Which outdoor basketball is best?
Even though the college and professional basketball games we watch on television are indoors, playing outdoor basketball can be just as fun. You have all the air to breathe in, natural lighting, and great weather depending on the day. However, using just any basketball may not be the best way to play as you can deal with grip issues, and water can play a factor depending on the ball.
That’s why outdoor basketballs are the best to play with, as they’re built to take on the appropriate outdoor conditions. If you are looking for a basketball that you need to practice advanced drills with, the Wilson Final Four Edition Basketball is the top choice.
What to know before you buy an outdoor basketball
Air retention is one of the most critical factors with basketball. Some basketballs can hold air more efficiently than others, offering more time to use it before needing to repump it. Basketballs with a thick outer layer and seams that are well-sealed tend to have better air retention. Basketballs with larger spaces between the seams and cover material of the basketball are more exposed to being damaged, leading to worsening air retention.
Outdoor vs. indoor/outdoor
There are basketballs strictly suited for outdoor play, but there are basketballs that you can use inside and outside. Outdoor models tend to be made out of rubber material, as they’re more durable. However, rubber basketballs generally don’t bounce as well as leather balls. Indoor/outdoor basketballs typically use a synthetic leather material that feels like leather but is versatile for various settings. Indoor/outdoor basketballs that get used mostly outdoors will break down faster than a rubber ball.
Basketballs vary in size ranging from one to seven. The larger the number, the more suitable it is for older people. Size one are for toddlers, while the size seven balls are used in official men’s games. Then in between, size five are for youth, six are for women, and seven are for men. Children 11 and younger generally use a size five ball but then go higher once they turn 12.
What to look for in a quality outdoor basketball
The material of a basketball greatly contributes to its grip, responsiveness, and durability, especially when playing in outdoor conditions. Outdoor basketballs will have an outer cover that uses composite/synthetic leather, microfiber composite, or rubber. Underneath the outer layer are windings, a layer of nylon or polyester thread that helps the basketball retain its shape. Then underneath the windings is the inner bladder that holds the air of the ball.
Composite/synthetic leather is composed of leather mixed with synthetic materials, making the outer shell more durable than just regular leather while still having that traditional leather feel. Some balls made of synthetic material will have a special coating that enhances durability and grip. Microfiber composite balls were once used as the standard basketball for the NBA after they transitioned from all-leather balls. However, it didn’t last long as the texture can feel different than what most were used to. These balls are good for indoors and outdoors, providing a better bounce than composite/synthetic leather. Rubber is the most durable material for outdoor conditions. It has a stronger bounce than leather balls, so it could take some adjusting to get used to it.
Moisture-wicking is essential for outdoor play, as it can prevent water absorption. This will be ideal when you have sweaty hands and things get slippery. Microfiber composite balls naturally resist moisture. There are basketballs built with a water-repellent material or surface design, preventing moisture from accruing on the ball.
Surface design and grip
There are outdoor basketballs built with special features to make your gameplay in the outdoors more enjoyable. Some basketballs are built with extra grooves that help keep water, dirt, and mud from sticking on the ball’s surface. Other features such as an eight-panel design and additional seams can help enhance grip and control.
Because rubber is easier to dye than leather, outdoor basketballs tend to be offered in more colors than indoor basketballs. You should choose the color you prefer, but keep in mind that bright and contrasting colors such as white, orange, black, and green are usually easier to distinguish from the color of the court. Children will enjoy the variety of colors youth outdoor basketballs come in.
How much you can expect to spend on an outdoor basketball
For an inexpensive outdoor basketball, they’ll cost around $20, while mid-range balls can cost $20-$50. Midrange-priced balls will have quality leather and microfiber, while the expensive basketballs that cost $50 and over tend to be suitable for both indoor and outdoor play.
Outdoor basketball FAQ
What’s the best way to store an outdoor basketball?
A. It’s best to store outdoor basketballs in indoor areas that can protect them from outside elements. Areas such as a garage, garden shed or securely on the porch can be suitable for storing.
Will water damage my outdoor basketball?
A. The moisture-wicking that’s built into outdoor basketballs generally helps the ball from becoming slippery or absorbing moisture. So don’t be worried if the ball falls in a puddle when playing.
Are there any outdoor basketballs specifically designed to help teach shooting skills?
A. For those who are new to learning basketball, there are outdoor basketballs with hand-placement markers on the ball’s surface so that you know the proper way to shoot.
What’s the best outdoor basketball to buy?
Top outdoor basketball
What you need to know: This basketball has heavy-duty composite leather built to last and can be used in indoor and outdoor settings.
What you’ll love: Its heavy-duty construction makes it great for advanced practices and training. The core is cushioned so that you have more of a comfortable feel when dribbling.
What you should consider: The ball may deflate after frequent use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top outdoor basketball for money
What you need to know: This basketball is perfect for those on a budget and beginners who want to practice their game.
What you’ll love: The ball comes inflated so you can hop onto the court as soon as you get it. The heavy-duty leather and stitching make it suitable for indoor and outdoor play.
What you should consider: It tends to wear out faster in outdoor conditions.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: There are multiple colors to choose from with this indoor/outdoor basketball, including a beige and turquoise color that gives a luxurious look.
What you’ll love: The outer surface of the ball uses a special design that provides an enhanced grip. There’s a risk-free return policy in case you feel that the ball isn’t for you.
What you should consider: The price tag is higher than average.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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