Equipment Reviews

The following reviews of the Penn 40 pickleball were submitted by St. Thomas Pickleball Club members in August, 2019 as part of the Pickleball Central equipment review program. The STPC & our reviewers would like to thank Pickleball Central & HEAD/Penn Pickleball for supplying the balls to our reviewers. For more information & pricing on the Penn 40 ball click here.

Review #1:
When I first picked up the Penn 40 ball it seemed a little lighter & perhaps thinner than the balls our club was used to using for outdoor play. However, once I used it for a few games it offered pretty much the same touch, feel & bounce as most other outdoor balls that our club has used.  

One thing in particular that I noticed, however slightly, was that the ball required a little more focus when hitting the third shot drop & dinks. It required some fine tuning to get the feel for those shots but it came quickly after I played a few games.

Serving & power hitting were not a problem although the ball was perhaps a bit slower in the air than what I am used to. This can only help the majority of players who would have more trouble with the faster ball that is used in many tournaments. 

My partners & opponents had only positive comments about the Penn 40 as it seemed to play very similar to what they were used to. Durability was a non issue as the ball stood up well & maintained it's shape for the time I was using it. At one point a player stepped on a ball putting a dent in one side. With the aid of a screw driver I was able to pop the dent out & the next day I used the ball with no noticeable side effects. The balls were not overly roughed up on our outdoor courts & none broke during the period we were using them. I got the impression that the Penn 40 is an extremely durable ball. 

The one feature that stood out was the colour. The neon yellow colour was easy to see. This is probably one of the best balls on the market in terms of visibility.

I would recommend this ball for club play & recreational play. 

Review #2:
The Penn 40 outdoor pickleball appears to be slightly heavier than some of it's counterparts & therefore a little harder, with a smoother plastic coating. This makes it a little noisier off the paddle but it manages to sail through the wind easily.

The neon yellow colour of the Penn 40 is bright & visible in the daytime, & is even better in the evening under the lights.

This is not a high bouncing ball, which makes it a little more suited to the dinking game & closer net play, but also good for the third shot drop. Being able to land the ball in the kitchen without too high a bounce gives less of an advantage to your opponents. For those players that are power hitters, you are going to enjoy the Penn 40. The ball reacts well to power shots by just hitting it little harder. Some of you love to do that but mind, not too much, & watch the wind at your back or else it will be sailing out!

I personally don't use much spin so I asked some of my spin buddies & they all thought the Penn 40 reacted well, holding good rotation & being unpredictable on landing. 

In conclusion, I enjoyed playing with the Penn 40. I played more than 30 games with the ball & it was very durable, still holding it's round & the plastic showed very little wear & tear. I particularly liked the softer bounce for my dinking game & executing my third shot drops. The ball is suited really for any type of player, whether a dinker or a power hitter. Others may need to adjust their shots slightly which we all have to do anyway with outdoor play due to the wind. 

The Penn 40 would work well for our club for all of the above reasons but mainly because it is durable & may last longer thus making it a sound investment. 

Review #3:
We, as in women found the Penn 40 to be durable. Our team played with the Penn 40 over 6 hours outdoors without it becoming rough or soft. The Penn 40 bounced well although
maybe slightly less than our current ball.

The Penn 40 would benefit a player or players that prefer softer play. In defining softer play, I mean that the ball doesn’t bounce as high therefore a player can have confidence to make the third shot drop and therefore the dinking game can commence. The difference in the bounce is easy to adapt to. I found when dinking the Penn 40 it responded well to the slower shots. The Penn 40 comes off the paddle faster so harder shots came back at you quickly.

The Penn 40 spins well. I have mainly a back spin which 
coming off the paddle seems faster, therefore my opponents would have a higher percentage of returning into the net. There were a couple of times a spin was answered with a spin by my opponent which was very difficult to return.

Overall, this is a decent ball and a great ball for competitive Pickleball players. The colour of the ball is easier to see even in bright sunlight. I would like to thank Pickleball Central and Head/Penn Pickleball providing us with the demo balls for review.

Review #4:
Thanks to Pickelball Central and HEAD/Penn Pickleball we were able to be some of the first to try out the new Penn outdoor pickleball.

I found the visibility of the ball in daytime lighting, both sun and shade to be very good both in the air and on the ground.  I would consider the “liveliness”
of the ball to be medium.  This would make it a good choice for those who enjoy playing a bit slower paced. game.  Although the bounce was not as high
as some other balls it was true.
The ball was good for dinking and came off the paddle in a clean, consistent manner.  I found the ball to have a somewhat lighter feel to it.
Having not used the ball for many games it’s durability could not be determined.  However after using it for a number of games it did not appear to
be overly worn.

Overall I would say this is a good ball for Intermediate level players.

Review #5:
I found the Penn 40 ball a little softer so it stayed on the paddle surface longer which allowed me to put more spin on it. It did play a little slower so it was 
easier to direct the flight of the ball during dinking. This also meant I had to hit the ball harder in order to put it deep to the service line.

The Penn 40 slowed considerably into the wind but it did not seem to be affected as much by a crosswind.

Visibility was good under all conditions...daylight, shade & under the lights at night. 

The Penn 40 would be a great ball for beginner & intermediate players. I think if would fit well for our fun tournaments that incorporate all skill levels.

Two other players that I spoke with found the Penn 40 heavier than our regular ball which they had just played with. Once they actually used the 
Penn 40 they found very little difference & adapted well. 

St. Thomas has a large pickleball community so the Penn 40 will be exposed to a vast number of players at different skill levels. 

Thank you Pickleball Central & Head/Penn Pickleball for the opportunity to play our great game with a great ball....the Penn 40.

Review #6:
I found the Penn 40 ball to be very consistent with a harder game rather than a softer game.  I found that there was less "pop" off the paddle and hence less percentage chance of going long.  In terms of dinking, I found that the ball had less bounce than the Onix so that if you could hit it just a little harder over the net, it made it more difficult for my opponent to return it once it had bounced.  So it can appeal to both types of shots.