Best Basketball Pump
Any basketball player knows what it’s like to play with a ball that isn’t properly inflated. It won’t bounce as easily, can’t be gripped well, and is harder to shoot.
On top of that, rebounds are more unpredictable and passes become very difficult. In order for a basketball game to work, the ball needs to be inflated to the proper level.
That’s where the basketball pump comes in. Just like every game needs a ball, every ball needs a pump.
Professionals and amateur games alike will have at least one if not multiple pumps on the sideline in case a time comes when the ball needs to be inflated to make for better gameplay.
However, not all pumps are created equally. Cheaper pumps may be prone to breaking or might require a lot more effort to get the ball to the right air pressure.
Some of them may not even be capable of filling the ball at all. It is important to research your pump and ensure that it will work efficiently and get the job done.
Things to Consider when Buying a Basketball Pump
A pump may seem like a basic accessory, but there are many considerations to take when you are in the market for one.
You shouldn’t simply buy the first or cheapest one that you can find. You will save yourself a lot of headaches if you consider some of the following items.
Types of Pump
There are three main types of basketball pump:
Battery air pumps
Hand pumps require the most effort, as you will be pumping using your hands, but they are usually cheaper and more compact.
Electric pumps will pump the ball automatically but require an outlet and electrical cord.
Battery air pumps are similar to electric pumps but use battery power instead of needing to be connected to a wall. Some require physical batteries, but others use lithium ion batteries that can be charged.
How to Inflate a Basketball with a Needle
This seems basic, but it is important to take care when you are inflating a basketball, whether you are using a plastic or metal needle.
Make sure to get the needle wet before inserting it into the ball, as that will prevent too much traction from taking place.
You can use water to wet the pump and it will slide in much easier, allowing for seamless pumping.
How to Inflate a Basketball Without a Needle
It is not a great idea to inflate a basketball without a proper needle, but there are ways to do so if you can’t find a needle. You can use a car pump to do it.
Put the pump directly on the valve of the basketball and begin pumping.
You will find that you have to constantly shift the ball as there will be no seal formed, and you won’t be able to tell the pressure inside the basketball, but this will work in a pinch.
Measuring the Air Pressure inside the Ball
Many pumps will have a built-in pressure gauge, much like bicycle pumps or car tire pumps.
This are optimal because they allow you to pump the ball and determine pressure using only one tool. If you buy a pump without a pressure gauge, you will need to buy a separate gauge.
This is a bit more time consuming because you will have to remove the pump and then insert the gauge, switching between the two until you get the ball to the right pressure.
How Much Pressure Does My Ball Need?
There is no universal answer for this, as every ball is built to different specifications. There are junior balls, professional balls, and even men’s and women’s league balls.
Every ball that you buy will have an optimal pressure range, so follow that when inflating your ball.
Inserting the Needle
The needle should be fully inserted into the valve, and done at a perfect 90-degree angle, or at least as close as you can possibly get it.
Going in at too great of an angle outside of 90 degrees can cause damage to the needle and reduce the pressure that you are getting into the ball.
Whether you are using a hand pump or an electric/battery pump, be sure to hold the needle by the base and keep it tightly inserted into the valve. This will ensure that the ball is being properly inflated.
Are You Constantly Losing Air?
If you find that your ball is constantly losing air more quickly than expected, it might be time for a new ball.
Even the highest quality basketballs will lose their elasticity and membrane strength over time, causing them to deflate at a faster pace.
Generally, you can continue to inflate them, but just know that they will lose air faster. The best remedy is to buy a new ball every so often, especially if you are playing in leagues.
How to Choose a Pump
Automatic pumps are truly the way to go. They will save you time and energy and can be almost as compact as hand pumps.
However, if you are on a budget and can’t afford an automatic basketball pump, there are plenty of great hand pumps on the market. It all comes down to personal preference.
The Top 13 Best Basketball Pumps
Now that you know what to look for in a pump, let’s take a look at some of the best pumps on the market. Research each pump and decide which one is right for you and your basketball.
1. Franklin Sports Ball Maintenance Kit
This is one of the most basic and classic basketball pumps out there, and there’s a reason it has been on the market for so long.
With three extra needles and a solidly built exterior, this is truly a timeless pump that is easily transportable and will always get the job done.
Franklin has always been a reliable name in sports, and you can rest assured knowing that this pump will inflate your basketball efficiently and provide the perfect amount of pressure.
