The Best Outdoor Basketballs of 2022

Basketball is a game loved by many and played widely across the world. So, does it matter whether you use outdoor or indoor basketballs? Yes. It does. A lot. Using the right basketball goes a long way to determining your performance on the court. So, as a player, if you love to hoop it up outside, your worry should not be the quality of the basketballs you are using but rather on taking that perfect shot to secure your team a win.

Having a basketball that caters to your need helps you hone your skills, whether practicing, training or playing. There are countless types of basketballs manufactured by different companies. All these basketballs serve their own different purposes. When play on outdoor courts, however, you don’t want to be using a cheap rubber ball, you want to use the best outdoor basketball you can find to ensure a better grip for ball control and consistent bounce.

 

What’s the Difference Between Outdoor and Indoor Basketballs?

Outdoor basketballs are different from indoor basketballs. From the materials used to construct them to the surface, it’s meant for play. It’s possible to use an indoor basketball for outdoor play, however, you could become very frustrated and disappointed by the whole experience. The best quality basketballs designed for outdoor play will ensure durability over many years when used on proper surfaces. Outdoor basketballs are going to be a composite leather ball or a rubber basketball. The best outdoor basketballs are designed to endure rougher courts and still give you service for many years.

 

The Big 3 – Material, Grip & Bounce

When it comes to basketballs the material, grip and bounce are the most important aspects when choosing the right basketball.

Material

Leather – avoid leather basketballs (just like you do with cowboys). They’re soft, and the wet palms of an outdoor player won’t yield much control. You can play with a leather ball indoors, but save it for rainy days. The prices are steep, so look for a less expensive rubber ball or composite model instead.

Composite – Also known as a composite leather basketball or synthetic basketball, they don’t need to be broken in and can be used for either indoor or outdoor courts. They are highly durable and do not require heavy maintenance. The only downside is that there will inevitably be an adjustment period for players who are accustomed to playing with leather balls, as these won’t have as soft a feel

Rubber – These basketballs are durable and designed for outdoor court use. Rubber basketballs are more durable but they aren’t as soft feeling as leather or composite balls. They are also more budget friendly compared to leather and composite balls.

 

Grip

The grip is wonderful when you’re searching for a basketball. A ball that feels soft and good to the touch combined with a grasp good enough to allow you to dribble, crossover without fail and offer a soft touch on shot finish can mean the difference between missed opportunities and stellar performance. When you discover a basketball of high quality with this combination of features, all that’s left is to reap it in as much as possible!

Of course, you realize that when the ball gets wet it’s difficult to firmly hold onto it especially when playing the sport of basketball. Fortunately, there are specially designed basketballs that have water-resistant properties so they’re still able to be easily gripped during play. Basketballs with moisture-absorbing features are even capable of maintaining consistent bounce without falter.

 

Bounce

Another important feature of a good basketball is its bounce. Bad bounce makes playing a terrible experience; if you’d like to have fun and play a good game, then you’ll need the right amount of bounce in your ball. A ball with bad bounce will feel like a toy – too short or too high.

Furthermore, every time the ball bounces on the outdoor court, it wears down a little bit because of the dirt or asphalt surface. But don’t worry – you won’t notice a significant impact on the bounce suddenly. However, there will be a notable difference after many years of play.

 

Durability

Basketball manufacturers don’t always tell the truth. As much as we’d like to deny it, some of their products and promises fall short after a few uses. For instance, those shiny basketballs that are supposed to be outdoor-worthy begin losing bounce as soon as they see actual outdoor use – within a couple of months or so.

The expected life of an outdoor basketball should be close to a year if you are playing with it quite often. Of course, cheap outdoor basketball will wear out quickly and there is no fun dribbling with a torn ball. Having in mind the importance of your game, you may consider investing in quality outdoor basketballs that are specifically designed for harsh weather conditions or everyday use.

 

What to Look for Before Buying

Choosing the right basketball to buy will mainly be determined how you intend to use the basketball along with your basketball goals. An indoor basketball used for outdoor play will not give you the best ball bounce. In fact, shooting hoops with an indoor basketball while playing outside will make a professional player feel like a newbie. As a general rule, you should not use an indoor basketball for outdoor play. You can find composite leather balls that are designed to be used on both indoor and outdoor surfaces, so, if you play both inside and out, this might be the best basketball you you. Also, depending on who is playing, it’s important to consider the size of the basketball. Basketballs come in different sizes and are meant for different categories of players. It would be hard for a young rookie to start playing with the NBA official basketball size. You will also want to ensure that it has the proper air pressure, as a ball not properly inflated will not allow for a solid grip on your ball handling. Take some time learning about other types of gear that you might want to get to optimize your performance. Investing in things like ankle braces for basketball is key, as a good quality basketball can be hard on your joints.

