7 Best Outdoor Basketballs

Best Outdoor Basketball

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Basketball is a sport that you can play both indoors and outdoors. Only the players will understand the dynamics of playing in two different environments. To correctly shoot a hoop outdoors, you only need the best outdoor basketball in hand. An indoor basketball that feels right indoors may not perform the same outdoors.

There are outdoor basketballs that are specially designed, keeping in mind the outdoor environment. You may be playing on the streets, in your garage, and hardened concrete or asphalt. The best outdoor basketball will enable you to play your best anywhere you like.

Best Outdoor Basketball: What To Consider?

 If you want the best outdoor basketball for your sport, then here are a few things to consider:

Material

Outdoor basketball should be durable. Most indoor basketballs come in genuine leather which won’t last past few outdoor matches. Players increasingly use composite leather since it feels more like leather. You can even use rubber basketballs; however, synthetic leather is preferable.

Grip

The grip of the best outdoor basketball should feel firm and long-lasting. You should consider two things- how long the grip lasts and how fast it breaks down. When you play on hard concrete for long, the ball’s surface may become smooth fast. You need a more robust construction so that your grip lasts longer. A basketball with a channel or pebbling designs work great on outdoor basketballs.

Durability

Durability is another crucial feature to consider when looking for the best outdoor basketball. You don’t want a basketball that wears down quickly. The whole construct of basketball should be compact, strong, and durable. The ball should be able to withstand rain, heat, hard surfaces, and so on.

The Best Outdoor Basketball

1. Spalding NBA Street

Spalding is known as a brand that delivers durability and high quality. The Spalding NBA street is perfect for those on a budget but wants the best outdoor basketball. This ball works well for any level of players. Some of its important features are:

  • Materials used: This basketball is made from premium quality performance rubber that guarantees durability. The solid rubber can withstand gameplays on rough outdoor surfaces. It is manufactured using top-grade materials and can retain its strength and effectiveness for years.
  • Grip: What makes this one of the best outdoor basketballs is its excellent grip. The deep, longitudinal channels provide a solid grip while playing. The pebbling surface eliminates the chance of slippage while dribbling or bouncing the ball.
  • Performance: The Spalding NBA street has a reliable flight path. Its bouncing capability is much better than other outdoor basketballs. It gives a unique spin for passing and shooting into the hoop.
  • Size: The basketball comes in three sizes of 5,6 and 7. The largest size is suitable for competition or training. It also comes in the official NBA size and weight, thus making an excellent choice for serious players.
ProsCons
Solid rubber construct makes it extremely durableMay need constant pumping
Comes in official NBA size and weight
Deep channels and pebbling for added grip

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2. Spalding NBA Hexagrip Soft Grip NeverFlat

The Spalding NBA Hexagrip Soft Grip NeverFlat is designed not just for outdoors, but indoor matches also. If you are a beginner, then this ball could be one of the best outdoor basketballs for you. It comes with high durability and quality performance. Some of its important features are:

  • Materials used: The ball is made of top-grade rubber that guarantees its durability. The entire construct makes it capable of withstanding the everyday hustle of outdoor plays. It is excellent for entry-level players, who may like to play it rough.
  • Grip: This Spalding ball is known for its soft grip technology cover. Unlike other rubber balls, this will feel soft on your hands. The hexagonal pebbling pattern provides excellent grip while handling the ball and superior control. The deep, black, and wide channels allow good rotation on your shots and smooth passing.
  • Performance: You will notice an improvement in your performance when you use this ball. Some basketballs tend to deflate with a drop in temperature. This may affect your performance level by reducing its bouncing capability. However, you won’t experience such issues with this ball.
  • The technology used: The NeverFlat air retention technology of this Spalding ball keeps it inflated for at least a year. The ball is injected with NitroFlate molecules that maintain the ball’s inflation for long. It also has a protective  NitroFlate valve cap attached to it. The cap does not allow any debris entering the ball through the valve.  It also blocks any air leakage from the inside.
  • Size: These balls come in the official NBA size and weight. It has a large size of 7 (29.5”) and intermediate size 6 (28.5”).
ProsCons
DurableSome may find the ball to be very bouncy
The ball stays inflated for at least a year
Soft grip

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3. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

Not many basketballs can perform perfectly both indoors and outdoors. The Under Armour 495 Indoor/ Outdoor has the unique ability to resist the harsh conditions outside, as well as suit the controlled environment inside. Some of its important features are:

  • Materials used:  The ball is made of premium quality composite leather that makes it very durable. It also comes with 100% rubber bladders that ensure the highest level of air retention. Another unique feature about this basketball is the 80% nylon windings implemented by Under Armour. These windings make sure that the ball retains its shape even when exposed to the harshest of conditions.
  • Grip: This is the feature where the basketball outshines its competitors. If you are someone who values grip, then this is the best outdoor basketball for you. It has the UA Gripskin composite material as a cover that gives an excellent grip. The pebble pattern is deep and wide and comes with minimum spaces between the pebbles. This pattern ensures optimum contact surface in case the ball gets dirty. The wipe channels ensure that you have superior control over the ball.
  • Performance: The ball feels natural on the hand. The wide channels and dense pebbling offers maximum grip and a smooth flight path. This basketball will perform very well in rain, or dirt, and even indoors.
  • Size: The ball comes in official NBA size of 5, 6 and 7. Therefore, it can even be used by kids.
ProsCons
Dense pebbling gives perfect gripBounce responsiveness may not be that great
Durable materialThe UA logo on the ball is extra large and made of different materials
Great for both outdoors and indoors

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4. Spalding NBA Zi/0 Excel

If you value weight and grip, then the Spalding NBA Zi/O Excel should be on your top list. This basketball is one of the lightest and the best outdoor basketballs in the market today, weighing only 1 lb—4.6 oz.

The best part is that it comes at a reasonable price. You can play this ball indoors and outdoors too. However, it is specifically designed for the harsh outdoor environment. Some of its features are:

  • Materials used: The ball features a composite leather construction that makes the ball extremely durable and resilient. With its Zi/O PU covering, this basketball gives the versatility to be played indoors and outdoors.
  • Grip: The ball is covered with a foam backing under its pebbled pattern. This enables precise handling of the ball. This unique basketball also has wide channels that are 30% deeper. Deep channels give way to better dribbling and a sturdy grip.
  • Performance: Overall, the Spalding NBA Zi/O Excel feels soft on the hands. However, it can play like a pro in harsh outdoor conditions. The foam-backed design of the ball allows for consistent bounces. The accuracy of passing and shooting with this ball is 100%. If you desire great bounce, grip, and air retention, then Spalding Zi/O will fulfill your needs.
  • Size: This is a great choice for serious players because it comes in the official NBA size and weight. It comes in a slightly larger circumference of 29 and 6/8 inches.
ProsCons
LightweightGlue may weaken under wet conditions
Foam backing for extra grip and bouncingThe outer cover could have been more durable
Deep channels that allow good plays under windy conditions

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5. Spalding NBA Tack Soft Basketball

The Spalding NBA Tack Sift Basketball is built to last. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor matches. However, its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions makes it one of the best outdoor basketballs out there. Some of its important features are:

  • Materials used: This high-end basketball comes with extreme durability because of its durable cover material. It is made of composite leather, thus making it strong and playable for several hours a week with effective bounciness. You don’t have to worry about the leather degrading after using it for long. This is because of the premium polyurethane composite covering the ball.
  • Grip: The material of basketball is very grippy. You can get a good hold on the ball even when you initially catch the edge of the ball. It has deep, longitudinal channels on it with a pebbled pattern that provides additional gripping power. You can quickly shoot or pass without feeling slippage because of the surface pattern.
  • Performance: The grip material enables better control of the ball during play. You can dribble and bounce the ball successfully for weeks since the ball maintains its bounciness for more extended periods. The ball feels soft on your hands, just like its name, “Tack Soft.” The balls come fully inflated and ready to use.
  • Size: The basketball comes in size 6 (28.5”) and official size 7(29.5”). Therefore, it can be played even by women with smaller hands.
ProsCons
Tack Soft feel on the handsYou might need pump it regularly
Extreme durability
Synthetic cover protection
Two ball sizes for women with smaller hands

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6. Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite

If you are looking for a basketball that has a sturdy construct, then Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite is the one for you. The Wave Triple Threat technology of this ball makes it one of the best outdoor basketballs you can own. This model focuses on the durability and will last you for many years. Some of its important features are here:

  • Materials used: The Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite is made of high-quality synthetic leather that gives it excellent durability. There is no break-in time with this ball.
  • Grip: There is no compromise on the grip and handling with this ball. The Wave Triple Threat Technology implements 24 precision recessed grooves that increase grip and ball control. The pebbled pattern of the cover enhances the ball’s gripping power.
  • Performance: The grooves on the surface give better ball control, and you can dribble, bounce, or shoot with ease. While playing outdoors, there may be a buildup of dirt, which may affect ball handling. However, the grooves prevent such buildup and improve ball accuracy and more ball rotation. The ball has a Cushion Core Technology that combines durable butyl rubber and low-density sponge rubber. This combination gives great bounce and feels to the ball during gameplay.
  • Size: The ball comes in official NBA size 6 and size 7.
ProsCons
Recessed grooves on the surface for better performanceMay require regular inflation
Pebbled composite durable leatherThe grip wears down over time
Excellent grip
Reduced dirt build up on the ball

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7. Spalding NBA Street Phantom Official Outdoor Basketball

If you are looking for a basketball that fulfills the official weight and size criteria, then Spalding NBA Street Phantom is the one. It is one of the best outdoor basketballs for professional gameplays outdoors.  Some of its important features are:

  • Materials used: The phantom is made of durable rubber material that makes it great for the outdoor environment. A unique quality of this ball is its manufacturing process. Along with the molding of the carcass, the entire outer cover is also produced.  That gives additional strength, a better grip, and feels to the ball.
  • Grip: The phantom ball features the Soft Grip Technology that feels soft on your hand and sticks to your palms. You will get a good grip on the ball regardless of the size of your palm. The best part about Spalding balls is their balance is being soft as well as durable. The balls are not as soft as expected and hence can withstand the hard concrete floors. The surface has a pebbled pattern that is dense and provides excellent gripping power. The channels are slighter wider than usual, but it offers better control of the ball when released.
  • Performance: The Street Phantom is purely an outdoor football, and may not work as good when played indoors. It performs well even under wet conditions. You can get good control of the ball while shooting and dribbling due to its dense pebbled surface.
  • Size: The basketball comes in the official NBA size 7 (29.5”)
ProsCons
Dedicatedly designed for outdoor playThe black color absorbs maximum heat during summer
Soft Grip Technology for better gripMay feel extra bouncy when over-inflated
Comes in Black color with neon markings

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Best Outdoor Basketball: Buying Guide

When looking for the best outdoor basketball, there are a few important specs you should consider. The ball should be good enough to allow you to practice like a professional player. It should be durable since you are going to play outdoors. Here is a buying guide for you if you want the best outdoor basketball for yourself.

Material

The material of the basketball will determine how durable and long-lasting the ball is. When playing outdoors, you want a basketball that can withstand harsh conditions like rain, heat, concrete, or asphalt. If the material is good, then the ball will last longer.

If your aim to get a ball that will last, then go for the Spalding NBA Street. The ball is made from solid performance rubber that makes it resistant to rough outdoor courts. The durable rubber construct keeps it long-lasting and resistant to extreme conditions.

Grip

Your ball performance will depend on how well you can grip the ball. The gripping power of a ball depends on the channels and the pebbling pattern on the surface. If you want better control of the ball, then opt for deep and wide channels.

If you have butterfingers or want a strong gripping power ball, choose the Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite. We loved this amongst all for its Wave Triple Threat Technology that gives extra grip. The ball is covered in 24 recessed grooves and is pebble patterned to avoid any ball slippage.

Weight

The weight of your basketball can determine how well you control the ball. Some like to play with heavier while some prefer lighter basketballs. Lighter basketballs are easier to manage and preferred by most players.

If you are one of them, then the Spalding NBA Zi/0 Excel is the right one for you. This basketball is one of the lightest balls you will find, weighing only 1 lb. 4.6 oz. This composite leather ball feels soft and light on your hand. Its light weight and good bounciness makes it one of the best outdoor basketballs available.

Bounce

While playing outdoors, the bounciness of a ball determines a well playable ball. The ball should remain bouncy for long and not lose air. If you want a basketball that can retain its bounciness for long, go for Spalding NBA Hexagrip Soft Grip NeverFlat.

This basketball comes with the NeverFlat air retention technology and can keep your ball bouncy for a minimum of one year. The NitroFlate molecules injected inside, and the NitroFlate valve cap together helps in retaining the air inside. These ensure that your ball doesn’t lose its bounciness even with a drop in temperature.

An Overall Pick?

If you want the best outdoor basketball that performs excellent overall, then we recommend the Spalding NBA Zi/0 Excel. It is foam-backed and feels soft, along with giving a tight grip. This ball can be played indoors and outdoors, making it an excellent pick for those under a budget.

The deep channels make it easier to dribble and take a jump shot. This basketball can moisture-wick to give you a better grip while playing. You don’t have to worry about sweaty hands anymore. This Spalding ball can become the best outdoor basketball for those who value durability and good handling at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Outdoor Basketball?

An outdoor basketball is one that has been designed explicitly for outdoor gameplay.

Can I Use An Indoor Basketball Outdoors?

No, don’t use an indoor basketball for playing outdoors. You can use some basketballs indoors and outdoors, but it is best to stick to a ball designed for outdoors. That is because indoor basketballs are mostly made of genuine leather that won’t last long outdoors. Outdoor basketballs are more from sturdier material like the rubber or composite leather.

Which Material Works Best If I Want The Best Outdoor Basketball?

If you want a durable basketball, then rubber basketballs are the best. But, if you want a durable ball and feel comfortable too, then go for composite leather. Composite leather is better over the rubber.

How Much Inflation Is Necessary For My Basketball?

The amount of pressure in your basketball will vary depending on the manufacturer and the ball’s material. The number usually runs between 7.5 to 8.5 PSI. Also, basketballs tend to lose air and need regular pumping to keep them bouncy.

What Are The Crossover Basketballs?

Crossover basketballs are for both indoor and outdoor gameplay. These balls have the durability for outdoor conditions and the smooth performance for indoor gameplays.

Which Brands Produce The Best Outdoor Basketballs?

Some renowned brands have produced good outdoor basketballs over time. Some of them are Spalding, Under Armour, Wilson, Nike, and others.

Conclusion

Choosing the best outdoor basketball is crucial if you want to be a successful player in the future. While tournaments are played indoors, the basic foundation is mostly built by playing outdoors with friends or family. Playing outdoors requires better ball performance if you want to shoot in the hoop. Therefore, getting an outdoor basketball that will enhance your performance level is significant.

Many manufacturers develop some of the best outdoor basketballs today. You need to make sure that you choose the one that works best for you. The best outdoor basketball should give you the right combination of price, quality, and performance.

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

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