Are you a Basketball enthusiast? Are you tired of using the plastic ball for practice and games to overcome your craze for basketball? Do you want to say goodbye to the game with the plastic ball and are looking for higher quality alternatives that improve your game? Then you should think about buying a basketball.
In contrast to plastic balls, which are suitable for beginners and casual gamers, leather balls are much better if you play basketball more often. What material is a basketball made of and what size should it be? What different types of basketball are there for you to purchase? These questions might be confusing you or holding you back from buying one.
You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions here in this extensive buying guide. We will introduce you to many basketballs to make your purchasing decision easier. No matter what type of basketball you ultimately choose, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different ball types.
Types of Basketballs:
We can categorize basketballs into two types:
- Indoor Basketballs
- Outdoor Basketballs
We will be talking about only outdoor basketballs in this article. There is another comprehensive guide on choosing the best Indoor basketballs.
Overview of Outdoor Basketballs:
Since basketball is played indoors nowadays, as a street basketball in the street, schoolyards, and sports fields, there are now many outdoor basketballs and indoor ones. This type of basketball is made of synthetic material, usually rubber.
A basketball with a rubber surface offers more grip when dribbling, especially on uneven terrain, which is also more robust.
Things to consider before Buying a Basketball:
In this section, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate the best outdoor basketball. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular ball is suitable for you or your loved ones.
Basketballs are made of 4 different materials:
- Natural leather
- Synthetic leather
- Nylon/Chemical fibers
Rubber, synthetic leather, natural leather, or a mixture of the elements are usually used. If you are looking for a certain ball quality and corresponding handling feeling, it is recommended that you check the different leather or rubber materials and the grip.
In this guide, we have provided you with a table. This compares the different types of basketballs based on the material used in the making of the ball.
|Material||Rubber||Synthetic leather / composite leather||Natural leather|
|Price||Cheap||A bit expensive||Expensive|
|Description||Rubber basketballs are particularly suitable for beginners and outdoor use. The rubber is very robust and despite the rough surface, such as concrete or asphalt.||Artificial leather basketballs are more suitable for indoor use. In terms of texture and feel, synthetic leather is very similar to natural leather. These balls are, therefore, ideal for advanced users who are looking for an inexpensive alternative to natural leather.||Professional basketballs usually have high natural leather content. Natural leather is expensive and only suitable for indoor basketball. If you have strong basketball skills or want a game feeling like in the NBA, a natural leather basketball is a right thing for you.|
Different manufacturers produce basketball that is Spalding, Molten, Wilson, and Nike (or Nike Air). Spalding is the official producer of NBA basketball. Several other leagues and associations also play with Spalding basketballs as the official game ball.
The different manufacturers’ basketballs differ not only by the logo of the respective brand but prominently decorated on the surface. They also differ in their properties. A Spalding basketball usually has more profound and broader grooves, which has a positive effect on the ball’s grip.
According to many players, Wilson basketballs are said to offer a particularly useful throwing sensation and bounce, while a Molten basketball is slightly sticky and thus achieves good grip. Of course, these properties cannot be generalized but are already noticeable in various basketball reviews by experienced players.
What size is a basketball?
Various factors determine which size a basketball should be. The most important are:
- The age of the player
- The gender of the player
- The diameter of the ball
- The circumference of the ball
It depends on what size you buy because there are different sizes available. The official ball of the NBA is size 7. A size 7 basketball has a circumference of 749 to 780 mm. This is the standard size.
There are also two other popular sizes. The size 6 is used by women and young people and has a circumference of 724 to 737 mm. As a basketball for children (approx. 11 to 13 years), size 5 is mostly used, which is even smaller. There is also a mini basketball (size 3), which has a circumference of 550 to 580 mm but is not officially used in competitions.
The basketball leagues have strict requirements for basketballs such as weight, ball pressure, and materials. The official specifications for ball sizes differ according to the gender of teams since it is assumed that men generally have larger hands, so size 7 is used during men’s matches.
