best basketballs

Basketball is an original U.S. sport played by kids and adults indoors and outdoor. The game’s name comes from two half-bushel peach baskets James Naismith used for goals at the first game on December 1, 1891, at the International YMCA Training. Since then, basketball has grown and is a popular recreational and professional sport. Whether you’re playing outdoors for fun, competing at March Madness, or are a NBA or WNBA star, you need one of our picks from our list of the best basketballs.

Our editor’s choice for the best basketball is the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball. It is a durable composite leather ball great for indoor and outdoor use; available in all three sizes, and everyone can have their ball from the youngest eight-year-old to the college student, mom, and dad. The list includes the best basketballs for women, kids, training, and practice. We’ve even included a top basketball with the most extraordinary design that makes you stand out in the crowd.

What To Look For In A Basketball

When selecting a ball for you or your kid, consider these features that make a great basketball.

Ask any basketball coach, and they will tell you that the basketball size matters. It is essential to match the ball size to a player’s skill level, gender, and age. Smaller-sized balls are best for beginners learning the game and wanting more control while developing their hand-eye coordination. Smaller sizes are obviously the best basketballs for younger or smaller players.

A larger-sized ball is harder and better practice dribbling skills and a layup drill. Your basketball league or region may have specific basketball size and weight rules.  It’s a good idea to check with your league to see what size is right for you.

Basketballs come in three sizes, 7, 6, and 5. Here is a good guideline for selecting the best basketball size for your child:

  • Size 7 is a men’s regulation ball at 29.5 inches in circumference; great for college players, varsity high schoolers, and competitive middle school players. It is the official ball size for professional basketball leagues like NBA, Olympics, and international tournaments.
  • Size 6 has a 28.5-inch circumference and is a women’s regulation ball for WNBA. Girls from 12 years up to adults and female professional basketball players use a size 6 ball. 
  • Size 6 is also a better choice for boys 11 years or younger. 
  • Size 5 is the smallest ball at 27.5 inches in circumference and the best for younger players.

Leather, composite leather, and rubber are the three primary materials used for basketballs. Genuine leather balls are the most expensive, durable, and used in official basketball games. If playing indoors and money is no object, they are often thought of as the best basketballs. You’ll find the look and feel of these to be closest to a NBA basketball.

Most basketballs are made from composite or synthetic leather. These balls are high-quality replicas of leather basketballs, affordable, and the most popular basketball for everyday use. Rubber basketballs are the cheapest of the three types and the best ball if you prefer to play outdoors. 

A ball with the right texture provides the best grip, essential for catching, shooting, and throwing a basketball. The grip is critical to pay attention to when buying a training basketball; playing with a smooth basketball is almost impossible, even for the best players.  It’s hard to get the ball rotation you need when taking a sweet jump shot.

There is a huge difference between playing ball on an outdoor court and the right ball to shoot hoops indoors. Asphalt and concrete outdoor courts require more durable basketballs with an outer layer to handle rough surfaces and moisture. The best outdoor ball for the money is a rubber ball which should last about 6 months if you play for a few hours every day.

A composite leather ball is more durable and should function about a year or longer before the grip lessens. These are usually the best basketballs to use outside if you take care of it, and have a little more mone to spend.

A leather ball is an indoor ball designed for an indoor court; the leather will deteriorate quickly on harsh outdoor surfaces. These are the best basketballs for indoor play.

If you like playing an indoor and outdoor game of basketball but don’t want to buy a different ball for each court, consider a basketball constructed for indoor and outdoor use.

When playing competitively in high school or college, it is good to stay consistent; practice and fun play should be with the same ball recommended and used in a competitive basketball game.

Basketballs should bounce consistently at all times. Always check the number of psi before each game; air pressure between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds per square inch should provide the right amount of inflation for a more consistent bounce. Too little inflation and the basketball has a poor rebound, and too much inflation makes the ball too fast and doesn’t bounce properly. 

Top Basketballs Compared

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Composite Leather Basketball
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Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball
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Spalding TF-1000 Classic ZK Indoor Game Microfiber Basketball
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Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball
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Wilson Evolution Game Microfiber Basketball
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Chance Premium Rubber Indoor Outdoor Basketball
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Best Basketballs Reviewed

The Best All-Around Basketball: Wilson NCAA Replica Game Composite Leather Basketball

Overall best basketball for day to day use

 Overall, the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball is one of the best basketballs for everyday fun for outdoor or indoor play using the same ball. The Wilson Solution NCAA game basketball replica has all the patented technologies of an NCAA Official Game Ball at an affordable price. 

