8 Best Outdoor Basketball 2021-Buying Guide

I can still remember my first quality of basketball. It was a classic Spalding with faux leather panels — I absolutely loved that ball!

I played with it for years until all the boards fell off and there was literally no grip left. You can’t bounce the ball anymore and nobody can hit it except me 🙂 It was a sad day when I finally had to throw it away.

Since then I’ve been through countless balls and learned a lot about the perfect outdoor basketball. Today, I want to share what I learned, and help you choose the best option for your playing style and budget.

There are a lot of different options available; Here is just a small selection of the best and most popular:

Top 3 outdoor basketball:

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5"
Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball
WILSON NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball
Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5"
Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball
WILSON NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball
Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5"
Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5"
Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball
Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball
WILSON NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball
WILSON NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1# Review of the Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber

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This ball is plug-and-play, and it’s ready to hit the field straight out of the box. Yes, it’s a rubber ball, but it’s a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable outdoor ball. The ball comes in different sizes so it’s perfect for your kids too.

The unique thing about this ball is its deep pebbles. The pebbles on most rubber balls are weak but in this basketball, they are deep and strong which makes it a great ball in cold or rainy weather because the grip is very strong.

The welds on the Mikasa BX1000 are not very deep but the gravel grip makes up for it. Overall, it’s a great ball for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a good deal.

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another simple and affordable rubber basketball that’s very similar to Spalding NBA Street.

As with all rubber balls, the ducts are flatter than they are in more expensive/indoor basketballs and the pebbles are more aggressive to provide better grip on dusty and dirty pitches.

Experienced basketball players won’t enjoy the touch of dribbling and shooting with this ball, but it is a good choice for children and casual players who won’t perceive the teams anyway.

3# Review of the Spalding Street NBA

Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball
30,507 Reviews
Spalding Street Outdoor Basketball
  • Official size and weight: Size 7, 29.5" or Intermediate: Size 6, 28.5" or Youth size and weight: Size 5, 27.5" available
  • Performance outdoor rubber cover
  • Deep channel design for superior control

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is what I like to call “economics”. This is the best outdoor rubber basketball on the market. It has everything you really need in an outdoor ball. The gravel gives you a good grip no matter the weather, the deep seams allow you to have good handles and the rubber is soft enough for a decent feel. This ball also comes fully inflated so you can start shooting hoops right away!

If you are looking for basketball for your kids, Spalding NBA Street is a perfect choice. The rubber is very hardwearing and will withstand rough handling and the ball will maintain air pressure even if left outside. Good luck finding a basketball that provides a better bang for your buck!

4# Review of the Spalding NBA Hexagrip Soft Grip NeverFlat

Spalding® NBA SGT™ Neverflat® Hexagrip™ Basketball 29.5'
909 Reviews
Spalding® NBA SGT™ Neverflat® Hexagrip™ Basketball 29.5"
  • Official NBA size and weight: Size 7, 29.5"
  • Soft Grip Technology cover
  • Neverflat air retention technology stays inflated for at least 1 year

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This ball directly addresses one of my main concerns — inflation. Whether it’s cold temperatures or wear and tear, the outdoor ball is bound to let you down at some point. But Spalding has put a “never flat” technology into this ball, ensuring it stays inflated for at least a year without the need for a pump. These are some amazing things.

The skin of this ball has hexagonal shapes engraved in it. This gives the ball a different feel to the indoor ball, which may or may not work for you. The good news is that the hexagonal design pulls the water out so the grip remains intact during inclement weather.

The hard rubber makes the ball durable and reduces wear. You can play with this thing every day for a year, the grip will not be affected, and the ball will maintain its weight and shape.

The hexagram is a great outdoor ball for those who play a lot and want a reliable ball that plays well in almost all conditions.

Spalding Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball 29.5'
9,792 Reviews
Spalding Street Phantom Outdoor Basketball 29.5"
  • Official NBA size and weight Size 7, 29.5 in
  • High performance rubber cover with Soft Grip Technology
  • Sponge rubber design

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This ball is great for midday basketball when the sun is high and glare can become a problem. You can really define the seams and the lettering perfectly on this all-black ball during daylight hours.

This is a rubber ball but it contains what is called “soft grip technology”, which gives the ball a nice hold and makes the ball a lot easier. This ball also holds up the weather well, giving you a good grip even in the rain.

You can customize this ball a little, too. The neon lettering on the ball, which glows slightly in the dark so you don’t lose it, comes in several different colors. You don’t have to go on the field with the same ball as everyone else. And black in color. You don’t have to go on the field with the same ball as everyone else. And the black color of the ball makes it unique. It’s always easy to find after a match and nobody is about to walk away with the black ball. Its uniqueness protects it.

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5'
7,351 Reviews
Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball - Brown, Official - 29.5"
  • Whether you're playing in The Final Four or lunchtime pick-up, the ball matters. There is no other ball that can offer the...
  • Replica of the NCAA Game Ball
  • Moisture absorbing material offers superior grip ability designed for indoor/outdoor play

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wilson markets this ball as an indoor/outdoor hybrid that will give you the feel of the compound leather of an indoor basketball but with extra durability.

If you compare it to the hugely popular indoor basketball Wilson Evolution, you’ll notice that the NCAA replica is nowhere near as soft or squishy, ​​which is a compromise necessary to make the ball last longer on the outdoor court.

The grip is really good once you take it out of the box, but bring a towel for the first few sessions because the sticky substance picks up dust and dirt easily. Also, some players have a hard time adjusting to the way this ball bounces.

Overall, this is another good option if you prefer combination leather over rubber and want to get closer to the feel and handling of the inner ball.

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I feel this is the best outdoor ball for shooting. In fact, this is an indoor and outdoor ball so it can be used on both courts. It’s a great way to save money if you only have to buy one ball.

