The reason many beginners might not expect volleyballs to vary from model is because they all look the exact same (perhaps aside from their color scheme). There are; however, a few things which stay consistent in volleyballs as a whole. One of such consistencies is the volleyball’s size. While you certainly can get a ball which is smaller or larger than your average model, these are typically sold for children or as novelty items. At the end of the day, every “real” volleyball will be the exact same size.
However, there are a few different variables which present themselves from ball to ball, with each one leaving any given ball more or less suited toward you depending on your skill level and personal preference. With that said, let’s look at three of the best volleyballs on the market and distinguish the differences between all three to find out which one is the best for you. If none of the following products seem to hit the hammer on the nail, we’ll also look at a few factors to consider when shopping for volleyballs outside of the following list.
1. Sensi Tec
Best Overall Volleyball
5/5 Product Rating
The ball comes in several different sizes including a regulation size (what you would expect to use in official volleyball leagues) and a multitude of other sizes which are more geared toward backyard recreation. Which size you go with would depend on whether or not you plan on playing in an official league, as well as what size you find comfortable.
The SVSWSC is more likely to meet the needs of you as well as the people you may happen to play with, being that it takes a more moderate, middle-of-the-road approach in its padding, making sure it’s not too soft and not too hard. For this reason, you’ll likely appreciate what the ball has to offer if you tend to play volleyball with a wide variety of different people.
– Jonathan Maxwell
2. Tachikara MNC
Best Overall Volleyball – Runner Up
4.8/5 Product Rating
Of course, those who prefer something easier on the skin will likely find no better volleyball than the Volley-Lite. While it may not be as suitable as the SVSWSC in terms of keeping everyone happy, it will certainly keep you happy if you’re looking for the softest volleyball out there. It’s also quite great for beginners. Much like the hollow, plastic baseball you may have started off with as a toddler (although perhaps to a lesser degree), the Volley-Lite tends to travel more slowly through the air. Because of this, you’ll likely find it easier to hit the ball in the first place if you’ve been having a hard time getting the hang of the sport. You’ll also find it great for playing with your kids, as they’ll likely have the strength necessarily to handle the ball.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Best Budget Volleyball
4.7/5 Product Rating
Whether or not the Mikasa Squish is right for you truly all comes down to a matter of personal preference. Depending on your experience with volleyballs as a whole, the ball’s No Sting Cover can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Do you find regular volleyballs to be a little tough on the wrists and hands? If so, you’ll likely appreciate the Mikasa Squish’ level of padding.
– Jonathan Maxwell
When it comes to choosing the right volleyball for you, perhaps the most important factor to consider is just how firm of a ball you feel comfortable with. Of course, by purchasing a ball which you enjoy using to a large degree, you’re much more likely to keep at the sport and, thus, much more likely to excel at it in the future. All of the above balls come in varying levels of softness, with each ball getting softer as you go down the list. As such, the right ball for you should be displayed above. If not, let’s take a look at a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for volleyballs so that you may be successful and walk out with the right product for you. The below tips can be applied when looking through the above list or when shopping elsewhere.
4. Soft Play
7. Beach Classic
8. Cast Away
10. Tachikara 18S
Volleyball Buying Guide
What is a Volleyball?
For those new to the sport of volleyball, it can be hard to imagine that each and every volleyball actually has a few variations that set it apart from others. While the beginner might not notice said variations a whole lot at first, being that they’re simply trying to get the proper skills and foundation down for the time being, the difference between different volleyballs actually starts to become apparent rather quickly once the player begins to advance in the sport of their choosing. Even then, there are a few exceptions to this rule in the way of volleyballs which have been made for beginners.
Volleyball is much like golf in the sense that there aren’t always particular pieces of equipment which could be considered good, bad or anywhere in between. Like the golf club, a volleyball that one group swears by may be completely useless or downright frustrating to use when in the hands of yourself, or vice-versa. As such, picking out the best possible volleyball for you can be a challenging ordeal. In this review, we’ll discuss the different variables often apparent from ball to ball, things to look out for in your purchase and we’ll even take a look at three of the very best volleyballs on the market. But first, it’s important to know what makes a volleyball in the first place.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for the perfect volleyball. While looking at a ball’s customer reviews certainly proves useful (and is a practice which should be used when shopping for any product), it’s important to find the ball that works for you. Here are some things to remember when shopping.
What lighting will you be playing in?
Volleyballs come in a variety of different colors. While your typical, white volleyball will likely get the jog done just fine, if you find yourself playing in the late evening on occasion, you might do better with a neon ball of shorts.
How many people will you be playing with?
If you plan on playing with a variety of people, it’s likely best to get a standard volleyball which takes an average stance on both padding and weight. While it won’t make everyone ecstatic, you can be sure it won’t leave any friends disappointed.
How much firmness can your wrists handle?
Volleyballs come with different levels of softness. While some prefer a hard volleyball, you may prefer a softer volleyball if you find others to hurt.
Will you be playing volleyball with the kids?
The heavier an object is, the more strength you’ll need to use it. As such, getting yourself a very light volleyball can help even the playing field if you plan on playing with your kids.
Do you plan on playing in an official league?
If you need to practice up before joining an official league, you’ll most likely want to go with a regulation-sized volleyball to prepare yourself for the times ahead.
Types of Volleyball Variations
There are many ways in which one volleyball may set itself apart from the next. The following variations are sure to change your volleyball experience whether for better or for worse, depending on your preference and play style.
- Softness – As you can by now guess, the level of softness inherent in a volleyball is likely the most important factor to consider. If hard volleyballs hurt, a soft model is the way to go.
- Color – Depending on when you plan on playing volleyball (whether during the day or at night), a neon-colored ball may give you a higher degree of visibility.
- Size – Volleyballs come in a variety of different sizes. Unless you plan on playing in a league at some point or another, experimenting with different sizes can drastically improve your playing experience.
- Weight – Not only does a volleyball’s weight change its level of comfort, it can make things a lot easier if you’re just starting out in the sport. Typically, lighter volleyballs travel slower, making it easier to hit them in the first place.
Common Volleyball Features
While all of the features we just discussed can either be good or bad depending on your own needs, the below features are things you should look for in any volleyball, being that they relay some degree of quality.
- Traditional Volleyball Material – You always want your volleyball to be made of the proper materials. While you needn’t bring a list of materials on your person when shopping, it can’t hurt to stay away from volleyballs clearly made of plastic. More often than not, such products are made for toddlers (like the aforementioned plastic baseball).
- A Distinguishing Physical Design – Depending on where you play volleyball, you may find yourself amongst many groups of strangers, each with their own volleyballs. Having a ball which is unique in color and has a brand name helps ensure the volleyball you’ve worked so hard searching for doesn’t get swapped out with somebody else’s.
- A Warranty – While you might not consider a warranty to be absolutely essential, it’s nice to have some assurance that a brand has some degree of confidence in their product’s ability to not break halfway through a game. Unlike extra padding or a lower amount of weight, a warranty can never be a bad thing.
Outside of buying a volleyball that is made of the proper materials and is equipped with a unique design to separate it from others on the beach, perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a volleyball is how you’ll feel when you use it. Do normal volleyballs hurt your wrists and hands? Do you have a hard time hitting the ball before it reaches the ground? Do you prefer a ball smaller in size? Will you be playing with your children?
By answering all of these questions before you finalize your purchase, you can be sure you’ll walk away with the perfect volleyball with a rather small amount of effort. Keep these tips in mind when shopping and your wrists and hands will probably thank you for it in the end.