So you love shooting hoops, and play on both indoor and outdoor surfaces… but unsure what basketball to buy? Keep reading. This article provides options for the best indoor/outdoor basketball to ensure that you get a durable ball at an affordable price.
We have sifted through countless reviews and recommendations to provide opinions on what the best indoor/outdoor basketball is. From this, we can provide the best possible recommendations to suit your needs.
All our ratings are based on quality and price. Getting a ball that holds air and doesn’t cost the worst is important for all basketball players.
If this guide isn’t exactly what you’re after, and want a ball that only suits indoor play, check out our 5 best indoor basketballs here. Alternatively, if you want a highly durable ball to play on rough outdoor surface check out our 4 best outdoor basketballs here.
At a Glance…
|Spalding Zi/O Excel|
|Spalding NBA Replica|
|Wilson NCAA Game Replica|
|Under Armour 495|
|DribbleUp Smart Training Basketball|
So what is the best indoor/outdoor basketball?
It’s important to mention that this basketball is used in official games, so you can be assured that the size, weight and look of the ball is authentic. Important to mention, it’s the official ball of the NBA.
Why is this ball considered a contender for being the best indoor/outdoor basketball? The Spalding NBA Zi/O is created with a composite leather in order to provide a soft feel to the ball, as well as durability to ensure the ball doesn’t degrade quickly.
This is added to the foam backing behind the ball’s cover, which aids the delicate feel of the ball. All Zi/O Excel balls initially come with a tacky surface which is amazing to play with when the ball is first broken into. The control truely is remarkable when new.
In saying that, the ball has been known to struggle outdoors. Although the ball is designed for indoor/outdoor use, the tacky feel of the ball quickly wears away from all the dirt and dust it picks up from outdoor courts.
Similarly, the ball’s grip has been known to degrade fast from an outdoor setting. The ball holds shape fantastically, but when the majority of the ball is used on outdoor courts, it does tend to lose air quickly.
For the price, this ball is of remarkable value. Although it does struggle a bit in outdoor settings, it’s an extremely versatile ball for both indoor and outdoor use.
As well as the Zi/O Excel, Spalding has also created a Zi/O Basketball for their range too. The Zi/O, although almost the exact same ball, is designed for more indoor use; smoothing out even faster than the Zi/O Excel when used outdoors. Check out the Spalding Zi/O Indoor/Outdoor Basketball here.
- Not the best option if you play outdoors a lot more than indoors
- Comes in both an intermediate and official size
- Feels lighter than most other balls on this list
- Spalding’s premier versatile ball
Again, this ball is an actual replica of balls used in the NBA and WNBA. Due to this, you can be assured that the size and weight of the ball is true to official standards.
The Spalding NBA Replica Basketball is made from a leather composite material – ensuring maximum durability for outdoor play, as well as a soft feel when used. In particular, it has been stated that this ball makes outdoor play feel like indoor play.
A great characteristic caused by the increased amount of rubber on the ball. It is also an extremely grippy ball, which doesn’t take any time to break into. Typically, this ball excels in outdoor settings. Although it can be used for indoor surfaces, buying a indoor specific basketball, or another ball on this list might provide better results.
The downsides to the ball is that over a long period of time, the degradation of the ball has been noted to play a significant factor in the overall grip of the ball. The ball begins to feel more rubbery in the following months, and begins to lose air a bit faster as the ball gets older.
Again, one of the biggest reasons this ball can be considered one of the best indoor/outdoor basketball is the price that it sells for. A definite recommendation for predominantly outdoor uses, but like every other ball on this list, excels in an indoor setting.
- Comes in intermediate and official sizes
- Should always bring a pump and needle when playing with this basketball in an outdoor setting
- Extremely affordable and provides excellent durability
This is a great, highly versatile ball that is perfect for beginner and intermediate players. Being a NCAA replica ball, it meets all NCAA requirements in regards to size, weight, and feel. Similarly, it is extremely affordable, and provides years of play time before a replacement is needed.
In particular, the best thing about the Wilson NCAA Game Replica basketball that puts it on the list of best indoor/outdoor basketballs is the overall grip it has. The ball is made from a composite leather cover, and like the other balls on this list, is made to be durable for both indoor and outdoor courts. But what separates this from other balls is the ease in which this ball can be gripped.
This is created through Wilson’s patented Cushion Core Technology, and patented composite material laid in channels. Along with this, Wilson’s basketballs are known for their ability to the absorb moisture caused from sweat, ensuring the ball is always dry for maximum grip and control.
