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Whether you’re looking for a volleyball for indoors, outdoors, or the beach, or want to know your best options for more specific purposes like high school players and U12s, we have you covered.
10 Top-Rated Volleyballs
- Best Overall: Molten FLISTATEC
- Best for High School Players: Molten L2 Volleyball
- Best Budget Pick: Wilson I-COR Volleyball
- Best for Setters/Training: Molten MTV5MIT
- Best for U12s: Tachikara SVMNC Volley-Lite
Best Indoor Volleyballs
The Molten FLISTATEC is the official volleyball of USA Volleyball, the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championships, and is FIBA approved. It is considered to be the best indoor volleyball by many.
It has a few things going for it that sets it apart from other balls.
You won’t find a ball that offers a better grip and control than the FLISTATEC. This is down to its hexagon shape, soft, thick microfiber cover, and textured surface. You will really come to appreciate the ball’s unique design and better grip when setting or passing with your hands.
The ball is also very easy to see for players and spectators alike thanks to the addition of three panels on each side, which allows for smoother rotation.
The Molten L2 is USA Volleyball, NCAA and NFHS Approved. With its microfiber composite covers and uni-bladder cotton, the L2 has a soft, yet durable touch that has proved to be particularly popular with high school players.
Don’t think it can’t be put through its paces though, because it can and will certainly hold up to daily abuse.
If you’re looking for a volleyball with a soft feel and excellent playability, this is the one to get.
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NFHS and USA Volleyball approved, the Wilson I-COR is our best budget buy. Many players and coaches find this to be a good choice for practice, especially away from the court for use at home.
Made in the USA, this ball delivers a great balance of durability, touch, and control. At this price point, these things are hard to find, but the I-COR is the exception – especially when it comes to durability. This ball won’t fall apart after a few intense sessions.
Another plus is that it can be used both outdoors and indoors with no discernible negative effect.
No prizes for guessing who will benefit the most from this ball.
Weighted but not too heavy at 14.1 ounces, the Molten MTV5MIT is the perfect ball to improve a setter’s strength and quickness. It is widely recognized as the best ball and training tool for setters of all ages
When you’re trying to get kids interested in volleyball there is no quicker way to turn them off the sport than using a ball that will cause pain and sting their hands and arms. Enter the Tachikara SVMNC Volley-Lite.
This ball is great for U12s due to its soft feel that is easy on the hands and arms. It weighs approximately 7 – 7.7 ounces yet is still regulation size to ensure the correct feel is developed from the very start.
Another good option for U12s is the Molten MS240-3.
Best Outdoor/Beach Volleyballs
The best beach volleyball is the Mikasa VLS3000. It is the official FIVB game ball and was used in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Like every good beach volleyball should be, it is made from water-resisting microfiber materials, and the stitching keeps the seams from expanding. This means that it can withstand the elements when playing in or near water and sand to ensure its longevity, and stand up to your competitive needs.
Made up of 10 specially designed panels handling is superb for excellent control when passing and hitting.
It’s easy to see why it is the official FIVB game ball and was used in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Related: Read my in-depth Mikasa VLS 3000 Review.
The Mikasa Miramar King of the Beach Volleyball is a worthy less expensive alternative to the VLS300 to consider.
It is constructed of a high-end composite leather cover and a 100% butyl bladder for improved retention. Its 18 Panel stitched construction also provides superior shape and consistency.
Players really like the weight and texture of this ball. It seems to just feel right whether you’re setting, bumping or spiking, offering a great amount of control, and doesn’t sting the arms. It also deals with windy conditions well.
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The Wilson AVP Beach Volleyball is another good option to consider. Its design was a collaborative effort, working with the top players in an attempt to make the best beach volleyball out there.
One real plus of this ball is how it is sewn by hand to ensure consistency and a smooth feel. This seems to have worked judging by feedback, as the ball’s clear edges allow for easier tracking and passing, and little chance of the ball losing its shape.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will want to buy the version manufactured in China, not Vietnam.
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There’s no better ball for the backyard than the Wilson Soft Play Outdoor Volleyball.
For anyone looking for a dependable ball that won’t sting, look no further. Its soft feel ensures that casual players can have fun without sore hands or arms. It is also great for anyone on a budget looking for a dependable ball that will last.
GoSports Water Volleyballs can’t be beaten for playing in the pool, even more so when you consider you are getting 3 for the price some other manufacturers sell one for one – and that’s not even taking into account the free pump included with every purchase too.
These regulation-sized balls have a soft feel so kids and adults alike won’t complain, are brightly colored so they are easy to spot, and are built to last.