In the following table, we will show you which sizes are available and which would be the right one for you.
|1||41-44 cm||13-14 cm||Toddlers|
|3||56-57 cm||~ 18 cm||Children (up to 8 years)|
|5||69-71 cm||~ 22 cm||9 to 13 years|
|6||72-74 cm||~ 23 cm||14 to 18 years/women size|
|7||75-76 cm||~ 24 cm||Men size|
Most basketballs are designed in a muted brown or striking orange. If you prefer a more impressive piece of sports equipment, you have to pay attention to the font, color, and logo to find the right ball.
While well-known brands such as Spalding often rely on an excellent and simple design of their equipment, other brands offer an innovative design that can deliver exceptional performance in the court.
Depending on your age group, you have to decide which ball size and which weight is right for you. Depending on whether you are a male or female player, your demands on the accessories may vary, as a ball that is too large could inhibit your game.
Men usually prefer the larger and heavier models, as these enable proper handling and adapt to the typically large palms.
This purchase criterion is important because it can improve your ball handling and performance when you have found the right ball.
Outdoor atmosphere and surroundings play a significant role in determining the capability and durability of the basketball. The grip of the ball entirely depends on the friction between the hand and the cover of the ball. The cover of the ball has wide black in-depth longitudinal and latitudinal lines called Channels. These channels help in maintaining a grip from the palm to the ball.
Because of the sunny day or During the game or the practice, it is natural for the human body to sweat. Similarly, in cold weather, the ball might come in contact with wet court concrete. In short, either the hands will be damp or the ball, the grip will be affected. Channels are designed to reduce moisture so that the grip can be good enough during the game.
The right pressure is necessary for a basketball to jump well. This is achieved by inflating the ball. A tight valve with a pressure lock is crucial so that the ball does not lose its air again. Otherwise, the processing must, of course, be of a high level so that the ball does not run out of steam in the most real sense of the word.
A basketball is usually inflated with a hand pump. Its tip is inserted into the valve of the ball, and then the pump is operated with muscle power until it has the right pressure. Alternatively, you can also use a compressor or an electric pump. In any case, make sure that you do not inflate the ball too weakly or too forcefully. The correct air pressure is between 0.49 and 0.63 bar.
You have to keep in mind that you are choosing the right ball size that you can handle quickly and with ease. You wouldn’t be able to throw a smaller or larger ball that doesn’t fit into your hands. A size 5 basketball is more suitable for children, size 6 for women, and size 7 for large men’s hands.
Basketballs are mostly made from natural leather, synthetic leather, rubber, nylon, and chemical fibers. Pure rubber balls are more suitable for beginners.
Rubber basketballs are particularly suitable for beginners or casual gamers. If you play more often and value quality, leather models are more appropriate.
If you have now checked all factors such as size, surface, material, or level of play, the question of color remains.
You don’t have to worry too much here because the color does not directly affect the ball. However, Spalding uses a particular color that allows the player to hold the ball better for some shots.
Spalding offers balls in almost all colors. The classic color of basketball is orange. If you want a classically beautiful basketball, choose an orange one.
Wilson and Spalding make colorful balls. Whether yellow, red, white, or purple – your favorite color is there. The fan balls of the various basketball teams, in particular, are often very colorful.
Spalding basketballs are famous for their high quality. Spalding also developed various technologies that positively influence the game of basketball players. This made the brand famous. Leather balls are of very high quality but a little bit expensive.
Basketballs are made of either rubber, synthetic leather, or natural leather. The different materials are suitable for certain games. A rubber ball is mostly used outdoors, and the rubber surface offers more grip than other balls when dribbling, especially on the uneven surface. So you have to keep this in mind.
When it comes to the weight of a basketball, size plays a decisive role. Influence is particularly essential when playing over a more extended period or when it comes to basketball dribbling. Heavy balls are usually easier to control, but can also require a particular effort to dribble. We advise younger players to use light basketballs so that they can throw basketball easily.
Although weight varies from brand to brand, the following table will provide you with an overview of the expected ball weights. Of course, the smaller the ball, the lighter it is.
|1||up to 300g|
|3||up to 300g|
|5||up to 500g|
|6||up to 540g|
|7||up to 560-650g|
Tip: In any case, grab not only the basketball but also other equipment such as a water bottle.
