When it comes to the game of basketball, the quality of the ball matters a lot.
While you may prefer good enough to perfect, good ball control and a proper bounce can turn an average game into something incredibly fun.
Don’t let a cheap ball dictate how much fun you have. A deflating, slippery ball with a terrible bounce is definitely not something you want to play with.
Luckily, here we have a complete guide covering the best indoor basketballs and indoor/outdoor combination balls to make your skills the best they can be.
After all, no good game is complete without using the best basketball you can get.
Best Indoor Basketball Comparison Table
Different Types of Basketball
There are three main types of basketballs. For the purpose of this guide, most of the balls will be of a composite leather material, which is less costly than 100% leather and still great for indoor use.
These balls are made from 100% genuine leather cover. For a leather ball to be match ready they must be broken in with hours of use first.
Leather basketballs are meant for indoor hardwood usage because outdoor use will cause them to wear out faster.
Leather basketballs are the most expensive but generally the best basketballs for indoor play.
These balls are covered with an artificial or synthetic leather material that's cheaper to produce and thus purchase, but still has the feel of a genuine ball.
Synthetic leather balls don't need to be broken in before use. These are the most common types and are suitable for most people.
These balls are lined with a rubber surface and are great for outdoor concrete use. They have a rougher feel to them and are durable to last outdoor play.
Simply put, these are cheap, abundant, and hard to break. Don’t expect the best NBA style performance from these balls.
Wilson is one of the biggest brands in basketball and that’s for good reason. The balls are high quality and the majority are approved by the NCAA and NFHS for semi-pro use.
Wilson basketballs stand the test of time. Wilson has proved itself worthy of being one of the top producers of balls with its constant innovation and tech improvements designed to keep your skills top notch.
If you know basketball, or just sports in general, you’ll know Spalding. Known for producing sporting goods but most known for their high-quality basketballs.
Created by Albert Goodwill Spalding, an entrepreneur and athlete with a love of sports who fulfilled his dreams of producing high-quality sporting equipment for athletes alike.
While not as well known as the likes of Wilson and Spalding, Baden is another producer of high-quality sporting goods that many athletes will still recognize.
Many of Baden’s products are used in high school and college games, so you know they’ll be durable and stand the test of time.
Top 10 Best Indoor Basketballs
1. Wilson Evolution Indoor Game Basketball
The Wilson Evolution ball comes in at our top choice as the best indoor basketball on the list.
Made for indoor play, this ball has a microfiber composite leather cover creating an almost authentic real leather feel.
However, because it’s composite it does not need to be broken in and you can start playing with this one immediately.
It’s a very popular ball, highly recommended and used in high school and college sports while also approved for use by the NCAA and NFHS.
The ball comes in both intermediate (28.5”) and official (29.5”) sizes. Wilson went above and beyond creating this ball, integrating a new Cushion Core technology that provides seriously good bounce and a proper feel.
It’s also designed with moisture wicking, which keeps the ball dry throughout play.
The ball is widely used because of its durability, so if you want a strong ball that will last, the Wilson Evolution is a great choice!
2. Spalding NBA Zi/O Excel Basketball
The Zi/O Excel ball is of a genuine Zi/O composite leather material.
We’re sure you’re going to be as impressed as most of the customers were with this feature.
You’ll love that you can use this ball for both indoor and outdoor play too.
The cover material gives this ball unmatched durability while sustaining it for rougher outdoor surfaces too.
The durability is one of the main reason this ball is a go-to for many people. You’ll get some seriously good use out of this one. The foam-backed style of the ball provides a solid grip and bounce that’ll never let this one slip from your hands.
Not to mention, the deep channel design will have you out dribbling your competition like a pro. You’re probably going to have a bit too much fun with this ball. Just try to give your friends a chance with it.
3. Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball
A replica of perhaps the best indoor basketball that’s made for NBA and professional use.
This one is great for both indoor and outdoor play.
It’s premium composite cover will keep it durable against the rough ground outside but will still offer good grip and texture for indoor play.
Coming in at either intermediate or official size, you can get the younger ones prepared for the real deal by still giving them this great ball to practice on.
