The Best Basketballs

Whether you’re looking to play weekend hoops or you need to practice for the big game, knowing which basketball to purchase can make the process of buying one easier. Maybe you thought all basketballs were the same. Like all sports equipment, there is good equipment, well-known brands, and those you’re best to stay away from. Here, we guide you through selecting just the right basketball for your personal needs.

We looked at dozens of basketballs for sale online through Amazon. We sorted through leather, rubber, plastic, composites, and even glow-in-the-dark basketballs to find you the most suitable choice for night playing, small kids and older children, or other beginners in any age range.

Best Basketball Overall
Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5
The Spalding NBA Zi/O basketball gives a solid bounce and is easy to palm.

We chose the Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5″ Basketball as our pick for the overall best basketball because it delivers on performance and grip.

The 5 Top-Rated Basketballs

Editor's PicksBrandRating
The Best Basketball OverallSpalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5" Basketball4.5
The Best Glow-in-the-Dark BasketballGlowCity Light Up Basketball-Uses Two High Bright LED's4.5
The Best Budget BasketballWilson Killer Crossover Basketball4.5
The Best Kids BasketballLittle Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set, Blue, 3 Balls4.7
The Best Youth BasketballSpalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball4.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Basketball Overall: Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5″ Basketball

The Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5″ Basketball is made for both dribbling on the court inside and taking shots at the hoop outside. Available in a size 7, 29.5-inch diameter, the former NBA official brand still delivers a well-made official game ball. In 1983, Spalding became the official brand of the NBA. The company lost that honor recently to Wilson.

Made from composite leather, the Spalding basketball is durable and handles the rough terrain of concrete as well as the smooth surface of the indoor court. The deep channels offer you a better overall finger positioning to set up your 3-point shot, while the well-defined, somewhat tacky, pebbles give you a firm grip, especially for palming the ball. Built with foam backing, the ball is soft and flexible, resulting in good bounce.

The Spalding Zi/O Tournament ball is shipped to your door, ready to play; there’s no need to pump it up. Amazon offers you the option of purchasing just the ball or choosing the ball with an additional dual-action pump.

Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5″ Basketball Key Features:

  • Available with a pump
  • Made for indoor and outdoor use
  • Comes ready to play
  • Foam-backed design
  • Soft, but tacky, composite cover

Best Glow-in-the-Dark Basketball: GlowCity Light Up Basketball-Uses Two High Bright LED’s

Best Glow-in-the-Dark Basketball
GlowCity Light Up Basketball-Uses Two High Bright LED's
Two bright LED lights illuminate this basketball so you can keep dribbling at dusk.

If you’re a regular basketball player, then you’ve played in the dark. Or tried to. For those times when your game doesn’t wrap up before sundown, check out the GlowCity Light Up Basketball-Uses Two High Bright LED’s. This glow-in-the-dark basketball features not one, but two, LED lights inside the ball – better to light up your night playing. The lights are anchored to the sides of the ball so they don’t rattle around when you’re playing.

Made as the official size and weight of an NBA basketball, the GlowCity basketball is built to feel like a normal ball. Dribble it, spin it, dunk it, and shoot at the hoop with confidence. The lights are activated with the first bounce and when the basketball is in use. The ball automatically shuts off when there is 40 seconds of inactivity. The batteries that are included should last up to 30 hours of playing time. Either way, the batteries are replaceable and your night ball games can continue.

GlowCity Light Up Basketball-Uses Two High Bright LED’s Key Features:

  • Two built-in LED lights
  • Batteries are included and replaceable
  • Nylon wound bladder
  • Illuminates when in action
  • Up to 30 hours of playtime

Best Budget Basketball: Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball

Best Budget Basketball
Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball
The Wilson Killer Crossover basketball has an all-surface cover, ideal for indoor and outdoor recreational ball.

Our pick for the best budget basketball is the Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball. Now the new official brand of the NBA, Wilson delivers a quality basketball at a lesser price than some of our other top picks. Choose from a 27.5-, 28.5-, or 29.5-inch diameter ball, depending on your level of play. Match your style and pick from color combinations such as blue and white, black and white, green and white, or red and white. Made for an indoor or outdoor court, this basketball fits the budget while being versatile enough for any random pick-up game.

