I was getting ready for a game of Padel this afternoon. My
friend and padel partner Bernard took out a brand new can of
tournament-standard padel balls. We all heard that satisfying pop-sound as he
pulled the ring to open the can. It is the sound we associate with “game-on”.
Why are padel balls in a sealed container? Padel balls are filled with gas to a pressure of between 10psi and 11psi. Over time padel balls lose pressure as they equalize to the air outside. New balls come in containers pressured to the same level as the ball. This prevents the balls from losing any pressure until you are ready to play padel.
Let’s take a closer look at those sealed containers and why
they ensure that you have a more enjoyable game of padel. We will also share a
tip on how to make your padel balls last longer and even resurrect flat,
lifeless padel balls.
Why Factories Use Airtight Containers
Padel balls are manufactured to very specific internal
pressures of 11psi for balls used at sea level and 10psi for balls used at
From a quality assurance perspective, it is important for padel ball brands to ensure that their padel balls are at the correct pressure when used for the first time in a game of padel. Because nobody can predict exactly how long padel balls will be standing on a shelf at the wholesaler or retailer, manufacturers pack new balls in airtight containers.
This serves two purposes. Firstly, an airtight container can
be pressured to the same internal pressure of the padel balls, ensuring that
the balls will not lose any internal pressure between the factory and
courtside. Secondly, a sealed container gives the customer peace of mind that
these are indeed new padel balls.
Padel Balls Are Made from Porous Rubber
The inner layer of the padel ball is made from a rubber that has a porous nature when examined microscopically. Because padel balls are “pumped” to a pressure higher than the outside air eventually they will start to lose pressure.
Think of how, for instance, car, motorcycle and bicycle tires lose pressure over time. Because the rubber of a padel ball is both thinner and lighter (less dense) it will lose pressure a lot faster.
Every time you hit a padel ball you knock just a tiny bit of air out of the ball. And those super hard shots you play against the back wall hoping that you can get the ball to clear the net, they will knock even more life out of your new padel balls.
Pressure Canning Padel Balls
As I mentioned earlier, padel balls lose their pressure and
“bounce” during a game from being hit and the impact of the side and back walls
of the court. Padel balls even lose pressure just from lying around unused.
Because of this, manufacturers seal the containers through
the process of pressure canning. This ensures that the space around the padel
balls remains exactly the same as the internal pressure of each ball.
A lot of precision goes into producing your padel balls at a
pressure that will give you maximum enjoyment on the court. It would be such a
waste if they were not packaged in a pressured container and you ended up with
brand new padel balls that were flat.
The Importance Of A Predictable Bounce
Not that it makes a huge amount of difference to our motley
crew of mostly beginner players that get together for a couple of games on a
Saturday afternoon, but being able to predict how a padel ball will bounce
makes the game easier to play.
However, as you move up the ranks toward the level of elite
players it becomes more and more vital that the ball comes off the face of your
padel racket the same way with each successive shot.
So it is vital that the balls arrive at courtside in a sealed,
pressurized container so that all your new padel balls will bounce precisely
the same way.
The Short Life Span Of Padel Balls
What I have noticed is that padel balls tend to go flat
faster than tennis palls, but that is based on my experience as a very social
level player of both sports.
This may have to do with the fact that padel balls start off
at a much power internal pressure. So they might be as little as a couple of
psi short of feeling completely flat.
In general, a set of padel balls will start feeling flat after about four hours of active play or three weeks of storage out of their pressurized container.
Resurrecting Flat Padel Balls
While I was researching this article on why padel balls come in sealed containers and that these containers are pressurized, I stumbled upon this stunning US-made invention. It is the Tennis Ball Saver by Gexco (available on Amazon). Although originally designed for storing tennis balls at 14psi, it has a setting to be able to store your used padel balls at 10psi or 11psi.
This will have the effect of re-inflating your padel balls so that they are ready for your next game. According to the product information, the Tennis Ball Saver (available on Amazon) can re-inflate a set of completely flat padel balls in 14 days to the point where they feel like new balls.
Indications are that padel balls in active play can be
re-inflated as many as ten times before the fuzzy outer layer of the balls
starts wearing thin from being hit so much.
Not only will the money saved on buying new padel balls compensate for the Tennis Ball Saver (available on Amazon) within two to three months but it will also greatly reduce the amount of wastage from discarded padel balls.