As you can already imagine, you have to pay more money for quality sports equipment to get the appropriate performance and durability. This is also the case with basketball.
We advise you to invest more in a ball that you can have for a more extended period than just looking for the cheapest model that doesn’t last long. Price can vary depending on various factors.
The main ones are:
- Ball size
In the below table, we have mentioned the price range for different manufacturers.
The more expensive a ball is, the more durable and robust it is. Accordingly, the table also shows why the Spalding and Molten balls are also considered basketball classics among experienced players.
These offer you the complete package for a justified price. If you have at least one of these models in stock, nothing stands in the way of professional balling.
The durability of your ball depends on the environment in which you use it and how often you do it. The more you use it in different weather conditions, the more early it will get rough. On average, a good ball should last for a couple of years.
If you want to last it longer, your basketball needs to be taken care of. You can easily clean basketball and maintain its shine. If the ball is dry, wipe it with a damp cloth and remove coarse dirt with a soft sponge.
There is a unique leather shampoo or leather cleaner for natural leather balls. If the basketball ball is foul and dirty, you can bring it back to shine with water and, if necessary, a small amount of a mild detergent. Rinse with clear water afterward to remove chemical residues. Then just pat dry and let dry. Also, store your ball at moderate temperature (neither too hot nor too cold).
Tip: Do not let the ball soak in detergent; otherwise, the color may fade.
One last thing you must check is product reviews on the e-com store where you are buying your basketball. Usually, all reviews are posted by real buyers, and product ratings on the store can help you decide which brand or size is best for you.
Which basketball to choose:
You have many choices based on age group and gender. Now you can choose a ball which you like and which is perfect for handling. Below are a few categories of basketballs based on the age group.
Basketball for Kids:
A basketball for children must have a ball circumference of 56 to 57 centimeters and must have a maximum weight of 283 grams. This type of basketball, also known as “mini basketball,” corresponds to size 3.
The ball is particularly suitable for children and beginners from three to five years of age due to the reduced jumping properties. The smaller ball size ensures a pleasant feeling when playing.
Basketball for Teenagers:
A basketball for teenagers has to have a ball circumference of 69 to 71 centimeters according to the usual standards and can only weigh 470 to a maximum of 500 grams. This type of basketball, also known as “Youth Basketball,” corresponds to size 5.
The ball is very suitable for young people and advanced players under ten to eleven years of age due to the reduced jumping properties. The reduced weight ensures a pleasant feeling during the game.
Basketball For Men:
A basketball for men must have a ball circumference of 74 to 76 centimeters according to the usual standards and may only weigh 567 to a maximum of 650 grams. This type of basketball, also known as the “Men’s official,” is size 7.
This basketball is designed for adult players. In some cases, however, it is used for women’s basketball and mixed games.
Basketball For Women:
A basketball for women must have a ball circumference of 72 to 74 centimeters and must only weigh 510 to a maximum of 567 grams. This type of basketball, also known as “women’s official,” corresponds to size 6.
This basketball is not only suitable for women, but also for children under 14 to 18 years. It is the official ball size, which is preferably used for women’s basketball.
Best Outdoor Basketballs
We are going to discuss some of the best basketballs to play outdoors.
1. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball (Overall the best)
Mikasa is considered to be one of the best manufacturing companies in the basketball industry. The material they use is high quality, and their attention to detail, whether for the design or the workability, is impressive. Mikasa BX1000 Premium rubber basketball is one of the strongest and reliable products in the market.
- Material: It is made up of an extra thick and premium rubber cover with latex-free construction. It also has deeper inward channels that run along with the ball. Overall the ball is very dense with deep pebble design that makes it ideal for beginners.
- Sizes: This ball comes in four sizes that are 4, 5, 6, and 7. The weight of the ball depends on the size and the material. Moreover, the size of the ball can be maintained by deflation and inflation of the air in it, but we recommend filling the ball to its full circumference to avoid any damage.
- Hand Grip design: It has deep channels and stippled cover that provides a firm grip. The grip helps to give rotation to the ball. The grip also depends on the humidity; if the ball is wet or your hands are sweaty, it will be difficult to throw an accurate shot.
