Hoop Basics

The Best Portable Basketball Hoops For People Who Like To Save Money

Let me guess: you want a portable basketball hoop, but you’re not sure which one is the best value for your money.

Am I right?

It’s understandable. There are a TON of basketball hoops out there.

I know, because I’ve spent years time selling hoops. I’ve even talked with all the major manufacturers, so I know which ones are solidly built, worthwhile systems. This guide will help you understand which are the best deals out there so you can have a home basketball goal that you and your family will love.

It’s divided into two sections. The first section lays out the best basketball hoops right now. The second section has information on buying basketball hoops so you can make your own decision if you buy a hoop at a sporting goods store or online.

Best Portable Basketball Hoops Under $300

Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball Hoop, 44-Inch Backboard

Are you looking for a crazy cheap system that still raises all the way up the official NBA height of 10 feet? Then the Lifetime 1221 Adjustable Portable Basketball hoop is your best choice. It’s not a pro system by any means, but it’s good enough to shoot around on with your kids. Though it retails for 149.99, you can can usually find it much cheaper. That makes it perfect for the casual basketball fan.

Specs

  • 44″ Impact backboard is virtually unbreakable.
  • Telescoping mechanism adjusts from 7.5 to 10-Feet 6-Inch increments
  • 27-Gallon base fills with water or sand and rolls to your desired location
  • All-weather resistant, designed to withstand the harshest elements
  • 18-Inch black solid steel rim with 1/2-Inch steel braces, 5-year warranty

Lifetime 1531 Portable Basketball Hoop, 48-Inch Shatterproof Backboard

This one is a step above the 1221 system, with a larger 48 inch backboard. The clear acrylic backboard just plain looks cooler, and the larger 31 gallon base helps keep it more stable. One downside: this system only adjusts down to 8 feet, rather than 7.5 feet like most systems. But other than that, it’s a solid choice for only around $200.

Specs

  • 48″ Shatterproof Fusion backboard with a Makralon playing surface and fade resistant graphics provides a durable pro-glass look!
  • Features Quick Adjust II height adjustment mechanism; easily adjusts from 8 to 10 feet
  • 31 Gallon base provides stability and portability; Can be filled with water or sand
  • Rust-resistant all weather finish and all-weather nylon net; can be used indoor and outdoor
  • Backed by a 5-year manufacturer warranty

The Best Premium Basketball Hoops

Lifetime 71522 Competition XL Portable Basketball Hoop, 54 Inch Shatterproof Backboard

You can usually find this system for a little under $500, and it’s the best deal in its price range. It’s a super solid system with a beefy 35 gallon base and average sized 54 inch backboard. It’s also super easy to move the backboard up and down, so you can move it down for you kids to shoot on too.

Specs

  • 54″x33″x1.5″ Steel-Framed acrylic backboard gives you the look and feel of the professional game
  • Power Lift height adjustment mechanism easily adjusts from 7.5 to 10 feet
  • Weather-resistant pole and net with fade resistant graphics; Designed to withstand the harshest elements
  • Features solid-steel Slam-It Rim with double-compression springs and welded net hooks
  • XL 35 Gallon base provides stability and portability and can be filled with water or sand; Backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty

Spalding NBA “The Beast” Portable Basketball Hoop, 60 Inch Glass Backboard

This is one of the best portable basketball hoop systems you can buy for your home. The backboard is 60 inches across, not quite the 72 inches of a pro NBA system, but close. The backboard is also made of heat tempered glass, so the ball bounces off it wonderfully. The pole is thick: five inches and square. And the base is huge, it can hold over 50 gallons of either sand or water. If you’re willing to spend a little extra to get the portable system that will be the envy of your neighborhood, this is the system to get.

  • Residential portable basketball system adjusts from 7.5-Feet to 10-Feet
  • Gray inset cover acts as a handle for pre-play movement and a re-bounder during play
  • Two-piece, 5-Inch square angled pole system with screw in water level gauge base cap
  • 60-Inch glass backboard, Pro Image breakaway basketball rim, all-weather white net
  • 50+ Gallon capacity dual capacity base fills with water or sand for stability

Why A Portable Basketball Hoop Might Be Right For You

When you pick a basketball hoop, you have three options: portable, wall mounted, or in ground?

While portable basketball hoops have taken some flak in the past for not being particularly high quality, they have advanced substantially in the past few years.

However, in ground basketball hoops are still generally more durable and sturdy than portable goals. Despite that, there are still a few good reasons why you might choose to buy a portable goal instead.

You Want An Easier Installation

The one downside of in ground basketball hoops is that they are a lot more work. You have to dig a hole, assemble the hoop, stand it upright in the hole, pour wet concrete in the hole, then wait for it to harden for at least a full day before you start shooting.

