Best Basketball Buyer's Guide for 2021 (Indoor & Outdoor)

Top 5 Features

  • Wilson Evolution Basketball has a cushion core carcass which provides the ball a softer touch and a firm grip around the rim.

  • The microfiber composite cover provides an effective grip over the ball and durability for all seasons.

  • A cushioned and strong control over the ball while in motion improves the user experience and game.

  • The ball has a low-density sponge rubber that offers consistent bounce and smooth game-play over a period of time.

  • It is long-lasting when compared to any other basketball providing superior performance and durability.

  • Spalding NBA basketball provides an exceptional feel to the user for enhanced game-play and quick movement.

  • It is designed for both indoor and outdoor play, having effective air resistance and optimum density.

  • The pebbling on the ball provides a firm grip for shooting and dribbling with an enhanced user experience.

  • The cover of the ball remains soft, providing an aesthetic appeal to the user.

  • The ball has seams which provide a proper air seal during practice or game play to reduce the effects of a deflated basketball.

  • A cost-effective buy for the user as compared to other balls.

  • A moisture absorbing material over the ball to provide improved grip designed for outdoor and indoor play.

  • The soft feel of the ball provides the user with longer hours of game-play and a good grip after a few games.

  • The ball is laid in composite channels which provides the player with easy manoeuvring and handling.

  • It is made for outdoor play especially on flat cemented or asphalt surfaces.

  • A lighter basketball by weight as compared to other balls, providing additional air movement and resistance.

  • The basketball is designed for indoor and outdoor play, being firm on durability and grip.

  • It possesses a soft-grip technology cover that enhances the user’s control over the ball.

  • A ball specifically designed to improve the skills of a newcomer or an amateur.

  • Rookie Gear possesses a sticky outer layer and deep channels to provide better grip and game-play for the user.

  • The premium leather cover provides a 12-panel design which gives a firm grip to the player.

  • The interior of the ball is composed of Butyl bladder which provides a soft feel and improved game-play to the user.

  • This ball is preferable for indoor use. It is also FIBA approved.

  • The Molten X-ball has pebbly surface for a strong grip while controlling and shooting. It also has unique channels on it.

  • The outer cover is water-resistant. It does not absorb the liquid which propels fast game-play and a stable grip.

  • The basketball has deep rooted seams without any extra glue to deliver optimum performance and results.

  • It is NFHS approved and comes with a Core To Cover technology (reinforced composite cover and a sponge rubber carcass core) which only a few basketballs have.

  • This ball is tipped to be a great companion for indoor basketball due to its consistent bounce and strong grip.

  • It has pebbled channels which makes the ball grippier and moisture-free.

  • The Rock possesses a double ply reinforced butyl bladder for a soft feel and has preferred air retention quality.

  • A soft indoor basketball with a stable grip and steady bounce for precise shooting and handling.

  • The ball has soft paneling which is present for optimal ball handling and dribbling, giving it a consistent bounce with no dead spots.

  • The microfiber composite cover prevents the adherence of moisture on the ball and keeps it light and steady.

  • It is recommended on only hardwood playground for maximum grip retention and manoeuvrability.

  • Baden Elite Basketball’s feel is better than many other balls, primarily due to the composite material used and the smooth paneling.

Whether you’re playing basketball for fun or competition, choosing the right ball is the key to a good game. A high-quality basketball not only enhances the game but also improves your chance of winning.

Not all basketballs are created equal, though.

Some are better for indoor courts, while others are designed according to skill level. The choice of the material is also important. Whether you need a leather or rubber basketball, the durability and the feel of the ball also come into play.

For the most part, players start with beginner-level basketballs and then move up the ranks.

But which one should you choose? Our best basketball list for 2021 will help you find something that performs well in indoor and outdoor settings.

Table of Contents

The Top 7 Basketballs Of 2021

These reviews will help you find the top basketballs according to your budget, choice of material, and skill level. We have also specified which ball is ideal for indoor and outdoor courts. Read on!

First up is the Wilson Evolution Basketball for indoor basketball.

This microfiber composite basketball mimics the feel of leather balls while resisting wear-off. Inside the ball, you have cushion core technology with elastic butyl rubber. It helps maintain good air pressure and makes the ball softer for players, whether catching or shooting through a basket.

The premium Evo microfiber coating makes it easy to grip. Moreover, the grooves help maintain the grip even with sweaty and slippery hands. And let’s not forget the high-quality pebbling that makes up this basketball’s amazing design. All these elements give the ball a superior bounce.

Wilson Evolution comes in different basketball sizes to offer the best control to players of all ages and skill levels. The price doesn’t seem too hefty considering its execution and capabilities. Not to mention, professionals and coaches recommend this ball highly.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) also approve it. And this basketball is rated number one among American high school athletes. Which means it is used in national-championship tournaments by basketball teams (like the Duke Blue Devils).

The manufactures have designed this ball to withstand wear and tear. However, it takes a while for the ball to break-in and provides a smooth feel and superior grip. This is true for almost all elastic butyl rubber balls.

This break-in time for most balls can last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on how often they are used. Another way to keep your basketball in good condition is to reinflate it every few weeks. This helps to maintain its great form and ensure a good game every time.

The Wilson Evolution Basketball is best suited for indoor games. This is where you get superior handling and dribble. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it outdoors. However, doing so will significantly reduce its durability. You should check out other balls for outdoor courts on our list.

What we like:

  • Microfiber cover for excellent handling
  • One of the best NFSH and NCAA approved basketballs
  • Offers a great grip, similar to traditional leather balls
  • Cushion Core Technology

Next up is a selection from Spalding, a popular brand among enthusiasts. Instead of a rubber cover, this basketball is made from composite leather. Its special composite cover is designed to provide the best grip to beginners and experts alike.

The special foam backing prevents it from slipping away while you take those critical shots. Even during the tough plays, the foam remains soft to the touch, making it easier to catch. It also has an amazing air seal to maintain pressure and keep the ball in top-notch condition throughout the game.

This ball has also endured rigorous testing to meet the strict specifications and regulations regarding size and weight by the National Basketball Association (NBA). As a result, you get a play experience resembling that of a national-level game. Hence, this ball is ideal for those who take their game seriously.

The ball is made of polyester, and due to the official regulations, it comes in a single size of 29.5 inches (which makes it a regulation size ball). These specifications also comply with international pro basketball standards.

Not to mention, adherence to regulations enables the ball to maintain consistency and predictability of the bounce, which is crucial during outdoor play. That said, the design of this ball provides superior play in indoor or outdoor courts.

Considering the specifications of the basketball and the quality it provides, we consider its price justified. So if you’re looking for something soft to the touch yet challenging to play with, the Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball is what you need.

What we like:

  • Special foam backing
  • It’s a composite leather basketball
  • Regulation ball (29.5 inches)

Number three on our list of the best basketballs is the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball. It is designed to mimic the official NCAA tournament basketball.

The ball’s cover is 100% composite leather, which provides precision, bounce consistency, and an excellent grip. The inside is laden with a cushioned carcass made from butyl rubber that gives a soft feel and makes it easier to throw and catch. The ball also feels light on the fingers.

The pebbled and grained accent on the cover is perfect for maintaining a good grip even when your hands are slippery. Simultaneously, the underlayer on the covering provides excellent moisture absorption to keep the surface grippy.

Moreover, this ball is specially designed with women and young players in mind. This demographic finds the official size 7 ball a bit difficult to handle. Hence, this ball has a smaller size, 28.5 inches, easier to use by young boys and girls just starting with the game.

In terms of quality, it is highly resilient to extensive wear and tear. What else do you expect from replica basketballs!

Like other butyl rubber basketballs on our list, this ball also needs extensive breaking in to unlock its best features, particularly its smoothness and softness. The basketball has PSI levels of 7 to 9, which keep its shape intact and allow a good bounce throughout the game.

