Which volleyball is best? 

Volleyball is a great game for people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a serious player for a school or club or just the occasional recreational player, volleyball is a fun team sport that you can play inside a gymnasium or outside in the sand. Nearly 50 million Americans play volleyball regularly. 

Using the right volleyball is crucial for the type of court and the skill level of the players. Young players and recreational players can use softer volleyballs that still meet the size regulations but limit the injuries to arms and wrists. More serious players can use the balls typically used at the collegiate and professional tournament levels.

There are many options to consider, but for its high-quality cover and color pattern used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the top-recommended volleyball is the Molten FLISTATEC Indoor Volleyball.

What to know before you buy a volleyball

Sanctioned balls aren’t for every player

It can be enticing to purchase a volleyball approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour. Still, these official balls will be harder on the outside and could hurt the arms and wrists of inexperienced players. If you’re playing recreationally, look for replica balls that are softer and lighter. They still work just as well, but you will feel better when you finish playing.

Indoor and outdoor volleyballs have key differences

Indoor volleyballs are slightly smaller and harder than outdoor volleyballs. They have more internal pressure and a molded cover. Outdoor volleyballs used on the beach are slightly bigger and lighter. They use a paneled cover comprised of composite materials that help it withstand the constant contact with sand and water. Make sure you are using the right volleyball for your court’s environment.

Consider a set of volleyballs if you play frequently

If you often play with friends or a club team, consider buying a set of volleyballs. Typically, you will save money per unit and have a backup ball available just in case. If you play infrequently, one volleyball may be enough.

Have an air pump nearby

Some balls are shipped deflated. Make sure you have an air pump available to get started. If you purchase a volleyball that is already inflated, double-check the pressure to ensure it is ready to use. Indoor volleyballs should be inflated between 4.3 to 4.6 pounds per square inch, while outdoor volleyballs are usually inflated between 2.3 to 3.2 PSI.

What to look for in a quality volleyball

Material

Indoor volleyballs have molded covers, while outdoor volleyballs have paneled covers made from composite material. Composite can stand up to sun, beach and water better than leather covers normally used for indoor volleyballs. If you are new to volleyball or have a younger player, look for volleyballs with softer covers ideal for training.

Color patterns

Across the many brands of volleyballs are a nearly endless array of color patterns. Some are two-toned, while others are three-color and intended for style and spin detection by advanced players.

Spin detection

Some volleyballs have a special color pattern that helps advanced players detect the spin mid-air to know how to respond properly. This is something the average player probably won’t be interested in but could still be helpful as your skills improve.

How much you can expect to spend on a volleyball

Some basic volleyballs are available for under $15, intended for casual play. Between $15-$45 are a wide range of volleyballs for indoor and outdoor use that also feature different color patterns and textures, while competitive volleyballs are usually $45 or more.

Volleyball FAQ

Can an indoor volleyball be used outdoors or vice versa?

A. It is recommended that indoor volleyballs only be used inside because their cover isn’t meant to withstand the elements. You can use other outdoor volleyballs both inside and outside, but keep in mind that for tournament competitions, outdoor volleyballs are larger and have a different weight than what is normally used inside.

What are the best ways to prevent bruises while playing volleyball?

A. The best solution to bruising is learning the proper technique in returning a volley. If you are new to the game and still learning the fundamentals, consider taping your wrists or wearing a protective sleeve for your forearm.

Do volleyballs have warranties?

A. Many volleyballs have limited warranties that provide replacements within a set time frame. Check out your manufacturer’s policy to know the provisions that apply to your purchase.

What’s the best volleyball to buy?

Top volleyball

Molten FLISTATEC Indoor Volleyball

Molten FLISTATEC Indoor Volleyball

What you need to know: The official ball used in the NCAA men’s tournament, this volleyball offers exceptional performance and grip.

What you’ll love: The swirled color pattern- with three different patterns available- offers increased visibility. There is better flight stability and a tighter grip. The FLISTATEC technology helps players make better passes and shots.

What you should consider: It can only be used indoors. This volleyball is more expensive than many competitive brands.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top volleyball for the money

Tachikara Volley-Lite Indoor Volleyball

Tachikara Volley-Lite Indoor Volleyball

What you need to know: Great for training, this volleyball is lighter and softer for new and younger players to learn the basics.

What you’ll love: The volleyball is regulation size despite its training focus. A micro-fiber leather cover provides extra durability. The light and soft design keeps young players from hurting themselves. Comes in multiple color patterns.

What you should consider: It can only be used indoors. You should avoid getting the cover wet, which can cause damage.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

Wilson AVP II Replica Beach Volleyball

Wilson AVP II Replica Beach Volleyball

What you need to know: This outdoor volleyball is made by the official manufacturer of the AVP Tour and is ideal for all skill levels.

What you’ll love: Designed for playing on the beach, this volleyball has high performance outdoors. There is color variance to help detect the spin and react to the game quickly. The 18-panel cover with pebbled texture makes it easier to grip.

What you should consider: There were some reports of leaks that required frequent re-inflation.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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