THE ULTIMATE BUYERS GUIDE TO INDOOR BASKETBALLS
If you love the game of basketball as much as I do, then I am sure that you understand the value of playing with a quality basketball.
A basketball with great feel, grip and bounce can provide hours of productive and enjoyable game-play on the hardwood.
On the other hand, a cheap, half flat rubber ball with poor grip is no fun to play with at all.
In fact, playing with a poor quality basketball can greatly hinder skill development.
If you are a talented basketball player you will likely spend the majority of your time training on an indoor basketball court.
If you take your game seriously and plan to level up your basketball skills then owning a quality indoor basketball is a must.
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We previously took an in-depth look at the BEST OUTDOOR BASKETBALLS so in this article I will solely focus on showing you the best indoor basketballs currently available.
Some of the basketballs you are about to see can still be used outdoors, however others are very expensive and made of material that should only be used on indoor courts.
You will see both affordable options and expensive indoor basketballs, such as the official leather basketballs used in the NBA, NCAA and FIBA.
I will also teach you 5 very important things that you need to know before purchasing any basketball to use for your indoor training sessions or games.
IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR 3 TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST INDOOR BASKETBALLS OF 2019
BEST BUDGET PICK
NCAA Replica Composite Basketball
OUR TOP PICK
Spalding Official NBA Basketball
Wilson Evolution Game Basketball
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5 IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING AN INDOOR BASKETBALL
We will get to the top 5 list of the best balls shortly but first it is important that you consider a few things before purchasing an indoor basketball.
1. Which Material Of Basketball Should You Choose For Indoor Use?
The outer layer of a basketball is usually made from either rubber, composite leather or genuine leather. All 3 material types have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Let's take a look at how choosing a certain type of material for you basketball can affect your game-play.
OPTION 1 - Rubber Basketballs For Indoor Use
Rubber basketballs are often the cheapest option and primarily marketed as an outdoor basketball.
However, a quality rubber ball can be an affordable indoor basketball option for ballers on a budget.
Generally speaking, outdoor rubber basketballs are quite "grippy" which can be helpful for young basketball players with small hands.
A quality made rubber basketball will also be very durable. If you are a basketball player who plans on playing with your ball both on indoor courts and on harsh outdoor courts, then a rubber ball is probably the best option for you.
If you are looking for a quality cheap rubber basketball that you can use indoors I suggest checking out the >> NBA Street Basketball By Spalding (Check Price On Amazon)
OPTION 2 - Composite Leather Basketballs For Indoor Use
The majority of indoor basketballs that you can buy are made from composite leather. Composite leather is much softer than rubber and provides more of a "pro feel" when shooting and handling the rock.
However, be aware that most composite leather balls are covered in a clear coat which can make them quite slippery until worn in.
The majority of composite leather balls are only suited to indoor play. If you play with a composite leather ball on an outdoor court it will deteriorate pretty quickly.
If you are looking for a quality composite leather basketball that you can use indoors I suggest checking out the >> Wilson Evolution Game Basketball (Check Price On Amazon)
OPTION 3 - Genuine Leather Basketballs For Indoor Use
Genuine leather is the material that is used to make the official NBA Game Ball.
A few years back the NBA attempted to change the official basketball to a synthetic type.
3 weeks before the 2006 season began Shaq complained about the new synthetic option stating that it "Feels like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store".
The use of this new composite ball only lasted for one season as NBA players complained and demanded that the NBA bring the old eight-panel leather basketball back in 2007.
Leather balls are much more expensive and strictly to be used indoors only. If you are a dedicated basketball player and train indoors a leather ball is a great investment into your future development.
Leather balls provide the very best in "feel" while providing great game-play and durability.
If you are looking for a quality genuine leather basketball that you can use indoors I suggest checking out the >> Official NBA Game Basketball By Spalding (Check Price On Amazon)
2. How To Choose A Basketball That Has Good Grip?
Poor quality basketballs will become slippery when your hands become sweaty. This can cause you to lose your grip on the ball.
The basketballs included in our roundup below all come with a high quality moisture wicking surface which is designed to absorb sweat, keep the ball dry and ultimately improve game-play.
In fact, genuine leather is one of the best moisture wicking surfaces, hence why it is used as a surface covering in the official basketball used by the NBA.
However, be aware that most high quality basketballs have a "breaking in period". Out of the box these quality indoor basketballs may feel quite slippery. Over time they will wear and absorb natural oils released by your skin. This breaking in period usually takes a couple of months but is well worth it.
Another important thing to consider when determining the "grippiness" of a basketball is the width of the skived channels. Channels are the grooves/lines that run throughout the basketball. The depth of these grooves can make a big difference when applying backspin to your jumpshot or attempting to palm the ball.
Most quality composite leather basketballs also come with pebbling (small bumps) all over the ball to also improve the grip properties.
