The bounce, feel, and the smell of a great outdoor basketball can actually evoke the dreams of triumphant slam dunks, graceful layouts, and extraordinary free throws.
You know, I know, we all know that playing the hoops game outdoors is entirely different from playing it indoors.
The outdoors surfaces are usually tougher (imagine the streets, driveways or paved courts) and the overall environment significantly differs from the indoors. There are certain elements you simply can’t control (including moisture and temperature).
The market offers you hundreds (if not thousands) of outdoor basketballs to choose from. This can make your selection process a bit difficult.
Our primary goal is to make all your outdoor games enjoyable and memorable.
To make this happen, we’ve arranged a list of the TEN top-quality outdoor basketballs that will give you an exceptional outdoor experience plus a comprehensive shopping guide to help you pick the right outdoor basketball based on your needs.
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The outdoor basketballs are available in three main sizes namely five, six and seven. The suitable size for you heavily depends on the age and gender of the intended player.
The size 5 outdoor basketballs are designed for players up to age 11. They measure around 27½ in circumference and weigh approximately 18 ounces.
The size 6 balls are ideal for players in the 12-15 years age bracket. They come with the size recommend for women basketball players. They have a circumference of around 28½ and weigh 20 ounces.
The size 7 outdoor basketballs are designed for all the male players who are above 16 years of age. They come with a circumference of roughly 29½ inches and weighs 22 ounces only.
Mind you; this is the official size used by NBA.Always make sure you select the right ball size for the right player. If you are buying an outdoor basketball for younger players with smaller hands, going for the smaller balls will help them develop the game’s skills faster.
Different outdoor basketballs are constructed from different materials namely rubber, leather, and composite.
So, which is the ideal material for the best outdoor basketball?
Let’s take a quick look at each of these materials:
Genuine leather outdoor basketballs aren’t common today as they were some years ago. As a matter of fact, only Spalding mass produced genuine leather basketballs today (this is the official basketball for NBA leagues).
Balls of this nature need to broken in (when you first buy them) through regular play. At first, they might feel slick and difficult to control.
But if you’re patient enough and willing to work the leather ball in overtime, there’s no better cover material. It will feel nicely cushioned and will last for years.
Most of the outdoor basketballs on the market today are constructed from composite leather. This is a cheaper, more versatile material compared to the genuine leather. Balls bearing this cover material don’t need to be broken in and come ready for use right out of the box.
Though this material is usually used to design the high-end indoor basketballs, it is also used to create the moderately priced indoor/outdoor basketballs. The composite leather indoor/outdoor basketballs are however designed such that they can easily withstand the tear and wear that might occur in the courts.
Rubber is the cheapest material used to construct outdoor basketballs today. The material is highly durable on the tough outdoor surfaces. One major drawback of leather basketball is that they often feel hard and have a weak grip.
Because of this, we highly recommend you to consider buying the outdoor rubber basketballs for kids who are just starting to learn the game or for a home with a hoop over the gravel driveway.
Various basketball manufacturers offer different outdoor basketball models- with varying material and design blends. I highly recommend you to consider buying from the reputable brand to ensure you get a high-quality ball for your cash.
Brands famed for producing top-rated basketballs include Spalding, Molten, Wilson, Under Armor, Rawlings, and Nike.
You’ll never go wrong with these brands.
If you plan to buy a ball for an organized basketball league, it’s important to note that these leagues have strict specifications for the basketballs to be used. These specifications vary from one league to another in terms of weight, circumference, material, color, inflation pressure, bounce, etc.
The official NBA ball must be a size 7, orange in color, 29 ½” in circumference, and weighing 22 ounces.
The official WNBA ball must be a size 6, white and orange in color, 28 ½” in circumference, and weighing 20 ounces.
The official FIBA basketball must be size 7, made from synthetic or genuine leather, and no specific color required.
The official NCAA basketball for men’s competition must be a size 7, bounces between 49” and 54.” For women’s game, it must be a size 6, and bounce between 51” and 56.”
Make sure you have the basketball specifications for the league you want to buy the ball for.
The pebbles or bumps found on the surface of outdoor basketballs can make a difference in the quality of the grip they offer you. The grip is basically the measure of how easy the ball is to hold or clutch. A good grip enables you to control your ball during play. However, too much grip can make the ball lose its feel.
