Pressureless Tennis Balls vs Pressurized Tennis Balls
Pressureless tennis balls are an alternative to normal pressurized tennis balls. But are they as good? What are the differences? And which option is better?
As a quick summary, pressurized tennis balls have:
- More bounce – Pressurized balls feel more “lively” when they first come out of the can. The can itself is pressurized to 14 psi to match the internal pressure inside the tennis balls. The can is vacuum sealed to prevent the pressurized gas from leaking.
- More spin response – Because they’re lighter than pressureless tennis balls, you can generate more spin with these balls.
- More speed – Since they have less mass than pressureless balls, pressurized balls travel faster.
But these benefits are very short-lived. Within two to four weeks (or less) of opening the can, these balls will have lost their initial bounce, and to the passionate tennis player they are pretty much unplayable. As the pressurized gas inside the balls escapes, these balls lose their bounce and feel “dead” or “wooden.”
Pressureless balls, on the other hand, feel a little “dead” right from the start. But, over time, as the felt fabric cover on the ball wears away and the rubber inside softens, these balls actually become more bouncy. While that sounds good, the fact that these balls are heavier means that they strike your racquet with more force. And they require your arm and the rest of your body to use more force in hitting them. The result can be an increase in injury. And while the balls may become bouncier, their spin response decreases over time. A definite negative in these days when so many people are trying to generate spin on their serves and ground strokes.
In conclusion, if you want to play any sort of competition tennis then pressurised balls are the only option. If you want to improve your play by practicing with another player then once again only pressurised balls will give you the correct bounce and spin characteristics. If however, you want to use balls for rebound or machine practice, then pressureless tennis balls can be a good option since they won’t lose their bounce over time.
So how do you solve the problem of playing with pressurized balls over a long period of time so that every time you arrive at the court you don’t have to worry about how “fresh” your tennis balls are? At present there are a couple of options:
Option 1: Ball Saver
The hard plastic screw together “Ball Saver” type of cannister. These containers act by increasing the pressure around the outside of the balls as the two halves of the container are screwed together thus compressing the air within. However the pressure inside these units is not high, and is certainly not the 14 psi the balls originally came shipped in, and so these units will only slow the rate at which the balls lose their pressure but will not stop or reverse it.
Option 2: PressureBall
PressureBall is a flexible plastic pressure tube for tennis balls that uses a simple bicycle pump to increase the pressure in the tube. This means that the pressure can be adjusted and set to any level. By pumping a PressureBall tube to the recommended pressure of 14 psi, your tennis balls will be stored at the same pressure as the pressurised can you originally purchased them in. This means your tennis balls will bounce as good as new balls every time you use them, right until the felt wears out! What is more, because the pressure in the tube can exceed the internal pressure of the tennis ball, pressure loss can even be reversed so that balls that have gone soft can be revived to “new” ball pressures and performance.
By using PressureBall tennis plays can enjoy playing with proper pressurized tennis balls, without needing to replace or put up with balls that go soft. Instead the balls keep bouncing like new balls until the felt completely wears out! It is by far the most economical choice for tennis enthusiasts.
You read more about PressureBall here.