Hoop Basics

Best Outdoor Basketballs

The Best Outdoor Basketballs You Can Buy

Hoop Basics

Want to play on backtop in the sunshine? These are the best basketballs you can play when you’re shooting hoops outdoors.

Spalding NBA Zi/O EXCEL Indoor/Outdoor Composite Basketball

Spalding Zio Excel

Though this isn’t the official NBA game balls, it meets the specs and size required by the NBA and WNBA. As a bonus: it’s much more affordable then the official game ball. So, whether you’re a professional basketball player or an weekend baller, this is the best basketball to choose.

Its longevity is unmatched making it a much longer lasting basketball in play. The Zi/O leather cover’s structure puts it into a class of its own from other designs and manufacturers. With its soft inner construction and tough outer composition, it makes for a better feel. If you want a good “feel” for your basketball, the greatest benefit is its ability to deliver a superior grip. This will ensure it will never slip from your hand, especially when keeping it away from your opponents or when dribbling.

Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor Outdoor Composite 27.5 Youth Basketball

Spalding Rookie Gear

This basketball is considered on of the very best choices for young players as it’s specifically designed for them. Keep in mind, as it’s made for kids, it is only acceptable for recreational purposes. Spalding has been a trusted name in sporting products since 1876 and has given this ball the same level of superior quality as their other basketballs and the professional balls used in the NBA.

Unlike standard models, this ball is 25% lighter making it a better choice for kids to handle. This age range should be 8 years of age or younger. As a parent, if you want to help your child learn how to play basketball, this is the perfect ball to get them. That said, even though it is constructed for young kids, it’s still made with the highest quality of workmanship. The composite leather cover makes for a softer ball and makes it durable enough to withstand outdoor usage. Younger players will have an excellent time with this ball while allowing them to improve their skills and techniques, which should be taught while they are around this age.

Spalding NBA Street Basketball


As everyone knows, Spalding is one of the world leaders when it comes to sporting goods and has been doing so since 1876. There should no doubt that this basketball performed brilliantly in test runs. This exceptionally durable ball is constructed with a thick rubber cover, guaranteeing it will last through many months of outdoor games. It has extra wide channels, an excellent grip and features the NBA logo, which a really nice touch! The price tag of this Spalding basketball is great and one would have a hard time finding a similar basketball of this excellent quality at a more affordable price.

For under $10, that’s right – $10, you will have the very best price while playing like the pros! Consumers love the Spalding NBA Street Basketball feel and its excellent rubber grip is very comfortable when playing long stretches at a time. It’s extremely durable and very easy to inflate, making this ball something you can expect months and even years of playing outdoors before even considering a replacement.

There are only a few downsides to this ball. The ball bounce is a little too high for some players and if you normally play with an indoor ball, there will be a learning curve for using this ball. The upside, once you have mastered it, this will be your chosen ball for all your outdoor games.

Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball

This is another great choice from Spalding’s excellent line of basketballs. Unlike some other models, this basketball is perfect for both indoor and outdoor play and withstands all different surfaces. It also looks exactly like the Official NBA Game Ball, if you want the look. Comparing with other outdoor basketballs, here as some of the differences.

Compared to many other outdoor basketballs, this one, is absolutely perfect when talking about comfort. It is constructed with an extremely soft composite leather cover that is normally only found with indoor balls. It holds up very well outdoors even with a soft cover and has an exceptional grip and control. It’s superior channel design is an extremely unique feature with NBA Official Game Balls.

The only really downside is the soft leather will wear out faster than rubber covers if it is normally used outdoors. All in all, you should be able to get a few good years out of this ball if you normally play outdoors on a regular basis. As for the price tag, it’s a very good and affordable ball.

InfoMotion Sports 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball

Smart Sensor Basketball

This basketball has got to be on the leading edge of technology but does come with a pretty hefty price tag, so if you are on a budget this probably is not the ball for you. On the other hand, if cost is not an option, the price is made up by its exceptional quality. This is a basketball that should be purchased by coaches as its advanced technologies will weigh a player’s performance and ability on the basketball court.

