5 Best Volleyballs - Oct. 2022 - BestReviews (2022)

One of the most enjoyable team activities for all ages and every level of play is volleyball. The sport has been part of North American culture for over a century. Invented in the late 1800s, the game is played with two teams on either side of an elevated net. Players hit a ball back and forth until one team can’t keep it up.

The ball in question is imperative to the success of the game. The shape, size, texture, weight, and internal pressure of the ball have been painstakingly perfected over decades to allow for the game to be played as competitively and practically as possible. A volleyball needs to be heavy enough to be manipulated by bumps, sets, and spikes, but it needs to be light enough to soar through the air and bounce properly.

Most volleyballs are around 26 inches in circumference and weighjust under 10 ounces. They consist of an internal rubber bladder core and a hard outer shell. Air is pumped into the volleyball to keep it inflated. Texture, weight, and pressure vary depending on where the volleyball will be used.

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Spalding is an American sporting goods company that was founded in 1876. They are purported to have made the very first volleyball for the game.

Key considerations

Location

Volleyballs made to be used indoors are different from those used for beach games and other games played outside. If you don’t have the right ball for your environment, your game may be adversely affected, and the ball could be damaged.

Indoor volleyballs are slightly smaller than their beach counterparts. They havehigher internal pressure and tend to be heavier and made of leather. They usually have a molded cover, although there may be stitched paneling as well. As the indoor game tends to champion quickness and power, heavier balls are more useful.

Beach volleyballs, also known as outdoor volleyballs, are a little bit lighter and made of composite materials so as to adapt to external elements such as sand, dirt, and water. To achieve this, beach volleyballs have a stitched outer layer with 18 panels. They are larger in order to battle against the wind. They are water resistant, and some are waterproof enough to be used in a pool or lake.

Quantity

The number of volleyballs you might use over the course of a season or year may influence yourchoice. A pack of volleyballs is often more cost-effective than getting balls one at a time. If you’re looking for a volleyball for your club or team, it may be worthwhile to get more than one. If you intend to play less frequently and more casually, selecting a lone ball may be a better option.

Level of play

Volleyballs made for competition and sanctioned by official volleyball governing bodies are a specific size and tend to be harder on the hands and wrists. These are intended for competitive play amongst teenagers and adults. For younger or casual volleyball players, a softer or smaller ball may be best. This can help with training, as these balls still require proper technique to hit but are easier on the body and don’t require as much strength.

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Expert Tip

If you find a leak in your volleyball, don’t fret. Most volleyballs can be repaired with rubber cement or tubular glue and patched with a special patch.

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Features

Spin detection

Some volleyballs have a contrasting color pattern that allows you to watch how the ball spins in the air. This is ideal for those working on their serves and learning how the ball moves after it is hit. For advanced players, it may aid in tracking the ball to your body and inform you how to hit it.

Soft touch

Traditional volleyballs have tough exteriors that can withstand constant pummeling, but there are those made to be softer on the hands and wrists. These soft-touch balls are ideal for younger and more casual players. They’re also suitable for those who train regularly but don’t want to be regularly banged and bruised. There are even some soft-touch balls that are officially sized and made for competition.

All-weather cover

While a leather cover doesn’t work well outdoors, some volleyballs are designed with a composite cover from manmade materials. This type of material can withstand rain, sun, and other elements. If you find yourself in varied climates while playing, or if you intend to play both indoors and outdoors, this type of ball is ideal.

Color and pattern

Volleyballs are offered in numerous color patterns and designs. They may feature two or three colors or a unique design that stands out. With so many options available, it’s easy to match the volleyball to a team’s specific colors — or whatever your favorite look at the moment may be.

"If your volleyball no longer inflates, look for ways to recycle or reuse it. Some sporting goods stores will repurpose items and equipment, including volleyballs."

