Yesterday evening on my way to my game of padel, I picked up a bright yellow padel ball in the dry river bed that runs alongside our village padel court. It even had the World Padel Tour logo printed on the side. I took it onto court at the start of our game.
My friend Bernard gave the ball a single squeeze and a single bounce before declaring that the ball was too flat for padel. He then fetched a can of brand new balls or us to use. But how did he know?
How do you know if a padel ball is good? Padel balls should be neither too fuzzy nor too bald and have a bright yellow glow. Squeeze the ball, a bad ball will feel extra squishy. A good padel ball will have some resistance. Finally, bounce the ball, if the ball barely lifts off from the ground, it is time to open a new can of padel balls.
Having the skill to quickly test a padel ball will help avoid playing a game with flat padel balls. Let’s learn what to look for.
A Simple Check List To Test For Good Padel Balls
There are a number of ways on how to check for a faulty padel ball. The following steps will help you determine whether you have a bouncy happy ball or a stone:
- Check the can in the shop
- Listen for the pop when you open the can
- Inspect your padel ball
- Squeeze the padel ball
- Bounce the padel ball
- Hit the padel ball
Check The Can In The Shop
Test the can of padel balls before you even get to the till. You should be able to squeeze the can and feel resistance due to the trapped air-pressure. If there is a lot of give in the plastic, the can of padel balls might not be sealed properly. That means the new balls will be depleted of any decent pressure.
Listen For The Pop When You Open The Can
Because new padel balls come in pressured cans, there should be satisfying pop sound when you pull the ring and break the seal. I wrote a detailed article about why padel balls come in pressured cans. Give it a read.
Inspect Your Padel Ball
The padel ball should not be too fuzzy, and neither too bald. Normally, a tell-tale sign is if the branding that was printed on the ball has worn off. A healthy padel ball will also have a bright yellow glow.
The dye used to color the fuzzy outer layer of a padel ball fades quite quickly under UV light. So lots of direct sunlight will bleach your padel balls.
Squeeze The Padel Ball
A ball that has gone bad will be extra squishy. A good padel ball will have some resistance and give when you squeeze it.
Bounce The Padel Ball
You should be able to bounce a padel ball with fairly little force and have it bounce lightly back up to you. If the ball barely lifts off from the ground, it is more than likely flat.
Hit The Padel Ball
If all else fails and you’re still unsure whether your padel balls are still any good, then hit the ball. A dead padel ball will feel heavy when you take a good whack at it. It will also make a low and unmistakably dull “thud” when you hit it.
What Are Your Options?
All padel balls are going to have different life cycles depending on the player, court surface, and surrounding environment.
However, for the average player playing a couple times a week, the majority of padel balls will have a life span of 4-5 matches.
Padel balls get divided into sea level balls, medium altitude and high altitude.
According to the World Padel Tour, the cut off altitude between needing sea level and medium altitude balls is 1640ft (500m). The minimum pressure allowed for a sea level padel is exactly the same as the maximum pressure allowed for a medium altitude ball.
The padel court in our village is at an altitude of 1476ft (450m), while the court in our neighboring village is at 2624ft (800m). That means padel balls which are just too flat for our court will just perfect for using just a couple of miles away.
Another way that you will be able to drastically extend the lifespan of your padel balls is by using one of the three available re-pressurizing alternatives available on the market. These allow you to renew your padel balls up to 10 times before the fuzzy layer starts wearing thin.
The Gexco Tennis Ball Saver (available on Amazon) has a setting where you can use it for the lower pressure of padel balls and is US made.
The Spanish made Ball Rescuer (available on Amazon Spain) is a fitting that goes on the top of most ball canisters and allows you to re-pressurize the same canister you bought the padel balls in.
Also Spanish, the Pascal Box (available on Amazon Spain) is the highest quality of the three, but come with larger price tag. However, a portion of the profits from the sale of these units is donated to projects focused on cleaning ocean plastics.