One of the most affordable priced balls on this list for the quality, durability and strength it brings makes this one a great choice.
The hype is true with this ball, and you better believe every word of it.
4. Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball
You can tell just from the name that this ball means business.
Being a replica, it meets all NCAA standards and requirements and will give you that true to life pro feel.
It’s a great ball for some serious use.
Like most Wilson balls, they’ve designed it with moisture wicking technology. The ball will stay dry throughout play and it's guaranteed not to slip out of your hands.
The ball is made with a strong and durable composite leather that gives you serious value with it’s long lasting construction. It’s also durable enough to be used for outdoor play where the strong composite design will protect it against the rough ground.
With its tacky feeling, you’ll have total control of the ball and with its true bounce and grip you’ll feel confident that you can perform with it.
5. Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball
While you may not know Baden like you do Wilson or Spalding, Baden creates great sporting goods and their Elite indoor basketball is no exception to this.
The Baden Elite NFHS approved ball is unique with its Cushion Control Technology that gives the ball a softer and better feel and a great bounce.
If you thought this ball couldn’t get any better, think again. A key feature is its stealth soft-valve system that reduces rubber exposure in the ball’s valve system. This will help soften the valve panel giving you better control over the ball.
If you want to try something other than the usual Wilson or Spalding, this makes a great choice and packs some serious value with its durability due to the ball’s microfiber cover.
6. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
- Can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Deep channel design gives great grip.
- Full ball pebbling.
- Available in both size 6 or size 7.
- 100% nylon windings give the ball durability and great bounce.
- 100% Butyl Bladder delivers maximum air retention keeping the shape and strength of the ball for the entire game.
- UA’s exclusive GRIPSKIN microfiber composite gives it the best grip possible.
7. Molten BGG Composite Basketball
- FIBA (Olympics) approved!
- Incredibly durable composite leather with a slight break-in period.
- Wide channel design for great grip.
- 12-panels for optimal hand placement for the best fingertip control possible.
- Dual cushion technology: Softer in your hands while still maintaining bounce and speed for fast gameplay.
- Butyl Bladder rubber keeps the shape and strength of the ball optimal for your best performance yet.
8. Spalding TF-1000 Classic Basketball
- NCAA/NFHS approved.
- Spalding’s special ZK Microfiber composite gives the ball a soft feel and increased lifespan.
- Due to the composite material, the ball has great moisture control preventing slip.
- Rotationally balanced butyl bladder for maximum air retention.
- 100% nylon windings give the ball its best structural integrity.
9. Spalding TF-1000 Legacy Basketball
- Exclusive ZK microfiber PU composite cover that makes the TF-1000 incredibly durable and built to last. Not to mention, the softness is great for playing.
- Strong core gives the ball a great bounce without sacrificing on its durability.
- Moisture reduction technology designed to keep the ball dry for the best grip you can get.
- Deep channel design: You’ll get the best grip possible when taking shots.
- Great air retention with its 85% butyl bladder rubber.
10. The Rock Basketball
- Designed with incredible grip making this ball one of the easiest to palm on the list.
- Composite material, but feels and plays like leather.
- Sponge rubber carcass for greatly improved handling, texture and softness.
- Scuff resistant
- Absolutely no break in required: You’ll be ready to play your hardest instantly.
- Double ply butyl bladder for maximum air retention
- 100% nylon windings that will keep the balls shape retained and durability sky high
Guide to Buying an Indoor Basketball
When buying a ball, you’ll want to consider the pressure of it. NBA standards for air pressure for basketballs are between 7.5-8.5 pounds per square inch.
Nothing is more annoying than a ball that constantly loses air.
Fortunately, many of the balls on this list feature strong butyl bladders that will keep the balls air retention at its best for optimal performance.
Sweat can be a game breaker when playing, especially if you’re using a cheap indoor basketball that doesn’t have any counter-measures. The last thing you want is for the ball to be constantly slipping as you sweat.
Many of the best balls (and all of them on this list) have moisture wicking surfaces designed to keep the ball dry throughout the whole game.
