Similar to our recommendations when finding the best indoor basketball, we go on the hunt for the best outdoor basketball. All basketballs listed are the best in their category, purely used for outdoor use and will not break the bank!
The biggest issue with outdoor basketballs is that due to the nature of the ground that you play on, they can degrade at a fast rate. Concretes and asphalts are abrasive surfaces that do wear and tear a basketball a lot faster than indoor wooden floors.
In saying that, basketballs have been made to suit these harsh conditions, aiming for durability and size retention. Putting the hours into research, we’ve come up with the 4 best outdoor basketballs that are currently on the market at the most affordable price!
If you weren’t looking for an outdoor ball, and want a ball that’s more suited to playing both indoor and outdoor, check out our best indoor/outdoor basketball here. For basketballs that are purely made to be played indoors, check out our best indoor basketballs here.
Our opinions and recommendations are based upon quality of the ball and price.
|Spalding NBA Street|
|Spalding NBA Varsity|
|Wilson Wave Phenom|
|Under Armour 295|
So what is the Best Outdoor Basketball?
Spalding NBA Street Basketball Review – Our Top Pick
In our search for the best outdoor basketball at an affordable price, stumbling upon the Spalding NBA Street Basketball could have been the best thing we did. This ball is ridiculously cheap, and extremely durable for outdoor street play.
This basketball is made with an ultra durable performance rubber, balanced with durability and grip to ensure that control is never lost when playing with this ball. It retains air at a surprisingly high rate for a basketball constantly used outside, whilst holding shape for an extended period of time. It would be ignorant of us to say that it retains air at the same rate as an indoor ball, but we think you will be pleasantly surprised at it’s air retention rate as we were.
This ball takes the cake for us, and is our most recommended basketball for affordability and quality.
- The most durable outdoor basketball at a ridiculously cheap price
- Great to consistently take to outdoor courts or when practicing on a driveway
- Best selling outdoor basketball on Amazon – can always buy more!
- Our top pick – we’ve even made it’s own dedicated page! Check out how it’s the Most Durable Outdoor Basketball here
Another absolute bargain for an outdoor basketball, the NBA Varsity Basketball definitely ranks as one of the best outdoor basketballs. Similar to the NBA Street basketball, the NBA Varsity ball has a durable rubber coating to suit the rigours and abrasive surfaces that an outdoor court can throw at you.
Similar to this, grip is maximised through its all surfaced pebbling. A downside to this coating, however, is that the surface might seem a little rough to get used to for minors and people just starting out with the sport.
Bouncy and true to the weight of an official basketball, this is another great outdoor basketball created by Spalding.
- Made by Spalding – and they know how to make a tough basketball
- Do not buy for beginner players – might feel too rough for them
- Always keep a small pump with you, it does tend to lose air a bit
- Comes in a Youth (size 5), Intermediate (size 6) and Official size (size 7)
Off Spalding, Wilson has thrown their hat in the ring for best outdoor basketball by creating the Wave Phenom basketball. Being another affordable ball, the WAVE® Triple Threat Technology provides three extra grooves per panel as a way to create extra grip for shooting technique.
More importantly, the entire ball is dual-tone offering great durability outdoors and a true bounce. Although it is a rubber ball, constant practice and outdoor play can see wear and tear start at an early phase of the ball’s life where care is not taken. This could see air retention suffer a fair bit over time
Another fantastic option if for some reason you do not like Spalding’s range of basketballs.
- Holds up extremely well outdoors
- Comes in an intermediate and official size
- A great ball for beginner/intermediate players, the extra grooves help with grip
Dirt cheap, an alternative to the big two brands of basketball (Spalding and Wilson) – Under Armour have released their outdoor basketball. It should first be mentioned that this ball is made with UA’s dual-density spongetech cover – giving it the softest cushioned feel for an outdoor basketball.
Made with a composite material, this ball is designed to ensure maximum grip – as well as increased durability for the real rough and tough. This ball is designed for durability. Quick to break into, it’s a great ball to just pick up and go.
Yes we will admit, the branding is extremely obvious and a main design part of this ball – but the logo is pebbled just like the rest of the ball. This mean that there aren’t any slick or smooth parts to this ball that could cause small mis-grips.
A bounce and weight that is true to an official basketball, this is definitely a contender for best outdoor basketball on the market.
- Comes only in the Offical size
- Colour on the ball fades quickly – but the overall grip and feel remains
- Also comes in an American themed design. Check it out here
- Keep a small pump with you – some have reported that their basketball tends to lose air quickly
What Should I Look Out For?
If you have missed our pointers, here’s a quick recap. When looking to find a great outdoor basketball, it is absolutely essential that you keep the following considerations in mind:
- How long it stays inflated
- How the grip of the ball feels
When looking for any outdoor basketball, ensuring maximum durability to withstand concrete, asphalt and blacktop surfaces are an absolute must. Outdoor play is extremely tough on a basketball, and although rubber can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear, synthetics do not. Synthetics will offer fantastic feel and grip, but watch out – they don’t last as long!
This leads us into the shape and feel of the ball. A cheap ball that you pick up from a dollar store will never have a true bounce, and will usually not last very long. Ensure you purchase brand name.
What about material?
An important factor in figuring out what outdoor basketball will suit your needs is the type of material on the outside of the ball. This is extremely important for the bounce of the ball, grip of the ball, and overall feel of the ball. It’s an absolute waste to buy a ball at a really high price only to find out it doesn’t suit your needs.
Synthetic Leather – This was introduced as an alternative to the stock standard leather used in indoor basketballs. Although it doesn’t feel as nice as authentic leather, science has prevailed! They last longer and can withstand moderate amounts of abrasion outside. It will work in rain and won’t be completely destroyed if dropped in water. Whilst a popular option, it’s arguably not the most durable basketball in the market.
Rubber – This is the holy grail of outdoor basketballs. It feels real, it grips well, and it’s made to last. Creates the trademark ‘ping’ sound when you bounce it. When you feel a brand new outdoor rubber basketball, don’t be scared that it’s slippery. All rubber basketballs start out like this – with a bit of wear and tear, the ball will start to feel natural.
Maintenance and Extras
Outdoor basketballs are pretty stock standard – you don’t need to buy anything to polish it, nor anything to help it’s upkeep.
However, a great tip is to always have a small ball pump with you. Due to the abrasive surface that street basketball is played on, these balls tend to lose air quick. A great little pump would be something like this – cheap and effective, it’s all you need.
Finally, it’s always best to wipe down your ball after play with a towel. It’s always good to have a towel ready for your own personal sweat, but wiping down excess moisture on the ball, as well as removing any dirt, will increase the life of the ball by a long way. Naturally some people don’t really mind as rubber outdoor basketballs are extremely cheap to purchase – but money doesn’t grow on trees!
Every player needs the right basketball to have. Naturally, that means that everyone needs to spend some time looking at the various different options in the market. Yes, price and affordability is a major factor, but don’t just look to find a bargain!
Above we have found some of the absolute best outdoor basketballs there are, and for dirt cheap. Don’t skimp out on an extra $5 or $10 for a non-branded basketball. Who knows how long they’ll last.
Not every basketball suits every situation. When in doubt, check out other reviews on Amazon. Ask your mates, ask your coach – anyone who has had experience with any of these outdoor basketballs can help.
None of these considered the best outdoor basketball to you?
If you are still hesitant as to which basketball would best suit outdoor play, check out the Amazon reviews on the basketballs above. We can assure you you will not be disappointed.
Have you got a ball that’s better than what we have listed here? We would love for you to inform us by clicking here!