Growing up, whether I was playing indoors or outdoors, I always had the right ball with me…
But I had to carry around two different basketballs with me everywhere I went depending on what type of court I was playing on.
These days, you can find great balls made for both indoor AND outdoor conditions. The biggest trouble is narrowing down your options to suit your needs. Whether you tend to play indoors or outdoors (or both!), one of the options reviewed below will work for you.
So here are our picks for the best indoor and outdoor basketballs.
Our #1 Pick for the best indoor/outdoor basketball is the Wilson Evolution. With this one, you will no longer worry about your indoor ball losing its grip and feel on pavement – or having to bring a slippery rubber outdoor ball inside…
9 Best Indoor and Outdoor Basketballs Review 2024
|1. Wilson Evolution
|• Easy to grip
• Sizes 27.5", 28.5"
• 7 Colors
Best Indoor / Outdoor
|2. Spalding TF Series
|• Size: 28.5", 29.5"
|Great Air Seal
|3. Wilson NCAA Final
|• Size: 28.5", 29.5"
|4. Baden Crossover Flex
|• Size: 27.5", 28.5", 29.5"
• 4 Colors
|Best Outdoor Only
Great Bounce Reaction
|5. Spalding Street
|• Size: 29.5"
Easy To Grip
|6. AND1 Hydrogrip Premium
Leather Basketball & Pump
|• Comes with pump
• Size: 29.5"
|7. Molten BG3800 Series, FIBA Approved Basketball
|• Indoor / Outdoor Synthetic Cover
• Size: 29.5"
• FIBA Approved
• 2-Tone Color Design
|Easy Rotation Tracking
|8. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball
|• Outdoor Cover
• Size: 25.5", 27.5", 28.5", 29.5"
|9. Wilson WNBA
|• Indoor / Outdoor
• Size: 27.5", 28.5"
|Official Game Ball Option
1. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball – Editor’s Choice
In our opinion, the Wilson Evolution Game Basketball is the best indoor/outdoor basketball. Period.
The grip on this composite leather basketball is about as close to the feeling as you’ll get to the older leather basketballs. No matter where you happen to grab the ball, you’ll have the right grip to take your shot. The touchpoints give you the control you need.
We also like the channels that have been built into this basketball. They’re promoted as “moisture-wicking channels,” but in reality, they reinforce the grip that you receive from the pebble touchpoints.
Plus, the depth is just right, allowing you to put on the proper spin during a layup so you can kiss the glass with ease.
2. Spalding TF Series ZI/O Basketball – Good Air Seal
The grip on the ball does tend to smooth out over time, especially if you are primarily using the ball in an outdoor environment. We found the cover tends to scratch up a bit, especially if you’re using the ball on a surface that can be somewhat gritty.
But it gets better:
The seams maintain a good air seal during practice or gameplay so that you don’t wind up playing with a partially deflated ball.
If you’re a driveway player and this ball could come into contact with gravel, you might want to consider a cover that contains a harder surface.
3. Wilson NCAA Final Four Basketball – Great Look
The composite leather cover is durable and has deep channels to ensure a comfortable grip and reliable ball control. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor play, with consistent performance and responsiveness on various surfaces.
Overall, the Wilson NCAA Final Four Basketball is a great choice for enthusiasts looking for a high quality ball.
4. Baden Crossover Flex Composite Basketball – Great Reaction
This basketball has proven to be an excellent choice, considering the price point. Its composite cover holds well outdoors, unlike some balls that become excessively hard.
It maintains its feel well after several months of consistent outdoor use, while still resembling a brand new ball. Its gummy yet glossy texture showcases the composite material on various surfaces, and the intriguing color scheme adds to its appeal.
While some concerns are raised about a rubbery smell upon arrival, we’ve found that the smell fades after the ball is broke in. With the overall quality, cool appearance, and durability, especially for outdoor use, we’ve selected this ball for those looking for a reliable and visually appealing basketball.
5. Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball – Best Value & Easiest to Grip
The Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball has undoubtedly transformed users experiences, earning a solid 4.5 star rating. Its exceptional blend of durability, performance, and value is evident from the start.
Combined with toughness and performance, this ball is able to withstand countless games on challenging outdoor surfaces. The exceptional grip enhances ball handling skills, offering reliable hold capabilities, while its consistent bounce ensures accurate shots during practice or intense games.
The crowded textured surface provides precise control for dribbling, passing, and shooting.
6. AND1 Hydrogrip Premium Leather Basketball & Pump – Best Durability
The AND1 Hydrogrip Premium Leather Basketball & Pump is a great choice, with widespread praise for its grip and comfortable feel. It’s particularly suited for younger players. Its standout visibility makes it unique among other basketballs.
Outdoor players appreciate its durability, with notes to its resilience even during regular use.
Despite some feedback about the accompanying pump being of lower quality, the all around opinion is that the ball itself is worth the investment. This ball will last a long time and holds air in well. The positive experiences with the balls grip, durability, and overall quality make it a recommended choice.
7. Molten BG3800 Series FIBA Approved Basketball – Best for Tracking Ball Rotation
Shooting is just one skill that players need in the modern game of basketball. Rebounding is also required. Knowing how to box out properly is important, but so is being able to track the rotation of a ball.
When you can see how a ball is going to react in the cylinder before it gets there, it becomes possible to anticipate where the rebound location will be. That tracking ability is called “having a nose for the ball.” The design on the synthetic cover of this basketball makes it easier for beginning rebounders to track its rotation.
By watching the rotation as it hits the cylinder, players can then see how the ball reacts and where its movement will take it. This is why its one of the best indoor and outdoor basketballs.
8. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball – Most Affordable & Best for Kids
You’ll get a consistent reaction from the ball that will help kids begin to pick-up the game.
The ball also looks pretty good, which makes the kids want to play some basketball as well. It’s a premium rubber basketball is a good quality for the price when looking at it from the perspective of a school, youth program, or for a home recreational need. Serious players may need to step up to a different ball.
9. Wilson WNBA Authentic Series – Great Look & Feel
In our search for the perfect outdoor basketball, we discovered that the Wilson WNBA Authentic Series strikes an ideal balance for various playing conditions.
We needed a ball that could handle dirt and sand on outdoor courts while maintaining a good grip. Traditional outdoor basketballs tend to be overly grippy, causing potential issues in group games. On the other hand, indoor basketballs sometimes aren’t suitable for outdoor play due to dirt accumulation. The Wilson Authentic Series emerged as a great middle ground, offering a smooth yet grippy texture that allows for easy manipulation while still providing a comfortable touch.
We commend the ball for its durability and grip, highlighting its resilience compared to other brands. Additionally, the Authentic Series receives praise for its quality in outdoor concrete play. Even those skeptical about finding a durable outdoor ball that handles like an indoor one have been pleasantly surprised. In summary, the Wilson WNBA Authentic Series stands out as a versatile and durable outdoor/indoor basketball, making it a top choice for players of various playing conditions.
Indoor/Outdoor Basketballs: How to Choose the Best One for You
There might not seem like much of a difference between indoor and outdoor basketballs, but there really is. The texture of the ball, how it dribbles, and even your ball handling changes between indoor/outdoor and outdoor only basketballs. The durability needed for a basketball in a gym is also different than that of a basketball on the street.
These are the best basketballs in both categories that will help you practice and play every day because of their consistent performance.
What Is the Difference Between an Indoor Basketball and an Outdoor Basketball?
The primary difference between indoor basketballs and outdoor basketballs is the material used for the ball itself. Most indoor-only basketballs are made from a full-grain leather, which is the best smell in the world. When you first use these basketballs, they tend to be a bit slick on the hand. You need to break them in and then continue to condition them in order to receive a consistent performance.
