There are basketballs made for indoor use as well as outdoor use. Each has specific features that make them different from each other while still performing the same overall function. If you’re looking to buy a new basketball to use for indoor games, there are plenty on the market to choose from. This can make shopping for one complicated. However, if you know how to compare different basketballs and know what separates the quality basketballs from the poorly made ones. To help you find the best indoor basketballs on the market, some of the top models have been compiled and reviewed. You can shop these products or use them to start your own search.
Top 8 Indoor Basketball Reviews
To help you find the best indoor basketballs on the market, some of the top products are reviewed here based on product descriptions and user reviews.
# 1. Wilson Evolution
The Wilson Evolution is one of the most popular options for indoor basketballs, especially with high school basketball leagues. It features wide channels that are slightly deeper than normal to provide an exceptional grip. There is also a Butyl bladder inside the ball that offers superior air retention and a soft microfiber composite exterior. Wilson’s renowned Cushion Core Technology is also used in the Evolution to give you a more comfortable feel to improve ball handling.
This ball is readily available through most top retailers and is priced around $50 which is a standard price for a quality indoor basketball. Based on its high performance, it’s a great value when compared to more expensive models.
When buying anything, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of the product before making a purchase decision.
- High quality offers superior performance
- Ball feels lighter than other models
- Deep, pebbled channels allow for a better grip
- Bounces are consistent and even
- Cover is soft and not as durable as others
- Has more of a cushioned feel than genuine leather
# 2. Baden Elite
A popular composite leather indoor basketball, the Baden Elite was made with consistent playability in mind. It features a moisture grip exterior for improved ball handling while the composite microfiber cover and Baden’s Cushion Control Technology create a soft feel and consistent bounce. This ball won’t absorb too much moisture so it won’t get heavier over time. More so, the symmetrical design creates a stable balance for better control on the court.
The Baden Elite is available in two sizes (28.5 inches and 29.5 inches) and ships fully inflated when bought online. The larger size is around $50 while the smaller is closer to $55.
Based on user reviews there are some pros and cons to consider.
- Bounces better than similar balls
- Comfortable soft, cushioned exterior
- Good grip makes it easier to handle
- Ball feels too tacky for some
- Takes longer than normal to break in
- Attracts dust and dirt more than others
# 3. Spalding TF-1000 Classic
This is one of the most popular indoor basketballs. It’s made of a microfiber composite cover to provide a softer feel with a moderate tacky touch. It’s made exclusively for indoor surfaces so it isn’t as durable as other balls but as long as you use it solely indoors it should last you a long time.
The TF 1000 features a nylon core that helps it keep its shape longer than other basketballs while also giving it a proper bounce. The exterior is made with wide channels for a stronger grip and improved tactile recognition. It’s available in the standard regulation size (29.5 inches) and is considered game-ready. It is available for around $60.
Even the most popular models have their ups and downs that have to be noted before making a purchase.
- True, consistent bounce
- Offers strong ball control
- Made by a trusted company
- Feels too slick out of the box
- Not as good as the famed original
- Too expensive for the quality offered
# 4. Spalding NBA Official Game Basketball
This is a genuine leather basketball that is the exact replica of the official NBA basketballs used by professionals. It’s made to meet the regulation size and weight and is considered to be one of the best indoor basketballs available.
The full-grain leather is soft in your hands but will need to be broken in as any genuine leather ball will feel slick and stiff out of the box. The wide-channel design helps improve our ball control while the quality manufacturing creates a consistent bounce. Since it’s an official NBA ball and made of real leather, it’s more expensive than other basketballs but provides a high-quality performance.
Before you decide on a product, weigh the pros and cons.
- Makes easy smooth shots
- Controlled dribbling and passing
- Holds air well over time
- Needs to be broken in
- Comparatively expensive
- Feels slick out of the box
- Can’t be used outdoors
# 5. The Rock
This composite leather basketball is the same one used for the All American Games and comes complete with a certificate of authenticity to verify it. It is standard regulation size made with a nylon core and Butyl bladder for superior air retention. These features also help it retain its shape and provide a consistent, strong bounce. More so, there is a patented sponge rubber carcass inside of the ball that adds softness to the ball for improved handling.
The exterior of The Rock is quite durable for an indoor ball as it’s made to resist scuffs. It claims to be game-ready without requiring any break-in period. Finally, deep pebbled channels create a good grip and comfortable feel.
Remember, every product has good and bad qualities that shouldn’t be overlooked when comparing them.