3. How To Choose A Basketball That Has Nice Even Bounce?
All of the quality basketballs on this list offer "true bounce" which is a very important factor to ensure optimal play-ability. Often cheap basketballs will either be made too thick to bounce appropriately or so thin that they bounce too high when filled with air.
The higher quality the surface of the ball the better the bounce. Another thing to consider is the groove depth. Some basketballs are now made with over exaggerated grooves to improve grip. Often these balls will provide excellent grip but provide unreliable bounce due to poor symmetry.
To test that a basketball has good bounce drop the ball from a height of 6 feet (measured from the bottom of the ball to the ground). If the ball is of a good quality and correctly inflated it should rebound to a height of at least 49 inches.
4. How To Choose A Basketball Holds Air and Doesn't Go Flat Quickly?
The NBA standard for air pressure in a basketball is between 7½ and 8½ PSI. Cheap balls often go flat very quickly which can very frustrating, particularly if you don't have a basketball pump around.
If you choose one of the quality balls on this list you will be fine. The indoor basketballs featured on this page allow for very little seepage as they contain a quality internal membrane. You make just need to top them up once every 3 months so.
There are also balls such as the Spalding NeverFlat that plays like any other high quality ball, yet is the only one in the marketplace that is guaranteed to stay inflated 10X longer than traditional balls as seen in the image below.
5. What Size Indoor Basketball Should You Choose?
It is best if you purchase a basketball that is the same size that you use in competition play. Using a consistent size and weight will allow you to establish a more consistent and accurate jump shot plus allow you to develop your handles at a faster rate.
Children should always use a basketball that is appropriate for their age, height and weight. Choosing a ball that is too large and heavy has been shown to be detrimental to shooting development.
Here is a helpful chart I created to help you find the perfect sized ball for you.
Standard youth ball for ages 7-11
Standard women's ball, boys ages 12-14
Standard mens ball ,boys 15+ years
LIST OF THE 5 BEST INDOOR BASKETBALLS YOU CAN BUY
There are hundreds of basketballs for sale only that are appropriate for indoor use. Some are great but many are simply terrible.
Don't worry, we have done all the research to help you find the best indoor basketballs you can buy today.
Here are the current top 5 basketballs that you can use indoors:
#1. Official NBA Leather Basketball By Spalding Review
This official NBA ball is the exact same ball used in every NBA game. Out of the box this ball just plays like a dream.
f you have never played with a genuine leather ball before then you may find that it takes a little while to get used to. This ball does take some time to break in, but trust me it is worth it.
At first you may find the ball a little slippery but after using it a few times you will notice that it begins to break in. This ball has character and simply gets better with age.
I personally love how this genuine leather ball absorbs sweat. I see why they use this ball in the NBA. Most balls get slipperier when wet. This one tends to get more grippy over the course of a game.
In 2006 NBA commissioner David Stern attempted to change the official NBA basketball to a composite leather ball. NBA players were outraged and sure enough, at the start of the 2007 season the genuine leather ball was reintroduced.
If you want the best basketball ever made you have got to pick up one of these. Sure it is expensive but if you love the game it is a worthwhile experience.
#2. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball Review
The Wilson Evolution one of the best selling indoor basketballs in the world and for good reason.
This ball has been approved as the official basketball to be use in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations)
The first thing you notice about this ball is the deep channels and micro-touch points which provide excellent grip. The moisture wicking properties of this ball are also a cut above other composite balls on the market.
I really love the pebbled channels on this ball. Most basketball just have smooth channels but the pebbled channels on the Evo add a nice feedback that will be appreciated by all the sharpshooters.
However, this doesn't mean that you should use it outdoors as it made for indoor play only.
Having said that I have used my Evo outdoor (on a smooth synthetic court) at least 30 times over the past year and it is still holding up really well.
#3. Baden Elite Indoor Basketball Review
The Baden Elite is simply a beautifully designed basketball. It has all the features that you want to see in a premium indoor basketball.
The Baden brand is not as well known as other big named brands such as Wilson to Spalding but they have consistently produced excellent quality balls over the past decade.
The Balden Elite is designed with perfect symmetry to ensure a 100% true bounce. The ball just feels great and has a really nice tack and grip.
This basketball is a great value option for any baller.
#4. NCAA Replica Composite Basketball Review
The Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is our choice for the best budget indoor basketball of the year. This ball is made form composite leather and is designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
If you play on both indoor and outdoor courts then this is a great option for you. My kids take one of these to school and they hold up really well.
The cushion core technology offers exceptional feel and a very consistent bounce for the price. We also love the way that this ball can absorb moisture.
#5. Molten BGGX Indoor Basketball Review
The Molten BGGX is the the official basketball of FIBA and has recently been approved as the official ball of the WNBA. Molten have been producing high quality indoor basketballs for decades. These new Molten X-Series basketballs have added even more features that add to the beauty of this ball.
