Best Basketballs 2024

An orange basketball with black lines and Wilson branding laying on a wooden bench in a lockeroom.
Credit: Wilson

An orange basketball with black lines and Wilson branding laying on a wooden bench in a lockeroom.
Credit: Wilson

Choosing the best basketball can be a challenging task, especially considering the diverse playing surfaces you can end up playing on. The selection process begins with recognizing that different basketballs are tailored for specific environments. For indoor games, leather basketballs stand out, offering an exceptional grip and feel. On the flip side, for outdoor play, rubber basketballs are the preferred choice, capable of withstanding various elements while providing a reliable bounce.

To simplify the search for the perfect basketball, we've curated a list of top picks, considering factors such as price, user reviews, materials, of course, and unique features. With our guide, you'll be able to find the ideal basketball to enhance your training and meet specific needs on the court.

Remember, if you want to take your game to the next level, your footwear is key too. Therefore, explore some of the best basketball shoe options to ensure an unparalleled court performance. But before delving into the world of basketball shoes, check out some top basketballs below.

Best basketballs

  1. Spalding Zi/O Excel - an excellent all-rounder
  2. Wilson Evolution - best for indoor games
  3. Molten X-Series - a great choice for outdoors
  4. Wilson NBA Official Game Basketball - a premium pick for pro players
  5. Spalding Rookie Gear Youth - top option for young ballers
Spalding Zi/O Excel product image of a classic brown NBA ball
expand image
Credit: Spalding

1. Spalding Zi/O Excel

Best basketball overall

Material: Composite
Size: 6-7

Spalding has a long history of producing sports equipment dating back to 1876. The brand is especially well-known for its high-quality basketballs that were once used in the NBA. The Spalding Zi/O Excel basketball is an excellent example of the brand's expertise. It features a composite construction that makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

The ball's deep grooves make it easier to handle, while the foam backing increases grip, making passing, dribbling, and shooting easier. This ball is perfect for anyone looking to improve their game, whether they're practicing at home or playing in a competitive setting.

So, if you're looking for a reliable ball to help you train, the Zi/O Excel is an excellent option. Its composite construction and specially designed grooves and foam backing make it easy to handle and improve your game. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, this ball is sure to meet your needs and help you achieve your basketball goals.

Reasons to buy:

  • Composite build makes it great to use indoors and out
  • Deep grooves improve grip

Read More: Best Jordans for basketball

Wilson Evolution Game Basketball product image of a classic orange basketball with navy branding on the front.
expand image
Credit: Wilson

2. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

Best indoor basketball

Material: Evo Microfibre
Size: 5-7

Next, we have the Wilson Evolution. a premier NBA-sized basketball tailored for indoor gameplay, setting the standard with its top-tier microfibre construction.

Crafted with Cushion Core technology, this ball guarantees a plush and comfortable feel without compromising responsiveness during dribbles. It's the go-to option for high school and college players aiming to refine their skills.

Its microfibre cover boasts deep pebbling, optimizing hand grip for maximum control, especially during swift transitions and fast breaks. So, whether you're sporting the iconic Air Jordans or any other sneakers, this Wilson basketball stands out as an excellent choice for hitting the court.

Reasons to buy:

  • Cushion Core technology is responsive and soft to hold
  • Microfibre cover is great for grip and indoor use

Read More: Best budget basketball shoes

Molten X-Series product image of an orange basketball with cream stripes around it along with black outlines and branding.
expand image
Credit: Molten

3. Molten X-Series

Best outdoor basketball

Material: Synthetic
Size: 6

Playing basketball indoors versus outdoors presents distinct challenges due to the differing court surfaces. Outdoor courts are often rougher and harder, demanding specialized gear to withstand the harsh conditions.

When it comes to outdoor gameplay, the Molten X-Series basketball stands out as an excellent choice. Crafted with a butyl bladder, it maintains consistent air pressure even after enduring countless bounces on unforgiving surfaces.