- Deep channels are helpful on the court
- Doesn’t absorb moisture as much as others
- Properly balanced and symmetrical
- Loses air easily, needs constant re-inflation
- Ball gets too slippery with sweat
# 6. Molten BGG Composite Basketball
Molten is one of the leading brands in basketballs. Their FIBA-approved composite ball is durable for an indoor ball and offers superior grip and ball handling. It features a Butyl bladder that helps the ball retain air over long periods of time and helps create a consistent, true bounce. The unique exterior color and design help you keep track of the ball and its movements on the court while also separating itself from the competition.
This specific ball is available for around $70 making it a little more expensive than other brands. It also ships deflated so you’ll need to pump it up to the proper PSI yourself. While it’s designated as an indoor-only basketball, some players have used it outdoors with little to no negative effects.
While this is a quality model, there are pros and cons worth mentioning.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- High-quality feel on the court
- Comparable to American-made balls
- Comparatively expensive
- Needs to be inflated at home
- Appears smaller than regulation
# 7. Molten X-Series Composite Basketball
Made of composite leather with a Butyl bladder, the Molten X-Series is a durable indoor basketball that feels comfortable to the touch. It holds air well and maintains its shape over time while also offering a high-quality performance.
It also features Molten’s unique 12-panel exterior design. This gives you better grip but can take some getting used to if you normally play with the typical 8-panel basketballs. The exterior is also pebbled to help keep the ball from slipping out of your hands during a game. It is reasonably priced around $50 like most basketballs but ships deflated and must be pumped up at home.
The notable pros and cons can help you narrow down your options and help you make a final purchase decision.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- FIBA approved basketball
- Enhanced visibility on the court
- Ships deflated when ordering online
- Doesn’t include a pump
- Appears smaller than regulation
# 8. Wilson Tournament Game Basketball
This is the official basketball of the famed March Madness tournament and used throughout the NCAA. It is made of composite leather with deep channels and a unique moisture absorbing cover that helps you grip the ball better while on the court. Wilson also uses their typical Cushion Core Technology to create a consistent, true bounce so you know where the ball is going every time you dribble it.
With a quality exterior, this ball can help improve your ball handling and help you elevate your game. Its soft design is comfortable to the touch while also being durable for consistent indoor use. Due to the nature of this basketball, it is ready to use right out of the box and doesn’t require a lengthy break-in period like other stiff basketballs. It is moderately priced around $50 and ships fully inflated when purchasing one online.
- NCAA and NFHS approved ball
- Available in different sizes and colors
- High performance on indoor courts
- Bounces unevenly from rim and backboard
- Feels too grippy for some players
Wilson Evolution vs Spalding TF 1000
Two of the most popular indoor basketballs are the Wilson Evolution and the Spalding TF 1000. While they’re both basketballs, they are quite different. According to users, the Evolution feels tackier and offers a better grip than the TF 1000. It also feels like it’s game-ready while the Spalding feels like it needs to be broken in. More so, the TF 1000 has a slippery, hard feeling when you first get it. Many users say that the Spalding basketball feels more like a rubber indoor/outdoor basketball than a true indoor model. When comparing these two, most people seem to agree that the Wilson Evolution is the better indoor basketball among the two.
Type of Indoor Basketball
As you shop for an indoor basketball you might notice that some are made of different materials while others are made for different purposes. In order to choose the best indoor basketball for your personal use, you have to understand the different types of balls and then choose the one (or more than one) that you want.
Since indoor basketballs don’t go through the abuse that outdoor balls do it’s more common to find ones made of softer, less durable materials like genuine leather. This is what the earlier basketballs were predominantly made from but due to the high cost of the material and innovations in designs, it is less common.
Leather basketballs are softer than others and need to be broken in through use in order to feel comfortable in your hands. When you first get a leather basketball it will feel stiff and be hard to handle but once you break it in, it provides a decent grip and bounces well. Genuine leather isn’t as strong as other materials so it can wear with consistent use. This is why it’s mainly used for indoor games as the hard outdoor surfaces will tear up the material quickly.
Composite Leather Basketballs
As genuine leather fell out of favor with sports equipment companies, composite or synthetic leather came into use. This is artificial leather that is more affordable than genuine leather and also more durable. It doesn’t need to be broken in like real leather so it handles better out of the box which can lead to better control on the court. It’s a common material used by a lot of the top companies to create commercial and professional basketballs.
These specific basketballs are usually made for outdoor games since they’re quite durable. They also feel tacky to the touch to help improve your grip on the ball. They’re harder than other basketballs and have a stronger bounce. Meant to withstand the elements, they won’t scuff as easily so they can be used on any court. However, a lot of people don’t like using rubber basketballs indoors because of their strong bounce which can sometimes be too forceful and lead to sloppy ball handling.
