Without a doubt, basketball is the most popular and most viewed sports game on the planet. It is so popular that there are basketball fans everywhere, regardless of gender and age group. Men and women, children and adults all love the game.
Basketball spectators and players also know the importance of using the best outdoor basketball as well as the best for indoors. In 1891, when Dr. James Naismith invented the game, players used soccer balls to play basketball.
Best Outdoor Basketball Comparison Table
|Wilson||Evolution Indoor Game Basketball||7 (29.5″)||1.5 pounds|
|Spalding||NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball||7 (29.5″)||1.4 pounds|
|Spalding||NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball||7 (29.5″)||1 pounds|
|Spalding||NBA All Conference Basketball||Vaious||2 pounds|
|Spalding||NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball||Various||2 poundss|
|Spalding||NBA Courtside Team Outdoor Rubber Basketball||7 (29.5″)||2 poundss|
|Wilson||NCAA Replica Game Basketball||Various||13.6 ounces|
|Under Armour||495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball||Various||1.5 pounds|
|Spalding||Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball||Various||1.2 pounds|
|Spalding||TF-1000 Classic Indoor Basketball||Various||5.6 pounds|
They would just rub coal dust on their hands so that they can have better grip. A.G Spalding & Bros. made the first basketball in 1894, when Dr. Naismith came to them to have a specific ball made for the game.
Ever since its invention until today, basketball has a consistent following and fan base. You do not have to be a professional to enjoy it.
You just have to know the basics, pick your favorite team, and then root for them whenever they play. It is a game of intensity and excitement that is why a lot of people are into it.
Aside from just watching, a lot of people are into playing the game as a form of exercise and recreation. After all, there is no better way of enjoying the game other than playing it. Do not worry because you are not expected to play like a pro all the time.
Playing good basketball takes time, practice, and of course, a good basketball. A good basketball is the one which you can play with whether indoors, outdoors, or even both. Still not sure which ball to buy? We can help you decide with a few useful reviews.
Best Outdoor Basketball Review 2021
1. Wilson Evolution Indoor Game Basketball
Everywhere you go, you can almost find the best outdoor basketball court. There are courts in the neighborhood, in schools, and of course, in sports gyms.
Some basketball players like playing outdoors but there are also some who prefer indoors. If you are looking for the best basketball for indoor playing, then the Wilson Evolution might be it.
It is the number one selling high school basketball in the US that is why it deserves to be on the list.
As a matter of fact, this is the ball used in NFHS and NCAA sanctioned games. One of the features of the Wilson Evolution is that it has an exclusive microfiber composite leather cover. It means that this basketball feels like leather but softer.
The cover also delivers maximum grip and player control. This is perfect for those who want to buy a good quality ball without having to pay for the price of one made with leather.
When it comes to pricing, a ball made from composite leather is more affordable because it is cheaper to produce compared to a genuine leather.
In fact, you can buy the Wilson Evolution anywhere between $45 to $60, if you look at the right places. It is available from online stores as well as physical stores.
The Wilson Evolution also comes in two sizes to fit the needs of the buyer. If you are just starting, you can buy the intermediate which is 28.5” in size. But, if you want the real deal, you can also get the official size which is 29.5”.
This ball made for the best performance. The Wilson Evolution also features patented Aqua-Grip laid-in composite channels to make gripping easier. It was achieved by replacing the traditional rubber with pebbled composite channels.
It also features a cushion core technology. It combines low density sponge rubber and ultra durable butyl rubber. Compared to other basketballs in the market, the Wilson Evolution has an exceptional feel.
If there is one thing that the product can improve on, that would be the price. Most buyers said that it is worth their money, but it would still be great if it can be more affordable for more people.
Overall, it is safe to say that there are more satisfied customers than those who are not. Aside from the issue of the online purchases, one of the reasons why people will not buy the Wilson Evolution is because of the price.
Other than that, this ball is still a strong contender for being one of the best basketballs indoor.
2. Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
This ball is worthy of a spot on this list because of its versatility. But, is it the best basketball for indoor and outdoor? Let us look at the features of the product and decide if it really is.
Spalding is one of the largest names when it comes to basketball equipment all over the world. In fact, it is the official basketball of the NBA and the WNBA. Some say that Spalding is the best basketball brand.
This NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball can be worth your money just by looking at the manufacturer. The fact that Spalding made it is already a plus factor.
The Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor comes in the official size 7 which is 29.5”. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor basketball games that is why you will definitely get what you will pay for. It has a foam-backed design and full ball pebbling.
The combination makes it great for competitive playing while maintaining its softness and tacky feel. So you can bring this ball with you whether you play in a basketball gym or on the grounds.
Like the Wilson Evolution, the Spalding NBA Zi/O is also built using a composite leather cover. Although it is composite, the leather used on the ball looks and feels genuine.
That is why some say that the ball also looks and feels like an official NBA ball. Not to mention the fact that it actually comes in an official NBA ball weight and has the official NBA logo on it.
It is not just about the looks. The material, texture, and weight are important factors when it comes to choosing the best indoor and outdoor basketball.
The Spalding Zi/O maintains its soft feel because of the composite leather. It is also durable enough to last in any environment. All these without compromising other factors such as weight or bounce.
Getting this ball is recommended since it suits both indoor and outdoor playing. It will definitely be the choice of your peers as the game ball whenever you go and play basketball with them. So just make sure that you write your name on it so that it will really last a long time.
Based on the reviews shared by customers, the Spalding Zi/O is a great ball and totally worth your money. However, if you intend to play more outdoor basketball, this is not the ball for you.
Although it is true that it can be used for indoor and outdoor playing, it will last longer if only used in smooth surfaces.
3. Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball
We have several Spalding balls on this list and it is probably understandable why. The Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball is designed for different playing situations.
It looks just like the NBA official game ball and is known for its versatility.
This ball can also be considered as one of the best outdoor basketball. This is actually better than the Zi/O and even other balls from the same manufacturer.
It is also made with high quality composite leather which provides players with three important things. Those important things are maximum grip, nice feel, and great control.
The ball comes in the official size 7 which is 29.5 inches. It also weighs just like the official ball. When compared with the Zi/O, the Replica Game Ball feels better and even bounces better.
It gives a more consistent performance, which basketball players will definitely like. You can also tell the difference by the sound that it makes when bounced on the court.
What you will like about the Spalding Replica Game Ball is that it is a great buy. You can have one between $20 to a little over $30, depending on where you look. This can already be considered as good value if you want a good ball without having to pay for too much.
However, if there is one thing that we do not like about the Replica Game Ball, that would be the durability. There were concerns about the material used on the cover which is composite leather.
Although other top selling balls are also made of the same material, the one used on this ball seems to be softer than the usual. Because of that, expect it to wear down quickly, especially if you use it very often.
Because of this concern, the Replica Game Ball is probably more suited for indoor playing. You can still use it outdoors, but set your expectations on the longevity of your ball.
Even with the minor concern of durability and other customers’ concerns, we still consider this ball to be a great Spalding product.
It is above average when it comes to overall performance. Amateurs and even professionals will definitely love the Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball.
4. Spalding NBA All Conference Basketball
The Spalding NBA All Conference Basketball lands a spot on this list because of the high quality materials used in making this ball.
That is what we want in our basketball. It is made with the traditional PU composite outer cover which gives a lot of advantages for the ball handler.
It provides better bounce, better grip, and better control. This is due to the tacky pebbling on the ball. Basketball players will definitely love this ball because it provides an overall better performance and playing experience.
The ball comes in the official NBA weight and size. So, players will feel like a pro when playing with the Spalding NBA All Conference Basketball. But, it also comes in other sizes to cater to different consumers.
