How To Choose The Right Basketball For You

Basketball can be played indoors or outdoors. The ball that you choose will have a direct impact on your gameplay, and you don’t want to use the same ball for all styles of basketball, although there are hybrid balls available.

When you go to choose a basketball, you need to first consider the type of ball you’ll be using before deciding on a Spalding basketball, or just going with another famous brand. There are also basketball reviews that can help you clear away some of the confusion.

Different Types of Basketballs

Basketball with Referee

There are a lot of different basketball materials to choose from. One ball isn’t much different from another, but the material is what makes the ultimate difference in your gameplay.

According to eHow, there are a few different material types:

  • Leather: The 100% leather basketball is what the professionals use, and these balls are used primarily for indoor basketball. Repeated use makes the feel of the ball better, and this is the most expensive type of ball on the market.
  • Synthetic: A synthetic ball may come in a leather-like material, but it’s far less expensive than its leather counterpart. These balls are versatile, and the material doesn’t need to be broken in for the ball to be well-controlled. The feel of these balls is softer.
  • Rubber: You won’t find the rubber basketball in an indoor court, but you will find these balls in most street games. Considered the best street basketball, rubber balls are great for beginners and will provide the best bounce on asphalt.

If you want to follow NBA rules, you’ll want to find a ball that has a 29.5 inch circumference.

The inside material of the ball doesn’t matter, and I’ve also included a video that shows what’s inside a basketball so that you know what you’re playing with.

Hybrid Indoor and Outdoor Basketballs

The hybrid indoor and outdoor basketballs are the most versatile option for all players, and these balls are designed to offer a great bounce outside along with the comfort needed for longer indoor games.

Most hybrid balls will be made with synthetic material that offers the bounce of rubber and the comfort of synthetic leather.

When choosing hybrid balls, you’ll benefit from:


  • Multi-purpose ball
  • Affordable options
  • Versatility


  • Hybrid balls aren’t as good as a dedicated indoor or outdoor ball

The only concern is that hybrid balls aren’t as favored as a ball specifically designed for indoor or outdoor usage. This means that while they’re great balls, they often don’t provide the same level of comfort or control as an indoor or outdoor ball.

Indoor Basketballs

Indoor basketballs can come in a lot of different styles, be it hybrid, synthetic or pure leather. If you want the best ball possible, you should choose what the professionals choose: leather. A leather ball provides comfort when passing and shooting, and these balls also offer consistency.

These balls offer:


  • Extreme comfort
  • Texture that’s ideal for hard passes
  • Longevity
  • Breaking in for added comfort


  • Very expensive

The one major complaint about indoor basketballs is that they’re very expensive. Many of these balls can cost a lot more than a hybrid ball, and official balls can cost a significant amount more money.

For beginners or kids that play indoors and outdoors, indoor balls aren’t the absolute best option.

Outdoor Basketballs and Street Basketballs

A Basketball Game

Outdoor basketballs are a lot different than indoor balls because they take a lot of abuse. You’ll want to dig deep and find the best outdoor basketball in your price range if you play outdoors a lot.

The biggest issue with street play is that the asphalt can really rip up a ball.

Street basketball is extremely popular, and there are even dedicated associations and teams to follow. When choosing one of these balls, there are two main options:

  1. Rubber. A rubber ball is ideal because it provides ample bounce and is very durable, allowing it to hit the asphalt without being damaged.
  2. Hybrid. A hybrid ball will provide a good bounce and better comfort, but these balls are less durable than their all-rubber counterparts.

As Wikipedia states, streetball is less structured, and while it’s primarily played outdoors, some players will play indoors on occasion.

The great thing about outdoor and street basketballs are:


  • Extreme durability
  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile
  • Better bounce


  • Less comfortable grip
  • Hard on the hands

The only downside with outdoor basketballs is that they’re not as comfortable as indoor balls and they can be hard on the hands. Synthetic options do work well, but they have less of a bounce and durability compared to their rubber counterparts.

There’s a lot to choose from when picking a basketball, and size also needs to be considered. SizeChart provides the standard sizes for men, women and children. This is a must-see chart if you’ve never played basketball and don’t have a clue on what size ball to choose.