Pickleball vs Badminton Similarities & Differences

Pickleball vs. Badminton: Similarities & Differences

Both played with rackets, Pickleball and Badminton can be intertwined in some ways by other people during the first encounter. Yet, we should remember that the two also have differences that make them unique from one another.

The main differences pickleball and badminton shares are the specific game equipment used and the service rules, while they share similarities in aspects like the number of players allowed and the court size.

This article will give you a thorough explanation of the similarities and differences between pickleball and badminton.

How Are Pickleball and Badminton Similar?

Pickleball and badminton have similarities when it comes to the number of players, place of play, and the size of the court. Let’s dig further into the details below.

Number of Players

Both sports accept the following teams:

  • Singles game: One player for each side of the court, a total of two players per game
  • Doubles game: Two players for each side of the court, a total of four players per game
  • Mixed doubles game: This is just a doubles team with players of mixed genders – a male and a female.

Place of Play

Both pickleball and badminton can be played indoors and outdoors, with the same number of players. Although when it comes to formal competitions, they may differ:

  • Pickleball tournaments are played outdoors.
  • Badminton tournaments are mostly played indoors.

Other Similarities to Remember:

  • Both are racquet sports.
  • Both games involve a kind of ball.
  • Both sports’ goals are to hit the ball with the racquet and send it over the other side of the net.
  • The net for both games is placed at the center of their respective courts.

Where Are They Different?

The differences between pickleball and badminton are as follows:

Game Rules

A big difference between pickleball and badminton when it comes to rules is the circumstances when the ball hits the ground. For pickleball, the ball is necessary to hit the ground to score. Meanwhile, for badminton, when the shuttlecock hits the ground, the rally is over, and one wins a point.

Here are the other differences in the basic game rules between the two sports:

Pickleball Rules

  • Serving starts at the right side of the court. When the current service wins a point, the server will serve again, but this time, on the left side of the court.
  • Serving teams per rally are the only ones who can score a point. The opponent or the not serving team or player must be able to regain that ability to take home points on their side.
  • No volley rule: This space is called the ‘kitchen,’ where players cannot go in the no volley zone.
  • 10 seconds rule: Make sure the server is ready to do the serve in between the 10 seconds window when the score is called. Otherwise, the server will receive a fault.

Badminton Rules

  • Badminton players should not do anything that can distract their opponents intentionally.
  • Each badminton game is required to have two rest periods.
  • A player’s feet should remain outside the line until the serving side does their serve.


From the number of service types to the scoring system, pickleball and badminton rules have notable differences. Learn more details about these below.

Types of Services – Pickleball

The first thing you must remember when it comes to pickleball serves is that it requires a certain height and stroke. They should be done underhand and must be hit below the waist level.

According to Badminton Bites, pickleball has three serves:

  • High Soft serve: This serve aims to go deep into your opponent’s court.
  • Power serve: From the name itself, this serve requires more power from the player so that the ball would be fast to aim at the opponent in committing mistakes on the court.
  • Soft Angle serve: This kind of serve lives up to its name – it needs a softer kind of shot from the player.

Types of Services – Badminton

Badminton Bites enumerated four kinds of services allowed when playing badminton:

  • Low serve: Low serves are great if a player aims to only transfer the shuttlecock to the other side of the net. To do this, gently tap your racquet on the shuttlecock.
  • High serve: More power is needed for this as this is a strong serve. Badminton players use this to make the shuttlecock go high and then go at the back of the opponent’s court.
  • Flick serve: This serve is usually done with the backhand technique, aiming to make the shuttlecock go faster.
  • Drive serve: To score a faster point in badminton, you must do the drive serve. This is a fast kind of serve that aims to make the shuttlecock go to the far end of the service receiving area. It’s typically used to win a quick point to an unsuspecting receiver.

All kinds of services between these two games are customizable per player’s technique and comfort.


Scoring systems also vary between pickleball and badminton.

Pickleball Scoring

  • Pickleball’s scoring system is unique because a player or a team will only score a point when the player or his or her team member (for doubles and mixed doubles games) serves for the winning rally.
  • Double bounce rule: Another unique scoring system in pickleball, the double bounce rule requires each team to make sure the ball bounces twice before returning it to the other side of the court. This applies when the ball is already served.
  • Pickleball is played for 11 points.

Badminton Scoring

  • A player or team wins a badminton game when they first reach 21 points for the best of three games.
  • Whichever side wins the rally gets the point as well. Unlike pickleball, badminton does not require a serving team to be the one to bring home the point.
  • Whoever wins the previous set, that player or team will be the side to do the serve next.


Both games need a racquet and some ball to start playing. While they share this similarity here, the appearance of the racquet and the ball differ.

  • Pickleball: Pickleball has a smaller racquet between the two, and the paddle is often described as something that looks between a tennis racquet and a table tennis one. As for its ball, it’s called a wiffle ball. This is made of plastic. Pickleball’s ball is unique with the holes around it.
  • Badminton: Badminton racquets are obviously higher and longer when talking about their size because it needs to compensate for the net’s height on the court. The handle is slim, and the whole frame and grip are usually made of metal. The head is oval-shaped with strings in the middle for the end of the shuttlecock to bounce. A Badminton ball is called a shuttlecock, usually made of plastic with feathers (some shuttlecocks have goose or duck feathers).

Is Pickleball Easier Than Badminton?

The quick answer to this question is YES.

Pickleball was invented as a game for families to play for all ages. Thus, this makes the game easier to grasp when it comes to concept and game rules. However, pickleball, especially with its rules, can also be complicated in some ways. For example, only pickleball has the “kitchen.” Another thing is that there is a special rule when scoring a point during a serve in pickleball, whereas with badminton, this rule is not observed.

Is Pickleball Court the Same as Badminton?

The court size for both sports is one of their notable similarities as well. The size of the playing court for pickleball is exactly the same as that of a badminton court for a doubles game, with 44 feet (23.4 meters) long and 20 feet (6.2 meters) wide. For badminton’s singles games, the size of the court is slightly smaller, with 44 feet (23.4 meters) long and 17 feet (5.2 meters) wide. Badminton has a wider playing court for their doubles games to give more space to accommodate two players on each side of the net.

Can You Use a Badminton Net for Pickleball?

The size and height of the net for each of these games are very different from one another, but they share the exact same location in their courts – in the middle. Pickleball requires a lower net in terms of height, while a badminton game’s net is higher. Here are their dimensions:

  • Pickleball net: The overall size of the net used in Pickleball is 22 inches with a height of 36 inches from the ground.
  • Badminton net: The total height of a badminton net is five feet one inch.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball and badminton may share the same concept when it comes to gameplay, but when dug deeper, they have outstanding similarities and differences from one another. There are things that pickleball has, but badminton doesn’t, and vice versa. Players interested in transitioning from badminton to pickleball should learn about these to perform better while playing the sport.

Overall, their similarities and differences from each other actually make both sports unique and enjoyable to play.

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