Pickleball Gear

CORE Outdoor - pickleball ball review

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Mar 28, 2024

The CORE Outdoor pickleball ball on a blue background

If you're shopping for new outdoor pickleball balls, you might have come across the CORE Outdoor. You might be wondering what sets it apart from rivals like the Franklin X-40 and the ONIX Dura Fast 40.

It's not always easy to tell the differences, which is why I love reviewing pickleball gear. I put the CORE outdoor pickleballs to the test on my local courts, including some cold and windy conditions. Read my CORE Outdoor pickleball review to see if it's the right ball for you.

My verdict4.5star iconCORE Outdoor balls are a top alternative to the popular Franklin X-40 and the ONIX Dura Fast 40. Really strong, crack resistant, and lively, they suit intermediates all the way up to high-level players. They're my favorite for outdoor play in my list of the best pickleball balls in 2024. I recommend them to anyone who struggles to find a ball that plays well in the wind.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You like to hit hard:

    aggressive players will like how strong and hard these are—I haven't cracked a single one in 3 months of play.

  • You want a wind-resistant ball:

    these are the best I've played with in windy conditions.

  • You find the X-40s too slow and the Duras too fast:

    this is the ideal middle ground between the Franklin X-40s and the ONIX Dura Fast 40s when it comes to speed.

Pass if:

  • You don't want a hard ball:

    Franklin X-40s are a lot softer than these.

  • You want a budget pickleball:

    check out the GoSports GS40, my top budget balls for 2024.

  • You're a beginner:

    try a more beginner-friendly ball like the Franklin X-40.

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Review summary

Core Outdoor pickleballs are 40-hole, reinforced outdoor balls that are USA Pickleball-approved for tournament use. I picked them as my best outdoor balls on my list of the best pickleball balls in 2024 because they're really strong and durable, and they do well in windy conditions.

I really like how the CORE ball plays on outdoor courts. These are some of the strongest balls I've seen and I've yet to crack a single one over three months of play. CORE says they use a 5x stronger polyurethane (PU). While I can't verify that, they definitely seem durable to me.

The other thing I like about them is how they play in the wind. I personally hate playing in the wind, and this is the best ball I've come across for windy weather. It just doesn't affect their flight in the same way as most other balls.

Brandon Mackie holding the CORE Outdoor pickleball ball
Brandon Mackie holding the CORE Outdoor pickleball ball

The flight of these balls is excellent. They have "true flight", meaning they go where you'd expect them to nearly every time. That kind of consistency is great for your confidence, especially when playing against higher-level (4.0-4.5) players.

I find the bounce height to be consistent too, with no odd bounces to report. That's a big relief if you've dealt with irregular bounces in balls before.

Finally, I like their speed. They sit right between the slower Franklin X-40 and the fast ONIX Dura Fast 40 (too fast for some players, like me). The CORE Outdoor hits a nice sweet spot between these two.

These balls are intended for intermediate to advanced players. Since they're on the hard side, they're a great fit for bangers like me—players who like to hit hard with lots of spin.

Overall, these are lively and tough balls that will last you a long time. If you're a beginner, you might find them too hard and fast, so try something like the Franklin X-40 instead.

However, if you're at the intermediate level or higher, these are a great option to consider—especially if you're an aggressive player or someone who often plays in windy conditions.

Pros:

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  • Play well in windy conditions

  • Durable and crack-resistant

  • Good in-between when it comes to speed—not too fast or slow

Cons:

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  • Not everyone will like the harder/stiffer feel compared to the X-40s

  • Pricier (at over $3 a ball) than budget choices

  • Can crack in cold weather (below 45º)

Features

Let's take a look at some of the features built into the CORE Outdoor pickleball balls:

Precision-drilled holes

These have the usual 40 holes of outdoor balls. Like the PCKL Elite 40 balls, the holes are precision-drilled. CORE claims this optimizes the hole placement, increases wind resistance, and improves airflow so that "every shot flies straight and true".

I would normally think this is just marketing jargon, but I must admit, these probably have the truest flight of any outdoor ball I've tested so far.

Reinforced balls

CORE claims these outdoor balls are five times stronger than others. They're reinforced for crack resistance. I haven't cracked one yet, so they're doing something right. Their durability is one of the main reasons I think they're great value for money.

Bright neon color

The super-bright neon color makes them really easy to see on the courts. This is especially useful in low lighting, at dawn or dusk before the outdoor lights come on.

Brandon Mackie holding the CORE Outdoor pickleball
Brandon Mackie holding the CORE Outdoor pickleball

Performance

9/10

Durability

8/10

Speed

8/10

Bounce

10/10

Flight

9/10

Visibility

Durability: 9/10

Outdoor balls are not usually known for their durability in cold weather but I have yet to break one of these CORE balls. That includes playing in the Phoenix winter.

If you haven't been to Phoenix in the winter, know that the desert gets very cold! I'm talking multiple morning sessions with temperatures in the low 40ºs F. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the sturdiness of these balls.

Speed: 8/10

I'm putting the CORE Outdoor balls right between the Franklin X-40s (which are slower and softer) and the ONIX Dura Fast 40s (which are harder and faster). That's a big plus in my book.

Whenever I play with the X-40s, I find myself wanting something faster for higher-level play (4.0-4.5). I tried the Dura Fast 40s, but they're a bit too fast, and the change was too jarring.

So, the CORE balls strike a great balance for me. They offer something in between those two that can work for casual rec play up to higher-level, intense games.

Bounce: 8/10

In my testing, these bounced 31" (when dropped from 75"). This makes them bouncier than the Dura Fast 40s, which came in at 32". This will increase the overall speed of your play.

During actual games, I can't recall one odd bounce from these in three months of testing. Trust me: you'd remember if this happened because it's super surprising and frustrating.

Both the Vulcan VPRO FLIGHT and the PCKL Elite 40 have given me unpredictable bounces, and both times my opponents demanded a new ball brand. Nothing like that happened with the CORE Outdoor.

Flight: 10/10

This is what the CORE Outdoor balls do best. From everything I can tell, they have a "true flight". They go exactly where I expect them to based on my shot speed and angle.

They hold up in windy conditions better than any I've ever tested. I hate playing in the wind. I know it equally affects all players, so nobody gets an advantage, but I just don't like it!

Even though the weather in Phoenix is usually nice, we occasionally get strong winds since we're in a valley, which can spoil an otherwise perfect outdoor session.

I now carry the CORE Outdoor balls with me any time I think it's going to be windy. Alongside their durability, this is a major reason why I chose them as my favorite outdoor balls in 2024.

Visibility: 9/10

These are really bright with their neon green color. They're great when playing in lower natural light since they're highly visible at times like dawn and dusk before the court lights come on.

Pricing

At $3-3.50 per ball, these are priced around the same as top-brand pickleballs from Franklin, ONIX, Selkirk, and PCKL. So, are they worth it?

Value for money

There's no doubt in my mind that these are fairly priced. They're obviously more expensive than budget balls like the GoSports GS40, but they're really durable, so they won't crack easily. That alone makes them a good investment.

Add in their wind resistance, true flight, and high performance and I think they're worth the premium.

A CORE Outdoor pickleball on a pickleball court
A CORE Outdoor pickleball on a pickleball court

Bottom line

The CORE Outdoor pickleballs are a solid choice for intermediates and up. They're especially good if you find the ONIX Duras a bit too fast, or the Franklin X-40s a bit too slow.

If you want a wind-resistant ball or a durable outdoor ball that won't break easily, these will serve you well.

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About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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