What Makes a Great Outdoor Basketball?

When engaged in a heated battle on the court you have several things to worry about. Should I take this shot? Is my teammate open? Can I thread the needle on this pass? Often, these decisions have to be made in a split second. One thing that no basketball player wants to worry about is the consistency and quality of the basketball. You should NEVER have to be thinking about whether a ball will bounce consistently, or if it will be difficult to handle. Having a great basketball can help you focus on what matters…the game!

We recognize how important it is to have the best outdoor basketball for players who expect a top quality product.  Because of this, we have listed below the top 10 outdoor basketballs.  While we all have different preferences, we feel you will find any of the basketballs on our list are worth of being crowned best outdoor basketball.

Top 5 Outdoor Basketballs (In order from #1 to #5)

1. Spalding Replica Game Basketball

  • spalding replica game ballComposite Leather Cover
  • Features NBA logo and graphics making it appear like an official game ball
  • The most consistent performing indoor/outdoor basketball we tested
  • Has superior feel compared to other indoor/outdoor basketballs

Price: $$

4.85 Stars (4.85 / 5)
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2. Molten GM7 FIBA Official Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

  • 61F0r7neWzLOfficial 29.5 size 7 mens basketball
  • Durable indoor/outdoor composite cover
  • FIBA approved official 12 panel 2 tone design
    manufacturers 2 year warranty

Price: $$$$

4.75 Stars (4.75 / 5)

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3. Baden Contender Official Wide Channel Basketball

  • BadenContenderIndoor/Outdoor Basketball
  • Total Feel Technology
  • Performance composite cover
  • Stealth Soft-Valve System
  • Perfection symmetrical design

Price: $$

4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)

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4. Under Armour 595 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

  • 91ZxbYJMrlL._SL1500_UA GRIPSKIN Composite for Ultimate Grip and Feel
  • Traditional Channel Design/Full Ball Pebbling
  • 100-Percent Nylon Windings for Excellent Shape Retention
  • 100-Percent Butyl Bladder for Maximum Air Retention

Price: $$$

4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)

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5. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

  • 915wLQt84eL._SL1500_UA GRIPSKIN Composite for Ultimate Grip and Feel
  • Deep Channel Design/Full Ball Pebbling
  • 80-Percent Nylon Windings for Shape Retention
  • 100-Percent Butyl Bladder for Maximum Air Retention

Price: $$

4.3 Stars (4.3 / 5)

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Best Outdoor Basketball Systems

Now that you have the perfect outdoor basketball it is now time to turn your attention to finding the best outdoor basketball hoop to match.  There are literally hundreds of basketball hoops to choose from for your home and the characteristics of each can vary greatly across price, features, materials, and size.  It is important for any basketball enthusiast who wants to bring the game to their home to seriously consider each of these variables when choosing a basketball system.  Below we have selected what we consider to be the best five basketball hoops for your home.  You can see our extensive list of reviewed hoops, and our picks for the best portable and in ground basketball units.

Click to See Our Ultimate Hoop Buying Guide!

Top 5 Outdoor Basketball Hoops

1. Spalding Arena View In-Ground Basketball System

  • Spalding arena view72in. x 42in. steel framed glass backboard with aluminum trim.
  • 1/2″ thick tempered glass backboard for superior rebound
  • U-Turn Pro system provides infinite height adjustment from 7′ to 10′
  • Backboard has 4′ offset from pole
  • One piece, 8 inch square steel pole allows for maximum stability

Price: $$$$$

4.75 Stars (4.75 / 5)

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2. Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball Hoop

  • image-toolsResidential portable basketball system adjusts from 7.5-Feet to 10-Feet
  • 60-Inch glass backboard, Pro Image breakaway basketball rim, all-weather white net
  • 50+ Gallon capacity dual capacity base fills with water or sand for stability

Price: $$$$$

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

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3. Silverback SB-54iG In-Ground Basketball System

  • 31-v4kBDxDL (1)Backboard size is 54 x 33-Inch with 5-Millimeter tempered glass and 3/4 x 1 3/16-Inch internal frame
  • Pole 4 x 4-Inch, two piece in ground DuPont powder coated features benefits swedged two piece pole simulates characteristics
  • 2-Feet overhang, all-steel actuator DuPont powder coated ultimate protection against the elements