When you include all the features and material quality that comes with your ball, does it equal a good bang for your buck?
Some outdoor basketball out there will cost you a premium price, yet they have nothing special to offer. While the high-performing basketballs might be a steal. Overall, the primary factor that dictates the basketball price is the cover material.
Genuine leather outdoor basketballs are the most expensive (price revolves around $140). Composite leather all-surface models cost around $20-$50. Rubber models are the cheapest, with their price ranging from $10-$15.
Let’s now turn to our list of great basketball for you Outdoor game…
The Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball is also among our top outdoor basketball picks because it comes with multiple features that will benefit even the most advanced basketball players.
The ball meets ALL the NBA stringent specifications (keep in mind that Spalding is the official brand for the professional NBA and WNBA games).
The ball is covered with pebbling plus unique design inkling foam backing to offer you a softer, tackier feel. This not only enhances the ball’s grip, but it also makes it feel extremely comfortable in your hands.
It gives you a miraculous grip on any outdoor surface! Here are the Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball exact dimensions… It measures 29½ inches in circumference (equivalent to size 7) and weighs 22 ounces.
This is enough evidence that the ball meets all the NBA guidelines regarding size and weight. Because this ball has a Zi/O composite leather cover, it gives you the look and feel of the official NBA basketball.
The ball is incredibly durable and capable of maintaining an excellent grip and bounce under regular use on the rough outdoor surfaces. It is shipped in pre-inflated form, meaning it arrives at your doorstep game-ready right out of the box (with no pumping needed).
Feel free to take it to your indoor gym or black top as soon as you get it and get the first experience. The ball’s exterior features the traditional orange color, deep black channels and the words NBA printed on it in black lettering. This gives the ball a truly professional look which echo the manufacturing process and quality.
The ball can be played on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It meets all the NBA size and weight specifications. Besides, it has a professional look that will make you proud when playing it. The Zi/O composite leather cover makes it a long-term indoor/outdoor basketball.
The ball offers you an excellent grip- attributed to the foam backing design- which enables you to control and handle the ball easily. It comes fully inflated and game ready. It maintains its bounce and grip, even with daily indoor/outdoor use. Durability and quality are what you get from this ball in exchange for your cash.
The NBA Street Basketball is another great outdoor basketball from Spalding that allows you to enjoy a pack of impressive features- all at a low price.
Grip, balance, and durability get a new meaning in this particular ball. And the placement of NBA logo on its surface makes it look even more stylish and professional.
The ball is constructed from the ultra-durable rubber cover. This not only ensures a high performance for the ball but also makes it capable of withstanding all the outdoor surfaces- from the concrete pavements, driveways, to name but a few- without cases of tear and wear.
In other words, this is the ball you’ll need if you plan to play the hoops game for years to come. The ball has deep channel design that offers you a pebbled feel when you grip the ball.
The better the grip is, the more you’ll enjoy your game (that is, you’ll have total control over the ball when it’s in your hands, and you’ll pass it to whoever you wish).
What’s more, the real grip advocates for the ever changing outdoor terrains, ensuring you get the ultimate gameplay experience regardless of the surface. The NBA logo means that this ball meets all the NBA official ball specifications.
That is, it is a size 7 and measures 29.5 inches in circumference. So, if you plan to one day feature in these professional leagues, there’s no better ball to start building your skills.
Overall, the ball has a great, great performance unlike most of the outdoor basketballs out there. It does not lose its grip and bounce easily. It’s incredibly easy to handle. It is surprisingly durable. Best part- its super-affordable compared to other outdoor basketballs.
Looking for a unique outdoor basketball that gives you optimal game experience, even in low street lighting? If yes, you’ll be interested in the Spalding NBA Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball.
The ball features a special, eye-grabbing glow (in dark neon color) which makes it stand out from all its rivals- particularly when used on streets with low lighting conditions.
In addition to that, the neon colors also vary in shades to pick from. The ball is a REAL Phantom, a warrior in the streets!
The unique outdoor basketball adheres to the official weight and size of the real NBA basketball (i.e., size 7 and a 29.5 inches circumference).
Meaning you’ll be getting the real NBA experience out there in the streets.
When it comes to the cover material and durability of this ball, things couldn’t get any better.
It features the durable rubber material that easily endures all the outdoor surfaces for longer- even under daily use.
