Best Indoor Outdoor Basketballs
If basketball is your passion, you have probably invested a lot of time and effort into choosing equipment to practice on.
You may have purchased your own hoop for at home practice, chosen great shoes that improve your jumping ability, and got books and videos that coach you on your skills.
The ball is also an important piece of equipment, and it can help you in a surprising number of ways.
This guide is designed to help you find the best indoor outdoor basketball for you, and to help you understand what you can expect from a great ball.
Here are our top picks for you, along with our reviews on how they perform.
Top 13 Recommended Basketballs
1. Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
Spalding has been a top basketball designer for decades, and until May 2020 was the official basketball maker for the NBA.
This Indoor/Outdoor basketball is perfect if you are serious about your game, and has a lot of features that make it a worthwhile pick.
This ball is the official size and weight for the NBA, which means you can practice for the big time without fear of adjusting to a new ball during a competition.
It also features a foam backed design for the best possible bounce, and the composite cover is slightly tacky for good grip.
This ball is also indoor/outdoor which means you can use it both on your indoor courts, and on tougher outdoor courts. It is one of the best general all around balls you can get.
2. Wilson Evolution Basketball
The manufacturer replacing Spalding for NBA basketballs is Wilson, another extremely high quality brand known for delivering top quality balls.
This ball is specifically designed for indoor play, which means you should avoid taking it on outdoor courts. As an indoor ball, it has a lot to offer.
The ball is available in all 3 sizes, from full-sized to youth balls, so if you need a smaller size due to your age, gender, or simply preference, there’s an option for you in this series.
It’s currently the #1 indoor gaming ball, and for good reason. It offers some impressive quality.
The Evolution line is famous for its Cushion Core Carcass, which gives the ball an unrivaled soft feel, and also makes it easier to touch, grip, and throw.
The Premium Evo Microfiber Composite Cover is durable, and designed to last all season and beyond.
Laid in channels also help wick sweat away from your hands, making grip better even during the toughest of games.
This is among the many reasons why the Wilson Evolution is very popular in high schools, and why it’s a worthy ball for your own personal practice.
3. Spalding NBA Official Basketball (EA)
Although Spalding no longer makes the balls for the NBA, they still have some of their original balls available.
These balls are special because they were designed in cooperation with the NBA to be the gold standard of basketballs.
When you invest in one of these balls, you are getting exactly what NBA players, their coaches, and the organization itself views as the ideal ball.
These indoor basketballs are everything you can hope for in a ball.
The basketball is made from full grain leather, which gives the player optimum feel during play.
It’s also designed in exact detail to meet the weight and size requirements for professional play.
If you need a ball for a professional basketball game, or want the perfect gift for the basketball lover in your life, a ball like this will be well received.
4. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Composite Basketball
For the ladies, the Under Armour 495 is a good choice.
This basketball is the offical size for women’s basketball in middle school and up, which makes it an ideal practice ball for young ladies who are passionate about the game.
This ball is well designed, and can hold up to rough outdoor courts as well as polished indoor courts. It features 80% nylon windings for excellent shape retention, and a 100% butyl bladder.
Size is very important for your game, and making sure you have the right size ball for your needs will make a big difference in how you can grip and throw the ball.
This ball is a great choice for women who are serious about the game.
5. Molten X-Series Composite Basketball
This FIBA approved basketball is one of the best indoor basketballs on the market. The basketball is made from composite leather, and is unique with a different kind of pebbling.
The pebbling has been aligned for maximum grip, guaranteeing a consistent contact from every direction.
The color itself is also designed to improve play.
The light colored strips on the darker orange ball are designed to help hold attention, so players can keep sight of the ball at all times.
This ball does arrive deflated, so if it is important to you that the ball arrive fully or partially inflated, you may want to select a different ball.
6. Wilson NCAA Official Game Basketball
Another top quality ball is the Wilson NCAA Official Game Basketball. This ball is designed for professional play, and so obviously has top quality performance to offer.
This ball features a moisture wicking cover to help keep grip good even during a tough game, and composite channels for the best possible control over the ball.
The Cushion Core Carcass gives it a softer feel for easier grip. This ball is best for indoor courts, it likely won’t hold up on outdoor courts at all.
This is another intermediate sized ball, so it’s ideal for women middle school and up, or younger boys. This is not a men’s sized ball.