The Wilson Crossover basketball is designed with an all-surface cover and internal rubber construction, resulting in durability and premium bounce. The wide, deep channels and well-defined pebbles offer you an optimum grip surface to help reduce fumbling when you pass or take a shot. The surface is a bit tacky, which helps keep your fingers from sliding around. You wouldn’t want to lose the ball just when you set up your perfect shot.

Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball Key Features:

  • Comes in multiple sizes and colors
  • For indoor and outdoor use
  • Deep channels for better grip
  • 16-panel design

Best Kids Basketball: Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set, Blue, 3 Balls

Best Kids Basketball
Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set, Blue, 3 Balls
Start kids off with the Little Tikes basketball set, which features an adjustable 4-foot hoop and three junior size basketballs.

Maybe you’re a die-hard basketball fan and want to introduce your kid to the game. Or perhaps you want to foster motor skills and coordination in your child. Or maybe you just want your kid to have fun. Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set, Blue, 3 Balls is our pick for the best kids basketball because the junior-size balls come with an adjustable basketball hoop to get your kid accustomed to dunking the basketball. Fix the height from 2.5 to 4 feet, creating the opportunity for the toy to grow with your child.

The Little Tikes basketball set is made from durable plastic, and the base of the hoop should be weighted down for better stability. Designed for children up to 5 years old, this basketball set encourages confidence with the oversized basketball hoop and large backboard. The basketballs are soft and small for small hands.

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set, Blue, 3 Balls Key Features:

  • Hoop adjusts from 2.5 to 4 feet
  • For indoor or outdoor use
  • Made from plastic
  • Base should be weighted with sand
  • Oversized rim with large backboard

Best Youth Basketball: Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball

Best Youth Basketball
Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball
Made with a rubber composite cover, this outdoor basketball is available in a size 5.

For children older than 8 or 9 years old, a youth basketball offers a smaller diameter than the official NBA basketball. For the best youth basketball, we like the Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball. Available in traditional orange or pink and purple, this youth basketball is made with a rubber cover, making it ideal for using the ball outside on concrete or asphalt.

Perfect for pick-up games in the neighborhood, the Spalding street basketball features deep, wide channels and defined pebbles to enhance the grip. The ball comes inflated and ready to play. And if you would like another size, Amazon also has size 6 and 7 available for purchase.

Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball Key Features:

  • Other sizes available
  • Comes in orange or pink and purple
  • Deep channels for better grip
  • Comes ready to play

Who Should Buy a Basketball

Basketball is a game that can be played by a wide number of people, from toddlers to adults. Since basketballs come in different sizes, designed for different size hands, it’s always a good time to have a basketball around. Start kids young to develop hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and athletic ability. A basketball is also a convenient prop for children to make friends. And a large portion of the high school and college population tend to drive around with a basketball in the trunk or backseat.

You don’t have to be going out for the school team or pursue a career in the NBA, though, to own a basketball. From shooting hoops in the driveway or nearby park to a street ball with friends to endless hours practicing your free throw in the gym, a basketball is handy to have around. It’s convenient for starting a conversation, provides immediate exercise, and can be used without a hoop as you polish your Globetrotter skills.

If you’re looking to up your game at home, then you may also be interested in The Best Portable Basketball Hoops.

Best Basketball Overall
Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5
The Spalding NBA Zi/O basketball gives a solid bounce and is easy to palm.

Important Features to Consider

A basketball should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a basketball:

  • Size. Basketballs are available in a few different sizes. They’re made for kids, youth, women, men, and seniors. They come in a variety of sizes for different size hands. A 7-inch basketball is designed for the little hands of toddlers. For children around 9 years old, basketballs are a size 5 with a 27.5-inch diameter. Size 6 basketballs are designed for women, and size 7 is the official size of the NBA at 29.5 inches in diameter.
  • What the basketball is made from. Think about where you’ll be using the basketball and its particular purpose. Many basketballs are constructed for the indoor wood court and the outdoor concrete or asphalt court, sporting an all-surface cover. But if you’re looking for a ball made specifically for the polished wood courts, like those found in the NBA, check out those made from leather or composite leather. If your main focus is the weekly game at the park, consider basketballs made from rubber. Other basketballs include training balls that are weighted, which helps build muscle and stamina during practice, and connected basketballs that feature a sensor-based system, which gives you real-time feedback as you play.
  • Inflation and psi. While not crucial to your selection of a great basketball, you should probably know if your basketball is going to arrive on your doorstep fully inflated or not. Some brands ship their product ready to play, while other basketballs arrive deflated. You may or may not need to pump up the basketball before it qualifies as game-ready.