Furthermore, the ball comes with soft grip technology which provides you with a better grip which translates to getting the ultimate confidence you need to play in any game.
The tackiness and enhanced grip get a new meaning in this ball, thanks to the wider channel design. This gives you n easy time handling and controlling the ball along the streets. Not forgetting that this excellent grip stays throughout the lifetime of the ball.
Spalding Street Phantom comes game-ready, right out of the box! It comes fully inflated which saves you the hassle of having to pump it when you first received it.
Instead, you can start playing it when you first receive it! With the soft grip technology, you’ll have an easy time controlling this ball. The glowing effects let you enjoy your game even in little street lightings.
The highly durable cover material extends the ball’s lifespan. Official NBA size and weight gives you a professional look and feel. And, of course, it comes with Spalding’s one year manufacturer’s warranty.
The Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is an all-time great outdoor basketball that you should always consider (especially if you intend it to be played by younger players). The ball has met all the NCAA specifications and requirements, which means it will offer you some serious playtime.
One of the most captivating features of this basketball is its ability to absorb moisture. As you know, your hand will always get wet from sweat whenever you’re playing basketball.
This can give you problems when you try to play the ball as it keeps slips out of your pals and gets out of control.
Fortunately, this ball has been designed such that it wicks all the moisture produced by your hands, facilitating a smooth play. The ball is constructed using composite leather as the cover material.
This material is well known for its durability, meaning it will give you the best value for your cash.
You need not worry about using the ball on the roughest of the outdoor surfaces. When selecting an outdoor basketball, you always want to know how it feels in your hands, right?
This ball offers you a tacky feel, thanks to the wider channel design. And this translates to another significant benefit of using this Wilson’s ball as it grants you total control over the ball. The ball rebounds pretty well in almost any outdoor surface.
If you are a beginner looking for the best outdoor basketball to start nurturing your basketball skill, this is your part.
Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball is a widely recognized ball that has helped all the beginners master the tricks of the hoops game.
Being an officially sized ball- meets all the NBA specifications- it gives you the experience of a real NBA player. And who knows? You might find yourself playing in this BIG league one day!
The affordably priced ball will serve you for years to come- even when under regular use on the tough streets- thanks to its ultimately durable design.
The ball features an incredibly durable rubber cover material. This explains why it can withstand regular play on the tough outdoor surfaces for many years without cases of tear and wear.
There’s no better outdoor basketball to help you learn how to dribble than the Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball.
And this is because of its expert handling characteristics which are attributed to the deep channel design. These lets you gain total control over your ball and move it around the court like a professional basketball player.
You would want a ball that is easy to grip ad barely gets out of your hands during the entire gameplay. This is what this ball is; it features a fine pebbling around the ball surface which enhances the ball’s grips.
This means you’ll be able to concentrate fully on the game.In summary, this ball is a great deal for any beginner out there.
It has been designed with the durable rubber cover to extend its lifespan. It is capable of withstanding the tough streets games for many years without wearing/tearing away.
It features the official NBA size and weight. It comes fully inflated and ready for use. Deep channels design facilitates expert ball handling. The fine pebbling all around the ball advocates for an excellent grip. On top of all, this is a reasonably priced ball for its enticing features.
Ideal for all the outdoor varsity events (as well as other outdoor basketball events), Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball is our top pick for varsity outdoor basketball. This is an official size and weight basketball, with the NBA logo which means that it meets all the NBA ball specifications and requirements.
Yes, you’ll feel like real NBA player when using this ball. About the design, the ball comes with green and blue finishes which make it stand out- and unique- especially when used in varsity events.
Something great about this ball is its availability in multiple color combinations such that you can choose one that matches your school/university colors.
The ball offers you a great grip, allowing you to focus more on your skills and not on the ball. The overall durability of this ball is superb.
And this is because it comes with a solid rubber cover that will give you hours of outdoor play, every day, for years and years to come. You’ll get a truly good feel of this ball when handling it.
Besides, it gives a smooth and consistent bounce mechanism. Again, this allows you and your teammates to put all your focus on the game.
The ball comes fully inflated which means you can start playing it as soon as you receive it! It comes with a wide channel distribution for easy handling and control. Overall, this is the ball you’ll need if you want to get a spectacular outdoor performance.