- Durability: The latex-free thick rubber covers make the ball durable, and it helps it last twice as much as the other balls, making it ideal for practices and beginners.
Note: It is ideal for practice and for beginners.
- Good quality rubber
- Best for kids to learn the basics of basketball
- The grip might feel rough in the beginning.
2. Spalding NBA Zi/O (Reliable)
Spalding NBA ZI/O is a fantastic product by Spalding. The robust design, durable material, and incredible grip helps you practice and enjoy the game yourself.
- Top-grade Material: The rubber used in the making of the ball is sturdy, durable, and top-grade. One of the prominent features of the ball is that the material gives tactile spongy feel on the hand, and the in-line foam ensures a tight grip.
- Cover: The cover used for the ball is lined with foam in between the layers of leather and the protection itself. It gives the ball a softer feel as compared to other outdoor basketballs.
- Pebbled grip: The pebbled grip includes a graphical pattern around the ball so that you don’t have to find proper gripping positioning each time playing.
- Firm Air seal: The air seal maintains that ball’s level of inflation. This way, it is easy to use the ball in long practices and without worrying about the deflation.
Note: It comes in two sizes 6 and 7 with a circumference of 28.5″ and 29.5″ respectively. It is shipped inflated and ready to use at your doorsteps.
- Good grip
- Leather soft
- Good air seal
- The ball collects dirt and makes hands dirty.
3. Spalding NBA Player Basketball (Exclusive)
Spalding is keeping the passion alive among the basketball fans, especially the Golden State Warriors fans. Their exclusive range of NBA player basketball is not just beautifully designed with the picture of your favorite player, but it also provides the best basketball gaming experience.
- Exclusive: The ball comes in three designs. Each design is dedicated to NBA famous players Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.
- Premium cover: The cover is made from high-quality thick rubber. Although the ball has printed graphics of the start, still, the in-depth channels give a tight grip.
- Player Specific graphics: These balls are designed with exclusive graphics with their picture of Golden State Warriors’ most famous players, team logo, and their signature.
Note: The ball is available in size 7 with 29.5” circumference
- Good quality
- Good bounce
- Needs pumping after high usage.
4. Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball (Perfect for Practices)
Wilson has always manufactured sturdy and high-quality Basketballs. Wilson Killer crossover is one of the ideal balls for practice because of this robust and durable construction and a handful of amazing features.
- Material: It is made up of sturdy, durable, and thick rubber. The ball’s content is so good at the given price point, and it is a desirable and value deal for the users. The ball has Optima rubber cover and handy grip, making it ideal for recreational activities and practice.
- Grip: The Optima rubber cover gives the ball a firm grip even if it is dusty or wet. The cover is designed with a full channel than all other basketballs to help you improve and control the grip during throwing and dribbling the ball.
- Bounce: The bouncing consistency of is fair enough for recreational uses. The landing and bounce of the ball are predictable and smooth to practice with or for the initial stages of learning the game.
- Size: This ball is available in three sizes, Youth (size 5), Intermediate (Size 6), and Professional (Size 7).
Note: It is available in 5 colors with the combination of white, which are Black, Carolina Blue, Lime, Orange, and Red.
- Good grip
- Long-lasting optima cover
- Needs inflation daily
5. Spalding Rookie Gear Basketball (Ideal for Woman and youngsters)
Spalding is keeping the spirit and love for basketball alive among the youngsters. Spalding Rookie gear basketball is a splendid option for all basketball lovers and practitioners out there.
- Construction: It is made from a robust and high-quality rubber. The ball’s structure contains wide and deep channels with rough leather cover to assure a fast grip.
- Durable grip and leather cover: The cover of the ball is made from composite leather. The cover has black channels in the grave that absorb the moisture from hands. With the help of the durable covering, it can be used not just outdoors but also indoors.
- Comfortable shooting and rebound: One of the prominent features of the ball is that it is right in size, but the weight feels lighter than all of the basketballs. This is the reason that the shot gives a comfortable shooting. Moreover, the bouncing consistency is perfect when the ball deflates, it still bounces with accurate angles.
