Believe it or not, all basketballs are not created equally. Not only are there different basketballs made for indoor and outdoor play, but there are also differences between the balls that make up each category. If you’re looking to buy a new outdoor basketball, you have a lot to choose from. While it’s nice to have options, too many choices can make shopping complicated and frustrating. To help you in your efforts, some of the best outdoor basketballs have been compiled and reviewed. Check them out before making a final purchase decision.
Top 9 Outdoor Basketball Reviews
Here are some of the best outdoor basketballs available on the market. Each has its own features, benefits, and drawbacks giving you the opportunity to find something that will fit your needs and preferences.
Spalding NBA Street Basketball
Made by one of the oldest sports equipment companies, this outdoor basketball is one of the best ones for playing on hard surfaces like concrete courts. It’s made of rubber instead of leather or composite leather making it more durable than other models. It’s known for being able to withstand frequent use on hard surfaces without showing significant signs of wear.
More so, the wide channels on the exterior of the ball allow for better grip. This helps improve your shot percentage, especially for three-point shots. It’s also quite affordable (under $20) and available in a variety of sizes for all levels of play.
While this ball is quite popular, there are pros and cons that should be analyzed before you buy anything.
- Made by the official supplier of the NBA
- Quality materials used ensuring a long lifespan
- Improved grip can help with ball control and handling
- Rubber exterior feels tackier than the typical leather/composite leather
- Complaints about the ball losing its air too quickly
- Shipping problems including products arriving deflated
Spalding NBA Street Basketball – Pink & Purple – Intermediate Size 6 (28.5″)
If you’re looking for a basketball for a woman, it’s best to get the 28.5-inch size since that is the regulation size for the WNBA. This is the same model as the standard Spalding NBA Street basketball with the only difference being the color (this one is pink and purple) and the smaller size (the standard size is an inch larger in circumference).
It is made of rubber instead of leather making it ideal for outdoor use. The rubber is more durable than other materials so you can use it frequently on hard surfaces like asphalt without worrying about it deteriorating because of the rough terrain. It’s affordable but since it’s made by Spalding, the quality craftsmanship is still there.
Weigh the pros and cons to help you decide if this ball is right for you.
- Size helps you get used to regulation WNBA balls
- Strong durability ideal for rough outdoor courts
- Made by a trusted brand yet still affordable
- Ball needs to be re-inflated frequently for best use
- Shipping problems including damaged products
- Rubber exterior gets dirty faster than other materials
Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball
Another option from Spalding is their NBA Varsity model. This specific one is regulation NBA size and specifically made for outdoor play. It comes fully inflated but if it deflates slightly during shipping, make sure that you inflate it to the recommended 8 PSI inflation.
With its rubber exterior, this basketball offers a strong grip ideal for better ball control while the wide range of color options allows you to get something that fits your personal style. Like any other rubber Spalding model, this will withstand outdoor use easily so you won’t have to worry about it wearing out quickly.
According to user reviews, there are some pros and cons worth taking into consideration.
- Better grip helps improve shooting percentages
- High-quality product yet quite affordable
- Stays inflated even after frequent use
- Some basketballs were delivered flat
- Pinhole dislodged from some balls rendering them useless
- Panel walls showed significant signs of wear quickly
Spalding NBA Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball (Size 7/29.5″)
If you’re looking for a regulation NBA-size basketball that is strong enough to use on hard outdoor courts, the Spalding Street Phantom is a good option. It’s specifically made for playing on rougher surfaces like concrete.
Its rubber exterior won’t tear or fray after hitting the asphalt and will also provide you with a better grip when compared to other materials. Specifically, this ball is made with Soft Grip Technology so you can get a better handle on the basketball to improve your shot percentage and help you maintain control while dribbling.
When comparing this product to others, consider the pros and cons.
- Shipped fully inflated, ready to play
- Made by a trusted company
- Best value for the price
- Dark color hard to see at night and feels too hot in summer
- Some balls were delivered completely or partially deflated
- Users reported having to re-inflate the ball frequently
Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball
While some basketballs are designated specifically for indoor or outdoor use, there are some that can be used in both instances. This replica ball by Spalding is one of those. Unlike outdoor balls, this one is made of a composite material instead of rubber. This is a strong material that will withstand use while also feeling slightly softer to the touch.
This ball is a standard NBA size (size 7) which is ideal to practice with as younger players can get used to the larger professional size. Since it’s made by Spalding, the official supplier of the NBA, you can be sure that you’ll receive a quality product at an affordable price.
According to people who’ve purchased this basketball, there are some benefits and downsides to the ball.
- Ships game-ready, fully inflated
- Composite material is durable yet soft
- Can be used on all types of courts
- Rubber valve dislodged from some balls
- Consistent defects including unevenly cut panels
- Seams show signs of wear quickly
Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball – Official Size 7 (29.5″)
This specific model from Spalding is much different than their other outdoor basketballs. It has the same quality craftsmanship but is made to feel more like a professional indoor ball. This combination of outdoor durability with a comfortable indoor feel is what makes the Zi/O different than all of the rest.