 

Your Guide To Best Outdoor Basketballs of 2021

If you are hunting for the best outdoor basketball, then you have come to the right place. With countless types of basketballs available in the market, it can be confusing with so many choices. We have searched the internet and listed the top outdoor basketballs for 2021. We know that choosing the best outdoor basketball is very important. This review should make it easier for you to make a decision on the type of basketball to invest in. The list looks at the quality of the basketball, its materials, whether it can be used both indoors and out, and what it offers compared to other basketballs available in the market.

1. Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor Basketball

The Best

If you’ve been playing basketball for long at all then you are probably aware of Spalding. They have some of the best outdoor basketballs on the market. They are made with the upmost quality and durability when it comes down to their production of basketball equipment as they have been used in the NBA (National Basketball Association) for decades.

One of their main products which is on this list as a top pick for having great reviews put out by both professional players and amateurs alike is the Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor Basketball; officially it’s 7, 29.5 inches in diameter. Why does this product make our list you may ask? It’s versatility is perhaps one of its biggest advantages: not only can you use it outside (obviously given its size), but you can also play indoors as well without many issues due to how soft it is to handle!

One of our favorite products from their line is the NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor Basketball; this official size ball is exactly 7 inches wide and 29 ½ inches in circumference. This product is a great choice for games regardless of where you play because it has gained both professional player and consumer approval over the years!

Spalding NBA Zi/O Top Features

Below are the main traits of the Spalding NBA/Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor basketball

  • The Foam backing helps with durability with dribbling on full length indoor and outdoor courts
  • Soft and Tacky, a feel that is comfortable with the composite cover
  • A high-quality, durable basketball that is built to last. It can withstand hours of hard playing on concrete surfaces outdoors.
  • Deep channels on this ball makes for better control and grip on the basketball
  • Official NBA Size & Weight

2. Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball

Best Value

The Spalding NBA Street Basketball is one of the most popular basketballs on the market and the good news is it is the best option if you’re looking for a good quality ball that won’t leave your bank account feeling empty!

The ball itself is well-rounded, strong and has a smooth bounce with an even flight path when shooting which is impressive given it’s on the lower end when it comes to outdoor basketballs comparatively. Moreover, there is a foam inner bladder which gives you strong dribbling confidence. In our testing of this ball, I found that I was best pleased when I used 8 psi of pressure inside the ball.

The best part about the NBA Street ball is that it’s not prone to losing air pressure over time, nor does it deflate in humid conditions or while outdoors. It’s also extremely durable so you won’t have any problems with rips or other damage even after lots of play on many different surfaces and outdoor elements. The NBA Street ball is available in three different sizes: Youth, intermediate and official size.

Spalding NBA Street Top Features

The top features of the Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball are;

  • The best basketball for the money, making it a great purchase for low-budget players
  • With a Synthetic Rubber Cover it is both soft and comfortable as well as durable
  • Offers rather easy ball handling and a solid grip
  • Has a consistent and even bounce on outdoor courts

3. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

High Performance Basketball

The Wilson Evolution Basketball in many ways is a game-changer. The ball was made to withstand outdoor and indoor play, so it is great for play in high school gyms and outdoor courts alike. The microfiber composite materials ensure that the Wilson Evolution doesn’t breakdown like leather does when used on outdoor courts, which means that even on the hardwood, this ball is a hit. This basketball comes out at #1 on our top 10 best indoor game basketballs, but we love it just as much outdoors because of its performance.

The Wilson Evolution basketball is made with a leather-like microfiber composite that provides a comfortable ball to play with and one that will last longer outdoors vs a leather ball. It comes in 3 different sizes and was designed with advanced users in mind. This ball is approved by the NFHS, which means that it meets the requirements you need to succeed consistently.

The Wilson Evolution Training Basketball is a great choice for any player, whether you’re a pro, or even an amateur (that’s you!) will be able to benefit from using this iconic ball— in either official size 7, 29.5″ or intermediate size 6, 28.5″ , as well as youth size 5, 27.5″.