Outdoor basketballs need to stand up to different environments, so they need to be tougher. They must deal with concrete, asphalt, or composite surfaces instead of a wooden floor gym. This means many outdoor only basketballs are made from rubber, making the basketball feel a little heavier than normal.
A good compromise between these two extremes is the indoor/outdoor basketball. These are typically made from composite leather, so it is more durable than an indoor basketball on surfaces that are different than a gym. It also feels and reacts naturally, unlike some rubber balls that tend to have some extra bounce to them.
Choosing the Right Size of Basketball: 3 Facts You Need to Know
Basketballs today come in all different shapes and sizes. Some of the cheaper rubber basketballs even put some fun graphics onto the basketball. If you just want a basketball for fun, then choosing the right size doesn’t really matter.
If you’re ready to take your game to the next level, however, you’ll need to grab the correct size of basketball for your next practice session. Players develop muscle memory based on the weight, feel, and flight of the basketball. If you use one size to practice and then another size for your games, then bricks are going to fly.
There are three standard basketball sizes that are generally offered for sale today.
- Size 5. These basketballs are generally for youth players. They are generally 27.5 inches in diameter and weigh 18 ounces.
- Size 6. These basketballs are for teen boys and all women’s competitions. This basketball is 28.5 inches in diameter and weighs 20 ounces.
- Size 7. This is the standard basketball for men’s collegiate, NCAA, and professional competitions. It measures 29.5 inches in diameter and weighs 22 ounces.
Choosing the right size of basketball at an early age helps to develop the dribbling and shooting mechanics properly. A smaller ball with smaller hands helps players to learn control and maneuverability.
What Basketball Brands Are the Best to Buy?
There are several basketball brands that are worth considering today. Here are some of the biggest names in the industry that are worth looking at.
#1. Spalding. Spalding has been manufacturing sporting equipment since 1876. They have been the official NBA basketball partner since 1983. You’ll find a variety of indoor/outdoor basketballs and outdoor only basketballs that will suit the specific needs of each player.
#2. Wilson. If you didn’t grow up playing with a Spalding basketball, then there’s a good chance you had one from this brand. Wilson basketballs are now used quite often in high school sports thanks to their unique grip and removal of the traditional rubber channels.
#3. Nike. Although Nike basketballs are somewhat rare in the United States for competitive purposes, they are the primary game ball for many international leagues. You’ll find one of the widest selections of recreational and street basketballs with this brand.
#4. Molten. If you’re looking for a FIBA-style basketball, then this is the brand you’re going to want. There are also several good casual-use basketballs for sale with this brand.
How Much Do the Best Indoor Outdoor Basketballs Cost?
If you’re shopping for a new basketball today, it is important to consider quality above anything else. A high-quality basketball can give you years of practice and play. Cheap basketballs can save you money now, but you’ll likely need to replace the entry-level basketballs by the end of the season.
The best indoor basketballs tend to be priced between $50-$100. Outdoor only basketballs tend to be a little cheaper thanks to their composition, so you’ll find several options priced between $15-$30. Composite leather basketballs that are for indoor and outdoor use are usually in the $40-$75 price range.
What’s Best About Each Basketball
- Baden Crossover Flex Composite Basketball (Superior Reaction)
- Wilson Evolution Indoor Game Basketball (Easy to Grip)
- Under Armour 395 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball (Fairly Durable)
- Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball (Consistent Reaction)
- Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball (Good Air Seal)
- Molten X-Series FIBA Approved Basketball (Easy to Track Rotation)
- Mikasa BX1000 Premium Basketball (Least Expensive)
- Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball (Nice Look and Feel)
- Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Basketball (Easy to Hold)
The a good ball use will help you improve your game in a wide variety of ways. Select the ball that best meets your needs today, whether you hit the gym or your driveway, and then be prepared to have some fun.
If you’re ready to buy a great ball, we think that the Wilson Evolution Game Basketball really does pip the others at the post in terms of overall value, quality, and grip.
Check out our individual reviews of some of the best basketballs on the market today: