Best Volleyball [2020 Review]

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With several brands and choices available on the market, choosing the best volleyball can be difficult. That’s why we’ve compiled these reviews and buying guide to help you sort out the best balls for indoor, outdoor, and beach volleyball games. We’ve compared the size, quality, design, and materials to provide recommendations for all types of competitive games, playing positions, and budget.

The Top Volleyballs in 2020

For this guide, we’re explaining every crucial feature of the best outdoor, beach, and indoor volleyballs. Now, let’s get into action and pick the best volleyball for your needs.

Brand
Best Overall
TACHIKARA Sensi-Tec Composite SV-5WSC
Best for the Money
Mikasa MVA200
Best Cheap Pick
Wilson Soft and Super Soft Play Volleyball
Product
Tachikara SV5WSC Sensi-Tec Composite High...
Mikasa MVA200  2008(Beijing), 2012(London), and...
Wilson Soft Play Volleyball (EA)
Product Dimensions
10 x 10 x 10 inches
7.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches
8 x 8 x 8 inches
Item Weight
9.6 ounces
9.6 ounces
12 ounces
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
TACHIKARA Sensi-Tec Composite SV-5WSC
Product
Tachikara SV5WSC Sensi-Tec Composite High...
Product Dimensions
10 x 10 x 10 inches
Item Weight
9.6 ounces
Rating
Best for the Money
Brand
Mikasa MVA200
Product
Mikasa MVA200  2008(Beijing), 2012(London), and...
Product Dimensions
7.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches
Item Weight
9.6 ounces
Rating
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Wilson Soft and Super Soft Play Volleyball
Product
Wilson Soft Play Volleyball (EA)
Product Dimensions
8 x 8 x 8 inches
Item Weight
12 ounces
Rating

Best Overall Volleyball: TACHIKARA Sensi-Tec Composite SV-5WSC Volleyball

Tachikara SV5WSC Sensi-Tec Composite High...

Designed to be a competition-grade ball for athletes of all ages, the Tachikara Sensi-Tec Composite SV-5WSC Volleyball lets you control your shots and return serves with ease. This model reduces longitudinal deviation from your serves, so this is a great choice if you want to stabilize airflow dynamics. 

Established in 1915, Tachikara is a world leader in manufacturing innovative athletic balls. The company’s name comes from Tachikara-Ono-Mikoto, who is the “God of Power” in Japanese mythology. Wouldn’t you like a gear that already includes power in its name? 

Tachikara pioneered the Single Unit Construction method for manufacturing in 1952. This method improves the spherical shape, air retention, rebound, and overall durability of athletic volleyball.

This ball weighs 9.6 ounces because of the innovative material and superior construction. Yet, it remains one of the most lightweight balls that provide genuine feel and control. 

Sensi-Tec also uses a unique microfiber composite leather cover that drives flexibility and balanced tensile strength. The cover contains resin-fused fibers that create a true-to-touch feel. 

It also includes an added cushion, making it more comfortable for you to execute high-powered shots. Similarly, those who usually strain their arms when blocking high speed serves can find comfort in the cushioning. 

Even if the Tachikara SV-5WSC is soft, it can still endure a lot of impacts. You may see some small scuff marks in the long run, although the creases won’t compromise the ball’s performance. 

For players who are always making dig shots, you’ll love the highly-crisscrossed design that provides a large contact area. If you are always looking for extra grip, the highly granular texture will help you make overhand passes and shots. 

Don’t worry because the texture is actually soft and feels amazing when bumping or setting. Besides, the softness is perfect for newbies who would like to improve their spikes. 

Although the ball’s movement is slightly slower, you can always add a bit more power to increase the air pressure. Once you do this, the ball can cut through air like other models out there. 

Furthermore, a patented Loose Bladder Construction allows optimum airflow between the core bladder and the exterior wrapping. This feature results in uncompromised ball control, and consequently, making it one of the best outdoor volleyballs. 

