Has a consistent bounce. Available in multiple sizes. Rubber channels run deeper than other products allowing for superior grip. The ball will stay filled after long play sessions. Easy to hold.
Some users have reported that long term durability is an issue.
Gives younger kids the ability to learn the fundamentals. Designed for kids ages 8 and under. Helps kids learn to shoot and rebound more easily. The ball is easy to grip. Lightweight feel.
The lightweight design of this ball can make dribbling more challenging.
Has a great cover that allows for maximum grip. Has an inflation retention lining that helps maintain air regardless of temperature. Comes in many different unique designs.
The channels could be a little bit deeper.
Has a 2-ply bladder that allows for air retention after hours of play. Can be used outside or inside. Does not pick up dirt or other debris. Comes in a large variety of sizes and colors. Great for schools.
Does not come pre-inflated so you will have to purchase a pump to play.
Has deep channels that make it easy to hold even for smaller hands. Has a durable cover that provides good bounce on rough surfaces. Comes inflated and ready to play with. Does hold dirt and grime.
Inflation doesn't hold over long periods of time.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Whether they’re bouncing the ball in the driveway or playing in a youth league, basketball is a big part of growing up for a lot of kids. It’s a simple game to learn to play but a fun challenge to perfect, which is ideal for kids. Plus, it’s a great way to burn off some youthful energy.
Parents like basketball because it has fewer collisions than sports like football. And basketball is an inexpensive game requiring very little equipment, which parents also like. All you need is a hoop and a good ball.
When it comes to basketball, finding the right ball to suit small hands is key to keeping kids interested and improving playing form. Youth basketballs are available in multiple sizes, colors, and construction materials. You’ll find our five favorites in the matrix above and everything you need to know before you buy in our shopping guide.
The material used in the construction of the basketball plays an important role in its durability. It also plays a role in where you can use the ball.
Indoor basketballs are genuine leather, which is the highest-quality material found in basketballs. A leather ball provides a comfortable texture for players, allowing them to control their dribble and shoot accurately. The feel and bounce of a leather ball is true and consistent. They’re always used for high school, college, and pro league games.
Because the floor of an indoor basketball court is smooth and free of debris, an indoor ball doesn’t have to stand up to rough conditions. This type of leather ball will become scuffed or gouged if used on an asphalt or concrete surface.
For the typical young basketball player, an indoor/outdoor ball is the perfect choice. It works equally well on a regulation wood court or on a neighborhood concrete court.
An indoor/outdoor basketball is a tough composite leather material. This synthetic leather doesn’t cost as much as genuine leather and is much more durable. It doesn’t quite have the feel of a leather game ball, but it’s a good alternative for young players.
The most durable type of basketball is made for outdoor use on concrete or asphalt courts. This type of ball is rubber, meaning you can use it over and over on rough surfaces without causing damage.
You can use an outdoor basketball on an indoor court. However, a rubber ball has a greater level of bounce than a leather or synthetic leather ball, which may affect gameplay.
When buying a youth basketball, parents should pay attention to the size of the ball. The ball’s circumference is measured in inches. Smaller basketballs are better for younger players. They can grip a lighter and smaller ball better with their small hands. Multiple sizes of basketballs are considered appropriate for children to use.
A size 7 ball is considered a regulation-size ball. High school, college, and professional men’s players use a size 7 basketball.
No matter what size basketball you use, it will have a texture that is easy to grip. The surface of the ball consists of tiny bumps called pebbles. These provide a high level of friction between the ball and the player’s skin, making it easier to control.
Having a ball with good friction simplifies spinning the ball when shooting or passing. For a child who’s just learning to play, being able to spin the ball helps with maintaining the right shooting and dribbling form.
Youth basketballs vary quite a bit in price, depending on the quality of the material and the size of the ball.
The least expensive basketballs for kids cost $5 to $15. These are often size 4 basketballs and novelty basketballs, although some size 5 balls fit in this price range. Inexpensive basketballs may be foam or rubber.
Mid-range children’s basketballs cost between $15 and $40. These basketballs are typically size 5 or size 6 balls. These balls are often composite leather, meaning they’re made for indoor or outdoor play. You’ll find high-level rubber balls at the lower end of this price range. Occasionally, you’ll find an indoor leather ball at the upper end of this range.
The most expensive youth basketballs cost between $40 and $100. These are size 5 or size 6 basketballs. They’re often made of leather and designed for indoor use only. You’ll find a few brands of synthetic leather balls at the lower end of this price range, too.
Q. How often should I inflate a youth basketball?
A. It depends on how often your kids use the basketball. Each time a ball is dribbled or strikes a hard surface, it will lose a tiny amount of air. Older basketballs tend to lose air faster than newer balls. A ball that’s used daily probably should be checked for proper inflation once or twice a week.
Q. Do I need to store basketballs indoors?
A. To give your basketball the longest lifespan, it’s best to store it at a consistent temperature indoors. If the ball will be stored in an area where the temperature will not be controlled, like a garage, avoid placing the ball in direct sunlight. If the ball will be outdoors, try to store it in a dry location.
Q. Should I clean a basketball regularly?
A. If your kids play with the ball outdoors, it may get dirty or wet. After playing, you can wipe the ball with a damp cloth to remove dirt or other particles. For more stubborn soiling, you can use mild soap and warm water on the surface of the ball. If the ball becomes wet, allow it to air dry before using it again.
Q. What’s the best ball for a youth player who’s just starting the game?
A. Picking a versatile basketball is best for those new to the game. An indoor/outdoor ball that’s rubber or synthetic leather allows your child to use the ball anywhere. Select a ball that’s the right size for the child’s age. Using a ball that’s too large could lead to improper shooting form. Finally, if the child’s interest in the game will be sparked by a wildly colored ball, go for it!
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