This composite leather basketball is ideal for those who want to test their basketball skills and up their game. And like any ball of intermediate size, it is good for both outdoor and indoor courts. That said, it is best suited for outdoor play.

So if you’re looking for a basketball that is easier to play with and helps you sharpen your skills, the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is an amazing choice that you can definitely consider purchasing this year.

What we like:

  • Ideal for women’s basketball
  • Meets official standards
  • Has a composite surface for a good grip

The Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor/Outdoor Basketball is another addition to our list of the best basketballs. It comes in various colors and is designed for youth players.

Although designed for kids, this basketball is made from Spalding’s premium composite leather with black grooves for extra grip. The surface is dimpled to make shooting hoops, dribbling, and catching easier.

The black grooves also act as a moisture absorber to prevent the ball from slipping from your hands and keeping the grip solid. And the sturdy cover makes the ball suitable for indoor and outdoor settings while withstanding wear-off.

Compared to other basketballs on this list, the Spalding Rookie Gear Basketball is quite small. It comes in size 5, which makes it only 27.5 inches wide. But this is understandable, considering the target market is of a young age.

The size enables young players to throw and catch without getting injured. This makes it the perfect choice for those who want to try their hand at a game of basketball before moving on to something more advanced. Plus, the colorful appearance also boosts street cred!

As far as the price is concerned, this is one of the cheapest options on our list. And yet, it provides a stellar play, despite being 15% lighter than most basketballs for kids.

What we like:

  • One of the top basketballs to practice free throws
  • Helps to develop muscle memory
  • Smaller and lighter than other basketballs reviewed
  • The colors add to the fun of the game
  • Our top pick for kid’s basketball

The Molten X-Series Basketball is easily one of the best indoor and outdoor basketball available on the market today. It is the official basketball of the Olympics, and that pretty much describes everything about the ball (especially its price range!)

But just to go over the features, the ball has special X-shaped grooves to help those who are learning to rebound. You can anticipate the rebounding location with the help of these grooves.

These features also make this ball one of the most expensive ones out there. However, it has achieved critical acclaim for its world-class performance. Despite being the official ball for the Olympics, the Molten X-Series is smaller than nationally approved basketballs.

The surface has a good caliber premium composite leather that helps maintain your grip and protects the ball from damage. It can deliver good grip and performance even when the players’ hands are slippery. The inner core of the ball is made up of butyl rubber to keep it soft to the touch and easier to catch.

One of the best things about this ball is that it is approved by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). And it is the only one on our list that comes with a 2-year warranty.

So if you’re searching for a basketball that meets the official standards and willing to pay a premium price for it, the Molten X-Series basketball is the best option for you. That said, it is still cheaper than many official basketballs, despite being FIBA-approved.

What we like:

  • 2-year warranty (which offsets the high price)
  • Has special X-shaped grooves to assist rebounding
  • Best suited to an outdoor basketball court

Moving on, The Rock Basketball is a mainstay in high schools as well as the highly competitive intramural leagues at colleges across the United States.

This is an indoor basketball made with the finest materials. And it has a lot of high-tech features.

For instance, the ball comes with Core 2 Cover (C2C) technology. It has a premium scuff-resistant patented composite leather cover with a reinforced double-ply butyl rubber core. The core incorporates sponge and rubber to deliver maximum smoothness and exceptional ball control.

Moreover, it also features a chain design laden with pebbles to ensure good handling and bounce. In addition to this, the ball is 100% nylon wound. As a result, you can maintain grip and prevent slippage during a game.

In addition to this, it is an NFHS-approved ball. And yet, it is moderately priced. It is designed for indoor court conditions and has good air retention. The Rock Basketball has a size of 29.5 inches, and it comes with a certificate of authenticity.

You can get The Rock Basketball in both men’s and women’s varieties. Considering its specs, the ball needs some time to break in and unlock its capabilities.

What we like:

  • Approved by the NFHS
  • Loaded with high-tech features
  • Comes in two categories for women’s and men’s basketball
  • Best for a college basketball tournament

Our final pick is the Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball. It features excellent craftsmanship with rounded and smooth edges to avoid any lumps and bumps on the surface. It also provides good rebounds.

