Designed for optimal performance. Floats well. Predictable to pass. Reinforced panels help maintain spherical shape. Allows for improved control while passing and hitting. Durable, supple, water-resistant cover. Official game ball of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Pricey. Heavier than other balls, but this helps with wind resistance.
Matches the official game ball of the AVP pro league. Synthetic leather cover will stand up to plenty of practice and game time while resisting dirt and moisture. Pebbled texture offers increased control. Has an 18-panel construction for a long lifespan. Offered at a low price.
Requires frequent inflation, as it may leak after use.
Official size and weight for competitive play. Designed to withstand regular use and hold up to the water without losing air or bounce. One of few companies that includes an air pump with purchase.
No other color options available. Mostly white design may be hard to track in the sun.
Official choice of USA Volleyball, this model is designed for comfortable, prolonged outdoor use. Can be used on grass or sand; resists water saturation. Dirt and sand fall off easily. Colorful and easy to track.
Somewhat pricey. May require frequent inflation.
Colorful model designed for casual or serious play, whether near the water, at the park, or indoors. Soft exterior is easy on the hands and wrist, but durable enough to withstand regular use. Constructed by a trusted Japanese company that specializes in sporting goods.
Requires frequent inflation. May not stand up to windy or wet conditions.
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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 competitions 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 an important part of making the most out of this warm weather activity.
Type: Competitive play requires a different beach volleyball than recreational use. Popular brands will most likely sell volleyballs meant for serious play, and they 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 choose. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 get 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 get 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.
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.
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 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.
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