Best Indoor & Outdoor Basketballs Reviewed

I would like to start with a little information about me and how this best basketballs guide was born. I love playing basketball and I ran in to situation that I was selected by folks to get a new ball for us, so I started looking for information which one is the best from all the basketballs available on the market today. Most of the time we play indoor due to weather conditions in our region. I and my buddies where ready to pay some extra bucks for quality but of course as I did a research I tried to find the best ball that would be the greatest value for money.

During my search for the solution I came to conclusion that there is no place online where all information about balls would be in one place. That is how the idea to create a guide for those who are looking for the best ball for the basketball game. I hope this information will help you to make a decision which ball you want to buy that will bring much more entertainment to the game with your friends. In many cases new ball is a great gift for people who love this game so my best basketball balls guide is here to help everyone to get the best value for money.

Best Indoor Basketball Choices

For those who are looking for a dedicated ball to play indoor game, here is the list of best picks. As you probably already know the main difference of playing indoor vs outdoor is surface which is much soften on the indoor courts. This is the reason manufacturers choose softer materials that provide better grip comparing to outdoor balls. As materials are different and of course much better quality also means they are way higher priced. Best indoor basketballs are made just for indoor use only and I would never use it outside as playing with it on hard surface outside will damage the ball pretty quickly and it loses all the qualities including grip and bounce if you play outside. However, most of the indoor basketballs are made from major materials – composite or synthetic leather and some brands like Bade still use genuine leather for their balls. On a deciding final game or just a simple indoor tournament will not be ran without an excellent ball that will let all the players to show their best skills on the court. Want to know which ones are best for indoor game and purchase it right away? My top picks for indoor use only:

Picture Name & Key Features Rating(1-5)
Wilson Evolution

Wilson Evolution

  • Microfiber Composite Leather Cover
  • Available sizes: 5, 6, 7.
  • Comes inflated
  • Game ready right out of the box
  • Laid-in channels
  • Nice grip & soft feel
  • Great value for money, full review...

4.9

Spalding Official NBA Game Ball

Official NBA Game Ball

  • Genuine Horween leather cover
  • Official size and weight
  • Debossed graphics
  • Comes inflated
  • Break in period is necessary for best performance
  • By touching the ball you can feel the quality
  • Best grip & perfect bounce characteristics
  • The only thing that is a little concerning is price tag, full review...

4.8

Baden Elite

Baden Elite

  • Patented Cushion Control Technology
  • Available sizes: 6, 7.
  • Excellent grip, a real shooters ball with soft touch
  • Advanced microfiber cover
  • Heaven for dribblers and shooters
  • Strictly indoor use only
  • Comes inflated, full review...

4.7

Spalding TF-1000 Classic

Spalding TF-1000 Classic

  • Exclusive ZK microfiber composite cover
  • Available sizes: 6, 7.
  • Maximum structural integrity by 100% nylon windings
  • Comes inflated
  • Approved by NFHS
  • Wide channel design
  • Classic simply never dies, full review...

4.2

molten gg7x

Molten X-Series GG7X

  • Premium Composite Leather Cover
  • Available sizes: 6, 7.
  • Butyl Bladder
  • Comes deflated
  • Extra channels
  • Excellent grip
  • Break in period needed for best performance, full review...

4.1

Best Outdoor Basketball Choices

Outdoor courts are known for rough surfaces that can wear the genuine leather ball very fast. For this reason synthetic leather, also known as composite, is used for premium outdoor basketballs which are also covered with rubber protection and 100% rubber surface for cheaper options. This condition is the most important if you have concerns about durability of your ball. Modern ball manufacturers solved this problem very nicely by releasing great outdoor balls with amazing durability characteristics and of course similar bounce and grip capabilities that indoor balls have. If you need the best ball to play outside and on various hard-courts then these are my top picks:

Picture Name & Key Features Rating(1-5)
Spalding-NBA-Street-Basketball

Spalding NBA Street

  • Ultra durable with performance rubber cover
  • Available sizes: 5, 6, 7.
  • Designed for rough street game
  • Excellent grip by wide channel design
  • With NBA logo
  • Nice bounce on various types of hard-courts
  • Reasonably priced, full review...

4.5

Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

Under Armour 495

  • UA Gripskin composite
  • Available sizes: 5, 6, 7.
  • 80% windings from nylon for shape retention
  • Deep channel design & full ball pebbling
  • Maximum air retention by 100% butyl bladder
  • Optimal grip and great feel, full review...

4.3

Spalding Never Flat

Spalding Never Flat

  • Durable rubber cover
  • Available sizes: 6, 7.
  • Designed for outdoor game
  • NitroFlate air technology
  • Exclusive membrane technology with improved pressure retention
  • New design valve with cap to eliminate leaks and protect from dirt
  • PU coated composite leather construction, full review...

