Having the right type of basketball for the type of surface that you’re playing on can make a big difference in your playing quality.
Outdoor games can happen on your driveway, in the street or on a paved court, so having a ball that will perform well on all of these surfaces is important. You’ll also have weather to factor in, so moisture and temperature will make a big difference in the type of ball that you need!
Below, we’ll highlight the ten best outdoor basketballs and offer you some useful tips that will help you select the right one for your needs.
Things to Consider
As you search for a great outdoor basketball, there are a few things you should take into consideration as you compare and contrast different brands:
- Material. The outside skin of the basketball is made from either rubber, synthetic rubber or leather. For outdoor games, a rubber basketball will work great on the rougher surfaces that you’ll most likely be playing on.
Some basketballs are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and if this is indicated on the packaging, then they’re probably going to give you the best outdoor results on smooth, quality outdoor courts rather than rough concrete and asphalt.
Also, if you use an indoor ball outdoors, as well, then just remember that you’ll probably wear it out more quickly and have to replace it sooner.
- Size. Decide the circumference that you need. You can, of course, use whatever you prefer, but if you’re serious about the game, you’ll opt for something that falls within the official sizing range:
- Youth (for kids under age 7): 22-22 ½ inches
- Women’s Official Size: 28 ½-29 inches
- Men’s Official Size: 29 ½ – 30 inches
- Pump. Don’t forget to pick up a pump for your basketball, unless you decide to get the Spalding Never Flat (number ten on our list). Spalding claims that their ball can maintain air pressure for a minimum of one year, whereas other balls will slowly deflate and therefore causing the rebound height to decrease.
- Air Temperature. If you play outside in colder weather, remember that the ball might not bounce as high at cooler temperatures.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the fall has lost air; it may just mean that the cooler temperature has caused the pressure inside the ball to decrease.
Check the pressure before you pump more air into the ball, because it might not require any. You may just need to warm the ball up a bit, so start playing!
- Other Gear. There are a lot of other factors that can affect your game. Take your shoes for example.
You need something that will support your ankles and offer you grip for all of the lateral and linear movement, quick breaks and cuts.
Compression socks and ankle braces will help you as your feet heal from certain injuries.
Arm yourself with the right shoes and a great ball if you’re ready to get serious about the game.
Top 10 Outdoor Basketballs Comparison Table
|1. Spalding NBA Street Basketball||28.5"||$||4.6|
|2. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball||28.5"||$$||4.5|
|3. Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball||29.5"||$||4.4|
|4. Under Armour 295 Spongetech Basketball||29.5"||$$$||4.3|
|5. Baden Grip-Tread Rubber Basketball||29.5"||$||4.3|
|6. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball||29.5"||$$||4.3|
|7. Spalding NBA Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball||27.5" (youth)||$||4.3|
|8. Molten BGM7 Basketball, Indoor/Outdoor, FIBA Approved||29.5"||$$$$||4.2|
|9. Spalding NBA Street Basketball||29.5"||$||4.2|
|10. Spalding Neverflat Outdoor Basketball||29.5"||$$||4.0|
Finding the Right Basketball
Once you’ve determined the surface (or surfaces) that you’ll be playing on, there are a few other things that can help you to step up your game.
Start with the pebble count on the surface of the ball.
- Pebbles. The pebbles, or bumps, that are found on the surface of the ball make a difference in the quality of your grip. On an outdoor ball, there are fewer pebbles (a standard indoor ball has 122 per square inch, for example) and have more of a rough feel.
With regular use, you’ll break the ball in and the surface may not feel as hard as it did in the beginning. It will still offer you excellent grip, though, especially in wet/rainy conditions.
Some balls don’t have pebbles (check out number five on our list) and playing with them may take some getting used to, so if you’re still learning to play ball or just play occasionally, focus more on the size and how well you can palm it.
Top 5 Best Outdoor Basketball Reviews
Everyone has their brand preferences, but when it comes to quality, material and durability, we found the following to be the best outdoor basketballs:
Spalding dominates the basketball industry because they know all about making a quality product.
The NBA rubber street basketball is especially durable. It has a rough texture, perfect as you play on equally rough surfaces such as concrete and asphalt. It’s still easy to grip and it will last through quite a few games!
It costs less than professional indoor models and lasts much longer. Just what you need if the majority of your games take place outdoors.
If you want to feel like a real NCAA basketball player, there’s nothing better than a replica game ball to help you!
This Wilson ball – intermediate size – made of moisture absorbing composite (synthetic) leather, which is designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
An NCAA ball that will offer you an NBA feel on concrete courts, and be sure to get the pump to prolong the life of your ball.
With six color combinations to choose from, this rubber Spalding Varsity ball meets the official NBA size and weight criteria.
It offers you great grip for all outdoor games on a variety of surfaces – blacktop, asphalt or concrete – and it’s not too expensive!
One nice thing about the Under Armour 295 Rubber ball is that the large logo is covered in pebbles. Some logos are stamped onto the balls, which creates a slick, smooth surface on that portion of the ball. This can cause it to slip in your hands, but the Under Armour ball won’t have this problem since the logo is functional.
This is ideal for outdoor games and offers you superb grip.
It’s a bit more expensive than most outdoor balls, but if you’re looking to improve your game and play some serious ball, this is a great option.
Basketball or old vehicle tire? Maybe a little bit of both!
The tire tread design on this basketball offers you amazing grip and it will last much longer than most of the standard basketballs you’ll find out there. A unique basketball that’s worth a try if you’ve never tried it for any of your street games!
Schools, for example, that need longer-lasting recess equipment will love the amount of wear and tear that they’ll get out of this Baden. It can handle the rough handling that it will receive!
There are plenty of basketballs to choose from when you want something that’s great on outdoor surfaces. Wilson and Spalding dominate the niche, but don’t forget to overlook some of the great options from Under Armour, Baden and Molten. All great brands!
Be sure to refer to our guide above for all of the useful tips and suggestions that will help you find the right one for your needs!