Pickleball Net Specifications: Height, Material, and Posts

Est. Reading: 4 minutes

Like other paddle or racket sports courts, pickleball courts also have a net between the two service courts. As a player, you should know the required pickleball net height and other specifications set by USA Pickleball.

This comprehensive guide will discuss everything you should know about pickleball nets and how they differ from tennis nets. So, you better read it from start to finish before going to a pickleball court.

How Big is a Pickleball Net?

Section 2.C.3 of the USA Pickleball Equipment Standard Manual states that pickleball nets should be at least 21 feet 9 inches (6.63 m) long. Both ends should be extended one foot away from each side of the court. The net height should be at least 30 inches, measured from its bottom edge to the top. 

Meanwhile, standard pickleball courts are 20 feet (6.10 m) wide by 44 feet (13.41 m) long. Therefore, the pickleball nets are 2 inches longer than the width of the court. If you want to know more about the parts and complete dimensions of a pickleball court, read our Pickleball Court Guide.

What is the Required Pickleball Net Height?

Section 2.C.5 states that pickleball nets should be placed 36 inches (91.44 cm) high at the sidelines and 34 inches (86.36 cm) at the center. The 2-inch sag in the middle usually has a mark for the center strap as support. This strap is highly recommended for permanent nets.

Why Do Pickleball Nets Have a Lower Center Height?

Once installed, the lower height at the center of pickleball nets allows players to have a more downward shot trajectory. Since this dip is the lowest point of the net, players can also use this area to play from different angles. In short, this center height is the most forgiving place to get the ball over the other side of the court.

But why is the center of the net 34 inches high instead of a higher or lower height? According to the pickleball test standard mentioned in Section 2.D.5, a pickleball ball should bounce 30-34 inches tall once it is dropped from a height of 78 inches. This standard applies to both indoor and outdoor balls. If you want to know the dos and don'ts with nets during plays, read our Pickleball Net Rules Guide.

What Are Pickleball Nets Made Of?

The official rules did not specify the exact material for pickleball nets, except that the mesh fabric material should not allow a ball to pass through it.

Pickleball nets are made from various materials, such as nylon, polyester, and vinyl. Nylon is lightweight and inexpensive, but it might not be durable enough to withstand the wind and sunlight in outdoor courts. On the other hand, polyester is ideal for portable nets, while vinyl is more durable than nylon but is also more expensive. 

What are the Requirements for Pickleball Net Posts?

As stated in Section 2.C.2, pickleball net posts must be "22 feet +/- 1 Inch (6.71 m) from the inside of one post to the inside of the other post. The maximum diameter of the net post should be 3 inches (7.62 cm)."

Again, each net post should be placed 1 foot away from each side of the court. Place 2-inch white tape over a cable or cord through the binding when installing the posts. This ensures that the net's top edge can be easily seen.

Pickleball Nets vs Tennis Nets: Similarities and Differences

Pickleball and tennis nets have the same design and purpose. They are made of mesh fabric and act as a barrier between the opposite players. In most cases, their materials and manufacturing process are also usually the same. But because tennis courts are much bigger than pickleball courts, this is where their differences begin.

As mentioned earlier, the required pickleball net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center. On the other hand, tennis courts are 42 inches high on the sidelines and 36 inches tall in the middle. The former is 2 inches lower in the middle, while the latter is lowered 6 inches at the center. Tennis net posts are 3 feet (0.914 m) outside each side for doubles.

Moreover, a pickleball court measures 20 x 44 feet, while a tennis court is 36 x 78 feet for doubles. Hence, tennis courts are longer and wider than pickleball courts. In fact, you can fit three pickleball courts on a tennis court. Therefore, pickleball nets are also shorter than tennis nets. Tennis net posts are also sturdier than pickleball net posts.

Can You Use a Tennis Net for Pickleball?

Yes, you can use a tennis net when playing pickleball. Although a bit challenging, you can lower the tennis posts by 6 inches and tighten the center strap to lower the center point to 34 inches. If you cannot lower the post, lower the net to 36 inches. The net might look weird, though. If you want to know more about the difference between these two sports, check out our Pickleball vs Tennis Comparison Guide.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball nets are smaller than tennis nets, but it does not mean the sport is less entertaining. With the lower net height, pickleball allows you to be more creative in throwing and returning shots. The key here is learning the rules and specifications of the equipment and, of course, continuous practice. After all, pickleball is not just about having fun; it is all an excellent physical exercise.

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