4.0

Top Basketball Manufacturers

  • official spalding nba basketballSpalding – is known as the most popular brand in basketball and their rich history just proves that they are probably the best. Spalding is the first company who made a dedicated basketball in the early years this game was presented to the public and was supported by the founder of basketball James Naismith. Since then they are producing game balls to leagues of the world including NBA since 1983. Today Spalding is leader of official league balls supporting NBA, Euroleague and other major basketball leagues. See list of the best Spalding balls…
  • Molten basketballMolten – these basketballs are getting technology from Japan as Molten is famous sporting goods brand in the world and origns are in Japan, this brand is also popular among millions of players and fans in the world and approved by FIBA as official game ball in all competitions organized by them. A lot of national basketball federations has a contract with Molten as a supplier of professional game balls. These facts are screaming about the quality of Molten. Wide selection different type basketballs makes them a great choice for every taste.
  • Wilson SolutionWilson – well recognized brand in the world producing wide range of different type basketballs. Wilson is official ball of NCAA and most FIBA organized 3×3 competitions. Basketballs produced by them are for wide consumer market and are made from all kinds of materials from genuine leather used by professionals to rubber for cheap basketballs for the kids. Best is Wilson Evolution series which is used among professionals all over the world. Wilson is FIBA approved and they are about to become official ball in the near future.
  • Nike EliteNike – you should already know this brand for sporting goods they are manufacturing, loud contracts with first class basketball players and speaking about balls – Nike is the major supplier for professional competitions and there is a plenty of great choices of balls for professionals and amateurs. Couple years ago Nike was official game ball of Euroleague and Eurocup, today Euroleagues official ball is Spalding again, this just proves that quality of their goods is outstanding. Countless number of positive reviews speaks loud.
  • Baden EliteBaden – known brand for their Cushion Control Technology and for developing the first womens sized basketball. Baden is among leaders in every sport they are touching with their goods and are recognized as one of the fastest growing ball manufacturer in the world. Many people who play basketball prefer their balls for quality and excellent performance.

Sizes

major basketball sizes

  • Size 7 29.5” – this is the most common and official ball size for College, NBA and other professional basketball leagues and international tournaments including Olympics. Boys from 15 years old start using this ball for game.
  • Size 6 28.5” – this size is official for women’s professional basketball including high school, college and other leagues around the world. This ball is also used by boys aged 12-15 and girls of 12 and up. This size is also official 3×3 game ball in FIBA supported games and other professional events.
  • Size 5 27.5” – standard ball for youth game, used by boys and girls from age 12 and up.
  • Size 4 25.5” – ball for children aged from 5-8 years old.
  • Size 3 22” – small ball also known as “mini” basketball used by both – boys and girls in 4-8 age range.

Of course as size is different so is weight and it makes big difference when dribbling, passing and shooting the ball. Kids should not play with men size ball because by doing that they will develop bad habits of shooting as they can’t make a shoot properly because of weight, they compensate it by using their body more like shoulders and even using both hands in full, this is doing more harm than good. So all boys and girls should use the proper ball size by their age.

Materials

Most of the basketballs has a rubber bladder inside and they are wrapped using layers of fiber and covered with one of the following surfaces:

  • Genuine leather – this material is pricey but balls covered with genuine leather last longer and of course feels much better, but basketballs needs to be broken in before you get to feel full pleasure of the game using such balls. They are for indoor games ONLY. Brand new they look cheap but after a few games the ball is getting better and better.
  • Synthetic leather/Composite – an artificial material that is just like natural leather, I mean it feels like it but is cheaper to produce and the main benefit of basketballs covered with synthetic leather is that they can be used indoors and outdoors if mixed with with proper materials that can take harder surfaces, another great plus is that these doesn’t need to be broken in and even brand new balls have a soft feeling of touching it and a good grip.
  • Rubber – this material is cheap and so are balls covered with rubber. Most people buy rubber covered basketballs for their kids to play outdoor as they are very cheap comparing to other material balls.

Professional basketball players use genuine leather balls but there is one nuance with them, they need to be broken in before you can feel the benefits of such basketball. Also they are way more expensive than composite ones. Before professional matches in the world they go through 90-day break in process where they are passed and bounced for hours to reach the condition of best grip and characteristics. The leather eventually is broken in and during this period the ball becomes softer and ready for big match. Major brands who manufacture them are Spalding, Molten and Baden. So don’t expect them to be nice at the beginning and know that they need to be broken in, however if you want to use them right away you should go with composite leather pick. Best basketballs should come pre-inflated and should never have been deflated again as this could lead to creasing the surface and cause damage to the ball.