New Pickleball Quiet Category – Solution or More Hype?

nothin’ happening soon…

Pickleball has seen a meteoric rise, captivating enthusiasts across the nation. Its popularity brings to light a pressing concern – a surge in noise complaints. The introduction of a brand-new “quiet category” in pickleball is sending shockwaves throughout the community, promising to address these sound issues. Previous blog posts have explored the residential concerns and sound challenges ingrained in the thrilling realm of pickleball.

You must be wondering…

Is this simply hype to appease the group of folks who oppose having to experience the horrific noise of pickleball that damaging eardrums, ending marriages and sending some to the loony bin? Is it a way for someone, somewhere to make money off this? Or is completely legit in that the pickleball powers are sincere about the intent to reduce pickleball noise making it more tolerable?


The buzz surrounding pickleball noise has led to numerous discussions and debates. Is the sport’s noise level a serious issue warranting immediate attention, or is it a minor inconvenience blown out of proportion? Amidst this backdrop, a new development has surfaced. A new “quiet category” has been introduced by USA Pickleball with the aim of promoting and advancing quieter equipment, both pickleball paddles, and balls.

In early September [2023], USA Pickleball, the governing body responsible for sport regulation, announced a new initiative. The goal? To significantly reduce pickleball noise and enable the sport to continue its expansion without disturbing the peace. The organization is investing in acoustic technology and collaborating with manufacturers and facilities to develop sound-dampening solutions.

The Origin of Noise in Pickleball

Role of Equipment in Producing Noise

Pickleball’s distinct sound primarily originates from the impact between the paddle and the ball. This impact sound varies depending on the types of balls and paddles used. Exploring the variety of equipment available reveals a spectrum of noise levels, with some products notably quieter than others.

Equipment Noise Levels

Equipment TypeAverage Noise Level (dB)
Standard Paddles80 dB
Quiet Paddles65 dB
Standard Balls75 dB
Quiet Balls60 dB

The average pickleball sound, whether indoor or outdoor pickleball, is about 70 dBA. As a point of reference, any noise or sound greater than 80 dBA should try to be avoided and a dBA of greater than 90 can be harmful.

pickleball noise decibels

[dBA is an A-weighted decibel which is an expression of the relative loudness of sounds as perceived by the human ear. A-weighting is the standard for determining hearing damage. Source: TechTarget]

Even though pickleball averages 70 dBA (about the background noise of a Dunkins), this is still too much for some folks – or it just gives them something to hang their hat on. They may argue that any noise level from pickleball may be a nuisance. And, yes, we will admit pickleball noise is unique and can get in our heads as we’re lying awake in bed, but it does not make too many people say they want to quit pickleball altogether.

But the fact remains that while the paddle hitting the ball (and the ball bouncing off the court) averages 70 dBA it is still greater than tennis’s average 40 dBA. The facts are the facts and even in 2023 we cannot argue against them…you can, but we’re not.

WHAT: Equipment to be Considered in the Quiet Category


These are primary playing instruments in pickleball, and their design in the Quiet Category will aim to minimize noise during play.


Quieter variants of balls will be introduced without compromising the gameplay.

Paddle Covers

These will likely be designed to dampen the sound produced by the paddles.

Noise Mitigation Screens

These screens will be used for pickleball courts to help reduce the overall acoustic footprint.

HOW: Collaboration with Manufacturers

  • Guidance and Thresholds: USA Pickleball will offer specific guidance and set thresholds to significantly reduce acoustic propagation during play.
  • Test Fixture Requirements: Manufacturers will be provided with test fixture requirements and procedures during the developmental phase.
  • Specification Relief: Manufacturers will receive specification relief to creatively use new materials and configurations, ensuring the nature of the game is preserved.
  • Ongoing Collaboration and Guidance: USA Pickleball will work closely with several global brands in sporting goods, offering continuous guidance.
  • Encouragement for Innovation: The initiative aims to motivate manufacturers to prioritize creating innovative and quieter pickleball products.

WHO: Duel Effort

USA Pickleball:

  • Provision of Requirements & Procedures: Will provide test fixture requirements and procedures to aid manufacturers during the development of quieter equipment.
  • Specification Relief: Offers specification relief to manufacturers, enabling them to innovate with new materials and configurations while maintaining the essence of the game.
  • Ongoing Collaboration & Guidance: Plans to maintain a continuous working relationship with several global sporting goods brands, offering guidance throughout the development process.
  • Encouragement for Innovation: Aims to inspire manufacturers to prioritize the development of innovative, quieter products to enhance community engagement in the sport.