- Colors: The ball is available in two colors, brown and multicolor stripes of yellow blue, orange, and green. People prefer to buy a multicolored ball because of its visibility in indoor court, outside on a bright sunny day, and even in the crowd of players chasing.
Note: It is available in size 7 with the circumference of 28.5”. The ball is shipped to your doorsteps, inflated and ready to use.
- Different color from the traditional brown
- High-quality leather
- The color peels as the ball wear off.
6. Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball (Very Professional)
Spalding NBA Replica is yet another option for indoor and outdoor court basketball. The professional has approved the NBA replica of the NBA themselves for the enthusiastic basketball players.
- Construction: It is made of the top-notch composite leather cover. The ball has deep black channels with NBA twitter handle and the official logo.
- Replica Official NBA game ball: One of the main reasons for the popularity and demand of the ball is that it emulates the NBA official game ball designs. It is very similar in design, size, weight, and quality as well at affordable prices.
- Grip and bounce: The black channels of the ball help in absorbing moisture and having a firm grip on it. The weight is comparatively very reliable. The cover makes the ball ideal for indoor and outdoor courts.
- Packages option: The ball can be ordered alone or with a pump. The two packing options help to determine the rush of the need.
Note: The ball comes in official size, Size 7 with 29.5″ circumference in just one color, Brown.
- Good grip
- Good quality leather
- Some people complained that the finishing is not visually appealing.
7. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball (Ideal for indoor and outdoor)
Wilson is one of the most popular companies that have been providing high-quality balls in the market. The NCAA and NFHS have officially approved the Wilson Evolution Game Ball because of its fantastic quality and designing standards. It is also used in many high schools in America for basketball games and practice.
- Micro-Fiber composite: The ball is made from a microfiber composite that almost resembles the leather, but it is more durable than the leather. This micro-fiber resists peeling and wearing off.
- Cushion Core: The core of the ball has a sufficient amount of cushioning that makes it a bit soft to touch. The elastic inner core is made from butyl rubber, which is why it is ideal for women and youngsters to handle.
- Micro pebble Technology: The micro-fiber technology helps the ball to have an optimal surface so that you can have a firm grip on the ball. The channels are wide enough to absorb moisture.
- Bouncing consistency: The ball has a cushion core; the bouncing flexibility of the ball is exceptional. The chances of deviation are so low that they can be used in the indoor courts and outdoor courts for playing.
- Colors and designs: It is available in many colors and color contrast designing. One popular design the ball has is All Black, which is considered a souvenir design. The following colors are also available; Green, Navy, Royal, Scarlett, Original, USA, and Yellow.
Note: The ball comes in three sizes, Young (Size 6), Intermediate (Size 7), and Official (Size 8).
- Firm grip
- Good bounce
- Ideal for beginners
- Variety of designs and color
- The balls feel too hard at the start.
- It requires inflation weekly.
8. Wilson NCAA Replica Basketball (Visually pleasing)
The Wilson is one of the most successful and trusted companies in the world of basketball. Wilson NCAA Replica Basketball is a revolutionary product that connects passionate basketball lovers to NCAA’s professional experience.
- Replica of official NCAA ball: One of the major highlights of the ball is that it is made keeping in mind the requirements of the official game. The experts have provided us with a perfect product that will help you practice like a professional.
- Cover and core: The cover of the ball is made from composite leather. Material is an excellent absorbent of moisture from the palm. The core of the ball is relatively softer than other basketballs. The main reason for the soft-focus is to give a high bouncing tendency to the ball.
- Color: The ball is available in two colors, the traditional brown and pink. It is visually very pleasing and eye-catching.
- Incredible grip: The cover of the ball has composite channels that help to have a firm hold onto the ball. With the help of the channel and softcore, the ball is easy to throw and practice with.
Note: The ball is available in two sizes Intermediate (Size 6) and Official (Size 7).
- Ideal for outdoors
- Ideal for starters
- Good grip
- Needs regular inflation
9. Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball (Extremely Durable)
Spalding is, no doubt, one of the most substantial companies in the industry of basketball. NBA street basketball is one of the best durable products manufactured, keeping in mind the roughness of the street and outdoor games.