This basketball has an embedded sensor which makes this ball a very popular choice and is the only one of its kind. This sensor makes it possible to literally measure the skills shown by a specific player. The information is sent wirelessly through smartphones and then analyzed to show how a player can improve his or hers overall performance. As well as being able to view these results, the feedback can be acquired through an audio format. This will allow a player to more easily and quickly learn how to improve their game.

This ball also offers a short arc analyzer that will give you the correct arc position for making the perfect shot. You will also get a shot release speed timer that will improve your speed, allowing you to score more times during the game. Two other nifty features are the shot backspin analyzer and dribble power meter, what more could you ask for! When the battery drains, just place the ball at the top of the charger base and it will recharge on its own.

Wilson NCAA Replica Game Basketball

Wilson Replica Game Ball

This is another great ball for younger players and meets all NCAA requirements. It offers plenty of excellent game time for users. This ball has drawn the attention of many people due to its ability to absorb moisture. Any player knows, that when you are performing, your hands will inevitably become wet from sweat. This Wilson basketball is designed to absorb the moisture away. The ball will remain dry and you will not experience the ball slipping out of your hand or going out of control.

Its composite leather construction makes this ball the very best value for your money. The leather on this ball makes for its excellent durability as well. The construction guarantees for not only longevity but there will be no concerns about using it outdoors or on rough surfaces.

The basketball has a tacky feel, which is a huge benefit allowing for better control of the ball. This is a popular feature when buyers are looking into purchasing a basketball.

Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite Basketball

Wilson Wave Basketball

With the name Wilson behind this model, that alone is a good reason for purchasing this particular model over other alternatives. Its innovative design offers some of the most advanced technologies in the marketplace to date.

A major benefit to this model’s design is the Wave Triple Threat Technology which is exclusive to Wilson and will maximize any player’s performance. This ball has three times more grooves than found in traditional basketballs, has better surface area and leverage points. From shooting, dribbling, passing and many other moves, it will be performed much better due to this technology.

Within the industry, this ball is considered the very best indoor/outdoor performer due to the Cushion Core Technology which is a patented feature of Wilson. This basketball delivers low-density sponge rubber and sturdy butyl rubber. This allows for exceptional durability and excellent feel and texture.

Another great reason to purchase this basketball is its Aqua Grip laid-in channels. It replaces the traditional rubber and is known for increased gripping. This basketball is solidly constructed with the very highest quality that speaks volumes for the manufacturer. You will not have to worry about requesting for a replacement over a short period of time. This ball will remain state of the art for many years to come.

Molten GM7 Official Basketball

Molten GM7

Some folks are surprised to see this basketball on our list as it’s not a well-known name normally mentioned on top ten recommendations. Even though Molten is not a known brand, in the U.S, it is considered one of the very best basketballs in other countries. It is rated as a top choice internationally and also at the Olympics. The Molten GM7 Official Basketball will hold up really well both outdoors and indoors. This review will focus on how it performs on rough outside surfaces.

In our review, this basketball delivered the very best grip for an outdoor basketball. It offers a really nice tacky feel to it and offers nicely placed grooves that will deliver excellent ball control. It rests easily in your palm and is an excellent fit for those with smaller hands. Its overall design is somewhat unique compared to other basketballs. Most standard basketballs have an 8-panel design where this ball has extra panels thanks to a yellow band. There is a noticeable difference on how the ball feels and we, along with consumers, love it!

The only negative to this ball is it doesn’t hold air quite as well as other basketballs. It does require a few extra pumps from time to time in order to maintain it’s excellent bounce. Otherwise, that seems immaterial considering this is a perfect basketball!


Acrylic Vs Polycarbonate Backboard

Acrylic Vs Polycarbonate Basketball Hoops: Learn The Difference

Hoop Basics

There are five total basketball backboard materials.

