The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Football Ball + Reviews
No football game is complete without the proper ball, and if you’re in the market for the best football ball, but you don’t know where to start, we are here to help you out. After looking at the top-rated models, we have concluded that the one you should get your hands on is the Wilson NFL Super Grip Football. For starters, it is made of durable composite material, which means that it is capable of providing the grip that professionals require to get the best results on the field. The butyl rubber bladder delivers advanced air retention, and it keeps the unit lighter so that it can be enjoyed by junior players. This product also has an authentic sizing to let new players learn the game and get a better feel of the ball. If our first pick is unavailable, and you’re determined to get a good NFL football ball, we recommend the Rawlings NFL Downfield Youth Football.
The durable composite construction adds a lot of grip to the ball, and it helps deliver an authentic feel even in rainy conditions. It boasts a multi-layered lining that allows the ball to maintain its shape over time, even when used often. This model is sized specifically for players between 9 to 12 years old, which makes it an ideal training ball for beginners.
This ball is designed for training, which means that it cannot be used in official games.
This model is made using the highest quality materials and Wilson’s expert craftsmanship to provide the ideal blend of durability, performance, and grip that junior players require.
Due to its unique size, this model can be used by both kids and adults since it is small enough to fit in a kid’s hands, yet it also feels good when handled by an adult. The excellent feel of this ball is achieved thanks to Rawlings’ patented HD GRIP technology that allows the ball to have five times more pebbles compared to the standard rubber pattern that other models use.
It doesn’t come pumped up and ready to play, so keep this in mind before purchasing.
Rawlings has managed to deliver a versatile product that is designed for youth players, but that can also be used by adults since its small size and great weight will allow for long-distance throws.
Also To Consider
This option is a must-have for NFL fans since not only does it provide good grip and performance, but it also comes with the New York Jets colors and logo on the front and back. It is an officially licensed ball so that you can show you support to your favorite football team. The small size of the ball makes it perfect for youth players who are just learning the game.
The ball has a synthetic feel, which is to be expected considering its modest price point.
With this officially licensed NFL ball, you can show support to your favorite team and also have plenty of fun with it playing on the field. Its small size makes it a perfect purchase for young players.
10 Best Football Balls (Updated Reviews) in 2021
There are plenty of affordable football balls on the market, and to make it easier for you to get the right product for your needs, we have selected some of the commercially and critically acclaimed products and showcased them below. Thus, whether you’re looking for adult or youth models, this list of diverse football ball reviews should prove helpful.
1. Wilson NFL Super Grip Football
This junior football ball is a perfect option for young players who are interested in learning the game since it delivers the grip and feel that professional balls have, and it can handle use in a wide variety of weather conditions. The durable Super Grip Composite cover has a premium feel to it, and it allows the ball to be easy to grip even in the rain.
While the product is designed for training use only, it does have an authentic size and feel, which means that it will make the transition to an official game ball feel more smooth. It is a well-built product that can handle heavy use since the use of high-quality materials ensures that the cover won’t wear out and that the ball will maintain its shape over time.
Another excellent feature of this option is its butyl rubber bladder that delivers better air retention, and this makes long-distance throws easier to achieve.
The ball feels and performs excellent, especially considering its low price point, and this makes it an excellent purchase for budget-conscious beginners.
The composite materials deliver excellent durability, and the cover has a grippy feel to it so that the player can catch it easily even when it’s pouring rain.
It comes already well-inflated so that you won’t have to waste any more time, which means that you can start playing immediately after taking it out of the box.
The multi-layered lining is yet another great feature that adds to the durability of this option since it helps the ball keep its shape over time.
It is designed as a training ball, which means that it can’t be used in official games, only on the training ground.
It doesn’t stay inflated for long, especially if you use it intensively or in parks or fields where there is not a lot of grass to dampen the impact.
2. Rawlings NFL Downfield Youth Football
If you’re a fan of Green Bay Packers, then you’ll love this youth football ball since it comes with your favorite team’s logo on the front and back, as well as some very interesting features. This model uses the patented HD GRIP feature that’s exclusive to Rawlings, and that allows the cover to have up to five times more pebbles.
