When shooting hoops by yourself or playing basketball with your friends, there are few things worse than your ball going flat. While it would be great if everyone had a needle and basketball pump at all times, that isn’t always the case.

I can think of several times where my friends and I had to cut a game short due to no one having a needle to inflate the ball. It’s annoying and also incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, there are a number of different ways you can pump up a basketball (whether indoor or outdoor) without needing to have a needle at all. This guide is going to look at a few of them.

Method 1: Use a Can of Compressed Air

Best to use for: If you are without a needle and pump, a can of compressed air is probably the quickest and easiest way to fill up your ball. It offers you something very similar to the needle, so getting the air in the ball will be simple. Of course, you likely need to be at home for this to work as very few people take compressed air out with them. Even then, however, it is easy enough to go to a store near where you are and get a can of compressed air for a very affordable price.

Things to prepare:

  • The ball
  • Can of compressed air (make sure it isn’t empty)
  • Potentially a second can if your ball is incredibly flat

How to do:

  1. Put the end of the straw of the can into the basketball. It should fit quite easily.
  2. Slowly start to press the trigger to allow the air to go inside the ball. Do it slowly and carefully for the best results. Once the ball is inflated to the desired amount, take out the straw and hit the courts!

Method 2: Utilize a Balloon

Best to use for: This is great for people who are at home, as most of us have some balloons lying around. It is quite easy and quick but does require the use of a few other items like a thin straw, and a paper clip or clamp. It’s not great for those who are out at a public court, as you likely don’t have balloons with you.

Things to prepare:

How to do:

  1. The first thing to do is to blow up the balloon with an ample amount of air.
  2. Once the balloon is blown up, don’t tie it like you normally would, but use the clamp or paper clip to close it up temporarily.
  3. Next, you need to connect the thin straw or stirrer to the balloon, and put the other into or at the air hole of the ball.
  4. Once the clip is taken off, the air should begin to flow through the straw into the opening of the ball, inflating it.
  5. Do this as many times as it takes to get your ball to an air level that you are comfortable with. It might take a couple of balloons.

Method 3: Go to a Bike Shop or Gas Station

Best to use for: This is a great option for you if you are out and about, and don’t have a pump, needle or anything like that at home. If you don’t have the materials for the other two methods, this could work. Going to a bike shop or gas station is a good idea as they have air pumps and might even have the attachment you need. This method is very easy and simple but could take a while to find a gas station or bike shop nearby. Also, they might not have the needle attachment so it couldn’t hurt to call ahead.

Things to prepare:

  • The ball
  • Find a safe way to get to the shop or station
  • Potentially pick up a basketball needle if they don’t have them

How to do:

  1. Get to the bike shop or gas station, after calling ahead to ensure they can help you.
  2. Use the correct attachment to inflate the ball to your liking.
  3. Be sure to thank them if they don’t charge you. Also, consider buying something small for their kindness.

Final Words

We hope that this guide has been able to help you learn how to pump up a basketball without a needle. When trying any of the aforementioned, be sure to do it safely to protect yourself and your basketball.

Have a method that wasn’t mentioned here? If so, let us know in the comments below.