Which tennis ball is perfect for you?

The Williams may be able to hit the heck out of any old ball, but an amateur needs to be more strategic.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all tennis balls were the same—just grab a can and you’re good to go, right? But purists and pros would certainly have a thing or two to say about that.

Your skill level, competitive intensity, and comfort level all come into play, so here’s how to figure out how to best compliment your game.

Game-changer: Wilson Triniti Tennis Balls

Eco-Friendly Packaging

These upgrade picks hold their bounce for longer. Amazon


Wilson’s Triniti tennis balls come in fully-recyclable cardboard containers, a major step up from the vacuum-sealed canister usually deployed to ensure your balls have a fresh bounce. How did Wilson do it? Engineers upgraded the core within the ball. By using a lighter material, the company could add thickness to the walls of the core, which resulted in a ball that stays fresher for longer. Plus, Triniti balls’ outer felt is 50 percent more flexible, which increases the amount of time the ball stays on the racket, resulting in improved control.

Most common: Penn Regular Duty Championship Tennis Balls

Have These In Your Court

If you’ve ever played, you’ve probably used with these. Amazon


If you regularly play on clay or indoor courts, you’ll want to opt for regular duty balls; they’re covered with a thinner layer of felt so that they absorb less impact on those substrates. The Penn regular duty balls have that, but are also pressurized, which means they’re optimized for bounce, speed, and spin. “Pressureless” balls get their bounce from the rubber on the outside of the ball and not any inside pressure, and are used more for beginners or practice.

Pro choice: Wilson US Open Extra Duty Tennis Ball

Has Thicker Felt

Nothing about this packaging says “just playing around.” Amazon


Extra duty balls are designed to perform best on hard or grass courts. They’re made from a thicker felt that can withstand the less-forgiving pounding of concrete or turf. One thing to be aware of, though, is that sometimes—due to the tougher workload—extra duty balls may not last as long as regular duty. But it all depends on personal usage.

High-altitude option: Wilson US Open Hi-Alt Tennis Ball

Consider Your Location

For when you want to elevate your game. Amazon


It’s not always just about what kind of court you play on, but where that court is located. According to the International Tennis Federation, anywhere above 4,000 feet is considered “high altitude,” and these heights can cause pressurized balls to bounce higher and travel faster. These Wilson balls are designed specifically for high-altitude play and bring more consistency to the response.

For starters: Gamma Sports Foam Tennis Balls

Practice Makes Perfect

Get them started right. Amazon


For kids or those just starting out, there are softer beginner balls designed to bounce slower and travel less aggressively. Traditionally, beginner balls are color-coded to indicate different levels. Red are “Stage 3” balls for kids and beginners; orange are “Stage 2” balls which are slightly more advanced; and green are “Stage 1” balls, which are the last step before tournament quality. Brands like Gamma Sports also offer foam balls that are a great way to get into the game at a slower and safer pace.