  1. Molded plastic
  2. Acrylic
  3.  Polycarbonate
  4. Glass
  5.  Steel

However, by far the most common materials are acrylic and polycarbonate.

Molded plastic is usually found on cheap kiddie hoops, glass is usually found on higher end hoops, and steel is usually found commercial hoops in public parks. So you will typically find acrylic and polycarbonate hoops in the driveways of your typical neighborhood.

If you are looking at two similar hoops and don’t exactly know how to choose between the two, how do you choose? Here’s a handy guide that breaks down these highly popular basketball goals.

Acrylic Backboards

Acrylic is the most popular material you’ll see on outdoor residential basketball hoops. It’s clear like glass, but unlike glass it can possibly fade to a yellowish color if left in the sun for a several years.

Since it is a durable plastic, it don’t shatter the way that a glass backboard might if it damaged. However, it still might crack if it suffers a strong enough hit. The material also weighs less and provides less rebound than glass backboards. However, the main advantage of acrylic boards over glass is that they are usually much more affordable.


The main advantage of polycarbonate is its durability and strength. Even when the material is very thin, you can usually count on polycarbonate backboard virtually never cracking.

In fact, many institutions that install backboards for public use opt for polycarbonate hoops in order to guard against damage from overuse or vandalism. Unfortunately, there aren’t the most popular materials. High end hoops (which can cost more than $1000) use thick acrylic backboards over polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate vs Acrylic Backboards: Which One Should You Get?

So which one is better? All things being equal, the polycarbonate backboard offers you the best value. They’re extremely strong, will last a long time, and actually have long warranties. They’re a perfect choice if you a getting a low or middle range hoop, and plan on playing rough or owning the basketball goal for a long time.

However, as backboards get thicker, such as ½ inch, like you can see in in very high end basketball hoops, the type of plastic you use doesn’t matter as much.

The Beast

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

Hoop Basics

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Pool Basketball Hoops

Affordable And Awesome Pool Basketball Hoops

Hoop Basics

Not all basketball hoops are installed in your driveway. In fact, there are a wide variety of fun poolside basketball hoops that you can use to make your home pool more fun.

If you want to get a very simple and affordable pool basketball hoop experience. The All Pro Water Basketball Game is smart choice. For less than thirty dollars, you get a basketball hoop that floats freely in the pool and a ball. While the hoop may drift from place to place as you try to make shots and dunks, hitting a moving target is half the fun.

If you want a poolside basketball hoop for kids, the Jamming Molded Poolside Basketball is a smart choice. It costs less than fifty dollars, but it’s great way to let your kids have more fun with your pool in the summer.

However, if you want a fixed goal at the end of your pool that adults can enjoy playing on, then there are a few good options. One of the most affordable is the Dunnrite PoolSport Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop. This is just a like a regular portable basketball hoop, except it it is made of much fewer metal ports and is set much lower to make playing by the pool a lot more fun. The base weighs 115 pounds when filled with water, so you can be assured that it will remain sturdy during rough play.

One of the best selling pool basketball hoops is the Lifetime 1306 Pool Side Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System with 44-Inch Clear Acrylic Backboard. This system is popular because it’s high quality, using the same kind of acrylic backboard that LIfetime usues for their regular systems. But it’s still economical.

Want to play both volleyball and basketball in your pool. You can get a combo system for less than two hundred dollars with the SwimWays 2-in-1 Basketball and Volleyball Pool Game. The system includes a 24 foot net, two sturdy bases, and a fun pool basketball hoop.

If you are looking for something a little more advanced, including a regulation 18 inch rim that can use a regular basketball with, then get the Cool Jam Pro Basketball In Ground Swimming Pool Game. Unlike most other pool basketball systems, this one can actually adjust up and down, so players of various ages and skill levels can have fun playing on it.

There are also a few in ground pool basketball hoops available. While these are more difficult to install than the portable units, the advantage is that they will be a more permamnt and stable hoop to play on. One of the best hoops in this category is the Dunnrite DeckSplash Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop with Brass Anchors. The system in includes a ground sleeve that you can use to install the hoop.