It gives you the terrific bounces that make you want to play the game all day long, every day! The excellent grip makes your game more enjoyable. The rubber cover ensures that you enjoy paying this for a longer period.
The unique color combinations are not only attention-grabbing but also enable you to customize your ball so that it looks different from that of your friends or to match your university colors.
If you are a hardcore basketball or if you participate in the professional based leagues, the Spalding NBA Zi/O Excel Basketball would prove to be the ideal ball for you.
This is mainly because this ball meets the size as well as the other set standard for these professional leagues. In fact, it is used in the NBA and WNBA official games.
There’s not a single doubt that this ball will offer you the best value for your money. Look at its highly durable design.
The ball features an exclusive Zi/O composite leather material cover, and this sets it apart from all its rivals.
As you all know, this material cover is extremely durable which mean the ball is perfect for long term use.
While the ball is quite tough on the outside, it is a pretty soft to offer you that tacky feel. Another magical feature of this ball is its foam-backed design.
The main benefit you’ll obtain from this model is a superior grip which ensures that your ball never slips out of your hands when you’re dribbling or keeping it away from other players.
Because the ball has a deep channel design, it guarantees you of better dribble control. It features full ball pebbling for the ultimate soft, tacky feel. It measures 29.5 and has the official NBA weight. It is ideal for both outdoor and indoor plays.
For all your outdoor basketball games, the Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball will never let you down. Available in the official size 7 as well as the intermediate size 6, this ball is sure to meet the needs of various levels of players. Because of its unparalleled quality, this basketball can withstand both the indoor and outdoor surfaces.
The official size 7 bears the NBA offal size and weight, making it the perfect ball for the hardcore basketball players as well as those who dream of participating in the professional league.
To proclaim its durability, this outdoor/indoor basketball uses a premium quality composite cover material.
This guarantees you a maximum performance of this ball (regarding grip, feel, and control), and it will last for a couple of years under regular use.
Surprisingly, this is the softest outdoor/indoor basketball composite leather basketball you’ll ever find on the market.
Despite this, it performs well on all outdoor surfaces. In fact, you won’t experience roughness when you play outdoors with this ball. It comes with an excellent grip that enables you to control the ball easily and focus more on your game.
The traditional, wide channel design enhances the ball’s grip. The Spalding Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball offers you outstanding value for your money.
The balls will do its best to offer you the performance of a real outdoor basketball. It gives you an excellent grip. It has consistent bounce characteristics for the ultimate performance. The composite leather cover increases the lifespan of the ball. The traditional channel designs will undoubtedly suit your preferences.
If durability is your primary concern in your search for a suitable outdoor basketball, then you can never go wrong with Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball. And this stems from the fact that this ball features a composite cover material constructed from the UA GripSkin Technology.
Besides durability, this technology ensures you have the best feel and grip in every game you play.
The ball also features a bladder designed from 100% butyl to ensure it retains air for longer unlike the low-quality outdoor basketballs out there.
The firm design of this ball translates to a ball that can easily stand up to any challenge thrown its way.
You’ll note that the shape retention in the ball is supported by the 80% nylon windings all around the ball.
These provide durability to the toughest of the games. The deep channel design takes the ball’s durability a notch higher- especially when you play the ball on streets or other outdoor surfaces.
With the full ball pebbling, you’ll have the best grip and feel in this ball. To make the gripping even better, the ball has just the right tackiness and well-designed ridges.
The Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball is just the right ball for you, offering great features at affordable prices.
Do note that this ball is designed for both indoor and outdoor plays. The tackified composite cover facilitates excellent feel and grip. Deep channel design ensures easier ball control. 80% nylon winds for shape retention. The 100% butyl bladder ensures maximum air retention. The durability of this ball is unmatched!
Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite Basketball is not just any other outdoor basketball from Wilson. It’s revolutionary basketball model that uses the cutting-edge technology to offer you some of the most advanced features you’ll have never seen before.
Triple Threat technology is one particular aspect of this basketball that cannot go unmentioned.
The technology is exclusive to Wilson and is capable of maximizing your playing performance regardless of your basketball experience (whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or basketball player).
The technology implies that this ball has three times more grooves compared to those found in the traditional models.
This translates to a greater surface area and enhanced leverage points. With this technology, shooting, dripping, passing, etc. becomes simpler than ever before.