If you always stumble upon balls that easily deflate during prolonged matches, then consider shifting to Tachikara SV-5WSC. The bladder construction also holds up air nicely, making sure you don’t need to frequently inflate the ball.  

Product Highlights

  • Patented Loose Bladder System for responsiveness and air retention
  • Composite leather cover for a more genuine touch 
  • Multiple panel sizes for improved grip 
  • Resin-fused leather for better control
  • Additional padding to provide comfort during powerful shots 

Pros

  • Softness is beneficial when making spikes, bumps, and sets
  • Over 40 color combinations to choose from
  • Excellent balance and responsiveness to the player’s intentions

Cons

  • Might feel too light to some players 
  • Slower ball movement
Sale
Tachikara SV5WSC Sensi-Tec Composite High...
  • This ball is sold and shipped deflated.
  • Sensi-Tec colored composite leather competition volleyball
  • Patented Loose Bladder Construction (LBC™) method

Best Volleyball for the Money: Mikasa MVA200

Mikasa MVA200  2008(Beijing), 2012(London), and...

Are you training to be the next Olympian? What better way to enhance your skills than using the Mikasa MVA200, the official volleyball ball in the Olympics. This volleyball helps athletes achieve accurate control over direction and speed when serving or spiking. 

While this model is more expensive than the other balls we’ve reviewed, it’s been hailed as the most universally used in professional leagues. In fact, Mikasa is a brand known across the world for its quality athletic products often preferred by athletes. 

The brand tests each MVA200 volleyball under strict quality requirements before the balls are deemed ready for high-intensity Olympic games. It’s no wonder why this ball was used for three consecutive Olympic years: Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016. 

For starters, there’s a natural rubber coating that lessens the impact power of the ball. A nylon winding layer also maintains the ball structure. 

Like Tachikara SV-5WSC, this ball weighs 9.6 ounces, although it only has eight panels. On the bright side, this panel design creates a broader contact zone. The inclusion of swirls on superior construction improves control and accuracy when passing the ball. 

Instead of glued seams, cemented panel seams lead the way of passing air between panels. If you’re looking for the best indoor volleyball with a softer contact, the ball is perfect for you. 

Whenever you watch games, you’ll notice how the ball appears to be zooming through the air. This phenomenon is all thanks to the dimpled microfiber material that reinforces the panel design. The microfiber lets you have greater touch and better control of your shots. As a result, you increase the aerodynamics of the ball to create a straighter flight path.

The dimples on the surface also generate extra turbulence, making it possible for the ball to fly over long distances. In such cases, you can conserve your energy and power. 

It’s important for volleyball players to have the capacity to return serves from unexpected angles. Since the dimpled surface boosts the grip, you have better chances of receiving serves or passes. Subsequently, you can play cross-court shots, line shots, and off-speed shots more accurately.

Since the Mikasa MVA200 is a professional-grade ball, it uses butyl rubber in the bladder to minimize the permeability of the air. 

Considering these impressive features, the ball is more suitable for professional games. It takes time to get used to the ball, and you might need to adjust your skills. However, this can prove as a hardcore training equipment for advanced setters who require excellent grip, as well as for float serves. 

Finally, the ball has a bright color combination of blue and yellow, making it easier to locate the ball in the air against a background of bright lights. This color scheme also gives you an early warning and ample time to counter-attack.

Product Highlights

  • Dimpled microfiber creates turbulence that improves ball motion 
  • Panel design enhances ball control and accuracy
  • Leak-shield butyl bladder for better air retention
  • Cemented panel for pain-free shots and returns
  • Nylon winding layer preserves the ball structure

Pros

  • High contact area between the hands and ball surface 
  • Official game ball for the Olympics
  • Helps the ball move fluidly in the air

Cons

  • Not great for beginners 
  • Pretty expensive
Sale
Mikasa MVA200 2008(Beijing), 2012(London), and...
  • official game ball for the 2008(Beijing), 2012(London), and 2016(Rio) indoor Olympic Games
  • New 8 panel swirl design allows for more contact area on the surface of the ball, improving passing...
  • Dimpled microfiber material creates turbulence in the air, which allows ball to fly through air.

