You will notice when playing pickleball that the height of the net is slightly lower in the middle than in the posts. The USA Pickleball Association states that a regulation pickleball net will be 36 inches high on the posts and 34 inches high in the middle. The net is also 22 feet wide, with the net posts extending one foot out from the sidelines on a regulation 20-foot-wide court. This standard is the same for singles and doubles matches.
The pickleball net height is shorter than what you'd get from a traditional tennis net. A tennis net is 36 inches high in the middle and 42 inches at the posts. But a tennis net is also about 33 feet wide for singles and 42 feet wide for doubles.
The pickleball net height is two inches shorter in the middle, but that is a natural part of how the net sags. Any sport that requires a net will feature a net with a slight dip in the middle part. This point is also why so many pickleball players aim for the middle of the court when hitting the ball, as hitting it there reduces the risk of the ball getting caught in the net.
The pickleball net requires the right amount of tension to ensure you can set it up with the proper net height. You could even lower a tennis net for pickleball use so long as you set the boundaries for the smaller court.
A loose net will allow balls that hit the top part to move without much of a change in trajectory. An overhead smash or another hard hit will continue going in the proper direction.
A net that is too tight will produce more impact on a ball that rolls over. The stiff design on the net keeps the ball from moving well after hitting the net, sometimes making it where the ball stays on your side following the hit.
You can use a portable or stationary net when getting your pickleball court ready. The pickleball net height should remain the same at 36 inches at the posts and 34 inches in the middle.
A stationary net can be convenient if you plan on playing pickleball in one spot more often, but it only works if you can space the posts 22 feet apart on the court. A stationary net will also likely feature a sturdier body that will not break apart as easily.
A portable net is easier to adjust and configure, plus you can use one wherever you go. But the posts for your portable net must be heavy enough to where they will not shift or move about as you play.
Regardless of the type of net you use, you must be sure the playing surface is even to ensure the pickleball net height will be consistent. Check the surface and review if it is level before setting up your net.