The 5 Best Outdoor Basketballs for 2021

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Let’s be honest here, we don’t always get the chance to visit our school or our local indoor courts due to various reasons. So the nearest court you can get a hold of and practice on are outdoor courts. Almost every street in America has these and that makes it easy for us to go out and improve our skills.

It’s really important to know what type of ball you should be getting if you want to continue honing your skills in outdoor courts. Just because you play in a court by the streets doesn’t mean you get to lower your standards in terms of choosing a basketball. As a matter of fact, you need to do the complete opposite and get yourself a nice durable ball!

A quality ball will get you far, for sure. Because with a proper ball you’ll get to dribble and shoot with ease. Also, if you’re used to using soft indoor balls, then it’s time to shift to tougher balls that could take a beating. With outdoor basketballs, you won’t have to worry about it wearing down because it can withstand the harsh surfaces of the outdoors.

This is why we are gladly introducing you to our list of the best outdoor basketballs! You may scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each ball.

1. Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

● 4.5/5 rating
● Sport Type: Basketball
● Color: Brown
● Material: Composite
● Brand: Spalding
● Age Range: Adult
● Designed for indoor and outdoor use

2. Spalding NBA Street Basketball

● 4.6/5 rating
● Sport Type: Basketball
● Color: Brown
● Material: Rubber
● Brand: Spalding
● Age Range: Unisex-Youth
● Item Diameter: 27.5’’

3. Wilson NCAA Replica

● 4.7/5 rating
● Sport Type: Basketball
● Color: Brown
● Material: Composite
● Brand: Wilson Sporting Goods
● Age Range: Unisex
● Item Diameter: 29.5’’
● Designed for indoor and outdoor use

4.  Spalding Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball

  • 4.7/5 rating
  • Sport Type: Basketball
  • Color: Brown
  • Material: Rubber
  • Brand: Spalding
  • Age Range: Unisex-Adult
  • Item Diameter: 29.5’’
  • Recommended Inflation: 8 PSI

5. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber

● 4.5/5 rating
● Sport Type: Basketball
● Color: Orange
● Material: Rubber
● Brand: Mikasa
● Age Range: Unisex-Adult
● Item Diameter: 25.5’’

The 5 Best Outdoor Basketballs You Gotta Have

1. Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

4.5/5  Overall Rating

Great grip and feels good to the touch
Excellent quality leather
Feels great when dribbling, passing, and shooting
Quite durable and breaks in well
Very tacky
The ball has deep channels

Some have complained about ending up with a fake ball once bought online
Some claim that it doesn’t bounce that high (probably because of the fake basketball issue)
May not last too long outdoors since it’s made out of composite leather

What do most people think of this product?

Spalding claims that this basketball is the best when it comes to indoor/outdoor basketballs on the market. Since this is an official NBA ball, the quality and performance are already proven. Plus, it meets the size and weight specifications of the NBA, so in a way, it makes you feel what it’s like to hold a basketball that athletes use in their games. The composite leather material is backed with a foam backing beneath the full ball pebbling to make handling more precise. Another nice feature this ball has is its channels are 30% deeper for a more enhanced grip and dribble control. Sporting a composite leather cover and deep channel grooves, this ball is designed for optimum indoor and outdoor play.

This ball has become a fan favorite since a lot of people are used to the feeling of a soft basketball and this is exactly what this ball has. It gives them that familiar feeling in their hands so they don’t have to transition to rubber basketballs if they choose to play outdoors. Some basketball moves can’t really be executed well without the soft feel that an indoor basketball has so it’s good to know that this ball is suitable for both indoors and outdoors. Now you get to perform jump shots freely and with ease.

Another, great feature the Spalding Zi/O has is its deep channels along the seams. This makes the ball extra grippy (apart from already being a very tacky ball) and that results in a better dribbling experience and you can easily change the direction of your dribbles too.
Overall, if you’re the type of player who wants to start honing their skills in outdoor courts but don’t feel like transitioning to rubber basketballs, then this ball is perfect for you. The best composite leather basketball that can be used both indoors and outdoors belongs to the Spalding Zi/O no doubt. Plus, you won’t have to buy two separate basketballs because this is a multi-purpose ball at an affordable price at that!

