speed X3
  • Nox Pro Titanium
  • Bullpadel FIP Next Pro
  • RS Champions Choice
  • Babolat Padel Tour

The selection includes the most common brands of padel balls on the Nordic market. From all brands a faster type of ball has been selected.

Laboratory test

Testing and evaluation of the balls' properties is based on the International Padel Federation's (FIP) criteria for balls used in official competition contexts. The surface used in the endurance test (DOMO Padel PE-M/27) was provided by Domo Sport Grass and is approved by the Spanish Padel Federation.

A total of 18 balls were purchased per brand and based on these, the laboratory randomly selected six balls for the test. The reported results are an average value for these six selected balls.

The test is carried out in two main steps:

  1. Evaluation of the properties of the balls as new.
  2. Evaluation of differences in characteristics after a period of play.

The technical measurement of the properties of the balls includes:

  • Weight
  • Dimension
  • Bounce height
  • Hardness (compression) at lower pressure
  • Hardness (compression) at higher pressure
  • Friction against the track surface
  • Ball speed on the court

The technical measurement was carried out on new balls and on the same balls after 666 strikes with a ball speed of 70 km/h, diagonally to the surface of the court, corresponding to the number of strokes to which a ball is subjected during an average match of three sets.

Differences in the ball's properties before and after the fatigue test show how durable the ball is.

The weight of the ball decreases after a period of play as the surrounding felt wears out.

The dimension of the ball is measured in five different positions. The dimensions do not change significantly after a period of play.

The height of the bounce is measured by dropping the ball vertically from 254 cm towards a smooth concrete surface and recording the height of the bounce. All balls get a slightly higher bounce after the fatigue test, but this only applies when the ball is released without force against the concrete surface. If the ball hits the surface with greater force, such as when the ball is in play, the ball is compressed more and friction against the surface of the court increases, which lowers the ball speed.

The hardness (compression) of the ball was measured at a pressure of 95N without precompression and with a precompression when the ball was first compressed by 2.54 cm.

The friction against the track was measured by all balls being shot at the same speed (30 m/s) at a diagonal angle to the surface of the track. The friction of the ball against the surface was determined by measuring the difference between the ball's input velocity (before the bounce) and exit velocity (after the bounce). The friction is a combination of the hardness (compression) of the ball and the composition and thickness of the felt. All balls have an increased friction against the surface of the track after the fatigue test. This is due to the impaired compression that gives a larger contact area to the track.

The speed of the ball on the court is a combination of the hardness (compression) of the ball and friction against the surface of the court. Most of the balls become slower after the fatigue test, due to the fact that they become softer and thus have a larger contact area with the court.

Interpretation and grading
The results of the test have been interpreted and graded by Testfakta in consultation with the laboratory. The rating has been done on a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is the best. Grades below 6 have only been given to poor results or results that are significantly worse than the other balls selection.

The overall grade has been weighted together as follows:

  • Technical endurance (change in weight and compression) 25%
  • Change in bounce 25%
  • Changed speed in bounce return 25%
  • Changed friction against the track 25%
Most of the balls do not meet the requirements

In order for a ball to be used in official competitions, it must meet certain requirements established by the International Padel Federation (FIP). The requirements include the height of the bounce and the hardness of the ball. Testfakta's test shows that only four out of ten balls tested meet all requirements.

The International Padel Federation (FIP) lists a number of criteria that the ball must meet in order to be used in official competitions. Most of the tested balls do not meet the requirements regarding the ball's bounce, which must not exceed 145 cm when the ball is released from 254 cm against a hard surface. The balls from Tretorn and Wilson have the greatest deviation, which bounce 153 cm, but half of the tested balls have a more or less too high bounce.

The ball from Head is compressed only by 5.1 mm compared to the requirement of 5.6 mm at a pressure of 95 Newton and thus does not meet the requirement for hardness.

Ironically, only the balls with inferior endurance meet the requirements.

Dunlop: Too high bounce
Kuikma: Too high bounce
Tretorn: Too high bounce
Adidas: Too high bounce
Head: Too hard
Wilson: Too high bounce
Nox: Approved*
Bullpadel: Approved*
RS: Approved*
Babolat: Approved*

*) Approved regarding the properties evaluated in Testfakta's test.


The difference between a padel ball and a tennis ball

The padel ball and the tennis ball are similar in appearance, they weigh the same and are almost the same size. So, what is the difference and what significance does it have for the game?

Both the tennis ball and the padel ball should weigh between 56 and 59.6 grams. The diameter of the padel ball is slightly smaller, 6.35 to 6.77 cm, compared to the tennis ball's 6.54 to 6.86 cm. The big difference is the pressure, or hardness of the ball. The pressure of the padel ball is 10 to 11 psi compared to 14 psi for the tennis ball. This means that the padel ball has lower bounce and is slower in play. In addition, the padel court has a surface that also provides a cushioning effect on the ball.

If you use a tennis ball when playing padel, you get a faster game and higher bounces, which also makes the stop balls a little easier to catch. In other words, there will be a clear difference in play, which is not recommended.

Tennis or padel balls are often manufactured in the same factories and one can therefore assume that the quality is equivalent