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Basketball Buying Guide


 

Finding the right basketball for you or your child can be tougher than expected. With all the different sizes, materials and required specifications for leagues, it is easy to become overwhelmed or purchase the wrong ball for your needs.

basketball size options

 

The following guide will help you narrow down your search for the right ball and clear up a number of questions you may have.

 

Sizes

The size of the basketball can tell you almost everything you need to know about the ball and if it will work for you. Basketballs come in 3 main sizes; five, six, and seven. These sizes can tell you the diameter & weight of the ball, along with the gender, ages and leagues the ball is suitable for. The following table provides you an easy guide to determine which size basketball is right for you.

 

 

Size 5

Size 6

Size 7

Ages

11 and below

12 – 15

16 & Up

Gender

Male & Female

Male & Female

Male

Diameter

27.5”

28.5”

29.5”

Weight

18 oz

20 oz

22 oz

League

N/A

WNBA, NCAA (Women’s)

NBA, NCAA (Men’s)

*size 6 is used for females ages 12 & up

 

Materials

The materials that go into a ball are the key indicators of quality and differentiate an indoor ball from an outdoor ball. All basketballs are made of a rubber interior, but can be made from a variety of exterior materials including: leather, rubber, or composite material.

basketball materials


• Leather:  Leather balls are softer than other basketballs, and are less harsh on hands and fingers. They are also known as indoor balls and are more expensive than other types of basketballs.

 

• Composite: Composite basketballs can emulate the feel of leather and also can be used as indoor balls. If durable composites are used, these balls can be used outdoors as well.

 

• Rubber: Rubber balls are more durable than leather balls and are used both indoors and outdoors. They are generally the least expensive of the three, but are also the hardest and most unforgiving on hands.