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Squash Ball Vs Racquetball Ball – 11 Key Differences

Squash and racquetball are two fast-paced racket sports that use very similar-looking balls. But there are actually some notable differences between squash balls and racquetball balls when you examine them closely.

Here are 11 ways that squash balls differ from racquetball balls:

  • Weight – Squash balls are lighter at 24 grams vs racquetball’s 45 grams.
  • Size – Squash balls have a smaller 40mm diameter vs racquetball’s 55mm.
  • Bounce – Squash balls bounce higher than racquetballs.
  • Materials – Squash balls have a rubber shell while racquetballs use a plastic coating.
  • History – Racquetballs developed first in the 1950s, squash balls in the 60s.
  • Speed – Squash balls can reach speeds over 175 mph, racquetballs top out around 150 mph typically.
  • Serve Speed – Average squash serve is 120-150 mph, racquetball 100-130 mph.
  • World Records – Fastest squash serve is 179 mph, racquetball serve is 173 mph.
  • Storage – Racquetballs lose bounce quicker than squash balls.
  • Brands – Penn and Wilson are top racquetball makers, Dunlop is famous for squash balls.
  • New vs Old – Squash balls speed up with use, racquetballs slow down.

In this article, we’ll explore how squash balls and racquetballs differ in their weight, size, bounce, speed, materials, history, and more. Read on to understand what sets these common balls apart!

blue racquetball in foreground laying on racquet strings. Handle is blurred.

Difference in Weight

The first obvious difference is that squash balls are much lighter, averaging just 24 grams. Racquetballs have a heavier weight, typically around 45 grams.

The lighter squash ball contributes to its faster speed potential. The added weight of a racquetball gives it more stability in the air. As a beginner, I found the racquetball easier to control coming from a tennis background.

Difference in Size

Along with lighter weight, squash balls also have a smaller diameter of 40mm or 1.6 inches.

Racquetballs are noticeably larger at 55mm or 2.2 inches across on average. Their larger build is closer to a tennis ball’s size. The compact squash ball dimension suits the tight confines of a squash court.

I remember being surprised at the size contrast when I started switching between the two sports. The racquetball looked huge on the strings compared to the tiny squash ball!

Difference in Bounce

This is where the core difference comes in – squash balls have an extremely lively bounce off hard surfaces thanks to their pressurized interior. They compress over 1mm when dropped due to the rubber shell.

Racquetballs don’t compress as much, so have a bouncier but “deader” feel without as much of a reactive kick. Their harder plastic coating reduces the liveliness off the walls.

You’ll immediately notice the energy of a squash ball as it zips around the court! I had to drastically close my racket angle coming from racquetball to account for the vertical bounce.

Materials Used

Squash balls consist of a pressurized nitrocellulose compound interior encased in a smooth rubber exterior shell.

Racquetballs also contain a pressurized core but use a stiff plastic such as vinyl or acrylic for the outer coating instead of rubber.

The rubber shell gives squash balls their higher rebound over the harder plastic of a racquetball cover.

History of Both Balls

Racquetballs actually preceded squash balls, first emerging around 1950 using a black rubber core. Bouncier blue racquetballs followed in the 1960s.

Squash balls with pressurized air pockets were developed slightly later in the 1960s by Dunlop. Their iconic two-dot design revolutionized the squash game.

So despite squash’s longer history as a sport, racquetballs have been around for longer. Modern ball tech improved both games.

Speed They Travel

The light and bouncy nature of squash balls allows top players to generate insane shot speeds over 175 mph off the racket face.

Racquetballs max out at slightly slower speeds, but still impressively fast around 150 mph on full power hits. The extra ball weight prevents higher velocity.

Both can be lethal projectiles in the wrong hands! But squash balls hold the edge for raw smash speed potential.

How Fast is a Serve?

On serve:

  • Squash players average between 120-150 mph pace on first serves.
  • Racquetball servers hit between 100-130 mph on average.

The lighter squash ball travels quicker off the racket, even on serves. But racquetball serves have more mass behind them.

My shoulder appreciated the slightly slower pace coming from squash when I started racquetball!

What is the World Record Speed of Both?

  • The fastest squash serve is held by Australian Cameron Pilley at a blistering 179 mph in 2018 using an experimental racket.
  • For racquetball, the serve record belongs to Rocky Carson at 173 mph also in 2018.

Again, squash balls narrowly edge out racquetballs for top speed, but not by much. Both can be rocketed off the walls!

How Both Compare to Balls from Other Sports

The solid racket face and light ball design allows squash and racquetballs to be blasted at rates near a golf ball. The pace demands quick reflexes!

The Best Makes of Balls for Either Sport

For squash, Dunlop is the household name known for their iconic Pro double-yellow dot balls. Other leading squash ball brands include Wilson, Head, Prince, and Pointfore.

With racquetball, Penn and Wilson are the stalwart brands making the most trusted balls. Penn is my go-to for their blue box competition balls which have the best bounce and durability.

I’ve tried many brands, but Dunlop and Penn make my favorite balls for each sport – trust the classics!

Best Ways to Store or Maintain the Balls

Here’s a key maintenance difference:

  • Racquetballs lose their bounce quickly if the pressure drops, so rotate new balls in more frequently. Keeping in the tube or a ball machine helps.
  • Squash balls hold their pressure extremely well for months if simply kept at room temperature. Their bounciness lasts and lasts!

So squash balls require minimal special storage as long as they’re not left in a hot environment. Racquetballs need more active pressurization.

How a New One Compares to an Old One

Amazingly, squash balls actually improve for the first month as the materials settle! Old balls bounce a touch higher than brand new ones.

Racquetballs show the more typical decline in bounce over time as the interior pressure decreases gradually with use. So you want to replace frequently.

It’s satisfying to get sweetspot shots with a nicely broken-in squash ball. With racquetballs, I notice the difference in liveliness once they lose their “pop”.


While cousins in the racket sport world, squash and racquetballs have distinct differences in their materials, bounce, speed, size, and ideal maintenance. Understanding these unique qualities helps decide which ball suits the court surface, environment, and style of play.

Both ball types have developed impressively over the decades with innovative designs and compounds. When matched to the right player and court, they allow for fast-paced, thrilling matches full of snap and flair. I’ve got a whole new respect for the science inside these little spheres!