Most gyms and schools only supply cheap rubber basketballs to practice and play with.
From the texture of the ball to the bounce, basketballs are all unique and have properties that every player loves. Indoor basketballs are meant for hardwood courts because they tend to wear down outside. They usually have soft leather exteriors to make them easier to handle and more durable.
In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive breakdown of our top picks for the best indoor basketball to suit your needs. We will also cover important aspects such as key terms, what to look for in a quality indoor basketball, and how each option can make your game better.
Best Indoor Basketball Review
The Spalding NBA Official Basketball is likely one of the most expensive indoor basketballs on our list. It is made from genuine leather and is the only real leather ball on our list.
If you have never used a leather basketball, you may take longer to adjust and break in this ball. However, over time, your game will only get better and better as you practice with a basketball of this quality.
Leather basketballs pose some unique advantages. They tend to absorb sweat better than other materials making the grip stronger in the hottest of gyms. It is also important to note that genuine leather will not last as long as the composite leather used in most balls.
This ball is not ideal for females as it only comes in size 7, which is pretty large.
If you have a real passion for the sport and have a bit of cash to spare, consider buying the Spalding NBA Official basketball. It will give you a different and unique experience during playtime, which is something that every basketball player loves to experience.
The NCAA Replica basketball from Wilson is a great choice that is high quality for those on a budget. It is crafted from composite leather material, so it is not as soft as more expensive options, but it gets the job done.
The Wilson NCAA Replica is intended for both indoor and outdoor use. It blends durability and perfect ball control. This is an excellent choice if you spend a lot of time playing basketball indoors but tend to venture outside occasionally.
It is more durable inside, but it is able to withstand some degree of use on outdoor basketball courts.
At the end of the day, this basketball is an excellent purchase for the price point that it falls into. It is a perfect basketball for those who play from time to time and do not wish to drop a hefty amount of cash on an expensive basketball for indoors only.
The X-Series basketballs from Molten are an improvement upon the company’s older basketball designs. Overall, the design has remained pretty much the same, but the surface is very different from attempting to provide players with a more consistent feel.
The Molten X-Series is the official basketball of the global competition, FIBA, and utilizes composite leather.
This ball is a great option for those who want a decent indoor basketball to practice their skills with. It is especially great for working on jump shots. The unique coloring on the ball makes it stand out as a favorite as it allows players to watch the rotation of the ball in mid-air.
This ball may take a bit of time to break-in. The grooves and the composite leather have a tendency to make the grip a bit difficult, but it goes away once the ball has been worn in.
Many players feel that the groove lines give the basketball a bit more control and awareness of hand placement.
As with many Wilson brand basketballs, the Wilson Evolution is incredibly popular and happens to be one of the most often purchased for school sports. This basketball is approved for gameplay by both the NCAA and the NFHS.
The basketball features thousands of tiny touchpoints and a deep channel design to improve the quality of the grip once the ball is broken in.
There are also special channels designed to wick away moisture to absorb any sweat your hands may produce as you play. This keeps the ball from slipping during high-pressure moments.
Wilson Evolution is an excellent choice for those who play recreationally and competitively. The durability is one of the primary reasons it is so popular among schools and novice players.
If you want to buy a basketball that is capable of remaining functional through many seasons of play, consider this option. It will last for a long time and remain sturdy in any play environment.
The Baden Elite Indoor basketball is another incredibly durable ball. Crafted from synthetic leather, this ball will get you through multiple years of intense gameplay.
The Baden brand is not as well-known as Wilson or Spalding, but they have put out some of the best basketballs for decades.
The Elite is the number one basketball from the Baden brand. There are no faults in symmetry, and the bounce remains sharp through a lot of heavy use.
The ball absorbs moisture with the best of them and feels good in your hands when you go for a tough shot. The grip on this basketball is something that sets it just above other options. The tack never slacks even after many uses.
If you are looking for a basketball that will get you through a lot of gameplay, the Baden Elite is worth considering. It bounces well and offers some of the best ball control so you can practice and enhance your game for a long time.
When it comes to indoor basketballs, the Spalding TF-1000 is not one to sleep on. It has been around for a very long time and is one of the best quality indoor basketballs out there.
Over the years, Spalding has tweaked the TF-1000 model here and there, and many prefer the original to the newer models.
The basketball has a glossy finish which allows it to remain tacky for a period of time. If you intend to use this ball heavily, you may want to opt for a less glossy ball because the tack can wear down if used too much. However, this ball remains on our list of top indoor basketballs because of the overall quality.
If you play indoors recreationally, this ball is an excellent option for you. It wears down with too much use, but it will hold up through precisely what you need it to if you play for fun.
It is an excellent ball for practicing your skills and honing in on some of those small things you may need to spend some time refining.
The Rock Indoor basketball is an NFHS-approved ball that is not as well-known as other options we have listed.
If you talk to someone about basketballs and they mention The Rock, you can assume that they know what they are talking about. This ball offers more than your typical brand of basketball.
Similar to the Wilson Evolution, this ball features pebbled channels that give you a more consistent and reliable grip. Though there is nothing wrong with grooved channels, pebbled channels help increase the quality of the grip even further.
This ball is very tacky right out of the box and feels perfect in terms of bounce and speed.
This is a great ball if you plan to use it a lot. The grip lasts for a more extended period of time than other balls we have mentioned. The durability of this basketball puts it right up against top brands like Wilson and Spalding.
If you are a true enthusiast and want a ball that will last, this is the choice for you.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Indoor Basketball
If you genuinely wish to determine the best basketball for indoor play, you should consider a few critical factors that go into it.