Wilson Evolution Top Features

  • The ball is made with soft feel technology to ensure optimal softness. It features special pebbling for even more surface area, which results in maximum softness
  • Outstanding grip is provided by the 100% Premium Evo Microfiber composite cover. Wicking outer layer absorbs moisture that emanates from your hand which contributes to this benefit.
  • Has a consistent bounce due to the low-density sponge rubber coating.
  • Durability doesn’t have to take a backseat thanks to this microfiber material

4. Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball

Durable Basketball

Spalding manufactures top-rated NBA replica balls that are ideal for playing on outdoor concrete courts as well as indoor hardwood courts. This ball was made to meet the standards of professional players while still being durable, making it a great choice for recreational use as well.

The Spalding replica basketball is crafted using an advanced manufacturing process. The manufacturers of NBA replicas look to maximize the three most essential characteristics: grip, feel & durability.

As an NBA replica basketball, you would expect the Wilson Official NBA Game Ball to be exceptionally durable, but I found that it became slightly bloated more quickly than any other basketball, on either an indoor or outdoor court. The surface might have been a factor in this, and/or we had played with the ball in inclement weather a few times during which time it may have absorbed water like water can seep into canvas shoes. This might have weakened the exterior layers of the ball (which consist of rubber and composite leather), or just made for less cushioning when dribbling on impact or when shooting.

Spalding NBA Replica Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • Official NBA replica basketball
  • Soft grip for a better control.
  • Made of high quality rubber
  • Designed for outdoor & indoor playing

5. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball

Solid Budget Basketball

Another giant in the basketball world, Wilson, produces the next basketball on our list – the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball. Made from a composite leather, this basketball is also perfect for indoor courts along with any outdoor surface. So, it you want a ball for indoor games or outdoors, the Wilson NCAA Replica Game ball has you covered.

As you may have already thought, as this ball is made of high quality composite leather, it is extremely comfortable, and its moisture absorbing technology allows you to keep control of the ball even with sweaty hands. This Wilson ball has a soft feel, allowing for premium ball handling and consistent ball bounces. Being the official ball of the NCAA is one of the key features of this ball, as Wilson NCAA balls with their composite leather cover are made to last. So, no matter the elements, if being used as an outdoor basketball, you will have a solid grip, consistent bounce, and great feel on your shots.

The Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is also available in different sizes, so whether you are using the ball as a youth basketball player or as an adult, Wilson has all basketball players covered.

Wilson NCAA Replica Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • Moisture absorbing technology
  • Soft composite cover
  • Wide deep channels
  • Sturdy grip

6. Spalding NBA Varsity Multicolor Outdoor Basketball

Cool Looking Ball

The Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Basketball is not your everyday looking outdoor basketball. This durable ball has a color combination of traditional leather mixed with blue. You will definitely not miss this ball when it is passed to you. This rubber ball is perfect for play on those rough surfaces as it is extremely durable, but also has a soft, rubber pebbling that is tacky which provides for a comfortable grip.

As it does have the NBA logo on it, you could call it a replica game ball, so you can certainly feel like you are taking that Game 7 shot even if you are using an indoor outdoor basketball with your buddies. As long as you keep proper air pressure in this ball, it will be perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, will keep its shape and provide better grip than those cheaper rubber balls. The only real downside we could see was its grip when wet, but most rubber basketballs will not provide exceptional grip during adverse weather conditions.

Spalding Varsity Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • An all-weather ball designed to be played in the rain, snow and on hot asphalt.
  • The soft rubber is designed to give you a soft catch, while playing.
  • It is the official ball of the NBA and NCAA.

7. Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor/Outdoor Composite 27.5 Youth Basketball

Best Youth Basketball

The Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor Outdoor Basketball ball is a great basketball for younger athletes and children. This multi-colored sport ball is designed specifically for players just learning the fundamentals of the game. This lightweight basketball is a perfect learning tool thanks to its durable construction and smooth surface.

The ball is available in orange, yellow, blue and green sections or variations within these colors. Performance wise having a different colored basketball doesn’t do anything but it does help in knowing which ball is yours if there are other balls around.