Being a symmetrically-engineered ball, its design includes panels of equal width and a low-profile air valve. The cover is crafted for optimal control and grip and is made from composite microfiber that enhances absorption and reduces slippage.

The ball comes in two sizes: the official size 7 (29.5 inches) and the intermediate size 6 (28.5 inches). It weighs around two pounds, and its core is composed of the patented Cushion Core Technology (CCT) that gives the ball good bounces and rebounds.

In terms of price, the basketball is slightly on the pricier end. That said, you’ll get a ball that delivers great performance and unmatched standards. That’s because it was designed keeping athletes and professionals in mind. This indoor basketball is also excellent for practice.

If you are willing to invest in good features and a stellar design, the Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball is just what you need. The ball is especially recommended for younger players to enhance their capabilities.

What we like:

  • Best indoor ball on our list
  • Offers a good rebound
  • Suitable for young players
  • Available in different sizes

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.

What is the best basketball for outdoor use?

A.

This would be the Molten X-Series Basketball, in our opinion. As the ball is used in the Olympics and approved by FIBA, you don’t need to worry about performance or durability.

However, do remember that it doesn’t meet the NBA standards. This, and the high price tag, maybe a turn-off for some buyers. That’s why we also suggest Wilson NCAA Basketball. It is designed according to official guidelines and is lightweight. And as a replica, it is quite reasonably priced.

Q2.

What is the best indoor basketball?

A.

If you want an authentic basketball experience without worrying about the price, Baden Elite is the best indoor basketball you can get today. It has several outstanding features that enhance its performance in indoor courts.

On the other hand, if you’re only looking for a casual basketball game with your friends every now and then, we suggest that you go for the Spalding Rookie Gear ball. With the Spalding brand name, you can be sure of the quality. Besides, this ball is ideal for beginners and younger players (hence the name). It is extremely light and also the cheapest option on our list.

Q3.

What basketball is better: Wilson or Spalding?

A.

When you’re searching for the best basketball (or any sporting equipment for that matter), it is good to search for known brands such as Wilson and Spalding. Both companies offer a variety of basketballs for men, women, and kids.

For beginners and hobbyists, Wilson is the better option. Wilson balls are cheaper than most brands, and yet they offer excellent performance and durability. For serious players and pros, Spalding balls are better among the two.

Q4.

What basketball is used in the NBA?

A.

The Spalding NBA Zi/O indoor/outdoor basketball is the only ball on our list that has been officially certified by the NBA. The ball undergoes extensive testing to pass all the regulations of the NBA before distribution.

While the price may be a bit high, the ball comes with a composite leather grainy material that provides a good grip, among other features. This is a great basketball for those who want to train for any major basketball tournament.

Q5.

What basketball is best for women?

A.

To enable women to participate in a professional basketball league, it is necessary to develop a basketball that would fit their needs better. The Women’s NBA (WNBA) official ball is slightly smaller than that used by men in the NBA. In the WNBA, a size 6 ball is used, which allows easy ball-handling without doing away with the authenticity of the game.

In this regard, The Wilson NCAA Game Ball is the most suitable for female basketball players as it comes in a smaller size than the regulation ball. It delivers consistent bounces as you dribble the ball from one hoop to the next.

Another basketball on our list is the Baden Elite Indoor Basketball. This is also one of the best basketballs (indoor) for women.

Conclusion

There you have it! Our picks from one of the top basketballs that you can purchase in-store or online in 2021.

Choosing the best basketball out of this list is a matter of preference depending on numerous factors, such as skill level, type of courts you want to play in, features, and affordability.

Be it youth players or the pros, a ball’s design, model, durability, feel, and material are all important factors to decide which one to buy.

You also need to decide the ball’s PSI, bounces, which court you want to play in, the way the ball rebounds, how does it feel on the hand, and the size and weight of the ball, whether it is designed for boys or girls, etc.

Ultimately, it’s all about the slam dunk!