The balls with deep channel designs help you line your fingers up. It'll also give you a better grip when taking shots and make palming a whole a lot easier, too.
Bounce is a super important thing to consider when buying a ball. You want a ball that has a good surface to keep it a consistent a strong bounce.
Many balls have cushion core technology designed to keep the balls bounce consistent and strong without sacrificing durability.
The last thing you want is a ball that can’t hold air and has a poor bounce because of it. This is a complete downer that no one playing wants to experience.
It’s common for many balls to come in two sizes: Intermediate (size 6 or 28.5 inches) and Official (size 7 or 29.5 inches).
Some companies such as Under Armour on this list also offer a size 5 which is suitable for kids.
Depending on what league you’re going to be playing in, you want to make sure you’re practicing with and using the appropriate sized ball.
How to Care for Your Indoor Basketball
Caring for your indoor basketball is important, to make sure that it retains its color and strength and doesn’t negatively affect your game.
Here are my top tips on keeping your basketball in great shape:
Indoor Basketball Ball Buying FAQs
Q1. Are there different basketballs for children?
Q1. Are there different basketballs for children?
Yes, there has to be! If children played with the larger, heavier and firmer adult basketballs then they would risk serious injury while playing. Also, they would struggle to enjoy the game because the ball would be difficult to dribble and shoot. Children’s basketballs are lighter, softer and smaller to allow them to enjoy the game just as much as adults.
Q2. What should the pebble pattern be for indoors?
The pebble pattern for any indoor basketball should cover the entire ball for better grip, meaning your ball is less likely to slip on indoor floors with less grip than the outdoors. Some outdoor balls have very small pebble patterns because the terrain outside already provides a lot of grip to the player and the ball.
Q3. Are there different weights available in various sizes?
Of course there are – there are thousands of types of basketball out there on the market, with varying colors, weights and sizes. Whatever your personal preference is for the weight of the ball, there will be an option out there for you. When shopping online for an indoor basketball, you can refine your search by ‘ball weight’ to make sure you have the exact one you want.
Q4. What material is best for indoors?
Natural leather is the best basketball material for indoor games. If you take this leather ball outside, chances are it will be ruined before the end of the game. Leather is soft, durable and provides a good grip – all of the things you need during an indoor basketball game.
Q5. Which material should I get to play indoors and outdoors?
Personally, I prefer natural rubber for all basketballs – whether I’m playing inside or outside. Natural rubber is durable, tough and provides the perfect bounce to any style of player. It’s tough enough to withstand concrete outside but also soft and versatile enough to be perfect for indoor basketball too.
Q6. Why is it hard to handle my leather basketball?
It can be difficult to handle a brand new full-grain leather basketball. Before you start playing any serious games, you will need to ‘break the ball in’ so to speak. In the beginning, the surface will be slippery and smooth, which is not good for your game. Once you play with it more and condition it, it will become easier to handle your leather basketball.
Q7. Can I get deflated basketballs?
Of course – basketballs can be bought in a deflated state for easier transport and package, which you can then blow up yourself using a pump or have a professional do it at your local sports store. Simply search ‘deflated basketball’ on google, any sporting site or Amazon and you’ll find hundreds of options.
Q8. Are all basketballs expensive?
They can be – basketballs on the market range from $3 to $300 and up. It depends on what you want from your basketball and how much you’re willing to spend. I’ve played with great basketballs which cost $10 and terrible ones which have cost $100. Price doesn’t determine quality!
While we hope this list has made your search better, finding the best indoor basketball for yourself is still no easy task. Every one of the balls on this list is backed by tons of positive reviews.
Each and every one of them has their own respective pros and cons and it’s up to you to ultimately decide which one you like best.
As said above, a good ball can change the game entirely, so it’s best to spend some time checking them all out (and testing them if you can!) to see which is your favorite.
Whether it's from the top dog brands like Wilson and Spalding, or the lesser known but still highly reviewed with big followings like The Rock and Molten, you won’t know until the ball is in your own hands.
The video below explains the basic rules of basketball to get you started.