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Accessories you may need

Air pump: Over time, your volleyball will need to be filled with air. Air pumps are relatively cheap and easy to use, and they can also facilitate filling up basketballs, footballs, and soccer balls, among others.

Volleyball net: If you’re looking to a game started, you’re going to need a net. They come in various sizes depending on location and level of play, but in order to get two teams to face off, a net is required. If you have a swimming pool, you can also find pool volleyball nets.

Practice tether: For training purposes, you can opt for a tether that attaches to your body and the ball. This allows you to practice a variety of hits without having to run and chase the ball. Just make sure the tether is long enough so the ball doesn’t snap back too quickly.

Jump Trainers: If you want to improve the vertical on your jump, these can help you do so, all while working your glutes, hips, and quads.

Mesh bag or backpack: Whether you’re traveling with one volleyball or several, a specially made tote offers convenient carrying and storage.

Volleyball shoes: If you're playing indoors, you'll want the right footwear to keep you on top of your game.

Volleyball prices

Volleyballs vary in price for any number of reasons — size, color, brand, durability — but in general, soft-touch and practice volleyballs cost less than volleyballs made for competitions. Oddly, the same type of volleyball may have a different price due solely to the color selection.

Inexpensive

For less than $15, you can find a wide range of decent volleyballs for both casual and competitive play.

Mid-range

From $15 to $45, you’ll find a great many choices in terms of size, texture, and color. These may be geared toward recreation or competitive play. In this price range, there are both bargain brands and top sellers.

Expensive

For over $45, the top-shelf volleyballs from the most regarded brands are available. These are carefully constructed balls that can be used in tournaments and competitions. If you’re a competitive player, you may want to look in this price range.

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Did you know?

The origins of volleyball are credited to Massachusetts just before the turn of the twentieth century. The game was first known as mintonette before being changed to volleyball.

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Tips

  • Pump upon purchase. While some volleyballs are shipped deflated, you should test the air inside regardless before first use. A filled ball may have lost air in transit or at the store.
  • Indoor volleyballs should stay inside. Unfortunately, many volleyballs designed specifically for indoor use will not hold up to inclement weather. Too much sun, rain, or even dirt or sand will affect the ball. What’s more, wind may easily carry the ball off the court.
  • Outdoor balls can go almost anywhere. Outdoor volleyballs are more versatile. You can use them indoors or outdoors. However, it’s not suggested that you use an outdoor ball for competitive play due to the difference in size and weight, which could affect your game.
  • Stay alert when playing. They may be unassuming, but volleyballs can reach high speeds quickly and do some bodily damage if you’re not paying attention. Be careful and stay vigilant.
  • Seek out contrasting colors. Wherever available, get a volleyball that has at least two sharply contrasting colors. This will help your eye track the ball quickly and easily in the air. Yellow is a particularly eye-catching color.

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Although not meant to be used in a competitive manner, there are large inflatable ball options. They’re not technically volleyballs, but they can be lots of fun.

FAQ

Q. How often do I need to pump the volleyball?

A. There is no set rule, but it’s worthwhile to check the ball before you’re off to play. Repeated use may slowly wear down the ball; sitting around in storage will find some air leakage as well. Either way, over time, the volleyball will lose air, so be sure to check before heading out to play.

Q. How much should I inflate the volleyball?

A. If you have a pressure gauge, you generally want between 4.3 and 4.6 pounds per square inch (psi) for indoor volleyballs and between 2.3 and 3.2 for beach volleyballs. However, you can fairly easily find the desired pressure without an instrument. Basically, you want the ball to have just a little give when it is squeezed. It should be hard but not rock hard. Leave a little more air out if you want a softer ball.

Q. Does the volleyball have a recommended age of use?

A. While there tend not to be age specifications for volleyballs, softer and smaller volleyballs are generally better for youngsters. However, it may also come down to a personal preference and what type of game you want to play. Kids may want harder balls to play intently, while adults may want softer balls for lighthearted games.

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