7. Nike Elite Championship
Most of the basketballs featured in our line up are Wilson or Spalding for good reason.
These two basketball manufacturers are among the oldest and best in the field, and have both worked for the NBA as proof of their quality.
There are a few other companies which make top quality balls however, and Nike is one of them with this exceptional offering.
This NFHS approved ball has a microfiber backing and a deep pebble surface for maximum grip. It also has a rotationally wound butyl carcass to help retain its shape.
This is a standard sized ball, making it perfect for men and high school aged boys.
It does require some breaking in, as the ball starts off very hard according to customers who have purchased the ball.
This is a favorite with colleges, with 250 major college programs using the ball regularly. If you’re looking for a solid indoor ball, this is a great option.
8. Spalding TF-1000 Classic ZK Indoor Game Basketball
Another favorite from Spalding, this composite leather ball is very soft after it has been broken in. It features a microfiber composite cover that looks and feels similar to real leather. It has wide channels for superior grip, and a rotationally balanced butyl bladder to help retain shape and retain air.
This ball comes in both the intermediate and full size, making it ideal for both women and men, middle school and up.
This ball is high school approved, and is the state adopted ball for CIF, Idaho, and North Dakota. It ships inflated, so you are less likely to have problems with wrinkles and malformations due to the ball being deflated for a long period of time.
This is a great ball for practice, but is indoor only. If you need an indoor/outdoor ball, you may want to choose a different one.
9. Kuangmi Colorful Street Basketball
If you’re looking for a ball to get young kids started in basketball, the Kuangmi Colorful Street Basketball is a good choice.
This ball has bright colors that will engage your child, and also conveniently makes it easy to recognize your ball in situations where it might be easy to confuse them.
This ball does ship deflated, which means you will need to pump it yourself once you receive it.
It is also very durable, which it of course needs to be when kids are playing with it, and comes in many different sizes and weights.
If you’re hoping to get your child started in basketball, or are looking for a unique gift, this basketball could be the right choice for you.
10. Spalding NBA Tack Soft Indoor-Outdoor Basketball
Another quality choice from Spalding is the Tack Soft Indoor-Outdoor Basketball.
This premium ball is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, and comes in an official NBA size and weight. This ball ships inflated, and is game ready when it comes out of the box.
This is ideal, because when it is preinflated it is less likely to be mishapen or end up with wrinkles because it was stored too long deflated.
The ball has a composite cover and a very soft feel for quality grip.
Some customers complain that the pebbling wears off too fast, but since it is backed by Spalding’s warranty, so if any problems come up with the ball you can return it.
11. Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball
While cost should never be your first consideration when buying a basketball, sometimes this is something that really has to be considered.
If you are looking for a decent budget basketball, the Wilson Killer Crossover is a suitable choice.
This basketball features a composite cover with pebbling and deep channels, like most basketballs. The cover is tough enough for outdoor use, but soft enough to be used indoors.
Its carcass is designed for quality rebound and even bouncing.
The ball also comes in a variety of colors, which could make it easier to tell your ball from others, as well as adding a personalized touch for the player.
The ball comes partially inflated, but you’ll have to inflate it the rest of the way to play with it.
Some customers also noted that it needs to be inflated frequently in order to stay in playable condition.
If you don’t mind this compromise, than the Wilson Killer is a great choice for you.
12. Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball
If you want the look and feel of a real NBA ball, but not the triple digit price tag of an all leather ball or the months long break in period, this replica is a sound choice.
Many customers have praised it for its similarity to the official ball.
The composite cover feels like the real thing, and it has the same weight and size of an NBA ball.
The exterior isn’t quite as soft as an NBA ball, because it is designed to hold up to outdoor courts. The ball comes inflated and is game ready out of the box.
Some customers do note that it marks up easily when hitting the rim of the hoop, but it is in general one of the best balls you can get at an affordable price.
13. Spalding NBA Neverflat Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
If grip is important to you than this offering once again from Spalding is a great choice. This ball is specifically designed to, well, not go flat, and has a lot of technology in it to do so.
It has a new membrane and NitroFlate air technologies that keep the ball from seeping as well as a redesigned valve with cap eliminates leaks and keeps dirt out.
The result is a ball that rarely if ever needs pumped back up. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, and has pebbling and grooves to keep sweat away from your grip.
This ball is actually better as an outdoor ball than in indoor one, on account of the grip not being comparable to indoor balls.