Frequently Asked Questions

What basketballs do the NBA use?

Until recently, and starting in 1983, Spalding was the official ball of choice in the NBA. In May 2020, Wilson became the new official game ball of the NBA and WNBA, reigniting a previous relationship from the 40s. Official game balls are made with leather. The men’s game ball features a diameter of 29.5 inches, while the women’s game ball is 28.5 inches in diameter.

What is the most expensive basketball?

The most expensive basketball is made of leather and may cost up to a couple of hundred dollars. The official game ball of the NBA is one of the most expensive basketballs made. However, any basketball that sports an authentic signature of a player in good standing is likely to be worth more.

Are rubber basketballs good?

Rubber basketballs are designed for using outdoors on the concrete or asphalt. They’re built to withstand the harsher environment and thus are made for durability. Rubber basketballs are the ball of choice when playing street ball.

What are basketballs made of?

Basketballs are made from a variety of materials in order to construct a solid, spherical bouncing ball. The inner core of the basketball is referred to as the bladder, which is a piece of rubber that’s inflated and shaped into a ball with the help of either polyester or nylon fibers on the inside of the rubber. Cover materials, such as leather, rubber, or composites are then placed over the rubber in individual panels, creating a well-known basketball look.

Other Basketballs We Reviewed

Best Basketball Overall
Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor 29.5
The Spalding NBA Zi/O basketball gives a solid bounce, and is easy to palm.

We looked at 20 other basketballs. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best basketballs list, they’re the best of the rest, and are still great options for shooting a game of hoops. The information you need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Composite Leather Basketballs

Spalding TF-250 Indoor-Outdoor Basketball

Spalding TF-250 Indoor-Outdoor Basketball

Spalding delivers a size 7 NBA basketball, official size and weight, designed with a leather composite and made for both indoor and outdoor play.

Key Features:

  • Butyl rubber bladder
  • Comes ready to play
  • Measures 29.5 inches

Cost: $22

Wilson NCAA Composite Basketball

Wilson NCAA Composite Basketball

At the official size of 29.5 inches, this basketball is made for indoor and outdoor use.

Key Features:

  • Comes ready to play
  • Inflation level of 7 to 9 psi
  • Soft composite cover

Cost: $29

Wilson NCAA Final Four Edition Basketball

Wilson NCAA Final Four Edition Basketball

This Wilson basketball is constructed for a premium rebound with a comfortable grip.

Key Features:

  • Available in 28.5 and 29.5 inches
  • Inflation level of 7 to 9 psi
  • High definition pebble

Cost: $18

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Made from composite leather, this Wilson basketball features a soft, moisture-absorbing grip.

Key Features:

  • Multiple sizes and colors
  • NCAA game ball replica
  • Indoor and outdoor use

Cost: $28

Rubber Basketballs

Chance Premium Rubber Outdoor/Indoor Basketball

Chance Premium Rubber Outdoor/Indoor Basketball

Made from rubber, but also suitable for indoor use, the Chance basketball features deep channels and high definition pebbles.

Key Features:

  • Different colors and sizes
  • Ball must be inflated before use
  • Butyl rubber bladder

Cost: $29

Spalding NBA Street Phantom Official Outdoor Basketball

Spalding NBA Street Phantom Official Outdoor Basketball

The official size and weight of an NBA basketball, Spalding delivers a size 7, rubber composite ball designed for outdoor play.

Key Features:

  • Multiple accent colors available
  • Comes ready to play
  • Soft grip cover

Cost: $17

Spalding NBA Varsity Multi Color Outdoor Basketball

Spalding NBA Varsity Multi Color Outdoor Basketball

This multi-colored basketball is made with a rubber cover and is designed for outdoor play.

