How to Inflate a Basketball? Read the 6 Different Methods

Inflating the basketball is not that job you need to do very often because when you buy a brand new basketball it is perfectly inflated but with passage of time, basketballs tend to lose air and if you leave them to sit in your store rooms surely they will end up flat. Then you need to inflate it the right way before playing with them.

An often used basketball also requires inflation because when it loses a little amount of air its bounce will be as perfect as when they are perfectly inflated and if you play basketball frequently you know that feeling very well!!!

How to Inflate a Basketball

But don’t worry!! Today in this article we are going to describe you as many ways as possible for inflating your basketball with the right air pressure using equipment easily available to you. But first let me answer you a question that should stream into your mind…

Why should one properly and oftenly inflate the  basketball??

Inflating a basketball properly with perfect air pressure is very requisite. Only a properly inflated basketball can ensure you the perfect one-on-one and full court five-on-five game because it will bounce perfectly and as a result it will not be difficult for you to dribble.

If you leave your basketball to sit in for a long time it will end up flat so you should often inflate it. So that’s why you need to inflate your basketball in the right way.

6 Methods for Inflating the Basketball that Works

Here are the methods that you can adopt for inflating your basketball with proper air pressure. Hope you find any one of these easy, understandable and convenient for you. Let’s get started without wasting your precious time.

1. Inflate a Basketball With an Air Pump

There are so many different ways of inflating a basketball. But using a pump with inflation needles for this purpose is the most recommended way of doing it. Air pumps are quite cheap, handy and small in size – for easy carrying and easy to use.

Inflate a basketball with an Air Pump

First, let’s have a quick look at the material we are going to require.

  • Air pump – purchase a decent pump if don’t have already ball pump
  • Needle
  • Inflation gauge – to check pressure
  • Water – to moisten the needle

Here is the detailed step-by-step procedure for inflating your flat basketball with the help of an air pump. Let’s get started.

Attach the Needle

Most of the air pumps specially made for inflating basketballs do not require attaching needles. But if you are using a bicycle pump, electric pump or a normal pump, the very first step is attaching the needle. Such types of pumps require a connector with the latch to connect the needle.

Moisten the Needle

Moistening the needle is an undoubtedly un-ignorable step. If you insert a dry needle in the valve or whole of the basketball then you’ll damage it because the valve is very sensitive and made of black rubber with a small hole in it.

So moisten the needle by either dropping or spitting water on it. So insertion of the needle in the hole of the ball becomes easy.

Insertion of Needle Into the Valve

After moistening the needle, start inserting the needle into the valve. Keep the angle straight and apply force throughout equally without being hard until the needle goes all the way into the basketball.

Being the Inflation

After inserting the needle, start inflating or pumping your basketball. In case of using an air pump, hand pump or bicycle pump you need to put 3-5 intervals to inflate your basketball.. But keep in mind if you are using an electric pump it will become inflated very sooner.

Check the Air Pressure Level

The next step is to monitor how much air you have pumped into the the basketball air pumps have an air gauge mounted on them. So make sure you keep an eye on the gauge to monitor the right pressure.

But If you don’t have such an air pump you can buy an air gauge separately. Otherwise, compress the ball with your fingers to check the level of air. Another way of doing it is holding the ball at your chest level and dropping it. If the ball bounces at least to your waist, it means you have inflated the ball with right air pressure.

Pump more air if required and after doing it, you are ready to play a game with your basketball.

2. Inflate a Basketball With an Air Compressor

Another method of inflating your basketball is using an air compressor. It’s a very quick way and will save you a day or two, but it will cost you more than the previous one. Because you may need to purchase a canister again and again.

Inflate a Basketball With an Air Compressor

Here are the items that we are going to require.

  • Air compressor
  • An inflation gauge – to check pressure
  • Wet paper towel – for moisten the straw

The complete step-by-step guide of inflating your basketball with an air compressor is here. Hope you find it easy and understandable for you.

Moisten the Tube

Air compressors do not require any kind of needles, instead they can have small straws. First remove the plastic extender attached to the compressed air and then moisten the one end of the tube with a wet paper towel.

Insert the Straw Into the Hole

After moistening the one end of the tube, insert the straw into the hole of the basketball, gently. Once it goes all the way in, hold it tightly to keep it in its place. Also make sure to secure the other end of straw on the canister’s nozzle.

Push the Handle to Inflate

Now, push the compressor to handle down to release the air pressure from the caister into the basket ball to inflate it. Repeat the pushing of the handle several times until you feel the basketball become inflated properly.