Aside from the official size, there is also the youth size ball which comes in 27.5 inches. That one is recommended for children. Then, there is also an intermediate size, which is 28.5 inches. That size is common among teens and women basketball players.
Another thing that we love about the ball is that it has a sleek and professional look. The Spalding logo is printed in black while the All Conference logo is printed in silver with black outline.
Although it looks professional, it does not cost a lot. In fact, it is very affordable and is available anywhere between the $20 to $30 price range.
The Spalding NBA All Conference ball is versatile. It is designed for both indoor and outdoor plays. You can use it on smooth surfaces as well as in a rugged playing environment.
Even if you use it often, the color will not fade quickly. You can expect it to still look good and maintain good performance even after a while. While some of the balls that we have reviewed had problems with air leakage, it will not be a problem with the All Conference ball.
Of course, you still have to periodically fill it with air so that it will maintain its great shape. But, compared to the others, there were no air leakage or deflation for a longer period.
It may not be the best basketball overall, but it definitely is one of the best. Should you buy it? Of course you should. At its price range, the Spalding NBA All Conference Basketball is one of the top in the market as far as quality and performance are concerned.
5. Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball
This ball is different from other basketballs that we have reviewed because of its color. It comes in different color combination other than just the usual orange color.
There is green and blue, blue and black, black and pink, pink and green, and red and pink. It is perfect for those who want something out of the ordinary.
But, that is not the reason why the Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball is on our list. It deserves our review because it can easily be considered as the best basketball for outdoor playing.
We said so because this ball has the qualities that you may be looking for in an outdoor basketball. The NBA Varsity Outdoor Basketball is made of traditional rubber cover. The material makes it durable for playing even on concrete grounds.
Spalding made sure that they only used high quality rubber so that it can withstand the outdoors without having to worry about it being damaged.
This ball is not just like any other rubber basketball. You can play with it for months and even years and it will still give the same great performance. It has a wide channel distribution which makes it easier for ball handlers to control the ball.
The ball bounces great which will make it easier for you to practice and successfully make those bounce passes. Players will find that it is easier to grip the ball because of the pores found on the ball’s surface.
The function of these pores is they absorb the moisture from your hands so you do not have to be anxious about sweaty palms anymore. As a result, the ball feels nicer on your hands because of its non-slippery touch.
You might think that the Spalding NBA Varsity Basketball costs a lot because of its great features. That is where you are wrong.
The ball is very affordable and you can buy it anywhere between $10 to $35. You can order online and have the ball shipped to you fully inflated and ready for playing.
Although most of the customer reviews were from adults who bought the ball for their kids, adult basketball players find it great too. Try reading some outdoor basketball reviews and you will find most agreeing with us.
The Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball is one of the most recommended. So, give it a try, especially when you are more of an outdoor player. You will get the best outdoor basketball at an affordable price.
6. Spalding NBA Courtside Team Outdoor Rubber Basketball
If you are a basketball fanatic, then you probably have your favorite NBA team. Wouldn’t it be great if you can show your support to them through your own basketball?
It is a good thing that Spalding released the NBA Courtside Team Outdoor Rubber Basketball. Now, you can have a unique ball to showcase your team spirit whenever you play some hoops.
This ball is made of durable rubber and should be for outdoor use. It comes in the official NBA size so you can also feel like a professional when playing.
The material is very important in determining if a ball can be used for indoor or for outdoor playing. Rubber is very durable and is also one of the least expensive material that is used in basketballs.
That is why this Spalding ball is sold starting from around $18 or even lower if you chanced upon one on sale.
The NBA Courtside Team Outdoor Rubber Basketball is available in 30 different colors. Each NBA team has their own design so all fans can have their own. Each ball is designed with the NBA team’s colors and their coordinating logos.
Because of its uniqueness, this ball can be a great gift to anyone who loves basketball. You can even have one that you can keep in your room and another for playing outdoors. You do not have to be a player to appreciate the beauty of the Spalding NBA Courtside Team Outdoor Rubber Basketball.
