Basketball is predominantly and indoor sport and dominated by indoor courts. However, basketball is also fun to play with a couple of friends on the street. Then standard basketball has a couple of synthetic outer panels that will hold the unit together, but these are generally strengthened of the outdoor units that endure a lot more punishment.
While finding the best outdoor basketball is not hard, one can easily notice them from top brands like Spalding. Over the years, newer versions have been released and the basketball itself has become more durable. Today, we explore some of the many features that will allow you to find the right basketball and show you six of the best you can buy right now.
Top 5 Best Selling Outdoor Basketballs On The Market Today
Before we consider the intricate features that make them stand out. You might want to have a closer look at the balls themselves. Having played a lot of one-on-one games on the streets, I have found a couple of the top basketballs that players like to play with. These basketballs can be chosen regardless of your age:
Spalding NBA Street Basketball
The Spalding NBA Street Basketball has been around for many years and it has helped many players on the street. As the name would suggest, it has been specifically made for the streets and officially licensed by the NBA.
The unit itself comes with a two-tone construction, with rubber panels being used to hold the ball together. These panels form part of the patented deep channel grip holes, each of them specifically made to ensure the ball does not slip out of your hands. Additionally, the grip does not wear off as quickly.
These pebbles on the larger part of the ball are slightly larger than some of the indoor basketballs and they will work well in wet weather conditions as well. The basketball is not only available in one size, with different sizes that can even accommodate the youth players.
One might think that a basketball that has been officially licensed will be expensive, but for the Spalding NBA Street Basketball, it is not the case. Once you receive it, it will already be inflated with the right PSI, making it ready for your games. It is one of the ultimate basketballs that almost any player can use to play.
- The basketball is available in various sizes
- It is officially licensed by the NBA
- The ball has deep pebbles for use in all weather conditions
- Users will receive it fully inflated and ready to use
- The ball is extremely durable with the rubberized panels
- If left in the sun, the ball will begin to warp
- The bounce is a little high due to the use of all the rubber
Wilson Evolution Game Basketball
Wilson is one of the leading brands when it comes to various outdoor sports. They have taken over the racquet market with affordable prices and good quality products. However, the Wilson Evolution Game Basketball is the official size that you will use in games, and even though it might be made for the indoors, it can last outdoors as well.
The cushioned core is not as hard as many of the rubber balls and this does allow the ball to retain the same consistent bounce outdoors. Additionally, the outer coating is not only made from rubber but also includes composite microfibers. The feature enables players to use the basketball in soaking conditions without losing grip.
What I like about this ball is the even distribution of the panels. Having the panels as evenly distributed as the professional balls will ultimately give you more consistency. The biggest downside is that when the ball is used on hard outdoor surfaces, the grip tends to slightly come off, and you might need to consider an outdoor court.
Wilson might have slightly bumped up the price for this unit, but it all comes down to the quality. Since it is officially licensed, you have the versatility to play indoors and outdoors with the same basketball. Additionally, I like the fact that the different colors of the logo can allow you to have your very own unique basketball.
- The composite microfibers offer the player more grip
- Cushioning in the core will feel softer in your hands
- Evenly distributed panels allow the ball the behave consistently
- You can find it with different logo colors
- It does lose some grip on harder surfaces
- Breaking in the bowling ball can take up to 3-months
Molten X-Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
Having multiple uses for something that you have bought can always be a benefit. Such is the case with the Molten X-Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball. Like the name would suggest, it can be used indoors and outdoors, retaining durability on a tarmac surface, without losing bounce capabilities indoors.
The ball itself features a synthetic leather cover with panels that might be a little unique for those used to the conventional bowling ball. However, these panels are designed for the outdoor players that play at night. Once you are under the lights, the white pattern does make it much more visible to see by your standard players.
One feature that stood out to me is when you divide up all the panels, you will find that there are around 12 different panels. Having all the panels can give the basketball more bounce, but it holds it together much better. The feature serves as if double stitching would in gloves.
Most of the Molten X basketballs are constructed from authentic leather. However, this one features a composite cover that slightly drops the price. It is really affordable, considering that it can be used indoors and outdoors. Additionally, you have a limited 1-year warranty to give you additional peace of mind.
