Types of Basketballs and Where to Use Them (Ultimate Guide for Beginners)

Are you a crazy fan of the basketball game? Let’s know about the types of basketballs and where to use them.

There are different basketball types, whether you are playing official or in college. The regulation of basketball should always be the half size of the hoop diameter.

However, let’s know about the types of basketballs and where to use them. The basketballs come in three main types such as rubber, composite (synthetic leather) and leather (natural leather).

1- Rubber Basketballs

Rubber basketball is commonly used in the school’s playgrounds. Due to its durable material and versatile design, it is popular among schools and colleges alike. The rubber material let the basketball used in any type of surface. Recently, I also mentioned about rubber basketball in my recent outdoor basketball article. You may also check that, this material doesn’t lose its shape or structure. That’s why this type of basketballs is ideal for outdoor playing.

Moreover, rubber basketballs are the least expensive. Even you can purchase easily under $10. Aside from it strengthens, there are some weakens as well. Rubber basketball doesn’t have attractive looking. Its material increases the weight as well. Due to cheap design and heavyweight, these are not for someone who has a good feeling for basketballs.

But the rubber basketballs are the ideal choice for your kids, youth or even adults alike. If you are not serious about playing or want to practice outdoor, then it’s good out of them. It is great for asphalt or concrete surface.

Recommended for: Beginner players

Where to use: Outdoor and Indoor

Surface type: Compatible with any

Price: Low

2- Composite Basketballs (Synthetic Leather)

Composite basketballs are the best basketballs for playing outdoors. The composite material has both the advantage of rubber basketballs as well as leather basketball. Due to its more versatile design, it is good on both indoor and outdoor. This type of basketball has a zero break-in time. However, the semi-serious basketball players have used composite basketball in training or recreational games.

This kind of ball is expensive as compare to rubber basketballs. But these are cheaper than leather basketballs.

While the capability to play any type of surface, it would be a perfect choice if you are a huge basketball fan or want to adopt as a professional player. Being said that, it is the right choice from intermediate to advanced players.  

Recommended for: intermediate or advanced players

Where to use: Indoor and Outdoor courts

Surface type: All

Price: Moderate

3- Leather Basketballs

The leather type of basketballs is made of 100% genuine leather. It’s a choice of professionals. If you are serious about a basketball game or a professional player, it is an ideal type. However, it is used by NBA, NCAA, WNBA, and some high schools that train the youth for practice as a basketball player.

There is no doubt, this type of basketball provides superior quality, As you know recently covered about the topic on my last outdoor basketballs guide, but there is a downside as well. This type has a break-in period. It takes time to break-in where it feels optimal.

According to Spalding basketball seniors, “the leather basketball can only break-in if you play with it a lot”. Even when you buy the ball, it doesn’t feel good. But with time, it will get better and feel better.

However, the NBA has a machine that can break-in process up before sending the balls out to the NBA. But we have tested, it still takes almost two months to feel better with the ball.

Moreover, unlike other types of basketball, the leather basketballs don’t allow to use them outdoors. Its designed and material is strict for indoor use. If you use them outdoor, its material can tear quickly. Its small pebbles on its outer surface become embedded. Also, this type of basketballs has a tendency to pick up dust easily. Even on a clean indoor court makes them a bit slippery. That’s why after each game, given it a wipe with a clean towel to let the grip strong on it.

However, you can wash them with mild soap and warm water. But after washing, give a towel-dry quickly because the water can damage the leather.

For the price, leather material is most expensive as compared to other types of basketballs.

Recommended for: Advanced players

Where to use: Indoor courts only

Surface type: Wood

Price: High

Regulation Weight and Sizes

If talk about the size of a basketball, the NBA uses 29.5 inches in circumference, which is full-sized basketball. This size of basketball is a suitable choice for ages 12 years or up.

However, the WNBA sized basketballs are slightly smaller to the NBA. The size of WNBA basketballs as 28.5 inches in circumference. This size of the basketball is ideal for girls and women alike. The reason is, women hands are smaller than men’s hands.

