The 8 Best Outdoor Basketballs of 2019

Shoot hoops outside with these top picks

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Aside from the love of the game and the camaraderie of beating your rival team, basketball has a number of health benefits: it’s a fun way to get your heart rate up and it helps you work out ​stress with physical activity.

Playing the game outside is also a fun approach to involving your family and neighbors in your fitness plan: even a casual game of H.O.R.S.E. gets your blood pumping. However, you’re going to need an outdoor basketball to get started, and buying one is different than buying an indoor ball.

Outdoor basketballs are constructed differently: they’re made of rubber instead of synthetic blends to withstand conditions on cement or asphalt, they don’t require a “breaking in” period like indoor balls, and they have fewer surface pebbles for a rougher touch and better grip. If you’re looking to improve your game or start getting fit outside of the gym, here are the best outdoor basketballs to buy now.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Spalding NBA Street Basketball

Spalding NBA Street Basketball

Courtesy of Amazon

History’s greatest basketball stars all had one thing in common: they started out casually shooting hoops in street games or landing free throws in their driveway. If you’re looking to get the basics down with outdoor games, you’re going to need a ball that will last.

Spalding’s NBA Street Basketball is designed to survive tough outdoor surfaces when you’re dribbling, passing, and shooting. It’s got a performance rubber cover and deep channels for the grip you’ll need on an outdoor court. It comes in the NBA’s standard size, an intermediate size, and a youth size.

This pick wins for its texture and convenience: the ball comes pre-inflated to the perfect size.

Best Budget: MacGregor Official Size Rubber Basketball

If you shoot outdoor hoops casually or want to buy multiple balls for a league, you’ll want an affordable ball that doesn’t compromise on performance. MacGregor’s regulation-size ball meets the criteria for less than $10. This option’s rubber surface is reinforced with nylon, and it’s got the same wide channels and lower pebble count as pricier options.

Reviewers loved that this ball was inexpensive enough for them to buy multiples for group drills, and they mentioned that its bounce and feel were comparable to more expensive balls.

Best for Kids: Spalding NBA Mini Basketball

Encouraging kids to get involved with sports at an early age can help establish healthy, physically active habits, and it can also show them the value of teamwork. If you’ve got a little one who has basketball on the brain and you want to encourage their interest, the Spalding NBA Mini Basketball is the perfect weight and size for smaller hands.

This ball has a much-needed rubber cover for driveway free throws and dribbling drills, and its 22” circumference is ideal for children under 10. Shooting hoops is even more fun with bright color combos, and the ball is a solid investment at just about $10.

Best for Night Games: GlowCity Light-Up Basketball

If you don’t want the game to end when the sun sets, you’re going to need a lighted ball to make those layups. GlowCity’s Light-Up Basketball uses two bright red LEDs to keep your eyes on the prize.

This ball doesn’t sacrifice durability for its fun light-up function. It’s illuminated from the inside with two included batteries, and it has no-fuss impact activation.

Best Indoor/Outdoor: Adidas Performance All-Court Basketball

Even if you prefer dunking outdoors, bad weather (or teammates who can’t handle the heat of an outdoor court) can force you inside. Instead of buying two separate balls for indoor and outdoor use, Adidas’s Performance All-Court Basketball has you covered for concrete or a regulation court.

This ball’s leather composite construction makes it tough enough for outdoor pickup and smooth enough for a solid bounce when you’re inside. It also has a superior grip and manages moisture better than similar balls for sweaty passes inside or outside.

Best for Women: Spalding NBA Street Basketball

Women who like making plays on an outdoor court need to pick a properly-sized ball for pickup games. Women’s balls are 28.5 inches in circumference—an inch smaller than men’s basketballs for smaller hands. Spalding’s Street Basketball is the perfect size for squaring off with other players outdoors.

This ball’s performance outdoor cover stands up to the same elements as other balls, but its WNBA-approved size is geared towards women who love the game. Premium color options make this a fun pick for standing out during play, too.

Plus, the extra street padding and great bounce makes this ball an excellent choice for women playing basketball outside.

Best Grip: Baden Grip Tread Rubber Basketball

If you’re in the middle of a serious outdoor hoops showdown, you won’t have time for a ball that slips around in your hand and gives the competition an edge. Baden’s Grip Tread Rubber Basketball has a tough look that helps you get a grip on your game, literally.

This ball’s tire-treaded texture creates extra friction on your hand, improving your grip, play, and performance on asphalt and cement. You won’t tear it up on the street when you’re zipping around your opponent’s defense, and its heavy-duty materials will last through rainy games or leftover puddles.

Best High Tech: DribbleUp Smart Basketball

A smart ball that sends your stats straight to your smartphone is the answer for players who want personalized instructions on how to improve their game without the sticker shock of an individual coach. DribbleUp’s Smart Basketball has the look and feel of a perfect outdoor ball with techie sensibilities to improve your game.

This digital marvel tracks your crossover speed, dribble, hesitation, and endurance via an interactive speed meter tucked away inside the ball. The accompanying app collects data to lead you through drills and track your progress over time, figuring out which areas need work so you can become a well-rounded basketball player on the outdoor court.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular outdoor basketballs on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 16 different basketball overall, screened options from 9 different brands and manufacturers and read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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