How To Select A Portable Pickleball Net

Portable pickleball nets (often referred to as “portable pickleball net systems”) are the perfect way for players to be able to set up a court in a variety of settings. The most common scenario is to put up a portable net on tennis courts or in a gym. But when a court or gym may not be available, you can also easily put up a net in a driveway, cul-de-sac, deserted parking lot, or anywhere else there’s enough space. For a very low investment you can set up a game in just a few minutes.

Portable Nets at Pickleball Station in Kent, WA

Factors To Consider

When deciding what type of net will be right for you, there are several factors to consider. For example, if you’re looking for a tournament net, you’ll want a sturdy, durable net that is standard regulation size and will hold up well with frequent use. If you’re a recreational player seeking an easily deployed net, price may be your most important criteria. Ease of maneuverability is another important consideration. Some homeowners or facility directors with plenty of space for one or more pickleball courts and storage might prefer nets on wheels that can be easily rolled off the court to a storage area when not needed, without having to be disassembled.

Another factor to keep in mind is weight. If you’ll be frequently transporting your net from your car to the courts, a lighter weight net will be much more comfortable to carry. All of the truly portable nets come with carrying bags that have carrying straps and/or wheels so that you can easily transport them. 

USA Pickleball and IFP Regulations for Tournament Approved Nets

USA Pickleball and the IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) guidelines require that regulation nets measure 22’ wide, 36” height at the net’s sidelines, and 34” at the center of the net. So if you are looking for a net that meets official tournament regulations you’ll want to get one this size. Regulation size pickleball courts are 20’ wide, so having a 22’ wide net provides one foot of net on each side extending past the sidelines of the court.

USA Pickleball and International Federation of Pickleball

If you don’t need a tournament net and just want a net for casual rec play, drilling, or having some fun with the kids, or if you don’t have enough space for a full sized court, there are some smaller nets that provide an even less expensive solution for playing and practicing. We offer a few 20’ wide nets, which are wide enough to span the full 20’ pickleball court width, but won’t have the additional foot on each side extending past the court’s sidelines that a 22’ regulation size net requires. For even smaller spaces like a garage or driveway, a 10’ wide “mini” net provides a great way to practice your dinks when you can’t get to the courts.

10’ Mini Practice Nets
10’ nets such as the Picklenet Mini Practice Net are an ideal option for practicing in smaller spaces like driveways, and can be handy when traveling.

Picklenet Mini Practice Net

20’ Portable Pickleball Nets
20’ nets with the frame sitting on the ground, such as the Rally Portable Lightweight Pickleball Net System, can be a good option for players who don’t need a tournament sized net. Lightweight, durable and inexpensive, this net features shock cord connection on all the frame parts, making it quick and easy to assemble.

Rally Portable Lightweight Pickleball Net System

22’ Nets That Meet USA Pickleball and IFP Guidelines
22’ nets with space below the bottom of the net, such as the Rally Deluxe Portable Net System, are a favorite with many players who like to be able to roll balls underneath the net to pass them to players on the other side. A perennial best-seller, this net is constructed with a powder-coated steel frame that has oval tubing, making it extremely sturdy and easy to assemble. Regulation size, this durable net is a great option for both recreational and tournament play.

Rally Deluxe Portable Net System

SwiftNet 2.1 Portable Pickleball Net System
The 22′ regulation size SwiftNet is in a class of its own, as the only easily portable net that plays like a permanent net. Made of strong and lightweight carbon fiber recycled from the aerospace industry, the SwiftNet weighs only 17 lbs (including the storage bag) so it’s extremely easy to carry. Designed with shock cord that connects all of the frame pieces it is a snap to put together, making it the easiest and fastest portable net to assemble. Players love this net’s performance and durability.

SwiftNet 2.1 Portable Pickleball Net System

Nets With Wheels
22’ nets with wheels, such as the Deluxe PickleNet Portable Net System, provide ultimate maneuverability for court facilities. This regulation size net also has the benefits of oval tubing constructed from powder-coated steel. The four wheels make it a breeze to slide the net on and off the court, a great option for community centers or other multi-use locations that need to quickly move their nets elsewhere when pickleball is not in play.

Deluxe PickleNet Portable Net System

The Douglas Net Premier PPS-22SQ Portable Pickleball Net System is a top-of-the line 22′ regulation net system constructed with an extremely durable, heavy-duty steel frame, stabilizer legs for stability, and an end wheel assembly for mobility. This portable net is the closest in quality and durability to a permanent net, but thanks to the wheels does not require the expense of any drilling or pouring concrete. Developed for use at the USA Pickleball National Championships at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, this net is an ideal option for sports clubs adding pickleball to their facilities.

Douglas Net Premier PPS-22SQ Portable Pickleball Net System

Whether you’re playing just for fun or gearing up for tournaments, having a portable pickleball net in your collection of pickleball gear gives you the flexibility to play just about anywhere. We carry dozens of portable pickleball nets of every type – you can see them all here, and compare them in the chart below. If you have questions, call us at 1-888-854-0163. Our customer care experts will be happy to help you select the best net for your needs.