- Two-Tone cover: The cover of the ball is made from an ultra-durable rubber. This ultra-durable cover serves two significant purposes; First, it stands against the rough and hard concrete of the outdoor court field. Secondly, the cover had an optimal grip that helps to practice and handle the ball.
- Bouncing consistency: It has a good bounce, especially on concrete and asphalt surfaced courts. The bouncing consistency also depends on the amount of air in the ball. You can either inflate or deflate the air according to your preference, but it is recommended to use a fully inflated ball for a better bounce and long-term use.
- Dense pebble design: The dense pebble design helps in maintaining the grip along with the full channels. With the help of pebble design, moisture from the hand or the atmosphere cannot be useful in handling the ball.
- Colors: It is available in two color combinations, that is, Brown-Orange and Pink-Purple. Both of the colors are very eye-catching.
Note: The ball comes in two sizes; Intermediate (Size 6) and Official (Size 7).
- Good bouncing consistency
- High-quality material
- Ideal for outdoors especially streets
- Easy to find air inlet
- The color may fade
- Hard to grip when dirty
10. Molten GG7X Basketball (Excellent Grip)
Molten has made its way through the market with amazing products and collaboration with one of the great governing bodies in the Basketball competition, FIBA. Their balls are approved by FIBA and used in their national gaming competitions.
- Dense pebble pattern: The cover of the ball is made up of extensively durable composite leather The dense pebble pattern makes the ball very grippy, especially for small hands and palms.
- GIUGIARO design: The GIUGIARO is a 12-panel design of the ball. These panels ensure the control over the ball during the release for the shoot. It also provides additional control channels that assure grip and make sure to attain perfect rotation while throwing.
- Butyl Bladder System: Butyl Bladder system makes sure that every bounce of the ball is precise and consistent. The softness of the ball affects the bouncing consistency a lot; the Butyl Bladder system blocks out the softness so that the game or practice becomes easy and smooth.
Note: FIBA has approved the ball as ideal for professional use. The approved stamp is also engraved on the ball.
- Amazing firm grip
- Ideal for beginners
- Good bouncing consistency
- Not ideal for the hard concrete outdoor field.
We understand the confusion and hustle of finding a perfect basketball for yourself or your loved ones. With many options in the market, the procedure of finding the best outdoor basketball can be robust. We hope that our intensive review and the guide of understanding the best ball’s requirement will help you at least narrow down options accordingly. Keeping in mind the roughness of the outdoor courts, each product on the list provides a suitable solution.
For our best pick, we recommend Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball. Whether you are a professional or a beginner, the ball provides impressive gaming experience with durable top-notch and long-lasting material and best grip at an affordable price and with a wide variety of sizes.
- 1 Types of Basketballs:
- 2 Things to consider before Buying a Basketball:
- 2.1 Material:
- 2.2 Brand:
- 2.3 Size:
- 2.4 Design:
- 2.5 Height:
- 2.6 Outdoor Atmosphere:
- 2.7 Pressure:
- 2.8 Age Group:
- 2.9 Skill level:
- 2.10 Color:
- 2.11 Quality:
- 2.12 Grip:
- 2.13 Weight:
- 2.14 Cost:
- 2.15 Durability:
- 2.16 Reviews:
- 2.17 Basketball for Kids:
- 2.18 Basketball for Teenagers:
- 2.19 Basketball For Men:
- 2.20 Basketball For Women:
- 3 Best Outdoor Basketballs
- 3.1 1. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball (Overall the best)
- 3.2 2. Spalding NBA Zi/O (Reliable)
- 3.3 3. Spalding NBA Player Basketball (Exclusive)
- 3.4 4. Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball (Perfect for Practices)
- 3.5 5. Spalding Rookie Gear Basketball (Ideal for Woman and youngsters)
- 3.6 6. Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball (Very Professional)
- 3.7 7. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball (Ideal for indoor and outdoor)
- 3.8 8. Wilson NCAA Replica Basketball (Visually pleasing)
- 3.9 9. Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball (Extremely Durable)
- 3.10 10. Molten GG7X Basketball (Excellent Grip)