Best Basketball Hoops of 2018 – Portable, Driveway, In-Ground

Best Basketball Hoop Reviews

Get some games going at home in your driveway by investing in a basketball hoop, invite over a friend and grab as basketball. You may think any old hoop will do but there are advantages to each of the 3 different kinds of basketball hoops; portable, in-ground and a combo system.

Top Basketball Hoop Comparison Chart

Things to Consider 

Location

First, decide where you want to have to look around your yard or driveway for the best spot. You will need enough room and some fairly level ground. This is not to say you can’t play on a slope, it will just add to the challenge.

Type

Once you have found a space for your “court”, you need to decide if you would want a portable or in-ground system.

 

3 Types of Basketball Hoops

 

  • In-Ground Basketball Hoops 

    Are permanent structures fixed to the ground with cement? These will be much more stable and take abuse dished out by aggressive older players. While they are permanent they may be adjustable to grow with your athlete.

  • Portable Basketball Hoops

    Have a base, usually filled with sand or water (it is best to empty the water or fill with anti-freeze in climates that freeze) and can stand alone. These are great for playing areas that have to share space or do double duty as a driveway. They tend to be fairly unstable and weak but that is the compromise for mobility. Almost all of these are height adjustable to accommodate growing and developing players.

  • Combo Basketball Hoops

    Are generally permanent structures but they are not mounted on a pole but directly to a structure like a garage, home or tree. Some of these are slightly adjustable for height or if you mount it to a tree, the tree will lift it as it grows.

 

Backboard Specifications

  • Materials

    There are three main backboard materials, acrylic, polycarbonate and tempered glass.

    • Younger players (Beginner)

      will do best with a softer and lighter acrylic board. You will find that these are actually considered a mid- tier backboard.

    • Teens (Intermediate)

      when your players are more skilled and advanced, you will want a more durable backboard made out of polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is rigid and can withstand all seasons. Polycarbonate is the best for outdoor use.

    • The aggressive players (Advanced)

      looking for an authentic playing backboard, fiberglass, graphite and most of all tempered glass are what you are looking for. These materials will give you the closest to professional performance possible. Because of expense and lack of durability, tempered glass is least suited for outdoor use.

 

  • Size

    The backboards are also offered in different sizes. In this case, bigger is not always better. Make sure you get the right sized backboard for your player.

    • Younger players (Beginners)

      should learn to shoot at a 44” backboard.

    • Teens (Intermediate Players)

      generally are learning to bank shots, drive to the basket and retrieve rebounds and would benefit from a slightly smaller backboard than one geared toward more advanced or professional players. I would say the range of a teenage player’s backboard should be around 48-50”.

    • The aggressive players (Advanced)

      can either go for a slightly smaller backboard, 54 – 60”, or a 72” regulation sized backboard.

Rim

Often not given enough consideration, the rims play an important role in every shot. Originally rims were rigid and would often lead to the rims bending or backboards breaking when players would hang on them or perform an extremely hard dunk. Today, most rims come with some form of “breakaway” or spring mechanism to relieve tension. The smaller hoops or hoops that are lower price points may have exposed springs and be overly bouncy. The more expensive hoops will more resemble that of a professional or gymnasium basketball hoop with enclosed springs they offer a true bounce.

3 Types of Rims

Standard – no springs
Breakaway – exposed springs
Breakaway – enclosed springs

                                                         

Best Basketball Hoop Reviews

 

Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System, 44 Inch Backboard   Best Basketball Hoop for A Neighborhood Full of All Ages $

Feel free to set this Lifetime 1221 Pro Court adjustable basketball hoop up anywhere you find a great spot to play. A great game can be played in a driveway, patio, and quiet road or anywhere else your mind sees a court. The telescoping post will adjust to meet the height of any of your opponents. Get the younger neighborhood kids out and in the game at the lowest point of 7.5 feet. Let the guys work out their stress with a full on game at the height of 10. The post will adjust in increments of 6” to meet everyone else in-between. The 44” polyethylene backboard supports a classic basketball rim and can hold up to extended abuse from being kept outdoors. Your slam dunk will be kept steady with the 27 gallon Pro court base. Lifetime was founded in the hopes of finding a sturdier basketball pole for backyard play. They have built a strong reputation in the basketball hoop industry.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Adjustable height in 6” increments
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Adjusting can be a bit difficult
  • Quality control
  • Plastic base is thin

 

Lifetime 1531 Portable Basketball System, 48 Inch Shatterproof Backboard  – Best Basketball Hoop for Mid-Level Players $$

Easy to adjust with a broomstick from 8’ to 10’ with Lifetime Products Quick Adjusts II system, this basketball hoop is great for players that are serious but reaching growth spurts. The 31-gallon base, as well as a Slam-It rim, will give the added counterweight and absorption for strong slam dunks. The shooting squares on the backboard will get those developing players great targets for perfecting their shots. The backboard is made of a Makrolon polycarbonate that has a pro glass-like look without the shatter hazard.