If we look at the negative comments about the product, they are more on the part of the supplier and not on the ball itself.
That said, the Spalding NBA Courtside Team Outdoor Rubber Basketball is still a great ball for outdoor use. Aside from its good performance, it would not hurt to have a ball that shows your team passion and love for the game.
7. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball
Wilson makes its presence known once again with the NCAA Replica Game Basketball. This ball is included in our list because it is said to be Wilson’s best selling model.
So why do a lot of people buy it? Does it mean that this might be the best basketball ball? Let us try to find out more about it below.
As the name implies, the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is identical to the official balls used in the NCAA games.
If you have always wanted play in the NCAA or is just a fan, then this ball is perfect for you. It will somehow give you the experience of playing in the association.
The ball lives up to the expectations of basketball enthusiasts because it is made with high quality materials and standards. The exterior of the ball is made with composite leather cover.
It has moisture absorption characteristic, which means that your hands will not get too sweaty as the ball will take care of it as you play. As a result, the ball will stay dry and you do not have to worry about it slipping out of your hands during an important play.
The composite leather used in making this ball is known for being durable, so it provides the best value for your money. You can use the ball for both indoor and outdoor plays. You can play even on rough, concrete courts and this ball will stay with you and will not let you down.
What makes this ball different from most is that it has Aqua Grip channels which make it easier for players to learn the proper hand positioning. With the help of these channels, players can have a better hold of the ball, even in difficult play situations.
The dense patterns on the ball can make you hold on to it and lessen any turnovers. The wide channels on the ball also help with the control of the spinning while you are shooting. As a result, your shots will be more accurate and you can make more baskets.
This ball also has cushion core technology so the ball will feel lighter and comfortable to hold. It also gives the ball the extra bounce. This feature makes the ball more reliable as you can expect that the ball will bounce wherever you want it to.
If there is anything that people may not like about the Wilson NCAA Replica is that the feel of the ball may be too synthetic.
Some also feel that the channels are too wide on this ball compared to other top of the line basketballs in the market. There is also an extreme difference in the price range, depending on where you buy. You can buy one between $20 to $80.
The Evolution may be the best that Wilson has got so far, but we have a strong contender with the NCAA Replica. Both are great outdoor basketballs but if you compare the two, the latter is more reliable, especially for outdoor playing.
Although most players would still prefer the Evolution over this ball, you still will not regret buying it.
8. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
Wilson and Spalding may be dominating the list, but this ball from Under Armour deserve a spot in our review.
Under Armour may not be as big as Wilson and Spalding when it comes to basketballs but they have definitely made their mark in the sports industry.
Their apparels and other sports equipment are well loved by sports enthusiasts all over the globe. How did they fare when it comes to basketballs?
Well, we must say that they did a pretty good job. The Under Armour 495 is best outdoor basketball, which is designed for indoor and outdoor use.
It is made with Under Armour’s trademarked GripSkin composite for excellent ball control. As soon as you see the GripSkin surface of the ball, you can say that it is made for excellent grip and handling control.
Players who have used the 495 said that they feel comfortable using the ball because of the material. This ball is great to enhance your shooting skills and practice your spinning controls.
Even those who have smaller hands are satisfied with the Under Armour 495 because they do not have trouble gripping the ball. It can be credited to its superior grip feature and deep channel design.
The GripSkin surface of this ball is not the only thing that will initially catch your attention. The full pebble design also contributes to the overall appeal of the ball. But it is not all about the looks of the ball.
The pebble pattern also functions to make sure that you can have optimum ball contact even when played outside, on a dusty playing ground. The pebbles are also a bit deeper than the usual basketballs which makes the 495 even more durable.
The Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball is sure to last long. You will definitely get your money’s worth on this one.
Aside from the durability of the GripSkin composite, it also has durable windings made of nylon. The nylon is effective for shape retention no matter what stress the ball goes through.
