6 Best Outdoor Basketballs in 2022

Basketballs intended for use on outdoor courts can withstand the rigors of play on concrete, asphalt, or grass. Courts made of concrete or acrylic will not completely destroy the shell of the ball.

In terms of pure feel, there are few things that compare to a good indoor basketball, most agree. But at some point, every basketball player will play outdoors, whether in the backyard or on a neighborhood court. As a result, the softness of a ball will be traded for hardness at certain points.

They can be played on any surface, including those that are more difficult than outdoors. Every player should have at least one of these balls, because they are the ideal all-round basketball.

What Is An Outdoor Basketball? 

Basketballs intended for use in bad weather retain their bounce and durability. Rubber and other synthetic materials are often used because they are durable and water resistant.

High pressure basketballs are used for outdoor play as they retain their shape and air does not escape as quickly. Outdoor basketballs are the best choice if you are looking for a ball that can withstand the elements and still give you a fun and exciting game.

6 Best Outdoor Basketballs

1. Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketball

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5"

With the NCAA Replica Game Ball, Wilson seems to have managed the difficult balancing act between grip and durability.

That’s not much of a surprise, considering Wilson makes some of the best composite leather basketballs around.

Wilson’s composite basketballs are of unmatched quality, while Spalding’s genuine leather NBA basketballs are legendary. They make the official game ball for the NCAA tournament and supply basketballs to schools (also made of composite leather).

The Wilson Evolution indoor basketball is legendary among high school basketball fans. The Wilson replica of the NCAA game ball has a similar squishy, sticky feel. The difference is that this basketball’s cover won’t tear when dropped on asphalt.

You won’t find many people saying this ball is better than the Spalding Zi/O or the NBA Replica Game Ball, but it’s cheaper on Amazon and plays just as well, so it’s our top recommendation.

2. Spalding NBA Zi/O

Spalding Zi/O TF Indoor-Outdoor Basketball 29.5"

The Zi/O Basketball from Spalding is an attempt to develop the perfect ball for indoors and outdoors.

It’s silky and sticky due to the dense pebble structure. However, the foam back of the cover slightly reduces the bounce on rougher outdoor surfaces. This means it won’t feel overly bouncy on concrete or asphalt when you play it outside.

The Zi/O is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a ball that performs similarly well on both hardwood (indoors) and concrete (outdoors).

This basketball is very identical to the Spalding NBA Replica Game Ball (also on this list), except for a slightly different cover texture. Neither is a bad choice, but the Zi/O wins thanks to its slightly stickier cover (in my opinion).

3. Wilson NCAA WAVE Microfiber Composite

WILSON Evolution Game Basketball - Game Ball, Size 7 - 29.5"

Popular YouTuber The WAVE, made of durable butyl rubber, is the preferred ball of the professor, who notes that it’s only slightly softer than the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball. The 24 T3 grooves on the panels make the ball easier to handle and allow for better control of the game. When used outdoors, the grooves slow the spread of dust and dirt on the plates.

There isn’t much of a price difference between the WAVE and Wilson’s NCAA Replica Game Ball, which makes the decision even more difficult. The Replica is the best option if you want to practise with a ball that’s very similar to the original design, while the WAVE is a great substitute if you prefer a ball with more grip. You also shouldn’t get too used to the grooves of the WAVE, because most balls you get don’t have them.

All in all, this is a reliable and high-quality ball that’s earned the recognition of the best streetball players in the world.

4. Spalding Replica NBA Game Ball

Spalding React TF-250 Indoor-Outdoor Basketball 29.5"

The Replica NBA Game Ball from Spalding is a great indoor/outdoor ball with the NBA emblem.

This basketball does not have as much grip as the Wilson NCAA Game Replica Basketball. In most cases, more grip is an advantage, but this varies from person to person.

Unlike the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball and the Wilson NCAA WAVE, this ball does not have pebble channels, so the grip on the channels is not quite as consistent.

There are some quality issues with the stitching on this basketball. We think the Wilson basketball is a better buy because of the more reliable panel seam construction.

5. Molten X-Series GM7X Indoor/Outdoor

Molten BG3800 Series, Indoor/Outdoor Basketball, FIBA Approved, Size 7, 2- Tone Design, Model: B7G3800

Molten is a popular Japanese sporting goods manufacturer, best known as the official ball of FIBA international competitions (including the Olympics). Molten GM7X balls are constructed to the same standards as their competition counterparts, but have a more durable outer shell.

Molten’s X-Series basketballs are immediately recognizable by their innovative 12-panel design, which is in stark contrast to the usual 8-panel shape. The channels (seams) on this basketball are shallower and more numerous than other brands.

Molten has an excellent, but elusive feel to the game. There is a noticeable difference in feel from the Spalding or Wilson balls that many players are familiar with, but it is not always an improvement. It lacks the leathery texture of real leather and has more in common with a plush rubber.