Pros

  • Sturdy and stable
  • Adjustable height in 6” increments
  • Stands up through tough weather

Cons

  • Quality control
  • Assembly instructions not clear
  • Heavy when base is full

 

Lifetime 71525 Height Adjustable In-Ground Basketball System, 54 Inch Shatterproof Backboard – Best Basketball Hoop for Super Easy Adjustment $$

 This serious almost full-sized in-ground basketball hoop will take what your game can dish out. Sporting a 54” steel framed shatterproof backboard you are sure to hit your target. To help you have accurate aim the fade-resistant graphics will stand out throughout long-term exposure to the elements. Players of all ages will enjoy this basketball hoop. The height can range from 7 ½ feet to 10 feet. It has a Power Lift adjustment mechanism to make switching height effortless. The best part of this adjustment mechanism is that you can adjust in any increment and with just one hand.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Super easy to adjust
  • Stands up through tough weather

Cons

  • Quality control
  • Assembly instructions not clear
  • Wobbles but secure

 

 Step2 Shootin’ Hoops Junior Basketball Set – Best Basketball Hoop for Youngest Players $

 Start them young! This Step2 Shootin’ Hoops junior basketball set is perfect to get those toddlers out and learning about the game and fine-tuning gross motor skills. The lowest setting is 30” and goes all the way up to 4 feet and adjusts 6” at a time. These young players will feel like pros with a real net and sturdy backboard and rim. A smaller ball, 6”, is included and just the right size for smaller hands.

 Pros

  • Perfect height for little ones
  • Super easy to adjust
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Plug in back is easiest enough for squirrels to remove
  • Height adjuster tends to slip over time
  • Ball is poor quality

 

Silverback In-Ground Basketball system with Tempered Glass Backboard – Best Basketball Hoop for Aggressive Play $$$

Bring It! This basketball hoop will stand up to everything you can dish out. The additional pole and backboard pads protect you from injury upon contact. The breakaway rim will protect the backboard from aggressive dunks. The backboard is made of tempered glass just like the pros play with. The anchor bolt system protects the whole set from toppling during play and will remain the backboard to remain level over time. The height is fully adjustable from 7 ½ feet to 10 feet for accommodating players of all ages and years of enjoyment.

Pros

  • Stable
  • Safety Padding
  • Easy to assemble and install

Cons

  • Tempered glass can shatter
  • Takes a lot of cement
  • Mounting the backboard requires several people

 

 Spalding NBA “The Beast” Portable Basketball System – 60″ Glass Backboard – Best Basketball Hoop for Portable Stability $$$$$

Play like the Pros but have mobility with your Spalding NBA “The Beast” basketball net. This basketball hoop stands up to its name, “The Beast” and will fight any attack you bring. The 60” tempered glass backboard is protected from abuse with the Pro Image breakaway basketball rim. Even though this basketball hoop is portable it is very stable with its 4 strut mounts at the 50+ gallon base. It is easy to move with a handle and multiple wheels. The ScrewJack lift makes adjusting from 7 ½ feet to 10 feet at any increment.

Pros

  • Stable with a 50+ gallon base
  • Easy to move
  • Equal to an in-ground system

Cons

  • Difficult to assemble – poles in particular
  • Base has some reported splitting issues
  • Mounting the backboard requires several people

 

Lifetime 71799 Height Adjustable In-Ground Basketball System, 50 Inch Shatterproof Backboard – Best Basketball Hoop for Bringing the Arena Court Home $$

The Slam-It rim says it all. This in-ground system will allow you to be as aggressive as you would an arena court. The 50” backboard is steel framed and made of shatterproof glass-like Makrolon polycarbonate. The Slam-It rim will help protect the backboard from the huge force of slam dunks. Players of all heights will love this basketball hoop as it is easy to adjust with the Action grip pole mechanism.