Since the cover is much more textured, it will also feel better in the hand and will have a superior grip so that you can enjoy an excellent performance in all weather conditions. It is a great addition to your collection of NFL replica equipment, especially since it is surprisingly affordable for an officially licensed football ball.
The small size of this youth model makes it great for young kids to use and learn the basics of the game. Adults can also use it since the ball can still fit comfortably in larger hands, and this means that parents and children can have lots of fun together.
It is a perfect gift for NFL fans since this model is available in a wide variety of team colors, it is officially licensed by the NFL, and it comes with the team’s logo on the front and back.
While it does look great, this model is not designed merely for you to display in the home since you can also take it outside for recreational games.
It comes with the Rawlings patented HD GRIP feature that gives the ball five times more grip so that it can perform well in a wide variety of environments and weather conditions.
Another advantage with this model is its competitive price point since it is hard to find other high-quality officially licensed products available for so cheap.
It comes deflated, which means that you need to take the time to inflate it properly before you can use it.
It feels and looks smaller than most other youth footballs on the market.
3. Rawlings NFL NY Jets Downfield Youth Football
This officially licensed NFL ball comes in the colors and with the logo of the New York Jets on the front and back, which makes it a good purchase or gift for fans of this team. You can display it in your home, or you can take it outside to have some fun with your friends since the ball is designed to handle recreational plays.
It is one of the most affordable officially licensed NFL footballs, and this makes it perfect for youth players who are just learning the game. It can handle heavy use, and since this product is designed for training and fun, players are free to experiment without worry that they’ll ruin an expensive product.
The Rawlings Downfield also comes with the brand’s patented HD GRIP technology that allows the ball to have up to five times more pebbles on the rubber pattern. This means that the surface of the ball is much more textured for an improved grip.
It is great for recreational games since the unit delivers improved grip, and its size is small enough to fit into a kid’s hand, yet it can also be enjoyed by adults so that parents can have fun along with their kids.
This model comes in different colors, and you can select from a large list of football teams so that you can get the brand and logo of your favorite team on the ball.
It is a great gift for football fans, seeing as it is officially licensed by the NFL, and the best part is that while it is inexpensive, it doesn’t feel or look cheap at all.
The smaller size and weight of this model allow you to chuck it over long distances.
It is a bit smaller compared to regular youth balls, yet it still feels good in the hand.
While the product description mentions that the ball comes pumped up and ready to play, this is not the case for all balls.
4. Wilson NFL The Duke Replica Football
This model is a replica of The Duke football ball that you can see used on official football games, yet it manages to provide impressive features that make it a good purchase for the average player. For starters, the ball has a very good grip, and the shape feels very comfortable in the hands.
Thus, this model doesn’t mimic just the look of the official product but also its performance and high durability. While you can’t take it on the field with you for official games, it is an excellent piece of equipment when practicing or having fun in the park. It uses high-performance composite materials that match the feel of the original The Duke.
The weight and size have been approved for High School, Collegiate, and Pro Level games. What’s more, you can trust that each ball will deliver consistent performance since every unit is handcrafted in Ada, Ohio.
This model uses a new deep pebbled design that allows it to deliver up to 174% more grip compared to most of the other older football balls.
It may be a replica, but all the materials used are designed to mimic the performance of the real deal, and this means that the unit can deliver impressive durability, grip, and feel.
Since it is handmade by Wilson’s veteran team of skilled craftsmen and women, you can be sure that each ball will offer consistent performance.
It plays very well, and it can also be displayed in your home to show that you are a true football fan since it comes in the official NFL size, and it looks great.
It is only available in the official NFL size, and as such, it should only be used by 14-year-olds and up.
Seeing as it is just a replica, you can’t use it in official games.
5. Wilson NFL MVP Junior Football
This junior football ball is specifically designed for beginners since it comes with a soft waterproof sponge rubber cover that will prevent accidental injuries on the field. The unit also comes bundled with extra accessories, namely a football tee, and a pump and needle to keep the ball properly inflated so that you can enjoy top performance each day.
