Anyone who’s worried about their street game is going to want to buy a high-quality outdoor basketball. However, it can be difficult to find a ball that’s not just well-built but is suitable for the rigors of an outdoor court. After all, there are several different ball manufacturers, and each of them creates a ton of balls each year. All of which makes it difficult for the basketball enthusiast to find one that works for them.
It’s important for anyone looking for a good ball to not only consider the materials the ball is made from, but also should consider the ball’s size and whether it has a high-quality grip. And that isn’t always easy to do. That’s why we’ve decided to seek out the top ten street basketballs that are available, so our readers can find one that fits their outdoor basketball needs.
Best Outdoor Basketballs – Top List
10Molten X-Series BGMX
Approved by the FIBA, this indoor and outdoor basketball is designed to be an official ball that can be used just about anywhere. It has a sturdy synthetic cover that has deviated slightly from the traditional pebble pattern and has made the surface more uniform. This product has a sturdy Butyl bladder that gives it a good bounce, and it is made with a unique 12-panel design that not only makes this a ball that handles well but also makes it a ball that looks good, too. It’s designed with sharply contrasting colors, so it’s easy to see, even when it’s used on an asphalt court at night.
9Spalding NBA Street Basketball
Spalding is a company that’s known for making some of the best indoor basketballs available, but few people realize that they also make some of the best street basketballs as well, and it’s proven true by this particular ball. With a 29.5-inch size that makes it compliant with NBA regulations, this ball is suitable for indoor play, but its rubber cover will ensure that it holds up to outdoor play quite well. Another thing worth mentioning about this ball is that it has a wide channel grip that makes it easier to handle out on just about any court. It’s a ball that any outdoor ball player should appreciate.
8Under Armour Stephen Curry Basketball
Although it probably won’t make the average player perform like an NBA star, this Stephen Curry Official Basketball will sure make them look like a star. It has a rubber outer surface that’s suitable for playing on just about any surface and is extremely durable as well. It’s an official 29.5-inches and is ideal for use on indoor wooden courts or outdoor asphalt courts. And since it has a good grip that makes it very easy to handle, this ball can be used for just about any game of ball. Although it loses air a little faster than other balls do, it’s still a good ball for outdoor play.
7Wilson NCAA Killer Crossover Basketball
The Killer Crossover is manufactured by Wilson, the official basketball of the NCAA Tournament and the creator of some great indoor and outdoor basketballs. This ball is an official size and has a 16-panel rubber cover that’s easy to handle, provides a great grip and is designed to be extremely tough. Manufactured for the recreational player, this ball has a nice feel to it and feels well balanced. It’s also a basketball that’s very stylish and can be bought in several different color combinations including red & white, blue & white, black & white, orange & white and lime & white. It’s durable, easy-to-hold and looks great.
6Spalding NBA Tack Soft Basketball
Available in either an official NBA-size of 29.5-inches or an official WNBA-size of 28.5-inches, this indoor/outdoor ball is ready for just about any game. Capable of being played on indoor wooden courts or on outdoor surfaces, this basketball is made with a tough PU composite cover and has a great weight to it that makes it easy to dribble and shoot. It’s designed to handle multiple surfaces and to really hold up to heavy use. What’s really impressive about this ball is that it’s Tack Soft surface feels like a leather basketball and provides better cling and control for the ball handler.
5Spalding Rookie Gear Basketball
No top ten list of outdoor basketballs would be complete without adding at least one youth basketball that’s suitable for use on driveways, asphalt courts or just about anywhere else. This size #5 basketball is 27.5-inches in diameter and weighs 25% less than official adult balls. This makes it easier to use by children eight years of age or younger. Children can use this ball to practice their shooting and rebounding skills, and it’s designed to hold up to a lot of use. And since it’s made with a composite leather, it’s not only durable but also has that soft leather feel to it.
4Spalding NBA Street Phantom Basketball
Designed exclusively for outdoor use, this basketball is equipped with a rubber outer cover that makes it extremely durable. It’s a men’s number 7 ball, so it’s 29.5-inches in circumference and is inflated to about 8-PSI. This ball has a sponge-rubber design and doesn’t need to be broken in to be played. These balls come in a variety of different color combinations which include neon green & black, neon blue & black, neon orange & black, neon yellow & black or silver & black. All of which just means that this ball is just as stylish as it is durable and easy to handle and a good outdoor ball.
3Spalding Zi/O NBA Basketball
With a durable composite cover that’s designed to handle both indoor and outdoor surfaces, this outdoor basketball is ready to deliver performance to even the most competitive of players. It’s 29.5-inches, which makes it official NBA size and is just the right weight for outdoor games of Horse. This ball just isn’t durable and tough looking, however. It’s also soft to the touch thanks to Spalding putting a foam backing behind the composite cover. This makes the ball feel soft to the touch and allows the player to get a better grip on it. And this means that it’s excellent for dribbling and dunking.
2Wilson Tournament Game Basketball
Designed to be the official ball of the NCAA Championships, this official size basketball can be used on just about any court. It has a moisture absorbing cover that’s manufactured with laid-in channels, and this allows players to get a really good grip on this ball. And with improved grip comes improved ball control. Other features which can be found on this basketball include cushion core technology that provides a consistent bounce each and every time and a perfectly balanced weight that makes this ball easy to pass and shoot. It also should be mentioned that this ball is not only NCAA approved but is also NFHS approved as well.