The soft interior feel of compound leather is really what shooters like to feel with their hands as they shoot. A good jump shot rolls softly from the fingertips with a slow backward rotation, which requires an artist’s touch which is not possible without the soft, leathery feel of the inner ball. If you drop bombs you might want to check out Spalding NBA Zi / O Basketball.

Another detail that I really like about this ball is the deep seam channels. These channels make it easy to align the ball to get a J, but they are also very useful for dribbling. Your fingers literally sink into the seams as the ball rolls across your hand so you can grab and change directions by dodging you instantly.

If you are a serious basketball player and looking for a more durable ball but don’t want to compromise the feel and handling of the ball, Spalding NBA Z/O is perfect for you!

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pebble high definition — improved grip
Deep channel construction
Excellent hull structure — excellent rebound and durability
Medium size basketball — 28.5 ‘’
Suitable Inflation Level: 7–9 psi

Moisture absorbent material provides superior holdability
Wilson’s combined leather ducts provide unparalleled consistency and feel for anything else on the market
Designed to enhance control and reduce the spin rate
Versatile cover that allows you to play both indoors and outdoors
For boys 12 years and over.

When you choose basketball, there are a lot of different factors that you want to consider:

The Right Feel — Textured Leather or Rubber?
When it comes to basketball decks, you can generally choose between inexpensive rubber balls or more expensive compound leather balls.

Composite leather

Compound leather is also used for indoor basketball, so using outdoor basketball with this kind of material will feel more comfortable for experienced basketball players. It’s the perfect choice if you play on high-quality outdoor courts and don’t want to compromise on the grip and shot.

Unfortunately, this material is less durable, especially if you play on poor pitches.


Inexpensive basketballs tend to shrink when the temperature drops. There is nothing worse than losing dribbling or stripping because the ball doesn’t bounce properly. While all of the outer balls will contract a bit as they get colder, a good outer ball will deflate a lot less. Deflation is a big problem.
Also, make sure you have a ball pump in your home because every ball will definitely need to be inflated (or deflated on very hot summer days).


The external environment is less forgiving than the indoor environment. Dirt, rocks, moisture, metal backboards, and metal meshes can take a toll on the ball. You don’t want to go to the store every few weeks to buy a new store. And you want your ball to break in extra time. This gives you the ultimate feeling of the ball, and it’s something you’ll want to last. When you have an intimate relationship with the ball, nothing can stop you from getting off the field.

Moisture grip

Inevitably, the ball will be inserted into the water. Whether you love basketball so much that you are ready to play during a rainstorm or roll the ball in a pool, you will have to deal with the ball when it’s wet.

It is important to know if your ball holds up to the moisture test. Does the ball remain wet after removing it with the towel? How does the ball deal with so little moisture on it? You want a ball that can stand up to the water so that you don’t need a play break.

Every time the ball bounces off an outdoor court, it wears out a little. Dirt runs on the field like sandpaper, as it slowly drains onto the ball. This can have a big impact on the ball’s weight over time. Inexpensive outdoor balls wear quickly, giving you a lightweight balloon-like paper bag. You need a ball to keep its weight — the lighter ball will mess with your shooting skills and crazy dribbling.

The color

The color does not affect the gameplay, but it may play a role in the game experience. Some players gravitate towards the bright color patterns for better visibility. While you can stick to the standard color, outdoor basketballs are available in neon colors and vibrant designs.

Skill level

When you play outdoors you’ll have to compromise: If you’re a serious basketball player, you want a compound leather ball like Spalding NBA Zi / O that looks cool and is fun to play with. Unfortunately, compound leather balls won’t last forever on rough surfaces so you’ll need to buy a new one from time to time.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a basketball for your little ones who are learning to shoot hoops in the driveway of your car, handling it isn’t that important, but you want a sturdy ball that will survive it rolling in the thorny rose bushes. In this case, a cheaper rubber ball like Spalding NBA Street makes more sense!

Air retention

The good build of outdoor basketballs often boils down to air retention. Well-made outdoor basketballs have thick layers and tough, reinforced layers. The design aims to eliminate the gaps that air can escape through, resulting in deflated balls with weak bounce.


Outdoor basketballs are available in standard ball sizes from one to seven. The majority of them come in size five (youth), six (women), or seven (men). It is best to choose the size that fits most of the players in the games you play.

Consistency of bounce

Because the playing field varies between indoor and outdoor play, the consistency of the rebound would be expected to vary with outdoor basketball. Because they are subjected to heavy handling and rough play, it is not surprising that recoil consistency decreases from additional wear, especially when it causes air loss.

Surface quality

Outdoor basketballs have slightly different textures than indoor basketball. The grooves are extra thick to enhance cohesion, even through dirt and moisture. Some patterns feature additional layers to provide more variety at the connection points.


Regular basketballs are big and heavy and won’t work for young children. If you’re not sure what size basketball to get, take a look at this chart:

A circumference size is recommended for

5 27.5 ‘’ standard youth ball, ages 9–11
Size 6 28.5 inch women’s standard ball, for boys 12–14 years old
Size 7 29.5 inches for men and boys 15 years or older

I think the best of all outdoor basketball Wilson’s NCAA Final Four Edition Basketball

Our point of view: A solid choice of a training ball for children or teenagers used to hone ball-handling skills.

What we love: A durable, premium leather construction and stiff stitching.

What we don’t like: We’ll need to pump it up after repeated use.

It’s the closest you can feel indoors with an outdoor playground in the fastest time.

If you want to save money, you can choose the rubber version from Spalding. Spalding NBA Street Basketball is affordable and comes with essentially the same specs. It’s only made of rubber instead of the inner and outer synthetic leather.