The BGGX features the new uniform pebble surface which provides superior control and precise shooting and passing. This ball also has a new design named GIUGIARO® which aims to help shooters track the rotation of the ball.
Out-of-the-box this basketball feels extremely grippy. The composite leather on this new Molten feels a lot stiffer than the previous models.
This ball has been received with it's fair share of controversy. The team captains of the teams competing at the European Championships in 2017 signed a letter asking FIBA to remove the “consistent touch” feature from the balls they believed it was affecting perfomance on the court.
I personally didn't notice any problems with the balls consistent touch feature. I actually love the feel on the fingertips. Regardless of this controversy, the WNBA has decided to make it the official ball of their league this season.
INDOOR BASKETBALL F.A.Q
1. When Can I Use An Indoor Basketball Outdoors?
Indoor basketballs are often constructed of a soft material with a clear coating that can be damaged quickly with outdoor play on abrasive surfaces.
Unlike specifically designed outdoor basketballs, indoor basketball varieties are less durable and have not been designed to tolerate harsh sun exposure and excessive moisture.
More often than not, indoor basketballs are constructed of higher quality materials such as synthetic and genuine leather and are therefore the more expensive option.
As you will see in our individual indoor basketball reviews below, some basketballs can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Obviously you must use common sense when using a quality indoor ball outdoors. Playing outdoors on harsh blacktop and then leaving your ball out in the sun and rain will obviously shorten the lifespan of the ball.
The moral of the story... protect your investment and care for your indoor ball if you want it to last.
2. How To Keep Your Basketball Clean and Dry To Extend It's Lifespan?
If you are thinking about purchasing a quality basketball you obviously take your basketball seriously. When purchasing a quality ball you should think of it as an investment into your basketball career.
Therefore you should treat your ball with respect to ensure that maintains its performance over the years.
Remember to never kick a basketball and always ensure it is pumped up to avoid any warping and loss of weight.
3. Which Brand of Basketball Is The Best For Indoor Use?
Most leading brands such as Spalding, Molten, Wilson and Baden make a range of quality basketballs suitable for basketball use.
Regardless of which brand you choose, one factor remains true and that is that you do get what you pay for. Above you have seen the best indoor basketballs from the leading brands.
All of these options will provide a great playing experience and durability that will ensure you basketball will last for years.
4. What Basketball Is Used In The NBA?
The Spalding NBA Leather is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association. This has been the official game ball of the NBA since 1983. The NBA tried to replace it in 2006 but it was back in the league in 2007 due to player demand.
This indoor basketball features the finest full-grain leather cover that provides exceptional feel and touch, setting the standard for ultimate performance and play-ability. You can buy the exact same ball here.
5. What Basketball Is Used In FIBA?
The Molten BGGX is the new official basketball of FIBA. Molten has provided the official FIBA basketballs for the past few decades. These new Molten X-Series basketballs have added a new uniform pebble surface which provides superior control and precise shooting and passing.
The new ball also has improved features which allows shooters to easily track the rotation of the ball.
6. What Basketball Is Used In High School?
The Wilson Evolution is the officially approved to be used in the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations).
The Wilson Evo features deep channels and micro-touch points which provide excellent grip and feedback for shooters and ball handlers. You can buy one of these here.
7. What Basketball Is Used In The NCAA?
8. Are Indoor Outdoor Basketballs Good?
All of the indoor basketballs are very good and will last for years if used appropriately. The majority of the balls in the list above are designed for indoor use.
Other balls are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
If you do spend as much time playing outdoors as you do indoors you would be best to purchase a quality outdoor basketball.
9. Can You Use A Genuine Or Composite Leather Basketball Outside?
Sure you can use a genuine leather basketball outside but you must use common sense. Don't expect the ball to last if you are playing on a rough surface or blacktop. Leather basketballs are designed for indoor use only. However playing on a smooth synthetic outdoor surface will likely do little damage.
Even though leather balls are super durable they will get torn up by rough surfaces quite quickly.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CHOOSING A BASKETBALL TO USE ON INDOOR COURTS
We hope you have found our comparison and reviews of what we consider to be the best indoor basketballs currently available online helpful in empowering you to make an informed decision upon purchase.
As you can see, there are quite a few great quality indoor basketballs to choose from.
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If you are after an affordable, yet high quality basketball that is perfect for beginners then the Wilson NCAA replica is a good choice.
If you are a serious baller and will be putting in hours of hardcore skills and shot training I suggest you consider a ball like the Wilson Evolution. This is one of the most widely used basketball in the nation and has been approved for use in the NCAA and high school leagues. If you buy the Evo you won't be disappointed.
If you really want the ultimate basketball playing experience then you have to pickup an official NBA ball made by Spalding. The pro's love this basketball and so will you.
Be sure to check back to this page in the future as we regularly update this buyers guide with the latest and greatest indoor basketballs on the market.
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