Basketball Phantom

Best Outdoor Basketball in 2019

Every basketball player, no matter how good he is or was, started playing basketball outdoors. We all know how much fun it is to play the game on the local court. But even professional players still practice and train outdoors.

One of the most important aspects of outdoors basketball is having the right ball. Feel of confidence while shooting or handling the ball is extremely significant for quality of your performance. That’s why choosing the right ball is a big step in getting in your comfort zone.

There is a variety of basketball choices you can find on the market, but you should pay close attention when choosing the right one. Good basketball should provide you with durability, constant and equal bounce and comfortable feeling when you hold it in your hands.

BasketballPhantom crew is here to help you choose the best outdoor basketball for your game. Take a look at our top 5 picks!

1. Spalding Zi/O Basketball

Spalding is the most recognizable and most popular basketball production company in the world. They make official basketballs for NBA league, which would be enough to say.

With this model, Spalding uses Zi/O composite leather cover combined with foam-backed design. These features should provide you with great grip and soft feeling and touch in your hands.

With a composite leather cover that makes this basketball feel like an official ball it also comes with a foam-backed design for ease of use. Measuring 29.5 inches and with an official NBA ball weight, this is an impressive basketball.

The composite material is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and provides good durability on any type of court surface. Additionally, this basketball has the look of official NBA ball, but also provides the feeling of the same. It might be helpful for you to know that you have the touch of NBA while practicing with this ball.

When it comes to the cost of this basketball isn’t too high and it’s also a high-quality product. Those who have already used this particular basketball have said that it’s not that bumpy near the seams and it’s great to use even when you’re playing on grass.

Things We Liked ​

  • Great bounce, touch and grip of the ball
  • The outdoor basketball arrives ready to use which means you can start playing right away
  • The grips that come with the ball as standard make it easy to hold
  • The ball measures and weighs the same as an NBA basketball
  • Provides excellent durability in outdoor surfaces
  • It tends to last a long time thanks to its good quality
  • The price is quite reasonable
  • Gives you the real feeling of official NBA basketball

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Could get a bit slippery around logo area

2. Molten X-Series Basketball

Molten is respectable and recognizable name in basketball industry. It is an official basketball provider for EuroLeague, elite European basketball competition, and official provider for all FIBA basketball competitions.

The X-series basketball has additional uniform pebble surface that provides exceptional grip and overall ball control. It is suited for both indoor and outdoor use.

Also, GIUGIARDO design of the ball, which makes greater contrast between ball colors, gives you enhanced visibility of the ball’s rotation, which should come pretty handy when analyzing shot trajectory and rotation.

I would have liked this feature on the basketball I was using last week. The light was starting to fade and the ball was not that easy to see.

With this feature, the ball would have been much easier to spot. Some people who have already bought and used this basketball say that the grip is very good and it lasts a long time even if you play on concrete.

Other people have said that this basketball is of a very high quality and has a great feel. I think this will please those who are looking for a ball that is comfortable to hold and will last a long time.

Things We Liked ​

  • FIBA-approved design makes a statement of quality
  • It’s easy to work on your ball rotation as it’s easy to track
  • This basketball feels good to use and is comfortable in your hands
  • Aligned pebbles provide consistent touch and grip
  • The ball is balanced well which makes playing basketball easier
  • 1 year warranty for outdoor basketball is pretty good sign of durability

Things We Didn’t Like

  • A bit pricey for outdoor basketball

3. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Wilson is another recognizable basketball production company. They make official basketball for NCAA League and March Madness Tournament.

In light of that, we present to you Wilson NCAA Replica basketball. Made out from composite leather, this basketball is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Cushion Core technology makes the soft and pleasant feeling in your hands and additionally provides an excellent and constant bounce. For good grip and ball control, this basketball has specially patented laid-in channels.

The composite cover is moisture-absorbing which makes it even easier to play with even when it’s hot outside. This would be a good basketball for those who live in particularly warm parts of the country as it is less likely to slip out your hands.

Measuring 29.5 inches and with an inflation level of 7 to 9 psi, this particular basketball is not too expensive. Those who have used this basketball in the past have said that it’s capable of lasting for many years.

Some people have said this basketball keeps its pressure very well. Others have said that the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball is some good pebbling which helps when you grip the ball.