If you are willing to spend a little more to get a higher quality system, then go with the S.R. Smith Swim N’ Dunk Stainless Steel Challenge Basketball Game, Stainless Steel. This hoop attaches to your deck with two posts, making it one of the most stable pool hoops that you can get.



Wall Mounted Basketball Hoops

Wall Mounted Basketball Hoops

Hoop Basics

While the most popular kind of basketball hoops are portable and in ground, you can If you have a sturdy wall on which you can install a wall mounted hoop, then that might be the best option for you. Since these units don’t require a pole or a base, they are usually a little easier to set up and save space on your driveway.

There are two main types of basketball hoops Backboard and rim combos with mounting brackets, and complete wall mounted systems. The backboard and rim combos are typically much more affordable than the wall mounted systems, which can cost in excess of $1000.

Here’s some of the most popular systems that you can buy for your

Affordable Wall Mounted Basketball Hoops

Wanted to mount a basketball hoop to your garage or other sturdy surface, but don’t want to spend a lot of money. Good news: there are a few extremely affordable options for you. One good choice is the Spalding 48-inch Eco Composite Fan Backboard/Rim Combo Unit. It’s nothing fancy: a nice-looking 48-inch unit with a fan shaped backboard. But it gets the job done.

If you would prefer a basketball hoop with a more traditional square backboard and want the backboard material to be acrylic, then Lifetime has a good choice for you. Lifetime 44-Inch Backboard/Rim Combo is a killer choice for anyone who wants a decent hoop for a low price. Make sure to also pick up the Lifetime Hoop Extension Bracket so you can mount it to your surface of choice.

Mid Range Wall Mounted Basketball Hoops

If you have a slightly bigger budget (somewhere in the range of a couple hundred dollars), then you can get a much higher quality hoop. The Spalding 54-Inch Backboard and Rim Combo with Acrylic Backboard is one of the best goals that you can get for under $300. The acrylic board is framed by a steel support brace that keeps the entire system ultra strong. Also make sure to pick up the mounting bracket if you choose this unit.

Lifetime also offers the slightly smaller and slightly more affordable Lifetime Backboard and Rim Competition Combo Kit. The fifty inch unit even includes a backboard pad that helps prevent injuries from high jumps close to the system.

High End Wall Mounted Basketball Hoops

However, if you are able to affordable a really great, pro style system, you will have to look beyond what Spalding and Lifetime are able to offer. One of the best producers of high end wall mounted units is Goalsetter. While these come at a high price point, they include the bracket, so you’ll have everything you need to start fantasizing you’re in the NBA.

If you want the best wall mounted basketball hoop that you can get for around a grand, then you should get the Goalsetter GS48 Wall Mounted Adjustable Basketball System with 48-Inch Glass Backboard and Flex Rim. While the backboard isn’t that big, the thick brackets and glass backboard will make it one of the sturdiest systems on your block.

However, if you are going after a genuine pro experience, then you best choice is the Goalsetter Systems GS72 Wall-Mount Adjustable Basketball Hoop with 72 Inch Glass Backboard. Just like pro systems is seventy 72 inches across and made of strong glass. Plus, this system has a massive adjustment range. While most hoops can only adjust from 7.5 up to 10 feet. This system can adjust down to 6 feet, so even the littlest players can have fun on this pro style goal.

Kids Basketball Hoops

Basketball Hoops For Kids

Hoop Basics

Most basketball hoops cost a few hundred dollars and allow you to adjust the rim height from 7.5 and to 10 feet. That’s fine for adult and teen players, but what what if you are buying the hoop for someone between the age of three and ten? You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that they might lost interest in quickly, and even setting the rim at the 7.5 feet height might simply be too high.

Fortunately there are plenty of options for anyone who wants to buy basketball hoops for kids. These units are inexpensive, easy to set up, and are usually set at a lower height, so they’re easier for players who are still growing. Since you’re buying a hoop for a child, there isn’t a need to a cement a unit into the ground permanently.

