Cyber Monday has begun, and deals are going fast. Snag your favorites now!

 
Menu
Updated November 2022
Header Image
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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
HOW WE TESTED

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.

36
Models
Considered
108
Consumers
Consulted
28
Hours
Researched
Category cover

Buying guide for best light-up soccer balls

Soccer is a popular sport for a reason: you can start a game almost anywhere and with almost any number of players. As long as you have a ball and a goal, everyone on the field can get their kicks.

Light-up soccer balls may seem like a gimmick at first glance, but on a practical level, they give enthusiasts of the game a useful option for extending play to nighttime. These illuminated models are similar to regular soccer balls in many ways and thus can be useful in some practice situations, both for individual players as well as for teams.

While light-up soccer balls don’t meet governing-body regulations for league play, they undoubtedly make practicing or playing soccer at night easier, and they can deliver plenty of fun in the process. This guide will “enlighten” shoppers about the various options and details they’ll come across when looking for a light-up soccer ball.

light up soccer balls
If you select a glow-in-the-dark ball, it may need one to four hours of exposure to a strong light to achieve the maximum glow.

Key considerations

Size

Soccer balls are available in a few different sizes, and are differentiated based on circumference.

  • Size 5: Considered a regulation-size ball, these are made for teenagers and adults, but players of any age can use it. These measure 27 to 28 inches in circumference.
  • Size 4: This is a youth-size ball intended for players ages 8 to 12. It has a circumference of 25 to 26 inches.
  • Size 3: This is a junior-size soccer ball for kids under 8 years old. Their circumference measures 23 to 24 inches.

You might find an occasional novelty light-up soccer ball with a circumference smaller than 23 inches, but this is not common. The majority of Size 1 and Size 2 soccer balls are made as collectibles rather than to be used for play.

Design

To approximate the feel of a regulation soccer ball, light-up soccer balls employ a few different cover materials, including polyurethane, polyvinyl carbonate, or synthetic leather. Some light-up soccer balls will have a rubbery material in parts of the cover, allowing for clearer visibility of the light inside the ball.

Like regulation soccer balls, illuminated balls consist of a number of panels sewn or glued together to create the round shape. Regulation soccer balls have had 32 panels (a mix of hexagon and pentagon shapes) for many years now, but manufacturers are testing newer designs all the time. Light-up balls, however, may have a number of different shapes or patterns printed on them, such as stars, swirls, or a honeycomb pattern, but the majority of illuminated balls follow the traditional hexagon and pentagon pattern.

If the light-up soccer ball doesn’t have panels, its design will resemble that of a round rubbery playground ball instead of a traditional soccer ball.
Light-up soccer balls generate their fun glow for play time a few different ways.

Battery vs. glow in the dark

Most light-up soccer balls use battery power to activate LEDs inside the ball. This creates a glow from the inside that shines through some panels on the ball. Commonly, the batteries fit inside a tiny removable cylinder that slides inside a compartment near the inflation valve. You must replace these batteries when they expire. Expect to receive 20 to 40 hours of battery life from these batteries.

If the soccer ball doesn’t run on battery power, it probably has a cover material coated in phosphors. These soak up light from the sun and other sources, creating energy, then release that light to create a glowing phosphorescence.

A glow-in-the-dark soccer ball should provide a visible glow for one to three hours after you remove the light source. Some designs, though, see quite a bit of dimming after just 15 to 30 minutes.

Light-up soccer balls of the official Size 5 design still aren’t official game balls, in part because of the different weight distribution that their batteries cause.

STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Reflective

Not truly light-up balls, some models use reflective material on the exterior that catches the light and reflects it back. This type of ball is usable in dark conditions, but it requires some ambient light, such as from a nearby street pole, to create the reflection that you can see.

Colors

Light-up soccer balls generate their glow in a few different colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Typically, the color in the ball’s material determines the glow, not the color of the light source.

light up soccer balls
DID YOU KNOW?
As with any type of battery-powered device, leaving your light-up soccer ball exposed to cold weather will shorten the battery life.
STAFF
BestReviews

Accessories

Pop-up soccer goals: PUGG 6’ Portable Goals
Set up a soccer game or practice session anywhere you have an open space when you bring along this pair of 6-foot portable soccer goals that fold up and fit in a carrying bag when not in use.

Soccer cones: Profect Sports Agility Cones
In addition to a pop-up goal, you will want portable cones like these on hand to set up the boundaries for the field of play. This set has 50 cones, which is more than enough to demarcate a field or practice areas.

Kids’ cleats: Adidas Kids Copa 19.4 Firm Ground Soccer Cleats
Young players will love these cleats from the highly popular Adidas brand that are durable and sport fun colors.

Light-up soccer ball prices

Light-up balls will not be appropriate for official gameplay, but thankfully they don’t carry a price like you’ll find for official game balls, either.

Inexpensive: Light-up soccer balls generally start at less than $20. These may be balls that use lower-quality materials or are smaller than official Size 5.

Mid-range: The majority of light-up soccer balls will be in the $20 to $30 category. These are balls with a reasonable build quality, and buyers can expect them to last a while no matter how much they are used.

Expensive: The priciest light-up balls will be Size 5 models and have a build quality comparable to regulation soccer balls. These cost $30 on up, but few will exceed $50.

Although Adidas, Wilson, and Mikasa may be the most familiar soccer ball brand names, it is other manufacturers that typically make most light-up soccer balls.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Keep it clean. Use a damp cloth to clean the ball after using it. Soil and other residue can lead to scratches and discolorations over time.
  • Maintain pressure. Playing with a light-up soccer ball that is partially flat (or, conversely, overinflated) could damage the integrity of the ball. Most balls will have the recommended air pressure printed near the inflation valve stem.
  • It’s not a chair. Some players choose to sit on a ball while waiting to play, but this places unnecessary stress on the cover and the air bladder.
  • Avoid concrete. Playing on an abrasive surface such as gravel or concrete will undoubtedly scratch or gouge the ball’s cover and shorten its lifespan.
  • Avoid water. Because the majority of light-up soccer balls contain LEDs and batteries, avoid dunking the ball in water or leaving it exposed to damp conditions for long periods of time. Some LED balls will be usable in rain, but not all.
light up soccer balls
When inflating a light-up soccer ball, add air slowly to avoid overstressing the air bladder inside the ball.

FAQ

Q. Do light-up soccer balls have an on/off switch?

A. No, but they use motion activation to light up when kicked. Depending on the model, balls usually remain lit for 20 to 40 seconds after the motion stops.

Q. Are rechargeable batteries available for light-up soccer balls?

A. No. Often, these balls use watch-style batteries, so you’ll have to replace them when they’re exhausted. If you don’t like the idea of throwing away batteries regularly, look for a ball that glows in the dark after exposure to sunlight during the day.

Q. Are there any light-up soccer balls that would be appropriate to use for official games?

A. Not really. Some illuminated balls are of regulation size, but no official league would allow a light-up ball for games. Use these for recreational practices and games, or for a fun change of pace at night, rather than for serious game play.

 

Our Top Picks