Monitor the Inflation Level

After removing the straw out of the basketball, monitor the air pressure level by using an air gauge. If the air pressure level is lower than recommended then you can repeat inflating your basket ball by the same process until it becomes inflated properly and reaches a level advised by manufacturers.

3. Inflate a Basketball With a Balloon

If you don’t have any air pump and air compressor at your home. No worries you can still make your basketball game on after inflating it by using a Balloon. It may sound a little awkward to you, but for sure this is one of the popular methods of inflating basketball without a needle.

Inflate a Basketball With a Balloon

The material that is going to be required while performing this procedure is listed below.

  • A larger-size balloon
  • Paper clip
  • Small straw – that can fit into basketball’s valve
  1. First air-up the balloon to the as much as possible maximum level of air that it can hold.
  2. To prevent the air leakage, secure the open end of the balloon with a paperclip.
  3. Take a straw and insert one end of it into the hole of the basketball and the other end into the balloon.
  4. Now, remove the paper clip from the balloon to release the air pressure into the basketball.
  5. Hold the balloon tightly otherwise it will shoot away and spread the air into the room instead of inflating your basketball.
  6. Repeat the process until the basketball becomes inflated properly.
  7. Check the inflation level of your basketball with the help of an air gauge. If air pressure is low then inflate the basketball again otherwise enjoy your game.

4. Inflate a Basketball With a Tubeless Bike’s Valve Stem

This method is quite similar for inflating the basketball with using a needle. But the needle is being replaced by a valve stem in it. This is a recommended and precise method for inflating basketball for those who have tubeless bike wheels.

You just only require two things if using this method.

  • Valve stem
  • A pump

Here is the step by step guidance for the inflating basketball by using the valve stem method.

  1. Remove the valve stem by unscrewing the fastener on the stem from the tubeless bike tire.
  2. Remove the rubber coating from the stem if there is any.
  3. Attach the stem with either an air pump, bicycle pump or an electric pump.
  4. Just like a needle, insert the other end of the stem gently into the basketball’s valve.
  5. Pump the air into the ball until it gets inflated properly.
  6. Check the air pressure with the help of an air guage and get your basketball ready for the game.

5. Inflate a Basketball With a Pen Ink Tube

This method is also easy and replaces the needle with a pen ink tube for inflating basketball. You need to be careful while performing this method because it is slightly more difficult than using a stem. The material required for performing this method includes:

  • Pen ink tube – better to be empty
  • Air Pump
  • Tape
  • Paper clip – plastic coated
  • Scissor

Here are the simple steps to follow for your easy understanding about inflating the basketball using the method of pen ink tube.

  1. Remove the ink tube from the pen and make sure that the ink tube is empty.
  2. Cut the tiny, empty part of the ink tube so that it can work as a needle.
  3. Now take the paper clip which is plastic coated and straighten it but do not damage the plastic – it will be used.
  4. Now insert the paper clip into the valve (hole) of the basketball and make sure it goes inside completely.
  5. Leave the plastic part inside the ball and pull out the metal part of the paper clip gently.
  6. Now cut the extra length of the plastic using a scissor and insert the one end of the already cut-out piece of ink tube inside the plastic.
  7. Now wrap the tape around the joint to fully minimize the chances of air leakage when you are pumping.
  8. Insert the other end of the tube into the air pump.
  9. Now, start inflating the air slowly into the basketball. Don’t try to rush out, otherwise it will cause the plastic from the air hole to burst out.

While performing this method it’s better to have a friend around you who holds the plastic inside the valve tightly, if you perform this method accurately it is worthwhile to inflate your basketball.

6. Visit a Bike Shop or Gas Station

If you are in a park or in a hurry to go park for playing basketball with your friends and do not find any kind of equipment required to inflate your flat or deflated basketball then you can simply go your nearer bike or gas station. Because they have similar attachments like needles required to inflate the basketballs.

If they are too busy, then you can do it yourself too. Some shops can charge you minimal money or some can inflate your basketball without any cost. So all you need to do is carry your deflated basketball to the nearer gas station.


Every basketball requires proper inflation time by time and hope you find this job quite easy and simple after reading informative and helpful article. You can either use equipment like needles, air pumps and air compressor or non-equipped material like balloons for this purpose. Once you properly inflated your basketball, roll over your sleeves and start dribbling in the park to have a fun and one-on-one game. Enjoy!!

Leave a Comment