Hoop Basics

The Best Outdoor Basketballs You Can Buy

Want to play on backtop in the sunshine? These are the best basketballs you can play when you’re shooting hoops outdoors.

Spalding NBA Zi/O EXCEL Indoor/Outdoor Composite Basketball

Spalding Zio Excel

Though this isn’t the official NBA game balls, it meets the specs and size required by the NBA and WNBA. As a bonus: it’s much more affordable then the official game ball. So, whether you’re a professional basketball player or an weekend baller, this is the best basketball to choose.

Its longevity is unmatched making it a much longer lasting basketball in play. The Zi/O leather cover’s structure puts it into a class of its own from other designs and manufacturers. With its soft inner construction and tough outer composition, it makes for a better feel. If you want a good “feel” for your basketball, the greatest benefit is its ability to deliver a superior grip. This will ensure it will never slip from your hand, especially when keeping it away from your opponents or when dribbling.

Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor Outdoor Composite 27.5 Youth Basketball

Spalding Rookie Gear

This basketball is considered on of the very best choices for young players as it’s specifically designed for them. Keep in mind, as it’s made for kids, it is only acceptable for recreational purposes. Spalding has been a trusted name in sporting products since 1876 and has given this ball the same level of superior quality as their other basketballs and the professional balls used in the NBA.

Unlike standard models, this ball is 25% lighter making it a better choice for kids to handle. This age range should be 8 years of age or younger. As a parent, if you want to help your child learn how to play basketball, this is the perfect ball to get them. That said, even though it is constructed for young kids, it’s still made with the highest quality of workmanship. The composite leather cover makes for a softer ball and makes it durable enough to withstand outdoor usage. Younger players will have an excellent time with this ball while allowing them to improve their skills and techniques, which should be taught while they are around this age.

Spalding NBA Street Basketball


As everyone knows, Spalding is one of the world leaders when it comes to sporting goods and has been doing so since 1876. There should no doubt that this basketball performed brilliantly in test runs. This exceptionally durable ball is constructed with a thick rubber cover, guaranteeing it will last through many months of outdoor games. It has extra wide channels, an excellent grip and features the NBA logo, which a really nice touch! The price tag of this Spalding basketball is great and one would have a hard time finding a similar basketball of this excellent quality at a more affordable price.

For under $10, that’s right – $10, you will have the very best price while playing like the pros! Consumers love the Spalding NBA Street Basketball feel and its excellent rubber grip is very comfortable when playing long stretches at a time. It’s extremely durable and very easy to inflate, making this ball something you can expect months and even years of playing outdoors before even considering a replacement.

There are only a few downsides to this ball. The ball bounce is a little too high for some players and if you normally play with an indoor ball, there will be a learning curve for using this ball. The upside, once you have mastered it, this will be your chosen ball for all your outdoor games.

Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball

This is another great choice from Spalding’s excellent line of basketballs. Unlike some other models, this basketball is perfect for both indoor and outdoor play and withstands all different surfaces. It also looks exactly like the Official NBA Game Ball, if you want the look. Comparing with other outdoor basketballs, here as some of the differences.

Compared to many other outdoor basketballs, this one, is absolutely perfect when talking about comfort. It is constructed with an extremely soft composite leather cover that is normally only found with indoor balls. It holds up very well outdoors even with a soft cover and has an exceptional grip and control. It’s superior channel design is an extremely unique feature with NBA Official Game Balls.

The only really downside is the soft leather will wear out faster than rubber covers if it is normally used outdoors. All in all, you should be able to get a few good years out of this ball if you normally play outdoors on a regular basis. As for the price tag, it’s a very good and affordable ball.

InfoMotion Sports 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball

Smart Sensor Basketball

This basketball has got to be on the leading edge of technology but does come with a pretty hefty price tag, so if you are on a budget this probably is not the ball for you. On the other hand, if cost is not an option, the price is made up by its exceptional quality. This is a basketball that should be purchased by coaches as its advanced technologies will weigh a player’s performance and ability on the basketball court.

This basketball has an embedded sensor which makes this ball a very popular choice and is the only one of its kind. This sensor makes it possible to literally measure the skills shown by a specific player. The information is sent wirelessly through smartphones and then analyzed to show how a player can improve his or hers overall performance. As well as being able to view these results, the feedback can be acquired through an audio format. This will allow a player to more easily and quickly learn how to improve their game.

This ball also offers a short arc analyzer that will give you the correct arc position for making the perfect shot. You will also get a shot release speed timer that will improve your speed, allowing you to score more times during the game. Two other nifty features are the shot backspin analyzer and dribble power meter, what more could you ask for! When the battery drains, just place the ball at the top of the charger base and it will recharge on its own.

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Wilson Replica Game Ball

This is another great ball for younger players and meets all NCAA requirements. It offers plenty of excellent game time for users. This ball has drawn the attention of many people due to its ability to absorb moisture. Any player knows, that when you are performing, your hands will inevitably become wet from sweat. This Wilson basketball is designed to absorb the moisture away. The ball will remain dry and you will not experience the ball slipping out of your hand or going out of control.

Its composite leather construction makes this ball the very best value for your money. The leather on this ball makes for its excellent durability as well. The construction guarantees for not only longevity but there will be no concerns about using it outdoors or on rough surfaces.

The basketball has a tacky feel, which is a huge benefit allowing for better control of the ball. This is a popular feature when buyers are looking into purchasing a basketball.

Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite Basketball

Wilson Wave Basketball

With the name Wilson behind this model, that alone is a good reason for purchasing this particular model over other alternatives. Its innovative design offers some of the most advanced technologies in the marketplace to date.

A major benefit to this model’s design is the Wave Triple Threat Technology which is exclusive to Wilson and will maximize any player’s performance. This ball has three times more grooves than found in traditional basketballs, has better surface area and leverage points. From shooting, dribbling, passing and many other moves, it will be performed much better due to this technology.

Within the industry, this ball is considered the very best indoor/outdoor performer due to the Cushion Core Technology which is a patented feature of Wilson. This basketball delivers low-density sponge rubber and sturdy butyl rubber. This allows for exceptional durability and excellent feel and texture.

Another great reason to purchase this basketball is its Aqua Grip laid-in channels. It replaces the traditional rubber and is known for increased gripping. This basketball is solidly constructed with the very highest quality that speaks volumes for the manufacturer. You will not have to worry about requesting for a replacement over a short period of time. This ball will remain state of the art for many years to come.

Molten GM7 Official Basketball

Molten GM7

Some folks are surprised to see this basketball on our list as it’s not a well-known name normally mentioned on top ten recommendations. Even though Molten is not a known brand, in the U.S, it is considered one of the very best basketballs in other countries. It is rated as a top choice internationally and also at the Olympics. The Molten GM7 Official Basketball will hold up really well both outdoors and indoors. This review will focus on how it performs on rough outside surfaces.

In our review, this basketball delivered the very best grip for an outdoor basketball. It offers a really nice tacky feel to it and offers nicely placed grooves that will deliver excellent ball control. It rests easily in your palm and is an excellent fit for those with smaller hands. Its overall design is somewhat unique compared to other basketballs. Most standard basketballs have an 8-panel design where this ball has extra panels thanks to a yellow band. There is a noticeable difference on how the ball feels and we, along with consumers, love it!

The only negative to this ball is it doesn’t hold air quite as well as other basketballs. It does require a few extra pumps from time to time in order to maintain it’s excellent bounce. Otherwise, that seems immaterial considering this is a perfect basketball!