Related Article: How To Play Volleyball Without Hurting Your Arms (11 Tips)
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Volleyball
- Indoor vs. Outdoor
There are inherent differences between indoor and outdoor volleyballs which include the size and pressure of each. Besides this, the largest differences are visible in each’s design.
Indoor volleyballs are molded whereas outdoor volleyballs are stitched. The seams between the panels on the volleyball will look different and are produced differently.
Indoor volleyballs have panels that are glued to an inner lining, which results in smooth looking seams. In practice, this leads to more consistent playability. Balls used indoors are also lighter because outside factors like the wind do not need to be taken into account which may affect the trajectory of the ball.
Outdoor volleyballs have sewn panels with the holes and the threads holding the panels together being clearly visible. This stitching makes the volleyball more durable.
While it may be tempting to use the same volleyball both indoors and outdoors it is not the best idea.
- Ball Firmness
The recommended firmness (or inflation) is stated directly on the ball itself. Generally, indoor balls are firmer than volleyballs used outdoors on the beach.
Another thing to take into account is who will be playing volleyball. Young kids and even adults who just want to play a fun game in the backyard will prefer softer balls that won’t cause any pain. You don’t want to put kids interested in the sport off the sport after 5 minutes, so consider the age group of who you will be buying for.
Volleyballs are either made out of leather or a synthetic composite, which is a man-made material manufactured with high fiber content to simulate the characteristics and durability of natural leather. Actually, some are made out of rubber too. But you only see these on the playground so not much consideration should be given to them.
Volleyballs made out of leather – or at least a high percentage or leather – are the highest quality and most expensive type. Players prefer the feel and playability of these balls, striking a good balance between not being too hard and not too soft.
Synthetic composite volleyballs are typically cheaper and are more commonly used for practice. While volleyballs made mostly from leather are almost unanimously used in the major volleyball leagues, including school, club, and pro levels, the AVP uses a composite ball.
Molten, Tachikara, Wilson, and Mikasa are the only volleyball brands that are recommended. These brands have vast experience in manufacturing volleyballs and are the official providers of some of the most recognized and prestigious international and domestic tournaments.
Molten is the official ball of USA volleyball and the Men’s/Women’s NCAA Championships. Wilson is the official sponsor of the AVP Outdoor volleyball tour. Spalding is the USA Beach Volleyball Official Sponsor. Mikasa was the official ball of the 2008 Indoor/Outdoor Beijing Olympics and the 2012 Indoor/Outdoor London Olympics. Tachikara is the official ball of the NAIA and NJCAA Championships as well as many international professional affiliations.
Volleyballs can come in all kinds of different colors, from basic white to exotic muti-colored designs. If you’re planning on buying a ball for competitive use it’s best to check with your league to know which colors are allowed.
For practice and non-competitive play colorful designs can catch the eye and can be useful to get kids interested in playing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way of taking care of a volleyball to ensure its longevity?
Regardless if a volleyball is designed for indoor or outdoor use it should not be left outside or in any harsh environments. This may include sheds, garages, and car trunks. It’s best to store a volleyball in a clean, dry location at room temperature.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t exceed the recommended inflated pressure, as this can result in split seams and a shorter lifespan. Each ball should have a recommended weight printed directly onto it.
What should you do if a volleyball is no longer holding air?
If a volleyball hasn’t been used in a while it’s natural for it to lose some air. So, get the pump out to inflate it to its recommended pressure. If the volleyball still loses air sometimes storing it in a clean, dry location at room temperature will restore it to its natural state. If still no luck, it’s likely that the ball is damaged.
How can a volleyball leak be repaired?
If the issue is with a leaky valve not all is lost. All you need is a rubber band and/or valve oil. This video should be able to help you out.
If there’s a tear or puncture you’re out of luck. Any fix will be temporary at best, and you’d be better off buying a new ball.
What is the size, weight, and pressure of a volleyball?
The size, circumference, and weight of a volleyball differ according to the type of ball and purpose.
Indoor balls have a circumference of 25.5-26.5 inches, a weight of 9.2-9.9 ounces, and psi of 4.3-4.6.
Outdoor/beach balls have a circumference of 26-27 inches, a weight of 9.2-9.9 ounces, and psi of 2.5-3.2.
Youth balls have a circumference of 25-26 inches, a weight of 9.2-9.9 ounces, and psi of 4.3.
What are some volleyballs not as hard as others?
Some balls are softer than others to better cater to younger and more casual players of the sport who play infrequently. For younger players, in particular, the softer the ball the easier it is to improve fundamentals and reduced the likelihood of experiencing any pain.
Even adults wanting to get involved in a game of backyard or beach volleyball can be discouraged if their hands start hurting after playing.