The Material of the Ball
First and foremost, the material of your basketball is one of the most important aspects of what makes it the best. Different basketballs utilize different materials.
Basketballs made for outdoor usually feature some form of cheap rubber material, so it is not great for practicing and is not very durable.
The majority of indoor basketballs utilize composite leather. Composite leather is softer than rubber, and it offers the player a better grip. This makes shooting and dribbling much easier to practice.
Composite leather basketballs have a tendency to be slippery until you have adequately worn them in, especially if you tend to have sweaty hands.
The other material that is ideal for indoor basketball is genuine leather. It is the most commonly used material in the NBA.
Genuine leather balls cost much more than composite leather, but they have more to offer. They take longer to break in than composite leather, but the ball control and handling are unmatched once that happens.
No one wants to play with an underinflated basketball, and you want your ball to hold consistent air pressure.
According to the NBA, a basketball’s air pressure should be between 7.5 and 8.5 PSi (pounds per square inch). Though deflation has become less of an issue over the years, some brands tend to lose air more often than others.
Nothing is more frustrating than a basketball that constantly needs added air to top it off. With indoor balls, this is rarely an issue due to the materials that make up the ball.
However, it does happen. You may need to add air to your ball in colder months a bit, but aside from that, a good indoor basketball should almost eliminate that problem entirely.
The Grip of the Ball
A common problem when playing indoors is the abundance of hand sweat and moisture. When those become prominent, you can lose your grip much more easily.
A lot of basketball brands will design the surface of the ball to offer some kind of moisture-wicking surface feature to help absorb sweat during play which gives you better control over the ball.
The fatness of the ball’s channels and how deep the grooves are are also vital in helping you grip the ball better. The grooves and channels of the ball can help your fingertips establish more grip and assist you to consistently line up better shots on goal.
You can always tell if a ball is made from cheap material when it does not have a crisp bounce. This is typically the result of a low-quality basketball.
When you are looking for the best indoor basketball, you should always look for the balls that still bounce well without too much air.
How the ball bounces is very important in basketball. Your ball should have a reliable and consistent bounce to it. If the ball has a smoother surface, the chances are high that it will bounce better.
Deep grooves and channels can help a lot with shooting grip, but it can also be a hindrance when it comes to dribbling because the bounce can become less consistent.
You want to ensure that the basketball you choose is going to last you at least through a few months of play (if you play a lot).
Indoor balls usually cost more than outdoor balls, so you should expect more from the durability as well. There are things you can do to make your ball last longer as well.
If you are going to buy an indoor ball, you should take the best care to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Never use your indoor ball outside unless the ball specifically advertises that ability, and even then, you should avoid it.
Outdoor courts will scratch and tear the leather. If the court you are playing on is dusty, quickly wipe the ball down with a dry towel to avoid build-up in the grooves. Most importantly, do not let your basketball get wet.
Size of the Ball
It is important to make sure that the ball you buy is the correct size. The size of a basketball varies based on who is using it. Men and women need different sized basketballs, and so do children.
Officially, basketballs for men over the age of fifteen should be a size seven. The circumference of a size seven basketball is 29.5 inches. Basketballs for women (and boys 11-14) are just a bit smaller at a size six and measure 28.5 inches in circumference.
Anyone younger than eleven should practice with a youth basketball which is a size five and is 27.5 inches around. Youth balls also come in a more variety of sizes based on the age of the player.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few common questions that other buyers have had when looking for the best indoor basketball.
Can I Play Outside With an Indoor Basketball?
You may not always want to go find a new basketball for outdoors if you typically always play inside. It can be very tempting to want to use your high-quality indoor ball outside. However, you should never use an indoor basketball on an outdoor court.
Outdoor courts will damage and tear the outer covers of an indoor basketball and decrease its overall durability; you should look for a good outdoor basketball if possible.
What are the Best Brands?
The answer to this question typically falls to the individual as everyone has their own preference. However, Spalding and Wilson are the top and most recognized brands in terms of basketballs.
Other brands like Baden, Nike, and Molten also produce some very nice indoor basketballs that even tend to rank higher than the other top options.
Are Indoor/Outdoor Basketballs Good?
If a basketball is explicitly meant for indoor use, it will last a very long time if you take care of it. Most of the balls we discussed are for indoor use only.
However, there are a few basketballs that claim to be for indoor AND outdoor use. These are fine to use outside occasionally, but if you plan to use them for equal time inside and out, you should invest in a quality basketball for each.
How can I Make my Ball Last Longer?
You should treat a quality indoor basketball well. When you purchase a new indoor basketball, you should look at it as an investment and should treat the ball well.
You can purchase basketball cleaners at sporting goods stores and store your basketball in a special backpack to help keep it in perfect condition for as long as possible. You should never kick your ball and maintain its air to avoid any chance of the ball losing its shape over time.
Which Indoor Basketball is Best for you?
There are so many great basketballs to pick from. If you are seeking a ball that is going to last a long time without spending too much right away, the Wilson NCAA Replica is a perfect choice. That ball is not only great for beginners; it costs less, so you will not feel bad if you tend to go through it a bit faster.
If you genuinely want the best indoor basketball out there and do not mind paying for it, the Spalding NBA Official basketball is your best bet. It is the only ball made from authentic leather. Though genuine leather is a bit more selective, once you break it in, you will not be able to beat the handling this ball offers.
You can not go wrong with any of the options we have covered. All of these basketballs offer unique qualities that are sure to enhance your game and help you reach new levels of experience.
After reading through this examination, you should be able to make an informed decision and pick the most appealing and perfectly matched basketball for your indoor gameplay.