Another unique feature that qualifies this ball to rank as the best outdoor basketball is the Cushion Core Technology. The patented feature combines a sturdy butyl rubber and low-density sponge rubber to give you an excellent ball in terms of durability, texture, and feel.
Talking of the grip, this ball gives you the best of the best. It features the Aqua Grip laid-in channels which replace the standard rubber to give you an enhanced grip that lets you control the ball fully.
The solid construction of this unique outdoor basketball echoes its durability and longevity. This is unlike the cheaper outdoor basketball that requires replacement after a short time of use.
Believe you me, even if you play this ball on harsh surfaces, it will remain in an excellent state for years to come.
So, now you have the best outdoor basketball that will help you master the sport. But how do you ensure it remains at its best at all times, and its performance is always at its peak?
How do you make sure it stays for long? By just taking care of your outdoor, you’ll get the best out of it and for many, many years.
If you use your ball on a regular basis, it’s advisable to keep it full of air and always store it indoors (at room temperatures). However, if you don’t use your ball regularly, you can simply deflate it but still store it at room temperatures.
Never leave your basketball outdoors, in the direct sunlight, or near the heater. Storing your ball in the car boot for long is also a bad idea. The high temperatures in there might cause damages and failure to the high materials used to manufacturer your ball.
As you know, your outdoor basketball will tend to lose some little air if left unused or over time when under normal use. To ensure it bounces properly, your ball needs the right air pressure amount. Different basketballs might vary based on their size, materials, and series.
Typically, your ball should bounce around two-thirds of the way back when you drop it. If this does not happen, it’s a clear indicator that it has too much or too little air.
During the manufacturing and inflation process, different brands usually drop-test their balls to determine their ideal pressure which they then print on the ball- near the whole.
So now you are thinking How much air should be in a basketball right?
On average, an outdoor basketball should be inflated to around 8lbs per sq. inch.
To keep your ball at its best at all times, it's recommended that you always inflate it and deflate it correctly. When inflating your ball, look at the recommended air pressure indicated on it.
Also, avoid using high air pressure to inflate it. Avoid filling your ball when it’s cold as this could lead to the bursting of the bladder When deflating the ball for storage, make sure you leave around 3-4 pounds in it to prevent its cover from damages.
Basketballs constructed using natural leather are expensive and ought to be cleaned gently with a small amount of the special leather cleaners. Using a cleaner that’s too harsh is likely to remove the natural oils from leather which might cause your ball to crack.
Pour a small amount of this cleaner onto a soft fabric and polish the entire ball surface. In case your leather ball has excess mud stains, using a generous amount of water amount and a high-quality leather shampoo can help.
After washing, leave the ball to dry in a properly ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.
As for the synthetic and rubber basketballs, follow these steps to clean them successfully:
NOTE: For tougher stains, you would want to repeat the above process severally
“What clothes do basketball players wear while practicing and playing?” is one of the common questions asked by the average people/novice players especially.
It’s very much similar to people when they go for shopping, what clothes of specific brands and style could be comfortable to wear.
Besides the brands and styles, considering the comfort factors for moving fast and properly, you need to choose clothes that are loose enough of a wide range.
Dressing of an ideal prepared basketball player could be like-
The right outdoor basketball for all your outdoor games is definitely one of the ten high-quality, widely recognized outdoor basketballs listed above. We didn’t give you a definite recommendation for your gaming needs as there are many considerations to fuel your decision for the perfect outdoor basketball.
These considerations include budget, ball size, cover material, and even the ball manufacturers. Nonetheless, you’ll find a perfect match in the ten best outdoor basketballs above.
PRO Tip: Get the best portable hoops for you, so that you can play both indoors and outdoors.
Even if you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced player, I guarantee you that these balls will more than meet your needs. We carefully selected these outdoor basketballs based on several important factors such as durability, grip, texture, endurance, and value for your money, and so on.
These are the key indicators you should always follow when searching for the best basketball for your outdoor games.
Best Of Luck!
This is Michael Jordan, a 26 years old guy. Besides my study and part time job, I'm passionate about playing basketball, cycling and exercising. BasketBallNinja.com is the place where I'm sharing my thoughts on the internet and I love the way here! Follow Our Guide and Be a NINJA Basketball Player with US! Keep following my blog Post and enjoy playing basketball like a pro!