In general, these feel harder in your hands and can be uncomfortable to players who are used to the softer leather basketballs. When compared to other basketballs rubber balls are more affordable since they are cheaper to produce.
Some basketballs are designated as match basketballs or recreational basketballs. These are the balls that are ready to be used in a normal basketball game. They can be made of any of the typical materials and are designed to meet the standards of a regulation game.
Match basketballs designated for an NBA-style game are 29.5 inches to match the balls used in official NBA games. If you’re looking for a standard match ball for a WNBA-style game, the ball should be 28.5 inches. Match basketballs for FIBA-style games should be 30.7 inches for men and 29 inches for women. You can also find youth sizes and NCAA sizes when shopping for match basketballs.
For players still learning the game or for those looking to improve aspects of their game, training basketballs can help. These are larger than recreational basketballs so that players can learn proper technique that can then be easily translated to the smaller, regulation-size basketball. For example, if you want to improve your control, practicing with a larger-than-normal ball can help you since it’ll take more muscle control to handle the training basketball. When you switch back to a standard ball it’ll be easier for you to do.
A common training basketball is known as the Big Ball or is referred to as an oversized basketball. They are usually 33 inches in circumference and weight more than the typical ball. People use these to improve arm strength and to help with ball control issues. Since the ball is larger and the standard basketball hoop remains the same it can also help improve shot precision.
When shopping for a training basketball, you may see weighted ones. These are basketballs that weight significantly more than a normal ball. While the weights can vary, most weighted basketballs are 3 or 6 pounds. They help strengthen the muscles in your arms, fingers, and wrists while also helping you improve your handling on the court.
Indoor Basketball Sizes
Besides some indoor basketballs serving different purposes and being made of different materials, there are also different sizes to match a player’s age as well as the level of gameplay. For example, there are NBA regulation balls that are used in men’s professional and recreational games while there are smaller balls used for high-school level games.
The standard size of a men’s basketball is 29.5 inches as it is the regulation size of NBA balls. This is also the same size that is used in men’s college games and more high school basketball games (although, some high schools use a slightly smaller ball). If the game is based on international FIBA regulations, the basketball is slightly bigger at 30.7 inches in circumference.
Women’s basketballs are smaller than men’s in circumference to accommodate for women’s physically smaller hands. This size is based on the WNBA standard 28.5-inch basketball. FIBA’s women’s basketballs measure around 29 inches in circumference.
If you’re looking for a basketball for a child of any age, you’ll likely want to get a smaller ball instead of a regulation-size one. In general, boys between the ages of 12 and 14 and girls over the age of 12 use the standard women’s size basketball while boy and girls between 9 and 11 years old are better off using a basketball measuring around 27.5 inches. This is the most common size for youth basketball.
Younger players 8 years old and younger should use a basketball that measures anywhere from 22 inches to 24.5 inches depending on the child’s size measured from the bottom of their palm to the tip of their middle finger.
Mini basketballs are small balls usually used for promotional souvenirs or as toys for young children. They tend to be around 4 inches in circumference but really anything that is under the size of a recreational youth basketball is considered a mini basketball.
Best Basketball Brands
If you’ve already started looking at basketballs in the store or online, you’ve probably already noticed that there are a number of different popular brands that make basketballs. As with anything, some are better than others but sometimes it comes down to personal preference to determine which brand is really the superior one. Here are some of the best basketball brands on the market and information on them.
This is one of the most popular brands of basketballs. It’s also the first company to actually make a basketball for wide-spread, official use. Spalding was founded by AG Spalding who developed the first basketball in the 19th century in the US with game creator James Naismith. Decades later in 1983, Spalding became the official ball of the NBA and later on the WNBA and the NBA’s developmental league.
Spalding also makes basketballs for commercial sales and is one of the most trusted companies. They make both indoor and outdoor balls in a number of sizes to suit all players.
A Japanese sports equipment company, Molten is another exceptional brand that is currently the official ball for FIBA as well as a number of domestic leagues throughout South America, Europe, and Asia.
Molten also makes basketballs for commercial sale and recreational play. Their basketballs are more unique featuring a 12-panel exterior instead of the standard 8 panels used on most balls. This makes it hard for some people to get used to the feel of the ball when they first use it.
In the US, Wilson Sporting Goods is one of the top sports equipment companies along with Spalding when it comes to basketball manufacturing. They’re the official supplier of the NCAA postseason including the Division I tournaments with most colleges opting to use them in regular games as well. Due to their use in college sports, most high school leagues tend to use Wilson basketballs too.
