How High Is a Pickleball Net Compared to Tennis? (2024)

how high is a pickleball net

A pickleball net’s height is an important part to the game: 34 inches in the center and 36 inches at the sidelines. The proper height is key when you are playing up near the kitchen hitting those soft dinks.

In this blog post, I will discuss “how high is a pickleball net”, why these measurements matter, how they compare to tennis nets, and what you need to know about pickleball net regulations.

Let’s get started.

How High Is A Pickleball Net?

outdoor pickleball courts

The pickleball net may look similar to other sports nets like tennis nets, but it is different. A regulation pickleball net is 22 feet wide and sits at 34 inches high at the center. At the sidelines, the net sits at 36 inches high so there is a slight drop to the net. This comes into play when you are dinking at the net as hitting it over the center versus the sides is slightly easier and keeps the ball lower during play which is important.

Measurements at the Center and Sidelines

The USAPA has set specific guidelines for the standard pickleball net height, stating it to be 34 inches at the center and 36 inches at the sidelines. The two inch drop to the center from the sidelines is key to keeping the ball low during play thus resulting in a harder return from your opponent.

Regulation Pickleball Net Width

The regulation width of an official pickleball net is 22 feet wide. This covers the width of the court. The standard pickleball court size is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long so this puts one foot of net on each side.

Tennis Net Height: A Comparison

So how does a pickleball net compare to a tennis net? Tennis nets are higher and wider which creates a different playing situation.

Tennis Net Dimensions

A tennis court is larger than a pickleball court and thus has a larger net. Tennis nets are 42 inches high at the posts and 42 feet wide, with a center sag dropping to 36 inches at the center.

Portable and Permanent Pickleball Nets

When it comes to pickleball nets, you essentially have two main options: portable pickleball nets and permanent pickleball nets. Let’s take a look at both.

Portable Pickleball Nets

Portable pickleball nets bring significant benefits, particularly in terms of their ease of setup and their versatile use across different locations. A portable net is typically lightweight and can be assembled fairly easily. They often come with wheels or in a carrying case to make them easy to transport which is often the case if you need to get creative to find a play to play pickleball!

With a range of options available, from budget-friendly options, light weight easy to transport options to professional-grade nets, there’s a portable pickleball net out there for you.

Permanent Pickleball Nets

On the other hand, permanent pickleball nets offer robustness and durability. Made from materials like polyethylene, known for its durability, these nets are built to last. They also feature integrated gear systems that allow for consistent maintenance of net tension, similar to features found in permanent tennis nets.

These nets are ideal for dedicated pickleball courts where the net doesn’t need to be frequently moved or disassembled. They typically have a nice taught net to play with and are very secure.

Adapting Tennis Nets for Pickleball Play

tennis court into pickleball court

For those who have access to a tennis court but not a pickleball court, don’t worry, we can make it work! Tennis nets can be adjusted for pickleball use so we can still get out there and have some fun!

Adjusting Tennis Net Height

One option to use a tennis court for pickleball is by adjusting the net height. A center strap is really helpful for adjusting the tennis net height to meet pickleball standards. The center strap will provide tension and allow the net to remain taut at the correct net height.

This may involve:

  • Loosening the ratchet on the net post if the net is too tight
  • Sliding the net down the center strap to reach the precise height for pickleball
  • Retightening to secure the net at the new height.

Using Portable Pickleball Nets on Tennis Courts

Another great option for those without access to dedicated pickleball courts is to play pickleball using portable pickleball nets on tennis courts. On a standard tennis court, you can set up TWO pickleball courts! Just need the net and some line tape and a measuring tape!

The Origins of Pickleball Net Height

Ever wondered how the pickleball net height came to be? The answer lies in the game’s history, dating back to its invention in 1965. Over the years, the USAPA has developed official equipment guidelines, including pickleball net height requirements, which have shaped the sport we know and love today.

Invention of Pickleball

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington, by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. They created the game to entertain their families while on vacation.

They initially used a badminton net, ping pong paddles and a whiffle ball…parts they had laying around in their garage. Who knew the game would take off from there!

USAPA Guidelines

The USA Pickleball Association, formed in 1984, played a pivotal role in the development of pickleball as a structured sport. The first pickleball rulebook, published by the USAPA, helped in formalizing the sport’s guidelines, including specific pickleball net height requirements for tournament play.


As we’ve seen, while pickleball nets and tennis nets share similarities, the unique characteristics of their nets – from height, width, and materials – make each sport distinct. Whether you’re a pickleball enthusiast looking to understand your sport better, a tennis player curious about pickleball, or someone looking to adapt a tennis net for a pickleball game, understanding these nuances can enhance your appreciation for these sports and improve your game.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard height of a pickleball net?

The standard height of a pickleball net is 34 inches at the center and 36 inches at the sidelines.

How does the net height affect gameplay in pickleball and tennis?

The net height impacts gameplay in both pickleball and tennis, influencing shot trajectory and strategies. A tennis ball and a pickleball travel differently and the net height variation makes a difference.

What are the materials commonly used in pickleball and tennis nets?

The common materials used in pickleball nets are nylon, cotton, and polyester, while vinyl and polyester are commonly used for the net headbands in tennis nets. Choose a net made from these materials for durability and performance.

How can I adjust a tennis net for pickleball play?

You can adjust a tennis net for pickleball play by adjusting the net height using a center strap or adjusting the net height at the sides. But remember, you can set up two pickleball courts on one tennis court to maximize play. You just need a portable net and some line tape!

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