With an extendable hose, you can get enough leverage to pump your basketball at any event. There is also a pressure gauge that will let you know when you are ready to stop pumping and start playing!
It comes with its own carrying bag and will fit nicely into any basketball bag, taking up minimal space and always ready to use when you need to inflate your ball.
2. Under Armour Dual Action Sport Pump
This manual pump is made with high-quality materials and works on a number of different types of sports balls.
We’re focused on basketball, however, and this definitely gets the job done. With a comfortable grip and fantastic design, this is easy to use and requires minimal effort to inflate your ball.
You’ll be happy to have this in your sports bag as you notice your ball deflating, because it is so easy to find and even easier to use!
This is an old-school pump, but it is made of very strong plastic and has plenty of leverage to help you pump your ball with ease, even though you are doing so manually.
The attached hose means that you’ll get extra airflow and won’t have to worry about the needle being plugged in too tight against the base.
You may not associate Under Armour with this sort of accessories, but they do a real good job with this basketball pump.
3. SPORTBIT Ball Pump with Push and Pull Inflating System
With a whopping FIVE extra ball needles, this tiny little pump has everything you need! It fits perfectly in your hand, but packs quite a bit of power without being too small.
This means it is convenient and easy to use but will fit in almost any sports bag.
This effective pump actually pumps air both when you are pushing in and when you are pulling out, so it will inflate your ball in half the time it takes other manual pumps to do so.
Don’t underestimate this feature – it’s really a great option to have and makes life easier on you.
With a soft needle system, you won’t have to worry about bending or breaking your needles and getting new ones.
This is really one of the better hand pumps on the market, and it’s one that many basketball players have raved about. It even comes with a recipe book outlining healthy meals for athletes!
4. Franklin Sports Perfect Pump with Gauge
Here’s another Franklin pump that lives up to all expectations. It’s a manual one so it requires a little effort, but because it is double action, it cuts your pumping time in half due to the mechanism that continues to inflate on both the push and pull motions.
There is a large, easy to read gauge that will let you know just how far along you are, and an easily accessible valve that allows you to deflate the ball if you happen to go too far.
It has a very comfortable handle and is extremely compact, so this one can travel with you wherever you are heading to play ball.
For being on the less expensive end of pumps, this one really packs a lot of value and makes a great addition to any of your basketball accessories.
It also has a sleek and slender look, which may not be the most important thing but is definitely an appreciated added value.
5. Ball Pump with 5 Needles – Best Basketball Air Pump
This industrial looking pump provides great value, because like many of the others, it pumps air on the push motion and the pull motion, meaning that your ball will be fully inflated in half the time it takes cheaper pumps to do so.
It also means that the valve will be more protected as you won’t be fighting against the friction on the pull motion.
This prolongs the life of the ball and of the needle that you are using. At only 6 inches long, this one is very compact and will fit nicely in any bag that you can find for basketball.
It comes with a pouch that will hold the pump, 5 extra needles, and even 2 each of hoses and nozzles.
These are very convenient for a variety of different balls and sizes, meaning you’ll be well prepared for any game without taking up a whole lot of space.
6. Kitbest Hand Pump for Ball and Bike
If you’re the type of person that likes to ride your bike to your basketball games and practices, this just might be the perfect multi-purpose pump for you!
It has the appearance of a standard bike pump, but the aluminum alloy material means that it is extremely lightweight and strong.
This provides for seamless transport and will fit in any sort of sports bag, despite being a bit larger than a standard ball pump.
The adjustable valve head can accommodate both a Presta and a Schrader valve, so you can easily switch between inflating your bike tires and your favorite basketball.
Because you can get a little bit more force behind it, you’ll be able to inflate anything in about a quarter of the time it would take with a standard hand pump.
If you are the type that like to keep as few devices as possible, this is truly an excellent option.
7. NIKE Dual Action Ball Pump
Nike is one of the biggest names in basketball, but they aren’t limited to just shoes. One look at this ball pump and you’ll be able to see why the brand is able to take on other markets.
This dual action pump has a pressure control gauge that will ensure you don’t over or underinflate your ball, making for the perfect setup for pretty much any game.
It doesn’t have as much power as some of the other hand pumps, but it is still strong enough to prevent you from straining while you are inflating your ball.