Step2 Company Shootin’ Hoops Junior Basketball Set

For very small children (2 to 5 years in age), we recommend the The Step2 Company Shootin’ Hoops Junior Basketball Set. The hoop has a very small adjustment range, from two and a half feet all the way up to four feet feet. It’s a very simple system at an extremely affordable price. Plus, it even comes with its own mini basketball.

Step 2 Youth Basketball Hoop

Junior Portable Basketball System Hoop Stand

Another highly affordable system is the Junior Portable Basketball System Hoop Stand by Kings Sports. This system is able to adjust slightly higher than the Step2 system because it adjusts all the way up to 5 and a half feet. This board comes with a cool graphic backboard and inflatable basketball.

Junior portable basketball hoop

Lifetime Youth Portable Basketball System

This is the only Youth oriented hoop made from the most popular name in home basketball goals: Lifetime. The Lifetime Youth Portable Basketball System adjusts to be even higher than the other systems, up to 7.5 feet, however it doesn’t come with its own basketball. You must buy it seperately.

Lifetime Youth Basketball Hoop

Spalding Junior Portable Basketball System

Another popular option is this colorful hoop from Spalding, which features the logos of every NBA team. The base is extremely small, at only one gallon. But the no tools construction makes it easy to have this system up and playing in a snap.

Spalding youth basketball hoop

Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System with 44-Inch Backboard

If you want to give a basketball hoop to a young person, but still want them to have the opportunity to shoot at the regulation height, this is your best option. The Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System with 44-Inch Backboarda decent size hoop that can go all the way up to 10 feet, the high school, college, and NBA regulation rim height.

Lifetime 1221 Basketball hoop

A Note About Basketballs

Some of these systems comes with basketballs, thus making it easier to get started playing right away. However, these balls are typically very cheap, don’t bounce very well, and may even break easily. If you want to get a better ball with your youth basketball hoop, we recommend the Spalding NBA Game Ball Mini. The ball itself only costs 10 bucks, but it’s a great little ball to learn with.

Mini basketball

Portable Basketball Hoops

What Are The Best Portable Basketball Hoops?

Hoop Basics

Unlike in ground units, portable basketball hoops don’t have to be cemented into the ground. The advantage to this is that you don’t have to worry about the pain of a cement installation. You also have the freedom to move your basketball hoop anywhere you want. For example, if you want to move your basketball hoop in your garage in the evenings, you only have to wheel it in when the play is done.

Rather than being supported by a cemented pole, portable basketball hoops are supported with a large, hollow base can can be filled with either sand or water. While water is easier, cheaper, and simpler to empty, sand is a heavier material so it will give you a more stable hoop.

Here are some of the best portable basketball hoops that you can buy.

Highly Affordable Portable Basketball Hoops

One of the most affordable portable hoops that you can buy is the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System with 44-Inch Backboard. At under a hundred dollars (not including shipping), it’s tough to beat the price point. Despite its low price, it’s still a decent hoop, with a 44 inch backboard and extends up to the regulation height of 10 feet.

Lifetime 1221 Basketball Hoop

Another similar system is the Huffy 61259 44″ Eco-Composite Portable Basketball System – Fan Shape. They both have similar stats, so you preference for one over the other depends upon which one you like more.

Mid Range Basketball Hoops

If want to spend a little bit more to get higher quality, consider the Lifetime 51550 Courtside Portable Basketball System with 48-Inch Shatterguard Backboard. It’s one of the best selling backboards in its price range for good reason: the decently size backboard and large 31 gallon base make this a very fun and sturdy system.

Lifetime Basketball Hoop

If you want to upgrade to a system with a fifty inch backboard, consider the Lifetime 1529 Courtside Base Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System with 50-Inch Shatter Fusion Backboard. It costs a few bucks more, but in exchange you get a larger backboard you can use to do cool bank shots.