Laid-in composite channels and a 100% composite leather cover make it the perfect basketball for indoor and outdoor use. The deep channel design gives the basketball player better control of the spin resulting in more accurate shots. The deep channel makes the ball an excellent choice for players with smaller hands like women and children.

The brown color has a pinkish tint, and for girls, basketballs are also available in bright pink. The ball’s vibrant color doesn’t darken with consistent use, and the composite cover prevents fading. Moisture-absorbing material and pebbling on the ribs ensure a superior grip for competitive play on any court. 

Cushion core technology provides a soft feel and consistent bounce allowing these basketballs to respond as expected as it rolls off the basketball player’s fingertips. You’ll feel like Stephen Curry! :)

Some reviewers experienced an odd bounce when using the basketball for the first time, but it disappeared after the break-in period. 

The composite leather basketball is a durable one for outdoor play with friends and a great indoor b-ball. The ball comes in the standard ball size for men and women players and a 27.5 inches size ball for youth. Considering the ball’s versatility, budget-friendly price, and availability in all sizes, the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball is an excellent choice for all players. 

Best Kids Basketball: Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball

The Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball is exactly what players of all ages, from eight-year-olds to adults, need in outdoor balls. These rubber basketballs are made for the streets, for serious neighborhood competitions, Saturdays at the park, or for shooting hoops in the backyard with your older brother.

There is a size basketball for everyone in the family. The outdoor balls come in three sizes, a small ball youth size 5 for younger kids, an intermediate size 6, and the official game ball size 7 that NBA players use. Although orange is the more familiar color, the basketball comes in a colorful pink and purple for girls.

Sliced in half, you’d notice layers of quality from the performance outdoor rubber cover with an excellent grip and soft feel to the bladder maintaining proper air pressure. In between, you find the carcass for structure and shape and windings that enhance the ball’s durability and structure integrity. You wouldn’t expect anything less from Spalding, the company that produces the gold standard NBA basketball.

Designed for outdoor use with an excellent grip and at a great basketball price, the basketball is the ball for young and old. The deeper channel design, than most other balls, provides the superior control any basket players desire, even the young ones dreaming of becoming great shooters. The durable rubber cover will withstand outdoor use and rough play from the inexperienced and the more mature players.

Best Women’s Basketball: Spalding TF-1000 Classic ZK Indoor Game Microfiber Basketball

The intermediate size 6 Spalding TF-1000 Classic ZK Indoor Microfiber Game Basketball is one of the best basketballs for indoor use for women basketball players. It’s also one of the best for basketball lovers in high school. This model is the officially adopted NFHS basketball for North Dakota, Idaho, and CIF.

Designed for indoor use only, the Spalding composite leather ball is a great ball with exceptional durability. Nylon windings provide structural integrity preventing the ball from losing shape. After the break-in period, the ZK microfiber composite cover becomes softer for the perfect basketball feel. Some reviewers were concerned about the stickiness of the basketball out of the box, but that disappears after a few bounces, free throws, and other fun basketball moves.

Unlike of the other basketballs on the list, this faux leather basketball ships inflated, ready for play. The balanced butyl bladder maintains air retention for a reliable bounce; the manufacturer recommends air pressure at eight psi. The ball handles easily, and the wide channel design provides an excellent grip during play. One reviewer commented that the ball has the right size and weight and is the closest to the official NBA leather ball.

If you don’t want to pay the basketball price for genuine leather balls, then the Spalding TK-1000 Classic composite leather balls are great picks at a reasonable basketball price. The soft feel after the break-in period, excellent controlled grip, and durability for indoor use are some features why women players and high school kids pick the TK-1000 Classic as their ball of choice.

Best Practice And Drill Basketball: Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball

Designed for the game, the Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball is Baden’s top-of-the-line game basketball. Whether you’re king of the court or training and practicing passes, bounces, basketball drills, and free throws, the Elite ball is a great basketball.   

Its unique symmetrical panel construction makes the ball stand out as one of the best indoor basketballs. The wide spacing of the symmetrical panels on the basketball provides an even feel anywhere on the ball; players don’t feel the lumps, and basketball has a more consistent bounce. The consistency continues with free throws, shooting, catching, passing, and ball handling during play.