- The ball feels tacky in your hands
- Composite materials do not absorb water in wet weather conditions
- The basketball does not lose any bounce when you play indoors
- Since it features 12-panels, the bounce is always consistent
- The use of white in the ball will make it visible at night
- It is regulation size, but all the extra grooves can make it feel small
- The ball will not arrive fully inflated
Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball
If you are strapped to an extremely tight budget, the Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball will be one of the leading options that one can choose. The ball is mainly constructed from composite materials that will not absorb as much dust or moisture when you are playing a game outdoors.
Looking at the rubber, I have seen that the rubber is slightly softer than some of the other balls. While this does mean you need to spend some time breaking it in, the feel is softer in your hands. I have found myself being somewhat more accurate with passes, but having to deal with a lack of bounce upon receiving the ball.
Whether the ball is regulation size does remain something that people have been debating over. However, it is not ideal to play professional games with it. One of the top features is that the size makes it a little easier to shoot. Players can improve their shots at home or in the yard before going for the high-end brands.
If the ball was expensive, I don’t believe it would have been worth it. However, this is the ultimate budget ball to get you started in your game of basketball. At this price, you might even consider buying a good portable hoop to help you shoot some of those practice shots.
- The ball feels light enough for children
- It is one of the cheapest on the market
- The ball can be used in wet weather conditions
- It is comfortable to catch and train with
- The ball can be used indoors and outdoors
- Occasionally, it does not fully hold the air
- The rubber allows it to bounce slightly higher than normal
Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
Under Armour is one of the brands that many people are still pondering about when it comes to designing balls. However, the brand has been making some of the best shoes and clothing apparel on the market today. The Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball is one of their top basketballs for indoor and outdoor use.
It features panels that have been made from durable nylon and all of them are evenly spread to hold the composite material in place. We have mentioned that composite material might not be as durable as leather, but it is softer to the touch and can be more comfortable in your hands.
UA has also implemented a Butyl Bladder, and while many people neglect to consider the bladder, it one of the best you can find. Once the ball has been inflated, your chances of losing air are diminished and the basketball will hold up for most of your games. The patented UA GripSkin Technology will allow you to comfortably catch it.
When thinking of a brand like Under Armour, they might be a little expensive. However, this basketball is one of the more affordable options on the market today. Not only is it regulation size, but the quality of the ball means you can also play indoors. I would recommend it to avid enthusiasts and for those street games.
- UA GripSkin Technology gives you a softer feel
- The nylon panels are durable to hold it together
- This ball is designed to be used indoors and outdoors
- Under Armour has excellent customer service to assist you
- It is a really affordable basketball
- It needs to be broken in to avoid unpredictable bounces
- The composite materials seem to bounce a little higher than expected
Baden Contender Indoor/Outdoor Composite Basketball
We all want something unique that stands out from the rest of our friends. Fortunately, the Baden Contender Indoor/Outdoor Composite Basketball is one of those basketballs that you can find in four different colors to make you stand out.
Much like the others, it is mainly constructed from composite materials, giving it some more added bounce outdoors. Where many other balls have a valve system that can be hard, allowing some of the air to escape, this basketball takes the pressure of the valve. It will allow most of the air to remain firmly locked inside.
Since the brand is not one of the high-end brands, one can find the basketball at a really affordable price. With virtually any size available for purchase, there are a few great basketballs to choose from. Many of them are clear to use at night times if you have lights, while the standard color can be used indoors as well.
- It has a softer valve to keep air from escaping
- The composite material does not lose tackiness on outdoors surfaces
- Evenly spread panels will keep the ball durable
- The different colors are perfect for visibility at night
- The ball does not cost an arm or a leg
- Over time, the ball is prone to warping
- With the bounce, it is mostly made for fast-paced games
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Basketball:
While you might already have selected the perfect basketball for your game, there are still a few additional features that make them stand out. Many of these features should be considered before buying a new basketball for outdoor use. Here are a couple of the top basketball features that outdoor players should consider.
One of the first things that anyone must look at is the materials used for the construction. The high-end basketballs are generally made from durable leather, but composite synthetic materials also feature highly when you need a new ball.
Leather is mainly used indoors for the basketball and this can slightly limit the bounce you have. It is a little more durable in the long-run, but you can spend months breaking the ball in before it behaves like the standard basketballs we have all come to know. With leather, you can be sure that the panels will keep the basketball from falling apart.
Rubber for the outer coating has been prevalent and it allows the ball to bounce a little higher. However, the hardness of the rubber is where you need to make sure you have the right one. Not only is harder on your hands but when fully inflated, you might find that the bounce is higher than expected.
