The Best Basketball

Updated on September 6, 2023

After testing 10 popular basketballs, we’ve determined that the Wilson Evolution offers the best value for money for indoor play thanks to its comfort of use and durability. If you’re on a tighter budget, the Tarmak BT500 also provides good feel with excellent ball touch. Finally, the Molten BG4500 is in our opinion the best performing option for competition.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range

Wilson Evolution

In our opinion, this ball offers the best value for money for indoor use. Its ultra-comfortable grip, durability, good bounce and superior grip set it apart from the competition.

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Wilson Evolution

This indoor-only ball comes in sizes 6 and 7 and is therefore aimed at club-playing teenagers and adults. Made from top-of-the-range composite leather, it offers excellent indoor sensations and features beautiful finishes.

Thanks to its high quality, it ensures greater longevity and allows for intensive use. The butyl bladder guarantees better air retention, and we appreciated its excellent rebound.

Thanks to Cushion Core technology, a synthetic leather top layer and good channel depth, it combats hand moisture to promote grip and control. During our test, we also found its feel very pleasant, and its trajectories seemed quite precise.

 

 

Best value

Tarmak BT500

This ball offers excellent value for money. Its feel provides excellent sensations for your championship matches, and few models can compete at this price.

£ 25.00 on Decathlon

Tarmak BT500

Available in several versions and colors and in sizes 5, 6 and 7, this ball is suitable from age 8. It features a polyurethane cover for a pleasant ball feel. The depth of the grooves seems right to us to wick away sweat and thus ensure good grip with less slippage.

The bladder comprises 50% butyl and 50% latex and is surrounded by 70% polyester and 30% nylon, making its rebound satisfactory (without more). Despite this, air retention can still be improved. Indeed, this is one of the 2 models we use in the club and we generally have to re-inflate it every 1 to 2 months (for intensive use).

Besides that, we think it’s an ideal ball for regular use and progress. According to the brand, it’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use, although we use it more indoors. In addition, one of its versions has FIBA homologation, which means it can be used for competition. Last but not least, it comes uninflated.

 

Best high-end

Molten BG4500

Its high design quality offers good durability, improved grip, unobjectionable rebound and comfort of use ideal for professional indoor players.

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Molten BG4500

Featuring attractive finishes and delivered partially inflated, it’s suitable from the teens upwards as it comes in sizes 6 and 7. It boasts a higher quality with its synthetic leather design having the appearance of natural leather. We can attest to its durability, since it’s a model we’ve been using in our club for many years. This indicates that it is suitable for intensive use and indoor competition, as it is also FIBA-approved and certified by the German Basketball Federation (DBB).

In addition, its new 12-field glued surface design improves its cushioning when passing. During our test, this is the one that gave us the best sensations for indoor play. Its bounce is simply perfect, its trajectories are precise and its butyl bladder ensures better air retention, limiting the number of inflations over time.

As for grip, the grooves aren’t super-deep, but the waterproof layer makes it manageable even with heavy hand perspiration, which still provides excellent grip. We really appreciated its comfortable ball feel.

 

Mid-range alternative

Wilson Authentic Series Outdoor

This is one of the most durable options for outdoor play, with its surface suitable for regular use. Its NBA-inspired design, consistent bounce, good grip and air retention are great qualities.

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Wilson Authentic Series Outdoor

Available in sizes 5, 6 or 7, this ball with its design inspired by the official NBA ball is suitable for players over 8 years of age. Made of gum rubber, its surface is resistant, whether you use it in a hall or on a street court. Nevertheless, in terms of feel, we recommend you turn to the other models in the selection for indoor play.

Thanks to Ever Bounce cushion core technology, the bounce is good and consistent, but more suited to asphalt in our opinion. Outdoors, however, its surface tends to get dirty more quickly. Although it’s less pleasant to the touch than an indoor ball, it still provides a good grip despite perspiration with its microfiber coating and good groove depth, promoting control and grip.

Also, an air-retention liner keeps the ball inflated longer, limiting the frequency of long-term inflation. However, during our test, we were bothered by the noises it made during our first few games. Moreover, it comes uninflated.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest valueBest high-endMid-range alternative
Wilson Evolution Tarmak BT500 Molten BG4500 Wilson Authentic Series Outdoor
In our opinion, this ball offers the best value for money for indoor use. Its ultra-comfortable grip, durability, good bounce and superior grip set it apart from the competition. This ball offers excellent value for money. Its feel provides excellent sensations for your championship matches, and few models can compete at this price. Its high design quality offers good durability, improved grip, unobjectionable rebound and comfort of use ideal for professional indoor players. This is one of the most durable options for outdoor play, with its surface suitable for regular use. Its NBA-inspired design, consistent bounce, good grip and air retention are great qualities.
£ 53.98 on Amazon £ 25.00 on Decathlon See the price on Amazon £ 32.69 on Amazon

 

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How did we test?

