Pickleball Net Height & How It Compares With Tennis
If you’re new to the sport of pickleball, you might be unfamiliar with regulation court conditions. While you don’t necessarily need to know the specifics to play, they are helpful, especially if you want to set up your own court.
One criterion you need to get right is the pickleball net height. Any inaccuracies here will drastically affect how your games play out.
What Is the Height of a Pickleball Net?
How high is a pickleball net? According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), pickleball nets measure 36 inches high on the side posts and 34 inches in the center. That’s 91.44 cm on the side posts and 86.36 cm in the middle for all you metric users. So as you can tell, there is supposed to be a little sag in the middle of the net, but not too much. In fact, many pickleball nets have a central support beam to prevent excessive sagging.
Top tip: As the net is 2 inches lower in the middle, it is slightly easier to play your shots centrally.
Read More: Best Pickleball Set
Pickleball Nets vs Tennis Nets — Height Comparison
The most common question we get asked is probably, ‘is a pickleball net the same as a tennis net?’ So this section, we will address that query.
While the appearance of both nets is similar, the height of pickleball nets is, in fact, shorter than tennis. Tennis nets measure 42 inches at the posts and 36 inches in the center. As you can see from these figures, tennis nets have a much greater sag than pickleball nets, totaling 6 inches instead of just 2 inches.
Their closest point is in the center, with 34 inches for pickleball and 36 inches for tennis, so in this respect, pickleball net height vs tennis net height is not all that different. However, it might surprise you how much of a difference just 2 inches makes.
Tennis Nets vs Pickleball Nets — Width Comparison
Width variance is less important than height variance because tennis nets are much wider than pickleball nets. Therefore this quality is not restrictive if you intend to use a tennis net for pickleball. That being said, for clarity’s sake, let’s look at the figures.
According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), tennis nets measure 42 feet wide (12.8 m) for doubles and 33 feet (10.1 m) wide for singles. Pickleball nets, on the other hand, are always 22 feet (6.7 m) inches across.
However, one aspect you might want to be aware of is that tennis nets limit your ability to play around-the-net shots for pickleball. While usually you strike the ball over the net, this is not necessarily a requirement. If a ball bounces at an extreme angle you may be able to hit it around the side of the net making it very hard to return. It’s completely legal under the ruleset.
Pickleball nets extend only 1 foot (0.3 m) on either side past the sidelines, but for tennis, it’s 3 feet (0.9 m) on either side. Clearly though, it’s more impactful than this when looking at the relative widths: 33 feet (10 m) for tennis as opposed to 22 feet (6.7 m) for pickleball. The bottom line is that tennis nets are too wide to allow you to play around-the-net shots for pickleball.
Don’t Have a Net? Buy Your Own!
While pickleball is a rapidly growing sport with more and more courts popping up, you might not have one near you. The great thing is that setting up your court is very simple. You only need a few bits of equipment, and you can get playing, the main item being a pickleball net.
There are many pickleball nets to choose from, and one of our absolute favorites is the 3.0 Portable Pickleball Net System.
However, if you want to look around a bit more before committing, check out our pickleball net guide, which covers the best options across all price points.
Read More: Pickleball vs Tennis
How Tall Is a Tennis Court Net?
Tennis nets are 42 inches (3.5 feet) tall at the posts and 36 inches (3 feet) in the center. That’s 1 m at the posts and 0.9 m in the middle using the metric system.
Is a Tennis Net and Pickleball Net the Same Height?
The height of a pickleball net is smaller than a tennis net. Pickleball nets measure 36 inches at the posts and 34 inches in the middle. This makes them a sizeable 6” shorter at the posts and narrowly lower in the middle by 2 inches.
Can You Use a Tennis Net for Pickleball?
You can certainly use a tennis net for pickleball, but it will never meet official playing requirements. First and foremost because you can’t do anything about the post height. The best way to adapt a tennis net for pickleball is simply to lower it using the handle on the side post. This way, you can get the center down to 34 inches. Of course, as you move outwards from the center, the net will gradually rise to 42 inches, but unfortunately, you can’t do anything to change that.
Closing Thoughts on Pickleball Net Height
To recap, pickleball net height measures 36 inches high on the side posts and 34 inches in the center. While this is notably lower than tennis, you can still use a tennis net if you really need to. Just know that even after lowering the center to 36 inches, it’s still far from perfect!
If you don’t have a court near you a far better alternative is to just buy your own portable pickleball net. This way it meets proper playing conditions, and you can set up a court virtually anywhere!