It boasts the official NFL branding, and it has a durable composite leather construction that can handle a lot of use without losing its shape. The textured design of this ball doesn’t just look good, but it also helps improve its grip so that junior players can hold it comfortably without it slipping out of their hands just when they’re about to score.
You can trust this model to deliver good performance in most environments, including in the rain. It is a very good option to get for practice and training sessions, especially for the wide receiver role.
It is a durable product that manages to retain its shape even when used for long and frequent training sessions or when thrown against hardened objects.
While it is indeed a bit more expensive than some of the other beginner football balls that Wilson has to offer, this one delivers superior performance, and it goes on sale very often.
Along with the ball, you will also find a few extra accessories bundled in the package, namely a football tee, a pump, and an inflation needle, and they are very easy to use even by kids.
The soft rubber cover allows you to play anywhere, and the ball feels softer so that it doesn’t cause injuries if a player gets hit by it.
The plastic tee that comes included in the package is flimsy, and it can break after only a few kicks.
Some orders can arrive without the pump and inflation needle included in the package.
6. Wilson “The Duke” Official NFL Football
If you’re looking for an authentic football experience, then you should give this model a try since it is designed with the highest-quality materials and expert craftsmanship so that you can get a taste of what an official football ball feels like. It has an excellent grip, and it can be used for both training and official games since it is approved directly by the NFL.
It is the closest that you can get to what the professional players use every season, and the product comes with a few extra perks designed specifically for NFL super fans. If you scan the ball with the Wilson Live app, you can unlock exclusive content, deals, prizes, and more during the entire football season.
What’s more, this is a limited edition product that seeks to celebrate the 100th season of NFL football, and as such, it comes fitted with the special NFL100 logo so that you can display it proudly in your home.
The ball is covered with Wilson’s premium leather that has seen decades of game play, and that is guaranteed to provide good performance and grip on any given field.
The expert craftsmanship and the use of some of the best materials available make this ball the closest you’ll ever get to the models that professional players use every season.
It includes the official Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell’s signature, and it has a special NFL100 logo to celebrate the 100th football season.
You can download the Wilson Live app, scan the ball, and immediately get access to exclusive members-only promos, content, deals, prizes, and much more.
It comes in the same flimsy cardboard cutout as the cheaper replicas, which makes it harder to display it in the original packaging.
The high price point will certainly keep some buyers away since not everyone can afford to pay this much for a football ball.
7. Franklin Sports Grip-Rite 100 Football
Junior footballs need to be able to sustain a lot of damage, and this model boasts a durable rubber construction that can stand up to wear and tear on grass, concrete, and any other surfaces that a kid may decide to use for play or practice. The surface of the ball is deep-pebbled so that the player can enjoy better traction for longer throws and easier catches.
The model follows the official junior size, and this makes it an ideal purchase to get for kids who want to try out football for fun, and it can also be used as their go-to ball to practice their new skills later on the field.
The rubber construction of this model gives it all-weather protection, which means that it can be used on a rainy day or directly in the sunshine without experiencing any damage. What’s more, you can trust the textured construction to maintain the great feel of the ball even when it is soaking wet.
The ball is available in five different colors, black, blue, brown, brown and white, and red so that you can get the one that you like the most.
The deep-pebbled surface offers excellent grip, and once you combine it with a good glove, you won’t miss any touchdown throws.
Thanks to the durable rubber construction, this model is more than capable of handling use in a wide variety of environments since it can handle wear and tear on grass, ground, concrete, and any other hard surface.
There’s no need to waste extra time and money looking for an inflation pump and needle since this option comes inflated and ready to use.
The real color of the ball differs a little bit from the one displayed on the product page.
The ball grips very well, but it appears that when thrown very hard, it is a bit difficult to catch.
8. Rawlings NFL Game Time Football
If you’re looking for a football ball that you can display in your home as well as play with your friends or family in the backyard, this nifty option delivers in both areas. It has a synthetic pebbled material that enhances grip capability so that you can throw and catch it with great ease.