With a recessed Stealth Soft Valve system that is almost undetectable, it won’t influence your grip because you won’t even touch it during play. Whether you are learning the proper hand positioning or have played professionally, the symmetrical panel and recessed valve features make it a great basketball for indoor use. The eight identical panels ensure consistency in play, making rookies look good.

The Baden Elite is one of the best synthetic basketballs constructed with a microfiber composite cover. Baden was also the first in the industry to develop the patented Cushion Control Technology (CCT); it gives the basketball the perfect balance between a soft feel and texture for an excellent grip. Moisture-wicking properties help you keep your ball grip despite sweaty hands from intense training sessions.

These great basketballs for indoor use come in the official ball size 7 and intermediate size 6. Approved for NFHS (National Federation Of State High School Associations), players training and practicing their skill know they are practicing with a great ball. It is also the right basketball for club basketball players from 12 years old and a great ball for women’s college.

Best Indoor Basketball: Wilson Evolution Game Microfiber Basketball

The Wilson Evolution Game Basketball is the preferred basketball for high schools and college indoor courts and the number one bestselling basketball in America. The Wilson Evolution indoor basketballs are known for their soft feel, optimal grip, and quality design. 

The Cushion Core technology is the secret to the soft-to-the-touch feel and the additional grip around the rim. Players focusing on improving their game will notice that the softer touch around the ball’s rim gives more accurate shot opportunities. Available in six bright colors, the standard size composite ball matches your jersey or personal style. 

The laid-in composite channels create a consistent feel and texture. The EVO microfiber cover with high-definition pebbling and channels with a similar texture to the rest of the ball increases the player’s grip levels and control. It is one of the best basketballs for high school or college basketball, where you need a great grip, even in intense games.

The Wilson Evolution Game Ball is the best indoor, high-quality basketball that will last for many seasons. With moisture-wicking channels that absorb the dripping sweat from hands, the player doesn’t lose ball control, and their sharpshooting skills aren’t compromised. The ball is available in official size for men and women professional competition and is NFHS approved for play. 

Best Basketball For Indoor Or Outdoor Play: Spalding NBA Zi/O TF Indoor-Outdoor Basketball

 With its composite leather cover, the Spalding Zi/O TF Indoor Outdoor Basketball is an excellent ball for indoors and outdoors. The ball is tough enough for asphalt, concrete, and uneven surfaces but soft enough for indoor play.

A unique feature is the foam backing design that ensures a consistent bounce. Indoor basketball is softer with a consistent bounce, whereas outdoor basketballs tend to be more durable on those rough surfaces. The Spalding NBA Zi/O ball provides softness on the indoor court, and the foam backing gives a softer bounce outdoor for more accurate hoop shots.

Available in the official size 7, the Spalding NBA Zi/O Game Ball is an outstanding universal basketball for men. The channels are deep but narrower than other basketballs; the deeper channels give players the control they want in a well-balanced ball. The tight pebbling pattern ensures a great grip. The ball ships inflated, ready for play.

Top Pick For Coolest Basketball: Chance Premium Rubber Indoor Outdoor Basketball

The coolest basketball for indoor-outdoor use is the Chane Premium Rubber Basketball. The unique designs will inspire any child or adult to start playing ball. These basketballs aren’t just cool; they are good for play. Features include durability for outdoor and indoor use, excellent grip, and optimal ball pressure.

The indoor-outdoor balls come in three sizes accommodating everyone, size 5 for young kids, size 6 women’s official size, and men’s official size 7. The pattern and color options aren’t just inspiring, but you play differently, identifying with the uniqueness of such balls. Irresistibly cool, your choices are the Living Multicolor, Pascal Orange Camo, Rise with its purple, pink, and yellow stripes, Wild Child in orange and green, and Wildflowers Green.

Made from premium rubber material for indoor-outdoor play, these balls are tough for the indoor basketball court, the black-top or concrete courts, practicing at playgrounds, or having a fun time at the park. The butyl bladder locks in air for that optimal pressure and the perfect, consistent bounce every time. The ball comes deflated, and buyers need to purchase the air pump and inflation needle separately.

Deep channels and aggressive pebble pattern ensures an ultimate grip; you don’t want to lose control of such a trendy ball. Sold at an affordable basketball price, it’s the perfect ball for kids; they won’t lose their ball at the gym with the unique design.

Was the article helpful, and did you find the best basketball for you and your kids?

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