Things We Liked ​

  • Fantastic quality/price ratio
  • Provides excellent grip and soft touch
  • It’s available in 2 different colors giving customers a bit more choice
  • Modeled as official NCAA basketball
  • The ball’s cushion feels soft which makes it easier to play with

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Loses its grip a bit faster in outdoor conditions
  • You do have to pump the ball up when it is delivered

4. Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball

As mentioned, rubber basketballs are made for rough outdoor court surfaces, as rubber structure provides great grip. Spalding NBA Varsity Outdoor Rubber Basketball features famous NBA logo and proven Spalding design.

This ball comes in interesting and effective color combinations, which makes the ball recognizable and attractive.

Rubber material handles the rough outdoor surfaces very well, and dense pebbles provide you with excellent grip and ball control.

Ideal for outdoor play and with a recommended inflation of 8 PSI the ball isn’t always delivered inflated which may not please some. However, it does mean that you can inflate the ball as much or as little as you wish.

Some sellers do send this ball fully inflated whereas others do not. This means you may have to be prepared to inflate the ball when it arrives.

This outdoor basketball offers a very good grip which makes it easier to handle. Those who have previously purchased this particular basketball have said that it is very easy to spot when you’re playing. They have also said that it does not seem to pick up quite as much dirt as some basketballs do.

Other people have mentioned that the Spalding NBA Varsity basketball bounces well which can help with the game.

Things We Liked ​

  • It has a great green and blue finish which makes it stand out from other basketballs
  • It’s an official NBA weight and size
  • This basketball is very cheap which means more people can afford it
  • The ball is quite sturdy which means it should last for quite a long time

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Doesn’t provide perfect feeling on shooting
  • The inflation hole may leak from time to time which can cause the ball to deflate

5. Spalding NBA Street Basketball

Another outdoor rubber basketball from Spalding features NBA logo and comes with official size and weight for professional or aspiring professional players. Spalding NBA Street Ball has ultra-durable rubber structure that will maintain its quality and touch even on the roughest court surfaces.

Additionally, the ball has wide channels that should give you an even better grip and feel like the ball sticks with your hands. And it certainly helps to have NBA logo on your ball while playing outdoor basketball.

With a very low price, many will be able to afford this particular basketball. Made with a performance rubber cover that’s very durable, this ball has been designed to be used in a street game.

This is the sort of ball that my cousin will love. His basketballs are always being damaged due to where he plays his games.

I think this basketball is more likely to stand up to the abuse that it will take when it’s played on the street or wherever there’s a large empty space. This will please my cousin immensely.

The wide channel has been specifically designed to ensure that the ball’s grip is nothing short of excellent. The recommended inflation is 8 Psi and the ball is 29.5 inches in diameter which is the official size.

People who have played with this basketball before have mentioned that it arrives inflated and does not show signs of wear and tear very easily. Others have mentioned that this basketball has a good amount of bounce and air pressure

Things We Liked ​

  • Great price/quality ratio
  • Extra-durable, designed for roughest court surfaces
  • Wide channels give a good touch and grip

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The ball feels a little too heavy and will take some getting used to
  • The texture can seem a bit rough which means it may not be great to play with

Buyer’s Guide

Time to hit the court for some B-ball action

So, you’re ready to hoop it up on the hardwood except there’s no indoor option for you? Instead, you will be dribbling and dunking (maybe) in the great outdoors on that concrete court or asphalt driveway. Before heading outside you’ll want to maximize your competitive advantage by finding the perfect basketball.

Keep your eye on the ball

There’s nothing worse than finding that worn out, smooth as a baby’s bottom ball in the basement that you have to inflate every time you want to play. You’ve decided to bite the bullet and invest in a new orb to chuck those threes – now what?

What’s a baller to do?

First, you need to know, with apologies to the founding fathers, that all basketballs are not created equal. There is a wide variety of balls available for every budget, style and application. Let’s look at what you need to consider before pulling out the plastic from your wallet.

Sizing them up

For males 13 and over, go with the regulation size – 29.5-inch circumference basketball. (This is also known as the international size 7) Balls are also available in intermediate (or women’s size), which is 28.5 inch in circumference, along with youth or 27.5 inch. In addition, there are smaller and mini size balls for the ankle biters that walk among us.

For a brief overview of the characteristics and history of the basketball, go here.

Did we cover the cover?

Since we have already determined that you will be slamming and jamming while facing the elements, we need to talk about the materials used to construct the cover of the ball. This factor will determine the grip, bounce and durability of the ball and have a great impact on your overall hoops experience. All balls have graining and channels, and the feel of those can make all the difference in ball handling and shot making.