It is an officially licensed product of the NFL, and it comes in a wide variety of styles that will satisfy any fan. All team options are available, and depending on which team you choose, the ball will have its logo on one side and the team wordmark with conference and division below on the other side.
You can display it in your home with minimal hassle since the ball comes already inflated, and the package includes a kicking tee that also acts as a stand. Thanks to it, you can proudly display the ball anywhere in the house.
It is a versatile option that combines the practicality of a playable full-size ball with the beauty and style of a collectible ball that is easy to display in your home.
The ball arrives already inflated and with a black display stand that can also be used as a kicking tee.
The cover is made with a synthetic pebbled material that delivers excellent gripping to allow the player to catch and throw the ball with great ease.
The ball is available in dozens of different colors and styles with the full-color team logo of all the prominent NFL teams so that you can show support to your favorite team.
Some balls can arrive deflated, which is quite unfortunate, but the good thing is that this doesn’t appear to be a widespread issue.
The cardboard box doesn’t offer a lot of protection, and for collectors who may want to keep the unit in its original packaging, this can be an issue.
9. Nerf N-Sports Turbo Jr. Football
This affordable and durable model should be ideal for junior players who are looking for footballs to use for their training sessions. While you won’t be able to use it in an official game, the design of this model delivers exceptional performance since it has a highly durable cover, but it is soft enough so that tough plays don’t result in injury.
You can play anytime and anywhere since this toy football is very compact, and you can store it anywhere without having to worry that humidity or the sun will affect its performance. This makes it excellent for children to play with since it has been thoroughly tested for quality and durability.
The size of the ball is great for young children, seeing as it will fit comfortably in their small hands. What’s more, the rubber exterior is textured with small pebbles to enable superior grip and improved catches and throws.
This model is made using only safe materials, which makes it ideal for young children to use, especially since the cover is soft enough so that hits don’t hurt as much.
It has been tested for quality and durability, and you can safely use it anywhere since it can handle being used on ground, grass, concrete, and other surfaces that kids might play on.
The size of the ball makes it playable for kids of all ages, especially since the textured material should make it easier to grab the ball whether you’re catching or throwing it.
Since it is very soft, the ball can be used indoors safely without fear of it doing a lot of damage.
While this model is excellent for playtime in the park or backyard, you can’t use it for official games since it is more of a toy than a real football.
It is very light, and this makes it difficult to throw it over long distances.
10. Under Armour 495 Composite Football
What’s great about this model is that it comes in four different sizes so that every player from junior, youth to adult can get the product that fits their needs the best. The ball is constructed from a composite leather material with UA GRIPSKIN technology to ensure superior tack and grip.
Another advantage that this model offers is the fact that it comes with the Under Armour proprietary GRABTACK lace with micro-abrasion that delivers up to 107% more grip compared to a standard lace. What’s more, the ball will retain its superior grip even when it’s wet so that you can use it in the rain without any noticeable effect on performance.
It has a 2-ply foam backing that delivers a soft and pliable feel so that even when you are playing rough, the chances of getting injured by the ball are lowered significantly. This model can be enjoyed by both beginners and more advanced players.
The UA GRIPSKIN technology delivers superior tack and grip in any weather conditions so that you can train even when it’s raining without the ball getting slippery.
The high-quality inner lining of this ball allows it to maintain its shape no matter how rough it is being used so that you can trust it to deliver consistent performance.
Thanks to the addition of the 2-ply foam backing, this model is perfect for training purposes since you can catch it without having to deal with much pain.
It is available in four different sizes so that players of all ages and skill levels can get the perfect one for their needs.
The added foam makes it ideal for training purposes, but it prevents the unit from being used in official games.
It doesn’t hold air that well, and you might have to pump it again from time to time.
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Whether you’re looking for a cheap football ball, or you want to get a higher-end model, it is important to be aware of the key features that make the difference between footballs. Since not everyone has the time to do research, we’ve compiled a short guide that should help you identify the best football balls. Take a look below and see for yourself.
There are two main materials that footballs are made of, leather and composite material. Leather is the superior option, and it’s what you will find in an official NFL football ball or other higher-end models. It is the only type of football that is allowed in NFL and NCAA play.
