Looking for a sport you can enjoy with family and friends whether it rains or shines? Volleyball is a great team sport you can play both indoors on a court or at a gym and outdoors at the beach or even your own backyard. Because volleyball is a versatile sport, it's important to make sure you're buying the right ball for your particular interests and needs.
Our top pick, the Molten Premium Competition L2 Volleyball with official size and weight, is great for indoor and outdoor play, competitive and recreational use, crafted with durable yet soft materials, and offered in many play-enhancing color combinations. For tips on how to pick the right volleyball for your game needs, feel free to scroll down to our handy Buying Guide.
To help find the right volleyball for you, we recommend considering whether you'll be playing indoors or outdoors, expertise levels, differences in materials, and league certifications.
Your volleyball will differ in size and configuration depending on whether you’re using it indoors on a court or outdoors on a beach.
A regulation indoor volleyball is between 25 and a half to 26 and a half inches in circumference. On the other hand, a standard beach volleyball is between 26 to 27 inches.
Indoor and outdoor volleyballs are also configured with different levels of internal pressure, measured by psi, or pounds per square inch. This number can help indicate how easily the ball can travel once hit, as well as how effectively it bounces off surfaces.
As a rule of thumb, a lower psi means an easier ability to hit the ball with force, but it also means it is less effective in bouncing off hard surfaces.
An indoor volleyball has a psi of four point three, while a beach volleyball has a psi between two point five to three point two. Beach volleyballs tend to have lower psis because they don't need much internal pressure to bounce off absorbent sand compared to a hard court floor.
Volleyballs are made of an outer layer called the outer shell with leather, synthetic materials, or composite materials, and an inner core called the bladder which is often made with lightweight rubber. The outer layer is composed of eight panels.
For indoor volleyballs, these panels are glued together to ensure a seamless configuration. Smoothness is crucial for these balls because they must be able to bounce off surfaces accurately. If the panels were to be stitched together, the grooves in their seams can cause the ball to veer off in unintended directions upon contact.
An outdoor volleyball's panels are sewn together rather than glued together. This configuration allows for a greater focus on rigidity against rougher surfaces like sand and soil, as well as protection against UV rays and weather conditions like wind or rain.
Outdoor volleyballs can tend to weigh slightly more than an indoor volleyball to ensure that they don't fly away under windy conditions.
Volleyballs for youth are often made slightly smaller to make learning volleyball skills easier at first. These smaller volleyballs can be used for beginner adult players as well, if they want to focus on practicing foundational skills before beginning games or if they still don’t feel comfortable with a standard volleyball.
However, both youth and beginners alike should always aim to upgrade to a standard-sized volleyball after gaining basic familiarity with a smaller one. If you refrain from doing so, you may feel too unfamiliar with a standard volleyball and may lose some of the skills you worked hard to gain previously.
If you are looking for league-certified volleyballs and are practicing for professional games, getting a volleyball with a leather outer shell may be most suitable for you.
But if you’re just looking to rally with your friends or play a fun game outdoors, a synthetic or composite volleyball would be a great alternative.
Typically, volleyballs with leather outer shells are regarded as high-quality volleyballs and certified for professional use. However, since each leather volleyball is made differently, some can be harder than others in the beginning and some can require breaking in. Once they're broken in, they're durable and reliable.
Other volleyballs are made with synthetic or composite materials. Composite volleyballs tend to be recommended as practice balls for youths or beginners trying to master the basics.
Some of these volleyballs are even made with a foam outer layer to allow for softer contact. Some leagues have even certified these composite volleyballs for professional use.
Some volleyballs are approved or certified by national sports' associations, such as the National Federation of State High School Associations. Certifications from the NFHS are best for competitive players at the middle or high school level.
Sizes can vary from official, for competitive players, to 12U, 10U, and 8U for recreational play and youth practice. Some recreational or all-purpose balls can also sometimes be labeled as "official" in size and weight. Recreational or casual players do not necessarily need certified volleyballs.
Our 10 best volleyballs list incorporates a range of needs and interests, whether you want to play at the park with your friends or at a court for a competitive league.
Composite Leather L2 Volleyball
Soft Play Volleyball
Sensi-Tec Composite Volleyball
AVP OPTX Game Volleyballs
Volley-Lite Game Ball
Best Official Volleyball for All Age Groups and Skill Levels
Best Volleyball for All Settings
Best Official Volleyball for Recreational Beginners
Best AVP-Certified Beach Volleyball
Best Competitive Volleyball With Many Certifications
Best Indoor Practice Ball for Camps and Schools
Best Lightweight Training Volleyball for Youth and Beginners
Best Waterproof Volleyball for the Beach and Pool
Best Competitive Volleyball for Advanced and League Players
Best Vibrantly Colored Volleyball for Casual Games
|Best for||Indoor use, competitive use, beginner to advanced players, high school players||Indoor or outdoor use, competitive or recreational use, practice, middle and high school players||Indoor use, competitive use||Outdoor use, beach, recreational or competitive||Competitive use, men's league use||Recreational or competitive use, indoor use, beginners to intermediate players||Indoor use, practice, recreational use, beginner players, ages 12 and under||Outdoor and indoor use, beach, recreational use, beginner to intermediate players||Competitive and league use, indoor use, advanced players||Recreational use, outdoor or indoor use, beginner to advanced players, all ages|
|Shell materials||Composite||Synthetic leather||Faux leather||Composite||Micro-fiber composite cover, nylon wound||Composite leather and cotton||Synthetic||Polyurethane (PU)||Composite materials, microfiber||Synthetic polyurethane cover|
|Certifications||USA Volleyball, NCAA, NFHS||AVP||Not specified||AVP||USA Volleyball, NCAA, FIVB, NORCECA, NAIA||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified||Olympics, FIVB||Not specified|
|Best for||Indoor use, competitive use, beginner to advanced players, high school players|
|Certifications||USA Volleyball, NCAA, NFHS|
|Best for||Indoor or outdoor use, competitive or recreational use, practice, middle and high school players|
|Shell materials||Synthetic leather|
|Best for||Indoor use, competitive use|
|Shell materials||Faux leather|
|Best for||Outdoor use, beach, recreational or competitive|
|Best for||Competitive and league use, indoor use, advanced players|
|Shell materials||Composite materials, microfiber|
|Best for||Indoor use, practice, recreational use, beginner players, ages 12 and under|
|Best for||Competitive use, men's league use|
|Shell materials||Micro-fiber composite cover, nylon wound|
|Certifications||USA Volleyball, NCAA, FIVB, NORCECA, NAIA|
|Best for||Recreational or competitive use, indoor use, beginners to intermediate players|
|Shell materials||Composite leather and cotton|
|Best for||Outdoor and indoor use, beach, recreational use, beginner to intermediate players|
|Shell materials||Polyurethane (PU)|
|Best for||Recreational use, outdoor or indoor use, beginner to advanced players, all ages|
|Shell materials||Synthetic polyurethane cover|
Get ready for your volleyball match with some sports basics. Check out these other items that can keep you in the zone!
If you're still unsure what to choose, feel free to browse Amazon's best sellers link for volleyballs.
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