The big advantage of this pump is in the aesthetics, as you can choose from multiple colors, and teammates are sure to be impressed by the cool look of the pump.
If you want a pump that will impress outsiders, this is definitely the way to go.
8. Automatic Morpilot Electric Fast Ball Pump
Now we are getting into the automatic pumps, which can make a huge difference for those who are tired of putting energy into manually pumping up their balls.
This pump is loaded with several different programs for different balls, so all you have to do is insert the needle and push a button and it will know exactly how much to inflate your ball.
There’s no fussing around with this one, so you can even walk away while it is pumping and be confident that you will have a perfectly inflated ball when you come back (which should really only take a few seconds).
It features automatic pressure alignment meaning that you don’t even need to tell the device what kind of ball it is inflating.
The pressure gauge is also automatic and easy to read, in case you need a little extra assurance that the ball is being inflated to proper pressure.
9. TorrX Smart Ball Pump
You may not expect that smart technology would extend to basketball pumps, but it is definitely here and probably here to stay.
Simply insert the needle to your ball and choose from manual or automatic, and you’ll see the wonder that is the Smart Ball Pump.
With the easy-read gauge, you can choose manual inflation, just in case you don’t trust the technology behind it, but using automatic inflation means that the machine will pump your ball the most accurate setting that you can imagine.
Whether or not you are skeptic of automatic technology, it is nice to have the option, and you are sure to be impressed by this pump’s ability to find the perfect inflation point.
With a rechargeable lithium ion battery, this pump offers up to 50 uses before you even need to plug it in again! The future of pumps is here and TorrX is at the forefront!
10. Cadrim Electric Ball Pump, Smart Ball Inflator and Handheld Air Inflation
This battery powered pump is a compact, sleek, and wonderful little device that allows you to get on with your day without spending time and energy pumping up a basketball.
Simply choose the ball type and then press the inflate button and it will do all the work for you!
It knows what kind of ball it is inflating and will stop at the perfect pressure point, so you don’t have to mess around with inflating and deflating just to get the right number.
The rechargeable lithium ion battery gains a full charge in about 2 hours, and you’ll get 30 inflations before needing to charge it again.
It’s easy to plug in and let sit when you are sleeping, so you don’t need to worry about losing a charge if you are diligent about keeping it plugged in.
It also comes with a flashlight and a waterproof bag for nighttime and rain purposes!
11. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
This fully automatic pump requires an electrical outlet to be used, but you’ll be amazed by how quickly and efficiently this device can pump a ball to full inflation!
You don’t need oil for this, it is a digital compressor that offers quick inflation, a variety of ball types, and an easy-to-read pressure gauge that allows you to ensure that your ball is properly inflated.
With a nice preset program, you can simply enter a value and it will pump your ball to the right number before shutting off automatically.
This will save you time and energy, and you won’t have to worry about charging or replacing batteries.
If you have a home basketball court, this is an excellent device to have nearby so that you never suffer from playing with a deflated ball.
It can even be used with a car charger, so you can take this one on the go as well!
12. Champion Sports Economy Electric Inflating Air Pump
This is strictly a pump for inflating balls, so don’t expect any frills or extras here.
Despite its basic look and lack of additional features, this is really one of the most efficient and valuable pumps that you can buy.
It is super quiet, so you can inflate your balls without waking anybody in the middle of the night, if you’re the type of gamer that just can’t get enough practice throughout the day.
The carrying handle makes it easy to bring along to any event, and the lightweight provides even more effortless ability.
It is a compact electric pump and can be stored pretty much anywhere, allowing you to use the rest of your storage for larger and more important items.
This is really a basic pump, but it gets the job done, and for many players that is all that matters.
Don’t overlook this one just because of its basic design – it is a versatile pump that just gets the job done.
13. SUAOKI Cordless Tire Inflator Handheld Air Compressor
This fully automatic pump allows you to enter a pressure value before taking on the entire job on its own.
The LCD monitor is bright and large, which lets you see just how quickly and efficiently this is working.
It is small and compact, fitting in any basketball bag and riding easily in your car.
With 3 different electric adapters, including a USB charger, you should be able to get power for this pump no matter where you are.
It also has multiple valve settings, meaning that you can pump up more than just basketballs.
It can even inflate car and bike tires, so if you get a flat on your way to practice or to the big game, you won’t have to worry about finding the right pressure!
This is an excellent all-in-one device for any basketball player.