Leather or not to imitate LeBron James

Leather – it evokes nostalgia and quality – not to mention Spalding’s official NBA basketball is made from leather and represents the most expensive option when choosing a ball. However, no matter how deep your pockets are, leather is not at all suitable for outdoor use. It simply is not made for the pounding wear and tear that asphalt or concrete dishes out.

First outdoor option to consider

Composite leather is a material made from a base consisting of scraps or shavings from real leather that is blended with polyurethane. This gives the ball excellent grip and durability, along with the versatility to be used indoors or outdoors. A composite material is used by Wilson in the manufacture of their official NCAA basketball.

Composite over leather for outdoors

The reason composite is such a great choice is that the look and feel of the ball are much like that perfectly broken-in leather ball you used as a kid in the gym. The difference is you didn’t have to pay as much and you didn’t spend two months breaking it in. The moisture-wicking properties of the composite are extremely helpful to maintain that grip and feel from the first quarter to the fourth.

When Rubber meets the mode

We all remember using rubber bouncing balls as children, but the modern rubber basketballs are far more advanced. They are inexpensive and durable, but some players find the grip to be lacking and the feel a bit firm when compared to composite.

Personal preference plays a part

With any purchase decision, what floats your boat may sink mine and vice versa. What you want is a ball that inspires confidence whether you are handling the rock or shooting. You need consistent bounce and sure grip. The perfect overall basketball is ultimately what feels good and works for you. Channel spacing is a factor that will affect your decision, along with the feel of the grain. Here the brick and mortar stores can be a resource for you to gain firsthand knowledge even if you end up purchasing online.

1. Basketball Material

In most cases, in outdoor basketball courts the court surface is usually made of hard materials, like concrete or asphalt. These kinds of court surfaces are rough, and over time, they will affect the basketball greatly.

So, before you pick your outdoor basketball, you should consider which material to choose. We will explain you the advantages and disadvantages of each material basketball is made of, and explain you how they will behave on outdoor surfaces, both in terms of durability and feeling in your hands.

  • Leather basketballs – basketballs made of genuine leather are top notch balls. They provide the most comfortable feeling in your hands, and over time they became even softer.

However, genuine leather balls are not made for outdoor usage. On hard and rough surfaces, leather basketballs will suffer greatly due to wearing and tearing, and the ball will quickly lose its soft feeling in your hands.

  • Composite leather basketballs – basketball made of composite material are more suitable for outdoor use. Usually, they are covered with rubber layer that behaves much better on hard surfaces.

This type of material provides soft feeling and good grip of the ball, and also makes it more durable on hard surfaces and outdoor conditions. It’s not an accident why the most popular outdoor basketballs are made of composite material.

  • Rubber basketballs – the cheapest basketball material is rubber. However, rubber basketballs are really good fit for outdoor play, especially on hard, rough surfaces. They provide great durability on outdoor courts.

The downside of rubber balls is their relatively poor grip and general feeling in your hands, especially comparing to leather and composite materials. They could be a good choice for beginners due to low price and durability, but if you’re trying to get pro, maybe the better option is to switch to more quality products.

2. Feeling in your hands

Confidence is extremely important factor for every basketball player. In order to show your best performance, you should feel comfortable with the ball while handling and shooting.

All great basketball shooters will tell you that confidence is the most important factor in order to have great shooting night. And having the ball that gives you that great feeling will boost your confidence. So you should pay attention to how the ball feels in your hands when picking the right one.

3. Bounce

Before you purchase the basketball, you should check the ounce. Consistent, centered bounce provides you with belief that the ball will behave exactly as you want while pounding it. If the ball bounces unusually, unevenly and unpredictably, it’s better for you to choose another one.

4. Grip

Grip is also very important thing in feeling comfortable with your basketball. The best basketballs are the ones that “stick” with your hands when holding them. You should not pick the ball that feels slippery or give you the feeling like the ball could get out of your hands easily.


We provided you with our top 5 choices for best outdoor basketball, and additional information of important things you should consider when choosing the right one.

Our first three picks are top notch products, but they come with price. Two rubber basketballs on our list are more price-friendly, but you should know you will give up quality.

Generally, the trick in choosing the right outdoor basketball usually comes to compromise between price and quality. We advise you to take a closer look at our picks, and make a smart decision.

As always, we’re here for you if you have any additional questions or dilemmas about choosing the right ball. Feel free to comment and enjoy the game!