It’s made of composite leather instead of rubber but still has pebbling across the whole exterior to give it a similar tacky grip that rubber balls are known for. While composite leather isn’t known for being as durable as rubber for outdoor use, this specific ball has a foam-lined interior that makes it more durable than other balls made of the same material. That foam lining also helps improve the ball’s grip.
According to reviews, the pros seem to outweigh the cons in terms of importance.
- Doesn’t feel as hard as other outdoor balls
- Affordable price for the quality offered
- NBA logo prominently displayed on exterior
- Available in size 7 only
- Not as long-lasting as rubber balls
- Required frequent inflation
Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball
While this brand isn’t as popular as some of the other sports equipment brands, the Mikasa BX1000 is worth looking at when looking to buy a new basketball. It’s available in multiple sizes and features a nylon core that helps improve durability while also providing a more consistent bounce.
The exterior is made of quality rubber with a significant pebble design to help improve your grip and give you more control on the court. The hard rubber is ideal for outdoor use as it can withstand the rougher terrains and constant exposure to the elements.
According to user reviews, the Mikasa BX1000 has notable pros and cons.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Available in different sizes
- Good for young players
- Seams not perfectly straight on some
- Quality control issues including crooked graphics
- Rubber exterior is harder to the touch than leather
Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball
While Spalding is the official supplier of the NBA, Wilson is the official supplier of the NCAA Championships including the famed March Madness tournament. It’s one of the most trusted brands of sports equipment constantly creating quality products that withstand the test of time.
This specific basketball features laid-in channels for excellent grip and ball handling as well as a consistent bounce through Cushion Core Technology. The basketball is quite durable making great for outdoor use as well as indoor play. Since this is essentially the same basketball that is trusted by the NCAA, you can be sure that it’ll get the job done for you, too.
There are some pros and cons worth mentioning while discussing this ball.
- Great for recreational play
- Shoots as easy as a leather ball
- Harder than other indoor/outdoor basketballs
- Takes longer than usual to break in
- Shows wear and tear quicker than others
Molten X-Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball, FIBA Approved – BGMX
This basketball has an unusual 12-panel look with a consistent pebbled exterior to help with your grip and control. Your hands won’t slip as easily with this ball thanks to that unique design so you’ll never have to worry about being sloppy on the court.
It’s available in three different sizes making it easy to find the right product for your needs. It’s also quite durable making it useful for both indoor and outdoor play. A Butyl bladder inside of the ball helps it stay inflated for longer periods of time while also providing a consistent and strong bounce.
While comparing this to other balls, consider the pros and cons.
- Lower rate of deflation
- FIBA approved
- Comes with 1-year warranty
- More expensive than similar products
- Additional panels can feel awkward for some
- Ball ships deflated and isn’t game-ready
Type of Outdoor Basketballs
When you search for outdoor basketballs you might notice that they aren’t all the same. They can be made of different materials and have different exterior designs that make some better than others. There are also different types of basketballs made for different situations. Choosing the best basketball for your specific needs is important and understanding the different types of balls can help you do this.
It’s rare to find an outdoor basketball made of genuine leather, but there are some out there. Usually, outdoor basketballs with a leather exterior are made of synthetic leather instead of genuine leather. In both of these instances, these basketballs are a bit stiff when new and need to be broken in through consistent use. In general, you should avoid leather balls for outdoor use as the rough, hard surfaces can tear up the material rather easily. More so, these tend to be more expensive so using them outdoors can cause you to have to spend more money to replace a worn out ball soon after purchasing it.
Composite Leather Basketballs
Genuine leather fell out of favor for a number of reasons. This made sports equipment companies look for alternatives including composite leather. This is an artificial material that looks and feels like leather but it more affordable to make and sell. It has a consistent feel across the entire ball so it doesn’t need to be broken in like genuine leather balls. This helps with ball handling and leads to better control and a more consistent game.
Due to its use and affordability, it’s a common material that is used for commercial basketballs as well as professional ones. Since they’re more durable than genuine leather balls it can be used outdoors as well as indoors without as much concern about wear and tear.
This is a harder material than the other two but it’s also more durable. When discussing outdoor basketballs, rubber is considered the best for withstanding the elements including the hard, rough outdoor courts. The exterior also feels tackier than leather which helps with your grip as your hands won’t slip as easily as they might with other balls. They’re also comparatively cheaper than other basketballs making them ideal for beginners who don’t want to spend a lot of money on their new equipment.
The only concern that consistently comes up when discussing rubber basketballs is how hard they are. They can feel rough and stiff in your hands when compared to the softer leather balls. If you’re used to that, a rubber ball might feel foreign and uncomfortable to you. This can lead to ball control issues and potentially affect your shooting percentage negatively. However, this issue can be easily handled with consistent practice.
Some basketballs are designated as match basketballs or game basketballs. These are the balls that are ready to be used in a recreational game. They’re a standard size and weight depending on what kind of game is being played. Their materials can vary by brand.
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.
These basketballs aren’t regulation sizes. They’re made to help players practice so that they’re ready to use match basketballs. They tend to be bigger so when the player transitions to a normal basketball they’ll be able to handle it easier since they’re used to the bigger training basketball.
