Pickleball is growing in popularity among people of all ages — except for, perhaps, people who live right next to tennis courts that now have turned into pickleball courts.
It gets a lot of criticism for being noisy. Pickleball fans don’t seem to get disturbed by the popping noise that the pickleball makes when it hits the paddle. It does sound cool, but for those who find the popping sound annoying, the neighbors can get very disturbed by it.
So much so that there have been many instances where people have complained a lot about this noise. And these complaints have made the news too. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of setting up and buying a portable pickleball net.
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The pickleball controversy
Many people even think about suing their noisy pickleball playing neighbors. Many people have been complaining to the local authorities about the noisy pickleball courts in Punta Gorda’s Gilchrist Park.
The City Council even held a committee to discuss the pickleball noise issues and to reduce the noise in the park due to the game. Two neighbors of a pickleball center also filed an injunction to stop this play and the disturbance caused by it.
The issue of noise has gone to the city leaders in the Pacific Grove as well. So this has been a serious issue for the city management to consider for a long time. But the concerns haven’t influenced the growing popularity of the game as well.
So this noise part of the game is not so entertaining for many people in the surroundings. Local authorities have not been able to decide on the issue yet because, currently, there are no rules devised to tackle this issue. Some localities have banned playing this game while others have made the courts distant from the houses.
It’s something to keep in mind if you’re playing in a neighborhood or if you want to set up a court at home in your front or back yard.
How loud is pickleball?
According to the experts, the sounds created by the game of pickleball are fairly. A normal conversation goes at 60 dB to 70 dB. And all the ambient sound is around 40 dB to 48 dB. When you introduce pickleball noise to that, which is roughly 18 to 20 dB, the overall noise gets up to 60 dB to 70 dB. It means that when somebody is playing pickleball outside, you will hear the sound as if someone is continuously conversing with you. It can get pretty annoying in the long run.
For those of you who ask: “Is pickleball louder than tennis?” The answer is a simple yes.
The decibels of pickleball are surely louder than tennis due to the popping sound that comes from the pickleball paddle. The materials used in the making of pickleball balls and paddles make that sound. And even with a shot without much effort behind it, the sound is quite loud.
Some pickleball noise solutions
So if the court you’re playing on is located anywhere near residents or at a club, you cannot ignore the fact that pickleball is noisy. You must be considerate of your neighbors and must not indulge in behavior where you are causing a social nuisance. Therefore, you need to take some measurements to reduce the annoying pickleball sound significantly. This way, you will carry on enjoying your game, and no one will get bothered.
Here are some of the practical measures that you can take for noise reduction.
The first step to reducing the pickleball noise problems is to go for quieter pickleballs. Here are a couple of quiet pickleball balls to choose from. NOTE: These are not USAPA approved and are not real pickleballs. These can be used in a pinch or if you want to play early or late in the day when you are more likely to get complaints.
Gamma Revolution Foam Warm Up Balls (affiliate link)
Using these foam tennis balls are the best when it comes to reducing noise. They have Magnacore foam in them that will not make much sound upon contact with the paddle. They are great for beginners who want to get a feel for the game without waking up the neighbors. These balls are available in packs of 12 pieces, and their bounce rate is pretty high.
The balls are lightweight, and they bounce consistently. You can use them for your game or coaching as well. These balls are equally great for experts and novices because experienced players can get into the flow before their game, and beginners can work on their skills and hone them.
- Very impressive bounce.
- Excellent for the practice of the expert players.
- Great for beginners to improve their skills and control.
- Made of high-quality Magnacore foam.
- They wear out pretty quickly.
Gamma Sports Foam Tennis Balls (affiliate link)
These are also great for reducing the sound because they are made of high-quality foam. You can use them for practice, and they are equally great to reduce the impact level on your arms because of their lightweight. Kids can have fun with them too. These balls are very lightweight, and they offer good bounce too. These balls are ideal for practicing as well as coaching.
But it is better to use them for practice if you are looking to enhance your skills and have no experience in this game. The amount of spin that these balls can produce and the bounce that they have is very manageable. Once you get into the flow, it will be better for you to move on to the next level. Starting straightaway with high-speed spinning balls will be strenuous, especially if you are a beginner.
- Excellent training and practice.
- Good choice for novice pickleball players.
- They tend to get soft pretty quickly.
Using low noise pickleball paddles is also an option if you want to reduce neighborhood nuisance. Choose high-quality materials to keep the noise down because they have fewer tendencies to vibrate. Beware, these quiet pickleball paddles will be expensive because they are made of high-quality materials.
For your guidance, you can make your choice as per the Green Zone of pickleball paddle noise levels. Avoid the paddles from the Red Zone in this list issued by the Sun City Community Association and you will be in good shape.