Lifetime 1529 Basketball Hoop

High End Basketball Hoops

If you have a beefier budget and want to get some of the best home portable basketball hoops for the home player, complete with real glass backboards, Spalding has a couple options for you.

A cool option is the Spalding Portable Basketball System – 54″ Aluminum Trim Glass Backboard. This system has a massive forty gallon base and real tempered glass backboard. So it has one of the best rebounds that you can get in a portable system.

Spalding Basketball Goal

However, if you want the best of the best when comes to portable basketball hoops, then there’s only one option: the Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball Hoop – 60″ Glass Backboard. Not only does this system have a massive backboard (60 inches, which is very close to the NBA regulation size of 72 inches), but it also has a five inch square pole and fifty gallon base for incredible stability. Quite frankly, this the closest you can get to a pro quality system in a residential portable basketball hoop.

Spalding The Beast Basketball Hoop

How to buy affordable basketball goals

What Are The Best Cheap Basketball Hoops?

Hoop Basics

Don’t have a lot of cash to buy your basketball goal? No worries, there are a ton of highly affordable systems that can have you shooting hoops in your driveway for less than you might think.

Check out these awesome cheap basketball hoops for frugal ballers.

Portable Basketball Systems

The benefit of getting a portable basketball system is two fold. Firstly, they are a lot easier to set up, since you don’t have to cement them into the ground. And secondly, you can move them anywhere you want, including your garage after you’re done shooting hoops. One of the best affordable basketball hoops is the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System with 44-Inch Backboard. At less than $100, it’s one of the cheapest ways you can start playing basketball at home.

If you are buying your basketball hoop for a young child and want to go even cheaper, consider buying the Lifetime Youth Portable Basketball System. The hoop only goes up to 7.5 feet (as opposed to the 10 feet of a regulation system) but it’s great if you only expect little ones to play on it.

Wall Mounted Basketball

If you have a good spot on a wall to install a wall mounted basketball hoop, then buying a backboard and rim combo with a mounting bracket is a great choice. Since it doesn’t need a pole, it’s a lot easier to install, and there are a couple of very affordable options.

The Huffy Backboard & Rim Combo with 44-inch Composite Rectangle Backboard is a simple and cheap option. If you pick it up, make sure to also get the Spalding 8406S Universal Mounting Bracket.

Lifetime also has a good option with the Lifetime Impact Backboard and Rim Combo Kit, 44-Inch. In order to mount it to your ball, buy the Lifetime Hoop Extension Bracket.

In Ground Basketball Hoops

Want to get a solid In Ground system without having to take out a second mortgage in order to get it? Lifetime offers a very affordable system with the Lifetime 1008 In-Ground Basketball Hoop with 44 Inch Acrylic Fusion Backboard. It’s a basic system, but it will give you years of fun in your driveway.

Splading offers an ever cheaper system with the Spalding 88351 NBA 44″ Polycarbonate Backboard In-Ground Basketball System. It’s one of the only basketball hoops on the market that you can buy for under $200, but don’t let the price fool you. It’s a solid 44 inch basketball hoop that even includes a ground sleeve to make cementing the basketball hoop in the driveway even easier.

How To Save Even More Money

If you want to save even more money on your basketball hoop, learn how to install your goal rather than hiring an installer to do it for you. Take a look at our in ground installation guide to learn the basics. With a little bit of research and elbow grease, you can enjoy playing on your home basketball system for very little.

Basketball Backboard Materials

What’s The Difference Between Basketball Backboard Materials?

Hoop Basics

The backboard of basketball hoops can be made of a variety of materials. What the backboard is made of will affect exactly how rigid it is, and therefore the quality of play.

Here are the four most common backboard materials that you can find on basketball hoops.

Molded Plastic

On the lowest end, you will find molded plastic backboard. This is simply a backboard made of a flimsy plastic material. It is most commonly found on kiddie basketball hoops. It’s great if you just want a simple, cheap basketball goal to shoot around on.

While these hoops are great for children, you shouldn’t expect them to stand up to any hard dunking or to last for several years.