Its synthetic cover is a game-changer, providing an unparalleled grip that's crucial for precision and control, especially in adverse weather conditions. This enhanced grip is facilitated by its sturdy pebbling, improving friction both in hand and on the court.

Additionally, the Molten basketball holds FIBA approval, a testament to its outstanding quality and durability. It's a reliable and long-lasting option for outdoor training sessions and competitive matches.

Reasons to buy:

  • Butyl bladder maintains air like no other
  • Its synthetic exterior can withstand the wear of outdoor courts

Read More: Best Nike Dunks

Wilson NBA Official Game Basketball product image of a light brown official NBA ball.
expand image
Credit: Wilson

4. Wilson NBA Official Game Basketball

Best premium basketball

Material: Leather
Size: 7

The NBA Official Game basketball, while coming with a slightly higher price tag than other options, undeniably stands as one of the best choices available, particularly for indoor play. Used within the very league itself, this basketball exudes a level of quality.

Constructed with authentic leather and meticulously crafted to meet the world-class standards of the NBA, this basketball is engineered for durability and longevity.

Wilson, the manufacturer, attests that as the leather matures over time, the cover becomes even more adhesive, making it the perfect selection for not only dribbling drills but, most significantly, game days.

Therefore, if your budget permits, investing in this official Wilson basketball is a great choice for avid basketball enthusiasts.

Reasons to buy:

  • Built for the NBA
  • Authentic leather gives it a durable and premium edge over its rivals

Read More: Best basketball hoops

Spalding Rookie Gear Youth product image of an orange, green, blue, and yellow basketball.
expand image
Credit: Spalding

5. Spalding Rookie Gear Youth

Best kids basketball

Material: Faux Leather
Size: 27.5"

When starting in the sport at a young age, you don't want to dive headfirst into using an adult-sized basketball that'll quite frankly be near impossible to handle. With this Spalding Rookie Gear Youth ball, you're getting something that not only looks visually appealing for children thanks to its bright exterior, but is also much smaller. As a result, it's ideal for tiny hands to hold and shoot.

Not only that, but it's incredibly lightweight and should return right back to you with every bounce. Its faux leather outer shell should also make it easy to stay in control of whilst dribbling.

On the whole, this youth ball from Spalding looks like an excellent pick for those just starting their journey into basketball.

Reasons to buy:

  • Smaller, so great for children in training
  • Lightweight enough to make dribbling easy for kids

Read More: Best Jordan 1 colourways

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

With so many different options to choose from, you probably have a few queries about these top basketballs. Don't worry though, because we're here to clear up some of the more common questions.

What should you look for from a basketball?

According to Wilson Sporting Goods, the following are worth looking out for when buying a basketball:

  • Size - Getting the size right is important for maximizing your control over the ball. Generally speaking, a size 7 ball is right for adults, with size 5 and 6 balls usually reserved for younger age groups. A size 7 ball has a 29.5" circumference.
  • Material - You'll need to select the right material for the type of court you'll be playing on. Typically, you'll want to use a leather ball for indoor games, and synthetic balls for outdoor courts as they will be less likely to wear down on the rougher surface.

Are all basketballs the same?

There are three main types of basketball: indoor, outdoor, and synthetic hybrids. Indoor balls are the most common type, but typically more expensive.

This is because they're usually constructed out of premium leather and offer the best grip and feel over a longer period of time since they are normally bounced off polished wooden floors.

Conversely, outdoor basketballs are usually made from rubber since they are designed to be used on rough, concrete surfaces. Therefore, rubber is included to increase longevity and durability.

Hybrid balls sit somewhere in between, utilizing a composite leather construction allowing them to be used on either surface.

How much should you spend on a basketball?

Deciding on how much to spend on a basketball really comes down to your available budget.

Top-of-the-range NBA replica balls can be quite expensive; however, there are a plethora of great alternatives available for less as shown by this list.

Having said that, we'd recommend avoiding overly cheap basketballs as these will most likely wear down quickly and lose grip fast due to poorer construction and materials.