With portable systems it’s way, way easier. You just have to assemble the hoop, then pour either sand or water into the basketball base. There’s no concrete to deal with, and no waiting before you can start shooting around.

You Don’t Want Change The Look Of Your Driveway

If you like how your driveway looks right now, then you should get a portable system.

You can play on it when you’re ready to sink some 3s and hide it from sight when you’re done.

You’re Moving Soon

Are you planning to move in the next year or so?

If you’re not interested in buying a brand new basketball hoop at your new location, then a portable system is your best option. You can set it up, shoot some hoops at your current home, then toss it into the moving truck when you’re ready to move.

Your Homeowner’s Association Doesn’t Allow In Ground Basketball Hoops

Finally, there’s the bane of every homeowner who just wants to shoot some hoops: the all powerful and tyrannical homeowner’s association. Most homeowner’s associations don’t want their streets lined with basketball hoops (even though they look awesome.) But there’s a loophole. You can just get a portable system, shoot some hoops during the day, then wheel it into your garage at night.

How To Buy A Portable Basketball Hoop

Do you want to sort through all the available basketball hoops yourself to decide on a goal? Here’s how you can pick your best goal by yourself.

Decide Your Budget

Home portable basketball hoops can range in cost from as little as $110 to over $1000. But just like any other product, you tend to get what you pay for. The cheaper units are less durable, have shorter backboards, and are less sturdy. While high end portable goals have wide boards, thicker poles, and are made more durable and rigid materials.

However, it’s not true in all cases that cheaper hoops equal better quality in some cases, you’ll have two comparably price system, but one will have a noticeable advantage over the other. It might be the case that the slightly cheaper hoop has a better height adjustment system, wider backboard, or even a stronger pole.

Once you decide on a price range, take a close look at the features of the basketball hoops within your budget. Sometimes you can save a few bucks and get a better basketball hoop at the same time.

Look For Height Adjustability

If you are buying a basketball hoop for young children, height adjustability is a must. Children under 12 don’t enjoy throwing airball after airball at a regulation 10-foot tall hoop. Lowering it a couple of feet gives them a chance to

Telescoping Pole

This is the simplest height adjustment system. You tend to find it on the cheapest backboards.

This involves a two part pole: the top pole slides inside of the bottom part of the pole. The two parts are held in place with a screw bolt. When you’re ready to adjust the height of your pole, you simply unscrew the bolt, adjust the pole, then screw the bolt back in place.

Broomstick Adjustment

This uses a ratchet mechanism behind the backboard to adjust the hoop. When you’re ready to adjust, you take a long stick (such as a broomstick handle) to unlock it and move it to your desired height.

This system works well enough. But to be honest, it’s kind of a pain in the butt. On some systems the rachet mechanism doesn’t lock in place very easily. So you’ll have to struggle to position the stick in just the right place in order to get it the height that you want. It’s fine if you don’t expect to have to adjust it that often. But if you ancipate adjusting it frequently, or even every day, then you’re better off getting a different adjustment method.

Trigger Handle

The trigger handle makes adjustment much easier. Like the name implies, these systems are equipped a handle with a trigger. To adjust, grab the handle, press on the trigger with your

Pneumatic Adjustment

These work like the trigger handle adjustment systems, but with a cool twist. They use air pressure make lifting the item up and down much easier, much in the same way that air pressure moves a barber chair up and down. This makes moving the hoop almost effortless.

A pneumatically adjusted basketball hoop is a great idea if you’re buying your hoop for kids. Since they require less muscle to move the hoop up and down, even tiny power forwards can easily move it to the height that they want.

Crank Handle

These systems are simple to use, but difficult to assemble. They allow you to adjust the height of a backboard just by turning a hand crank. You typically find them on higher end, high quality systems that cost a thousand dollars or more.

Two Adjustment Ranges

One other important thing to note. There are two adjustment ranges available. The first adjusts in six inch increments. For example, if your basketball hoop can adjust between 7 and 10 feet, then you can set it at 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, and 10 feet.

The other type is called “infinite” adjustment. So if your basketball hoop as this features, you can set it at any point between 7 and 10 feet, including 7.7, 8.2, or 9.3.

System Durability

Obviously, you aren’t going to buy a new basketball hoop every year. You want to buy a system made of quality materials that will last you. However, it can be a challenge figuring out whether or not a hoop is built to last over the internet. But one the surest clues is the warranty. The longer a warranty is, and the more it covers, the more confident the manufacturer is that it will last a very long time.

A year year warranty signals little faith in a product’s durability. A five year warranty signals a little more. And 10 year warranty means that the manufacturer thinks that they sell a quality product. And a lifetime warranty means that the manufacturer believes that you’ll never have a problem.