Spalding Rookie Gear Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • Best outdoor ball for younger players to learn the game
  • Feels soft and is lightweight due to the quality composite leather
  • Deeper channels provide great feel and control along with the sticky coating
  • Stays inflated for a long time outdoors
  • Can be used indoor or outdoors
  • Designed to resist most weather conditions

8. Molten X-Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball, FIBA Approved BGMX

Great Feel

Besides being FIBA approved, the Molten X-Series indoor outdoor basketball comes with a one year warranty, ranking it among our top picks for 2021. In addition, it is the top choice for international games including the Olympics. It comes in all major official sizes and is available in orange and yellow colors – what Molten calls the GUIGIARO” design. The Molten X-Series indoor outdoor basketballs are designed with a synthetic leather cover which enhances the grip on the ball making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Instead of the normal eight-panel design, the molten basketballs comes with an official 12-panel design. This extra panel design gives it a far better feel than other basketballs. Best of all, it can be used both indoor and outdoor play.

As this ball can be use for both outdoor and indoor courts, you can believe that there are many key features that set this ball apart from other indoor outdoor balls. For those playing basketball on an outdoor court, you will really enjoy the durability from it being a synthetic leather and not a rubber ball. If you like playing on an indoor basketball court, this Molton ball provides premier ball handling from its 12-panel design and Butyl bladder which helps keep a consistent PSI. Overall, this is a great indoor and outdoor basketball for the basketball player at any level.

Molten X Series Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • It is approved by the world basketball association (FIBA).
  • Great visibility: Easier to see spin on the ball and easy to pickup in low light settings.
  • No leather soft feel: The ball is very soft but doesn’t feel like leather which is hard to describe.
  • Offers solid grip even on a dry court.

9. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball

Great Budget Basketball

If you are serious about your game, but but don’t want to break the bank on a ball, the Mikasa BX1000 premium rubber basketball could be the right ball for you. As its name suggests, this premium rubber outdoor ball is perfect for outdoor courts. It is an extremely durable basketball as far as outdoor basketballs go, as the latex-free, extra thick premium rubber provides protection from the harshness of outdoor courts.

Some of the key features of this Mikasa ball include: consistent bounce, firm grip, and durability. So, whether you are a beginner or basketball enthusiast, and want the best outdoor basketball at a lower pricepoint, don’t sleep on the Mikasa BX1000.

Mikasa Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • Premium quality rubber ball
  • Extra-thick rubber designed for outdoor courts that requires firm grip for small hands.
  • Perfect for any outdoor basketball court, ideal for high-intensity games.
  • Durable and latex-free rubber for outdoor courts.

10. Spalding NBA Street Phantom

Softest Grip

When you think of a basketball, Spalding is one of the great brands that quickly comes to mind. Spalding has crafted the basketball, giving a name synonymous with excellence on the court. The Spalding NBA Street Phantom are the ideal choice for practice or gameplay, and made specifically for a basketball game outdoors. One of the best outdoor balls on the market, this rubber basketball was made for the rough surfaces of outdoor courts. With its soft grip technology and deep wide channels, you will have no trouble keeping control during that killer crossover. You can also feel like you are playing like the pros as the Street Phantom is official NBA Basketball weight and size, giving you that true professional basketball feel.

As number 1 on our list here, this outdoor basketball with soft grip technology, is the premier ball on the market today. Many people playing basketball on the many outdoor courts in the US and across the globe use this ball with great success. As you have read, there are many key features to this ball which can directly attribute it to being the best outdoor ball, including: premium sponge rubber material, soft feel, extreme durability, consistent bounce on outdoor courts, and a great black/blue color scheme.

Mikasa Top Features

Below are the main features:

  • Raised surface area for a sure grip and enhanced ball control
  • Deep channel design for less air drag and a truer bounce
  • Bright colors for low-light games and tournaments
  • Wear-resistant, durable and soft.
  • Excellent bounce and a long service life.
  • The ball has good water resistance.

The Outdoor Advantage

Now that you have options in front of you, you can make the choice to begin your training with the right outdoor basketball for your needs. Maybe you just want to shoot some hoops with some friends at the gym or at school. All of the recommendations here will support your your goals of training and developing skill, or just playing for fun. So, whether you are looking to only tear up the outdoor surfaces at your local park, or have a versatile ball that can be used by basketball players both indoor an out, one of the balls listed in this article can be a great fit for your needs. We can provide you the information, you provide the drive and determination. Choose wisely, and get in the game!

If you enjoyed this article then you should also check out our review of the best basketball shooting aids!

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