Everyone knows that there is a difference between good basketball and horrible basketball…
If you ever tried to play with the super cheap $12 rubber basketball that you can get at your local “everything” store, you know they are absolutely awful.
I was forced to play with these types of balls for far too long, either because I didn’t have enough money to buy the excellent basketballs or because my school was too cheap to buy the more superior basketballs.
Once I learned there were better basketballs and played with just one of these nine best indoor basketballs, my basketball game changed forever.
Within this list, there are more affordable indoor/outdoor basketballs and the more expensive basketball used indoors only, even the genuine leather basketball used in the NBA.
Before we dive into which basketball is the best for indoor play…
What are the factors that make basketball great?
The basketball material makes a huge difference in how the ball will perform indoors.
Your typical outdoor basketballs are made up of cheaper rubber, which makes them very durable in outside conditions and on the outside court.
But with this durability, it comes at a cost; the cheap rubber does not give good grip or ball control, especially on the hardwood.
2. Composite Leather
The typical inside ball that you will see at most indoor courts may be at middle school or at high school. Even if you go to your local indoor court for a pick-up game, you will find the balls are mostly composite leather.
The only downfall is that sometimes these balls feel slick out of the box, especially with sweaty hands. Once you start to play with them, that slickness begins to wear off, and you will get an excellent grip and ball control.
3. Genuine Leather
This is the ball that is used by the pros in the NBA, but it is more expensive than composite balls. Just be warned if you get this type of ball, there is a break-in period.
Once this break-in period is over, the genuine leather is ideal for comfort when shooting or dribbling. These types of balls should never be played with outside on concrete or asphalt; they will not last.
The grip is everything when playing basketball; I can not tell you how many times I would drive down the lane and lose the ball because of a bad grip…
A rule of thumb is that the cheaper the ball, the worst the grip. A few factors play a role in if the basketball will have a good grip or not; some balls have deeper grooves where it is easier to palm, while other balls are designed to absorb sweat for easy control while playing.
One of the essential qualities of a ball and a true tell sign if the ball is a good quality basketball or not.
The cheaper ball means the ball will not have a good bounce, keep in mind that air pressure will play a role. A ball cannot be overfilled or underfilled; if the ball is over or underfilled, it will have an off bounce and be unpredictable.
You will want a ball to have a consent bounce because it will improve your rhythm and not throw you out of rhythm.
Keep in mind that some balls will have better and deeper grooves that will help with shooting or dunking. The deeper grooves can throw off a reliable bunce and make it more unreliable.
If you have ever played with a ball that frequently loses air, you know it is one of the worst things. The NBA standard for the air pressure in a basketball is between 7.5 and 8.5. If you have a decent ball, then a ball pump will rarely be needed.
Keep in mind when the temperature starts to get colder, the air pressure in the ball may drop a little. In this scenario, you will need to replace the air in the ball. One of the best indoor basketball features is that they rarely lose air; having a ball that holds a constant air pressure is key to a smooth feel while playing.
Having a durable ball is vital; you do not want to replace a ball every few months. Typically, the more expensive the indoor ball is the longer it will last. Although indoor basketballs tend to be more expensive than outdoor basketball they also tend to be more durable and last longer.
What Is The Right Ball Size For You
It would be best if you practiced with the right size ball because there is nothing worse than practicing with one size ball than playing in a game with another, your shot and handles will be off.
There are three sizes, and each one is a different size and weight. Before you go and buy your next favorite ball, make sure it’s the right size.
Youth: Also called size 5, the circumference is 27.5 inches or 69.85 centimeters. It should be used for kids ages 9-11.
Intermediate: Also called size 6, it is the official Women’s ball and is used for boys aged 12-14. Has a circumfluence of 28.5 inches or 72.39 centimeters.
Adult: Referred to as the official size and sometimes size 7, this is the ball size for men and boys 15 years or older. Has a circumfluence of 29.5 or 74.93 centimeters.
8 Best Indoor Basketballs in 2023
I will admit there are a ton of basketballs in the game right now, this is because basketball is getting more popular every year and I hope to see the popularity keep growing.
As the popularity grows so will the technology of basketballs. If you are a beginner or a professional you may have some questions about the best indoor basketball to play with.
No matter if you are looking for a practice ball or a game ball. The list below breaks down the 8 best indoor basketballs you can get right now.
1. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball
This is the ball for the player who is on a tighter budget or is looking to play indoors and outdoors. The Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is made from Composite leather, so it will not feel as great as the other more expensive basketballs.
Designed to be played indoors and outdoors, which is excellent if you do not want two different balls and you play outdoors and indoors. This ball has a great combination of control when dribbling and a soft touch when shooting. One of the best balls in its price range, especially if looking for an outdoor basketball too.
2. Spalding Precision Indoor Basketball
A great ball for beginners and intermediate players, the Spalding Precision Indoor Basketball provides an excellent grip that is perfect for practicing your handles. The basketball is soft, has a predictable bounce, and has a grip that handles sweat well.
