Best Beach Volleyballs

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

15 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
238 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best beach volleyballs

Last Updated October 2019

One of the most enjoyable summer activities, beach volleyball doesn’t require much: some space outside, a few friends, a net, and, of course, a proper outdoor beach volleyball. While the game itself is similar to indoor volleyball, the ball is purposefully different, and the differences are noticeable when you play.

Beach volleyballs are slightly heavier than their indoor counterparts so the wind doesn’t drastically affect play. They’re also made to be more durable in order to withstand regular contact with sand, grass, or dirt. An officially sanctioned beach volleyball for competition is about 26 inches in circumference and weighs roughly ten ounces. The ball must also be water resistant. As a result, beach volleyballs are usually made of rubber or composite leather.

Beach volleyballs vary in size and pressure depending on the intended use. There are balls for casual play and training purposes, as well as balls that are less abrasive on the hands and wrists. These may not be the same balls used for competition. Finding the right volleyball is important to making the most out of this warm weather activity, and our buying guide and recommendations can steer you in the right direction.

Beach volleyball originated in the 1910s, but it didn’t become an Olympic sport until 1996. Hawaii and California are credited with inventing versions of the sport.

Key considerations

Play

Type: Competitive play requires a different beach volleyball than recreational use. Volleyballs meant for serious play are likely be sold by popular brands and cost a little more than those marketed for casual play. Brands advertise if their volleyballs are the official ball of a certain organization or tournament. Volleyballs that advertise a certain softness are ideal for recreational play, though some may also be used for competitive play.

Frequency: How often you intend to play may also determine which volleyball you purchase. If you only have a chance to play a few times a year, you might opt for a simpler, cheaper ball. If you intend to play much more frequently, it would be worth investing in a more durable, higher-end beach volleyball.

Water: All beach volleyballs resist water; they’re used at the beach, after all! However, some resist water better than others. If you want to play in a pool or lake and the ball will regularly hit the water, you want a beach volleyball that won’t get waterlogged. Manufacturers’ specifications and online consumer reviews identify how well different beach volleyballs stand up to water.

Feel

Some manufacturers advertise their “soft touch” or “soft play” beach volleyballs. Because the ball can reach high speeds during play, the wrists and forearms can get sore from hitting a very hard volleyball. Volleyballs described as soft touch have a thin sponge layer under the cover. These are ideal for use by children or for introducing newcomers to the game.

EXPERT TIP

Most beach volleyballs work well indoors, too. However, most indoor volleyballs aren’t designed to be used outside.


Staff  | BestReviews

Beach volleyball features

Color

While competitive beach volleyballs may only come in a limited range of colors and designs, casual players will find a slew of color options, and some volleyballs have a multicolored pattern. A bright or unusual color may help you identify your ball when playing in public spaces or sharing with friends. It can also be a great way to brand your team or school.

Bladder

The bladder is the innermost layer and, when inflated, it’s what keeps the shape of the volleyball. Because the bladder is essential to the longevity of the ball, some companies have patented technologies for its construction, and some specifically market its durability. Look for high-quality construction if you want your beach volleyball to last a long time.

Spin detection

Some beach volleyballs have a specific design (two or three distinct colors in a certain pattern) that enables players to better identify the spin on the airborne ball. These volleyballs are great for anyone practicing putting spin on the ball and competitive players who want to show off their skill or grab every advantage they can during play. Regardless, these beach volleyballs look great in the air.

Accessories

Net: Some public beaches and parks may already have beach volleyball nets set up, but not all do. If you play a lot or play at home, it’s worth it to purchase your own net.

Pump: Not all beach volleyballs come inflated, and all of them will need more air eventually. A simple hand pump is a cheap and convenient way to make sure your volleyball is always ready for a game. The pump also works on soccer balls, basketballs, and footballs, too.

Bag: You can purchase a bag specifically designed for your beach volleyball. Some are simple drawstring bags, while others resemble a duffel or backpack. These often allow you to carry other sporting needs, too, such as sneakers or a water bottle.

Beach volleyballs comprise three layers: a rubber bladder, an outer shell, and a cloth that is often partially or completely attached to the bladder.

Beach volleyball prices

Inexpensive: You’ll find a small selection of decent beach volleyballs that cost less than $15. These are water resistant, but durability, softness, and water retention may be factors over time. Balls in this range may also be geared specifically for children or training, not competition.

Mid-range: Between $15 and $35, you’ll find a wide collection of beach volleyballs in a variety of colors from both well-known brands and lesser-known companies. These can be for competitive or recreational play.

Expensive: Beach volleyballs that cost over $35 are geared more toward competitive play. These durable volleyballs are regulation size and likely come from top-brand names. Some of these balls are the official selections of tournaments or organizations.

DID YOU KNOW?

Traditional beach volleyballs are made up of 18 rectangular panels stitched together in 6 distinct sections of 3 panels each.

Tips

  • Check the air pressure. Beach volleyballs should be inflated to between 2.5 and 3.2 pounds per square inch. Many players prefer the ball to be nearer the lower limit because a softer ball is easier to hit and grip. Don’t be afraid to try out different levels to see what works for you.
  • Clean the volleyball. During play, the ball is going to come into contact with sand, salt water, grass, or dirt. Spin the ball dry or wipe it clean before resuming play. It keeps the ball working great and is a courtesy to the other players.
  • Break in the ball. Not all volleyballs are ready to play right out of the package. Work the ball by volleying it or simply bouncing it on the ground to soften it a bit.
  • Stay safe in the sun. Playing on sand means more work for your body. Stay hydrated, wear a cap and sunglasses, if necessary, and always wear sunscreen.
  • Carry a pump. It might be a bit of a hassle, but having a pump handy could mean the difference between having a great game or slogging through one, especially if you’re playing a lot over the course of a day.

Other products we considered

We stand by our top picks, but we found a few more beach volleyballs you might like. For recreational play and training, the Chance Soft Volleyball offers fun and engaging games for those aren’t looking for anything too serious. The ball comes in two distinct colors. The FIVB-approved Molten Elite Beach Volleyball is great for serious players who want a durable volleyball. It comes in only one design and is more expensive, but it offers great grip and performance. If you’re looking for something a little less serious, the Wilson Outdoor Volleyball comes in some humorous options, including this replica of “Wilson” from the movie Cast Away.

Official beach volleyball games are played with two players on each team. Recreational games can be played with as many people on either side as you want!

FAQ

Q. Do beach volleyballs come already inflated?
A.
Some do, but not all of them come inflated, so it’s a good idea to have a pump on hand. Inflated balls may still require additional air for optimal performance, and all balls will need some air over time.

Q. Where are beach volleyballs made?
A.
Beach volleyball and indoor volleyball were invented in America, and some consumers prefer to purchase balls made by American companies. Most of the top volleyball brands are American companies, while cheaper alternatives may come from overseas.

Q. How long will a beach volleyball last?
A.
While any beach volleyball will need to be inflated periodically, it should last at least a year with regular use. The ball will eventually start to lose air too rapidly to use. More durable balls with high-quality rubber bladders should last years without needing replacement.

Q. What are beach volleyballs made of?
A
. The bladder is almost always rubber, while the outer layer is often synthetic composite leather or PVC. Indoor volleyballs are often leather, but that material isn’t practical for use around water. Some beach volleyballs have a microfiber exterior that is softer to the touch.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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