1Spalding NBA Street Size 6
Although this basketball isn’t an official NBA size and is instead a #6 basketball with a 28.5-inch diameter, it’s actually a better outdoor street basketball than some of its competitors. It has a pink and purple outdoor cover that not only looks cool but is extremely durable and easy to hold onto. This cover has a wide-channel design that makes it extremely easy to hold, shoot and pass. The combination of its smaller size and easy-to-grip cover makes this basketball one that’s ready for any outdoor court. This WNBA-size basketball is suitable for anyone looking for a smaller, faster ball for their games.
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Outdoor Basketball Buying Guide
Outside of professional NBA players, I doubt too many people think too much about their outdoor basketball selection. Most people just find a ball that looks good and feels firm and calls it a day. However, although it’s not especially difficult to find the right basketball for playing on an outdoor court, it does require a little bit of thought. That’s why we’ve created the following guide. It will make you aware of what you need to consider before buying a basketball.
The first thing that has to be considered is the size of the basketball, which is a big surprise to some people. After all, when most people think about a basketball, they just consider they’re all the same size, but that’s just not the case. For example, an NBA regulation ball is 29.5-inches to 29.875-inches and weighs around 20 to 22-ounces. This size is called Men’s International Size #7.
Although a lot of basketballs available are regulation, according to the NBA standard, this size isn’t the only one available. There’s also the NCAA size available and the WNBA size available, too. The NCAA regulation size is a little stricter than the NBA size, and is exactly 29.5-inches and weighs 22-ounces, which places it in the upper portion of the Men’s International Size #7. The WNBA uses a ball size of 28.5-inches and weighs 20-ounces, which makes it a Women’s International Size #6.
There are basketballs sold in other sizes, too, but these are not suitable for outdoor adult basketball games. There are micro-mini basketballs which are 16-inches in circumference and weigh 8-ounces. There are also sizes 3 through 5, which are all suitable for children of various ages. However, anyone looking for a good outdoor basketball is going to want to stick with the NBA, NCAA or WNBA regulation sizes.
The vast majority of basketballs sold today are constructed with one of three materials. They are either made of leather, synthetic composite or rubber. Although it’s technically possible to use a ball made with any one of these materials on an outdoor court, there are some materials which are better suitable for an outdoor environment. Let’s take a closer look at all three materials.
Without a doubt, leather is a premium material that’s perfect for indoor balls. Although it feels a little stiff when balls made of leather are first used, after they’re properly broken in, then they make for an incredible game ball for games of indoor basketball. Unfortunately, they’re not really suitable for outdoor play. That’s because this material will get tore up in a hurry when it’s used on the street, on an outdoor court or a driveway. Therefore, it’s probably best to choose another material for outdoor use, unless you really have your heart set on using one. If you do decide to get a leather ball for outdoor use, just expect it to wear down faster than a ball made from another material.
Composite balls can be used for both indoor and outdoor play. They perform pretty well on just about any indoor court, and they won’t wear out as fast on an outdoor court. Another positive thing about these type of balls is that they are cheaper than leather balls and don’t have to be broken in to be used effectively. They also won’t dry out when they’re used outdoors in hot, humid environments like leather often does.
Rubber is another material that’s cheap and durable. In fact, rubber balls are extremely hard to wear out, even when they’re being used on a hot August day on an asphalt court. They also have a great grip on them and can be used for other purposes than just for playing basketball. For instance, they can be used for dodgeballs if the need arises. Not all rubber basketballs are created equally, however. The name brand models are usually the best, and some of the generic knockoff brands can be pretty horrendous. Therefore, it’s important to stick with the name brand balls and avoid the budget basketballs.
Taking Care of an Outdoor Basketball
Once you’ve purchased a basketball for outdoor use, it’s important to test it out and get used to how it handles. It’s also important to properly take care of and store the basketball when it’s not in use. Below are some tips are keeping an outdoor basketball in good condition, so that you can get the most use out of it possible.
- Don’t keep the basketball outdoors. Bring it in when not in use.
- Always keep the basketball inflated properly.
- The basketball should be wiped with a damp rag after each use to remove sweat and dirt.
- The basketball should never be submerged in water.
- The basketball shouldn’t be used in extreme temperatures.
- Keeping the ball at a constant room temperature during storage will extend its useful lifetime.
- Occasionally clean the ball with mild soap and a warm water solution.
- Never place other objects on top of the ball when storing it.
- Avoid storing harsh chemicals around the ball.
- Don’t use cleaning products to clean off the ball’s surface.
- Keep the ball away from sharp objects.
Considering the Ball’s Air Pressure
As was stated before, it’s important to keep the basketball at the correct air pressure. Although the NBA standard is to have the ball inflated between 7.5 PSI and 8.5 PSI, most basketball can be inflated with a range of anywhere between 7 PSI and 9 PSI. Of course, finding the right air pressure can be difficult because many of the pumps available don’t have a pressure gauge that can be used while inflating the ball. Fortunately, there’s a trick to determining if the balls are properly pressurized. Hold the ball at head level and then drop it. If it bounces up to the person’s waist, then it’s properly inflated. However, if it doesn’t bounce up to the person’s waist, then it’s under-inflated. If it bounces up beyond the person’s waist, then it’s likely over-inflated.