It's also worth keeping in mind that outdoor balls may need to be replaced more frequently than indoor basketballs because of the rougher playing surface. As a result, we'd recommend factoring this into your purchase.

Does a basketball need maintenance?

If you want to extend a basketball's lifespan, it's important to maintain it correctly. Part of the maintenance should be to always keep it clean. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any dirt or sweat on the surface of the ball and avoid using abrasive cleaners or rough materials that can damage the texture of the ball.

Make sure you keep it dry as well. Moisture can damage the leather or rubber of the ball, and can also cause the ball to become slippery and harder to handle, so always wipe your basketball dry after cleaning.

When not in use, store the ball in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as this can cause the color of the ball to fade and the texture to deteriorate.

It's also worth checking the pressure of the ball regularly using a pump with a gauge. The recommended pressure is usually printed on the ball itself. Overinflating or underinflating the ball can affect its performance and lifespan.

Finally, make sure you only use your basketball on the correct surface. A basketball is meant to be played on smooth, clean grounds such as hardwood floors or asphalt courts. Playing on rough or abrasive surfaces can damage the ball and cause it to wear out more quickly.

By following these rules, you can help ensure that your basketball stays in good condition and performs well for years to come.

How long does a basketball last?

The lifespan of a basketball can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the ball, frequency and intensity of use, and the conditions it is stored in.

A high-quality basketball used regularly in competitive games may last several months to a year before it needs to be replaced. However, a cheaper ball used infrequently and not well-cared for may only last a few weeks or months.

It's important to note that over time, a basketball's grip, inflation level, and overall performance may diminish, making it less suitable for use in competitive play. It's a good idea to inspect your basketball regularly for signs of wear and tear and replace it as needed to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Does a basketball need 'breaking in'?

A brand-new leather basketball needs to be broken in otherwise won't have the feel or grip you might expect during the first use. The easiest way to do this is by playing with it on a court as the continuous bouncing off the rough surface as this will help soften the material.

Having said that, basketballs made from a composite shouldn't need breaking in as much as their surfaces are not as slippery during first use.

Can an outdoor basketball ball be used indoors?

Yes, you can use an outdoor basketball ball indoors. While outdoor basketball balls are typically designed to withstand rougher surfaces and weather conditions, they can still be used on indoor courts without any major issues.

As touched on in our list, the main difference between outdoor and indoor basketball balls is usually the material used for the outer cover. Outdoor basketball balls often have a more durable rubber or synthetic cover to withstand outdoor elements, while indoor basketball balls typically have a softer composite or genuine leather cover for better grip and feel.

When using an outdoor basketball ball indoors, you may notice that the ball feels slightly harder or has a different bounce compared to an indoor-specific ball. However, this difference is usually minimal and doesn't significantly affect gameplay. If you prefer the feel of an indoor basketball ball or are playing in a competitive indoor setting, you may opt for an indoor-specific ball. But for casual indoor use, an outdoor basketball ball should work just fine.

Can a basketball be used in wet conditions?

Using a basketball in wet conditions is generally not recommended. While basketballs are designed to be durable and withstand different playing conditions, exposing them to excessive moisture can have negative effects on their performance and longevity.

This is because when a basketball gets wet, its surface becomes slippery, making it challenging to maintain a firm grip on the ball. This can affect your ability to handle and control the ball during dribbling, passing, and shooting.

Also, moisture can alter the weight and balance of the basketball, leading to unpredictable bounces and shots. The ball may not respond as expected when it comes into contact with the playing surface, making it difficult to play the game effectively.

Finally, exposing a basketball to water for prolonged periods can damage its construction and materials. It may lead to warping, weakening of the seams, and potential degradation of the ball's structure, resulting in a reduced lifespan and impact on its overall performance.

So, if you find yourself playing basketball in wet conditions, we'd advise you to dry the ball as soon as possible using a towel. Additionally, storing the basketball in a cool, dry place when not in use can help maintain its quality and extend its lifespan.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!