Like other companies, Wilson also makes a number of basketballs for commercial sale and recreational use. They have different models made for indoor and outdoor use. They also make different size basketballs and use different materials for different purposes.
Another popular sports equipment company is Rawlings. They’ve been making basketballs for commercial sale since 1902. They make the typical 8-panel balls but also have a unique 10-panel basketball they aptly named the TEN. The TEN is the official game ball of the biggest 3-on-3 tournament in the US known as the “Gus Macker” as well as for the Amateur Athletic Union.
A basketball that doesn’t get as much recognition as the others but is still a great company is Baden. They are a family-owned sporting goods company founded in 1979. While they aren’t the official supplier for any known leagues or competitions, they do make quality basketballs for commercial sale and recreational use.
Spalding vs Wilson
When you look at all of the popular companies currently manufacturing basketballs, the top two companies are Spalding and Wilson. This could be for the simple fact that they’re the older companies of the bunch and are trusted by the top leagues in the world but, frankly, their quality speaks for itself. When choosing which of the two is better, it usually comes down to personal preferences.
Some basketball players claim that Spalding’s basketballs take too long to break in while Wilson’s basketballs are ready to be used immediately out of the box. This is most likely because of the leather Spalding uses. Harder leather needs to be broken in while softer leather has more give and grips better. When discussing indoor basketballs, Spalding may have a slight advantage as Wilson is known more for their street basketballs among serious players.
It’s normal to have questions and concerns when you’re seriously looking to find the best indoor basketballs for yourself or someone you love. While all of these inquiries can’t be predicted, there are some that come up consistently. To help clear up some of these, the most frequently asked questions regarding indoor basketballs have been compiled here.
What is the best indoor basketball?
In general, this is a subjective question that really comes down to personal preferences and individual needs. It’s best to look for good overall quality and craftsmanship when choosing a basketball.
For the best experience, look for a ball made of composite or synthetic leather instead of genuine leather or rubber. Genuine leather is expensive and rubber can be too hard to use comfortably on indoor surfaces. Composite leather may feel a little slippery out of the box and may need to be broken in through consistent use, but once they are they offer a good grip for controlled ball handling.
Can I use indoor basketballs outside?
You should never use an indoor basketball outside unless it’s labeled as an indoor/outdoor ball. The hard surface of outdoor courts will quickly scuff and tear up the softer exterior of an indoor basketball.
What is a real leather basketball?
Genuine leather basketballs are those that use natural leather as the exterior. Most professional basketballs are made of this more expensive material. It’s softer than composite leather and more delicate making it almost exclusively used indoors. They feel a lot stiffer than composite/synthetic leather and must be broken in.
How do I clean an indoor basketball?
Cleaning your basketball depends on the type of ball you have as different materials will require different levels of care. It will also depend on how dirty the ball is.
A genuine leather basketball needs to be cleaned with special leather cleaner as normal soaps will remove the natural oils from the leather and ruin the ball. These should be used by following the cleaner’s directions. It usually entails using a small amount on a soft cloth to wipe away dirt and grime. Leave the ball to dry in a ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
Composite leather and rubber are a little easier to clean as you can use mild soap and water to clean off dirt. Start by wiping the ball with a damp cloth then wipe it again using a small amount of soap on the cloth. Give it a final wipe down with a damp cloth (no soap) to rinse away the dirt and remaining soap then pat it dry or let it air dry away from direct sunlight. If there are tougher stains, repeat the process but don’t use too much soap.
No matter what type of basketball you have, never submerge it in water or use a heating tool like a blow dryer to dry it.
How often should I buy a new basketball?
While indoor basketballs aren’t as durable as outdoor basketballs, they are still meant to last you a long time. You shouldn’t have to replace it until you notice that it is no longer retaining air as well as it once did. If you see that you have to constantly re-inflate it or you notice some exterior damage that is affecting the function, it’s time to replace your basketball.
How much do indoor basketballs cost?
The price of an indoor basketball can vary based on the manufacturing company, the store that’s selling it, and the model design. In general, a good indoor basketball can cost you anywhere from $20 to $80. The higher end of that range is usually for genuine leather basketballs which are the more expensive options.
What is the most expensive basketball?
Genuine leather basketballs are the most expensive options on the market and can cost you up to $100.
Look for an indoor basketball that functions well while also fitting your personal preferences and individual needs. You want your basketball to bounce well on an indoor surface and feel comfortable in your hands. Also, make sure that it is the proper size and that it is affordable within your budget. By comparing products’ features while also keeping your own needs in mind, you should have no problem finding the best indoor basketball available.