Best Cheap Volleyball: Wilson Soft and Super Soft Play Volleyball

Wilson Soft Play Volleyball (EA)

It’s possible to get injured during training and actual games, which is why some players prefer softer balls. The Wilson Soft and Super Soft Play Volleyball is the best outdoor volleyball ball for those who want to minimize impact and injuries through ball contact. 

From outdoor courts to the beach, the ball does a great job of responding to tactics and hits. Even professional volleyball players use the ball during the AVP tour. 

At a low price, the ball provides a softer feel ideal for kids who are taking an interest in the sport. This is possible because of the Soft Play technology. 

The same technology facilitates playing skills by providing excellent control when the ball slices through the air. Softer feeling balls are more forgiving, making sure serves and sets won’t sting your arms and wrists. 

The ball may give the softest feel, but it also has the heaviest weight at 12 ounces. This is because of the synthetic leather cover and sponge-backed cover. Combining these two components, you can make powerful hits without getting hurt. 

The spongy layer beneath the leather upper guarantees a softer feel in the player’s hand. Thus, the Wilson Super Soft Volleyball is the appropriate practice ball when you want to strengthen your wrists for serves and spikes. 

The ball is available in white, blue, red, yellow, green, and vibrant pink. Also, each design comes with 18 machine-sewn panels. The panel construction serves as the grip for ball control. 

What’s more, the butyl rubber bladder offers impressive air retention that can provide ball consistency during hard hits. Likewise, it delivers consistent ball pressure necessary for optimum performance. 

The Wilson Soft and Super Soft Play Volleyball holds up well on sand, and won’t wobble on most outdoor surfaces. It will also bounce across the asphalt, sharp corners, and rough rocks. Yet, such elements can damage the ball eventually.

Lastly, you’ll need a break-in period even if the ball is soft in nature. The ball still requires its natural oil to serve its purpose.

Product Highlights

  • Soft Play Technology for a softer feel 
  • Synthetic leather cover in vibrant color choices
  • 18-panel construction provides the best grip
  • Butyl rubber bladder promotes air retention
  • Sponge layer produces a very soft feel 

Pros

  • Great for beginners who need repetitive practice and intense training
  • Affordable price for a classic volleyball
  • Softer and lighter than most other beach volleyballs

Cons

  • Heavy for young players
  • Durability might be an issue 
Sale
Wilson Soft Play Volleyball (EA)
  • 18 panel mAChine sewn construction
  • Butyl rubber bladder for air retention
  • Soft play technology

Best Beach and Outdoor Volleyball: Spalding King of the Beach Volleyball

Spalding King of the Beach/USA Beach Official Tour...

Designed for intermediate and professional leagues, Spalding King of the Beach Volleyball is a must-have for players who want to take their career to outdoor and beach leagues. For all the good reasons, this model is the official volleyball of the King of the Beach and USA tournaments. 

The model is an all-weather ball, which means it can hold out against most external elements. Resilient and powerful, it can handle every spike, block, and set you deliver.

Surprisingly, this beach ball only weighs one pound. Although the Spalding King of the Beach Volleyball is heavier than indoor models, the wind won’t impact the flight path. 

Aside from that, it uses a microfiber composite external cover that offers a medium level of hardness and firmness. The ball is soft on your hands and arms, letting you extend playing time without getting bruises. 

Even if the cover is hand-stitched, the FIVB-approved ball can withstand any type of weather and perform well in wet conditions. In fact, the construction provides a smooth surface and softer feel compared to conventional W-seam panels.

What makes this the best beach volleyball is the 18-panel construction that balances good feel and true flight control. The exterior cover also combines large and small panels that add extra thickness to the top layer. The texture feels amazing when bumping, spiking, and setting. 

At competitive beach volleyball games, it’s advisable to use a rugged ball that’s also soft to touch. With the Spalding King of the Beach Volleyball, the softness won’t hinder your control when passing or setting. 