The most common training basketball is an oversized ball sometimes referred to as the Big Ball. It’s larger in circumference and heavier than a normal match ball in order to help with ball control as well as arm strength. Usually, training balls like this are 33 inches—12 percent bigger than the normal basketballs. This increase in size forces a player learn to be more precise since they’re shooting a larger ball at the same size basketball hoop.
These are a specific type of training basketball that is meant to improve your shooting range as well as ball handling. It helps strengthen your arms, wrists, and fingers so you can grip a normal ball better during a game. These can be found in different sizes but the most common weights are 3 and 6 pounds.
It’s impossible to anticipate all of your questions and concerns regarding outdoor basketballs, but there are some inquiries that come up consistently. To help clear up any issues, some of these frequently asked questions have been answered here.
What is the best street basketball?
The best street basketball will be durable, bounce well, and offer a good grip. Think about your own needs and look for an outdoor basketball that will withstand how much you play. For example, if you play multiple times a week, you need a durable basketball that won’t deteriorate with frequent use. However, if you only play a few times a month, you may be able to get away with a ball that is less durable and maybe more affordable.
Which size outdoor basketball should I buy?
The size you buy depends on what kind of basketball you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a standard NBA-size basketball, you want a size 7 ball that measures 29.5 inches. This is the ideal size for adult players or those teenaged players who are looking to get used to a regulation-size ball.
If you’re looking for a women’s basketball, the 28.5-inch size 6 basketball is the right choice. This is the regulation size for the WNBA. There is no difference between this and the standard-size basketball other than the one-inch size difference.
Finally, youth basketballs made for children playing the game measure 27.5 inches and are usually labeled size 5. They’re ideal for young players learning the fundamentals of ball control including passing and dribbling. The smaller size is easier for them to control and lighter for them to shoot. If you’re looking to develop the right skills early on, this size is the perfect one for you.
What are the best indoor/outdoor basketballs?
When looking for an indoor/outdoor basketball, you want something that is soft enough for indoor use but still durable enough to handle the hard outdoor courts. Composite leather basketballs are usually the best compromise between these two qualities. They’re more durable than leather balls but softer and more manageable than rubber ones.
Which is the best basketball for concrete?
Rubber basketballs are always recommended for consistent outdoor play. It’s more durable than other materials so it won’t get torn up from consistently hitting rough concrete. More so, it bounces easier than leather balls on hard surfaces so ball control is easier when you’re moving up and down the court. Finally, rubber exteriors offer a better grip since it feels tacky to the touch.
How can I determine an outdoor basketball’s durability?
When you’re comparing products for durability, check the exterior of the ball to ensure its quality. It should be hard enough to withstand hitting hard, rough surfaces without scuffing or ripping. It should also have complete, consistent seams and retain air over a long period of time. If you notice any exterior inconsistencies like uneven seams, the ball might not be durable enough to withstand consistent use.
Should I opt for cheap outdoor basketballs?
Outdoor basketballs are put through a lot of abuse due to their constant exposure to the elements. While most will pass the test of time, if you buy a low-quality cheap basketball, it’s likely to deteriorate quicker than more expensive, quality models. That being said, if you don’t play often you can get away with a cheaper basketball since it won’t see as much use as it would with someone who plays multiple games a week.
Can an outdoor basketball be used indoors?
In most cases, you should be able to use an outdoor basketball indoors with no issues. However, this depends on the ball in question. For example, rubber balls might bounce harder indoors than they do outdoors and if you’re not used to that it can negatively affect your ball control. If you’re prepared for that, you won’t have to worry about anything. Note, that indoor basketballs should NOT be used outdoors as they will scuff or tear from the rough surfaces of outdoor courts.
How should I clean my outdoor basketball?
If you have a composite leather basketball, you can simply use a mild soap and water to scrub the grime off of your ball. Don’t submerge it in water or any other liquid. Instead, take a damp cloth with soap on it and wipe the exterior with a little pressure. If there are ingrained stains, try a leather cleaning solution. Leave your basketball to air dry in a ventilated area taking care to keep it out of direct sunlight.
The same washing and drying techniques can be used for rubber basketballs but you’ll need to exert a little more force since the pebbled surfaces of rubber balls make them harder to clean. You can scrub with a little more pressure and can use a more abrasive sponge instead of a damp cloth. For caked on grime you can use a soft brush like a nail brush to lift the dirt.
No matter what type of basketball you have, be sure to stay away from harsh soaps or detergents and never submerge it in liquid. When drying your basketball, never use heating elements like a hair dryer or similar tool to speed up the process; air dry it every time instead.
In order to find the best outdoor basketball, look for one that provides consistent performance while being durable enough to withstand harsh play and frequent use. Consider how the ball bounces, how it feels in your hands, how it handles on the court, and how it withstands the test of time. Finally, take your personal needs and preferences in mind including the price and how it ships. By comparing the features of the available basketballs while also keeping your own needs in mind, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and find the best outdoor basketball on the market.