Last Updated March 3, 2022 by Edward Pullen
A basketball needs to be inflated at recommended air pressure for it to perform at its best. If you are wondering how to inflate a basketball, here we’ll explain easy ways to pump up the ball. Inflate the basketball at recommended PSI (pound-force per square inch), it will have consistent bounce while dribbling and precise flight to the hoop while shooting the goal.
As we know new basketballs come inflated and the best basketballs will retain the PSI for a long time. However, it loses some pressure after playing a couple of games – resulting in inconsistent bounce and poor performance. Weather also plays a role in the air pressure: the pressure drops if you are playing in either too cold or too hot weather on outdoor courts. Also, the basketball gets deflated if you don’t play with it for too long. So, if your ball is flattened by any of the above causes, we’ll guide you through the process of how you can inflate a basketball at home following easy steps.
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How to Inflate a Basketball Properly – Right Ways
It is important to inflate a basketball properly and in the right way for feel, bounce, and durability. An under-inflated basketball will not bounce well while dribbling, bank shots will fall back and the ball will not travel the expected distance in long bounce passes.
On the other hand, an over-inflated basketball will bounce too high, bank shots will be too hard and off the rim. Plus, the bounce passes will travel a longer distance than expected – resulting in weak performance. Therefore, it is essential to follow the recommended PSI advised by the basketball company while inflating the ball.
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How to Inflate a Basketball with a Pump
Step 1: Attach the Needle
Most of the hand pumps especially made to inflate basketballs have needles attached. However, you need to attach the needle if you are using a normal ball pump, a bicycle pump, or an electric pump. Use a connector with the latch to connect the needle as shown in the image.
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Step 2: Moisten the Needle
The insertion valve area is quite sensitive and you need to moisten the needle for easy insertion. You can moisten the needle with a wet paper towel, by dropping the water downwards or by spitting on it. There are chances of damaging the valve if you insert the needle dry. A damaged wall will cause leakage and basketball will keep losing air more often.
Step 3: Insert the Needle into the Valve
After moistening the needle, insert it slowly in the valve by applying the same force throughout. Do not push it hard and keep the angle straight – make sure the needle goes all the way in.
Step 4: Start the Inflation
Now the main part comes – to start pumping. If you are using a bicycle pump or a hand pump, begin to pump to start inflation. However, if it is an industrial compressor or an electric pump, make sure to observe the air pressure all the time because it will inflate too fast.
Step 5: Monitor Air Pressure with Air Gauge
Basketball pumps have an air gauge mounted on them, keep your eyes on it to monitor the pressure. However, if the pump you are using does not have the air gauge, use the separate air gauge unit to check the PSI. Insert the needle of the gauge in the valve and it will immediately give you the PSI reading.
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How to Inflate a Basketball with an Air Compressor
There are ways to inflate a basketball without a pump – using an air compressor is the most common. This method will save you a day or two, canisters are expensive and costly to purchase a new one again and again.
- Air Compressor
- Inflation Gauge
Step 1: Place the Straw in the Hole
This method does not require a needle because air compressor cans have a small straw. Remove the plastic extender and insert the straw in the hole gently, hold it tight for it to stay in its place. Make sure to secure the other end of the straw on the canister’s nozzle.
Step 2: Push the Handle
Now, push the compressor to handle down to release the air pressure to inflate the basketball. Repeat this process several times until you find the ball is inflated properly.
Step 3: Check Inflation Level
Remove the compressor and monitor the air pressure of the basketball by using the air gauge. If you find the PSI less than recommended, you can repeat the inflation process until it reaches the advised pressure level.
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How to Find out If the Basketball is Properly Inflated?
As we mentioned above, an over-inflated or under-inflated basketball will not perform well. So, you might be thinking about how to find out if the basketball is properly inflated? Well, there is a gauge to measure the PSI of a ball, this gauge is mostly mounted on the basketball pump – or you can get it separately from the market.
The NBA official basketballs are inflated between 7.5 to 8.5 PSI. Most of the official size or close basketballs have recommended PSI from 7 to 9. Simply attach the gauge nozzle with the valve to monitor the air pressure.
Do not worry if you don’t have an inflation gauge. There is another ancient way of finding if the basketball is inflated properly – follow the below steps;
- Hold the basketball still at your face level at 90ᵒ
- Release it without any force and let it drop down straight
- Do not move and let the basketball bounce back after hitting the floor
- A properly inflated ball will bounce back up to your waist, over or under-inflated will bounce either higher or lower
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Basketballs lose air over time and we all wonder how to inflate a basketball properly. Either you are playing with the ball, or it has been stored for a long time, it will need to get inflated the next time you bring it to the court.
We recommend getting a basketball pump to inflate the ball properly. A pump will have an inflation gauge to keep monitoring the recommended PSI. These pumps are small and cheap, you can find some even under $10. You will definitely experience extended joy if you play with properly inflated basketball.
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Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)
How do you inflate a basketball at home?
There are two simple ways to inflate a basketball at home. You can either use a basketball pump or an air compressor. Moisten the needle and connect it with the pump, insert the wet end of the needle into the valve and start pumping the air.
If you are inflating without a pump – use an air compressor. Connect one end of the straw to the canister and insert and hold the other end at the valve hole. Now, press down the handle of the can release air. Repeat this process until the ball is properly inflated.
How do you inflate a basketball without a needle?
There are different ways to inflate a basketball without a needle. However, using an air compressor is the most common and easiest way. Take a small straw, insert one end into the hole of the basketball against the valve and connect the other end with the canister. Now, push down the handle of the can to release air pressure. Repeat this process until the ball is inflated at recommended PSI.
How do you measure air pressure in a basketball?
You measure air pressure in a basketball using an inflation gauge. This is a small meter to monitor the PSI of a basketball.
What PSI should basketball be?
Recommended PSI of a basketball should be from 7 to 0 PSI. The Official NBA basketballs are inflated at 7.5 to 8.5 PSI.
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