Pros

  • Very stable
  • Adjusts very easily
  • Ground sleeve gives the option for easy replacement

Cons

  • Difficult to assemble – poles in particular
  • Quality control – missing bolts and washers
  • Mounting the backboard requires several people

 

Lifetime 73650 44 Inch Shatterproof Backboard and Rim Combo Kit – Best Basketball Hoop for High-Impact $

 The polyethylene plastic combined with the spring-back action Slam-It rim make this basketball hoop a great set up for high-impact. This combo style backboard has a mounting kit (sold separately) that allows you to easily mount to a wall, roof or existing pole. The Quick Adjust Conversion Kit will allow you to adjust the height.

 Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • No need for the mounting kit (usually) if swapping with another Lifetime backboard.
  • Lasts throughout many years

Cons

  • Mounting kit sold separately (may not be necessary)
  • Plastic frame is soft
  • Vibrates when ball hits and is loud

 

Spalding 54-Inch Backboard and Rim Combo with Acrylic Backboard Best Basketball Hoop for Replacing Broken Basketball Hoops $$

This combo basketball hoop is made of 54” acrylic. The Arena Slam rim offers breakaway protection from over stress on the backboard. The Spalding acrylic backboard is a great replacement for an old basketball hoop on a square pole or to mount on a wall or roof.

  Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Can buy the mount style you want
  • Lasts throughout many years

Cons

  • Spalding 316 U Lift system is sold separately
  • Corner pads on backboard often missing
  • Backboard often arrives with scratches

 

 Lifetime 90061 Portable Basketball System, 52 Inch Shatterproof Backboard Best Basketball Hoop for Starter Set $$

 Lifetime’s 52” shatterproof backboard basketball hoop is held stable with a 35-gallon base to be filled with water or sand. This makes a great first basketball hoop for your home because it is easily adjustable with a Front Adjust mechanism. The Backboard adjusts from 7 ½ feet to 10 feet. The Slam-It rim will stand up to young players dreaming of life as a NBA player.

Pros

  • Stands up to the elements
  • Quiet and stable
  • Super easy to adjust the height

Cons

  • Instructions are very difficult to understand
  • Not meant for aggressive play
  • Requires at least 2 people to assemble

 

Some History of Basketball Hoops + Conclusion

Basketball, a true American sport, was invented in 1891 in Springfield, MA.   It may have been invented by a Canadian as a winter month sport for the YMCA. The popularity grew throughout New England and Canadian, YMCA’s. Basketball was getting some pushback from the YMCA’s within a decade. Some YMCA’s were banning the game because the game can often become fairly rough. Luckily, basketball had already won the hearts of many players and they formed amateur leagues and kids at colleges were starting to play. The first leagues formed along the east coast of the United States in larger cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. The first professional basketball game was played between 2 YMCA’s in 1896 and players were played $2.50 for a home game and $1.50 for an away game. Soon after the first game, the National Basketball League (NBL) started by six teams in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area. The frenzy was on as an outbreak of leagues formed throughout the Eastern United States. The first colleges that participated in school-sponsored games were Yale, Minnesota, Dartmouth, Columbia, Chicago, Utah, and Navy.

The rules, in the beginning, were simple. There were only 13. There were many injuries due to minimal referees to enforce the fouling rules. There was a cry for colleges to step up and regulate. Even President Teddy Roosevelt spoke up. By 1910 the Intercollegiate Athletic Association was formed.

The professional players could be just as troublesome as the collegiate players. Many players would switch teams continually.   What would happen is another team would see them playing and entice them to switch with an offer of more money. Teams started implementing contracts with players to prevent team jumping.

Today, you can find basketball games around the world. More than 250 million players from around the world aspire to play in the NBA. Professional players can make millions of dollars a year playing for a pro team. Games are played on all types of surfaces. You can play on traditional courts (indoors), street courts, driveways, or even dry plains. All you need is players, shoes and a basketball hoop.

Basketball increases balance, agility, coordination and most of all endurance. It is meant is a passing sport that also develops teamwork. It is also fast-paced play so it encourages quick thinking. The ball is almost always moving and players continually moving. Starting players out at a young age give them the skills needed to play throughout their school years and possibly into a profession. Besides that, having a basketball hoop at your home allows the kids to have a safe place to play and work on teamwork as well as skills.

 

 

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