Why Volleyball Balls are so Light? (Explained with Examples)

light volleyball

Volleyballs are one of the lightest balls out there. In fact, anyone who will hold the ball for the first time ever won’t really feel intimidated neither by its weight nor by its size.

So, why volleyballs are so light? The main reason that justifies the ball’s light weight is simply the nature of the sport. Indeed, it needs to go through the air constantly and in all fluidity. Otherwise, most of volleyball moves like serving and spiking will be extremely hard to execute.

In this article, I breakdown even more reasons behind the volleyballs light weight. I also address the brands known for producing these kinds of balls and what materials they use to make sure this don’t compromise their quality.

Reasons why Volleyball Balls are usually Light …


There are all kinds of different volleyball sizes:

  • Size 3: usually used by kids and beginners
  • Size 4: usually used by recreational players
  • Size 5: Standard size used by semi-pro and pro players (Check this example)

All Volleyball sizes have a weight ranging from 260 to 280 grams. But generally the higher the size is, the higher the weight will be.

This also depends on the used materials …

Used Materials

A volleyball is made out of many different materials. Those are chosen very carefully by the manufacturer to ensure the required ball weight for the sport …

The outer shell – which is made from synthetic or natural leather. The panels are glued together to the inner lining.

This makes the seams smoother. The smoother the seams the better the trajectory of the ball.

The core – The core of the ball or the blubber as it is called by many is usually made from rubber. This is where the lightness of the ball comes into play.

The ball is light because of the rubber core which is quite thin, but it is protected from the materials surrounding it. It ensures the volleyball is capable of staying in the air for as long as possible.

The panels – The panels have always been a part of the volleyball. In the past there were only eighteen panels now there are only eight, with some exceptions still having eighteen. They ensure that the volleyball stays firmly together.

So all-in-all, materials a volleyball is made from are rubber, synthetic or natural leather, stitches or glue (depending on the manufacturer) and the panels that keep it firmly together.

What is the lightest pro volleyball ball?

We have seen that all volleyballs have a similar size and weight range. That is 63 to 65.5 centimeters (all sizes included) and 260 to 280 grams.

One of the best & lightest balls you could use for your practices is the Mikasa V200W (Check it Here at Amazon)

The ball is light and made out of high quality materials.

It has a double dimpled microfiber composite cover, with the old-school 18 panel configuration. It has the anti-sweat configuration applied to the composite cover, meaning that it will not let the sweat hold on to the ball for long and impact the gameplay.

Brands known for producing light volleyballs …

Considering the brand is an important factor while selecting and learning about the finest volleyballs

Mikasa for example is a ball manufacturer that is located in Hiroshima, Japan. It is a well known producer and is the official ball for the Olympics. It is also the official ball of the International volleyball federation.

It is worth mentioning that Miaksa does not produce only volleyballs, but also balls for soccer, korfball and basketball.

The next producer of high quality volleyballs is Molten. This is also a company that is based in Hiroshima, Japan. It produces volleyballs and automotive parts.

Just like Mikasa, Molten produces balls for a variety of sports. American football, soccer basketball, dodgeball nad handball. Molten is however the offical ball of all FIBA competitions worldwide.

Also Molten is besides Mikasa one of the most prominent balls in the US, being the offical ball of USA Volleyball and the NCAA for men and women.

Keep in mind that even if some of these brands produce relatively expensive volleyballs, they are still (at least in my opinion) worth it!

Indoor vs Beach volleyball ball – which is lighter & why?

Beach volleyballs are usually 66 to 68 centimeters (26 to 27 inches) making them the bugger in size, when compared to indoor volleyballs which are 25 to 26.5 inches.

Beach volleyball PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) is drastically different than those of indoor volleyballs. Its PSI stand between 2.5 and 3.2 while indoor is between 4.3 and 4.6 PSI.

However, when it comes to the weight of beach volleyballs, there is a tie between the indoor and beach volleyballs. The weight for a regular beach volleyball ranges between 260 and 280 grams, which is the same as a standard indoor volleyball.

The materials beach volleyballs are made of are basically the same as the indoor volleyball materials. However the materials the manufacturers choose are different in quality, since they need to withstand the outdoor setting.

As we can see there is no significant difference between the indoor and beach volleyball weight.

Does volleyball size impact its weight?

From what I’ve mentioned previously we can conclude that this is true. smaller balls, like the size 3 and 4 are lighter in weight than the standardized size 5 balls.

A size 3 volleyball is intentionally made small, for newbies and kids, to make it easier for them to get into the sport.

I highly invite you to learn about volleyball ball size!

Were old volleyballs lighter or heavier?

When volleyball was first created as a sport by William G. Morgan in 1895. Ball were not standardized, indeed the sport was created back then as an alternative to basketball.

So it is worth mentioning that when volleyball began the bladder of a basketball was used, and that has proved to be not so good.

Basketball bladder was too heavy for volleyball. Because of that Morgan decided to add a proper ball to the sport.

He has approached A.G. Spalding and brothers for a new ball design. So Spalding is responsible for the first volleyball ever made. Spalding was the leader in baseball ball manufacturing and design.

They used the knowledge of baseballs and designed the first volleyball. It was as made out of 18 panels, made from leather. The inner core was first made out of bicycle tiers after which it was replaced with standardized cores.

The design of the volleyball that Spalding gave to Morgan was basically ideal. However, Mikasa has changed the design in 2008 for the requirements of the Olympics, reducing the panels from 18 to just 8 panels.

The size and weight however have not changed dramatically. The first volleyballs were of similar if not the same size and weight as modern volleyballs.

Finally, I would like to note that even if you are using an old hard ball, there are ways that can make a volleyball softer!

Final Thoughts …

Personally, I’ve played many ball sports like basketball, handball & soccer and I have to say that volleyballs has probably the best feel among all of the other balls …

This is kind of weird and hard to explain, but this has made me somehow more attached to the sport.

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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