2. Spalding NBA Street Basketball

Spalding NBA Street Basketball

4.6/5  Overall Rating

Has great grip
The ball holds in air wonderfully
Comes inflated upon delivery
The ball has a quality rubber feel
Still has a good grip even if it gets wet from sweaty hands
Holds up well
Solid and quality construction
The ball doesn’t seem cheap despite the affordable price tag
Durable exterior

A bit too bouncy
Some encountered problems with air retention (the right pressure inside the ball only lasted a day)

What do most people think of this product?

This is the most popular, basic, and affordable rubber basketball on the market. This is actually ranked as the #1 basketball on Amazon! Just goes to show that Spalding doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the basketballs they manufacture. It’s safe to say that the Spalding NBA Street Basketball already has everything you’re looking for in an outdoor ball. The pebbling on its surface provides enough grip and the deep seams allow players to handle and control the ball better. Plus, once you order this basketball it comes to you inflated upon delivery so you can hit the court as soon as you get them!

Despite its affordability, it surely doesn’t sacrifice quality. This is the best deal you’re gonna get on the market honestly. It’s durable since it’s made out of rubber and it really shows that the ball is made to withstand asphalt and other outdoor conditions. Out of all the other rubber basketballs in the market, the Spalding NBA Street Basketball is the only one that gives a soft feel that all players love. In terms of bounce, it performs exactly how you want it. Although some have claimed that it tends to become too bouncy so it bounces right off the rim which is annoying for some. The air retention is pretty good too. You can leave the ball outside without it losing too much air. There are only a handful of people who have reported that the right pressure of the ball only lasted for a day.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable top-notch rubber basketball, the Spalding NBA Street Basketball is the best companion for you. It has superb durability that’ll last you years, excellent grip, and ball handling. This ball is worth every penny!

3. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

4.7/5  Overall Rating

Durable and sturdy quality
Best composite leather ball out of the box
Has great tack, feel, and bounce
The ball doesn’t need to have its air pressure adjusted even after a month of use
The pebbling on the ribs adds to its overall grip
Quality is nice
The ball is easy to handle and shoot
Holds up well even when used outdoors (but still be careful because there are some cases that the ball’s surface gets scuffed by hitting harsh surfaces)

Leaking issues on the valve
Some have encountered issues with buying this ball online so it’s advisable to buy it from local sports stores as much as possible

What do most people think of this product?

The great thing about this ball is it features the same patented technologies as the official NCAA Official Game Ball. it has a moisture absorbing cover which is specifically designed for both indoor and outdoor use combined with laid-in channels and Cushion Core technology which players love to have on their basketballs.

Wilson made this basketball have the softness and feel of a composite leather indoor basketball that can be used for both indoor and outdoor use. A lot of people seem to love this about Wilson because not a lot of players are used to the feeling of rubber basketballs. Between the Wilson Evolution and the Wilson NCAA Replica, the latter doesn’t have the same softness as the Evolution. This is a clear sign that the Wilson NCAA Replica is much more durable so that it could last longer when used outdoors. The ball has a great tack right out of the box so grip is not an issue with this. However, it’s recommended that you wipe the surface of the ball with a towel because the tackiness will attract too much dust and dirt.

The grip is still good even though your hands get sweaty from playing. It has a feature that’ll wick the moisture away which is great so you can enjoy playing with a dry ball throughout an entire match. Another thing to take notice of is its bounce as it can take some time getting used to it.

Overall, this ball is good for players who want a composite leather feel of an indoor ball when they practice in outdoor courts. It’s affordable and has features similar to the Official NCAA Game Ball so it’s definitely worth the purchase.

4. Spalding NBA Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball

Spalding NBA Varsity Rubber Outdoor Basketball

4.7/5  Overall Rating

It arrives inflated upon delivery
It holds up pretty well
Comes in various colors you can choose from
Bounces well on dirt and concrete
The ball supports heavy-duty use

Slight imperfections along the seam of the ball
There are chances that you may end up getting a defect if you order online

What do most people think of this product?

Take your basketball game to new heights with the Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Basketball that’s made out of premium rubber for durability. It has the official size and weight of an NBA basketball which makes it perfect for an outdoor ball. This ball comes in a variety of color combinations and sizes (size 6 and 7) which makes it perfect for both kids and adults.

This ball is ideal for beginners who are interested in basketball. It prepares you for a real basketball match by giving you the official size and weight of an NBA ball. It has superb durability that’ll make it withstand harsh outdoor conditions. Spalding has already proven to us that they provide some of the most durable and sturdy basketballs and the Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Basketball is proof of that. The rubber cover of the ball is durable and you can attest that by simply getting a hold of the ball itself.

