Pickleball Net vs Tennis Net – What’s the Difference?

Pickleball and tennis both require nets that meet specific regulations according to their respective sports organizations. Both a suitable height and a suitable width are included in these standards.

There is a difference in the height of pickleball nets compared to tennis nets because pickleball nets are shorter. There is 36 inches of height at the side posts of a pickleball net and 34 inches of height at the center of a tennis net, whereas a pickleball net has 42 inches of height at the side posts and 36 inches in the center. Composition and setup are similar in both types of nets.

There are some similarities and differences between pickleball nets and tennis nets that will be discussed in this article. In this article, you will learn how the nets are regulated, as well as how to adapt tennis nets for pickleball.

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These are some super helpful guides that I’ve created:  These guides have been designed to help new players of the game.  For anyone interested in learning more about pickleball in general, this one is for you.  Alternatively, you can try this one for improving your strategy and winning more games.  Let’s not forget to check out why the name of the game has been so controversial for decades!

Pickleball Net vs Tennis Net

Pickleball Net vs Tennis NetIn the same way that tennis nets are smaller than pickleball nets, pickleball nets should also be smaller. You will find that there are approximately two inches of difference between a tennis net and a pickleball net. Since most tennis courts can be quickly converted into pickleball courts because of the difference, most pickleball courts can also be quickly converted into tennis courts.

Pickleball Net Height vs. Tennis Net Height

Tennis nets are slightly higher than pickleball nets, but pickleball nets are very similar in height.

The pickleball net measures 3 feet at the post sides and 34 inches in the middle, according to the USAPA.  Basically, there is a sag or dip down the middle.  It is common in all sports that use a net. 

However, the height of a tennis net is 36 inches with the dip or sag between the posts at 42 inches.

Pickleball nets are lower at the posts and down the middle than tennis nets, which explains the difference.  

Due to the fact that pickleball and tennis are played most often down the middle, the net height difference matters the most.  Those are the places where most of the action is. 

For someone with a background in tennis, it may seem like a small difference, but it is noticeable. 

Since the net sag occurs in both sports, the strategy of “aiming down the middle” applies especially to pickleball. 

There is a bigger difference between a pickleball net and a tennis net in terms of width. For a doubles match, a tennis court measures 42 feet wide, and for a singles match, it is 33 feet wide.

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Pickleball Net Height Standards

Pickleball Net HeightThere are standards for pickleball courts in the United States set by the USA Pickleball Association. Regardless of whether the court is indoors or outdoors, these standards specify the lines, the net, and the scoring system.

There is a ten-foot margin surrounding the court lines for both singles and doubles matches on a pickleball court. It is recommended to place the poles that support the net two feet away from the outer perimeter, spanning 22 feet.

There should be a net that extends from one pole to the other, measuring 21 feet 9 inches long. 

The net should have a total height of 34 inches at the center of the court and a measurement of 30 inches top to bottom. It is recommended to attach a strap to the center for easy height adjustment. You can read our full guide on Pickleball Net Height

An excellent pickleball net has a 2-inch white tape covering a metal cord that runs through the top. 

You should use posts that are three inches in diameter or smaller for pickleball nets, the same size as the poles you use for singles matches in tennis.

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Tennis Net Height Standards

Tennis Net HeightTennis courts are required to be 27 feet wide for singles matches and 36 feet wide for doubles matches by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Nets are placed three feet outside courts in both cases. For singles matches, a tennis net will be 33 feet wide, and for doubles matches, it will be 42 feet wide.

Since most tennis clubs don’t have separate courts for singles matches, 42-foot wide tennis nets are standard in sports shops. The Vermont 3.5mm DT Championship Tennis Net, for example, is in compliance with the regulation.

In the middle of a tennis court, a tennis net must be held up by three-and-a-half-foot tall side posts. A 2-inch strap needs to be attached to the center of the net.

A post is placed 3 feet outside the singles court lines at either end of the court for singles matches. In doubles matches, there is only one set of side posts, placed 3 feet outside the width of the doubles court.

There should either be 6-inch-sided squares, or 6-inch-diameter cylindrical posts. A 3-inch angle should be added to the posts for singles matches, or a cylindrical 3-inch angle should be added to the posts for doubles matches. 

In most cases, the mesh of a net is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyvinylidene ethylene (PVE), and it must be small enough that the ball cannot pass through it. Besides the top metal cable or cord, which connects the side posts, tennis nets must also have a side metal cable. A white band, similar to the middle strap, should cover it, and its width should be between 2 and 2.5 inches. 

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Comparing Pickleball and Tennis Nets

Pickleball Net vs. Tennis NetTennis nets and pickleball nets have many similarities, so much so that a tennis net can be used for pickleball in informal settings. A formal setting, however, uses two different types of nets, and there are some important differences.

Pickleball Net vs. Tennis Net Similarities

Tennis nets and pickleball nets have the following similarities:

  • There is a two-inch band of white tape covering the top of both pickleball and tennis nets.
  • There needs to be a mesh small enough for pickleball nets as well as tennis nets in order to keep balls out of the nets. 
  • To maintain a regulation height, pickleball and tennis nets are strapped down at the center of the court.
  • Supporting posts are located outside the perimeter of pickleball and tennis nets.
  • Tennis singles courts have 3 inches in diameter supporting posts, just like pickleball courts.
  • Providing the maximum length is sufficient and the height and width can be adjusted, the same net can be used for pickleball and tennis

Pickleball Net vs. Tennis Net Differences

In comparison with tennis nets, pickleball nets have the following differences:

  • Pickleball nets are shorter than tennis nets. At the center of the court, a pickleball net measures 34 inches high; a tennis net measures 36 inches high. 
  • Tennis nets are wider than pickleball nets. Pickleball nets are only 21 feet 9 inches wide, while tennis nets are 42 feet wide. 
  • When playing singles, tennis nets have an additional set of supporting posts that are larger than pickleball nets.
  • Tennis nets need to have a smaller weave than pickleball nets because pickleball balls are larger than tennis balls.
  • In order to accommodate the heavier tennis ball, the net must be more sturdily constructed and heavier than a pickleball net.

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Can You Use A Tennis Net for Pickleball?

pickleball net vs tennis netA pickleball net made specifically for pickleball can be purchased, or you can use a tennis net adapted for pickleball. 

As a matter of fact, I do this all the time.  PickleNet’s portable pickleball net is loved by them!  Pictured above is the one I’m talking about.  Because there are few pieces and they are labeled, a single person can set it up in under five minutes.  

This net is highly recommended!

There are a few things to consider when playing pickleball with a tennis net. The Convert a Net Tennis Net Converter can be used to shorten tennis nets because they are larger than pickleball nets.

While pickleball nets and tennis nets are similar in height, you’ll have a harder time converting one to the other. Pickleball courts are so much narrower than tennis courts that even a singles match would not be possible.

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Pickleball Net vs Tennis Net Height – Conclusion

There is a slight difference in length between a pickleball net and a tennis net, but not a great deal. Tennis nets can be used for pickleball or vice versa in informal settings.

Even though net heights vary by no more than six inches, it’s important to use the correct net height for tennis or pickleball games. 

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