Portable Pickleball Net Comparison Chart

Portable Pickleball Net Comparison Chart

How to Convert Tennis Courts to Pickleball Courts

Years ago David wrote this article for the USA Pickleball Association’s newsletter. We’re getting more and more questions on how to convert tennis courts to pickleball courts, so we thought we’d reproduce David’s article in our blog.

If you have underutilized tennis courts – or basketball courts for that matter – you might want to turn to an up-and-coming sport that is uniquely suited to adding new life to old courts, pickleball.

Pickleball is a fun court sport played on a badminton-sized court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball and wood or composite paddles about twice the size of table tennis paddles. It can be played indoors or outdoors, is easy for beginners to learn – but can develop into a fast paced, competitive game for experienced players. In addition to being fun, the game has developed a reputation for its friendly and social nature.
Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles. New players can learn the game quickly in a single session. No special apparel is needed – just something comfortable and appropriate for a court sport. Equipment is inexpensive and easily portable. The game can be played by all ages and is particularly popular in school P.E. programs and senior citizen hangouts.The popularity of pickleball is really being driven by seniors. The reasons they enjoy pickleball in many ways parallels the reasons that they can better utilize many tennis courts:
  • They have lots of free time and can use the courts in peak as well as off – peak hours
  • Many former tennis players find pickleball a good “step -down” sport when tennis becomes too demanding
  • Pickleball is easy to learn so new players can be introduced to it and playing in minutes
  • Because the pickleball court is considerably smaller than a tennis court more courts can use the same space, allowing for more players at one time.

Court Conversion – One Pickleball Court Per Tennis Court

There are two paths to converting existing courts to pickleball courts: shared use and dedicated use.

With shared use simply add pickleball lines to an existing court and players of both sports can use the facility. This may cause some initial confusion, but players quickly get accustomed to the lines.

The simplest way to add one pickleball court is to just lower the tennis net to 34″ in the center.   The center strap could be used to bring the net down to 34 inches in the center. If the tension on the net cord is very tight, the tension might have to be loosened slightly by adjusting the ratchet on the net post.  Another option is to purchase a Tennis Net Adjuster to lower the net for pickleball or you can do it yourself using two eye hooks, two expandable sleeves and some tie down straps, but first make sure and you  have permission to drill a couple of holes into the court surface .

Lines can be painted on the court for pickleball. Then the court can be used for both tennis and pickleball very easily. Because of the size of the tennis court, you might want to have some sort of temporary barrier for the balls so that they don’t have to be chased the full length of the tennis court.

How to Adjust a Tennis Net to Regulation Pickleball Height

How to Adjust a Tennis Net to Regulation Pickleball Height

 

One Tennis Court Converted into Two Pickleball Courts

One Tennis Court Converted into Two Pickleball Courts

The diagram above shows 2 pickleball courts laid out on a tennis court. A standard tennis court pad is 60’x120′. The minimum recommended size for a pickleball court is 30’x60′. That is exactly one fourth the size of a standard tennis court pad. Therefore, it is possible to put 4 pickleball courts in the space of a tennis court except for the possible existence of angled corners that are on some tennis courts.

If the corners are angled, then two courts can fit very nicely as shown. If the conversion is temporary or it is desired to be able to continue to use the court for tennis, then portable net stands can be used for the pickleball courts and the tennis net can be left in place as a backstop for the two pickleball courts.

One Tennis Converted into Four Pickleball Courts

One Tennis Court Converted into Four Pickleball Courts

The diagram above shows four pickleball courts on a tennis court. Note how the position of the pickleball courts has been shifted by two feet to allow for the angled corners of the tennis court.  That leaves only 6 feet between the pickleball baseline and the tennis net. That is a little tight, but works in a pinch.
If the tennis court does not have angled corners, then move the courts 2 feet so that there is an 8 – foot distance between the pickleball baseline and the backstops. Note how the lines are made to coincide as much as possible with the tennis court lines in order to minimize line confusion for the players. Note also that this layout does not allow room for fences between the side-by-side courts.
Permanent Courts
This diagram (below) shows 2 tennis courts that are permanently converted to 8 pickleball courts. If a single tennis court is converted, just refer to half of the diagram. Angled corners are squared off if necessary. If the tennis court is a standard dimension of 60’x120′, that only allows 5 feet between the pickleball sidelines and the fences. That should be considered the minimum dimension. If space and budget allow, add some additional overall width. That will give the more active players more room and also give room for seating on the courts.
Conversions are happening across the United States with great success.