Use Indoor Pickleballs Outdoors
Indoor pickleballs are slightly quieter when compared to outdoor pickleballs. There is no law against using indoor balls outside, but outdoor pickleballs ARE made to be played out in the elements. Check out my article on the Best Indoor and Outdoor PIckleballs for more details.
Polymer core paddles are generally quieter
The material you should aim for when buying a quiet paddle is a polymer core. This material is way quieter compared to other materials. It doesn’t make much noise because it tends to absorb the impact pretty well and doesn’t vibrate much.
The results of lowered noise levels will be significant when you use this type of paddle with foam balls like the ones we mentioned above. The impact sound is minimal when compared to other paddle types, and you won’t hear any noise complaints from your neighbors either. Hence, it is an effective material to reduce noise in the pickleball court.
Patriot Pickleball Sniper Paddle Quiet Composite (affiliate link)
The paddle is made of quite composite material, and it can bring down the noise from impact significantly. The paddle features a rigid PU foam center and has a polypropylene core. This paddle will not make that much sound, especially if you use it with foam balls. It meets all the standards set by the USAPA and can last for a long time.
Composite paddles are very lightweight, and they allow you to play your shots with free flow. The lightweight padded area is excellent for the people who want to be more in control of their shots. If you can generate a lot of power in your shots on your own, then you need to go for these paddles.
- Features polyurethane foam center.
- Polypropylene core for rigidity.
- Meets the standards by USAPA.
- Lightweight construction.
- Very quiet.
- The bounce across the paddle is not consistent.
Graphite Onix Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle (affiliate link)
This is made of top-notch carbon fiber materials and has a very comfortable cushioning grip. It is also available in various color options. It comes with a very comfortable grip that will help you in improving your game.
If you want durability in your paddles but don’t want to go with heavy models, then carbon fiber is a great choice. These paddles can hold up pretty nicely and can stand the test of time as well. Its grip is one of its best features because no matter how sweaty your hands will get, you won’t lose the grip on your paddle during your gameplay. And this is a real confidence booster.
- Available in different colors.
- Very soft cushiony grip.
- Durable construction.
- It doesn’t make much sound.
- The surface finish wears out fast.
Onix Evoke Pro (affiliate link)
This paddle features a polypropylene core and composite face. It is extremely lightweight, and the experts of the game should choose this is their pickleball weapon. It is also available in different color combinations. You can play for speed and spin both with this paddle. You cannot go wrong with this pickleball paddle.
If you are interested in having a paddle that features a sweet spot, then this should be your choice. The shots that you can make with this paddle will be precise and speedy at the same time. There are not many paddles available on the market that come at such a good price and also have several features.
- Available in different colors.
- Lightweight construction.
- Sweet spot core.
- More powerful shots with the composite surface.
- Surface edges tend to deteriorate pretty fast.
Acoustical fencing or pickleball sound barrier
Another option that you can choose if you don’t want to go for quiet paddles and balls is to choose acoustical fencing.
Noise suppression is a very effective way to reduce the sound and keep the ambient levels around your neighbors on the low side, just the way they like it. Some communities go for different types of less noisy paddles and balls and allow them for the players to use in the game. Other communities put up a fence that can absorb the sound produced by the ball.
This fencing should be at an angle tilted outwards. The sound coming from the pickleball court will bounce straight up, and it won’t get dispersed into the surrounding community. You can also double the fencing if you want to further suppress the noise that the game makes.
One of the best options to consider here is the Noise Grabber Vinyl Sheet for an acoustic barrier. You can block noise with this 40 square feet sheet available in 4×10 feet rolls. Its STC rating is 26, and it is a very effective way to reduce nuisance noise.
This sheet is available in different sizes, and you can choose according to your preferences and requirements. The sheet is highly flexible and doesn’t come with any odors. Installation is not a big deal either.
But you need to be careful when handling or installing it because the material weighs 1 pound per square foot. And it is the level of thickness that reduced the sound from getting past
It really all starts with where courts are placed. Most times you don’t have much of a choice, but if you are planning on building a court or placing a temporary court, please consider the sound. Place it away from where members of the community may be bothered by loud noise whenever possible. Or place it so that there is some kind of physical barrier that can separate the court and residents.
Although pickleball is an entertaining game, it has a loud-noise controversy to get addressed. Your neighbors won’t be happy if you don’t take any measures to reduce the sound. Not all people are too thrilled about the sound that this game makes.
There are various methods and techniques that you can use to reduce noise levels. You can use different types of balls and paddles to keep the sound on the low side. But if you don’t want to change the equipment, then go for acoustic fencing that won’t allow any sound to escape. You will be able to enjoy your game, and nobody in the neighborhood will get disturbed.
Make sure to be considerate of others that are around you and be responsible citizens in your neighborhood.
Last update on 2021-06-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API