Looking for a ball that stands out, you have found it with unique logo designs and colors. You will surely be the talk of the court and probably the game ball of choice for the majority of the players there.
3. The Rock Official Men’s Basketball
The Brand is not the world-known like Spalding or Wilson, but do not let that fool you because this is one of the best balls I have personally played with. The ball is a little tacky but not too tacky. The no-logo feel and the deep pebble construction give a great constant feel.
The Rock is quite absorbent to sweat, so you will be able to control the ball with ease, even with sweaty palms. The ball is not leather but plays like it, so if you do not want to pay hundreds of dollars for a genuine leather ball, The Rock is an excellent second choice.
4. Baden Elite Indoor
The Baden Elite Indoor basketball you must have seen if you play competitive ball; the Elite indoor basketball is an incredibly durable synthetic leather ball built to last for years. This ball has excellent absorbent qualities, so there is no need to worry about sweaty hands combined with a great bounce and a sharp feel. Every basketball player falls in love with this ball.
Many players have loved this ball to practice with because the grip gives the player nice control when dribbling giving the ability to break some ankles with your Allen Iverson style crossovers. The perfect balance between softness and hardness allows this ball to have a nice constant bounce making this ball years above most basketballs.
5. Spalding NBA Official Game Ball
By far the most expensive ball on the list, the Spalding NBA Official Game Ball, is made from genuine leather and is very different than composite leather. If you never played with a genuine leather ball, it will take some getting used to, especially at first.
Once you get past the break-in period, you will see a massive change in your game. Your handles will become smoother; control will be easier, and your shot will be wetter. The main advantage of genuine leather balls is that sweaty hands are a problem that does not exist. The leather absorbs sweat with no problem, which makes it great for playing.
To give you an idea of how much NBA players love this ball, back in 2006, David Stern tried to replace the ball with a synthetic version, but received severe backlash from the star players. The NBA then reintroduced the genuine leather ball in January 2007.
If you want this ball, you will have to save up, but it is nice to play with the same ball as your basketball idols. The only reason this ball is not number one is because of the price and the break-in period.
6. Spalding TF-1000 Classic Indoor Basketball
This ball is one of the top basketballs in the United States if you ever played basketball on your middle school or high school team. The odds are that this is the ball they used to practice and play official games with. A key point about this ball, typically it does not lose its air, so once it is pumped up, you typically do not have to pump it up again.
The softness of this ball is perfect, and the ball is very durable. You will be able to play with this ball for years to come. Just keep in mind this is only an indoor ball; if you try to play outside with this ball, it will not last.
Out of the box, the ball may feel tacky to some players but goes away quickly; dunkers and ball handlers tend to love this ball more than shooters.
7. Wilson Evolution
We made it to the number two basketball. The Wilson Evolution is probably the best-known basketball, and there is a reason for that; if you ever played high school or any travel basketball, then the odds are you played with this ball and loved it.
All types of players love this ball. The ball handlers, dunkers, and shooters all prefer the Evolution over any other ball. The ball has moisture-wicking channels that make swearing hands no problem and allows you to maintain control of the ball. The moisture-wicking channels are one of the reasons shooters love this ball. While the ball handlers and dunkers love the ball for its deep channel design that allows maximum control. The durability of this ball is unrivaled by any other ball. Just keep in mind the ball is for only indoor use and will not last long outside.
8. Wilson Evo NXT
We made it to the number one basketball you should be playing with today! Originally the Wilson Evolution was the number one indoor basketball, but the Wilson EVO NXT has taken the crown for the top spot. The improved technology in this ball is unrivaled. The EVO has unmatched feel and control, material that makes moisture non-existent, and extended range technology is game-changing. The first time you play with this ball, you will not forget.
The ball feels perfect, and the grip is just outstanding, will make you feel like every shot is going in, and every crossover will break an ankle. The ball even gets better as you play with it; the Wilson EVO NXT basket will last for years to come. You can not go wrong with it. If you are looking for the very best indoor basketball that will last, you found it in the Wilson EVO NXT.
What’s The Best Indoor Basketball for You?
To be honest, you can not go wrong with any of these basketballs when picking your future ball, may the ball be for practice or official gameplay. If you are a beginner and/or plan to play outside, I would go with the Wilson NCAA replica because it is more durable for outdoor use.
For intermediate to advance level players, I would highly suggest one of the top three indoor basketballs on the list. Especially the Wilson EVO NXT, which is years above the competition.
While it is good to keep in mind, the Wilson Evolution and Spalding T-1000 Classic Indoor Basketball are the most used for competitive play. You will feel the difference when playing with one of the top three balls.
If you have a little deeper pockets, then you could go with the Spalding NBA Official Game Ball. There is a break-in period, but after that, the ball is a dream to play with. The Spalding Official NBA ball is not for everyone; I recommend that only serious players play with this ball because of the price, and it can only be played indoors.