The Never-Ending Pickleball Noise Issue

It seems like every time pickleball catches fire somewhere (woo-hoo!), there’s an immediate reaction from the community about the same thing: the noise. We’ve done a couple posts about noise reduction and suppression in the past (here and here), but we thought we’d shed a little bit of new light on the subject as well as update some outdated information.

Acoustical Fencing

Acoustical fencing that has been mentioned in both previous posts, and it’s a great choice for communities who have that ability.

Acoustical Fencing is one solution to the pickleball noise issue

Acoustical Fencing

However, it can be expensive, easily pushed around by wind, unattractive and unfeasible. If you want to look into the possibility of installing this around your pickleball courts to keep in the noise, this post does a great job of highlighting an example of courts in San Tan Valley, Arizona.

There’s a couple things that individual players can do to keep the noise down that they produce.

Quieter Balls

First, try using a foam practice ball rather than the standard hard plastic ball. These foam balls are typically a bit less bouncy and play differently than the average sanctioned pickleball, but they still get the job done at a much quieter decibel level!

We currently sell two different types of foam balls at PickleballCentral:

  1. The Gamma Foam Quiet Ball

Gamma Foam Quiet Ball

This ball is a tenth of an inch smaller in diameter than a traditional pickleball, and considerably lighter (0.71 ounces versus an average of 0.88 ounces). This makes the ball more susceptible to succumb to wind or other weather conditions. While it might be lighter, it still has a similar bounce height to a typical outdoor pickleball (31″ inches). Of course, it’s not USAPA-Approved but can be used for practice or recreational play!

2.  The Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball

Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball

This ball is fairly similar to its sister ball above, except it has a rough surface instead of smooth. This ball was designed for teaching tennis to kids, so it is a little heavier than the previous ball as well (just under 1 ounce). It also is slightly bigger, measuring 3-1/4″ in diameter. This ball has a shorter bounce than the Gamma Foam Quiet Ball, so it might be better used for drills. Again, this ball is not USAPA-Approved.

Quieter Paddles

If the sound of a foam ball doesn’t exactly tickle your fancy, you can try to purchase a quieter paddle. Poly-core paddles are typically a little bit quieter than their Nomex or alumimum-cored counterparts (aluminum is quieter than Nomex). Composite paddles (with a fiberglass face) are also a tad bit less noisy than graphite.

That being said, there are always exceptions to that rule of thumb. Here at PickleballCentral, we unfortunately do not have any means to measure the decibel ratings for all of the paddles we sell. Lucky for us (and you!) the Sun City Grand Pickleball Association in Sun City Grand, Arizona has measured the loudness of nearly every paddle. It is then ranked as being either in the “Green Zone”or in the “Red Zone”. You can see the list of paddles by clicking here.

Choosing a paddle in the Green Zone will keep your “pickleball pinging” to a minimum, which may ease the concerns of neighbors or other unhappy people.

(If you’re interested in the science behind the study, here’s the PDF of the Noise Study, conducted by Acoustics Group Inc.)

At the end of the day…

It does come down to the fact that pickleball is just a bit of a noisier sport. The paddles are solid and the balls are hard! The classic “pop” that paddles make is a beloved sound by players of the sport, and while we can take steps to minimize that sound, it will always be there.

Do you have any other tips or tricks that worked for reducing the amount of noise pickleball makes in your community?

Pickleball Noise – a new solution

Thwack!! Thwack!  We LOVE the delightful sound of a pickleball popping off a paddle. Unfortunately, there are some who just don’t understand that this thwacking sound is a happy sound of pure fun. People who live close to outdoor courts sometimes complain about the noise of pickleball and some have even initiated lawsuits to address the issue.

Acoustical Fencing
There are several solutions to this noise issue. One solution is to put acoustical fencing around the pickleball courts. The fencing blocks the pickleball sound from leaving the court.  One challenge with acoustical fencing is maintaining it in windy areas. In some communities the acoustical fencing was blown down by the wind. Another challenge with acoustical fencing is that it is expensive and can be unattractive.

Acoustical Fencing is one solution to the pickleball noise issue

Acoustical Fencing is one solution to the pickleball noise issue

Sound Studies
Some communities have commissioned sound studies on the various paddles to determine which are quiet and which are loud. At PickleballCentral we know that paddles vary greatly depending on the particular qualities of the sheet the paddle is cut from.  We take the conclusions from the sound studies with a grain of salt. The studies may be accurate for the particular individual paddles tested but may not be accurate for all the paddles in that particular product line.  

Quiet Pickle Pad
Steve Paranto has invented a pad that sticks to each side of the paddle face. It’s called the Quiet Pickle Pad and has a patent pending. The Quiet Pickle Pad works to quiet the noise of pickleball and doesn’t interfere with the quality of play. The pad can be removed from the paddle face but may leave a residue. The Quiet Pickleball Pad cannot be used in USA Pickleball Association approved tournaments.  We introduced the  Quiet Pickleball Pad at the National Tournament last week and sold several sets. The initial response has been good but we are awaiting more detailed reviews .

Quiet Pickleball Pad $24.99 at PickleballCentral.com

Quiet Pickleball Pad $24.99 at PickleballCentral.com

The Quiet Pickle Pad and acoustical fencing may soften the thwacking sound of the pickleball hitting the paddle. However, the sound of boisterous pickleball players raising their voices with excitement and laughter has yet to be solved. 😉 Anna