7 Best Outdoor Basketballs To Elevate Your Game

Did you know that there are indoor and outdoor basketballs?

When you’re not a basketball fan, this doesn’t make sense. But when you are, it does because there are indoor and outdoor courts after all.

But this means that there are indoor and outdoor basketballs as well.

So, what’s the best outdoor basketball you can buy?

Our number one pick for the best outdoor basketball is the Spalding NBA Zi/O. It has a premium look, feel and grip which is perfect for any outdoor surface.

But if you’re not in a rush, why not check out our other recommendations? Along the way, you’ll also learn how to choose the perfect basketball for you!

What’s the difference between outdoor and indoor basketball?

Anyone who has played basketball for a long time has encountered a situation where they are obliged to utilize an indoor basketball outside or an outdoor basketball indoors.

In any case, this is not a pleasant experience. Understand that outdoor play requires outdoor basketballs, and indoor play requires indoor basketballs.

Even if you have the best and most expensive indoor basketball, the ball will wear quickly if you use it outdoors.

Not using the correct type of basketball can also cause finger injury

Materials Employed

The biggest physical difference between the two types of basketballs revolves around the materials.

If you’ve ever seen an indoor basketball on a basketball court and dribble or shoot it, you’ll know that the surface is softer to the touch than an outdoor ball.

This is because indoor balls are constructed of full-grain leather. The leather improves the grip and feel.


Outdoor and Indoor basketballs are distinguished by their durability.

Only when played indoors, can an indoor basketball survive and thrive for years. The rough court might cause the leather to fracture or shatter when moved outside.

You can, however, bring an outdoor ball into an indoor court. You may not have the best shots or ball control, but your ball will hold up fine on the court. So outdoors are made in a very durable state.

Price Points

Indoor basketball courts may be quite expensive. Some indoor basketballs cost more than $100.

You can get an indoor ball for as little as $20, depending on how much money you want to spend and the quality of the ball you want to play with. On the other hand, a nice outdoor ball can usually be found for under $20.

You won’t have to spend a fortune; you know the ball will last for years with outdoor basketballs.

What to look for when buying outdoor basketballs?

If you play basketball frequently, you must know how it feels to be on the court with a good basketball.

Playing with a worn-out or only partially inflated basketball is one of the most frustrating things a basketball player can go through.

Because of this, skilled basketball players always make sure to bring their best outdoor ball to the court.

When buying a basketball, you must consider where you will be playing first.

Where you intend to play impacts the type of basketball you should buy. If you play it outdoors, purchasing the best indoor basketball will be a waste of money.

This will result in a short lifespan since leather basketballs can easily get damaged when used to play on concrete or cement. 

You should also choose the size that will perfectly fit your hand.

Kids play smaller basketballs, while adults with bigger palms need heavier ones. The National Basketball Association (NBA) uses a full-size ball.

This is recommended by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for athletes over 15. The ball is 29.5 inches in diameter and a size 7. So yes, basketballs come in different sizes.

Your budget also plays a role when choosing the best outdoor basketball, if you can afford high-end balls that promise durability and comfort, go for it.

But if you’re on a tight budget, search for budget-friendly basketballs from reliable brands.

Top 7 Outdoor Basketballs You Can Buy Now

When it comes to outdoor basketballs, there are many to choose from.

That’s why you’ll see only the best and our most recommended ones here. Check them out.

1. Spalding NBA Zi/O

Our #1 Pick


  • Durable
  • Consistent bounce rate
  • Premium look


  • A bit heavier

This is one of Spalding’s premium basketballs – Spalding NBA Z i/O basketball in official size and weight (7).

This can be tagged as a universal basketball, and a wise purchase if you play on a variety of surfaces.

The pricing is competitive, and this ball has a fair price-quality ratio when you consider the quality.

Spalding NBA Zi/O also features Spalding’s distinctive foam-backed construction.

The said material combined with the pebbled exterior, provides a firm grip and a good feel no matter how much you use it.

2. Spalding NBA Street Basketball



  • Best for outdoor use
  • Reliable grip and bounce


  • Very in demand so it may be out of stock sometimes

Spalding is one of the famous brands of basketballs in the market. This Spalding NBA Street has a deep channel design for improved grip.

In other words, the Spalding basketball’s design and material provide a superior grip and a soft feel for the player, making it a dependable alternative for outdoor play.

It’s tough enough and bounces well on asphalt and concrete courts because of its high-performance rubber coating.

The wide and deep channels provide excellent grip as well. It works right out of the box, with no break-in period required, so you can start dribbling and shooting immediately.

3. Spalding NeverFlat Elite Indoor-Outdoor Basketball

Premium Choice


  • Durable
  • Good for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Soft feel


  • Not budget-friendly

Thinking about purchasing an outdoor basketball that can also be used indoors? This Spalding NeverFlat Elite is for you. With this model, Spalding achieved an outstanding balance.

This is an NBA-approved size and weight ball that may be used in amateur and competitive games.

It is available in sizes 6 and 5 and 7, making it an excellent multipurpose model for all ages and genders.

This ball has been tagged as the highest rung of the class. 

4. Wilson NCAA Killer Crossover Basketball

Trusted Brand


  • Good bounce
  • Optima rubber cover


  • Comes only in blue, green and red colorways

Wilson is one of the trusted ball-maker by many basketball associations and players. In fact, it’s the official NBA basketball provider.

The Optima rubber cover of this Wilson NCAA Killer Crossover provides longevity and a more constant bounce.

With large channels on the ball’s surface, you gain good control and grip while dribbling, passing, and shooting.

This ball is great for shooting hoops at a local park or doing drills at basketball practice for children, teens, and even adults.

5. Baden Contender

Great Choice


  • Low-cost
  • One of the best air-retention


  • Simple style
  • No other colors to choose from

The Baden Contender is a popular outdoor basketball frequently recommended by the masses. Its key selling point is its low cost.

It is less expensive than other basketballs featured in the market and could be a good backup outdoor ball.

6. Molten BG3000 Outdoor Basketball

Great Alternative


  • The design makes it more grippy than other basketballs
  • High-quality ball


  • Can take time getting used to because of the different design

Molten, the international basketball federation’s official supplier, it is known for innovative technology solutions.

The Molten BG3000 is an outdoor ball encased in hard-wearing synthetic leather and available in Sizes 7,  6, and 5.

Molten basketballs have a patented 12-panel design that doesn’t only gives them a distinct look, but also a solid grip. 

7. Nike Dominate Outdoor Basketball

Nice Color


  • Offers incredible durability
  • Grippy


  • Only available in one colorway (red & blue)

The Nike Dominate outdoor basketball is a low-cost rubber choice that is ideal for novices or those on a tight budget.

The durability of the ball to play with is great, and at a great price, it’s not an expensive risk to take when it comes to trying it!

It is a regular 8-panel ball with deeper channels than most outdoor rubber basketballs, providing you with a more fantastic grip, which is why I prefer it at its price range.

Nike also claims that it features a ‘rotational wound butyl carcass’ (don’t ask me to translate that) which offers it more excellent form retention, which means it won’t ‘egg’ as much, which is a common problem with rubber balls after a violent impact.


Basketball is a popular sport that can be played indoors and outdoors. When playing outdoors, you need to have a good and durable basketball.

All the brands listed above have earned popularity and trust through quality. Choose what is best for your personality, budget, and expectation.

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