Playing outdoors, especially in the sand, can impact air retention. The ball tends to lose air faster than the Wilson model, although its resilience as an outdoor ball is commendable. 

The core bladder comes with a high-quality rubber for maximum air pressure retention. The cover, panels, and bladder work together to retain the ball’s shape, so that you can use it for long outdoor games. Just in case you need it, the ball is backed up by a one-year limited warranty.

Product Highlights

  • Composite leather for a softer touch 
  • Hand-stitched 18 panels for truer flight control 
  • Core bladder guarantees maximum air retention 
  • External, soft to the hands Cover 
  • Rugged design suitable for outdoor and beach volleyball games

Pros

  • Ideal weight for withstanding all sorts of weather 
  • Professional-grade ball with good control of trajectory
  • Extra firmness for direction and speed control

Cons

  • Bladder tends to stick out
  • May be too expensive for some players
Sale
Spalding King of the Beach/USA Beach Official Tour...
  • Hand stitched all-weather composite cover
  • Official volleyball of King of the Beach and USA tournaments
  • Designed for competitive outdoor play

Best Indoor Volleyball: Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball 

Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball - Official NCAA Men's...

Playing volleyball requires good balance and power to execute serves, spikes, or attacks. The Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball aims to provide enhanced control for a consistent ball flight path. 

As the official ball of the NCAA and USA Volleyball, Molten only uses innovative technology and superior craftsmanship. 

First and foremost, there’s the Flight Stability Technology that optimizes the air-current around the ball during flight. In effect, the technology increases the ball’s visibility. This feature is beneficial when you need to make accurate overhand passing and sets. 

At the same time, the Flight Stability Technology minimizes turbulence or ball shaking while inflight. This feature lets the ball take full control of its motion. 

The grip is another common dilemma for volleyball players when setting or executing an overhand serve. A combination of composite cover, nylon wound, and textured hexagon shape makes the Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball the best indoor volleyball for players who are having problems with their grips. 

The grip of the Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball allows you to control your tosses for jump serves. It also aids in accuracy for hits because the grip prevents the ball from being too bouncy.  

This model uses a microfiber cover with a textured surface, all while maintaining a weight of three pounds. Nylon winding on the thick cover reinforces the grip and enables more accurate overhand passing and setting. 

Unlike the Tachikara volleyball, this Molten ball lacks deep grooves between the panels. Although the ball’s panel design generates a smoother ball rotation. 

Furthermore, the exterior creates a more turbulent flow around the ball. This balanced flow allows the ball to travel along a straight line after you hit it. Therefore, you can apply extra force on the ball, giving little time for your opponents to react.

The hex pattern is ideal for setters. Since the ball’s texture gives more contact space with your hands, you can make spike shots easier. Likewise, it becomes convenient to snap your wrist around the ball and make a follow-through. 

The Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball is a bit less tacky than the Mikasa MVA200. Yet, it has better protection against dust and sweat. Regardless of the court environment, this volleyball won’t fail your grip. 

Even if the ball is a bit lightweight, it remains pretty reactive. Thus, make sure you place the ball in the right spot to have a more accurate setting. If you don’t mind the extra hardness, the ball is also ideal for practicing your spikes and hits. 

If you are always squinting your eyes against the glaring lights on an indoor court, the ball’s contrasting colors enhance visibility for players and spectators alike. The bright blue, red, and white color combination makes it easy to spot the ball even when in the maximum speed of flight. 

To make things even better, the ball contains a dual-layer laminated butyl bladder that prevents air leakage. Lastly, the brand offers a two-year warranty even if the ball holds up air very well.