  • Development of Quieter Equipment: Tasked with developing equipment that meets the quieter specifications, utilizing the guidance and requirements.
  • Innovation with New Materials & Configurations: Encouraged to creatively explore and employ new materials and configurations, with the support of specification relief, to preserve the game’s nature.
  • Collaboration with USA Pickleball: Will work closely with USA Pickleball, receiving ongoing support and guidance in the creation of quieter pickleball products.
  • Prioritizing Quieter Products: Motivated to focus on creating innovative and quieter products to expand the sport’s accessibility and enjoyment in more communities.

The Pickleball Paddle? What Can be Done?

Pickleball paddles vibrate at a very high frequency, contributing to the unique “pop” noise. This sound is particularly irksome as humans are notably sensitive to such pop sounds. Paddle materials, weight and structure are being reviewed to find a solution to the noise.

Revolutionary OWL Paddle: Quieter Pickleball Future

And Pickleball Balls? Not Many Options

Foam pickleball balls are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to reduce pickleball noise and hopefully quell and complaints about game noise.

Foam pickleball balls are made from a soft material that absorbs some of the impact of the paddle, resulting in a softer, quieter sound. Foam pickleball balls are often larger and lighter than traditional pickleball balls, which can make them easier to hit and control. This may make you less of a nuisance as you play pickleball in your town. Lawsuits are popping up all across the country as there is tremendous resistance to the noise that comes along with a pickleball game.

But you guessed it… there are some disadvantages to using foam balls for your pickleball games.

They may not bounce as high or travel as far as traditional balls, which can affect the speed and dynamics of the game. Additionally, foam pickleball balls may not be best for outdoor games, as they can be affected by wind and weather conditions. And they certainly would be of no value in cold weather pickleball.

Acoustic Challenges and Residential Issues

The noise generated by pickleball has led to a multitude of residential issues, giving rise to a growing number of noise complaints. Several myths and misconceptions surround pickleball noise, some of which have been debunked. Addressing these sound concerns necessitates the involvement of sound engineers and acoustic experts, who bring valuable insights into noise reduction and sound control.

USA Pickleball’s Involvement

As the governing body overseeing the sport, USA Pickleball holds a pivotal role in addressing the sound issues and noise complaints associated with the game. Their involvement isn’t just regulatory; it’s about fostering a harmonious relationship between the sport and the communities that host it.

Though, they have come up some really insane pickleball rules.

USA Pickleball’s action plan is multifaceted. One of their primary goals is to work hand-in-hand with manufacturers during the development phase to prioritize innovation in creating quieter products. This collaboration aims not only to produce quieter equipment but also to offer resources to municipalities, thereby contributing to the sound mitigation efforts in various localities.

The Impact of the Pickleball Quiet Category

The introduction of the quiet category is more than just a new initiative; it’s a potential game-changer. But what has been the real impact, and how has the pickleball community responded? Is it the solution everyone has been waiting for, or is it merely more hype?

Some people will dislike pickleball if it were completely silent; they just don’ like it at all! They simply hate change or anything new and unfamiliar to them.

Sound Mitigation and Technology Advancements

The quiet category leverages advanced acoustic technology and sound-dampening innovations, aiming to significantly reduce the noise produced by both paddles and balls. These technological advancements have been supported by various studies and publications, enhancing the credibility of the sound mitigation efforts.


The development and introduction of the new quiet category in pickleball have certainly stirred the waters, giving players, residents, and enthusiasts plenty to ponder. The initiative, driven by USA Pickleball and supported by acoustic experts, represents a significant step towards a more harmonious coexistence between the sport and the community.

But is it the ultimate solution, or does it merely scratch the surface of a deeper issue?

Sport Your Spirit: Pickleball Noise Apparel

Embrace the lighter side of pickleball with our whimsical t-shirt collection, specifically designed to humorously target the noise detractors of our beloved sport! Each shirt expresses the collective joy of the pickleball community, gently poking fun at those who find its characteristic sound bothersome.

See the Tees!

Summary of the Quiet Category and its Potential Impact

The quiet category showcases a fusion of innovation and technology aimed at mitigating the characteristic noise of pickleball. From quieter paddles to subdued ball impacts, the advancements have shown promise. The efforts of USA Pickleball, in conjunction with manufacturers and acoustic consultants, depict a concerted approach towards addressing the rising noise complaints and fostering the sport’s continued expansion.

Reflection on Effectiveness

While the initial reception and feedback have been favorable, it is imperative to consider the long-term implications and effectiveness of these measures. Will the quieter equipment significantly reduce sound concerns in various locales? Can the sport maintain its essence and appeal amidst these changes? These are questions that time and continued dialogue within the pickleball community will answer.

Encouragement for Ongoing Dialogue

The conversation around pickleball noise is far from over. It is essential for players, residents, and governing bodies to maintain open lines of communication and share feedback on the impact of the new quiet category. Continuous improvement and adaptation are key to ensuring that pickleball can be enjoyed by all, with minimal disruption to community peace.

For those looking to explore this topic further and stay informed on developments, below are some valuable resources:

New Pickleball Quiet Category – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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