Best Basketball 2022: Top Picks For Indoor And Outdoor Courts

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There's a lot to consider when searching for the best basketball, especially when you factor in all the different price points and surfaces you're likely to play on.

For example, leather basketballs tend to be built for indoor use, whereas rubber basketballs are usually better suited to outdoor courts, making them perfect for accompanying your best basketball shoes so you're ready to practice.

As a result, we've put together a list of our top picks based on price, reviews, and any unique features that make these basketballs stand out from the crowd.

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Whether you're looking for something designed for outdoor courts, like this Molten X-Series, or you're looking for something ready for indoor use, like this Official NBA Wilson ball, then we've got you covered right here.

We've also answered some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding basketballs to help you gain a better understanding of what to look for before you make your next purchase.

With that being said, let's jump in...

Best Basketball

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Best All-Round Basketball - Spalding Zi/O Excel

Best basketball Spalding product image of a classic brown NBA ball
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Credit: Spalding
Brand: Spalding | Material: Composite | Size: 6

Spalding has been manufacturing sports equipment since 1876; however, the brand is perhaps best known for its high-quality basketballs.

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Thanks to its durable composite leather cover, this Spalding Zi/O Excel looks to be no exception, thus making it a great pick for both indoor and outdoor use.

The ball comes with deep grooves which are designed to make it easier to handle, and a foam backing to increase grip which is vital for passing, dribbling, and shooting.

All in all, the Zi/O Excel combines Spaldings expertise into one amazing basketball, much like they do with their American football featured in our best American football list.

Best Indoor Basketball - Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

Best basketball Wilson product image of a classic orange and black ball
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Credit: Wilson
Brand: Wilson | Material: Evo Microfibre | Size: 7

This official NBA-sized basketball is one of the top, microfibre options for when you want to take your game to an indoor court.

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Due to the Cushion Core technology, which has been engineered to be soft to hold, as well as highly responsive to dribble, the Wilson Evolution is the ball of choice for many high school and college players.

Moreover, the microfibre cover comes with deep pebbling to maximise the friction with your hands which, in turn, should improve your control over the ball.

On the whole, the Wilson Evolution is a great option for indoor use and it comes in a variety of sizes as well to suit all age groups.

Best Outdoor Basketball - Molten X-Series

Best basketball Molten product image of an orange basketball built for outdoor use
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Credit: Molten
Brand: Molten | Material: Synthetic | Size: 6

There is a huge difference between playing on a smooth indoor court, and a harder, grippier outdoor one which is why there are different kinds of balls for each setting.

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If you do prefer to play outdoors, then you'll probably want something like the Molten X-Series which has been designed to hold its air thanks to its butyl bladder even after being repeatedly bounced off the floor.

Moreover, Molten boasts its basketball should remain easy to control during wet weather due to the grippy synthetic cover with strong pebbling to increase friction.

This bit of kit is also FIBA approved which means you'll likely be getting a high-quality, durable item with the Molten X-Series.

Best Basketball For Training - SportimeMax Hands-On

Best basketball Sportime product image of a yellow and orange training ball
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Credit: Sportime
Brand: Sportime | Material: Unspecified | Size: 5

Even though this is advertised as a junior ball, the SportimeMax Hands-On will likely help any beginner improve to help them become the next LeBron James during training.

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It comes with colour-coded visual aids designed to show beginners the proper hand positioning for when you're holding the ball.

Furthermore, the yellow and orange stripes are included to help you see how the ball rotates in the air meaning you can therefore learn how to put the right spin on the ball from watching the rotations.

Being a size 5, this item is smaller than a regulation NBA ball for example, but is a good starting point for beginners to help them learn the correct technique before progressing to the next size.

Best Basketball For Grip - Spalding TF-1000 Classic ZK

Best basketball Spalding product image of a highly grippy brown, faux leather basketball
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Credit: Spalding
Brand: Spalding | Material: Faux Leather | Size: 7

As Spalding specialise in making basketballs, it is no surprise they feature again with the TF-1000.

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While you try and figure out 'what basketball shoes are best for jumping?', you'll ultimately need an extremely grippy ball, like the TF-1000, in order to avoid dropping it before you reach the hoop.

It is available in two sizes, 6 and 7, to suit a variety of age groups and is made out of durable faux leather with ZK microfibers that have been designed to become soft once you break the ball in, which helps to increase grip levels.

The TF-1000 also comes with a butyl bladder to maximise air retention and nylon windings engineered to increase structural integrity and therefore improve the longevity of the ball.

All in all, this high school-approved ball has been adopted by the states of Idaho and North Dakota so will most likely be good enough for all your indoor court action.

Best Premium Basketball - Wilson NBA Official Game Basketball

Best basketball Wilson product image of a light brown official NBA ball.
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Credit: Wilson
Brand: Wilson | Material: Leather | Size: 7

The NBA Official Game ball comes with a premium price tag but should undoubtedly be one of the best basketballs on the market, particularly for indoor use.

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The genuine leather construct in compliance with the world-class standards of the NBA will likely improve the durability and longevity of this ball.

Also, Wilson state that once the leather has loosened up, the cover should start to feel incredibly grippy, thus making it a great pick for dribbling drills or, more importantly, game day.

Overall, this NBA Official Game ball from Wilson looks to be an excellent choice if you've got the available budget to spend a little extra on a basketball.

Frequently Asked Questions About Basketballs

With so many different manufacturers available 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.

Are All Basketballs The Same?

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There are three main types of basketball: indoor, outdoor, and synthetic hybrids.

Indoor balls are the most common type as well as, generally speaking, the most expensive. 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, the rubber is included with the aim to increase longevity and durability.

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

How Do You Choose The Right Basketball?

The following are what we'd recommend looking out for to help you find the perfect basketball:

  • Size - Getting the size right is important for maximising 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.
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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.

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Which Basketball Is Best For Beginners?

As touched on in this list, a good basketball for beginners would be one that can help you get your hand positioning and technique right.

For example, this SportimeMax ball, although designed for children, can be a useful tool to help you figure out the correct hand positioning for passing.

However, a great basketball can only take you so far. You'll need to team the ball with dedicated and meaningful training if you're looking to improve your game and take things to the next level.

How Do You Maintain A Basketball?

As mentioned above, one of the best ways to maintain a basketball is to ensure you're using the right ball for the right court.

Once you get that right, there are several additional methods to keep in mind to help maintain your basketball.

These methods include storing in a dry, ventilated place to avoid cracking, wiping off dirt and debris with a damp cloth, and avoiding drying with direct heat to stop the ball from warping out of shape.

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How Do You Pump Up A Basketball?

Inflating a basketball is not something you'll find yourself doing all that often; however, when the time does come to pump one up, here's what we think you should know.

To inflate, simply insert the needle of your pump into the basketball and begin to inflate until the ball seems firm and spherical.

The best way to tell whether your basketball is pumped up correctly is to hold the basketball out around level to your face and drop it. If it bounces back up to around waist level then you should be good to go.

Do Basketballs Need To Be Broken 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.

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Why Are There Lines On A Basketball?

Pretty much every basketball you encounter comes with a pebbled exterior, separated into eight panels by thin, curved lines.

Much like how the pebbles are there to improve grip, the indented lines are actually grooves designed to make the ball in question easier to handle.

In theory, the lines allow a player to grip the ball better, and then control it in a different direction from the moment it touches their hand.

Read More: Best Basketball Hoops Available Now