It’s a quality ball and well worth the extra dollars for a durable ball that will last.
How To Select The Best Basketball
Equipment matters. The equipment you practice with every day can make a big difference in how you perform, and how well you do in competitive games.
While the most important piece of equipment is of course the hoop itself, choosing the right ball is also very important.
The ball can have a profound impact on how you play. If the ball is uneven in some way, it can bounce in a way you don’t expect, making it less likely for you to dribble accurately.
This will make it harder for you to guard against other players, or even just make your way toward the hoop.
The material is also important, especially if you’re looking for a ball specifically for indoor or outdoor use.
The material will have an effect on how the ball bounces, as well as how well it grips when you dribble.
If the texture is too sticky, it may not carry forward the way you would expect. That can have almost as many problems as a ball that is too slippery.
Material has something to do with all of this.
Now that we know a little bit more about the unique aspects of basketballs, let’s take a look at the different components and what they mean for how the basketball will play.
The cover is the outer part of the ball, and can be made out of genuine leather or rubber. If you want a ball that looks and feels like an NBA ball, you need genuine leather.
Genuine leather balls are a completely different game from rubber.
The first major difference is the break in period. A rubber ball can be played with and will feel the same from the very first bounce.
A leather ball needs to be broken in before it feels the same way. Before this, they are difficult to control, and are also more slipper before they have been properly broken in.
The next type of ball is composite leather. This is leather that is made to look and feel like leather, but is made from other materials.
The balls are usually softer, which is better for young children and people who don’t want to risk getting hit with the heavier, harder leather ball.
Synthetics are better for outdoor courts, and for those who don’t want to go through a break-in period.
Genuine leather is better for serious players who want to work with a ball as close to the NBA ball as possible.
When purchasing a ball, it’s important to read about how sticky the ball is, meaning how much it grips the court, and also how soft it is.
This will tell you what you can expect the ball, and help you choose one closer to what you are looking for in a ball.
Size is also very important. The regulation size is 29.5”. That’s what the NBA uses, and also what high schools use for male players.
The 28.5” ball is a little bit smaller, and is mainly used by women. The smaller ball fits smaller hands easier, and is also easier to handle. The 27.5” is designed for youth, and is smaller still.
Just like with anything, there is a huge variety in costs. A small rubber basketball designed for kids might run as little as $15, while a full-sized leather basketball could cost over $60.
A good quality ball doesn’t have to be at the high end of the spectrum, but it’s unlikely that you’ll find a long lasting ball that will help you in your career at the lowest prices.
No matter what the price of the ball is, it won’t matter if the ball doesn’t perform the way you want it to.
This might not matter for a small child just learning to dribble, but for a highschooler in sports or someone with eyes on a professional career, performance is very important.
Different balls can perform very differently.
The most important consideration when it comes to performance is how the ball dribbles as a player is running across the court.
If the ball behaves unexpectedly, such as bouncing too high, or even worse off center, it can make the ball more difficult to play.
Grip is also important. If the ball is slippery, it can be harder to hold onto during a tough game. Grip also comes down to personal preference.
Some people feel more comfortable with a smoother grip, while others are looking for something that is easy to keep control of.
A good ball will have a grip the player is comfortable with, internal cushioning that makes the ball behave in an expected way, and enough durability to keep that performance up for a reasonable amount of time.
If you are purchasing a basketball specifically for indoor use, you should never use the basketball on an outdoor court.
If a basketball is designed for outdoor use, the ball will specify indoor/outdoor or outdoor use. If the ball says indoor only, it likely won’t last or perform well in outdoor conditions.
A quality ball is a worthwhile investment. If you’ve only played with lower quality balls, you may be surprised at what a game changer a high quality ball can be.
The value of a ball is in more than just the ability to play, but also in the ability to expect what will happen as you are playing with it.
If you have been compensating for a low quality ball, getting a high quality one may stun you at the change in your own performance.
After your hoop and your shoes, selecting the best basketball for your individual needs is one of the best things you can do for your performance.
A quality basketball can make it easier for you to dribble, grip the ball, pass, and perform almost every move you can think of.
The point of basketball is to be able to move the ball successfully into the basket, if the ball doesn’t move in a predictable fashion, it may not be possible for you to achieve your best level of performance.
If you can’t seem to keep hold of the ball for a solid throw or through difficult footwork, look to your ball first to see if that is the problem.