Can You Use An Outdoor Basketball Indoors?

Last Updated on February 6, 2023 by

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If you are in the market for a basketball, you might have noticed that there are two main types of basketballs. One will have an “indoor” label, while the other will have an “outdoor” on its name. But what do these labels mean? Are the indoor and outdoor basketballs the same? Also, can you use an outdoor basketball indoors?

Well, in short, they are not the same. Some things make them different. And without knowing what makes them different, you can not figure out whether you can use the outdoor balls indoors or not.

The thing is, we played tons of games with both types. And we know the ins and outs of both the balls. In this guide, we will not only talk about the things that make them different but also will let you know if it is possible to use the outdoor balls indoors or not.

Before anything else, we would like to talk about what makes indoor and outdoor basketballs different. So, without further ado, let us get into it, shall we?


The first difference that lies between the balls is the cover material. If you have seen an indoor ball before, you might already know that the surface is soft to the touch.

Wondering why? Well, they will generally be of full-grain leather. That material offers a better overall grip and hand feel.

On the other hand, the outdoor balls will have a rough. That is because they will be of rubber or composite material. These two materials make the outdoor balls more capable of withstanding the outdoor environments. But they will not offer you a good overall grip or hand feel.


Needless to say, for being of different materials, the durability level of the indoor and outdoor basketballs are not the same. The indoor ones are not really for withstanding harsh terrains. They will be mainly for indoor environments.

In comparison, the outdoor balls need to withstand rough terrains and weather conditions. For that reason, if you compare the durability of both, the outdoor ones will be on the top. But that does not mean that the indoor basketballs are not durable at all. They will last for years if you use them on the indoor courts.

Grip and Performance

As we have mentioned earlier, indoor basketballs offer a tremendous overall grip. And as they are for tournaments and competitions, they will provide a stellar performance. The outdoor balls are more for recreational purposes. For that reason, they only focus on durability.

If you look at the surface of the indoor basketball, you will notice thousands of small pebbles. They are there to enhance the performance of the ball. In comparison, the outdoor basketballs will have large-sized pebbles. The sizing is different because the small ones will pick up more dust and debris.


The indoor basketballs will generally be more pricy than the outdoor variants. Their material and design make the price go up. And as the outdoor basketballs do not have a robust material, they are less expensive.

Can an Outdoor Basketball Be Used Indoors?

Yes, you can use the outdoor ball on the indoor courts. However, you will not see the basketball perform like an indoor counterpart.

You might even face issues when trying to control your shots. But the ball will withstand that indoor court just fined and will not have any structural issues.

Outdoor Basketball in indoor

But can you use an indoor basketball outside? That is also possible. But they might be good for just one game. Due to the harsh condition of the court, the leather might crack or split.

Also, for having small pebbles on the exterior, you will notice the ball picking up a lot of dust. That can cause issues with the overall performance.

Final Words

If you are still wondering can you use an outdoor basketball indoors, the short answer is yes. But, as we have already discussed above, the basketball will not perform that well on the indoor court. Both the balls are different and are for different environments. And they perform better when you use them on the designated court.

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