Top 5 Best Outdoor Basketballs of 2023

Last Updated on: 4th October 2023, 12:01 am

5 best Outdoor Basketballs

Everyone needs a great outdoor basketball that can handle the harsh elements of the blacktop….

Outdoor basketballs are made differently from indoor basketballs; Outdoor balls are designed to last from the constant contact with the concrete that comes from outside play, which means there will still be an excellent grip even after hours of playing on the court.

If you are looking for the top indoor basketballs, you can check them out here.

Please do not make the mistake of bringing your indoor ball to the local park; it will not last long…

No matter if you only play outside and are looking for a great outdoor ball or are trying to find the right outdoor basketball to accompany your indoor basketballs.

You need to check out this list of 5 best outdoor basketballs.

5 Best Outdoor Basketballs

Now, these are the best 5 outdoor basketballs that will change the way you feel and play the game.

1. Spalding NBA Street Phantom Official Outdoor Basketball

Top Outdoor Basketballs

A great basketball to play with during the day, the lettering stands out on the all-black surface. The ball is made of rubber, which I usually strongly urge players to avoid. But, the NBA Street Phantom has something called “Soft Grip Technology”.

This unique technology makes the ball easier to handle and grip and does pretty well in the rain. A bonus of this ball is that you can not mistake it for someone else after the game. So no one will walk off with it; no one typically likes an all-black ball. You can also get the lettering in different colors, which is nice.

Here are more best Spalding basketballs to check out.

2. Nike Versa Tack

The Nike Versa Track is a unique outside basketball because it has the feel of an indoor basketball but withstands the elements like an outdoor ball. The ball combines technology with a “soft touch rubber core” and “pebble surface,” giving you an improved feel and more control when playing in-game.

Now you add the ball’s wide channels, and you have one great outdoor ball that is a dream to handle and shoot. The durability of this basketball stands with the best outdoor basketballs; made of composite leather, the Nike Versa Tack will give you a ball that lasts and a playing experience you will enjoy.

3. Wilson NCAA WAVE Microfiber Composite

At first glance, this ball does not look like much; it even looks weird. The Wave is made like no other outside basketball. I haven’t met many people who do not love playing with this ball. The ball is a little softener than other outdoor balls. There are 24 T3 grooves, which improve a player’s ball control, making it easier to control and palm.

Another benefit of these grooves is that it help prevent the build-up of dirt. The Wave is not your typical ball design; it has more grip than most balls. This ball is excellent for that player who wants that grip, but I wouldn’t get used to it too much because most balls you pick up will not have that extra grip.

Check out these other best Wilson basketballs, too!

4. Spalding NBA Zi/O

Coming from the most trusted name in basketball, the Zi/O is a ball that needs to be recognized. The Zi/O is made from composite material so it can withstand the outside courts and the indoor courts. The deep channels make for comfortable handling, and the soft touch makes this ball a dream come true for shooters.

Additionally, the foam backing in this ball under the pebble texture ensures you have the best handling possible. Spalding made this ball for real basketball players and the average joe alike. Giving you a real professional basketball feel to bring to an outdoor court.

5. Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketball

Number one of Top Outdoor Basketballs

Finally, we made it to number one on the list, and the Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketball is a beast when playing on the blacktop. The ball is made of composite material, and the design of this ball is almost perfect plays like an official game ball.

This basketball offers a fantastic feel giving you exceptional control and a constant bounce when dribbling in-game. Laid-in channels give you an excellent grip, which plays a factor in improved ball control. If you are a competitive player and want a basketball that will last, look no further than the Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketball.

Material To Look For In An Outdoor Basketball

1. Rubber

Basketballs made from rubber are typically extremely cheap. Unless you are on a tight budget, I will stay far away from these types. Rubber basketballs take a while to get used to because they are extremely hard to handle due to their extra and unpredictable bounce. The only pro of these balls is that they last longer than normal.

2. Composite

The number one choice regarding basketball material when wanting to play outside. These balls are much softer than rubber basketballs, which correlates to easier handling.

One thing to keep in mind is that some composite basketballs will only be indoors only, but do not worry; every ball you will buy will specifically say for indoor use only or will say outdoor/indoor use. When purchasing a composite basketball for outside play, ensure it says indoor/outdoor use.

3. Leather

Do Not use leather balls outside. Genuine Leather basketballs will not last very long when playing on the blacktop. These leather balls are made to be only played inside; these types of basketball are expensive. Therefore, only experienced basketball players will play with them; when they do, it is always inside.

VertShock Banner 2

What we Looked For

1. Durability

One of the most essential factors in the best outdoor basketballs is durability. The hard blacktop is restless on the basketball, between the concrete, dirt, rocks, metal backboard, and metal nets. All can wear on the basketball, so you want a ball that will withstand the conditions and last. While lasting, you want the ball to feel good and keep that broken-in feel for a long time.

2. Grip

Grip plays a more significant role outside than it does when inside; I know it is hard to believe. Nothing is worse than when you are playing outside, and a little bit of dirt or water gets on your ball, and you can not keep a grip. Once this happens, it feels like the game is over.

A quality of an excellent outdoor ball is that it does not lose its grip easily because you have to face it. Your ball will roll into a puddle or get some dirt coating; when this happens, you will have to play through it.

3. Air Retention

If you have ever played with a flat basketball or a ball that goes flat halfway through a game, you know that is it no fun. It makes the game almost feel like it is over. Cheaper balls tend to deflate quickly, especially when the temperature drops. An excellent outdoor basketball will deflate slightly but will not even be noticeable.

No feeling worse than being stripped or losing the ball and having it fly out of bounds because you can’t handle it due to the lack of air in the basketball.  As you can see, air retention is a significant factor; keep a ball pump handy because every ball will need to be pumped up or deflated a little bit. There is no getting away from that.

Right Basketball Size For You?

The size of a basketball plays a vital role in your game; you will need to practice and play with the correct size ball. Nothing is worse than playing with the wrong size ball and getting used to it, then jumping in a pick-up game and being completely thrown off your game with the size you should be playing with.

Playing with the wrong size will throw your shot and handles off! There are three different sizes, and each has a different weight. Before you buy your next outdoor ball, look at the list below to make sure you have 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 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. It has a circumfluence of 29.5 or 74.93 centimeters

VertShock Banner

Thoughts To Keep In Mind

1. Price

An excellent composite outdoor basketball will cost anywhere from $30-$40, which is a reasonable price point. Rubber basketball should cost no more than $20; if they do, do not buy them.

2. Ball Weight

All the balls on this list are within the NBA standard regarding weight; this is why it is vital to get a basketball from a well-known trusted brand like Spalding or Wilson.

3. Durability

The best outdoor basketballs are built to withstand the harsher conditions of concrete courts. With that being said, the best basketballs will wear down over time.

The basketball pebbles will become shallower; even though these basketballs are designed for the outdoors, they generally do not last as long as indoor basketballs because the hardwood is much smoother than concrete.

4. Break-in Period

Rubber basketball is good to play with right out of the box, even though they do not feel the best. I still recommend staying away from basketballs made strictly from rubber. When it comes to composite basketballs, they will need some time to break in. It’s important not to judge a ball right out of the box because you will need to break any good ball in, which shouldn’t take long with most best outdoor basketballs.

Choosing the Best Outdoor Basketball

It is hard to say which basketball is right for you; if you chose any ball from this list, you made an excellent decision.

When choosing a ball, select the right size, a reputable brand, and a ball with a reputation.

You do not want to spend $30 on a ball, which is not the best you could have; I recommend staying within this list.

More basketball equipment guides here.