Polycarbonate Or Acrylic

More commonly, you will see polycarbonate basketball backboards.These are backboards made of a high-impact plastic, are the most common type you will find on home basketball court. The material is very rigid, making it difficult to crack or break. Plus, it gives you a better rebound than the more simple molded plastic material. If you want a basketball hoop that meets at the perfect intersection of affordability and quality, than a polycarbonate basketball backboard is your best choice.


On higher end basketball hoops you will see tempered glass backboards. Since glass is such a rigid material, it provides the best rebound of any backboard you can find. Glass backboards are the most expensive that you can find on the market. But if you really want to get a true-to-life NBA experience at your home, and are willing to pay in order to get it, then glass is the only way to go.


You can also find steel basketball backboards. However, these sorts of goals are only typically found at public parks, churches, and other open spaces where the board will be publicly used and you are concerned about vandalism. The steel board vibrates more than a glass board, but since the steel board is virtually unbreakable it can last a lifetime without any issues.

Basketball Backboard Sizes

Basketball backboards vary in width greatly, from thirty two inches wide all the way up to the NBA regulation width of seventy-two inches. You should try to get the largest backboard that your budget will allow, since that will give you the best quality of play. A larger backboard will allow you to rebound shots from an angle, and do other cool trick shots.

Basketball Rims

You should also pay attention to what kind of rim comes with you backboard. There are two main types: fixed and breakaway. Fixed rims, just like the name implies, are fixed directly to the backboard. Breakaway rims, however, are attached to the backboard by a spring mechanism. When pressure is applied to rim, it bends slightly, and snaps back into place after the pressure is lifted. This allows someone to dunk on the rim while decreasing the risk that the backboard will break.

However, if you do choose to dunk on your home basketball hoop, make sure that you check the warranty to see that it is covered.

The Three Types Of Basketball Hoops

The Three Types Of Basketball Hoops

Hoop Basics

The most important decision you will make before you buy a basketball hoop for your home is portable, wall mounted, or in ground? Your choice will affect how the quality of the play, how easy it is to install, and how long your hoops will last.

In Ground

If your first concern is quality, you should always opt for an In-ground goal. These hoops are cemented straight into the ground, thus creating a very rigid and sturdy pole and backboard. They take a little more effort and equipment in order to install, but it’s the closest you can come to pro quality in your driveway. The thicker the pole, the less your backboard will vibrate when you bounce a basketball against it.

On the low end, you might have Spalding and Lifetime Hoops.

And on the high end you could Buy Goalrilla or First Team System.

For information on how to install these basketball hoops, take a look at our guide.


Portable hoops are cheaper and easier to install than in ground hoops, but they aren’t quite as sturdy. They are anchored to the ground with a hollow base which you have to fill with either sand or water. Portable goals typically have wheels that allow you to move them to any location you wish. This is convenient if you happen to live in a neighborhood that forbids leaving basketball goals out at night. When you want to play, you can simply wheel the goal the driveway and roll it back into your garage when you’re done.

If you happen to live in a part of the country that drops below freezing, you should take special care if you filled your portable base with water.

Wall Mounted

Wall mounted basketball hoops are the least common type, but they can be a real space saver if you don’t have a lot of space to place a pole or a portable base. Like the name implies, these hoops are mounted directly to a wall or any other upright structure.

On the low end you can buy hoops from lifetime or spalding. These often require you to buy the mounting bracket separately.

On the high end you might see basketball hoops from Goalrilla or First Team.

Unfortunately, no basketball hoops come fully assembled (though some are easier than others.) If you don’t have the time or inclination in order to assemble a basketball hoop yourself, you could always hire a local handyman to do the work for you.

Once you have that issue decided, your next major decision should be what your backboard will be made of: Glass, plastic, or steel. Check out our guide on the difference between these goals.

There is also a fourth type that are used specifically in the summer months: Pool Basketball Hoops. Click to learn more about how to choose a fun goal for your outdoor pool.