Lastly, we have composite materials for the outer coating. These microfibers are definitely great for every surface, giving you a multifunctional basketball that can be used indoor and outdoors. Unfortunately, too much composite materials mean that the ball can have less durability and easily fall apart.
If you look at the best basketballs used for the NBA games, you will notice that they have a combination of these materials. Generally, a softer rubber is used for the outer coating, but durable leather for the coating.
Since you need to catch the ball and control it, you might need to have some sort of grip. It can be hard to say that one grip is better than the other since most brands use some of the same technology with different names. An example of this is the Under Armour GripSkin Technology, giving you larger pebbles for more comfort.
The grip is generally determined by the pebbles that have been used. Some of them can be small, but give you more pebbles for more grip. For outdoor games, larger pebbles are easier to control and they work well in wet weather conditions. The downside to larger pebbles is the fact that they might wear off much faster.
Most basketballs will have the same type of valve that is used to inflate it. The inflation can be done with a normal pump or an electric pump, but you need to have the right attachment. Additionally, the cheaper balls have a tendency to lose some air when you are playing. This can be a result of a valve that has hardened.
Fortunately, most of the basketballs we have included have softer valves. These valves tend to absorb some of the impacts and they don’t allow the air to escape. While various bladders are used to keep the air locked inside, you might look for a brand that will disclose the name of the bladder and do some further research if needed.
Sizing comes down to the reason you are buying the ball. If it is for competition purposes, you might need to find a regulation-sized ball. However, children don’t always have the right-sized hands to control the regulation balls and you might need to find something a little smaller for them.
Generally, the size 7 ball is considered to be the standard basketball that is used in all competitions. If you want to know more about the different sizes and the impact they have, here is a small breakdown of each size and the recommended age:
- Size 5: The youth ball for ages 9-11 years old (27.5-inches)
- Size 6: Women’s basketball and boys between ages 12-14 (28.5-inches)
- Size 7: Designed for players that are 15 years or older (29.5-inches)
I would recommend choosing the right basketball for the age of your child or yourself. This makes it much easier to ensure that you can play with it. Nothing can be more demoralizing for a child with a basketball that is too big.
- Skill Level:
Determining your skill level is not that easy. For many players, you are only considered to be a professional player when you are being paid to play. However, that is not always the case and many unfound talents play in the streets.
The skill level will be when you combine all of these features and find out what works the best for you and your game. Not every player can handle a rubber ball with the extra bounce, while leather takes some time to get used to. If possible, you can consider borrowing a ball to see which one fits your game and style the best.
- Additional Features To Consider:
As always, not every feature is an important feature, with some of them almost being like accessories to your ball. If you find the right basketball, and you want to use it at certain times, here are a few additional things to keep in mind:
If possible, you can do research to find out if the ball is soft or hard when fully inflated. This will influence the feel of the ball and perhaps your ability to catch it.
Since the weather can take a turn for the worst at any moment, you might want a ball that can be used in all conditions.
Many games played in the street are played at night and this can be a little frustrating for many players. However, some of the top basketballs will have some white or even yellow lining that makes them more visible.
These features are not mandatory, especially as a beginner and you don’t always need to have them. However, they can make the ball look a little different and ensure that you can use it for different situations.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Basketball is pretty standard and it can be hard to find one that has everything you need. I hope that this guide has helped you to find the perfect basketball for your outdoor game. We have also come across a couple of additional features that could potentially influence the buying choices of many people:
- Can I Leave A Basketball Outdoors?
Basketballs can be left outdoors, but it is not always recommended. Unfortunately, they don’t have any UV protection and this can be harmful to the ball. If leather has been used, it might harden, or rubber can potentially warp. This will lead to inconsistent bounces of the ball when you are on the court.
- Does A Basketball Color Make A Difference?
Regulations balls all have the same standard color. The way you imagine a basket is what you will find most of the times. However, the basketball can be found in a variety of different colors that will all have an impact on your game. A lighter color will be more visible to players at night times.
- Do All Basketballs Use The Same Valve?
Most of the top basketballs do use the same valve to get them inflated. Generally, it will allow you to buy one pump and a standardized ball attachment. You should be able to use the same attachment for your football and soccer ball as well.
The best outdoor basketball is easy to find if you are willing to do some digging. Basketballs are available in abundance, with brands like Wilson and Spalding topping the chart. We recommend any of these top basketballs for anyone who likes to play outdoors. Let us know in the comment section which of these balls you have used and if we might have missed any of your favorites.