Two tennis courts can be converted into eight pickleball courts

Two Tennis Courts Converted into Eight Pickleball Courts

Stanley Volkens, USA Pickleball Association Local Ambassador for Southwest Ohio, and seasonal resident of Arizona, surveyed the 16 tennis courts in Middletown and found them greatly underutilized. Stanley approached the park board with a plan to convert two under-utilized tennis courts into 6 beautiful new and regularly used pickleball courts.
The Park Board gave Stanley and his pickleball players permission to convert 2 tennis courts over to 6 pickleball courts. The dimensions worked out perfectly. The courts have 14 ft. between them with 8 ft. at the ends. The tennis nets are the backdrops between the ends of the courts. The courts are laid out north and south. The pickleball players did all the work and paid all the cost ($3,956 total). They presented the new courts to the city with a ribbon cutting ceremony with park board and city council members.
Paul Barksdale and Rex Lawler, Local Ambassadors for Greater Terre Haute, Indiana played on the new Middletown courts in the SW Ohio Senior Games and were so impressed that they brought a similar plan back home. They found underutilized tennis courts and proposed a shared cost plan to their park and recreation department. The players raised $1500 to cover nets, posts, and other supplies and the park and recreation department agreed to provide the labor following the same step-by-step process and court format used in Ohio.In Port Angeles, Washington two deteriorating tennis courts were converted into six pickleball courts.
Originally donated to the city by the Elks in 1951, the $30,000 conversion cost was shared by the Elks and the city. The courts are now often maxed out with 24 players at a time having a fun and getting exercise.The USA Pickleball Association has over 300 local ambassadors who are ready and willing to assist with the development of more pickleball courts and community involvement efforts.Pickleball is a great sport for seniors but is also popular with all ages. Just witness a heated inter-generational game and you will see why this sport with a funny name is becoming so popular.
By David Johnson, partner at PickleballCentral.com and former Media Relations Chair for the USA Pickleball Association.

What’s the Best Pickleball Net System – 3.0 Tournament Net, USAPA Net or the PickleNet?

Portable nets are critical to pickleball. Parking lots, cul-de-sacs and gyms can be converted into pickleball courts in a matter of minutes thanks to these smart pickleball portable net systems.

PickleballCentral.com sells three brands of portable nets – the USA Pickleball Association Net, the PickleNet and the new 3.0 Tournament Net from Pickleball Inc. The USA Pickleball Association Net and the PickleNet are identical in every way except paint color and logo.

All three of these portable nets:

  • meet the net specifications provided by the Official Tournament Rulebook,
  • are 22 feet long,
  • have two large bases on either end of the net span,
  • have a small center base,
  • have a flexible fiberglass center pole that connects to the center base,
  • have similar netting material,
  • have a carrying bag, and
  • weigh 23 pounds.

The nets differ in six areas—end base size, center base size, tightening straps, net size, cross bar height off the ground and bag. 

Characteristic 3.0 Tourn. Net System PickleNet/USAPA Net
1. End base size 36 x 1 inches 20 x 2 inches
2. Cross bar height off ground 8 inches off ground 12 inches off ground
3. Center base size 8 x 1 inches 15 x 2 inches
4. Tightening straps threaded tightening strap Velcro tightening strap
5. Net size 22 feet x 30 inches 22 feet x 32 inches
6. Bag ball and paddle pockets sectional dividers


1. End base size
The USAPA and PickleNet both have two large bases that lie prone on the floor and one smaller base in the middle on the net. The 3.0 net has two big bases on the sides and one tiny base in the middle. The tips of the bases rest on the floor and the mid-section arches up a little. We think the 3.0 net’s design may make it more stable in windy conditions.

Pickleball net system bases

2. Cross bar height
All the portable nets have cross bars that arch up and run across the width of the net.  The 3.0 net doesn’t arch up as high as the other nets. We like the lower height; it looks good.

Pickleball net system center bases

3. Center base size
The USAPA and PickleNet’s center base is 2 x 8 inches in size and lies prone on the floor. The 3.0 system’s center base is, 1 x 8 inches, about half the size of the USAPA and PickleNet’s center base.  The center base has two functions 1) to provide a base for the fiberglass center support rod and 2) to provide support to the cross bar. We don’t think the size of the center base is that important as long as it fulfills both of its’ functions.

4. Tightening straps
The USAPA and PickleNet both have an easy to use Velcro system for keeping the net taut. The 3.0 net has a tightening buckle that requires you to weave the strap through the buckle in just the right manner to have it work. We prefer the simple Velcro tightening strap on the Pickle and USAPA Nets.

USAPA and PickleNet use Velcro to tighten the net

USAPA and PickleNet use Velcro to tighten the net

3.0 Tournament Net uses a strap woven through a buckle to tighten the net

3.0 Tournament Net uses a strap woven through a buckle to tighten the net

 5. Net size
The USAPA and PickleNet are 22 feet wide and 32 inches deep.  The 3.0 Net is 22 feet long and 30 inches deep. This means there is slightly more empty space under the 3.0 net than under the other two nets, but it is hardly noticeable.

6. Bag
The USAPA and PickleNet both have build in bag dividers help keep the pieces organized in the bag. The bag 3.0 system has a mesh pocket with a zipper that will hold four  pickleballs. It also has an interior side pocket that will hold four paddles. The 3.0 Net’s bag is designed so you can carry paddles, balls and the net in one bag. Our only concern is that the paddles could be damaged inside the bag as they are next to the steel net poles.

USAPA and PickleNet both come with a bag

USAPA and PickleNet both come with a bag designed to contain the entire net system.

3.0 Tournament Net bag can hold 4 pickleballs and 4 paddles plus the entire net system

3.0 Tournament Net bag can hold 4 pickleballs and 4 paddles plus the entire net system

In conclusion, all three of these pickleball net systems are great high quality products.