Squash balls and tennis balls may seem (reasonably) similar at first glance! 👀
They are light (ish), rubbery, and bounce quite a bit.
But, as you can guess, there are actually some notable differences when it comes to their design, feel, and intended use.
In this article, I’ll explore the 11 key differences between squash balls and tennis balls, which include:
- Their weight
- Their size
- Materials used
- Serve speed
- Comparison to other balls
- Best brands
- Storage and Maintenance
- New vs old balls
Let’s dive into the differences…
1. Squash Ball Vs Tennis Ball – Weight
One of the most noticeable differences is that squash balls are nearly half the weight of tennis balls.
The average squash ball weighs around 23-25 grams (0.8-0.9 oz), whereas a tennis ball weighs around 56-59 grams (2.0-2.1 oz).
This lighter weight allows squash balls to have more of a “lively” feel and bounce more rapidly across the squash court walls.
Here’s a table for you that shows the difference in weight clearly:
|Ball Type||Average Weight (g)||Average Weight (oz)|
So a tennis ball is more than 2 times heavier than a squash ball.
One random thing – ‘tennis elbow’ is far more prevalent in tennis rather than squash, exactly because of this added ball weight. (Just something to keep in mind).
Along with the difference in weight, squash balls are smaller in size than tennis balls.
The diameter of a squash ball is typically 4.1-4.2 cm (1.6-1.7 in). Tennis balls have a diameter of around 6.5-6.8 cm (2.6-2.7 in).
The smaller and lighter squash ball gives players more precision and control during rapid rallies in the confined squash court space.
Here’s that info in a table:
|Ball Type||Diameter (cm)||Diameter (in)|
The squash ball has a much faster initial bounce off the racket strings or court walls compared to a tennis ball.
However, the squash ball loses its energy more quickly after the initial bounce. This helps create quick rallies with more shots per point. Here’s how squash balls bounce in a match (it’s quite a short clip):
The lower bounce of the squash ball means that:
- The impact point of the majority of shots is quite low to the ground
- Shots like drops and boasts can be the most deadly, where minimal bounce is required
Tennis balls retain their energy better and bounce higher, enabling longer points.
You can see the greater bounce of tennis balls in this video:
The higher bounce allows for:
- A higher impact point
- Longer distance between the ball bouncing for its first and second bounce
- A wider range of spin is possible on the ball – and will have more impact
- Overhead shots like smashes after the ball has bounced
4. Materials Used
While tennis balls have historically been made using a felt exterior over a rubber core, most squash balls today use a two-part construction with a rubber exterior shell over a smaller rubber core.
This helps enhance the ball’s playability – the shell grips the court for control while the core gives it bounce.
The core is pressurized with air.
Many tennis balls still utilize a traditional felt coating.
The roots of modern squash date back to 1830s England, while tennis originated in 12th century French monastery courtyards.
The smaller squash “rackets” ball evolved from real tennis to suit enclosed indoor courts. Tennis balls evolved from natural materials like wool or leather to vulcanized rubber by the late 1800s.
When struck in a high-velocity rally, a squash ball can reach speeds over 250 km/h (160 mph).
Tennis balls generally don’t exceed speeds above 160 km/h (100 mph), even on powerful serves.
The lighter squash ball accelerates faster off the strings. However, tennis balls retain speed better during flight.
7. Serve Speed
On serves, squash balls commonly reach speeds of 175-180 km/h (110-115 mph) for professionals.
Professional tennis players have much faster serves, averaging around 190 km/h (120 mph) for men and up to 175 km/h (110 mph) for women.
The world record tennis serve is 263 km/h (163 mph) set by Australian Sam Groth.
|Ball Type||Average Pro Serve Speed km/h / mph|
|Squash Ball (men)||175-180 km/h (110-115 mph)|
|Squash Ball (women)||150-175 km/h (97-110mph)|
|Tennis Ball (men)||190 km/h (120 mph) men|
|Tennis Ball (women)||175 km/h (110 mph)|
8. Comparison to Other Balls
Squash balls bounce faster than racquetballs and are lighter than tennis balls.
The rubber tennis ball bounces higher than a leather baseball but deaccelerates faster than a hard baseball. The squash ball is closer to a golf ball in size but much more elastic and lively.
9. Best Brands
Well-known squash ball manufacturers include Dunlop, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Prince.
Wilson, Slazenger, Penn, and Dunlop are among the major tennis ball brands. Many brands offer various ball models for different player levels and court speeds.
10. Storage and Maintenance
Storing squash and tennis balls properly helps maintain bounce and performance.
Keeping balls in regulated room temperature in the package or a ball hopper prevents premature pressure loss.
Re-pressurizing older balls can restore bounce. Avoid excessive heat, cold, or moisture.
11. Old vs. New Balls
A new squash or tennis ball right out of the package will have more pressure, higher bounce, and faster speed than an older ball that’s lost pressure over time.
Old squash balls tend to lose their bounce entirely so they’re often discarded after a month or two of play.
Tennis balls will still be playable but bounce lower when older.
While squash balls and tennis balls appear somewhat similar and can be used for recreational play, their designs suit very different sport dynamics.
From the lighter and faster squash ball to the larger fuzzy tennis ball that’s easier to hit, each ball has properties tailored for their unique games.
Understanding these key differences allows players to select equipment optimized for the speed, precision, and play style they want.