While the 27 inches in circumference basketballs are recommended for youth either boys or girls between the age 4 to 8. This size of the basketball used for beginners to train them about playing basketballs.

Lastly, the 22 inches in circumference basketballs are used for eye-coordination and teaching hands.

Types of Basketball Court Surfaces

Basketball court

The professionals, as well as collegiate basketballs game, are held on the hardwood court surfaces. The reason it smoothness and gives consistent bounce. with this, you must also have the best basketball shoes as well, Because, without the shoes, you cannot this game with freedom. it’s my personal experience.

However, the hardwood court surface is the prime surface for basketball players. But each type of basketball court surface shares the same type of playing surfaces also depends on the locations as well.   

  • Hardwood Court

The Hardwood court surface is commonly used for indoor basketball. Whether the professional or collegiate, all use the hardwood court. This surface is made of dense wood known as hard maple with fine fabrics. This material makes the surface resistant to splintering. Also, the tightly packed wood grains make it smooth.

Also, the hardwood court doesn’t allow dirt to leave or grim to hide. Due to high-quality material, it makes the surface exceptionally long-lasting. In addition, there is required a bit of maintenance as compared to other court surfaces.

But the water and sun can damage the hardwood. Also, there is no need to wrap the surface.

  • Concrete Court

The concrete court is used for outdoor playing. All the players who start playing basketball practice on the concrete or asphalt surface. This type of surface withstands intense weather conditions. The parks use these materials for their basketballs courts. However, this type of court surface is strengthening yet long-lasting.  

  • Multi-Purpose Court

The multi-purpose courts are also used in basketball. This type of surface starts with a flat polished concrete that makes it a sturdy foundation. The plastic flooring gives highly responsive traction an provide a consistent bounce as well.

There are also some advantages to this surface. It enhances safety and reduces skin abrasions. On its surface, if you apply the polystyrene finish, it enhances the durability impact. Also, it reduces moisture.


What is the difference between composite leather vs PU leather?

Well, the composite leather is produce from cheap leather that is used for both indoor and outdoor. Also, there is no need for a break-in period. That’s why this type of basketball gives more control and grip as well. While the PU leather or Faux leather comes with real leather material, it can easily clean and embossed with any texture. However, it is ideal for only indoor playing.

Is composite leather vegan?

The composite leather comes with real leather material more cheaply. But it’s not vegan.

What are the brands of basketball?

These include Spalding, Nike, Wilson, Molten, Rawlings, Baden Sports, Franklin, Mikasa, Fanmats, Tandem Sport, Baden, Under Armour, SKLZ, and more.

What are the different types of basketballs?

There are mainly three types of basketballs. These include:
– Rubber
– Composite (Synthetic leather)
– Leather (Natural leather, Faux Leather)

Which type is the most expensive basketball?

The most expensive basketball type is “Leather basketball”.

Are rubber basketballs good?

Rubber basketball is good to play a basketball game as a beginner. This type of basketball is slightly heavy as compare to other types of basketballs. However, rubber basketball is more durable and suitable both for outdoor and indoor play. Also, this type comes in the least expensive for the price.

What size basketball there?

If we see a standard NBA basketball, it has a diameter between 9.43 and 9.51 inches. But the WNBA slight less diameter as compared to the NBA. However, the WNBA has a diameter of between 9.07 and 9.23 inches. While when it comes to the NCAA basketball, it allows diameter between 9.39 and 9.55 inches for men but women, it’s between 9.07 and 9.03.

The Final Words

All in all, we have discussed the Types of Basketballs and Where to Use Them. If you are a beginner or want to play basketball games with kids or family, then rubber basketball would be a valued purchase.

While to get fun with your friends, but to practice as well, then the composite ball is the best play outdoor or indoor.

However, if you want to play indoor basketball, then the leather will be suitable.