Hoop Basics

What’s The Difference Between Basketball Backboard Materials?

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.

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