Price: $$$$

4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)

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4. Spalding Portable Basketball System- 60″ Acrylic Backboard

  • spalding portable 60 579.0040-gallon base fills with sand or water for added stability and to minimize tipping
  • Screw Jack lift system adjusts from 7.5 to 10 feet in infinite increments
  • Portable basketball system with 60-inch acrylic backboard
  • Arena Slam breakaway rim

Price: $$$$

4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)

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5. Lifetime 52-Inch Portable Basketball System

  • lifetime 52 inch shatter proofFront height adjustment with just a squeeze of the handles
  • Orange slam-it rim with two compression springs
  • Steel backboard frame with frame pad
  • 52 inch polycarbonate backboard

Price: $$$

4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

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All Basketballs are NOT Created Equal

We’ve all been there.  Having to play a pickup game with a ball that just does not make the grade.  It is either too slick or too rubbery, or inconsistent in its bounce.  A great basketball has the correct grip balance while maintaining a smooth feel.  Do you really think that Billy Hyle or Sidney Dean would play with a sub-par ball?  Of course not!  Great ballers want to have the best outdoor basketball because this gives them the best opportunity to play their A-game.  This is the same for almost every sport.  The best performers for a given sport are always playing with the best equipment, because it makes a difference.

Fly high with the right outdoor basketball.

Fly high with the right outdoor basketball.

The best outside basketballs are almost all made from a composite or synthetic leather material.  While genuine leather gives the ultimate feel for a basketball it is not appropriate for outdoor use due to leather’s lack of durability.  But there is good news!  Today’s composite leather is of great quality and does an amazing job simulating the feel of genuine leather.  So good in fact, you may have a difficult time telling a genuine leather basketball from a high quality composite leather basketball.

Things to Consider When Buying a Basketball

1. Cover Material

The cover of the basketball you buy is a critical factor to consider when doing your research.  The vast majority of indoor basketballs are made of composite leather (with exception to the Official NBA Game Ball which is made of genuine leather), which provides an extra cushioned feel with high marks for grip and tact.  Many indoor/outdoor basketballs are also made from composite leather, but tend to be more durable while giving up some grip and feel compared to their indoor counterparts.  Basketballs made strictly for outdoor play often are made from synthetic leather or rubber.  These basketballs are functional, but their covers lack a soft feel that experienced players prefer.

Whether a player desires a basketball with an ultra soft cover, a sticky grip, or one that works to mimic the unique feel of a genuine leather basketball is based on personal preference.

2. Size

For adults and boys who are in their teenage years, a standard 29.5″ basketball will be the best choice.  If you are looking to buy a basketball for a lady baller or a youngster, then take a look at the 28.5″ sized basketballs.  These two sizes will appeal to almost all basketball players.  However, if you have an elementary aged player, then you may want to get a youth sized basketball, which is 27.5″.

3. Price

Whether looking to buy an indoor/outdoor basketball, indoor basketball, or outdoor basketball, price is obviously a factor.  As a general rule of thumb outdoor basketballs tend to be the most affordable option.  Indoor/outdoor basketballs are generally priced in the $20-$50 range depending on the specific basketball model.  Finally, indoor basketballs tend to be the most expensive with prices ranging from $40 to $140.

4. Performance

A basketball that performs well will enhance your performance and comfort on the court.  If a basketball does not bounce consistently or wears down with little use then you will not feel satisfied with your purchase.  See our basketball reviews to see how each basketball stacks up against the competition.

How to Find the Best Outdoor Basketball for You

There are literally hundreds of basketballs to choose from.  With so much selection a decision can be difficult.  You have to think about what matters to you including cost, brand, size, color, feel, and grip.

With our interactive chart you will find valuable information regarding each basketball we have listed.  Make sure to look at each ball and its characteristics to make a decision that meets your balling needs.  Instead of having someone else tell you what ball to buy, check out the list we have compiled and use the data to decide which is the best outdoor basketball for you!

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