Tennis balls and dryer balls may seem similar as small spheres, but they serve totally different purposes. Here are 11 key differences between tennis balls and dryer balls:
- Weight – Tennis balls are lighter at 2-2.5 ounces versus 4-6 ounces for dryer balls.
- Size – Dryer balls are larger at 2-2.5 inch diameter versus 2.57-2.7 inches for tennis balls.
- Bounce – Tennis balls have a high bounce while dryer balls have minimal bounce.
- Materials – Felt tennis balls versus wool or plastic dryer balls.
- History – Tennis balls originated in the 1500s while dryer balls are a new invention.
- Speed – Tennis serves reach 100+ mph versus dryer balls sitting stationary.
- Spin Speed – Tennis balls spin over 2000 rpm versus no dryer ball spin.
- Records – 143 mph tennis serve versus dryer balls having no records.
- Care – Replace old tennis balls but dryer balls are reusable.
- Brands – Wilson, Penn, Dunlop dominate tennis versus multiple generic dryer ball brands.
- Aging – Tennis balls go dead and lose bounce unlike dryer balls which maintain shape.
In this article, we will compare these two very different types of balls in depth!
Difference in Weight
The most noticeable difference is tennis balls are much lighter. They weigh just 2-2.5 ounces on average. This allows for swinging control and finessed shots.
Dryer balls have substantial heft at 4-6 ounces per ball. The weight helps them knock laundry around for even drying, but prevents any sport use.
So dryer balls are over twice as heavy as feather-light tennis balls.
Difference in Size
Dryer balls also differ being slightly larger in general. They measure between 2 and 2.5 inches in diameter typically.
Regulation tennis balls come in at 2.57 to 2.7 inches in diameter officially. So dryer balls average about a quarter inch wider.
Difference in Bounce
Given their varied functions, tennis balls and dryer balls have very different bounce properties.
Tennis balls bounce high with an elastic felt surface and rubber core reaching over 50 inches on a proper court.
Dryer balls don’t bounce at all! They have a dead thud and simply drop when tossed to the floor. No bounce is needed inside a dryer.
So for bounce height, tennis balls are the clear winner!
If you want to learn more about exactly what dryer balls are, then check this video out:
The bounce differences relate directly to the materials used in each ball type.
Tennis balls have a fuzzy high-pile felt over a rubber core making them light and bouncy.
Dryer balls are solid molded plastic or dense wool. The heavy solid material prevents bounce.
So tennis balls maximize bounce, while dryer balls focus on weight for laundry work.
History of Both Balls
Tennis balls have been around for centuries, while dryer balls are a modern invention.
Tennis balls originated in France in the 1500s from wooden balls. Rubber cores emerged in the 1900s for better bounce.
Dryer balls only surfaced in the late 1990s as an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets. The plastic versions appeared around 2010.
So tennis balls have generations of design evolution unlike the new dryer ball concept.
Speed They Travel
In their intended uses, tennis balls and dryer balls see vastly different speeds.
Tennis serves from pros can travel over 100 miles per hour, with top speeds over 150 mph. Shots zip back and forth across the court.
Dryer balls simply sit stationary inside a spinning dryer drum. There is no speed measure.
So tennis balls take flight while dryer balls stay grounded!
How Fast is a Serve?
Related to speed, tennis serves reach high velocities while dryer balls have no serving function.
The fastest tennis serves exceed 150 miles per hour by pros! My personal best is just 75 mph.
Dryer balls are never served or thrown. They lack any aerodynamic design for sailing through the air.
For serve speed, tennis balls dominate the equation here.
What is the World Record Speed of Both?
This vast speed difference is evident in the world records:
Australian Sam Groth holds the tennis record with a 163 mph serve in 2012, absolutely blazing.
Dryer balls have no applicable world speed record. They sit dormant inside dryers during operation.
So for record ball speed, tennis has the clear advantage.
How Both Compare to Balls from Other Sports
Tennis balls differ greatly from balls used in other sports:
- Baseball – Much smaller and harder with lower bounce than fuzzy tennis balls.
- Golf – Tiny compact golf balls fly faster and spin more.
- Soccer – Larger size, much less bounce, and way slower than tennis balls when kicked.
No sport ball matches the fuzzy high bounce of a fresh tennis ball off the court.
The Best Brands of Balls for Either
For tennis, top brands include Wilson, Penn, Dunlop. For dryers, multiple brands like Wool Dryer Balls, DryerWool, Snugpad make reusable dryer balls.
Serious tennis players want name brand durability and bounce. Dryer brands compete on eco-friendliness and number of balls per pack.
Best Ways to Store or Maintain the Balls
Used tennis balls should be kept pressurized in their cans to maintain bounce. Replace balls once the felt naps flatten.
Dryer balls can simply be tossed in a drawer between uses. Their solid form needs no special care.
So tennis balls require some air retention care when storing.
How a New Ball Compares to an Old One
Fresh new tennis balls have the liveliest bounce and speed off the racket string bed. The rubber and felt is still full of life.
Over time, the felt compresses and flattens while the bounce loses its energetic pop. Old balls feel “dead.”
Dryer balls maintain their shape and performance over many years of laundry use. They outlive tennis balls.
So in summary, tennis balls and dryer balls couldn’t be more different in terms of weight, bounce, speed, and purpose. Tennis balls serve up high speeds and bounces, while dryer balls tumble laundry clean. Game, set, match to tennis balls for athleticism!