Another benefit you get from this ball is its superior grip and ball handling. With this price point, you already get all the basics of a decent outdoor basketball. Plus, this ball is manufactured by one of the most renowned sports companies on the market.

Overall, this basketball is a good purchase for those people who are just starting out with the sport. This is also perfect for parents who want to buy a ball for their kids because this ball comes in a variety of attractive colors that will surely captivate any child.

5. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber

Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber

4.5/5  Overall Rating

Rubber material has a leather feel
A good youth outdoor basketball
It makes for a good beginner ball
It still holds up well despite taking a beating
The grip is good

There are issues wherein the ball doesn’t stay fully pumped

What do most people think of this product?

Outdoor surfaces are pretty harsh which is why Mikasa developed this basketball into having a premium durable rubber cover to withstand such harshness. The ball comes with a 1-year warranty which is great but judging from its durability, this thing will last you a couple of years so there’ll be no replacement needed.

Apart from the premium rubber cover is the dense pebble design on its surface that gives the ball that nice grip. Unlike other outdoor balls, the pebbles on this ball are deep and strong which makes it suitable for any type of weather because the grip is just so intense! The seams may not run deep on this but the pebbles make up for that. This is also a great feature to have for players with small hands because they’ll still be able to grip the ball well. It also makes passing a whole lot easier too.

Unlike other cheap and poor quality outdoor basketballs, the Mikasa BX1000 Outdoor Basketball will not lose its grip even after gathering dirt and dust on its surface. It sports slightly deep channels that help players during releases. In terms of its bounce, it’s pretty consistent as far as I can tell.

Overall, if you’re looking for a cheap, durable, and leather-like feel on an outdoor basketball, then the Mikasa BX1000 Outdoor Basketball is the one for you. It’s also great for your kids to practice with because this ball isn’t as hard as other rubber basketballs. As a matter of fact, a lot of coaches actually use this ball for drills when they train kids. One review said that when this ball hit a kid’s face it didn’t hurt them as much which is a good thing.

Factors You Should Look for in a Basketball

Do take note of these factors as these will determine the quality of the basketball you’re about to purchase. With this brief guide, you’ll be able to prevent buying a defective and poorly manufactured ball.


In the sports industry, manufacturers make use of materials such as genuine leather, rubber, and composite leather. Below are the differences among the three materials:

  • Genuine Leather. This material has the highest quality. It also has a break-in period and after that, you’ll get an unrivaled performance from the ball. This material is usually used by pros in the NBA. This is also the priciest compared to rubber and composite leather.
  • Composite Leather. Mostly all indoor basketballs are made out of this material. This one is softer compared to rubber, it has more grip and generally makes scribbling and shooting much more enjoyable. This material feels similar to genuine leather but at a lower price point. Sadly, these aren’t as durable as genuine leather and they feel slippery once you take them out from the box. The NCAA Basketball Tournament makes use of composite leather balls.
  • This is the cheapest material for a basketball and this is readily available in almost any store. These are very durable, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. However, these don’t provide enough texture and bounce, so gripping this material would be difficult and you won’t get much ball control. But they do get the extra grip once they get dusty or dirty. It’ll be hard to transition to rubber basketballs if you’re used to using composite leather balls.

What Makes a Good Outdoor Basketball?

Here are a few things you need to take note of when purchasing an outdoor basketball:


While cheap basketballs tend to lose air especially in cold weather, quality outdoor basketballs, in particular, must not lose too much during the winter seasons. Always keep in mind that monitoring air retention in your basketball is important since this affects the way it bounces.

Moisture Grip

Basketballs get from sweaty hands and a wet environment. So it’s crucial to know if your basketball still performs well even after rolling on puddles and such. You must still be able to handle the ball pretty well even if it gets wet so that you won’t have to towel dry it during matches.


This has got to be the most important factor to consider since this will save you time, money, and effort. If you manage to get your hands on an exceptionally durable basketball, it will be able to withstand the harsh elements outdoors such as moisture, cold weather, steel nets and metal backboards. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with replacements every month since your basketball holds up well when used outdoors. So get yourself a basketball that’ll last you a year or so so that you also have time to break it in and get the most of the ball’s performance.


Outdoor courts will slowly deteriorate the surface of your ball over time and the weight mustn’t be affected by this. Usually, cheap basketballs will lose their weight and become light. That’ll make it harder for you to practice with the ball and make you go out and buy a new one. Whereas quality basketballs will retain their original weight and keep up with your shooting and dribbling skills.

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