One thing that the ball can improve on is the bounce. It is not bad, but cannot be considered as exceptional. In fact, some reviewers think that the bounce of the 495 is just average.
Nevertheless, the 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball by Under Armour is still a good choice if you are looking for a versatile ball. It may not be the top choice but it can still be recommended, especially for beginners and the younger players.
9. Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball
Spalding has one of the largest collections of basketballs in the market. They have different basketballs that players of all ages can choose from. Their target market is everyone.
They aim for small children with big dreams to professionals who are already living it. No matter what your needs are, they will definitely have the right basketball for you.
If you are looking for the best basketball for outdoor play, Spalding may have the perfect ball for you. They have the Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball.
This ball is recommended for beginners, but it is not just like any ordinary basketball. It helps you to fully prepare for your games and can even let you experience handling an official basketball. That is because the ball comes in official NBA size and weight.
Since it is for outdoor use, this ball is made of durable rubber cover. Durability is important to ensure that your ball can withstand even the harshest playing environment.
It is understandable that as a beginner, you would want to play whenever you have the chance to, regardless of the location and the situation.
This ball is made to hold up to damages such as punctures, air leaks, and cracks unless it is deliberately done. Since it is durable, you can expect to practice and play with it for a long time.
In fact, Spalding designed it so that it can withstand the street game. If a ball can survive a street game, it can survive any outdoor playing environment.
A basketball cannot be good without a great grip. Beginners will appreciate this feature even further. Nobody wants basketball which always slips out of the hands.
The Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball has a great grip and this is guaranteed by the fine pebbles around the ball. The pebbles ensure that the ball sticks to the hands, even when they become sweaty.
The deep, black channels on the ball also ensure good control, especially in ball handling and release. The channels are deeply distributed on the ball which makes it easy even for beginners to control the ball and enjoy their game.
Additionally, the ball has a great bounce and the overall performance of it is satisfactory. Not to mention the fact that it is a very affordable outdoor basketball which you can buy for less than $15.
If there is one thing that can be improved on it though, that would be the rubber cover. Some users claim that the rubber is too hard and it can even hurt your fingers easily. If only Spalding can use a softer material without affecting the balls’s price and durability, that would be great.
Since this ball is for outdoor playing, the use of rubber is inevitable. Because of that, just expect that it will not be too comfortable, but it will perform the way it should.
You can never go wrong with the Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball. It is a great buy for it was designed for longevity and durability at a very affordable price.
10. Spalding TF-1000 Classic Indoor Basketball
The last ball on our list can easily be one of the best indoor basketballs in the market. It is also from Spalding which somehow guarantees that it is not just any substandard basketball.
More players prefer playing in an indoor basketball court rather than outside. After all, it is more convenient because most factors are controllable.
You do not have to worry about too much heat from the sun, or the wind, or even the rain. Most importantly, the flooring would either be wood or vinyl, so it would be easier to run and dribble the basketball.
If you are playing indoors, it is important to have a nice basketball, which is specifically made for indoor playing. The Spalding TF-1000 Classic Indoor Basketball is the perfect ball to get your game started. What makes this ball great? Take a look at the product features below.
The Spalding TF-1000 is made of exclusive ZK microfiber composite cover material. This material helps with the moisture management so you can worry less about your sweaty palms while playing.
Since it helps solve the problem of having slippery hands, you can take control of the ball more. The ball will not lose its original grip and will not affect your game negatively.
The composite leather is also responsible for giving the ball a dry tack feel. It is important that when you play indoors, you choose a ball made of composite leather.
Unlike genuine leather, it does not require any break in time. It also has the softest feel so your hands will not feel uncomfortable even after prolonged playing.
Aside from the ZK microfiber composite leather, the TF-1000 also has 100% nylon windings on its surface. It maintains that structural integrity and makes sure that it will not lose its shape over time.