To test the basketballs (all tested in size 6), we used them during our indoor training sessions, but also on a Streetball court in order to evaluate their durability (coating resistance, possible deflations, bladder type, etc.) on the different surfaces.

We also judged how they felt on each pitch in terms of bounce, ball touch, accroche (control with dry and wet hands) and dynamism, as well as the quality of trajectories when passing and shooting.

Finally, we took into account the homologations, the design (originality, finishes, etc.) and any accessories provided (pump, etc.).

 

How to choose your basketball?

The choice of a basketball depends above all on the type of use you wish to make of it. So here’s a quick rundown of the criteria to keep in mind when buying this accessory:

Basketball

  • Height and weight: depending on age, choose a size from 1 to 7. Children aged 2-4 use size 1, while for ages 4-8 we recommend sizes 3-4 (~20 cm diameter and 300 g). For 8-12/13 year-olds, size 5 (~22 cm and 450 g) is ideal. Beyond these ages, women and teenagers use 6s (~23 cm, 550 g), and men play with 7s (~24 cm, 600 g).

Basketball

  • The material: the design of the ball determines the comfort of use, but also the durability of the object. We recommend composite or natural leather for indoor use. Rubber or polyester, more resistant materials, are more recommended for outdoor environments (asphalt). The quality of its construction limits the risk of deformation, so as to maintain a reliable rebound.

Basketball

  • Grip: this criterion is linked to the ball’s material and can be hampered by its age. So, for example, you need to prevent the ball from becoming slick in order to receive passes correctly. There are also channels whose depth determines the absorption of perspiration, with the aim of keeping the ball dry and pleasant to the touch. Control is all the better for it.

Basketball

  • The brand: some manufacturers enjoy a certain popularity and recognition among the general public. In addition, there are some that are specifically focused on basketball (like Spalding, for example). The balls used by the NBA, the NCAA (American university championship) or the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) are obviously sure values.

 

Other recommended basketballs

Tarmak R500 (€15 at time of publication): A first-price option with an original design. This model (uninflated on delivery) comes in sizes 5,6 and 7, meaning it’s suitable from age 8. Made from foam rubber, it’s durable. And during our test, it provided a dynamic bounce thanks to its latex bladder surrounded by polyester. Its design is also attractive to younger players. On the other hand, it tends to deflate more quickly (only 30% butyl), and is more suited to occasional or leisure use. What’s more, it evacuates perspiration less quickly due to its shallower channels, and therefore its control is a little inferior as it becomes smoother more quickly. As with others, it emits an unpleasant rustle when first used. Nevertheless, it remains a good option for a limited budget and this type of use.

Wilson NCAA Elevate (€16.95 at time of publication): Ideal for amateur streetball. Proposed at a reasonable price, this rubber ball (delivered uninflated) is a replica of the official NCAA (American college championship) ball. It stands up well to outdoor play and provides a good bounce. Its pressure-locking bladder increases air retention capacity. Its granulated surface and grooves offer satisfactory control despite sweat. However, according to our tests, it lacks a little precision and comfort for indoor play and could become smoother more quickly in the long term. Finally, note that it comes in sizes 5,6 or 7, making it suitable for use from age 8.

Spalding Lay Up TF-50 (€24.99 at time of publication) : An additional alternative for outdoor play. Available in all sizes, this ball designed by the specialist basketball brand is aimed at all beginner players (from age 4) training outdoors. The butyl bladder in the ball’s durable rubber design offers good rebound and air retention. The grooves are very slightly sunken, but provide a decent grip. Despite this, the feel and touch of the ball are less suited to indoor play. Indeed, during our test, the reception of powerful passes seemed less smooth. A few finishing touches are also in order, and the surface tends to wear quickly. It comes uninflated, and emits a slight rustle on unpacking.

 

Other basketballs tested

Tarmak BT100 (€17 at time of publication): It offers good ball touch and grip with its deep grooves. However, despite maximum inflation, its bounce is insufficient in our opinion.

Senston Basketball (€29.99 at time of publication): This rubber ball is less pleasant to the touch. The grooves lack depth, and as a result, the grip is not as good and it was more prone to slipping over the long term or with sweat. What’s more, the quality of the finish leaves something to be desired.

Tarmak BT900 (€45 at time of publication): Aimed at teenagers and adults, this FIBA-approved ball is designed for intensive use and competition. In our opinion, it offers an incredibly comfortable ball feel, but its bounce was less dynamic than other models in its price range. Its channels also seemed too deep to us, although the grip is there.

 

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