Everyone can think of a time they’ve entered the gym and walked over to the ball in the corner, only to be disappointed with how flat and misshaped it was. It’s difficult to get real work in on the court when your ball is bouncing the wrong direction, or not at all. Avoid that problem and find the best indoor basketball here so you can continue to take your game to the next level every day.
Details Make Up the Best Indoor Basketballs
There are a few specifics you’re going to want to consider when buying an indoor basketball, including what it’s made of, size, air retention, and more.
There are a variety of materials that can be used to make indoor basketballs. The NBA uses 100% leather basketballs, which have the best overall grip. They will usually develop a broken-in feel after multiple uses, giving the most authentic feel. Unfortunately, leather basketballs are the most expensive to make and also purchase.
A lot of commercial indoor basketballs are made out of synthetic leather, or composite leather. It’s artificially made leather but has a similar look and feel. One of the best things about composite leather basketballs is there usually isn’t as long of a break-in period. You can generally take it right from the box to the court.
Size and Weight
It’s important to purchase the right size and weight of indoor basketball that fits your purpose. There are four main sizes and weights:
Men and Boys Age 15 and Up
Circumference: 29.5 inches
Weight: 22 oz
Women and Girls Ages 12 and Up and Boys Ages 12-14
Circumference: 28.5 inches
Weight: 20 oz
Boys and Girls Ages 9-11
Circumference: 27.5 inches
Weight: 17 oz
Boys and Girls Ages 5-8
Circumference: 25.5 inches
Weight: 14 oz
You don’t want to have to carry a pump with you to the gym every time or risk playing with a flat ball.
Luckily most good quality indoor balls will stay inflated for a long time, limiting the need for an air pump. It’s also best to keep the ball stored somewhere without extremely cold temperatures as this could easily deflate the ball. I can’t tell you how many basketballs I lost as a kid after leaving them in the garage during the winter.
According to this report, it’s best to have between 7 and 9 pounds per square inch.
Can You Use an Indoor Basketball Outside?
It is best to avoid using an indoor basketball when playing outside. You may get a few uses out of the ball, but you will quickly wear down the grip, leaving you with a ball that’s difficult to handle. It’ll also scuff up the outside, leaving you with a ball that doesn’t have that professional look.
If you’re going to invest in a nice indoor basketball, it’s best to keep it on the hardwood.
Top 5 Indoor Basketballs
Based on the criteria above, we’ve put together our list for the best indoor basketball to help you make the right choice.
Best Seller: Wilson Evolution
The Wilson Evolution is one of the most popular basketballs you’ll find at a pickup game. It has a unique grip, with what Wilson calls the Premium Evo Microfiber Composite Cover, but overall it’s really nice. Composite leather with micro pebbles is used throughout the entire ball, including the channels, which gives every inch a consistent grip and feel.
You can generally take the Wilson Evolution out of the box and start using it right away as it doesn’t require a ton of break-in. It is also approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), so it’s perfect for all ages.
Overall, this is easily the Best Seller when it comes to the best indoor basketball.
- When you focus on getting better, and not just on getting results, success takes care of...
- The number 1 indoor ball: The Evolution is the number 1 indoor game basketball in America,...
- Consistent grip and feel through the entire ball, including channels
- One of the most popular indoor basketballs used in pickup games
- Not a lot of break-in time required
- NFHS approved
- Moderate price point
Top Rated: Baden Elite
Another incredibly popular indoor basketball is the Baden Elite. The microfiber grip is really nice on this ball, while also being uniquely soft. It might take a little getting used to but was definitely built with the player in mind. The anti-moisture is a nice addition as well.
One of the coolest features is what they call their Stealth Valve. The valve is designed in a way so no matter how you touch the ball, you won’t feel it.
Available in both 28.5 and 29.5 sizes, the Baden Elite is NFHS approved and built to last you for years to come.
- Department Name: Mens
- Included Components: Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball - Size 7 (29.5")
- Microfiber grip – unique and soft
- Doesn’t absorb sweat
- Stealth Valve – never feel the valve during a game
- NFHS approved
- Might take some time getting used to
Best Value: Wilson NCAA Jet Pro Basketball
This is the best indoor basketball if you’re looking for a quality ball that’s still on the inexpensive side.
It is made with composite leather, but has a pebbled grip throughout, including the channels.
We wouldn’t recommend this ball if you’re a more advanced player or looking to make more of an investment. But it’s a great option if you’re looking for something inexpensive and still great quality.
- Dual tone composite leather cover for exceptional gripability
- Pebbled rubber channels increase control when handling
- Good quality composite leather
- Pebble grip throughout the ball, including channels
- Wouldn’t recommend for more advanced players
Pro’s Choice: Spalding NBA Official Game Ball
This indoor basketball definitely comes with a bit of a price tag. But if you want to use what the pros are using, there isn’t a better option out there.
Made with genuine Horween leather, this ball is as authentic as it gets. It is recommended to only use this ball indoors and on the hardwood. Definitely do not use this ball outside.
The biggest drawback is you definitely have to be patient as it takes some time to break in. Some people play for hours a week and the ball still isn’t fully broken in. But if you want to drain threes from downtown like Steph, you’re going to have to put the work in anyways.
Why not use what the pros use?
- Pro minded: For over 3 decades, Spalding has joined forces with the NBA to create the gold...
- Horween leather: The full-grain leather construction turns butter-soft once broken in
- Use what the Pros use – NBA Official Game Ball
- Made with real leather
- Comes inflated
- Takes time to break-in
League Ready: Wilson NCAA Official Game Basketball
The basketball used in college ball, this Wilson model has a great moisture-absorbing exterior, so you can definitely get back-to-back games in on the court.
Overall, it has a really nice grip. The letters can feel a little slick if it’s your first few times using the ball, but not something to get overly concerned about with long term use. Similar to the Official NBA ball, this ball is highly recommended for indoor use only.
It is a little on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a ball comparable to the Evolution, then you can’t go wrong with the Wilson NCAA Game ball.
- Official game ball of the NCAA Basketball Championships
- Moisture Absorbing Cover - Ultimate grip in playing conditions
- NCAA and NFHS approved
- Moisture-absorbing properties
- Soft cushion feel with superior grip and control
- A little pricier than the Wilson Evolution and Baden Elite
The Best Indoor Basketball for You
If you’re looking to buy an indoor basketball today, you definitely can’t go wrong with the Wilson Evolution.
The other options on our list are also great choices, but the Evo is one of the most popular balls used in pick up games, and it’s not hard to understand why with its moderate price point.
The lack of break-in time required is a plus, so you can definitely take it right from the box to the court.