Key Features:

  • Multiple colors available
  • Comes in size 6 or 7
  • Comes ready to play

Cost: $14

Wilson NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball

Wilson NCAA MVP Rubber Basketball

Available in a variety of sizes from 25.5 to 29.5 inches, this basketball is made for outdoor use.

Key Features:

  • Made with a rubber cover
  • Pressure-lock bladder
  • Wide channels for improved grip

Cost: $12

Basketballs for Kids

AND1 Mini Basketball Set for Kids

AND1 Mini Basketball Set for Kids

Get three 5-inch mini basketballs made from premium rubber.

Key Features:

  • Pump is included
  • Easy to grip
  • Made for indoors and outdoors

Cost: $25

SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop 5-Inch Rubber Basketball

SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop 5-Inch Rubber Basketball

Made to mimic an official basketball, this practice ball measures 5 inches in diameter.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with the SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop
  • Made for indoor or outdoor
  • Comes ready to play

Cost: $6

Srenta 7″ Assorted Colors Mini Basketballs

Srenta 7" Assorted Colors Mini Basketballs

Made from rubber, the Srenta offers you a 2-pack of colorful 7-inch basketballs.

Key Features:

  • Variety of colors
  • Made for indoors or outdoors
  • Good for practice or beginners

Cost: $18

Glow-in-the-Dark Basketballs

GlowCity LED Light-Up Basketball

GlowCity LED Light-Up Basketball

The GlowCity glow-in-the-dark basketball lights up on impact and stays lit for 40 seconds thanks to the two LED lights.

Key Features:

  • Official size 6
  • Batteries included
  • 30 hours of continuous use

Cost: $25

HoloGear HoloHoops Holographic Glowing Reflective Basketball

HoloGear HoloHoops Holographic Glowing Reflective Basketball

This holographic glowing basketball comes to life when the flash from a camera hits it, making it great for social media posts.

Key Features:

  • Made from leather
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • 100 percent nylon windings

Cost: $50

NIGHTMATCH Light Up Basketball

NIGHTMATCH Light Up Basketball

Built with the official size and weight of an NBA basketball, this glow-in-the-dark ball lights up when bounced.

Key Features:

  • Includes ball pump and extra batteries
  • Shuts off after 30 seconds of no action
  • Up to 30 hours of playing

Cost: $27

Wilson NCAA Illuminator Glow in The Dark Basketball

Wilson NCAA Illuminator Glow in The Dark Basketball

An NCAA glow-in-the-dark basketball that’s made from rubber, perfect for street ball at dusk.

Key Features:

  • Polyester windings
  • Wide channels
  • Solar-powered glow

Cost: $15

Other Basketballs

GoSports Water Basketballs 2 Pack

GoSports Water Basketballs 2 Pack

Available in size 3 and 6, these water basketballs feature textured grips.

Key Features:

  • Available in blue or red
  • Includes ball pump
  • Made for the pool

Cost: $23

Senston 27.5″ Youth Basketball for Kids Junior Children

Senston 27.5" Youth Basketball for Kids Junior Children

The Senston basketball comes with a ball net so you can safely store it.

Key Features:

  • Official size 5
  • Multiple colors available
  • Includes ball pump

Cost: $21

Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball

Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball

This Spalding replica game ball has a performance composite cover and is the official size and weight of an NBA ball.

Key Features:

  • Available in size 6 or 7
  • For indoor or outdoor use
  • Comes ready to play

Cost: $30

The Rock- Basketball – Official Mens

The Rock- Basketball - Official Mens

The Rock Basketball comes with a certificate of authenticity and is designed for indoor use.

Key Features:

  • Butyl rubber bladder
  • 100 percent nylon wound
  • High definition pebbles

Cost: $47

Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

Wilson Evolution Game Basketball

Made for indoor play, the Wilson Evolution basketball features a microfiber composite cover and offers a soft grip.

Key Features:

  • Multiple sizes and accent colors
  • Cushion core
  • Laid-in channels

Cost: $65

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