A unique feature of the basketball is the orientation of the pebble pattern on its surface, which provides uniformity. It’s not necessary, but it’s still a beautiful thing.

There are concerns about the durability of the GM7X. Apparently, the cover wears out a bit faster than usual when playing on rougher surfaces. Therefore, it is not recommended for gamers who mainly play outdoors.

If you have the opportunity, you should try the Molten GM7X. Others are not fans of its unconventional look and feel.

6. Under Armour 495 Gripskin Size 7 Basketball

Spalding TF-500 Indoor-Outdoor Basketball 27.5"

When it comes to basketball, Under Armour is a newcomer, but the company has already made a splash by signing big-name athletes like Stephen Curry.

The Under Armour 495 basketball is a great all-around ball, despite the company’s short history as a ball manufacturer (just a few years).

Under Armour’s Gripskin technology incorporates denser and more substantial pebbles to improve traction. The 100% butyl rubber bladder provides excellent airflow and the nylon wrap provides dimensional stability.

Initially, it was a little difficult to hold the ball in the palm of my hand because it was so slippery. After a few days, the ball became softer and grippier, so it felt more like a quality indoor basketball.

The ball’s slight lack of bounce and inconsistency, as well as its poorer air retention compared to other brands, are major weaknesses.

Types Of Outdoor Basketballs

Outdoor basketballs come in a variety of styles, each with its own advantages. Regardless of your budget and style of play, there is an outdoor basketball game that will suit you.

List of the many types of outdoor basketballs:

Rubber basketballs

These outdoor basketballs are the least expensive option and tend to last a long time. They may not have as much bounce as other options and may be more difficult to regulate.

Synthetic leather basketballs

They offer a good mix of price and performance, which makes them interesting for a wide range of musicians.

Genuine leather basketballs

Although they are usually the most expensive option, they offer the best feel and control.

Is An Outdoor Basketball Worth It?

If you’re serious about playing basketball, you should have a set of outdoor basketball hoops. Compared to basketballs that are only used indoors, these are built for tough outdoor use.

To improve grip and control when playing on an outdoor court, basketballs designed for outdoor use have a deeper channel. Also, the substance of an outdoor basketball is optimized to bounce better on concrete, so you can still shoot baskets even if you don’t have anyone to rebound for you.

If you’re thinking about whether or not to invest in an outdoor basketball, I can assure you: you should!

How To Shop For The Best Outdoor Basketball?

Weatherproof and designed for consistent play, outdoor basketballs are a must-have for any game. However, choosing the best outdoor basketball can be difficult because there are so many options.

When looking for an outdoor basketball, there are a few points you should consider:

  • Material – Rubber or composite leather are common materials for outdoor basketballs. Rubber balls are less expensive, but composite leather balls last longer. Buying a composite leather ball is a good investment if you play a lot of basketball outside.
  • Size – There are three main sizes of outdoor basketballs: official (size 7), medium (size 6) and young (size 5). As an adult player, you need an official size ball. A medium size ball is suitable for younger players or for players who play mainly on street courts. Children under 12 years old may only use youth size balls.
  • Surface – When playing basketball outdoors, the surface of the court can have a big impact on the game. Outdoor courts use hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt, which can be rough for the outer layer of the ball.

Try to find a ball that is designed for a hard game. But a softer surface will make the ball bounce higher.

  • Price -The price of an outdoor basketball can range from $15 to $200. Choose a less expensive ball if you’re just starting out. However, if you’re an experienced player who wants maximum results, it’s worth spending the extra money on a high-quality ball. There’s an outdoor basketball for every budget.

FAQ

What materials are basketballs made of?

Many basketballs today are made of a synthetic composite, rubber or leather. Leather has always been the preferred material for this purpose. A bladder of butyl rubber gives the basketball its bounce and holds the hair in place. A “carcass” of polyester or nylon threads encases the bladder.

What size is best for a basketball?

The standard size of an outdoor basketball is 28.5 to 29 inches in circumference. A court of this size is usually used for men’s basketball games. In addition, outdoor basketballs must be inflated to the optimum pressure in order to rebound properly on the court.

How long does an outdoor basketball last?

Several variables come into play in answering this question, including the quality of the ball, frequency of use and playing surface. With regular use, a quality outdoor basketball should last for years.

However, if the ball is played infrequently or not properly cared for, it may only last a season or two. To extend the life of an outdoor basketball, it is recommended that you play it on a flat surface and shop it in a cool, dry place when not in use. If you take good care of your outdoor basketball, it will give you many years of enjoyment.

How We Chose The Best Outdoor Basketballs?

To make sure we know all the brands that are out there, we research extensively on the Internet and with the industry’s leading online retailers before making a final decision. 

We consider many factors, such as customer feedback, star ratings, brand philosophy, production methods, raw materials, and ease of accessibility. We take the time to think through the pros and cons so you don’t have to.

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