A leather NFL football tends to be water-resistant, and this makes it perfect for all weather conditions, and it is intended for grass or turf play since otherwise, the leather can get damaged easily. The superior performance of leather allows balls made from this material to be used for both games and practice plays. The downside is that the leather is very expensive.
Composite material, on the other hand, is what you usually find in cheap football balls that can only be used for recreational and practice use. For beginners, it is recommended to start with an affordable football ball made of synthetic leather since the lower price point and the improved durability of this type of ball make it a better choice for novices.
The downside of a composite football is that, while it is indeed more durable than genuine leather, it tends to become slick when wet, and it cannot be used for official games.
Additionally, you’ll also need to consider the football shape. Plus, if the product has some foam on the inside, then it will be much easier to play recreationally. Having a foam layer is good for beginners since it makes catching the ball feel more comfortable, and you can get used to the ball before you have to move to the higher levels.
The football ball size is yet another factor that is very important to consider since it dictates how the product will feel in your hand. The size can also influence your performance when playing since a big ball can be a challenge to grip by small hands, while a small ball tends to feel awkward in large hands.
Thus, the right size depends mostly on your age and level of play. The football ball sizes available include junior, youth, official, and Pee ewe. For ages 9 and under, a Pee Wee size is recommended. Junior sizes are designed for ages 10-12, and youth is recommended for players ages 12-14.
For adult players or anyone looking for a college football ball, the official size is recommended for all players ages 14 and up.
The grip that an American football ball offers differs from brand to brand since companies tend to use their own proprietary technology designed to ensure optimal grip. The better that the grip of a ball is, the better suited it will be to handle play in all weather conditions.
Since there is no room for mistakes in football, it is crucial to get a product that is firm and not slippery even when wet. A good grip is even more crucial for beginners who are looking to get a feel of the ball. For this purpose, it is recommended to get a model with deeper pebbles.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at a football ball review of the model you have in mind so that you can get a clear idea of how the ball performs on the field.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How long is a football?
There are four different football sizes, official, youth, junior, and Pee Wee, and each one is designed to meet the needs of players of different ages and levels of play. The standard size for NFL footballs is around 11 inches from tip to tip with a circumference of about 22 inches.
There is no such thing as a universal size that will work well for all players, and it is important to pick the size that works best for you. If the ball is too big for your hands, it will always be a challenge for you to pick it comfortably. Conversely, if the ball is too small, it will fit awkwardly in your hands.
The good thing is that the top-rated footballs currently available on the market come in a wide variety of sizes. This should make it very easy for you to select the one that you need.
Q: What are the balls usually made of?
A lot of time has passed since Walter Camp’s times, the man who invented the football ball but surprisingly very little has changed as far as the look of the ball is concerned. Yet, recent advancements allow footballs to perform better than ever. NFL footballs still use leather panels for the exterior of the ball, but the interior bladder is now made of 3-ply VPU rubber.
The rubber is designed to hold the air inside the ball, and it needs to handle rough play, and this is why it is crucial that manufacturers use only the best materials available. Official footballs are made of four panels of pebble-grained leather with eight equally spaced lacings that are typically made of leather as well.
Cheaper models, on the other hand, tend to use synthetic leather, and while these balls can’t be used for official games, they’re excellent for recreational and practice use. This material looks and feels just like leather, but it isn’t as high quality.
Q: What ball do they use in the NFL?
The NFL uses what is called an official size football that meets the standards for both size and weight. Thus, for a ball to be used in the NFL, it needs to have a short circumference between 20 ¾” and 21 ¼”, and a longer circumference between 27 ¾” and 28 ½”.
If you’re wondering about how much does a football weigh to fall into the NFL standards, the weight of the ball needs to be about 14 to 15 ounces. What’s more, once inflated, the ball should have a gauge pressure of about 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch.
Balls that are used in the NFL also have a standard for the number of leather layers and the pattern of the design. The ball needs to have four leather panels that are individually measured, weighted, and inspected for blemishes before they are sewed together. The leather panels are sewn using white leather laces.