Product Highlights

  • Flight Stability Technology allows the ball to travel on a straighter path flight
  • Premium microfiber composite cover for enhanced grip
  • Nylon wound ensures durability 
  • Tri-color panel design for increased visibility 
  • Butyl bladder that has low air-permeability 

Pros

  • Honeycombed surface texture for better control and high rotation motion
  • Highly visible, especially for setters 
  • Official ball for USA Volleyball and NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships

Cons

  • Does not have deep grooves 
  • Less tacky than other balls
Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball - Official NCAA Men's...
  • Official Volleyball of the NCAA Men's Championships
  • FLISTATEC Flight Stability Technology
  • Premium micro-fiber composite cover

What Makes a Good Volleyball?

A volleyball is a ball used to play indoor volleyball, outdoor volleyball, and beach volleyball. One of the first things you need to determine is the kind of volleyball you will play. Each kind has its specifically designed ball that will produce the necessary bounce and velocity for the game. 

A volleyball on court

Indoor Volleyballs 

To maximize performance and safety, the vast majority of competitive indoor volleyball floors are made of wood or synthetic urethane. Indoor surfaces also have wood sub-floor systems that adhere to global standards for slide and shock absorption.

Indoor balls typically use leather. They also tend to be heavier than their outdoor and beach counterparts. The material stands up against the intense striking and bouncing. 

Balls for indoor games respond faster during contact with the hands and wrists. They also have smooth features for more consistent performance.

Outdoor Volleyball

An outdoor game is usually played on concrete or copolymer flooring that absorbs lateral impact and shock. This is why outdoor balls are sewn together to hold the panels firmly. Likewise, this kind of stitching makes the balls harder, so that it can endure impact and other outdoor elements. 

Even the wind can impact your game, which is why outdoor balls are also heavy. There’s also a rough exterior finishing that also offers excellent grip and control. 

Beach Volleyball 

This kind of volleyball demands stamina because sand and sun exposure can impact your performance. The balls must also deal with such elements. 

Hence, beach volleyballs need proper stitching so it can float on water. In the same way, the design must prevent water from seeping through the exterior layer. 

How to Choose the Best Volleyball 

Volleyball is a fun way to be active and fit, but without the right equipment, let alone a ball, you won’t be able to play. Here are the key features you need to look into before making the final decision. Check if your preferred model includes the following factors: 

Size and Weight

Indoor ball circumference ranges between 25.5 and 26.5 inches. Meanwhile, outdoor balls have a circumference of 26 to 27 inches. On the other hand, beach volleyball has a circumference of 25.9 to 26.7 inches. 

If you want to enter tournaments or leagues, you must use a regulation-sized ball, which normally weighs 9.2 to 10 ounces. A lighter ball is slower, which is suitable for beginners who are improving their response and counter-attack. 

At 9.44 ounces, the Molten FLISTATEC Volleyball is the most light. The Tachikara SV-5WSC and Mikasa MVA200 both weigh 9.6 ounces. The heaviest balls are the Wilson Soft Play and Spalding King of the Beach, weighing 12 ounces and 14 ounces, respectively.

Material

Genuine leather was generally considered to be a better volleyball. However, synthetic or composite leather does a better job of providing a softer feel. As a matter of fact, most brands have developed technologies to upgrade composite leather.

Improved synthetic covers ensure full ball control. Unlike genuine leather, synthetic ones are softer, which is perfect for making the right bounce. This high-quality material also helps weave smooth seams or stitches, making the ball incredibly sturdy. 

A volleyball is composed of several materials, with each focusing on a particular part of the ball. Together, they make the ball ideal for different kinds of playing surfaces.

A woman with a volleyball under her arm
  • External Wrapping: The outdoor shell is vital because it affects grip, cushion, and flight path. This part uses either synthetic or cotton for faster passes and spikes. Some balls include a sponge wrapping for added cushioning and a softer feel.   
  • External Cover: This part uses synthetic leather, natural leather, or microfiber stitched to the ball. The cover boosts the ball’s flying capacity. For players who prefer a harder ball, consider choosing a model that has rubber linings. 
  • External Panels: Professional balls have eight panels that are big enough to deliver extra contact area. In effect, the ball gives you better ball control when setting or serving. Panels also help keep the ball stay firmly and streamlined for action.  

