Laboratory test
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

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%