This ball also has a wide channel design which will make it easier to be recognized even from a distance. You will immediately notice the wide channels when you look at it. But the design is not just for instant recognition but also to make gripping the ball easier.
If you are serious about basketball, then you should always use a ball that has the official size and weight. The good thing is, the Spalding TF-1000 has those specifications.
It is even approved by the NFHS and NCAA that is why high school kids and also those in college love playing with the TF-1000.
Just by looking at the product specifications and the reviews from customers, we can say that this ball is a great indoor basketball. It has a good grip, nice feel, and is made of high quality materials.
You can buy one online between $50 to $80 or even lower if it is on sale. It may not be as affordable as other basketballs but it is definitely worth your money.
Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider While Buying
Whenever you buy something, you have to make sure that you get your money’s worth. Even if you are not concerned about the cost, there are a few things that you have to consider before buying.
By weighing in on the factors below, you can be assured that the basketball that you will buy is the best for you and your playing needs.
Indoors or Outdoors
Basketballs are not generic. You have to determine whether you will be using your basketball in an indoor basketball gym or in an outside court. The difference is the flooring. When you play indoors, you will be playing on wood or vinyl basically on a smooth surface.
When you play outdoors, you will be playing on concrete or similar rugged surface, with occasional pebbles and rocks. There are basketballs specifically made for indoor and outdoor playing so you have to know your playing field.
There are three ball types in terms of the material used: leather, synthetic composite, and rubber. Below are the differences and when to go for each type.
Leather is good for indoor courts because a leather ball cannot withstand the harshness of outdoor courts. A genuine leather is the most expensive among all basketball types.
Synthetic Composite is a great alternative to leather without having to pay for the same expensive price. Basketballs made with this material are also designed for indoor courts, but it can also work for outdoors. Rubber is the most durable among the three.
Basketballs for outdoor use are made of rubber for maximum durability. Rubber is also the cheapest and hardest to destroy.
Just like the materials, sizes also come in three. They are often referred to as sizes 5, 6, or 7. Size 7 is the official size, like the ones used in the NBA and NCAA.
This size is 29.5 inches and weighs 22 ounces. Professional players, college, high school, and middle school players are the ones who use this full size ball.
Size 6 is the official size for the WNBA. It is 28.5 inches and weighs 20 ounces. It is often used by women and those in early teens. Size 5 is 27.5 inches and weighs 18 ounces. It is recommended for beginners and children who are 11 yrs old and younger.
Other factors that you may want to consider are the color and design, the manufacturer, and the cost. You can also read some basketball reviews to help you decide which is the best outdoor basketball for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a composite leather cover?
A composite leather is a man-made material which is used as an alternative to real leather. Also, unlike leather, it requires little to no break in at all.
What does break in mean and how do I do it?
Breaking in is simple. All you have to do is play with your basketball as playing with it will break in the leather over time. This is applicable to basketball made of real leather to make it game ready.
Do I have to buy the most expensive to ensure that I get the best outdoor basketball?
Getting the best depends on your needs. If you buy leather because it is the most expensive and then play with it on concrete, you only waste your money. It will not hold up in an outdoor court. This only means at the best for you does not mean having to buy the most expensive.
Should I buy online or in a sporting goods store?
Whichever works for you is okay. You just have to be careful when purchasing online. Check if it really is the basketball that you want so that you do not have to go through the hassle of returning it and waiting for another one.
Whether you are just starting to learn how to play basketball or you have been playing for years already, it is important that you have your own basketball. When you have your own, you can practice at your own pace and play whenever you want to.
You can practice your dribbling and ball handling skills which are the basics to becoming a great basketball player. It is important to know your preferences when it comes to playing so that you can assess which type of outdoor basketball you really need.
If you still cannot decide, but you are eager to buy, go for the ball which you can use for indoor and outdoor playing.
At least, you cannot go wrong with something that can work both ways. If possible, aim for quality and not the price. There are a lot of basketballs that you can choose from, just be a wise and practical buyer.