The balls from Tachikara, Wilson, and Molten all use composite leather covers for durability, rebound, and softer feel. Meanwhile, Mikasa and Spalding optimize microfiber covers for better flight control. Also, they all have panel designs that provide contact area and enhanced grip. 

Cores or Bladder

A ball contains a bladder that allows air retention. Without a core, the ball will have inconsistent bounce, and consequently, poor control. Balls containing cores hold their shape while guaranteeing responsiveness. 

Bladders are made from latex or butyl bladder so that the ball can put up with internal air pressure and external impacts. The bladders ensure tensile strength, which should make the ball firm for spiking or serving. However, the ball must also be flexible enough to make spikes and passes. 

Only the Tachikara SV-5WSC utilizes a patented Loose Bladder Construction for optimum airflow. The rest of the models make use of butyl rubber bladders for air retention.

Ball Control and Responsiveness 

When we speak of touch we refer to the ball’s responsiveness to being hit. If you are a power player that does a lot of spiking, you may want a harder ball with more touch. On the other hand, it’s advisable for neophytes to use a softer ball with a lighter touch. 

The design and material impact softness, which also varies from one ball to another. With the addition of grip and rim, these factors determine ball control and responsiveness. 

Tachikara and Mikasa developed their own panel designs to create more significant contact zones. Both the Wilson Soft Play Ball and Spalding King of the Beach Volleyball come with an 18-panel construction for better ball control. Finally, Molten has its own Flight Stability Technology to help make accurate hits.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Volleyball 

What Are the Best Volleyball Brands? 

Tachikara, Mikasa, Wilson, Spalding, and Molten are among the best volleyball brands in the world. Each brand boasts its own technology to create top-quality balls.

Each model in our list hails from a brand with an impressive reputation for manufacturing high-quality volleyball equipment. This serves as further assurance that you are getting a ball that combines research, time, and resources. 

Considering the brand also saves you from falling victim to cheap imitations. However, you shouldn’t rely on the brand alone, as some names come higher price tags as well.

What is the Best Volleyball Color?

This might seem like an aesthetic thing, but the ball’s colors contribute to visibility. Likewise, the colors depend on when and where you are going to play.

For instance, if you have an outdoor tournament late in the afternoon, you might want something that has a vibrant color. The Mikasa MVA200 has a bright combination of yellow and blue. Aside from the usual white, Wilson Soft Play Volleyball offers yellow, green, and vibrant pink. 

Professional games prefer a single color of white, brown, or light gray. Although new standards now allow flashy and bright colors for professional training and matches. 

A volleyball on the beach

How to Take Care of a Volleyball

With some care and cleaning, your ball will remain functional and durable. Here are simple ways of maintaining a volleyball ball:

  • Inflate the ball properly: To prevent damage to the valve and maintain proper air pressure, moisten the needle before inserting it. Inflate the ball as per manufacturer’s specifications. Most balls need 4.26 to 4.61 PSI. It’s advisable to use an inflation gauge to determine the exact amount of pressure. 
  • Wipe the ball after every game: Moisten a cloth and add soft detergent to remove dirt or grime. Wash off the soap and make sure to dry the ball thoroughly. 
  • Store balls properly: Sun exposure is a ball’s enemy; except for beach volleyballs that are designed to withstand scorching heat. Store balls in a dry, well-ventilated place. 
  • Use your ball regularly: While not using the ball will make it look brand new, it’s actually not recommendable to keep it unused for a long time. Like basketball shoes, volleyball balls need break-in periods to release natural oil. 
  • Consider using a volleyball bag: Especially when you bring a ball around, a bag can hold all of your volleyball equipment together. 

Final Words 

All models on the list have the same goal: to unleash your volleyball skills. They differ in design, materials, construction, and cost, so make sure to consider these factors before buying one. Remember that the ball should be durable and long-lasting.

Whether you need to play indoors, outdoors, or on the beach, the best volleyball from this product review will help you make blazing spikes and unbeatable serves.