One of the possible downsides of the ball is that it starts to become slick over time – losing grip from increased game play. In saying that, the leather composite is probably the most durable on this list of best indoor/outdoor basketballs. Where issues may arise is from the seam being torn up from the ball, or that it loses air extremely quickly.
Although it’s normal for basketballs to lose air quickly with increased outdoor use, leaks and tears within the ball when first used usually means the basketball is defective. These can usually be returned to where you purchased the ball.
For the price, this is our pick for the best indoor/outdoor basketball – especially for youths and beginners. Although some people may not like the feel, it seems to excel in all circumstances where basketball is played – indoors or outdoors. Naturally, outdoor play hurts the ball a lot faster than indoor, but the leather composite material of the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball ensures that it is the perfect starter ball for anyone keen to shoot hoops.
- Our top pick for value for money
- Perfect starter ball – and comes in an intermediate and official size
- Not as soft as the best selling Wilson Evolution – but much more durable which makes it suitable for outdoor play
Stepping away from the big brands of Wilson and Spalding, Under Armour throw their hat into the ring of best indoor/outdoor basketballs. And surprisingly, it holds up as a truly dynamic ball for all surfaces.
The ball is created with a composite material, marketed as ‘UA Gripskin’ – being a tacky ball that allows for great control. It should be mentioned that the tackiness of the ball is of a good level – it isn’t overly tacky that increased grip compromises overall feel of the basketball. Similarly, the channels in the ball are quite deep too; so whilst this may aid with overall grip, some players may not like this feature.
In saying this, the durability of the ball is quite good, and will perfectly suit both outdoor and indoor courts. Naturally, the ball degrades faster on an outdoor court. In terms of weight and size, UA provides a few different sizes to purchase – official sizing available. The overall weight of the ball is slightly heavier than other balls though, and should be taken into consideration if purchasing the ball.
When used indoor, the ball is slightly tackier and heavier than other basketballs made purely for indoor use. So although this ball has great grip and a good feel to it, if you are purchasing it purely for indoor use, it’s best to look at other basketballs. When used outdoors, extremely rough surfaces like brick can take chunks out of the ball – however, this is the case with all balls on this list.
Again, a great ball, with a large number of great reviews, for a fantastic price. Although it’s not one of the big branded basketballs, it should not be ignored when looking for the best indoor/outdoor basketballs on the market.
- Yes, it’s not Spalding or Wilson, but don’t just ignore it because of that. Check out their reviews on Amazon – Under Armour have released a fantastic ball
- A slightly heavier ball, but extremely durable
- Brilliant value for money
- To maintain its life, wipe the ball clean after each outdoor use
- Comes in youth, intermediate and official sizes
So this is the last ball on our list of what the best indoor/outdoor basketball is – saving the most expensive for last. This isn’t just your ordinary basketball though. This is the best that any budding baller could hope for. If you want a virtual coach as well as monitoring your own performance, then this is the ball for you.
If you have not guessed yet, this basketball comes fitted with a sensor – allowing it to be hooked up to a iOS app to analyse the performance of the player during a practice session. The real kicker? It comes with a virtual coach which guides you through workouts. This allows for expert analysis so you’ll be able to see improvements in your ball handling skills as you train. Follow a 30-day training program to optimise your skills.
Compatible with only iOS devices. And the ball doesn’t require any charging! Pretty nifty for a basketball!
Now the ball itself – it’s extremely durable and suited to both indoor and outdoor uses. Again, the ball will last longer and degrade at a far slower rate when used purely indoors. Made from premium microfiber materials, the ball is weather resistant, and is available in a 29.5″ size – the official size of professional basketballs. Also weighs the same as the official NBA ball!
In saying that, to increase the durability and life span of such an expensive ball, it is wise to wipe down the dust and moisture it picks up after use.
If you’re serious about becoming a better baller, and you want the very best, this is the ball for you. If you just want a standard ball and don’t care about all the knick knacks – save your money and get another ball on this list.
- The pinnacle of technology and training
- Highly recommended to use this ball indoors if you want it to last. Rough outdoor surfaces degrades the ball extremely fast.
- Make the most of the applications it offers – you won’t improve unless you train hard
- Currently the market leader of technology basketballs
Know a better indoor/outdoor basketball?
All the basketballs are what we consider to fall into the category of best indoor/outdoor basketball. Affordability and quality are what we have taken particular notice to. If you know of a better ball, please let us know here. We would love to know what you think!